The Religious Right Field Tests Plan for Beating Obama

Adele Stan, Alternet, joins Thom Hartmann. The Right is field-testing a plan to beat President Obama - and the main character is Ralph Reed. For our viewers who don't know him - who is he - and what's he up to now?

Pass a Constitutional Amendment that Voting is a Right!

All across America - Republicans are trying their hardest to prevent Democratic voters from having a say in the November election. How are the horrible stories of slavery in America's past helping fuel the Republican war on voting today?

Full Show 7/9/12: The Bigger Picture

Thom debuts "The Bigger Picture," a new segment focusing on the heart of the big issues facing our nation. Tonight's "Bigger Picture" panel discusses taxes, labor unions and voter suppression. In tonight's "Daily Take" Thom looks at how cities and towns across the country are fighting back against the big banks.

Do Americans, without a photo ID, have a right to vote?

Mike Elk, In These Times, Vince Coglianese, Daily Caller & Sam Sacks, progressive commentator join Thom Hartmann. Let's now tackle another issue that's been in the news a lot lately: the right to vote - and if there is even such a thing. Today - in a court room down the street here in Washington, DC - state officials from Texas are defending a recently passed voter ID law that could deny hundreds of thousands of people their right to vote come November. The Department of Justice filed suit against Texas, with evidence showing that as many as 600000 registered voters lack the necessary photo ID to vote. It's the same story in Pennsylvania - where as many as 750000 registered voters could be kicked off the roles for lack of photo ID after that state as well passed a new Voter ID law. Take a look at this map created by Mother Jones - the states in red are states that have introduced legislation to restrict voters' access to the polls in just the last year. As of April of this year - 24 states have attempted to do this. And nine states - including Texas, Iowa, Wisconsin, and several others - have passed new laws requiring voter IDs just to vote. These laws will affect 3.8 million voters. And as this chart shows - the vast majority of those affected by these laws are Blacks, Latinos, young people, and senior citizens - people who tend to vote for Democrats. Now - a lot of these laws were written by the American Legislative Exchange Council - a right-wing corporate thinktank ...

What Role do Taxes Play in a Society?

Mike Elk, In These Times, Vince Coglianese, Daily Caller & Sam Sacks, progressive commentator join Thom Hartmann. President Obama called on Congress to extend the current tax rates for all working Americans earning below $250000 a year. In this call for action - the President also argued for letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those making more than $250000 - effectively increasing taxes on the wealthy to where they were under President Clinton. Currently - the top income tax rate in America - the rate that the wealthies among us pays - is 35%. Looking all the way back to 1945 when the top rate was 94% - other than a period in the 1980's when President Reagan cut the top rate down to 28% - today's wealthiest Americans are enjoying historically low tax rates. And looking at the economics of it all - our current top income tax rate hasn't really paid off. At a top income tax rate of 35% - GDP growth has been the slowest it's ever been compared to other top incomes tax rates. So too has job creation. Our 35% top income tax rate has produced the least amount of jobs of any other income tax rate. Now this is certainly going ot be one of the top political debates heading into November. But what will be lost in between accusations of class warfare - and wealthy freeloaders - is exactly what the purpose of taxes are to begin with. As in what role do taxes play in a society - or nation - like ours? And just how much should the very wealthy contribute in taxes, while still keeping ...

Is Union busting to blame for the power outages in DC?

Mike Elk, In These Times, Vince Coglianese, Daily Caller & Sam Sacks, progressive commentator join Thom Hartmann. In Scranton, Pennsylvania - despite winning a legal battle, police and firefighters unions have lost a battle with the city over their wages. Last week - the Mayor of Scranton, Chris Doherty, announced that the pay of 398 unionized public workers will be slashed down to minimum wage - just $7.25 an hour. The mayor argued his city simply cannot afford to pay the unionized workers anymore money. Unions are also suffering in other cash-strapped cities. In Detroit - Financial Managers are laying off hundreds of unionized teachers - shutting down public schools - and replacing them with private charter schools that pay non-union teachers less and and have a much higher turnover rate of teachers. We've also seen the decline of organized labor on a state level across America. From Wisconsin - where collective bargaining rights were stripped from public sector unions - to Indiana, which just this year became a right-to-work state. There are now 23 states in America that have adopted right-to-work laws, which make it a lot harder for unions to operate. In the post-World War 2 Era - working Americans were able to achieve a comfortable middle class lifestyle with a decent paycheck thanks to unions. But since 1980 - union rates - especially in the private sector - have rapidly declined - and right alongside with it - so has the middle class's share of national income ...

