On the News With Thom Hartmann: Nebraska Nuclear Danger Gets Worse, and More


Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. The impending nuclear disaster in Nebraska just got worse. Over the weekend – a floodwall protecting the nuclear plant from the overflowing Missouri River gave way – inundating the facility in floodwater. The plant is less than 20 miles away from Omaha – Nebraska’s largest city – and is now cooling its reactors and spent fuel pools with back-up diesel powered generators. Officials say water has not breached any of the buildings yet which are designed to withstand flooding of 1,014 feet – but currently floodwaters stand at 1,006 feet – and they’re expected to rise. It was a tsunami that triggered the world’s worst nuclear meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima plant a few months ago – and if floodwaters continue to rise and upstream dams can’t hold them in Nebraska – then the same thing will happen here – and we might lose Omaha. The rest of the world is ditching nuclear power – we’re doing nothing except praying the flooding doesn’t get worse.

Students in Wisconsin are screwed. Yesterday – Koch brother lapdog Governor Scott Walker signed a new Republican budget bill to tackle the state’s deficits caused by Governor Walker’s tax breaks for corporations and millionaires and billionaires. And how does Walker’s bill reduce the deficit? The Republican way of course – by cutting $800 million from public schools in the state – and directing those savings to even more corporate tax breaks. Another $250 million was cut from state universities – and $70 million slashed from tech schools. So looking at Governor Walker’s budget – you can clearly see where he places his priorities. Priority number one – giving corporation that are pay close to nothing in taxes even more tax breaks. And way down toward the bottom of Walker’s priority list…educating Wisconsin’s children so they can compete for jobs of the 21st century with kids from countries like China, Japan, and Europe where college is free or close to it.

In the best of the rest of the news…

Late Friday night – the state of New York became the largest state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage – joining other states like Iowa – Vermont – Massachusetts – New Hampshire – and Connecticut. Thanks to New York’s actions – the number of people in the country who live in a state recognizing same-sex marriage just doubled. This is a huge civil rights victory for gays all around the country as momentum for same-sex marriage nationwide picks up steam. No matter how much Conservatives want to the bad old days of fear, hate, and discrimination – they can’t stop the people from demanding progress and civil rights for everyone.

Beware of the big oil front-groups. As investigative reporter for ThinkProgress Lee Fang uncovered – the American Petroleum Institute – which is made up of all the bigwigs of the oil industry like ExxonMobile – BP – and Chevron – has created an AstroTurf front group to get average people to support big oil without realizing it. The group – known as the Iowa Energy Forum – has been hitting up Republican Presidential candidates at events across Iowa to raise support for two particular big oil projects – Canadian tar sands – and a Canadian oil pipeline that carries oil from Canada all the way to Texas. While the group may at first look like it’s made up of average concerned citizens – it’s not – it’s a public relations gimmick paid for by the American Petroleum Institute. If this works for the oil oligarchs in Iowa, look for more and more corporate shills to show up at town hall events and ask scripted questions all around the country.

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Corporations win again at the Supreme Court. Only a few days after the high court ruled that 1.5 million women couldn’t sue WalMart for repeated sexual discrimination – they issued another ruling saying people who suffer from unlisted side effects from taking generic medication – couldn’t sue the makers of those generic drugs for failing to notify them of any risks. In another 5-4 ruling along ideological lines – the pro-corporate judges on the court said it is not the responsibility of generic drug makers – that make up 75% of all the drugs on the market – to inform consumers of any new side effects that aren’t listed on the labels of their equivalent brand name drug. Yet another way to fight corporate abuse of consumers has been taken off the table by the most corrupt Supreme Court of the United States.

This week – Greece’s Prime Minister George Papandreou will likely hold a vote in Parliament on a package of austerity measures targeting primarily working class Greeks and public services. The austerity measures are required by the IMF and the European Union in exchange for a bailout package to keep Greece from defaulting on its debts and triggering a financial crisis across Europe. Over the last three weeks – working people have rioted and protested in the streets of Athens against the austerity measures – but as banksters and world financial leaders put more pressure on the Greek Parliament it’s looking more and more likely they will pass. So once again – banksters take down an economy with financial weapons of mass destruction – and it’s up to the working people and the middle class to pick up the pieces. The “for the rich, by the rich” economy has gone global.

Crazy Alert! It’s in the eye of the beholder. Yoda – a 14-year-old mixed Chihuahua won first place in the world’s ugliest dog competition in California on Friday night. With crooked eyes – tufts of scraggly hair –bare legs – and a long tongue that ceaselessly dangles out of the side of her mouth – Yoda blew the competition away. Even Yoda’s owner admitted that when she first saw the dog – she mistook it for a giant rat. Yoda was awarded with a $1,000 check for being the world’s ugliest dog – which isn’t enough for doggy cosmetic surgery – but is more than enough for lots and lots of doggie treat comfort foods.

And that’s the way it is today – Monday, June 27th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.