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book cover

Zachary Karabell on ‘The Case for Big Government’

Jeff Madrick’s new book insists that the anti-government ethos that is a treasured American prejudice is not grounded in the new economic reality. But is he fighting the last war?

Posted on Feb 20, 2009 READ MORE


Robber Barons
icsd.k12.ny.us

A Non-Rising Tide Lifts No Boats

The rationale of the TARP bailout’s “capital-injection program”—providing banks with capital that will increase loans to consumers and businesses—has apparently been forgotten by the 20 largest banks that received TARP money. A Treasury Department survey has found that lending in the last quarter of 2008 was stagnant, or even slightly declined, despite $250 billion in capital-injection funds.

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE


General Chrysler
truckend.com

More Aid, Please

General Motors, recipient of the 2009 “Nation’s Most Resistant-to-Change Company That Still Gets Federal Assistance” award, wants more. The auto giant on Wednesday asked for $16.6 billion in loans, on top of the $13.4 billion already granted. All this amid GM plans to shed 47,000 jobs worldwide.

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE


Bank Owned
willows-journal.com

$75 Billion to Fight Foreclosures

While $700 billion was given to the banks and credit institutions that haphazardly pushed forward our current economic fiasco, millions of homeowners at risk of foreclosure may now be given only about one-tenth of that figure—$75 billion—in an effort to slow the deterioration of the housing market.

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Petros Giannakouris

Bad News From America’s Top Spy

It turns out that Wall Street, rather than Islamic jihad, has produced our most dangerous terrorists. Just ask the new director of national intelligence, who warned that the deepening economic crisis could trigger a return to the “violent extremism” of the 1920s and 1930s.

Posted on Feb 16, 2009 READ MORE


Gaza Flowers
European Pressphoto Agency / Abed Rahim Khatib

Israel Opens Gaza Border ... for Flowers

In probably the least appropriate metaphor for relations between Israel and Palestine, Israel has allowed, for the first time in a year, Gazan flower companies to export 25,000 carnations to Europe in time for Valentine’s Day, though the volume pales in comparison to previous annual exports of 60 million flowers.

Posted on Feb 13, 2009 READ MORE


Club Gitmo
rushlimbaugh.com

Limbaugh Selling ‘Club Gitmo’ Gear

Leave it to the proto-fascists to find a way to make money off torture, human rights abuses and the degradation of America’s image abroad. Rush Limbaugh has found it acceptable to sell “Club Gitmo” shirts on his Web site, complete with the image of a diving board and swimming pool (water + board, get it?).

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE


Reid
The New York Times / Susan Etheridge

Reid Announces Stimulus Agreement

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Wednesday afternoon that congressional leaders have finally agreed on a $789 billion economic stimulus package, pushing the plan to a final House and Senate vote by Friday at the earliest.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE


Job Loss
nytimes.com

U.S. Unemployment Hits 7.6 Percent

With little surprise but incredible effect, the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent in January, hitting its highest level since 1992. President Obama used the report to prod Congress to pass his economic stimulus package.

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 READ MORE


Kenneth Lewis
bloomberg.com

Slapping the Pay Cuffs on Execs

Amending current TARP rules and regulations, President Obama is expected to put a $500,000 cap on executive salaries at companies that receive large amounts of bailout funds. It would mean major pay cuts for the likes of Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis, who took home more than $20 million in 2007.

Posted on Feb 4, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Nikolas Giakoumidis

It’s Not Going to Be OK

The daily bleeding of thousands of jobs will soon turn our economic crisis into a political crisis. Our empire is dying. How will we cope with our decline? Will we cling to the absurd dreams of a superpower and a glorious tomorrow or will we responsibly face our stark new limitations?

Posted on Feb 2, 2009 READ MORE


America Faces the Music in Davos

The American participants in this year’s World Economic Forum have been the first to confront the full international blowback to the U.S.-created world economic crisis, which has devastated the nation’s reputation for competence, along with the justification for its six-decade role as world leader.

