In today’s On the News Segment: Mitt Romney flubs his first international trip as a Presidential candidate; Capital One was the first bank to be hit by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for defrauding consumers and ordered to pay $165 million to customers in refunds; Greece may be heading for an exit from the European Union; the list of those who support Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s McCarthy-esque witch hunt against the State Department is growing; and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. Mitt Romney really knows how to travel abroad. In his first international trip as a candidate for President, Romney has so far managed to infer he’d be a better President because he’s white, insult the entire city of London, and get in a public dust-up with the British Prime Minister. After suggesting London may not be prepared to handle the Olympics, Romney was swatted down by Prime Minister David Cameron who argued that hosting the Olympics “in the middle of nowhere” – as Romney did in Salt Lake City – is a bit easier than in one of the world’s busiest cities. And London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, publicly mocked Romney on Thursday while speaking to a crowd of 60,000 people in Hyde Park. The British press corps weighed in on the trip debacle saying Romney is “worse than Palin.” Now, on the second leg of his trip, Romney heads to Israel where he can do some real damage.
In screwed news…major bank Capital One is having a bad week. After it was the first bank to be hit by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for defrauding consumers and ordered to pay $165 million to customers in refunds, Capital One was just hit with another fine. This time – the Department of Justice has ordered the bank to pay out $12 million to members of the military for denying them their legal right under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to avoid foreclosures and high interest rates. According to the DOJ – as many as 4,000 troops were illegally foreclosed on by the bank. Back in the old day, when corporations operated against the best interests of the nation – and preyed on our military members – there was a simple solution: the death penalty. The corporate death penalty – essentially revoking the corporation’s charter and thus dissolving the company – has a long history in America. It’s time to bring it back.
In the best of the rest of the news…
A Greek exit from the Eurozone may not be a matter of IF, but WHEN. On Thursday, Citigroup’s chief economist put the chances of a Greece exit at 90% – and said it would most likely happen by 2013. Early assessment within Citigroup put a Greece exit at 50%. But as austerity has tightened on Greece, forcing their economy into a death spiral – just as Spain is now in, then any hopes of a Eurozone recovery have been dashed. Just as we’re seeing in the U.K. which is in a deep, double-dip recession – austerity kills economies.
The list of those who support Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s McCarthy-esque witch hunt against the State Department is growing. Four other Members of Congress have signed on to a letter with Bachmann calling for an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood’s infiltration of the State Department – as reported by known Islamophobe and hate monger Frank Gaffney. Then Newt Gingrich chimed in, in support of Bachmann, asking what those who are horrified by the witch-hunt are trying to hide. And now House Majority Eric Cantor has joined the fray – giving his support to Bachmann this morning in an interview with CBS. When asked if he thought Bachmann was out of line to throw baseless accusations at public servants like Huma, Cantor responded, “I think that her concern was about the security of the country.” That’s a cop-out answer. State Department official Huma Abedin now needs extra security to deal with death threats after Bachmann’s accusations. Endangering American public servants with dangerous innuendo – to advance an Islamophobic political agenda – is not protecting the country – it’s ripping it apart. Michele Bachmann should resign.
The controversy over Chick-fil-A’s hateful speech continues. After it was revealed that the Cathy family – which owns the fast food chain – has given as much as $3 million to anti-gay groups like the Family Research Council, both the cities of Chicago and Boston have publicly said Chick-fil-A is not welcome in their city limits. Also, the Jim Henson Company has pulled its Muppet toys from Chick-fil-A kid’s meals. But leave it up to Republican John Huckabee to rush to the defense of the bigoted restaurant chain. He’s declared next Wednesday “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” for standing by “godly values” – which to Huckabee and other dinosaurs on the Right means denying civil rights to millions of Americans. There are certainly legal issues that could be raised should either Boston or Chicago formally reject permits for Chick-fil-A. But that hasn’t happened. What has happened is that hate and bigotry has been called out – and that’s a good story.
And finally…voter fraud is virtually non-existent, happening less often than people dying when their TVs fall on top of them. But in those few cases where voter fraud actually occurs – it tends to be Republicans committing it. John Enright, a Republican candidate for supervisor in Pinal County, Arizona, has dropped out of the race after accusations surfaced that his companion – whom he lived with until her death in 2007 – has been voting from the grave for five years since her death. Enright claims he’s dropping out of the race for other reasons – and denies any role in illegally casting ballots on behalf of his former companion. This case is fascinating, but I’m more interested in hearing an explanation from Mitt Romney – who committed voter fraud back in 2010 when he voted for Scott Brown in Massachusetts when he live in California and didn’t own a home in Massachusetts. So either quarter-billionaire Mitt Romney, who owned mansions in California and New Hampshire, was sleeping in his son’s unfinished basement – without his butler, maid, or chauffeur – all pretty unlikely – OR – he committed voter fraud and should face five years in jail and a $10,000 fine. So which is it, Mitt?
And that’s the way it is today – Friday, July 27, 2012. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.