How Cities are Fighting back against the Banksters

How can cities and towns across the country bring an end to the brutal reign of Wall Street big banks and their influence over the American economy? Just follow in the footsteps of Oakland, California. We all know that big banks screwing over their customers is nothing new. They routinely steered investors into junk mortgages and investments, which the banks knew were destined to fail. They hired day laborers, falsely gave them "vice president" titles to sign tens of thousands of fraudulent foreclosure documents, so they could illegally kick millions of Americans out of their homes. And all the while - they paid their executives record-breaking salaries - while sucking more and more cash out of their customers through fine-print, hidden fees, and deceptive practices. This is nothing new - and we all know someone who has been directly effected by these abuses. Or we've heard about their stories on the news - like Norman Rousseau who battled with Wells Fargo for years to keep his home, before finally giving up and shooting himself. Or Sgt. Robert Bales - who received a lot of media attention after he went on a shooting rampage in Afghanistan - murdering 17 Afghan civilians. What's talked about less in his story is that three days before the massacre - Bank of America was close to foreclosing on the home Sgt. Bales' and his wife owned in California with their two kids - and so she was forced to put it up for sale as the family was $50000 underwater on their mortgage. The ...

Full Show 7/6/12: Beyond Fukushima

Thom talks the Fukushima disaster with Paul Gunter and Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear in a special extended discussion on this gravely important issue of nuclear power. Tonight's "Big Picture Rumble" panel discusses June's jobs numbers, the latest from the right on Obamacare and voter ID efforts in Pennsylvania. In tonight's "Daily Take" Thom looks at why the US should follow Rwanda's health care plan.

The Big Picture Rumble: School vouchers for Christians but not Islamists?

Marc Harrold, Libertarian Commentator & Sam Bennett, The She Should Run Foundation & Dan Bongino, Candidate for US Senate (R-MD) join Thom Hartmann. Can Republicans win in November without kicking Democratic voters off of voting rolls - and whatever happened to religious freedom in America? All that and more in tonight's Big Picture Rumble...

Beyond Fukushima - When will we learn? Paul Gunter & Kevin Kamps P2

Meanwhile - on the ground - teams of TEPCO workers began working in shifts to bring the melting down plant under control. These shifts were essentially suicide missions - as radiation levels were well above lifetime dosages. During that March - an estimated 900000 terabecquerels of radiation were released into the air. That's roughly one-sixth of the radiation released during the Chernobyl nuclear crisis - but again - that was just during the month of March. Between then and December of 2011, when TEPCO finally said the plant was stable, more than 300 workers were exposed to lethally high levels of radiation - and millions of gallons of highly radioactive sea water were dumped into the ground and into the ocean.The effects of this radioactive dump are still not known. In February of this year - TEPCO began pouring cement around the plant as part of the decommissioning process - a process that operators believe could take as long as 30 years. But despite assurances from TEPCO that the plant is stable - evidence shows the nuclear crisis is still far from resolved. The Unit 4 reactor building, with tons of radioactive fuel and waste still stored in its roof, is leaning - and in danger of toppling over and triggering a chain-reaction radioactive fire that could blow exponentially more radiation in the atmosphere than Chernobyl And radiation levels at reactor one recently reached all-time highs. Yet - Japan is moving forward with nuclear power. Just this month - a reactor at ...

