A Capitalism for the People

luigi zingales

John Peeler: We need a capitalism in which no firm is too big to fail, in which corporations serve the public interest, and in which every person has a solid foundation for living a productive life..

The Shameful Murder of Dodd Frank

dodd-frank-wide

Robert Reich: Wall Street has effectively neutered the Dodd-Frank law, which is the best argument I know for applying the nation’s antitrust laws to the biggest banks and limiting their size.

Anthony Weiner Hands Republicans a Twofer

andrew breitbart

Joseph Palermo: The credibility of Anthony Weiner’s loud liberal voice in the House of Representatives, who recently showed the temerity to take on Justice Clarence Thomas for his conflict of interest in Citizens United, is now toast

The Battle for the Soul of the GOP

Robert Reich: Tea Partiers have almost as much contempt for big business and the Street as they do for government. After all, the Tea Party was born in anger over the Wall Street bailout. This is the heart of the civil war in the GOP.

Dems: Obama Broke Pledge to Force Banks to Help Homeowners

Rep. Zoe Lofgren

Paul Kiel and Olga Pierce: The Obama administration has relied on a voluntary program with few sticks, that simply offers banks incentives to modify mortgages.

Who Is Behind the Deficit Crisis

tax breaks

Shamus Cooke: Unless labor and community groups massively mobilize working people in fighting for a pro-worker solution to the deficit crisis, austerity measures — like reducing Social Security and Medicare — will be forced upon us.

New Finance Bill: Mountain of Legislative Paper, Molehill of Reform

Lloyd Blankein, Goldman Sachs

Robert Reich: The American people will continue to have to foot the bill for the mistakes of Wall Street’s biggest banks because the legislation does nothing to diminish the economic and political power of these giants.

Why Obama Should Put BP Under Temporary Receivership

plug hole

Robert Reich: It’s time for the federal government to put BP under temporary receivership, which gives the government authority to take over BP’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico until the gusher is stopped. This is the only way the public know what’s going on, be confident enough resources are being put to stopping the gusher, ensure BP’s strategy is correct, know the government has enough clout to force BP to use a different one if necessary, and be sure the President is ultimately in charge.

Financial Reform Too Small to Succeed

wall street reform

Joseph Palermo: The financial reform legislation currently winding its way through the Congress is a step in the right direction but it retains too much of the status quo that brought down the economy in the first place. The key problem, as many economists have been telling us, is that the top financial institutions remain “too big to fail.” Congress can enact all the regulations it wishes but even the best written rules won’t be enough to prevent another financial meltdown.

Break Up the Banks

Stimulus

Robert Reich: As long as the big banks are allowed to remain big, their political leverage over Washington will remain big. And as long as their political leverage remains big, the taxpayer and economic tab for the next mess they create will be big. By all means, give regulators resolution authority and also impose the tightest regulations possible. But Congress and the White House shouldn’t stop there. Limits should be placed on how big big banks can become.

Alan Greenspan: As Unrepentant as Ever

alan-greenspan

Joseph Palermo: He still wants to blame a “few bad apples,” instead of looking at his own role fanning the flames and pouring gasoline on the fire while the $8 trillion housing bubble was being pumped up. Greenspan said AIG’s problems were with insurance, but Born countered that if CDSs had been insurance they would have been regulated. Greenspan is bullshitting us again.

Fraud on the Street

Wall Street Bears

Robert Reich: It’s now clear Lehman Brothers’ balance sheet was bogus before the bank collapsed in 2008, catapulting the Street and the world into the worst financial crisis since 1929. The Lehman bankruptcy examiner’s recent report details what just about everyone on the Street has known since the firm imploded – that Lehman defrauded its investors. Even Hank Paulson, in his recent memoir, referred to Lehman’s balance sheet as bogus.

Who’s Killing Financial Reform?

Senator Chris Dodd

Robert Reich: Congress isn’t doing a thing about Wall Street because it’s in the pocket of Wall Street. Dodd’s outburst at the Street is like the alcoholic who screams at a bartender “how dare you give me another drink when all I’ve done is pleaded with you for one!”

Our Incredible Shrinking Democracy

Democracy

Robert Reich: It seems as if more and more decisions that should be made democratically are being shunted off somewhere to a few people who make them in back rooms. Which programs should be cut, which entitlements pared back, and what taxes raised in order to reduce the long-term budget deficit? Hmmm. Let’s convene a commission and have them decide.

Mister Obama, Do You Believe Us Now?

More-Bailouts

Tim Gatto: There’s one way to stop this coup on democracy, and that is for Congress to introduce a law specifying campaign limits and while they are at it, take corporate “personhood” and throw it in the trash bin where it belongs.

Government, Cafeteria Style

Cafeteria

Ron Wolff: Not only would cafeteria-style government be a logistical nightmare if it were attempted, but nearly every important function of an organized society would be under-funded, because a significant portion of the population would opt out.

