On the News With Thom Hartmann: Violence in Syria May Have Finally Reached a Tipping Point, and More

In today’s On the News segment: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has relied on out-of-state donors to bankroll his campaign, The New York Times is out with a new piece reporting on President Obama’s “kill list,” the violence in Syria may have finally reached a tipping point, radioactive fish are now swimming in US waters, and more.

You need to know this. The election fix in Florida is on. As the Center for American Progress is reporting – Republican Governor Rick Scott is in the process of purging voter rolls in the Sunshine State of all the people he believes are “non-citizens.” But early lists compiled by the Governor’s office show numerous errors – with legal voters having their rights stripped away. For example – on a list of 1,638 people flagged in Miami-Dade County as non-citizens – nearly 400 of which were actually citizens – and the number could actually be a lot higher as more people respond with proof of citizenship. The Miami Herald reports “Hispanic, Democratic and independent-minded voters are the most likely to be targeted,” while Whites and Republicans are less-likely to be removed off voting rolls. Florida is a battleground state this election – and Governor Scott knows his job is to deliver it for Romney – just as Jeb Bush delivered it for his brother in 2000.

The unemployed are screwed again. The National Employment Law Project is reporting that another 70,000 Americans will be cut off from unemployment insurance next month. Already – nearly half a million Americans have lost their unemployment benefits this year thanks to austerity measures demanded by Republicans in Congress – and rubber-stamped by Democrats and President Obama – that cut unemployment insurance down from 99 weeks to 79 weeks in states that haven’t seen their unemployment situations get worse. That even includes states like Florida, Nevada, and Illinois that all have unemployment rates above the national average. So what does this mean? Aside from the moral crisis of pushing families into desperation – it’s also bad for the economy as money is being taken out of the hands of Americans who would normally spend it and stimulate the economy. Republicans have been pushing policies that will crash the economy – just so they have a better chance at beating President Obama in November. And unfortunately Democrats are letting them get away with it.

In the best of the rest of the news…

Facing a recall election in one week – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has relied on out-of-state donors to bankroll his campaign. Now – he’s relying on the Koch brothers and out-of-state supporters. As Investigative Journalist Lee Fang at the Republican Report is writing, the Koch brother-funded Tea Party group American for Prosperity is calling on Illinois residents to board buses on June 2nd and ride to Wisconsin to rally and canvas for Scott Walker. Americans for Prosperity promises free food for any volunteers. This is exactly what Americans for Prosperity did back in 2009 to mobilize people around the country against President Obama’s health reform law. Unlike the truly grassroots movement that collected a million signatures to recall Walker from office – the Koch-funded effort to keep Walker in office is nothing but AstroTurf being orchestrated by the same corporate shills who Walker has pledged to govern on behalf of.

While the torture may have ended – the extra-judicial killings have not. The New York Times is out with a new piece reporting on President Obama’s “kill list” – filled with names of suspected terrorists that the President personally oversees and signs off on final orders to kill. The list includes American citizens, women, and teenagers. The Constitution makes it very clear – everyone – including non-citizens – have a right to a trial before being killed. But Bush and Cheney made us so frightened after 9/11 – that we’ve thrown the Constitution out the window – and given dictators and tyrants around the world justification to create their own kill lists.

The violence in Syria may have finally reached a tipping point. On Friday night – at least 108 people were killed in a massacre in the town of Houla – including 34 women and 49 children. The victims appeared to have been shot at close range and witnesses blame the killings on pro-government militias that have been used as mercenaries for the Assad regime. Following the killings – eight nations including France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Spain, Canada, Australia, and the United States expelled Syrian diplomats from their country – and even Russia, which has stood in the way of U.N. sanctions against Syria, condemned the violence and blamed the Assad regime for not looking out for the security of its citizens. Let’s hope Assad’s ruthless grip on power in Syria may soon be slipping.

Radioactive fish are now swimming in U.S. waters. Scientists have, for the first time, discovered Bluefin tuna that were contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan last year – swimming off the coast of California. Radioactive cesium ten times above the normal level was found in the fish – though health officials say the levels are too low to be considered a health threat. Then again – no amount of radiation is good for you. Meanwhile – back at the crippled nuclear plant – a bulge was detected in the walls of reactor four – increasing fears that the structure holding tens of thousands of highly radioactive spent fuel rods is not sound. Should the reactor four building give way – it could trigger a nuclear disaster even worse than Chernobyl. Does anyone out there still think nuclear power is a good idea?

And finally…Mitt Romney will officially clinch the Republican nomination tonight after Texas holds its primary. So he better be ready to adopt the official Republican platform – which according to Republican Party of Iowa – is pretty wacky. The platform includes a flat-out rejection of climate change – the elimination of several federal departments including Education, Energy, and Health and Human Services – the teaching of creationism in school – a ban on pornography – a repeal of all hate crimes laws – the end of minimum wage laws – the implementation of anti-Sharia Law laws – the passage of so-called Stand Your Ground laws – a call to end the Fed – and the right for Iowa to nullify any federal laws it doesn’t like. So, Mitt Romney, your mission – if you should choose to accept it – is to represent your Party as it tries to take American back to the 1800’s. Good luck, Willard.

And that’s the way it is today – Tuesday, May 29, 2012. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.