Beyond Fukushima - When will we learn? Paul Gunter & Kevin Kamps P1

On the afternoon of March 11th, 2011 - a massive 9.0 earthquake struck just off the main island of Japan - rattling the nation to its core. Nestled on the east coast of Japan - not too far from the epicenter of that quake - was the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant - a plant with six nuclear reactors - three of which weren't designed to handle an earthquake of that magnitude. Right after the ground started shaking - reactors 1, 2, and 3 at the plant went into automatic shutdown. Reactors 4, 5, and 6 were already shutdown for inspection. The main power source to keep the reactors cool - the electric grid - was knocked out by the earthquake - so 13 emergency diesel generators immediately kicked in to keep the reactors cool. But within ten minutes, the emergency cooling systems at reactor 1 failed - and radioactive fuel rods within the reactors began to melting down. But things were about to get a lot worse. Approximately 50 minutes after the earthquake - a giant 45-foot tsunami slammed into the east coast of Japan - and right into the Fukushima Daiichi plant. It swept across the plant's seawalls - and flooded the turbine buildings - shutting down the emergency diesel generators - and cutting off critical cooling to the reactors. At this point - the operators of the Fukushima plant knew they had a crisis on their hands. At approximately 3:41 in the afternoon - less than an hour after the earthquake - TEPCO, which operated the plant, notified the authorities that they had a ...

Rwanda has Better Health Care than America

Ben Franklin famously said, at the end of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, that "if we don't hang together, we shall surely hang separately." That lesson of "we're all in it together" wasn't lost on Rwanda. Rwanda - a small nation in central Africa - is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped nations in the world. Nearly 60 percent of Rwandans live below the national poverty line - and in Rwanda, with an average income of just $560 per year per family - less than $2 a day - being in poverty meant bringing home and living on as little as ten cents a day. From 1990 to 1994 - the nation had a civil war - and in April of 1994 - the Rwandan Genocide began - lasting for 3 months - and taking the lives of nearly 1 million Rwandans. And yet - despite going through a civil war and a genocide - and being one of the poorest countries in the world - the tiny nation of Rwanda has something the United States doesn't - a healthcare system that works for all. Today - the new talking point coming from the Right against Obamacare is that it raises taxes. Yet, that's exactly how Rwanda went about creating a healthcare system that works for everybody. Today - only 4% of the Rwandan population is uninsured - compared to more than 16% in the United States. So how'd Rwanda do it? In 1999 - most Rwandans never had seen a doctor and even when they were really sick, couldn't get into a hospital - primarily because costs were so high that average citizens simply couldn't afford it. Knowing ...

Full Show 7/5/12: Mr. One Percent

Thom discusses what countries Mitt Romney is hiding his fortune in. Also discussed: the LIBOR scandal in Europe, the importance of Rhode Island's four electoral votes and why cat litter may be leading women to suicide. In tonight's "Daily Take" Thom looks at why rich isn't working for Romney.

Pirate Capitalist Romney vs The Average Joe

It used to be politicians presented themselves as being just average folks, part of the American middle class or, as in the case of a rich guy like FDR, at least understanding the needs of the middle class and working people. The idea that a rich donor might give money to a candidate's campaign and then expect that candidate to vote their way was shocking. It was considered bribery. In 1952, when Senator Richard Nixon was running for Vice President, Democrats pointed out that he'd taken $18000 - around $150000 in today's money - from some fatcats donors. Americans were so shocked by the allegation that Nixon had to go on national television to address them. It was his second most famous speech of all time, right behind his "I am not a crook" speech, as he tried to reassure Americans that he would never, ever cast a vote in a particular way or enrich himself because of his position as a senator. We also liked candidates who were "average people" or at least could understand average people. Harry Truman drove back to Missouri and lived in a modest home until his death. Jimmy Carter walked to his inaugural, as the Washington Post noted right afterwards: "But what undoubtedly will be most remembered about Jimmy Carter's inauguration was that long walk from the Capitol to the executive mansion. It took him 40 minutes to cover the mile-and-a-half. As he walked along, with Amy prancing, jumping and dancing along at his side, he was shattering recent presidential practice and ...

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