On the News With Thom Hartmann: Washington State Wants to Protect Businesses’ Right to Discriminate, and More

In today’s On the News segment: Washington state wants to protect businesses’ right to discriminate; the motivation behind the world-wide economic con of austerity has been discovered; Sen. Bernie Sanders now has help in his fight to save the Post Office; and more.


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

You need to know this. The motivation behind the world-wide economic con of austerity has been discovered. And, the source is none other than Pete Peterson – the debt-obsessed billionaire who stands to make billions off the privatization of our social safety net. Just days ago we told you how a 28-year-old grad student debunked the Reinhart-Rogoff study used to push austerity throughout the world. Well, now we know why Republican “fuzzy math” was used in the first place. Pete Peterson’s organizations bankrolled that study. Kenneth Rogoff, one of the study’s leading authors, is a member of the Advisory Board at the Peterson Institute, which published the pro-austerity study. And, Carmen Reinhart is a regular participant of Peterson Institute functions, along with the likes of Paul Ryan and Alan Simpson. While the now-debunked study’s math might have been written off as a mere error by the authors, the link to Peterson indicates that ideology, rather than incompetence, is the cause. The austerity-induced human suffering and economic destruction should have been evidence enough for democrats to stop believing in budget-cut myths. But, the link to Peterson proves that “high debt causes slow growth” theory is nothing more than right-wing manufactured hysteria. Peterson and the corporatist machine have created this problem, and the so-called solution, to perpetuate the myth that government spending – not historically low tax revenue – is the real problem. And they have even gotten democrats to believe it. It’s time for President Obama and Democratic leaders to see the writing on the wall and take a formal stand against austerity. No nation, in the history of the world, has ever cut it’s way to prosperity, and no fabricated economic study can change that.

In screwed news… Washington state wants to protect businesses’ right to discriminate. State Senate Bill SB 5927 carves out a so-called “religious exemption” to allow business owners to deny jobs or services to individuals for being gay. The text of the bill rings of a pre-civil rights philosophy, when businesses could refuse to hire or serve someone because of the color of their skin. According to the legislation, Washington State’s nondiscrimination law may not burden “the right of an individual or entity to deny services if providing those goods or services would be contrary to the individual’s or the entity owner’s sincerely held religious beliefs, philosophical beliefs, or matters of conscience.” These are the same arguments used to justify refusing to serve African Americans at whites-only lunch counters, and the same so-called “philosophical beliefs” that were cited when churches refused to marry inter-racial couples. These exceptions go against everything our nation is supposed to stand for. There are no justifiable exceptions to equality. Washington state has just provided cover for businesses to discriminate, and they should be ashamed.

In the best of the rest of the news…

It looks like Senator Bernie Sanders now has help in his fight to save the Post Office. On Wednesday, Representative Peter DeFazio introduced legislation in the House to repeal the poison pill legislation that requires the Postal Service to pre-fund 75 years worth of employee benefits. The Congressman has even turned to the White House for help saving this historic institution. In a petition to President Obama, DeFazio wrote, “About 80% of USPS financial losses since 2007 are due to a Congressional mandate.” DeFazio is also calling for an end to a 2006 ban, which prohibits USPS from offering new products and services. The Post Office is one of a few agencies that are authorized by our Constitution, and it dates back to before our Declaration of Independence. Millions of people rely on the Post Office to deliver mail and packages, and thousands rely on USPS for work. We must protect this American Institution. Stand with Representative DeFazio and Senator Sanders, and help save our Post Office.

Yesterday, the Senate approved a measure to stop the sequester’s effect on air traffic controllers, and today the bill was approved in the House. The FAA began instituting furloughs, which affected about 15,000 controllers and caused delays on over 860 flights. The bipartisan agreement gives the Transportation Department more flexibility on how to implement the $600 million dollar budget cut resulting from the sequester. White House spokesman Jay Carney said it is, “good news for America’s traveling public,” but added, “ultimately, this is no more than a temporary Band-Aid. But this legislation does nothing to address the larger problem of sequester cuts, and it does nothing to reverse the Republican austerity. Law makers can’t stop here. They need to go further.

And that’s the way it is today – Friday, April 26, 2013. I’m Jim Javinsky – in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.