In last night’s show, Jon Stewart ripped GE for paying no federal taxes in 2010 on its $14 billion profit, while canning American employees and hiring overseas; and Obama for punishing the company by…naming GE CEO Jeffery Immelt to chair his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness! (Announcing Immelt’s new side gig, Obama exulted that “GE has something to teach American businesses.”) This is much bigger than GE, by the way: Two-thirds of American corporations paid ZERO federal tax on their profits in 2005 (latest figures). Stewart: “I know the Supreme court ruled that corporations are people, but what I didn’t realize is that those people are assholes.” Meanwhile, pundits are shown calling for corporate tax cuts and freaking out about the “greedy, parasitic public employee unions” bankrupting the nation.
Later, Stewart had on Mansour O. El-Kikhia Libyan-born political scientist now at the U of Texas, to talk about the no-fly intervention and the Middle East uprisings. El-Kikhia, who fled Libya in the 1980s after witnessing a few too many public hangings (inadvertently, on his way to work!), has family in Bengazi and says 25-50,000 people would have died there had allied forces not intervened. Stewart doesn’t get too far drawing him out on the bigger questions (e.g. If Libya, why not Yemen? Bahrain?), but he wrings as much good humor as anyone could out of a conversation that touches on open-air executions.