2013-12-03 21:48:16

Thom Hartmann on the News: Dec. 3, 2013

You need to know this.  The banksters could be forced to pay tens of billions of dollars more in settlements for crashing our economy.  But, these fees are just a small fraction of the price that American taxpayers paid for the economic collapse.  So far, the too-big-to-fail banks have forked out about $80 billion dollars in legal fees related to the crisis, and the ratings agencies predict that the banksters will be on the hook for another 50 to 100 billion.  Although that sounds like a lot, it's simply a drop in the bucket compared to the $6 trillion dollars that their gambling cost our economy.  And, many of these settlements were so-called “no-admit-no-deny” agreements that did not even require the banksters to admit to their crimes.  To make matters even worse, many of these settlements could be written off of banks' taxes, which means that the actual amount that banksters are responsible for is even less than that $80 billion.  The vast majority of the cost of the last economic collapse fell to the taxpayers, and the too-big-to-fail banks have been able to consider their fees as just another cost of doing business.  And, most of our lawmakers aren't doing much to prevent the next crash, let alone hold the banksters accountable for the last one.  As Senator Elizabeth Warren says, the system is rigged, and Americans are fed up with the banking oligopoly.  If we want any chance at stopping the next economic meltdown, we must break up the banks, and start throwing the banksters in jail for their crimes.

In screwed news... Typhoons are spreading the nuclear fallout from Fukushima.  Recent storms that brought high winds and heavy rains have pushed more radiation out to sea, and spread soil containing dangerous levels of cesium.  A joint study by Tsukuba University and France's Climate and Environmental Science Laboratory found that typhoons washed away contaminated soil and deposited it in rivers and stream.  Those waterways then transported radiation into the ocean.  Although scientists have conducted various studies on Fukushima since the 2011 tsunami, this is the first study to consider how strong weather events effect the spread of radiation.  The results of this study underline the ongoing problems at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, and the overall danger of nuclear energy.  There is no way to completely contain the fallout from this ongoing disaster.  The only way to prevent more disasters is to eliminate nuclear power.  No nukes!

In the best of the rest of the news...

Colorado may be the next state take on the GMO industry.  The GMO-labeling advocacy group, Right to Know Colorado, has submitted a ballot initiative to put the measure before voters in 2014.  If they succeed in collecting the 85,000 signatures needed to put GMO-labeling on the ballot, Colorado will be the third state to attempt a food labeling initiative.  Unfortunately, corporate interests led to the GMO-labeling measure being narrowly rejected in Washington state in November, and being voted down in California in 2012.  Right to Know Colorado say its mission is “built on the foundation that we have the basic right to know what is in our food and what we are feeding our families.”  Hopefully voters won't let corporations get in the way of Right to Know Colorado's important goal.

According to RadCast.org, radiation levels in some areas of our nation are slightly higher than they were yesterday, and some areas are holding steady.  Near the East coast, Charleston, West Virginia is up to 46 counts per minute, from yesterday's 44, and Philadelphia is up to 49, from yesterday's 43 counts per minute.  In the Midwest, Frederic, Wisconsin was 49 counts per minute yesterday, but today they're reporting levels of 57.  Colorado Springs actually went down a bit to 54 counts per minute.  In the Southwest, Henderson, Nevada jumped from 47 to 55 counts per minute, but Tuscon, Arizona went down to 47 counts per minute, from yesterday's 49.  Near the West coast, Seattle, Washington increased slightly from 31 to 33 counts per minute, and Fresno, California dropped from 42 to 39 counts per minute.  RadCast.org reminds us that their alert level is 100 counts per minute, and they're monitoring levels around our nation to keep us informed.

Less than one week after 1,500 Black Friday protests at Walmart, fast-food workers are joining the fight for a living wage.  Workers in more than 100 cities will stage a one-day strike this Thursday, making the walk-out the largest such event since the movement began one year ago.  Fast-food workers are demanding a raise to $15 dollars an hour, and the right to organize as a union.  On average, these employees earn less than $9 dollars an hour, and they aren't all just teenagers – as many of those on the Right try to claim.  Their wages are so low that fast-food workers need more than $240 billion dollars in public benefits just to survive.  Workers in the retail and fast-food industry are realizing that they have more power by standing together, and together they are standing up to corporate greed.

And finally... In 2011, the United States Post Office issued new “forever” stamps featuring the original Statue of Liberty – or so they thought.  The stamps may actually featured a picture of a replica located in front of the New York-New York casino in Las Vegas.  And, the creator of the replica is suing the Post Office, claiming he can identify his creation because it was only inspired by the original Statue of Liberty, saying his is more “fresh-faced” and “sultry” than the real thing.  It's easy to understand how someone could mix up the two images, but the replica in Las Vegas features a slight smirk and a “more feminine form.”  And, in place of the original text welcoming the “tired and poor,” the Las Vegas statue's plaque reads “This One's For You Mom.”  No word on whether the lawsuit will move forward, but hopefully the post office looks more carefully before printing any stamps featuring the sphinx, the pyramids, or the Eiffel Tower.

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