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Thom Hartmann: The number of zeroes in your bank account is a ''get out of jail free'' card

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thomhartmann Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 03:36 PM
Original message
Thom Hartmann: The number of zeroes in your bank account is a ''get out of jail free'' card
Run time: 05:57
Posted on YouTube: December 07, 2011
By YouTube Member: TheBigPictureRT
Views on YouTube: 151
Posted on DU: December 07, 2011
By DU Member: thomhartmann
Views on DU: 1059
People are getting away with murder - or at the very least manslaughter - today in America. Alpha Natural Resources - the company that owns the Massey mine in West Virginia that exploded last year - has agreed to pay out a $209 million settlement for the crimes that lead to the death of 29 miners. That's 29 people killed - as a result of gross corporate negligence - and no one is going to jail over it. The company is simply writing a check - and sweeping it under the rug. Even though federal investigators found that Massey executives kept two sets of books to hide all the safety violations at the mine - and even though critical methane monitors were intentionally disabled before the explosion under the orders of management - no one will be held accountable for the death of James Rooney - or Timmy Davis - or Josh Napper - or Rick Lane - or Gary Quarles.

Why is that? Because Massey mine executives are rich people who make money. And we have a fundamental values crisis in America - where we protect at all costs those who make lots of money. We shield them from prison, we give them all the benefits they want, and we protect them from any threats that could harm their bottom line. At the same time - we don't give a damn about those who just earn wages - those who worked IN the mine - and not in the corporate offices.

We saw this play out with the BP oil spill last year that killed 11 men - not one rich guy in a corporate office at BP is going to jail for manslaughter. And now we learn today that Dick Cheney's Halliburton deliberately destroyed evidence that implicated that corporation in the oil spill. Will anyone go to jail over that? No. The truth is America is two nations, with two different criminal justice systems. Capitalists - or business owners - or people who makes millions and millions of dollars - live in a different nation than the rest of us.

-They live in a nation where they pay a lower tax rate - just 15% on capitalist gains income - while the rest of us pay up to 35% plus payroll taxes on paychecks we bust our butts for.

-They live in a nation where they're allowed to spew all their trash - we're talking billions of tons of pollution every year just here in the US - into the atmosphere with no penalty - while the rest of us could go to jail if we were to start throwing our trash in the road.

-They live in a nation where their product - be it oil or coal or natural gas - is killing hundreds of thousands of people a year - through cancer, asthma, and natural disasters - yet they don't have to pay one penny to compensate for increased medical costs or loss of productivity in the economy due to those sicknesses.

-They live in a nation where they get billions of dollars in subsidies courtesy of taxpayers - while unemployed people have to beg their Members of Congress for a little help just to put enough food on the table.

-They live in a nation where the full force of the US military is dispatched all around the world to ensure that the oil spigot remains open - and their business remains profitable...and again, they pay for none of the costs of this ongoing military effort on their behalf.

-They live in a nation where they can commit fraud - suck $7.7 trillion bucks out of the economy - and get a bailout from the government.

-They live in a nation that despite overwhelming evidence of crime - and despite tragic consequences of their behavior - from the 29 men who were killed in the Massey Mine - to the 11 men who were killed in the Gulf of Mexico - to the countless people who've contracted cancer or asthma - to the millions who've lost their jobs and health insurance - to the thousands of soldiers who've died in our oil wars - - despite all of this horror and dead-weight on our community - the perpetrators of these crimes don't have to worry about going to jail, ever...just because they are rich.

You know, in America we used to look at wealthy people with indifference or even wariness. They were not praised or rewarded - they were just part of the community. The people who were praised and rewarded were those who contributed to the community. The lawyers whose role model was the fictional defense attorney Perry Mason, the doctors whose role models on TV lived middle class lives and cared about their patients, and the politicians whose role models were Jefferson, Lincoln, and even the fictional Jefferson Smith played in the movies by Jimmy Stewart. Kids wanted to be THESE people when they grew up...not because these people were rich, but because they contributed to society and they cared about others. But now these people are largely ignored and even disrespected. Now - kids want to be millionaires and billionaires. Now - the the high priests of our society are the super-rich. And as a result - people are dying - people like Nick McCroskey, Boone Payne, and Ricky Workman - and no one is being held accountable.

The Massey Mine disaster - just like the BP oil spill - were American tragedies on their own - but they were also symptoms of a much bigger tragedy in America - the decline of our moral values. We need to realize soon that these corrupt millionaires and billionaires didn't build America. They don't deserve perks and extra benefits because they make a lot of money. They're just like us. And if we don't change our value system and return to embracing the 99 percent who actually contribute to our communities rather than that part of the 1 percent who leech off our communities - then those leeches will destroy our society. It's time to roll back Reaganomics - including rolling back the Reagan tax cuts - and return to the values of Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt.

The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann on RT TV & FSTV "live" 9pm and 11pm check for local listings
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limpyhobbler Donating Member (184 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 03:49 PM
Response to Original message
1. The criminal justice system is totally biased .
The more money you have, the better your chances.

Same as the health care system.

Same as alot of things.
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ljm2002 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 05:56 PM
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2. Very well said!!! K&R!!! n/t
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russspeakeasy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:59 PM
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3. What a great post. Thank you.
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