The Arlen Spectacle

arlen

There was only one possible explanation. The bullet entered the president’s neck, bounced off his necktie, made a right turn in midair, entered Governor Connolly’s back, broke a rib, and exited his arm after breaking his wrist. Following perhaps the most exhaustive trip ever taken by a rifle round, it was found — in pristine [...]

The President’s American Recovery & Reinvestment Act: What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us

shovel-ready

One of the first things President Barack Obama did as our nation’s Chief Executive was to urge Congress to pass, then sign, the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), better known as the nation’s “economic stimulus” package. The $787 billion bill, the largest taxpayer footed bill ever passed, was viewed as the primary vehicle to [...]

Where Government Spending Should be Trimmed — And Why It’s Necessary to Fast-Track Universal Health Care

play-aig

It’s no accident that as Congress returns this week from its two-week recess and begins debate on the $3.5 trillion budget plans for the fiscal year starting in October — which may or may not include a provision that fast-tracks Obama’s health care proposal by allowing it to pass the Senate with a mere majority [...]

Stimulus Mania: Is It The 21st Century Soup Line?

soupline

The efforts to jump start the economy in the United States, in hopes of causing a global ripple, have taken on an entirely new meaning as people and industry alike wait for the $787 billion dollar economic stimulus package to drop. It’s like a “mania” as so many cities, states, industries, school districts, homeowners, small [...]

A Short Citizen’s Guide to Kooks, Demagogues, and Right-Wingers On Tax Day

what-are-we-protesting

No one likes to pay taxes, so tax day typically attracts a range of right-wing Republicans, kooks, and demagogues, all of whom tell us how awful we have it. Herewith a short citizen’s guide (that is, a citizen’s guide that’s short rather than a guide for short citizens) responding to the predictable charges: “Americans pay [...]

We Need More Stimulus, Not More Bailout

patching panks

With only $110 billion remaining in the TARP bailout fund, all signs are that Tim Geithner is preparing to return to Congress seeking more bailout money. He’ll bring along the results of his bank “stress tests,” which will probably show many that big banks are still technically insolvent, along with bankruptcy scenarios for General Motors [...]

Nationalizing Banks and Industry: Why Capitalists Hate Socialism

worse-depression

The United States has always been a political economy, requiring government regulation of its finance and money markets, and using government stimulation on its labor force. “Free Market” enterprise is based on the notion that open markets and the competition derived from competing ideas for consumer patronage will create a market balance (equilibrium) that will [...]

An Open E-Mail To President Obama on State Secrets and Illegal Wiretaps

wiretapping

After thinking about Attorney General Eric Holder’s unfathomable court filing defending the Bush-wacked “states secret” defence and a claim of “sovereign immunity” in lawsuits involving illegal wiretapping, I sent this e-mail to The White House. TO: President Barack Obama FROM: Charley James DATE: April 8, 2009 SUBJECT: Where Did Change To Believe In Go? Dear [...]

Why We’re Not at the Beginning of the End, and Probably Not Even at the End of the Beginning

populist-rage

Are we at the beginning of the end? Mortgage interests are now so low (the average rate on 30-year fixed mortgages was 4.87% Thursday, slightly higher than the 4.78% last week, but still the lowest level since 1971) that President Obama has begun urging Americans to refinance their homes so they can save money and [...]

CSI Bailout, with William K. Black — Bill Moyers Journal Interview

handcuffs

William K. Black suspects that it was more than greed and incompetence that brought down the U.S. financial sector and plunged the economy in recession — it was fraud. And he would know. When it comes to financial shenanigans, William K. Black, the former senior regulator who cracked down on banks during the savings and [...]

The Obama Progressive Agenda: A Progress Report

obama

Although progressives have already won two major victories – the stimulus package and the budget – and a reversal of a number of Bush anti-environment policies, most activists are focused on the troika of universal health care, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), and comprehensive immigration reform. Having asked activists across the nation over the [...]

Why You Should Work for a Hedge Fund

jacuzzi

Just because I lost a big chunk of my total retirement savings over the last year doesn’t mean I should be upset that 25 hedge-fund managers reaped a total of $11.6 billion during the same interval, according to Institutional Investor’s Alpha Magazine — including $2.5 billion for James Simons of Renaissance Technologies and $2 billion [...]

G-20 Tea with Her Royal Highness; Royal Bank of Scotland Trashed

obama-in-london

When Buddhists praying in the midst of financial district protests becomes news, we’re all in trouble. While the mainstream media focused on giftgate and other gaffes (FLOTUS — aka Michelle Obama as the First Lady of the United States — broke with protocol and shook Her Majesty’s hand without waiting for her to extend it [...]

The Administration’s Proposed Responsible Wall Streeter Tax Credit

recession-copy

The Administration is about to launch a new plan designed both to stimulate the economy and clean up Wall Street at the same time, the “Responsible Wall Streeter Tax Credit”.

