Joseph Palermo: Wouldn’t it be something if the Bin Ladens of the world funneled untraceable cash into Republican candidates’ coffers because they know they can count on the GOP to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, two of their greatest recruiting vehicles?
Robert Reich: So the race to the bottom is now official. Wall Street will set up its casino wherever financial gambling is least regulated.
Ted Vaill: President McCain has urged that the United Nations move its headquarters out of the U.S., and he has proposed that the U.S. leave the UN, which he calls “useless and corrupt”. He also has refused to meet with most foreign leaders in the White House, or to travel abroad, except for heavily guarded and secret trips to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Randy Shaw: Many believe that Hollywood films provide escapist entertainment, and should not be seen as sending political messages. We are told that studios are about making money, and that they would make tribute films to Karl Marx if that were good for the box office. Well, the historic record and the films of 2010 say otherwise.
Robert Illes: But thank you Madame Lincoln for the clarity of the political landscape, and the Democratic Party. This insane healthcare debate is when we knew the “60-vote majority” was useless.
H. Scott Prosterman: In some parts of the country, the words “Nancy Pelosi” and “Barbara Boxer” are dirty words. They symbolize divisiveness, alienation, big government, taxes. All over the country people are giving Tea Parties so they can socialize over crumpets and vent their anger about Pelosi and Boxer and their San Francisco values.
Articles by Berry Craig. Tina Dupuy. Michele Waslin. Lawrence Wittner. Ron Wolff. Robert Reich. Anthony Samad. Kamala Lopez. Randy Shaw. Georgianne Nienaber. T. Christian Miller. Andrea Nill. Natasha Minsker. Steve Hockstadt. Mike Price. Tracy Emblem. David Love. Lydia Howell. Blair Fox, Tom Degan, David Love, Seth Hoy, Gary Corseri, Walter G. Moss, Ivan Eland, Joseph Palermo, Georgianne Nienaber, Jim Fuller, Andrea Nill, Michael Sigman
Michael Sigman: Californians can do something about time-consuming fundraising, nefarious corporate influence, and obscene personal spending in American politics on Tuesday, June 8. A victory for Proposition 15, the California Fair Elections Act, will mean that the race for the Golden State’s Secretary of State will be a “clean money election” in 2014 and 2018. A small step, but a necessary one.
Robert Reich: Today’s quiz: At a time when California’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is losing ground to her Republican rival in the primary because of her ties to Wall Street…when Wall Street is political poison, why are politicians still so intent on doing its bidding?
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.
Robert Reich: The White House dismisses all three of these three measures “populist,” as if that adjective is the equivalent of “irresponsible.” But in fact, these amendments are necessary in order to restore trust in our financial system. They would reduce Wall Street’s tendency to take huge risks, pocket the wins, and fob off the losses on the public.
Michael Sigman: Marxist socialism may be dead, but perhaps what Marx called capital’s internal contradictions, illustrated beautifully by the desperation of Goldman and other mega-corporations for short-term profits may, by strengthening the case for fundamental financial reform, bring us closer to a more livable world.
Robert Reich: What do oil giant BP, the mining company Massey Energy, and Goldman Sachs have in common? They’re all big firms involved in massive plunder. BP’s oil spill is already one of the biggest and most damaging in American history. Massey’s mine disaster, claiming the lives of 29 miners, is one of the worst in recent history. Goldman’s alleged fraud is but a part of the largest financial meltdown in 75 years.
Friday Feedback: I saw a great sign downtown today in the Immigration Reform March, “Jose didn’t take your job — Goldman-Sachs did.” It is time that those who are having a hard time began to show the courage to blame the ones who have really trampled on them: Goldman-Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Bank of America, Chase, Exxon, BP, and the filthy rich who didn’t get that way by doing the work
Robert Reich: If Washington knew what was good for it and the nation, it would sever its financial connections with the Street. Better yet, it would enact legislation seeking to limit the impact of private and corporate money in politics. That goal is made more difficult to achieve by the grotesque recent Supreme Court decision (Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission) holding that corporations, including financial firms, have the right to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns. But there are ways around this, such as more generous public funding for candidates that choose not to take private contributions. Hopefully as well, the president will nominate Supreme Court justices who understand the importance of public trust in democratic institutions, and the difference between companies and people.
Joseph Palermo: In 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown , Simon Johnson and James Kwak point out that in September 2008 the high-flying masters of the universe were at their weakest point and had no choice but to do whatever the government demanded of them. Never mind the supreme irony of Wall Street bankers who claimed government had no place interfering in the miracles of the market begging the government to save them, it was at that time when we should have cut them down to size.
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.
Paul Loeb: Nothing makes us feel more powerless than the corruption of our democracy by money. It undermines progress on every issue we face. If America is ever to deal with our critical problems, we’re going to need to sever the links between wealth and politics, a task made more challenging by the recent Supreme Court decision that overturned a hundred years of precedent to increase still further the influence of companies like Exxon, United Health and Goldman Sachs.
Robert Reich: Rather than defending the outsized paychecks of Dimon, Blankfein, and the rest of Wall Street as part of the free market system, the President needs to demand that Wall Street help homeowners on Main Street. The Obama White House should have made this a condition of getting the giant bailouts in the first place. The least it can do now is to is to make the free market system work for everyone.
Joseph Palermo: Unless the Congress moves some progressive legislation quickly there’s going to be trouble this fall because any political party that is stupid enough to allow a couple of shmucks like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson, or the outcome of a special election in New England, to unravel its governing coalition doesn’t deserve to be in power.
Joseph Palermo: The Democrats must pass a lot of legislation before the midterms or they’re going to be very sorry. Soon enough, given the Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, we’re going to see campaigns where our choice for U.S. Senator will be between the “Doritos Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips” candidate and the “Pepsi/Pizza Hut/KFC/Frito Lay/Taco Bell” candidate. Former President George W. Bush is raking in the bucks speaking at the National Grocers’ Association. First he defiled the presidency by getting John Yoo to turn the Justice Department into a law factory for monarchical presidential powers, now he shares the stage as an inspirational speaker with Terry Bradshaw. Our elections are about to become a satirical skit that Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report did a long time ago.
Joseph Palermo: We can call the 2000s the “Worse Than Zero” decade or the “Big Zero,” or anything we wish, but what characterized it most for me was the near total control of corporations, especially over our civic institutions. All of the terrible economic and governing ideas from the Reagan era crested and then crashed in the last eighteen months leaving something far less than “zero” in their wake.