On the News With Thom Hartmann: The European Union to Approve a Financial Transaction Tax on Banksters in 10 Countries, and More

In today’s On the News segment: The European Union is set to approve plans for a 0.1 percent financial transaction tax on banksters in ten different Eurozone nations; the only person going to jail for the Bush administrations war crimes is the guy who blew the whistle on all of it; more than 2,300 voters in Ohio received a mailer from the Ottawa Country Board of Election giving them incorrect details about Election Day; and more.


Jim Javinsky in for Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. The Bush Administration committed war crimes when it tortured terrorist suspects. But, the only person going to jail for these crimes is the guy who blew the whistle on all of it. On Tuesday, former CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou plead guilty to revealing the identity of a CIA agent when he turned over classified secrets to the New York Times exposing the Bush administration’s torture program back in 2007. Kiriakout told the story of Al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah who was captured and waterboarded more than 80 times. Kiriakou was originally charged under the Espionage Act, to which he pled not guilty. Tuesday’s decision to plead guilty to a lesser charge allows Kiriakou to get out of prison within two and a half years. Whistleblower advocate Jesselyn Raddack with the Government Accountability Project said of Tuesday’s events, “The only person to be criminal prosecuted, and now likely jailed, as a result of the Bush-era torture regime is John Kiriakou, who refused to participate in torture, helped expose the program, and said on national television that torture was wrong.” President Obama said it’s time for the nation to look forward and not prosecute the crimes of the past. Unfortunately, that same standard isn’t applied to whistleblowers. And until we DO actually hold Bush and his team accountable for war crimes, this gaping moral wound in America won’t heal.

In screwed news…the global corporate elite is responsible for poisoning more than 125 million people around the planet. A new study released on Tuesday by the Blacksmith Institute reveals for the first time ever the impact of industrial pollutants on communities across the planet. It found that industrial waste dump sites containing lead, mercury, chromium, and pesticides poison 125 million people in 49 different low and middle income nations. The authors of the study say this is a very conservative estimate – and likely even more people are sickened by nearby industries. In fact, the report says that industrial pollution is now as big of a global health problem as malaria and tuberculosis. In their bid for higher and higher quarterly profits, transnational corporations cut corners when disposing of their waste and here in America, there are an estimated 300,000 different toxic sites. We the people have to retake the commons, before the polluting corporate elite renders them uninhabitable and unusable.

In the best of the rest of the news…

America still has a lot of work to do when it comes to equality for women. As Mitt Romney fumbles around the campaign trail with his “binders full of women” trying to distance himself from fellow Republicans who are trying to redefine rape, a new report shows that the United States really does have a lot of gender equality problems. The World Economic Forum ranked 135 nations on gender equality in four areas: economic opportunity, educational attainment, health, and political empowerment. Turns out, the United States is only 22nd best in the world when it comes to gender equality. Last year, the U.S. ranked 17th – meaning the problem is actually getting worse. Don’t expect Mitt Romney to make the situation for women in America any better, his campaign is on record opposing equal pay for equal work laws for women. But Romney has promised to make sure women can get off work earlier so that they can make dinner.

In “How Republicans are trying to steal the election in Ohio” news – more than 2,300 voters in northern Ohio received a mailer from the Ottawa Country Board of Election giving them details about Election Day. The only problem is – the mailer listed the wrong Election Day and the wrong polling place. It should be noted President Obama narrowly won Ottawa Country in 2008. The Ohio Democratic Party is calling for an immediate correction. According to pollster Nate Silver at the New York Times, there’s a 50/50 chance Ohio will determine the outcome of this election – making it the most important swing state in the nation. So expect a lot more shenanigans like this in the coming weeks, as Republicans will use any means necessary to deliver the state to Romney just like they did for Bush in 2004.

Banksters may finally be forced to pony up their fair share in taxes after collapsing the global economy a few years back…at least in Europe that is. The European Union is set to approve plans for a .1% financial transaction tax on banksters in ten different Eurozone nations. That miniscule tax will apply to all financial market transactions and is expected to raise billions of dollars in revenue. Here in the United States, efforts have been made to create our own financial transaction tax to raise revenue as well, as curb speculation and dangerous high frequency trading on Wall Street. But since Republicans in key financial oversight committees in the House of Representatives are completely bought by Wall Street, such a tax can’t gain any traction.

And finally…speaking of taxes – you’re going to have to pay them next time you go to a New York City strip club. In a 4-3 decision, the New York State Supreme Court ruled that strip club lap dances are not forms of art like ballet, and thus strip club revenue can be taxed. The majority of judges on the court found that lap dances don’t have “the evident purpose of promoting cultural and artistic performances in local communities,” and thus cannot be exempt from taxation like other art forms. The strip club that lost the lawsuit, Nite Moves, is considering an appeal to the Supreme Court. In a related story – wining and dining budgets at major Wall Street firms have just increased dramatically.

And that’s the way it is today – Wednesday, October 24th, 2012. I’m Jim Javinsky in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.