In today’s On the News segment: According to a new Washington Post/Stanford University poll, 6-in-10 Americans believe in climate change, and two-thirds of Americans think the government needs to do something about it; Wikileaks just won a major legal battle in Iceland; there are more troubles at the San Onofre nuclear plant in California; and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. Could the LIBOR scandal bring down the entire financial system? An analysis by Morgan Stanley finds that Wall Street stands to be hit with at least $22 billion in penalties over its involvement in rigging key interest rates that underlie trillions of dollars of investments around the world. But that’s a low number – as hundreds of thousands of litigants – from individuals, to cities, to businesses – might have cases against the banks as this investigation continues – and it’s learned just how much money the banks stole from everyone else over the last few decades. If the claims against the banks get too high, then Wall Street may need another bailout just to cover for their crimes. This will be a make-or-break moment for our nation – an opportunity for “we the people” to once and for all end Wall Street’s domination of our economy – and turn banking back into a safe, useful, and boring industry once again. Keep an eye on this because, as this scandal grows, so does our opportunity to clamp down on Wall Street.
Journalists are screwed. Keeping their radical agenda moving forward, House Republicans are calling on the government to throw journalists who published leaked national security stories in jail. After a series of leaks exposing President Obama’s “kill list” and other War on Terror issues, Republicans convened a Congressional Hearing on Wednesday where some representatives – including Republican Trey Gowdy – called on reporters to be subpoenaed, forced to reveal their sources, and threatened with jail time. As Congressman Gowdy said, “You either answer the question or you’re going to be held in contempt and go to jail, which is what I thought all reporters aspire to do anyway. I thought that was the crown jewel of the reporter’s resume, to actually go to jail protecting a source.” And Republican Congressman James Sensenbrenner even suggested that the news media’s role in holding the government accountable on national security issues in not needed since the government can police itself through whistleblower laws. Thomas Jefferson is rolling in his grave.
In the best of the rest of the news…
Mitt Romney keeps digging himself a deeper hole. On Thursday, the Boston Globe blew the cover off Romney’s story that he left Bain in 1999 with SEC filings showing that Romney was still at the firm as late as 2002 and collecting a salary that was described as “more than $100,000.” The Obama campaign accused Romney of either lying to voters or lying to the SEC, which is a felony. Romney responded by saying that he may have still technically been employed at Bain after 1999, but he had absolutely no involvement in its operations. But now we know that’s a lie, too. According to testimony by Mitt Romney obtained by the Huffington Post today – in 2002 – Romney admitted to sitting on the board of a company called LifeLike that specializes in making dolls. LifeLike was one of Bain’s investments during that time – so if Romney was sitting on the board – then he clearly still played an active role in the operations at Bain during the time when he says he didn’t – and also during the time when Bain laid off and outsourced thousands of American jobs. So now, the lies on top of lies are piling up. Can anyone still trust this guy to be President? He’s either a habitual liar, or guilty of a felony…or both!
On the heels of news that the United States has just experienced its hottest twelve months on record – more and more Americans are warming up to the idea that the planet is getting hotter. According to a new Washington Post/Stanford University poll – 6-in-10 Americans believe in climate change and believe it will have detrimental effects on the environment. Not only that – two-thirds of Americans think the government needs to do something about it and would support a cap and trade program to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, there’s a massive disconnect between voters and our elected representatives – as nearly every single Freshman Republican elected in 2010 has gone on record in saying they do not believe in man-made climate change. Then again, they don’t represent their constituents – they represent their big oil campaign donors.
More troubles at the San Onofre nuclear plant in California. Earlier this year – the entire plant was shut down after there was a radiation leak and investigators found severely eroded tubes that carry radioactive water. But now a report published by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reveals that the problem at San Onofre was even worse than first realized. The new data shows that more than 3,000 new steam generator tubes at the plant are also badly damaged. Plant operators had hoped to get the reactors up and running again at the end of summer – meaning they were planning to operate the plant with seriously damaged components – Increasingly the likelihood of a nuclear accident. The real troubling question is – if this much dysfunction is just below the surface at the San Onofre nuclear plant – then what other nuclear plants in the United States are in similarly dangerous condition?
And finally…Wikileaks just won a major legal battle in Iceland. On Thursday a Reykjavik District Court ruled that credit card companies like VISA and Mastercard broke contract laws when they imposed a financial blockade on the whistleblower website back in 2010. That led to a 95% fall in Wikileaks contributions – effectively killing the organization. But this new ruling is being heralded as a huge victory for Wikileaks. As its founder Julian Assange said in a statement, “This is a significant victory against Washington’s attempt to silence WikiLeaks. We will not be silenced. Economic censorship is censorship. It is wrong. When it’s done outside of the rule of law it’s doubly wrong. One by one, those involved in the attempted censorship of WikiLeaks will find themselves on the wrong side of history.” I believe he’s right.
And that’s the way it is today – Friday, July 13, 2012. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.