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 [...]

This Week in The LA Progressive: March 22 to March 28

cuban-revolution1

Avoiding the Greater Depression New York, City of the Poor. This city that never sleeps, and others, will experience economic and social death without a vibrant middle class and viable opportunities to earn a living. –David A. Love The Magical Mystery Majority Budget. The bills passed, the Republicans threatened to sue, the Governor announced he [...]

AIG Bonuses: Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game

jasmyne cannick

I watched this week as the nation’s furor turned towards employees of insurance giant American International Group (A.I.G.) and the $200 million-plus in retention bonus payments recently doled out to executives. Executives, who, as we already know, are largely to blame for their role in A.I.G.’s financial crisis that led to the country’s economic meltdown [...]

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 [...]

The Auto Bailout: A Bad Deal

obama-detroit

With the economy tanking and unemployment skyrocketing, you’d think the Obama administration would be doing all it could to save jobs. But if its auto bailout plan is any indicator of its current direction, we’re on our way to losing a lot more jobs.

The Rich Countries’ Faltering “United Front”

crisis8

By now we’ve heard “The worst economic crisis since the 1930s” – or words to that effect – so many times it’s become like a mantra. But as the days roll on it begins to appear that it might just be an understatement and that not only does the economic situation appear more like the [...]

Economic Recovery Will Be More than Trusting President Obama’s Stimulus Plan

bottom-feeder

The Audacity Of Greed should be the title of President Obama’s next book. Never could he have imagined how tough getting out of an economic recession (borderline depression) when he signed up for the presidency. He knew the job was tough when he took it, he just didn’t know that greed would continue to trump [...]

Construction Industry Fails to Insure Workers, Even in Boom Times: Jobs Created with Stimulus Money May Lack Health Coverage

construction

The construction industry, which stands to gain the largest share of new jobs generated by the economic stimulus package — 670,000 jobs nationally — has a dismal record of insuring its workers, even in the best of times. A study released today by the Center on Policy Initiatives, Construction: Working Without a Healthcare Net, found [...]

This Week in the LA Progressive: March 9 to March 15, 2009

Across the Border Humvees in Tijuana: The US and the Mexican Narco-Wars. We need to clean up our own act before intervening in Mexico. Even under Obama we look too quickly to the military “solution” — no solution at all. –Diane Lefer Unreliable Immigration Data Is Out of Date and Context. Mainstream media running a [...]

Color of Law: Southern Governors Block the Stimulus Like the Schoolhouse Door

jindal

Recently, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) was accused of playing the race card when he characterized Southern governors’ opposition to the $787 billion federal stimulus package as “a slap in the face of African-Americans.” He was referring to the four Republican governors who have opposed accepting some or all of the money, including Gov. Rick Perry [...]

Erasing Red Ink: Slash the Defense Budget

pentagon

A front page article in the New York Times starts out with the sentence: “The budget that President Obama proposed on Thursday is nothing less than an attempt to end a three-decade era of economic policy dominated by the ideas of Ronald Reagan and his supporters.” Not so much. Ronald Reagan, despite his carefully crafted [...]

Worse Than Expected on the Economy

Keep your eyes on the gap between what the economy could produce at full employment and the paltry level of aggregate demand (consumers plus businesses plus exports). That’s why the stimulus is too small — and why my bet is the President will be back for more stimulus. The Commerce Department reported Friday that the [...]

Ensure Stimulus Funds Reach the CSU System

college student

The faculty in the California State University are deeply concerned about the rapid decline in the ability of our nation’s largest four-year university system to deliver higher education to all eligible students. Our public university system is staggering from deep cuts to state funding already made this year, last year, and earlier this decade. Now [...]

Between the Lines: New York Post “Chimp” Cartoon — Incendiary Satire Has a Dangerous Past

chimp-cartoon

The New York Post issued a “sideways” explanation (I really wouldn’t call it an apology) on a provocative and highly incendiary political cartoon it ran on February 18th. Combining two news events of the day, one in which a Connecticut woman named Charla Nash was attacked by her “pet” chimpanzee — which nearly ripped off [...]

Guess What? The New Deal Worked!

wpa

Since the economic crisis we’re now in is being compared to the Great Depression, the solutions being offered are being routinely compared to the New Deal. Republicans in particular have been quick to pronounce the New Deal a failure as a way of justifying their opposition to the new stimulus package and any other federal [...]

Madoff, Stanford, Ponzi and the Media

questionable ethics

Few had heard the name Bernard (Bernie) Madoff, as recently as two months ago. An equally small group was familiar with the term “Ponzi Scheme” when the Madoff scandal broke. And now there is the Sir R. Allen Stanford scandal. Now, in this era of keen observance to rules of fiscal prudence where the public [...]

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