Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. Moammar Gadhafi’s grip on power in Libya has slipped. After six-months of Civil War – and assistance from NATO air bombings – rebel forces have swept into the capital city of Tripoli to bring down the Gadhafi regime. There’s still heavy gunfire being reported this morning as the rebels clash with some of the last remaining forces loyal to Gadhafi. President Obama released a statement on the news of Tripoli’s capture saying, “the future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people.” Of course – President Obama is the man who gave the speech in Egypt last year - which conservatives attacked - in which he stood aside dictator Mubarik and told the people of the Middle East they shouldn't have to tolerate dictators - laying the groundwork for the Arab Spring. As for what happens now that Gadhafi is gone….it’s anyone’s guess – revolutions breed unexpected consequences – just look at Iran and Iraq in the 1950s and '70s.
Homeowners in America are still screwed. As more records from the Federal Reserve go public – we’re learning that the 2008 bailout of Wall Street – known as “TARP” – was just the tip of the iceberg in public funds going to the banksters. In December of 2008 – the Fed secretly gave more than $1.2 trillion in virtually interest-free loans to big banks like Morgan Stanley – Citigroup – and Bank of America. That’s $1.2 trillion! Coincidentally – that’s about how much it would cost to save 6-and-a-half million homeowners who are delinquent on their mortgages and facing foreclosure. In other words – a clear choice was made in 2008 to help banksters or help bilked homeowners – and the Fed chose the banksters. So today – it’s no wonder that banksters are seeing record profits again – while millions of Americans are still being kicked out of their homes. Yet another example of how the banksters in an out of government are taking care of their own. Given the choice between working people's homes or banksters million-dollar penthouses, the Fed chose the Banksters. Meanwhile, George Bush and Congress agreed and threw another $800 billion to the banksters. Now Obama wants to help working people, and it’s time for Republicans to drop their opposition and pass a news jobs and stimulus package ASAP.
In the best of the rest of the news…
The billionaire strikes back. After Warren Buffett turned some heads last week with an article in the New York Times calling for taxes to be raised on billionaires like himself, Charles Koch – one of the billionaire oil baron Koch brothers – responded with a statement to right-wing media outlets. Koch fired back saying, “I believe my business and non-profit investments are much more beneficial to societal well-being than sending more money to Washington.” I think what he meant to say is his investments are much more beneficial to HIMSELF. From pushing to gut the EPA – to spending huge lobbying dollars to keep his corporate and personal income taxes at historic lows – the only people who reap benefits from the Kochs – are those who also have 12 zeroes in their Swiss bank accounts. The rest of us are left to suffocate under more and more pollution and a growing wealth imbalance that’s leading to civil unrest around the world. Billionaires who don't want to pay their fair share to support what makes America great are leeches on our body politic and need to be called out as such.
The Republican war on Wall Street reform continues – as Republicans in Congress work to strip funding from key parts of the law passed last year to protect average people from banksters – and now Republican Presidential candidates want to scrap it altogether. They're pushing it, even though they can't say it in a way that makes any sense. Newt Gingrich echoed the sentiments of most Republicans when he said last week that he told Congress to come back to work and repeal the Wall Street reform that’s, “killing the banking industry right now.” Will someone please tell Newt that the banking industry is ACTUALLY MAKING a killing right now. Profits at 5 of the six largest banks in America are soaring – with JP Morgan chase up 13% and Well Fargo up a whopping 29%. So is Wall Street reform really “killing” the banks – or just keeping them from killing all of us with another Wall Street casino scheme? Either way - it's really embarrassing to hear Republicans make excuses for the banksters who fund their re-election campaigns.
Massive protests at the White House over the weekend have led to the arrests of 110 people. 350.org founder Bill McKibben – who was among the people arrested over the weekend – organized the peaceful demonstrations to encourage President Obama to oppose a massive 1,700 mile long pipeline project that will bring tar sands oil from Canada down to refineries in Texas. Environmentalists point to the project’s high greenhouse gas emissions and that forests will be destroyed – not to mention the risk of a catastrophic oil spill that could poison the nation’s water supply should the pipeline get ruptured. However – there’s a lot of corporate cash behind the deal – as both the Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute are throwing their weight behind the proposed pipeline. Let’s see if good ol’ fashioned grassroots activism can defeat the deep pockets of big oil and their Republican stooges.
Crazy Alert! The heck with global warming – kill the aliens! Fox so-called News had a lot of fun with a report on Friday from a group of scientists who warned that aliens might destroy humanity to save planet Earth from man-made global warming. Since Fox is the hub of phony science and climate change denial – they immediately sprung into action to ridicule the report – and then direct their Fox viewers – or zombies – to a poll on talking head Megyn Kelly’s website – asking what should be done to respond to the study. Viewers had three choices – try to curb greenhouse gases – or suggest to scientists how to create jobs – or develop weapons to kill the aliens first. Not surprisingly – suggesting to scientists how to create jobs came in at number 1. Most amusing though – Fox so-called News viewers were six times more likely to suggest developing weapons to kill aliens over developing ways to curb greenhouse gas emissions. That’s right – Fox viewers think the planet is under greater threat from alien invasion than from climate change. And they don’t even know about the robotic pigeons from Planet Zenu that are ALREADY HERE!
And that’s the way it is today – Monday, August 22nd, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.