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On the News With Thom Hartmann: Republicans Cut Off Money for High-Speed Rail, and More


Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. Wisconsin Republicans are resorting to drastic measures just to keep power in the state. A Democratic primary will be held in Wisconsin today to determine which Democrat will square off against Republican state senator Shiela Harsdorf – one of several Republicans facing a recall election for supporting Governor’s Scott Walker radical anti-union agenda. But Republicans have muddied the waters in the primary by running fake Democrats and encouraging Republicans to turn out and vote for the imposters – as an email from a Republican county chairman to supporters instructed. I guess they feel their restrictive voter ID laws aren’t enough to squash voter turnout. When they can’t win on their ideas – they’ll just win on fraud.

The Republican war on women has hit New Hampshire. The state’s Republican-controlled executive council voted down $1.8 million in funding for Planned Parenthood clinics around the state – forcing low-income women to now look elsewhere for preventative treatment and birth control. Since Republicans in that state have a religious problem with abortion – a legal procedure that makes up less than 3% of Planned Parenthood services – more than 120 women every single day will now have to skip having mammograms – cervical cancer tests – and STD tests. Last year – nearly 40,000 women in New Hampshire used Planned Parenthood for non-abortion services – and up to 70% of these women don’t have health insurance and don’t have anywhere else to go for preventative care. Once again – Republicans are willing to put a clump of zygotes ahead of human lives just to make sure the Religious Right stays on their side ahead of the culture war election of 2012.

In the best of the rest of the news…

A new report by Brookings shows how corporations are forcing Americans to work to the bone for meager wages. Today – the typical two-parent family has to work 26% longer than back in 1975. And since 1975 – wages have failed to keep up with the longer working hours. In other words – fat cat CEOs are getting a lot more “bang for the buck” out of their workers today. Which is to be expected now that Americans have to compete for jobs with slave labor in the developing world thanks to so-called Free Trade. The race to the bottom in the labor force is killing the American middle-class – it’s time to ditch so-called Free Trade.

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It’s said the states are the labs of democracy for the entire nation – and in the case of Minnesota we could be seeing where our national government is headed. The Minnesota government has now been shut down for 11 days – with state workers out of a job – public services and construction projects on hold – and millions of dollars of revenue going down the drain each day. Democrat Governor Mark Dayton is working on a way to close a $5 billion budget gap – but all of his proposals, from raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires to raising taxes on cigarettes, have been shot down by Republican state lawmakers who control the legislature – and like Eric Cantor in Congress are demanding only spending cuts that’s screw over working-class families. The Republican Party of today is willing to do whatever it takes to enact their radical anti-middle class agenda – including tearing apart our economy state-by-state.

Say goodbye to high-speed rail. $1.5 billion in high-speed rail construction projects – and the jobs that go along with them – have been cut off by Republicans in Congress who want to divert that money to flood relief in the Midwest instead. Rather than just paying out disaster relief to victims around the nation – Republicans argue the United States – the richest nation on the planet – needs to nickel and dime suffering people by finding cuts elsewhere – like high-speed rail. The rest of the world has thousands of tracks of high-speed rail laid out – but the United States has zero. An updated transportation grid is a crucial component to reduce our nation’s dependency on greenhouse gases and curb the global warming that is causing these flooding disasters in the Midwest to begin with. Unfortunately – with the Republicans in charge of the purse strings – America is falling behind.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire for Rupert Murdoch. With his media empire burning up in the UK – Murdoch is facing a whole new assault here in the United States. The organization CREW – Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – called for a House and Senate investigation into Murdoch’s NewsCorp to find out whether or not the corporation also hacked into the voicemails of Americans. It’s being reported in the UK – that the now shuttered tabloid “News of the World” contacted a New York Police officer in an effort to obtain phone records of victims of 9/11. A letter by CREW is calling on Congress to immediately start an investigation – and the organization’s Executive Director Melanie Sloan argued, “It is becoming increasingly clear this scandal was not perpetrated by a few rogue reporters, but was systematically orchestrated at the highest levels of News Corp.” Let’s hope Congress figures out what Murdoch is up to – and we finally uncover the smoking gun that Fox News is indeed NOT NEWS.

Crazy Alert! In a press conference yesterday – President Obama made an off-the-cuff remark about how lawmakers need to make the tough decision to raise the debt-limit – saying it’s time to, “eat our peas.” Well – the U.S Dry Pea and Lentil Council has responded to President Obama’s analogy of peas being a tough swallow – and lucky for him – he didn’t tick off the industry ahead of the 2012 election. A spokesman for the Pea Council said, “If tasty and nutritious meals featuring peas are served more frequently in the White House and in the cafeterias of both Houses of Congress, it will contribute to a balanced diet, if not a balanced budget.” If it WAS only that easy. Maybe eating more broccolis in the Congressional cafeteria could produce real health reform too. And more green beans could end the wars.

And that’s the way it is today –Tuesday, July 12, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.

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