On the News With Thom Hartmann: The Federal War on Marijuana Continues, and More

In today’s On the News segment: The federal war on Marijuana continues, Republican budget is nothing more than a Trojan horse, new study shows long-term unemployed are dying younger, the Supreme Court thinks you need to be strip-searched, and more.

TRANSCRIPT

You need to know this. The Republican’s budget – brought to us by multimillionaire Republican Congressman Paul Ryan – is nothing more than a “Trojan horse…to impose a radical vision on our country.” Those are the words of President Obama – who spoke today at the White House, slamming the Republican budget that passed the House of Representatives last week. And the President didn’t just stop there – he went on to blast the whole idea of “trickle down” economics that’s infected our nation since Reagan, and is at the core of the Paul Ryan budget. The President said that instead of depending on the “success of a wealthy few,” our nation needs a strong middle class like in previous generations, who went to college on the GI Bill and could safely rely on New Deal programs. Say what you want about President Obama – but he is the first President in over thirty years to directly call out Reagan’s supply-side economics and point out that it’s killing the American middle class. With the Occupy movement mobilized, and more and more Americans realizing Reaganomics was a con job that made the rich richer and kicked off a war against working people – the President now has enough wind behind his back to speak the truth about conservative economics. So let’s keep telling the truth about the American oligarch’s war against the middle class and their theft of our nation’s wealth, so President Obama can keep his campaign promise of four years ago to fundamentally change the direction we’ve been going since the Reagan Revolution.

Not only are the long-term unemployed screwed out of the American Dream – they’re also dying younger. The New York Times is reporting on a new study showing that the long-term unemployed (those out of work more than six months) are twice as likely to die within a year of unemployment as are those who are employed. Even 20 years after getting back to work – those Americans who experienced long-term unemployment in their younger years still have a 15% greater chance of dying early. According to the study – a worker who lost their job at age 40 and had to deal with long-term unemployment – will likely lose a year to a year-and-a-half off their life from having missed preventative healthcare and chronic stress. Currently – 40% of America’s unemployed have been out of work for more than six months. And they’ll be dying younger because the social safety net that used to catch them has been cut away after thirty years of Reaganomics, Clintonomics, and Ayn Rand’s trickle-down morality.

In the best of the rest of the news…

It appears as though America has forgotten how to put its young people through college. Not only does the United States rank BEHIND 12 other developed nations when it comes to college graduation rates – but it’s one of the only developed nations in the world where this generation isn’t doing better than previous generations. So much for that thing called progress. The stunted graduation rates likely have something to do with college tuitions growing by 600% since 1985, leading to student loan debt topping one trillion dollars for the first time in the history of the world. Republicans are trying to make the problem worse with a budget proposal that dumps more than a million American students off their Pell Grants. Republicans have not explained how they think the United States can be competitive in the global economy without a well-educated workforce.

The Supreme Court thinks you need to be strip-searched. In a five to four ruling on Monday – the high court said jails have a right to give any new detainees an invasive strip search no matter how minor the criminal offense was. That means even people who committed minor crimes like forgetting to pay a parking ticket or jay walking during an Occupy rally will be stripped naked and viewed and poked by cops. In his dissent on the case – Justice Breyer wrote, “”such searches are inherently harmful, humiliating, and degrading,” and that there’s no reason why they should be used for jaywalking, speeding, or protesting. So once again – while the high court is busy giving corporate so-called people more and more rights to buy our elections and screw over their customers – it’s eroding the rights of ACTUAL people.

The federal war on marijuana continues. On Monday – agents with the DEA and IRS raided Oaksterdam University – a school in California that teaches students how to grow marijuana and offers classes on the legal issues of marijuana cultivation. Despite operating well-within the legal boundaries of California state law which allows for the growing of marijuana for medical purposes – the school was vulnerable to a federal raid since any sort of marijuana cultivation or use is still against federal law. When President Obama first came into office – he announced that his administration would no longer infringe on state laws that had legalized medicinal marijuana. Unfortunately – this raid against Oaksterdam University is just the latest federal crackdown on legal marijuana dispensaries in California and other states by federal agents. The President needs to ditch Richard Nixon’s failed drug war and adopt some common sense drug laws that don’t turn sick people into criminals for taking their medication.

And finally…we now have some insight as to what the heck was wrong with Texas Governor Rick Perry on the Presidential campaign trail. From debate flops – to mental blanks – to completely bizarre campaign appearances – many speculated that Governor Good Hair was either drinking or on drugs. Turns out – it may have been the drugs. A new e-book by Politico released today claims that Governor Perry was on a serious painkillers on the campaign trail, and that might explain his strange “live free or die” rant in New Hampshire, or his infamous “oops” moment at the Michigan debate. Maybe instead of narcotics, Perry should have tried pot instead. Then he’d at least agree more often with Ron Paul…

And that’s the way it is today – Tuesday, April 03, 2012. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.