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On the News With Thom Hartmann: Colorado, Washington and Oregon Are Giving Voters a Chance to Legalize Marijuana, and More

Tuesday, 21 August 2012 15:16 By Jim Javinsky, The Thom Hartmann Program | News Report
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In today's On the News segment: Colorado, Washington and Oregon all have measures on the ballot this November to give voters a chance to legalize marijuana in their state; banking giant JPMorgan Chase is getting back in the political game; Apple is now the most valuable corporation to ever grace the planet – with a total market value of more than $620 billion; CNN reports that early drafts of the Republican Party's 2012 platform include a constitutional ban on abortion; and more

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

You need to know this. Richard Nixon's Drug War may be breathing its last gasps. Colorado, Washington, and Oregon all have measures on the ballot this November to give voters a chance to legalize marijuana in their state – and regulate it like alcohol or tobacco. And in Colorado that measure looks likely to pass. According to a new poll by Public Policy Polling – support for the marijuana legalization Amendment 64 has swelled 47% - with only 38% opposed to it. PPP breaks down the support for marijuana legalization – finding that Independents are overwhelmingly driving support for the amendment – with 58% supporting legalization in the state – and only 28% oppose. Once a state takes that step to legalizing marijuana – then the Drug War – and it's billions of wasted dollars, it's millions ofruined lives, and it's bloodshed on the border will have a difficult time persisting. Keep an eye on this vote.

In screwed news...Banking giant JP Morgan Chase is getting back in the political game. After putting a freeze on all campaign contributions since early May when questions arose over how the bank lost billions in bad investments – JP Morgan just dished out its first round of political contributions to House and Senate candidates. No surprise – Republicans were rewarded the most. A total of ten Congressmen and Senators received four-figure contributions from the Wall Street player – eight of them were Republicans who have been actively trying to defund or water-down any new Wall Street reforms designed to prevent another banking crisis. Remember, when Wall Street gives money to a politician in the post-Citizens United age – it's not a campaign contribution. It's an investment – and Wall Street expects big returns in the form of tax breaks, fewer regulations, and bailouts.

In the best of the rest of the news...

Apple is now the most valuable corporation to ever grace the planet – with a total market value of more than $620 billion. The tech-company hit the milestone on Monday – passing the previously most valuable company in the history of the world – oil giant ExxonMobil. One takeaway from this news is that innovative designs and cutting-edge products are extremely profitable in a tech world. Another takeaway is that a long-term commitment to rejecting organized labor and employing cheap labor in developing nations really adds to the bottom line of your company nowadays. Tragically – there's little American about Apple anymore.

While the Democratic platform attempts to move America forward by embracing things like marriage equality and a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, the Republican platform is trying to take us backward. CNN reports that early drafts of the Republican Party's 2012 platform include a constitutional ban on abortion – and no exceptions for rape or incest. This news breaks just days after Missouri Republican Congressman Todd Akin suggested women who are "legitimately" raped can't get pregnant and therefore don't need abortion coverage. It also comes one year after every single Republican in the House of Representatives – including Paul Ryan – voted to redefine rape in H.R. 3 – limiting abortion to only those women who are victims of "forcible rape." Will someone please inform the Republican Party that America is not a theocracy – and that it's the 21st century.

Not only can't we rely on them to create jobs – but we can't rely on them to give charity either. A new study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy examined tax deduction data from the IRS and discovered that middle class Americans give a larger share of their income to charity than do the rich. A household earning between $50,000 and $75,000 averaged contributing 7.6% of their income to charity. But as the income scale goes up – that percentage drops. For those making more than $100,000 a year – only 4.2% was given to charity. And for those making more than $200,000 a year, the charity rate was just 2.8%. The far Right – people who adore Ayn Rand and Libertarians – argue we don't need a social safety net in this country – or even a government to look out for the poor – because rich people will simply step up with charity. These facts show the lie in that argument. They also support a different argument – that is that the rich – not all – but a lot – are less sympathetic than the middle class. After all, being holed up in your gated communities, driven around by a chauffeur, attending high-priced private education – it is often easy to overlook the plight of your fellow Americans.

The Tea Party really loves their guns. According to new poll by the Public Religion Research Institute – 55% of Tea Partiers think its ok to bring loaded guns to church. Only 38% of Republicans and 9% of Democrats agreed. Of course, next week when the Republican National Convention hits Tampa, Florida – the Tea Partiers dream will come true – as they'll be able to carry guns all over the city, according to Florida law. But remember, string, masks, umbrellas, and squirt guns – the stuff that average citizens or peaceful protestors may want to bring – are outlawed. It's not just a gun nation – it's a gun nut nation.

And finally...move over Ted Nugent – a new right-wing musician is giving you a run for your crazy. During a performance at the Iowa State Fair, country music artist Hank Williams, Jr. went unhinged and grabbed the mic to say, "We've got a Muslim president who hates farming, hates the military, hates the US and we hate him!" Now wait a second – President Obama doesn't hate farming. He also doesn't hate the military – or the United States. And – by the way – he's not a Muslim. On the bright side Hank, you already lost your job at ESPN after comparing President Obama to Hitler – so at least you don't have a job to lose after this outrageously ignorant comment.

And that's the way it is today – Tuesday, August 21, 2012. I'm Jim Javinsky in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.

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