On the News With Thom Hartmann: Massachusetts Might Be Next in Line to Legalize Marijuana, and More

In today’s On the News segment: Activists say that Massachusetts should be the next in line to legalize marijuana; on Black Friday, more than 1,500 protests took place at Walmart stores around our country; if the pay for those at the bottom of the income ladder had kept pace with those at the top, our federal minimum wage would be more than $22.00; and more.
Jim Javinsky in for Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. On Black Friday, more than 1,500 protests took place at Walmart stores around our country. The events centered around Walmarts low wages, unethical treatment of workers, and their history of trying to prevent employees from forming unions. This year, thousands of workers and supporters joined the protests – showing just how much the movement has grown since last year’s Black Friday strikes, which included only 400 people. The workers’ rights group Our Walmart does not yet have a count of exactly how many workers joined events last Friday, but the group described the events as “widespread, massive strikes and protests.” This growing movement is a clear indication that workers – and their supporters – are fed up with the low-wages and unfair treatment from Walmart and other corporations. Employees of one of the largest companies on the planet shouldn’t have to turn to government benefits to buy food or pay for housing. And, taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing a company that refuses to pay people a living wage. It is a privilege to do business in our nation, and our commons makes those huge corporate profits possible in the first place. As Congress continues to slash social services, like food stamps and heating assistance, life is getting harder and harder for those trying to live on minimum wage. Rather than sentencing the poor to a life of hardship, it’s time take away these corporate charters, and tell companies like Walmart that Americans won’t subsidize their unethical wages. It’s time to tell Walmart to pay a living wage, or face the corporate death penalty. It’s that simple.
In screwed news… For more than thirty years, the minimum wage hasn’t been high enough to lift people out of poverty, but the top one percent are hoarding more cash than ever. If the pay for those at the bottom of the income ladder had kept pace with those at the top, our federal minimum wage would be more than $22.00. However, the $7.25 per hour minimum rate is less than one third of that amount. Wages for those at the bottom have been stagnant for thirty years, and have even lost purchasing power compared to hourly pay in 1968. Some members of Congress have proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, but that amount is still less than half of what workers should be earning if they were actually paid for their productivity. Pay raises for minimum-wage employees are long overdue, and it’s time that Congress mandates a real living wage for all workers.
In the best of the rest of the news…
Activists say that Massachusetts should be the next in line to legalize marijuana. The pro-pot group known as “Bay State Repeal” is working to get a ballot measure before voters in 2016. To achieve their goal, they are working to put a series of nonbinding referendum questions before voters on next year’s ballot, to gauge voter support for full legalization. Massachusetts previously decriminalized pot back in 2008, and turned possession into a civil offense that only carries a $100 dollar fine. Some law enforcement officials in Massachusetts oppose marijuana legalization, saying that easing restrictions makes it harder to keep kids off drugs. However, legalization activist Bill Downing rejected that idea, saying “This isn’t about getting pot for kids.” He explained that activists are working hard because “the laws don’t reflect our common values.” Most Americans say it’s time to put an end to Nixon’s failed drug war, and they support legalization efforts like the one being proposed in Massachusetts.
According to RadCast.org, we are experiencing high spikes in radiation levels around our nation today. Near the East coast, Robbinsville, New Jersey is sitting at 45 counts per minute, with spikes of 71. Sharon, Georgia is sitting at 42 counts per minute, and spiking at 63. In the Midwest, Colorado Springs is hovering at 57 counts per minute, with spikes all the way up to 86. Frederic, Wisconsin is reporting levels of 49, with spikes at 69 counts per minute. In the Southwest, Tucson, Arizona is sitting at 49 counts per minute, and spiking up to 83. And near the West coast, Seaside, Oregon is a little calmer at 33 counts per minute, with spikes of 52. RadCast.org reminds us that their alert level is 100 counts per minute, and some areas of our country are much closer to that number than they’d like to see.
And finally… Some British lawmakers have been defending that nation’s spying programs. But, they’re not comfortable enough with surveillance to subject themselves to being monitored. Just like our NSA, Britain has it’s own data-gathering center known as the GCHQ. That facility has been using America’s PRISM program to collect communication data, just as our government has been gathering information about us. Recently, World Review News came up with a plan to make lawmakers prove how comfortable they are with being spied on. The news agency suggested that representatives agree to be monitored by the public for a single day, saying that if they were doing nothing wrong, that they should have nothing to hide. Unsurprisingly, out of the 32 lawmakers that World Review approached, 30 of them did not respond, and the remaining two refused to participate “because of the need for privacy.” Apparently, British lawmakers are fine with massive surveillance programs, as long as their not the ones who are being spied on.
And that’s the way it is today – Monday, December 2, 2013. I’m Jim Javinsky, in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.