On the News With Thom Hartmann: Republicans Are Thrilled That Detroit Has Filed for Bankruptcy, and More

In today’s On the News segment: For the GOP – the fall of Detroit is a talking point goldmine; The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant admitted for the first time today that radioactive contaminated groundwater from the plant has leaked out into the ocean; and more.

Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. Republicans are thrilled that Detroit has filed for bankruptcy. Because – for the GOP – the fall of Detroit is a talking point goldmine. Over the past year , the American public has started to wake-up about the total failure of austerity both here in the United States, and across the Atlantic in Europe. So the chance to blame the decline of a great American city on Democrats, workers , African-Americans and big-government is an opportunity the Right doesn’t want to miss. Conservatives like Neil Munro and Sean Higgins hope that maybe – just maybe – if they can convince the American people that big bad unions and Democrats are to blame for the death of Detroit, then they can get them to forget that conservatives have destroyed this country with 30-plus years of Reaganomics and voodoo economics. Union-bashing is bad enough – but there’s another, even uglier dimension to the GOP’s Detroit meme. The Motor City is eighty-five percent African-American. In fact, it has the highest black population – percentage wise – of any major city in the United States. So when Republican pundits and politicians talk about “mismanagement” and “bad governance”, what they are actually saying is that black-people aren’t capable of running a city. Blaming minorities for social problems is a tried and true Republican tactic. Reagan had “welfare queens” and the air-traffic controllers. The modern GOP has Detroit. However, it wasn’t unions or black people that bankrupted Detroit – it was decades of pro-corporate and anti-middle class free-trade policies that gutted the city of its industrial core. Over the next few weeks, you’ll hear a lot of hand-wringing from conservatives in the media about how Detroit is a sign of things to come and how this is what happens when you give Democrats, workers and “disorganized people” (that’s right-wing doublespeak for African-Americans ) control of a big city. But remember, the Republican solution for Detroit is just more of the same: gutting social services. This is disaster capitalism. It’s an opportunity for wealthy white speculators to experiment with all of their austerity dreams. And if that comes with a chance to demonize poor people, black people, and unionized workers – well – that’s just the icing on the cake.

In screwed news… In today’s Green Report…The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant admitted for the first time today that radioactive contaminated groundwater from the plant has leaked out into the ocean. Earlier this month – TEPCO, the operator of the Daichii nuclear power plant in Fukushima – said that groundwater samples taken at the crippled plant showed very high levels of caesium-134 – a cancer-causing radioactive element. Despite those readings, TEPCO had maintained that the toxic groundwater was likely contained to the immediate area, and had not spread. TEPCO’s startling admission comes just a day after the Japanese people went to the polls and handed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pro-nuclear party a large victory in Japan’s upper house. But – in light of this new information, let’s hope that the Japanese government finally wakes up and realizes that their people – and the world – can’t afford another nuclear disaster. The time to end nuclear power is now.

In the best of the rest of the news…

On Monday a federal judge stepped in and ordered Ohio state officials to recognize a gay marriage performed in Maryland the week before. This will allow for the men who sued, to be listed as married on the terminally ill husband’s death certificate. U.S. District Magistrate Timothy Black wrote, “The end result here and now is that the local Ohio Registrar of death certificates is hereby ORDERED not to accept for recording a death certificate for John Arthur that does not record Mr. Arthur’s status at death as ‘married’ and James Obergefell as his ‘surviving spouse.'” The judge’s ruling will also allow the couple to be buried alongside each another on Arthur’s family plot. Arthur’s grandfather legally mandated that only immediate family and their spouses can be buried at the family plot. Thank God we have judges like U.S. District Magistrate Timothy Black.

While many Americans may be confused by the royal baby mania gripping the UK after Kate Middleton gave birth to a son on Monday, our social structures may be just as wired in as the monarchy. According to a new study outlined in the New York Times, American children have little opportunity of getting out of the social class they’re born into. The study reports around 33% of folks who “grew up” in the top 1 percent of income distribution make $100,000 by the age of 30. This is not true of the bottom half of social scale. Only one out of every 25 of this group of people were making that much by age 30. Income inequality effects all of America and It has been increasing in nearly every state over the past 30 years. Incomes for the wealthiest 20 percent in the U.S. are eight times larger than those people at the bottom 20 percent due to the fact top incomes have been seeing quicker growth. The American Dream appears to be vanishing.

And finally… The California Democratic Party approved a resolution over the weekend that asked President Barack Obama to end federal raids on marijuana dispensaries. The resolution, sponsored by the Brownie Marie Democratic Club of Riverside County, has pointed out that 18 states and the Washington DC have legalized medical marijuana. The states of Colorado and Washington have legalized the use of recreational marijuana. The club also cited the overwhelming numbers of ethnic minorities incarcerated over marijuana. This group is simply asking Obama to order the feds to honor state laws. It’s time to let the states experiment with the decriminalization of pot. It’s not the bogey man! Get out the chips!

And that’s the way it is today – Tuesday, July 23, 2013. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.