In today's On the News segment: Millions of Americans will not have access to health insurance under the Affordable Care Act thanks to the Supreme Court's recent decision; Senate Democrats are now openly promoting the idea of a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United; gun sales in Colorado have gone through the roof; and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. Civil unrest in America spread to Anaheim last night – where, for the fourth straight day, citizens took to the streets to protest police brutality and the killing the of an unarmed man by police over the weekend. As journalist Tim Pool reported, cops fired hundreds of less lethal rounds of rubber bullets and pepper balls into the crowds – wounding several demonstrators. Just like Oakland last year, the streets of Anaheim resembled a war zone - with a constant barrage of less lethal projectiles coming from police lines, fires in the streets, and smashed out storefront windows. Reports put the number of people in the streets last night at more than 600 – and 24 were arrested. Police officials acknowledge there have been eight shootings by police officers in the city so far this year. We've now seen civil unrest touch several major cities across America – from New York to Oakland to now Anaheim – all signs that our system of vulture capitalism, free-trade Reaganomics, and Republican Austerity are pushing our nation to the brink. Dangerous times may be ahead.
In screwed news ... Millions of Americans will NOT have access to health insurance under Obamacare thanks to the Supreme Court's recent decision. A new CBO report shows that the Supreme Court's ruling that states can opt out of Medicaid's expansion will leave at least an additional three million Americans - who would have had coverage under the law as it passed in Congress - uninsured. On the flip side – the new CBO report did reveal what Republicans don't want you to know: Obamacare reduces the budget deficit. The CBO estimated that repealing Obamacare – which Republicans have tried to do more than thirty times in the House – will actually add more than $100 billion to our national debt over the next decade. So now we know for sure that Republican efforts to kill Obamacare having nothing to do with healthcare and nothing to do with deficits, but they have everything to do with sabotaging the Obama presidency.
In the best of the rest of the news...
Prominent Senate Democrats are now openly promoting the idea of a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. The number two ranking Democrat in the Senate – Dick Durbin – chaired a hearing in the Judiciary Subcommittee on Tuesday, where he said he's "reached the conclusion that a constitutional amendment is necessary" in order to stop the flood of secret corporate money in our elections. Other Democratic Senators chimed in. Senator Tom Udall argued, "America's right to free speech is now determined by their net worth." Independent Senator Bernie Sanders warned, "We are seeing our country move toward an oligarchic government." And even Senator Max freakin' Baucus acknowledged a constitutional amendment is "the only way we can solve this." A constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United is a good start – and it's a glimmer of hope that Senate Democrats are joining the fight. But we need to go further and undo the two flawed doctrines created by the Supreme Court – that corporations are people, and that money is not property but is speech. This struggle will likely take years – but you can join the effort by going to MoveToAmend.org
Since the Colorado theatre massacre, gun sales in Colorado have gone through the roof. According to the Denver Post – the Colorado Bureau of Investigation reported a 43% increase in gun sales in the days following the shooting, a sign that Americans are buying into the wild conspiracy theories coming from the Right that President Obama is about to take away everyone's guns. Of course that's not even remotely true – but as a Center for Responsive Politics study found – the gun lobby is able to speak a lot louder than those in favor of regulating assault weapons. Since 2009, led by the NRA, military-style weapons advocates have outspent those who want to regulate assault weapons 25 to 1 on lobbying, campaign contributions, and television ads. But despite the onslaught of blood money, even gun owners in America support preventing gun violence and closing gun-show loopholes. As a survey by the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns found – a majority of NRA members support policies like prohibiting terrorist watch list members from acquiring guns, restricting concealed carry permits to those who are at least 21-years-old and have completed a safety training course, and requiring criminal background checks for gun shop employees and owners. Plain and simple, Americans want to protect our families from guns run amok.
Climate change is getting downright frightening. NASA scientists were left stunned after analyzing data showing that Greenland's ice sheet is melting at an unprecedented rate. Three independent satellites confirmed that in less than a week, the amount of ice melting in Greenland jumped from 40% to 97%. As one NASA scientist wrote in a press release, "This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: Was this real or was it due to a data error?" Unfortunately, it's very much real – and in 30 years of observations, never has this much ice melted away from Greenland so fast. Of course – oil industry funded scientists will tell us everything is just fine – and it's just a really hot summer. Meanwhile, they're the ones most likely looking for mountaintop real estate – away from soon-to-be rising oceans.
And finally ... Mitt Romney thinks he'll have better relations with the U.K. than President Obama ... mainly because one of President Obama's parents was Black. That's essentially what a campaign adviser told the Daily Telegraph promoting Romney's "Anglo-Saxon heritage" on Tuesday. Of course, Romney is no stranger to blowing the dog whistle to racists in America who think the President is "foreign." But maybe he should be looking at his own campaign for too much foreign influence. As the Center for American Progress reports, Tom Loeffler, a major Romney bundler, is also registered as a paid agent for a foreign government. According to disclosure records and a contract signed by Loeffler, he is paid to "protect, promote, assist, and develop Hong Kong's economic interests in the United States." And he's also helping Mitt Romney – the guy with more offshore bank accounts than Carmen Sandiego – to win the Presidency. So, who's the foreigner now??
And that's the way is it today – Wednesday, July 25, 2012. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.