The Housing Crisis and Wall Street Shame

Housing Crisis

The $75 billion federal program designed to bribe banks to modify mortgages has been a bust. No one knows the exact number of mortgages that have been modified (that will be reported next month) but housing experts I’ve talked with say it’s a tiny fraction of the number of homeowners in trouble. Seems that the big banks can’t be bothered.

Friday Feedback: Divestment Is the Answer

Single Payer is by far the best path, actually the only path. The pitch and claim for the Public Option is “Keeping the insurance companies honest.” Really? If I break the law I get prosecuted, fined, and jailed, that simple – do the crime – pay the time or the fine. That should keep them honest. Congress passes laws, and if they violate those or cheat they are out of the game.

Contractors in Iraq Are Hidden Casualties of War

Mother Dorothy Turpen (left) and caregiver Bev Glasgow sit next to Reggie Lane during a memorial service for his wife, Linda, in July 2009. Linda had been hospitalized after suffering respiratory distress. Under the shade of scrub oak and aspen, Reggie watched as Linda’s family and friends sang 'Amazing Grace' and looked at old photos of the couple. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

“These guys are like the Vietnam vets of this generation,” said Lee Frederiksen, a psychologist who worked for Mission Critical Psychological Services. “The normal support that you would get if you were injured in the line of duty as a police officer or if you were injured in the military . . . just doesn’t exist.”

Obama’s Second Biggest Test: Reforming Wall Street, and Why Early Indications Aren’t Hopeful

finger

itigroup — the giant Wall Street bank still on life-support courtesy of $45 billion from American taxpayers — wants to pay its 25 top executives an average of $10 million each this year, and award its best trader $100 million. Whaaaaaat?

Foreign Workers for U.S. Are Casualties Twice Over

Rey Torres was killed in an ambush by Iraqi insurgents leaving behind his wife, Gorgonia Torres, right, and their children. (Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica Rey Torres dreamed of a better life for his wife and five children when he left a neighborhood of wooden shacks and burning trash piles to drive a bus on a U.S. military base near Baghdad. He hoped to send his children to college and build a new home with [...]

Military Fails to Collect from AIG for Care to Injured Contractors

medivac

by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica The Pentagon has failed to bill American Insurance Group and other major insurance carriers for millions of dollars in medical care provided to private contractors injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new federal report. The United States has hired hundreds of thousands of civilians to work in the [...]

Injured War Zone Contractors Fight to Get Care From AIG and Other Insurers

Contractor Tim Newman, left; contractor Kevin Smith-Idol, middle; widow Rita Richardson, whose husband was killed by a roadside blast in Iraq. (Photos courtesy of Tim Newman, ABC News, Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica and Doug Smith, the Los Angeles Times Civilian workers who suffered devastating injuries while supporting the U.S. war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan have come home to a grinding battle for basic medical care, artificial limbs, psychological counseling and other services. The insurance companies responsible for their treatment under taxpayer-funded [...]

My Lunch With Drew: K Street Makes Hay Either Way

lobbyists

Now that Obama has been in the White House awhile, I asked my friend Drew, a lifelong GOP contributor, to lunch at a seafood restaurant near his K Street office to see how he was managing to get along. “So is your public relations business suffering since the Democrats are in power?” I began, to [...]

Color of Law: New York, City of the Poor

poverty1

As the song goes, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere, it’s up to you, New York, New York.” The problem is that if you are counting on making it in New York City, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment. A recent report by The Center for an Urban Future [...]

Returning to the Rule of Law: Bogus Republican Complaints about AIG Bailout

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS).

Last week, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) weighed in to express his outrage at the lack of government control which led to the AIG bailout scandal. This isn’t the first time that Sessions has expressed outrage over wasteful spending and lack of government control. Back when the Iraq war was young, news broke that Paul Bremer [...]

AIG and the Undeserving Rich

dry-bones

Charles Blow, the “moderate” who seems to write a lot of words but never takes a clear stand on anything, recently lamented on the op-ed page of the New York Times about what a small matter the $165 million in bonuses really were compared to the $170 billion AIG received in government welfare. Sheryl Gay [...]

Rachel Maddow’s Chronology of AIG’s Greed

Check out Rachel Maddow’s chronology of AIG’s corporate wrongdoing. She does a great job of summing it up in a nutshell.

Congress’s Potemkin Populism

bushido

It’s nice to see that when the public gets sufficiently angry about something, Congress responds. In a rare show of bipartisanship, members are eagerly registering shock and outrage at AIG’s bonus payments by coming up with an assortment of ways to reclaim the bonanza, including taxing them away retroactively. Who says democracy is dead? But [...]

This Week in The LA Progressive: March 15 to 21, 2009

Averting the Greater Depression The Rich Countries’ Faltering “United Front.” During the 1930s, Europe and the U.S. were also unable to agree on a common strategy, which led to a worldwide trade war and the plunge into depression. –Carl Bloice Economic Recovery Will Be More than Trusting President Obama’s Stimulus Plan. But then, this economic [...]

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