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On the News With Thom Hartmann: Murdoch Company Admitted Hacking US Company in 2009, and More

Thursday, 21 July 2011 07:08 By Thom Hartmann, The Thom Hartmann Program | News Analysis
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Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this.  The American people have spoken – and it’s time Republicans AND Democrats listen.  According to a new ABC/Washington Post poll – 62% of Americans want to see a balanced approach to raising the debt-limit that includes both spending cuts and revenue raisers.  And when it comes to what sort of revenue raisers the American people want to see – the Republicans’ heads are about to explode.  A whopping 72% of Americans support raising taxes on people who make more than $250,000 a year.  Only 27% oppose.  Not only that – large majorities of Americans also support: raising the Social Security tax cap – closing the hedge fund manager tax loophole – and cutting off taxpayer subsidies for big oil corporations.  So why is it that President Obama is supporting the Gang of 6 plan that includes none of these reforms – and instead cuts $1,300 a year out of Social Security checks – and further lowers taxes for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations?  Maybe we were all fooled – and President Obama really is just the best Republican President in the last 50 years.

Children in Florida are screwed.  Last year – Republicans in Florida leveled a 43% cut to their Healthy Families Florida program that provides assistance to expecting parents and newborns in an effort to curb abuses.   As a result of the cut – services were dropped to more than 3,500 high-risk families – and more than 5,000 children.  But this year - Governor Rick Scott was given a life-line by the federal government to keep the program afloat – more than $8 million was offered up to Florida to continue home visitation services as part of the Affordable Care Act.  But as you would expect from any diehard Republican nowadays – Rick Scott said no thank you to the funding because he has an ideological problem with the Affordable Care Act.  So now thousands of children are at risk of abuse and mistreatment in Florida – just so Rick Scott can score some political points on the right and tout telling President Obama "no."  

In the best of the rest of the news…

It’s official – Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp brought its illegal hacking operation across the Atlantic and to the United States.  Bloomberg is reporting that back in 2009 – NewsCorp admitted during a trial that it did indeed hack into the secure website of an American marketing rival.  On 11 different occasions – NewsCorp subsidiary “News American Marketing” – broke into the website belonging to Floorgraphics Incorporated and stole business.  The case was dismissed after NewsCorp agreed to hand over 29.5 million as part of a settlement deal.  So now that we know hacking was rampant at NewsCorp in the UK – and it also took place in the United States – is it REALLY that far-fetched to believe Fox News was up to the same shenanigans?  With the FBI on the case – we should find out soon enough.

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The Federal Aviation Administration could shut down tomorrow as a result of antics by House Republicans.  Congress needs to pass legislation to extend funding for the FAA by Friday – but the legislation that passed out of the House yesterday to do just that is chock-full of right-wing ideology that the Senate won’t pass.  Republicans used the FAA funding bill to wage a war on unions – slipping in language that makes it much harder for air and rail workers to unionize.  The Republican bill also cuts off subsidies to rural airports that don’t generate enough revenue on their own to survive but are still crucial to the nation’s transportation system.  That’s right – Republicans are standing up to rural airports when it comes to taxpayer subsidies – but not massive oil corporations.  Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood weighed on Republicans using the FAA bill as a Trojan horse to advance their anti-working class agenda by saying, “Congress needs to stop playing games…and pass a clean FAA bill immediately. There is no excuse for not getting this done.”  Today – no piece of legislation can escape ideological manipulation by the Republican Party.

No new taxes! Unless you live in Alabama – and Republicans need money to fund a Confederate Memorial Park.  That’s right – the Republican controlled state legislature is refusing to drop a property tax that collects $400,000 a year to fund a memorial to Alabama’s Confederate soldiers who fought to defend slavery.  Earlier this year – Alabama Governor Robert Bentley tried to eliminate funding for the Confederate Memorial citing budget woes – but he faced a huge backlash from Confederate groups in the state demanding the site be preserved – and the funding remained in place.  So Alabama today is the only state in America that still levies a tax to pay for the Civil War.  Taxes to help pay for healthcare for the poor – no way!  Taxes to help put food on the table for impoverished kids – no way!  Taxes to honor slavery – yes please!

Ask and you shall receive.  Back in March – ThinkProgress caught Republican Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown hitting up one of the billionaire oil barons David Koch for some campaign cash while attending an event at MIT.  Today – Scott Brown’s pleas have been heard – as Koch Industries maxed out their legally allowed campaign contribution to Brown – forking over $10,000 to the Massachusetts Republican’s 2012 re-election campaign.  Expect Brown to be a vocal climate change skeptic now as part of the deal.  Let’s hope the Kochs wasted their money on Brown – and Elizabeth Warren jumps in the race to hand Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat back to the middle class in Massachusetts.

Crazy Alert!  The savior of journalism.  So with American investigative journalism dying out and Fox News infotainment surging – what hope is there for our fourth estate in America?  The answer…Sarah Palin.  In a recent interview – Palin weighed in on the state of our news media and offered up her expertise saying, “I want the mainstream media — and I’ve said this for a couple years now — I want to help them. I have a journalism degree…I want to help them build back their reputation.”  Unclear if a reality TV show in which Palin smashes fish heads in Alaska is her unique brand of journalism.  But I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt – after all – she MUST know her stuff since she told Katie Couric a few years back that she reads every single newspaper on the planet.

And that’s the way it is today – Thursday, July 21st, 2011.  I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.

Thom Hartmann

Thom Hartmann is a New York Times bestselling Project Censored Award winning author and host of a nationally syndicated progressive radio talk show. You can learn more about Thom Hartmann at his website and find out what stations broadcast his radio program. He also now has a daily independent television program, The Big Picture,  syndicated by FreeSpeech TV, RT TV, and 2oo community TV stations.  You can also listen or watch Thom over the Internet.


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