News & Comment
Blogs and Opinion
Money, Power and the Rule of Law by Simon Johnson, economix.blogs.nytimes.com | October 4, 2012Economic policy is always torn between helping the broader social interest – lots of ordinary people – and favoring particular special interests. Unfortunately, special interests typically win out in the kind of situation we have in America in 2012, when it’s all about spending money to win friends and influence people. The most effective way to push back against powerful special interests is to have the same rules for everyone – and to enforce those rules fairly, even when they are broken by the richest and most politically connected people in the land. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of New York took a major step toward restoring the rule of law this week, by bringing a case against JPMorgan Chase. But it will be an uphill battle; the forces against him are incredibly strong, including some within the Obama administration. read more »
4 Disturbing Ways Big Banks Have Turned Colleges Into Money-Grubbing Institutions by Noah S. Bernstein, alternet.org | October 4, 2012Drastic changes are being made to American college and university life -- changes that are fundamentally altering the ecology of higher education in this country and undercutting the very mission of the college experience as we know it. A growing culture of reform has turned the campus quad away from preparing students for citizenship -- that combination of “intelligence plus character” the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. once famously described. In its place, we now have campus environments that hold certain aspects of student life hostage to corporate interests, molding students into consumers at the same time the voices and opinions of the student body are increasingly silenced. As a result, higher education, often noted as the best insurance policy toward social mobility, is now no such thing (at least good insurance policies pay their claims). Here’s a look at some disturbing changes taking place on campuses across the country. read more »
Billionaires Are The Victims! by Thomas Frank, thedailybeast.com | October 4, 2012During the financial crisis and bailouts of 2008, it probably occurred to very few average people that we were entering a period of hardship for billionaires. But among the nation’s economic titans, the idea of billionaire victimhood caught on immediately. And so, in the months and years that followed, the believers in true capitalism gathered in the nation’s parks to make their voices heard—and to complain sorrowfully about how this nation of moochers and looters persists in making snippy remarks about the successful. I admit that I was impressed at first by the unconflicted way in which these proud voices of the strong advanced their war on the world by means of tearful weepy-woo. But then I started to get it: self-pity is central in the consciousness of the resurgent right. Depicting themselves as victimized in any and every situation is not merely a fun game of upside-down; it is essential to their self-understanding. read more »
The Real Incumbent In Tonight's Debate Is "The Plutocracy" by Richard (RJ) Eskow, OurFuture.org | October 3, 2012The conventional wisdom says that when a President runs for re-election the race becomes a referendum on the economy. Unemployment's still at record highs, poverty has soared, and middle-class Americans are struggling to stay afloat. And yet the President has a commanding lead in the polls. read more »
- The complicated story of how the 1%ers and their corporations evade democracy's taxes is the story of our crumbling schools and infrastructure and the flow of all the gains of our economy to a very few at the top. This tax evasion is also part of the story of our deficits and debt. The tax evasion is "legal" -- because the tax evaders pay the people who write the tax laws. read more »
One-Hit Wonders by James Kwak, baselinescenario.com | October 2, 2012Meg Whitman is what is known as a superstar CEO. She became CEO of eBay in 1998 and took it public; during her reign, eBay became one of the most successful, most valuable Internet companies in existence (and Whitman became a billionaire). She used her celebrity to mount a high-profile, expensive, and ultimately unsuccessful campaign to become governor of California (losing to career politician Jerry Brown) before being named CEO of HP, the iconic Silicon Valley company. Why did HP, one of the largest information technology companies in existence, hire Whitman, who preceded her stint at eBay (auction house for random stuff from people’s attics) with jobs at Disney, a shoe company, a flower delivery service, and a toy company? Because of the idea of the superstar CEO, with transferable general management skills, who can transform any organization. The problem is that the whole theory rests on a myth. read more »