Posted on Feb 1, 2009 READ MORE


Exxon Mobil
abcnews.com

Exxon Ignoble

Resilient and ultimately morally bankrupt, international oil darling Exxon Mobil has managed to take the 2008 medal for most profitable American corporation, despite a 33 percent fall in fourth-quarter earnings.

Posted on Jan 30, 2009 READ MORE


Angry!
tumblr.com

World Economic Growth Slowest Since WWII

The world economy this year is likely to grow at a rate of only 0.5 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund, which re-evaluated its figures after the U.K. officially entered into recession last week. The growth rate, as projected, is the lowest in more than 60 years.

Posted on Jan 28, 2009 READ MORE


General Motors Lobby
nation.co.ke

Post-Bailout, Lobbying Continues

Without skipping a beat, once-troubled financial entities are continuing to spend big to lobby Congress as they pocket billions in TARP bailout money. The lobbying is defended by the bail-outted firms as a “transparent and effective way” to be heard on policy issues.

Posted on Jan 23, 2009 READ MORE


Geithner Claw!
bloomberg.com

Geithner Urges ‘Fundamental Reform’ in Bailout

It’s the first full day of Obama’s administration and things are looking a bit different in D.C. Treasury secretary nominee Timothy Geithner called for “fundamental reform” of the $700 billion bailout, claiming the existing bailout package favored big business over struggling families.

Posted on Jan 21, 2009 READ MORE


Citibank
pattisonsign.com

Citigroup Does the Splits

After receiving $45 billion from U.S. taxpayers just two months ago, Citibank’s much-maligned parent Citigroup will be no longer, as the financial giant announced in Solomon-style manner Friday that it will split itself into two, dividing the company’s traditional banking business— becoming Citicorp—and its riskier investment department—Citi Holdings.

Posted on Jan 16, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
flickr.com / Presidential Inaugural Committee

Wizards of the Inauguration

While Barack Obama banned corporations and big donors from funding his inauguration so as to not trammel the public celebration, the big event’s multimillion-dollar bill is instead being footed by Wall Street executives and other financial employees acting as fundraisers. Abracadabra—no more special interests.

Posted on Jan 9, 2009 READ MORE


book cover
amazon.com

Jay Feldman on ‘Concentration Camps on the Home Front’

A revelatory account of a hidden chapter of the treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II deepens our understanding of American prejudice and the abuse of power.

Posted on Jan 9, 2009 READ MORE


The 21st Century Is Finally Here, a Bit Behind Schedule

Social and political epochs rarely end precisely on schedules provided by calendars. The outcome of this year’s election means that 2009 will, finally, mark the beginning of the 21st century.

Posted on Dec 31, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Craig Ruttle

Why I Am a Socialist

The free market and globalization, promised as the route to worldwide prosperity, have been exposed as a con game. We will either find our way out of this mess by embracing an uncompromising democratic socialism or we will continue to be fleeced and impoverished by our bankrupt elite.

Posted on Dec 29, 2008 READ MORE


Caracas Shopping
thewe.cc

Chavez to Mall: Váyase!

Nothing says full of yourself like ordering a Venezuelan mayor to halt construction of a near-complete shopping mall after passing by it in a car. Obviously, President Hugo Chavez has a bit of a ego, though his suggestion to use the facility as a university or hospital, not as a monument to consumption and capitalism, does seem a bit more just.

Posted on Dec 24, 2008 READ MORE


Generic Unemployment
connectedmichigan.com

Unemployment Filings at 26-Year High

With American jobs being steadily peeled away, hundreds of thousands of people are being forced to seek unemployment benefits for the first time. The number of first-time claims rose 5.4 percent last week, to their highest level in more than a quarter-century.

Posted on Dec 24, 2008 READ MORE


Bush Bailed Out
The New York Times / Doug Mills

To the Bailoutmobile!

In an avowed effort to save capitalism from itself, President Bush announced Friday that he would throw the Big Three failing auto companies a $17.4 billion lifesaver, siphoning that money from the initial $700 billion bailout slush fund authorized by Congress in October.

Posted on Dec 19, 2008 READ MORE


Latino Leaders
AP photo / Andre Penner

Latin Leaders Rebuke U.S.

