Thom Hartmann on the News - July 24, 2013
You need to know this. Ever since Pat McCrory took office as governor earlier this year - GOP lawmakers in North Carolina have turned that state into ground zero for Tea Party extremism - gutting social services- slashing taxes - and - yes - even banning Sharia law. And now, Republicans in the Tar Heel State are kicking that extremism into overdrive with the worst voter suppression law in our nation. According to the Think Progress Blog, this new law doesn't just require voter ID, but includes a broad range of other initiatives designed to keep as many people as possible from the polls. The bill eliminates North Carolina's same-day voter registration, cuts early voting hours by a full week, and makes it easier for voter-intimidation groups like True The Vote, to challenge voters' eligibility. Republicans know that their gerrymandering and political spending will only keep them in office for so long... so, they're resorting to disenfranchise millions of voters just to hold on to power. Thankfully, the people of North Carolina aren't taking this right-wing extremism lying down. Each week, successful “Moral Monday” protests grow larger, as more people speak out against these extreme policies. At the rate people are getting involved, it's likely that even more voters will go to great lengths to ensure their voices are heard. Republicans may be able to enact these laws now, but the growing “Moral Monday” movement in North Carolina appears ready to strike back in the next election.
In screwed news... Both the House and Senate Intelligence Commitees have now approved the Obama Administration's plan to arm the Syrian rebels - pushing the United States one step closer to a new proxy war in the Middle East. According to White House officials - military aid to the rebels will mostly include small arms, ammunition, and anti-tank weapons. Does anyone really think this is a good idea? Although the rebellion started out as a popular uprising, it's now become fractured, with Islamist groups associated with Al-Qaeda becoming increasingly popular. It seems unlikely that we can keep weapons away from these terrorist groups. Apparently, we didn't learn this lesson in the 1980s with the Afghan Mujahideen. It appears the military industrial complex is hungry for another war, and it appears that Congress just may give it to them. Keep a close eye on this...
In the best of the rest of the news...
Speaking of U.S. foreign policy disasters - According to an internal Pakistani government document acquired by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism - the CIA's drone policy is a lot deadlier than the agency claims. The study looked at 75 different strikes on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border between 2006 and 2009 and found that - "...of 746 people listed as killed in the drone strikes outlined in the document, at least 147 of the dead are clearly stated to be civilian victims, 94 of those are said to be children." The U.S. government claims that only 50 to 60 non-combatants have been killed during the entire 9 years of the drone war in Pakistan. Perhaps someone needs to ask the pro-drone crowd if they think the death of one suspected terrorist is worth the life of one innocent child?
A new leaked internal document reveals the Congressional Republican strategy for dealing with constituents. The document - a 31-page guide called Fighting Washington for All Americans" - provides useful information for GOP Congresspeople on how to choreograph public appearances. The guide reminds Congresspeople to have "questions prepared in advance" for all interactions with constituents, and in some cases urges them to plant people in the audience to "strengthen the conversation." Here's what one part says: “Invite at least 3-4 people with whom the member already has an established relationship. This will strengthen the conversation and take it in a direction that is most beneficial to the member’s goal.” So - why is the GOP so scared of its constituents? If Republicans were truly confident in their policies - why would they need to plant questions?
New Hampshire is the 19th state to approve medical marijuana. Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) signed a bill into law earlier this week, which will allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients with certain medical conditions who need it. Gov. Hassan said, the bill “legalizes the use of medical marijuana in a way that makes sense for the State of New Hampshire, and gives health providers another option to help New Hampshire’s seriously ill patients.” The new system for the medical marijuana program will be registered with the state. Patients will get medical marijuana from four different non-profit treatment centers, and won’t be allowed to grow their own pot. It's not perfect, but it's certainly a step forward….
And finally... Watch out for the Geese Police! After rash of robberies in one western China province - local officials decided they needed to do something - and do something quick. So they gathered together an elite group of geese and trained them to work as cops. According to officials - the plan has been a great success so far. Apparently, geese have great eyesight - superb hearing - and will fight with anyone who enters their home turf. Some local police even think they're better crime-fighters than dogs. In fact - one of the feathered crime fighters played a crucial role in tracking down a suspect who had drugged all available K9 cop units. You know, given the success they've already already had - I think it's safe to say that China's geese police are a real QUACK force. All bad puns aside - I can say for a fact that geese are fierce fighters. My cat Higgins has gotten into some tussles with a few of them over the years - and man - they're not to be messed with.