Tax Reform Won't Spark Economic Growth by David Callahan, blogs.reuters.com | October 1, 2012One of the few things that President Obama and Mitt Romney are likely to agree on when they debate next week is the need for tax reform. Both candidates have backed streamlining America’s crazy-quilt tax code, and both have said that reforms could boost economic growth. Meanwhile, two key congressional committees held a rare bipartisan hearing last week – with lawmakers from both parties saying that tax reform is needed to rev up the economy. Yet exactly how and why tax reform would spur growth is far from clear. read more »
What We Still Don’t Know About Mitt Romney’s Taxes by Theodoric Meyer, propublica.org | October 1, 2012With the documents Mitt Romney released recently, we know a bit more about his taxes. We know, for instance, that Romney paid a rate of 14.1 percent on $13.7 million in income on his 2011 tax return, which he achieved by purposely overpaying. Though he was entitled to deduct $4 million in charitable contributions, Romney deducted only $2.25 million to keep his tax rate above 13 percent. We know that Romney has paid state and federal income taxes each year since at least 1990. And we know that Romney’s tax rate since 1990 never dipped below 13.66 percent, according to his accountants. Romney paid an average effective tax rate between 1990 and 2009 of 20.2 percent. But there’s still a lot we don’t know. “I think most of the major questions we had before are still out there,” said Brian Galle, a tax law professor at Boston College. Here are a few. read more »
5 Obscene Reasons Why Richest Americans grow Richer As Middle-Class Declines by Les Leopold, alternet.org | October 1, 2012If you want to see what’s wrong with America take a good look at the nauseating list of the 400 richest Americans – the Forbes 400 . While the economy struggled to create jobs, it was another banner year for the super-rich. They increased their collective wealth by a whopping $200 billion, which is more than enough to provide every student in the country with free higher education. Meanwhile, the median middle-class family saw its net worth drop from $102,844 in 2005 to $66,740 in 2010 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. So while the richest 400 Americans increased their wealth by 54 percent since 2005, the median middle-class family saw its wealth decline by 35 percent. The rich list gives us insight into how wealth is accumulated today. Are the super-rich “wealth creators” who bring new goods, services and jobs to our economy? Or are they “wealth extractors” who cleverly skim it from the rest of us? read more »
Never Underestimate Wall Street's Ability To Overestimate Washington by Stan Collender, OurFuture.org | October 1, 2012Originally posted at Capital Gains and Games. This is a true but hard-t-believe story. read more »
A culture of bullying and greed: Wanted - interns for Goldman Sachs... , independent.co.uk | October 17, 2012
WikiLeaks Is Down After Denial of Service Attacks, mashable.com | August 9, 2012
After five days of denial of service attacks, the WikiLeaks website has been knocked out. more »
The Spreading Scourge of Corporate Corruption, The New York Times | July 11, 2012
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Libor scandal is how familiar it seems. Sure, for some of the world’s leading banks to try to manipulate one of the most important interest rates in contemporary finance is clearly egregious. more »
Needy States Use Housing Aid Cash to Plug Budgets, The New York Times | May 16, 2012
Vermont Legislature Passes Resolution Challenging Citizens United, commondreams.org | April 21, 2012
From 'Pipe Dream' to 'Mainstream' citizens fight back against corporate personhood more »
Goldman Sachs: Lloyd Blankfein 'disappointed' by claims of 'toxic' greed, telegraph.co.uk | March 14, 2012
Legal Fees Mount at Fannie and Freddie, The New York Times | February 22, 2012
Taxpayers have advanced almost $50 million in legal payments to defend former executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the three years since the government rescued the giant mortgage companies, a regulatory analysis has found.
To: DOJ Funky fascist America Dept
Subject: Accountability more »
Apple investigates 'sweat shop' factories following suicide threat, telegraph.co.uk | February 13, 2012
The technology giant, which has faced criticism over working conditions at some of its suppliers’ plants in China, said today that it had asked the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to conduct “special voluntary audits” of several facilities, including factories owned b more »
On the Trail of Mortgage Fraud, The New York Times | January 17, 2012
When is a crime not a crime?
When criminality subverts the system, challenges the system, becomes the system. From the Kleptocrats' point of view it is the systematic breakdown of each and every law which gets in their way; preventing the ascent to power of their enhanced moral values.
The Kleptocrats are really America's third political party.
Help Stop SOPA/PIPA Breaking The Internet, wordpress.org | January 14, 2012
You are an agent of change. Has anyone ever told you that? Well, I just did, and I meant it.