Why S&P Has No Business Downgrading the U.S.

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Robert Reich: S&P’s intrusion into American politics is also ironic because, as I pointed out recently, much of our current debt is directly or indirectly due to S&P’s failures (along with the failures of the two other major credit-rating agencies — Fitch and Moody’s) to do their jobs before the financial meltdown.

Politics, Reality Show Style

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Tina Dupuy: For the last two and a half years politics has been trash television. We’ve had right-wing stars staying relevant through mudslinging and shamelessness. The tea party wouldn’t be satisfied with just one Snooki. We’ve had fake stings by phony pimps and ideology-driven hoaxes. Astroturf is being sold as organic outrage.

After Massachusetts: What Is to Be Done?

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Jules Siegel: Rahm Emanuel must make an accommodation with Dean. Otherwise, 2010 is going to be a repeat of Massachusetts, and Barack Hussein Obama will probably be a one-term president. The most troubling aspect of Massachusetts is that the GOP now has a viable presidential candidate and his name is Scott Brown. This is not Sarah Palin. This is a very astute politician who looks like a Ken Doll and can talk like a sane person when he wants to.

Progressives Mobilize to Save Obama, Democratic Party

Clockwise from top: Nancy Pelosi, Jed Lewison, Howard Dean and Jane Hamsher.

Republicans thought the “just say no” strategy that killed the Clinton plan would also work in 2009. But they forgot that this strategy now lacks the element of surprise, and that the Internet now prevents the corporate media from entirely controlling the debate.

Does the Obama Plan for Reforming Wall Street Measure Up?

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In a word: No. The plan doesn’t stop stop bankers from making huge, risky bets with other peoples’ money. It does increase capital requirements and oversight, but it doesn’t require bankers to take their pay in long-term stock options or warrants, and it doesn’t even hint that banks should go back to being partnerships instead [...]

The Three Essentials of Financial Reform

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As the White House unveils its long-awaited proposals to prevent another Wall Street meltdown in the future, keep a lookout for three essentials. Without them the Street will revert to its old ways as soon as the coast clears. In fact, now that the government has bailed out the Street, the biggest banks will take [...]

How the U.S. Empire Contributed to the Economic Crisis

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A few—and only a few—prescient commentators have questioned whether the U.S. can sustain its informal global empire in the wake of the most severe economic crisis since World War II. And the simultaneous quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan are leading more and more opinion leaders and taxpayers to this question. But the U.S. Empire helped [...]

Are We Courting a Populist Backlash?

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by Robert Reich – The government is doing a lousy job helping distressed homeowners. And according to John Dugan, the Comptroller of the Currency, the little that’s been done has had surprisingly little effect. Nearly 36 percent of homeowners holding mortgages whose terms were adjusted to give them more leeway defaulted on payments within three [...]

Shall We Call It a Depression Now?

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by Robert Reich – Friday’s employment report, showing that employers cut 533,000 jobs in November, 320,000 in October, and 403,000 in September — for a total of over 1.2 million over the last three months — begs the question of whether the meltdown we’re experiencing should be called a Depression.

Holiday Gloom in Silicon Valley

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by Carl Bloice – A couple of days before Thanksgiving one of my downstairs neighbors matter of factly told me he had lost his job. He’d been abruptly laid off by a local information technology startup company. “They let go so many people I don’t know how they are going to get the work done,” [...]

Paulson, Bernanke, Try Hustling Congress

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Here we go again. As the Bush administration did with the Patriot Act and Iraq War resolution, Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke spent today trying to hustle Congress into new territory using the familiar administration tactic of hysteria. Fortunately, this time it looks as if more than a few members have read the fine print [...]

Iraq to IGMFU: A McCain Meltdown?

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By Mary Lyon — Is John McCain in a meltdown? Can this campaign be saved? Can the dots remain unconnected? I don’t know about the first two, other than just observing from the sidelines. But the third one I can take a crack at. I’ll try to be brief. After all, neither you nor I [...]