In today's On the News segment: Meet the billionaire who's trying to buy the 2012 election for Mitt Romney, Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim wants the rest of the world to worry about their retirement, Jamie Dimon was lobbed softballs yesterday in what was supposed to be a severe Senate grilling of the JPMorgan Chase CEO, a Republican staffer in the House told the Army Times that House Republicans plan to restrict military women's access to abortion in cases of rape and incest, and more.
Jim Javinsky in for Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. Meet the billionaire who's trying to buy the 2012 election for Mitt Romney – it's casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Adelson has already contributed a whopping ten million bucks to Mitt Romney's corporate SuperPAC slushfund. Forbes is quoting a source within the Adelson camp that says -- the billionaire plans to spend a "limitless" amount of money to help Romney during the election since, "no price is too high" to defend the nation from President Obama's "socialism." The source then floated the possibility of Adelson spending as much as $100 million to tilt the election in favor of Romney. According to Forbes, Adelson is one of the 15 richest people on the planet with an estimated net worth of nearly $25 billion meaning he could bankroll an entire $1 billion presidential campaign and hardly notice. Welcome to the Brave New World of American politics – billionaires only are welcome.
In screwed news...the world's richest man – Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim – doesn't have to worry about his own retirement, but he wants the rest of the world to worry about theirs. Speaking to the newspaper El Universal, Slim called on developed nations around the world to raise their respective retirement ages to 70. Slim argues simply that people are living longer today – therefore they should be working longer too. Slim echoes what a lot of very wealthy people in the United States are arguing for – raising the eligibility age for Social Security from 65 to 70. That includes multi-millionaires like Congressman Paul Ryan, and billionaires like lobbyist Pete Peterson. But what these oligarchs don't understand is they are the only ones living longer – the rest of America's workers aren't. According to the Economic Policy Institute – the top 50% of wealthiest Americans have seen their life expectancy go up dramatically from 79 years to more than 85 years. But the bottom 50% of Americans have only seen modest gains, with their life expectancy creeping up from 77.7 years to 79.6 years. With the New Deal, the economic elite made a deal with working Americans that their basic needs would be met with a social safety net. But today – the elites are shredding that deal, and trying to bring feudalism back to America.
In the best of the rest of the news...
Jamie Dimon was lobbed softballs yesterday in what was supposed to be a severe Senate grilling of the JP Morgan Chase CEO. Rather than demanding to know what led to the $3 billion in sudden losses at the bank, Senators kissed up to Dimon. Senators on both sides of the aisle including Chuck Schumer, Mike Crapo, and Bob Corker tried to justify Dimon's losses and even asked Dimon to recommend regulations that Congress should place on the banks. As the Republic Report details – the kid-gloves approach Senators had to Dimon has a lot to do with the campaign contributions they've received from Dimon's bank. Senators Schumer, Corker, and Crapo all have JP Morgan Chase as their top political donor this election cycle. Still doubt that we have the best government money can buy?
According to a new study by the Institute for Economics and Peace – the world is getting more peaceful – but the United States is still a pretty violent place to live. The just released 2010 Global Peace Index ranks the nations of the world based on how peaceful they are – taking into consideration prison populations, political instability, wars, and military expenditures. Iceland ranked first on the Global Peace Index – while the United States ranked 88th out of 158 nations. It's no surprise considering the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and is currently waging a limitless war on so-called terror in several nations across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. More than a half century ago – Dwight Eisenhower warned the nation about the growing influence of the military industrial complex. Tragically, his warnings were ignored.
Rhode Island is now the 17the state in the nation to decriminalize possession of a small amount of marijuana. Independent Governor Lincoln Chafee signed the legislation into law, which makes possession of an ounce of marijuana or less a civil violation with a $150 fine, instead of a misdemeanor or felony. Seven more states may join Rhode Island in the second half of the year – and may even go a step further and legalize and regulate marijuana like alcohol. Though long overdue – Nixon's half-century war on drugs may finally be nearing an end.
The Republican War on Women has reached the military. A Republican staffer in the House told the Army Times that House Republicans plan to restrict military women's access to abortion in cases of rape and incest. With bipartisan support, a Senate Committee approved the amendment giving military women the same access to abortion in cases of rape and incest as ordinary citizens. But House Republicans say they have social objections to the amendment and will likely strip it out of the National Defense Authorization bill. That means the 200,000 women serving in our nation's military won't have the same rights to reproductive health services as all the other women in American who are not serving in the military.
And that's the way it is today – Thursday, June 14, 2012. I'm Jim Javinsky in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.