Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. America’s biggest transnational corporations have a secret they don’t want you to know about. Arguing that they’ll create jobs in the United States if they just get massive tax breaks – many transnational corporations are refusing to release just how many jobs they have ALREADY created in the United States – and how many jobs they’ve created overseas - over fears that if the American people saw just how much outsourcing they’ve been doing – then they’d miss out on their tax breaks. When it comes time to report hiring to government statisticians – these transnational do so under anonymity – under the promise that only the aggregate amount of job creation numbers will be released – and not job creation on a company-by-company basis. That aggregate number is troubling in itself – between 2000 and 2009 – transnational corporations cut 2.9 million jobs here at home – and hired 2.4 million workers overseas. And since lawmakers can’t figure out which company is ACTUALLY creating jobs here in American and which ones aren’t – then it’s impossible to determine which should get tax cuts. To make matters worse – the guy heading President Obama’s job creation council – GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt – is one of the biggest job outsourcers around with over half of his workforce made up of foreign workers. The real problem here is that our lawmakers for almost two decades have been drinking the so-called Free Trade kool aid – and it’s destroying our economy.
The unemployed are screwed in Ohio. With an unemployment rate around 9% - Republican Governor John Kasich put aside his war on unions – and is now going after the jobless. Yesterday was the deadline for Ohio to apply for $176 million in federal funds as part of the 2009 stimulus act to boost the state’s unemployment program. Even though the money could have helped some of the 529,000 desperate people who can’t find a job in Ohio – Governor Kasich doesn’t want the money – saying, “it makes no sense” to take it since the state’s unemployment program is already in debt – logic that makes no sense to me either. Democrats in the state senate offered up legislation to force Kasich to take the money – but Republicans shot it down. What Kasich – and most Republicans – fail to recognize is unemployment benefits are one of the best forms of economic stimulus out there – as one dollar spent on unemployment benefits translates to $1.64 in economic stimulus. But I guess Kasich is being a loyal soldier, following the national Republican strategy of causing so much economic pain that people in 2012 will vote against President Obama.
In the best of the rest of the news…
The whereabouts of ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi are still unknown. A day after rebel forces swept into Tripoli – and battled the last remaining forces loyal to the Gadhafi government – there’s still some unfinished business. The head of the rebel’s leadership council said, “the real moment of victory is when Gadhafi is captured.” As for when that will be, no one knows. The latest reports say that rebel forces have Gadhafi’s heavily fortified Tripoli compound completely surrounded – yet it’s uncertain if Gadhafi is actually inside. Both NATO and the US State Department admit they don’t have a clue about Gadhafi whereabouts either. Just as absent as Gadhafi – is Republican support for President Obama’s mission success in Libya. Republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham had earlier criticized the President on his military strategy –suggesting that actual troops on the ground were needed. But, after just 6 months – the rebels seized victory – and now Republicans are refusing to admit the President was right.
What do you do to keep your job if your employer gives you only a 14% approval rating? You avoid him or her. That’s exactly what Congress is up to during this August recess – avoiding their constituents. As the organization “No Labels” is reporting – 60% of the Members of Congress are not holding any sort of open town hall meetings while they vacation during the month of August. Of course – some Republican Members like Paul Ryan and Ben Quayle are hosting closed, corporate-funded town halls that charge constituents as much as 40 bucks a pop to attend and ask a question, but the vast majority of Members aren’t even doing that much. I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that 100% of Members are hosting at least one fundraiser though. To get re-elected today – you don’t need to meet with your constituents – you need to meet with deep-pocketed corporate campaign donors. Just business as usual, post-Citizens United, in the best Congress money can buy.
Is it just a coincidence that the year after a landmark food safety bill was passed out of Congress – our nation is suffering from numerous outbreaks of food contamination? No – it’s actually because Republicans are hard at work slashing money for food safety programs. Despite tainted strawberries – papayas – sprouts – and ground turkey leading to death and illness around the nation this year – the FDA is worried they don’t have enough funds to implement new food safety programs. As the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner of Food, Mike Taylor, said in regard to the new food safety law, “You can’t build something brand-new without the resources to do it.” Republicans disagree, though, and have cut more than $100 million from food safety programs under Congressman Jack Kingston’s philosophy that the private sector “polices itself.” It’s simple – Republicans think we should leave it up to giant transnational agribusiness to make sure their own food is safe – just like we should leave it up to BP to make sure their deep-sea oil wells are safe.
Crazy Alert! Porn activism. America’s most notorious animal rights group – PETA – may have just found the best new way to reach a wider audience – it’s starting its own porn site! That’s right – the group whose ads have previously featured nude women posing in cages to protest wearing fur and woman swallowing long vegetable to promote not eating meat – is now going all the way and just doing straight porn. In a conference call with the press – PETA confirmed that is indeed looking into registering a XXX website saying, “We live in a 24 hour news cycle world and we learn the racy things we do are sometimes the most effective way that we can reach particular individuals." The group said that while the site will have it’s fair share of pornography – it will also expose viewers to graphic images of animal slaughterhouses…in case that’s your thing to. I expect PETA to get a little more attention from one critical interest group after the porn site launches…and that’s Congress!
And that’s the way it is today – August 23rd, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.