Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. Speaker of the House John Boehner had a few more cocktails than normal last night – it was a rough Tuesday for him. One day after a source at Standard and Poor’s credit rating agency warned that passing Boehner’s short-term debt-limit plan will still lead to a United States credit downgrade – the Congressional Budget Office piled on even more bad news for the Speaker yesterday. According to the CBO – the plan that Speaker Boehner touted as cutting $1 trillion from the deficit – ACTUALY only cuts about $850 billion. Not only that – droves of Republicans came out against the bill – forcing leadership to reach out to Fox so-called News talking heads like Sean Hannity and Brit Hume – as well as a number of other Conservative journalists, radio show hosts, and pundits to whip up support for the Boehner deal. But it didn’t work. And now a vote on Boehner’s debt-limit plan that was scheduled for today has been delayed indefinitely as the Speaker goes back to the drawing board. Unclear when Republicans plan to put forward an ACTUAL solution to the impending economic crisis now just 5 days away – instead of just political gimmicks that satisfy the leaders of their party – Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist.
Fight the banksters – lose your job. Down in Florida – two state Prosecutors – Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson – uncovered rampant foreclosure fraud perpetrated by big banks using robo-signers to kick thousands of families out of their homes illegally. But as the prosecutors were preparing their cases against the banksters – they were inexplicably fired by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Why? Because, as they allege, they were going after banksters TOO aggressively. “We were making too much noise, “ said Edwards. Attorney General Bondi denies firing the prosecutors for going after banksters – instead claiming they were fired for “professionalism” issues – yet both of them received strong performance reviews leading up to their termination. Looks like the Attorney General under Rick Scott has a pretty tough job down in Florida – not only prosecuting crimes, but sweeping them under the rug as well.
In the best of the rest of the news…
Mega bank Wells Fargo is in the crosshairs of the Department of Justice. The DOJ is moving forward on a lawsuit against Wells Fargo – the nation’s largest mortgage lender – alleging the bank targeted African Americans with predatory home loans. Banksters went into African American neighborhoods – and encouraged prospective homebuyers to sign on to a adjustable subprime mortgage that they knew people couldn’t afford. Wells Fargo didn’t care if people couldn’t afford the home because they were going to collect their fees up front then sell the mortgage off to some investor before it went into foreclosure. More than 10,000 people were reportedly scammed by Wells Fargo. The Federal Reserve and the City of Baltimore are also looking into the matter. Let’s see if banksters actually do some times for their crime – or if they get let off the hook like they do in Florida.
The Republican “Cut, Cap, and Balance” gimmick is now officially dead in the Senate. After Republicans forced Democrats to garner supermajorities for nearly every single piece of legislation over the last few years – they were hoping their “Cut, Cap, and Balance” could get through the upper chamber with just a simple majority. But Harry Reid didn’t oblige – and tabled “Cut, Cap, and Balance” because there weren’t enough Republican votes to overcome a filibuster. When you have a taste of your own medicine – it goes down really, really, bitter.
As Norway comes to grips with the terror of last Friday – Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg is sending a message about how his nation will react in the aftermath. “More democracy,” said Stoltenberg. That’s right – instead of transforming Norway into a security state complete with Chertoff porno scanners, Patriot Act wiretapping, and color-coded terror warnings – Stoltenberg is promising more democracy, more openness, and more inclusion to combat the threat of terrorism. If only our nation would have followed the same path a decade ago instead of having a president who told us we should just go shopping.
Not only are Republicans waging war on the economy – they’re also waging war on the environment. Yes, as the countdown to economic doomsday nears zero – Republicans in the House are busy passing legislation – NOT about the debt-limit – but instead about the EPA and regulations on their big oil polluting buddies. Coming down the pike is legislation that cuts the EPA’s budget by $1.5 billion – the largest cut against in the nation’s environmental; budget in 35 years. The legislation is chock-full of giveaway to transnational corporations – like repealing the EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gases – stripping regulations against mountain top removal mining – and preventing the Fish and Wildlife Service from naming new endangered species. Responding to the Republicans’ environment legislation - Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman said, “This is the most anti-environmental House of Representatives in history.” The truth is – Republicans are just doing what they promised they would do when their campaign contributors like the billionaire Koch brothers cut them fat checks during last year’s elections. “Help me get elected – and I’ll help you pump as much carbon into the sky as you want.”
Crazy Alert – a glowing experiment. Just what are scientists in South Korea up to? How about creating dogs that glow. That’s right – scientists yesterday unveiled Tegon – a 2-year-old beagle…that glows. The scientists are working on cures to several genetic human illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease – and are trying to figure out if they can inject these diseases into dogs to test certain treatments. Luckily for Tegon – scientists first had to see if it was possible – so they tried a gene that causes the dog to glow – instead of some actual disease – and sure enough it worked. Rumor has it they were performing the same sort of glow-tests on humans too, but had to cancel the experiment after their subject escaped from the lab – came to the United States – and became the Speaker of the House.
And that’s the way it is today – Wednesday, July 27th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.