Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. The New Jersey State House passed a harsh anti-union bill yesterday – that shreds public employee benefits – cuts off cost-of-living increases for their pensions – and kills their collective bargaining rights. The bill includes the deepest cuts to public employee benefits in the state’s history – and will affect more than 750,000 public workers like teachers, firefighters, and police officers. Despite thousands protesting outside the state capital – a'la Wisconsin – Republicans in the State House jammed through the bill and the Republican Senate is expected to pass it Monday – handing Republican Governor Chris Christie a huge victory in his war against unions. But the people of New Jersey are catching on to Governor Christie radical anti-middle class agenda – as recent polls shows his job approval plummeting. He joins other Republicans Governors around the country from Scott Walker in Wisconsin – to John Kasich in Ohio – to Rick Scott in Florida – whose poll numbers are falling through the floor. So even though these guys thought they could get away with dismantling the working class in their state – it’s only a matter of time before they get a rude awakening from voters at the polls
With six weeks to go until our nation starts defaulting on its debts – Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor walked away from the negotiating table yesterday – signaling he doesn’t want to be a part of any deal to raise the debt ceiling. Cantor – the second most powerful Republican in the House – said he quit because, “Democrats continue to insist that any deal must include tax increases.” Republicans argue that spending cuts targeting working people are the only things that should be on the table when it comes to raising our debt ceiling and drafting a budget for 2012. That’s despite the fact that both Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke – and the Congressional Budget Office – warn that deep cuts to working people would shrink our economy. So the Republican strategy is simple – they’ll fight tooth and nail for their millionaire and billionaires buddies to get tax cuts – which will shrink our economy – while at the same time they're working to entirely crash our economy by forcing our nation to default on it’s debt – which in turn will hurt President Obama at the polls in 2012. Remember this is the same Party that earlier this year nearly shut down the entire federal government to block money for poor women to get free breast cancer screening. The Republican Party is only motivated by politics – and doesn’t give a damn about our nation’s prosperity.
In the best of the rest of the news …
Our ship of state is headed toward another financial crisis iceberg – and Republicans are at the helm. Yesterday the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee passed legislation that cuts funding for the critical government watchdogs in charge of making sure the financial crash of 2008 doesn’t happen again. That includes cutting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – and pledging to block anyone who President Obama nominates to run that agency. The bill also includes holding flat the funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission – even though that agency has a lot more responsibility under the Wall Street Reform bill. Banksters have spent millions on lobbying in the last few years to make sure that Wall Street reforms aren’t put in place – and Republicans – like faithful lapdogs – are making sure the banksters get what they want. Get ready for another massive taxpayer bailout next year when the banks crash again.
More than 90 days in – and still no formal declaration of war from Congress – the Libyan War is growing more and more unpopular among the American people. A new Gallup poll shows a plurality of Americans – 46% – oppose military action in Libya. That’s a reversal of poll numbers back in March that shows a plurality of Americans supporting the war. With our armies flung far and wide across the Arab world – the American people want to stop the perpetual war machine.
A 28-year-old New York woman was arrested for videotaping police officers while standing in her own front yard. Claiming she was concerned over what’s going on in her neighborhood – Emily Good took out her video camera to tape a traffic stop in front of her house. After police told her to put the camera away because she seemed to them to be “very anti-police” – Good refused – and was promptly arrested. In the last few weeks we’ve witnessed more and more cases of the militarization of our police – from the shooting of a marine in Arizona in a botched SWAT raid – to the bloody assault against a wheelchair-bound newspaper salesman here in Washington, DC. And now – as this case illustrated – the police are doing everything they can to make sure their abuses aren't caught on camera anymore.
A new report by the organization Earth Open Source warns that our nation’s top-selling weed killer – Roundup – is a serious threat to public health. For decades – industry regulators have ignored calls to reign in the use of Roundup that some studies have found may cause unusual embryonic cell growth – and heart defects. Currently – around 200 million pounds of Roundup is sprayed all across American every year – dousing many of the things we eat in poison – and Earth Open Source is calling on regulators to take action. Don't expect any quick action, though – many senior employees at USDA are waiting to retire into high-paid jobs in the chemical industry. This revolving door has to stop.
Crazy Alert! Paleontologist in South Africa hope to discover that one of the world’s greatest writers – William Shakespeare – was also a big fan of marijuana. The Paleontologists have submitted a formal request to the Church of England to have Shakespeare’s body unearthed so that tests can be run on it to determine if the bard occasionally got high. Back in 2001 – pipes were found buried in the garden of Shakespeare’s home that contained traces of marijuana and cocaine – and Shakespeare did write in some of his poems about the “noted weed.” Now we may know what the “Merchant of Venice” was ACTUALLY selling.