On the News With Thom Hartmann: The Fight for Election Reform Got Some Huge Support, and More

In today’s On the News segment: The fight for election reform got some huge support; Ohio Gov. John Kasich has joined the growing list of Republican governors trying to screw poor people in their states; Sen. Bernie Sanders took a stand against corporate greed by introducing his newest piece of legislation, the Corporate Tax Fairness Act; and more.


Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. Yesterday, Senator Bernie Sanders took a stand against corporate greed, by introducing his newest piece of legislation, the Corporate Tax Fairness Act. And now, Rep. Jan Schakowsky has announced that she too, is fighting in the House to make corporations pay their fair share. The Corporate Tax Fairness Act will stop corporations from sheltering income in the Caymen Islands, and ends tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas. Richard Trumpka, president of AFL-CIO said this legislation “would increase investment, employment, and wages in the United States.” According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, this bill would raise more than $590 billion in revenue over the next decade – eliminating the need for nearly half the proposed austerity looming in the sequester. And it’s the best way to keep – and create – American jobs. It’s time to make corporations pay their fair share for the benefits of using our commons, and for making huge profits off hard-working Americans. Call your senators, and your representative, and tell them to support the Sanders-Schakowsky Corporate Tax Fairness Act.

In screwed news…Ohio Governor John Kasich has joined the growing list of Republican governors trying to screw poor people in their states. Kasich is pushing a plan to reduce income taxes for rich people in his state, and cut the business tax rate in half, while replacing the revenue by raising the state sales tax. This seems to be the newest Republican “screw-the-poor” fad, as Governors in Red States all over our country, like Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Dave Heineman of Nebraska, and Sam Brownback of Kansas, are all pushing this regressive tax scheme. As poor and working people typically spend 100% of their disposable income, an increase in sales tax hurts those who can least afford it. As the Think Progress Blog points out, Kasich’s plan would raise taxes on the poorest 60% of the states residents, while giving the wealthiest 1% in the state an average tax cut of over $10,000. As state budget cuts are already devastating many of the social programs that poor people in these states rely on, an additional tax increase will only make it more difficult for them to survive. The wealthy don’t need more tax breaks. It’s time for Republican governors like John Kasich to start working for all of the people in their states – not just their largest campaign donors.

In the best of the rest of the news…

Today, the fight for election reform got some huge support. One of the nation’s largest teachers unions, the National Education Association, is pushing President Obama to prioritize protecting our democratic process. In a letter to Obama, NEA president, Van Roekel said, “We must correct this threat to our democracy by ensuring: 1) universal voter registration; 2) equitable administration by state of voting procedures and access to the polls; and 3) that we curb the influence of money in politics that has resulted from the infamous Citizens United decision.” That pretty much says it all. Republicans around our nation gave voter-suppression their all in 2012, and already in 2013, we’ve seen scheme after scheme to rig the next election. It isn’t surprising that those responsible for crafting the leaders of our future, recognize the importance of protecting our nation’s historic democratic principles. Mr. Roekel’s ideas are a great starting point in the fight to protect our democracy… but let’s go even further. Take the election-rigging ability away from Republican governors and legislators by moving to a national popular vote. Go toNationalPopularVote.com.

In Australia – unsubsidized renewable energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels. A new study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance found that wind farms in Australia are supplying energy at $80/MWh, while coal plants are more costly, at $143/MWh. As the chief executive at Bloomberg New Energy Finance said, “The perception that fossil fuels are cheap, and renewables are expensive, is now out of date.” It’s actually been out of date for a while if you account for all the externalities of fossil fuels – from diseases to war – that are being paid for by taxpayers instead of by oil companies. It’s time for a Manhattan Project for renewable energy right here in America.

Seattle residents won’t be stalked from the sky. In an announcement today, Mayor Mike McGinn said the Seattle police department will not use two small surveillance drones it obtained through a federal grant. In a brief statement, Mayor McGinn said “I spoke with Seattle Police Chief John Diaz, and we agreed that it was time to end the unmanned aerial vehicle program, so that SPD can focus its resources on public safety and the community building work.” This is a huge victory for privacy advocates, who’ve been protesting the proposed use of drones, as the program would have allowed police to use facial recognition software during surveillance. Seattle is the second city to announce this week that drones won’t be spying on residents. On Monday, Charlottesville, Virginia passed a resolution imposing a two-year moratorium on drone use. Our Constitution guarantees the right of privacy, and it’s nice to know that some of our leaders still understand that.

And finally…who knew that former President George W. Bush enjoyed painting himself in the nude? The Smoking Gun is in possession of several images it claims were hacked from personal emails belonging to people close with the Bush family. And those emails contain a number of paintings that were allegedly done by the former President himself. Two of the paintings depict Bush bathing – one in the shower and one in the bathtub. A third picture shows Bush hard at work over a canvas painting a church. A hacker names “Guccifer” is claiming responsibility for the stolen emails – and he says there’s more to come. It’s rumored that Bush plans to sell his painting – and any proceeds will go to his war crimes legal defense fund.

And that’s the way it is today – Friday, February 8th, 2013. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.