In a summit that celebrated the absence of the U.S. on its guest list, Latin American leaders met in Brazil to discuss a post-U.S. hegemonic world. The talks, which centered on the “demise” of the capitalist model, also snubbed former colonizing nations Portugal and Spain in a further demonstration of the increasing political autonomy of the region.

Posted on Dec 17, 2008 READ MORE


Blundering U.S. Should Spare the World Any More Nation Building

According to a new report, the U.S. has accomplished little more in Iraq than restoration of the basic services destroyed by the American invasion and the looting that followed. This is after killing or wounding—how many, a half million?—Iraqi civilians in order to liberate them. No wonder the Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at George W. Bush.

Posted on Dec 16, 2008 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
New York Times / Stephen Crowley

Bailout to Jump-Start Detroit

Agreement has been reached between the White House and congressional Democrats to offer the U.S. auto industry a $14 billion emergency package aimed at keeping the Big Three going until spring. Also, in the grand tradition of state socialism, the deal includes a new auto “czar” to oversee the restructuring of Detroit.

Posted on Dec 10, 2008 READ MORE


Unemployment Chart
U.S. Department of Labor

A Dark November for Jobs

The news continues to get worse after the government finally put the “official” stamp on the current recession. The Labor Department has announced that 533,000 jobs were lost in November, the biggest monthly cut in 34 years—with analysts fearing that the 11-month trend of increasing job losses will deepen even further.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE


Big Three
aolcdn.com

Poll: Auto Bailout Low on Fuel

With a bailout of the Big Three hovering over our political landscape, popular opinion has signaled a considerable voice against any federal support for the failing auto industry. A poll shows 61% of Americans oppose a bailout, believing any government assistance would be both unfair and ineffective in fixing the economy.

Posted on Dec 3, 2008 READ MORE


WalMart
Patrick E. McCarthy

A Casualty of Black Friday

What does the post-Thanksgiving shopping rush dubbed Black Friday really symbolize in the U.S.? The death of a Long Island worker after a mob of shoppers rushed into a Wal-Mart certainly shows the worst of American consumerism and excess, but where do we position such exuberance in a time of economic downturn?

Posted on Nov 28, 2008 READ MORE


Unions for Obama
my.barackobama.com

Where’s Labor?

Not only is Barack Obama packing his inner circle with neo-liberal Clinton stalwarts, he’s also avoiding the question of labor by not including any representative of workers in the economic policy team he announced Monday. What gives?

Posted on Nov 26, 2008 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
washingtonpost.com

Running on Empty

Republican Sen. Richard Shelby seems to be one of the only real capitalists left on Capitol Hill. The Alabaman argued Wednesday that U.S. auto firms should be left to the realities of the market, letting companies like Ford, GM and Chrysler go bankrupt and forcing the failing industry to carry out what Shelby believes are much-needed reforms.

Posted on Nov 19, 2008 READ MORE


Deflation
telegraph.co.uk

Deflation Dangers Daunt the Economy

Analysts believe the economy is already in “horrific shape”—with news this month of record-breaking drops in the cost of living and new home construction—and is inching closer to a dangerous deflationary period, which could worsen the current economic crisis by making debts even harder to repay.

Posted on Nov 19, 2008 READ MORE


Bush

‘Daily Show’: Bush Valiantly Defends Free Market

Good thing President Bush was there to remind attendees at last weekend’s G-20 summit that capitalism isn’t all bad; after all, it gave us Hot Wheels and iPods!

Posted on Nov 18, 2008 READ MORE


Some Blame Must Follow the Financial Collapse

“What am I going to tell the public,” one French official asked, “when there are 3 million people marching in the streets of Paris? That ‘we all made mistakes’? That no one was really responsible?”

Posted on Nov 11, 2008 READ MORE


Unemployment
wfxl.com

Jobless Rate Hits 14-Year High

As if to prevent surplus national exuberance over the electoral defeat of John McCain on Tuesday, the Labor Department announced that the country’s unemployment rate has hit a 14-year high of 6.5 percent, with 240,000 jobs lost in October as joblessness continues to increase in the face of economic turmoil.

Posted on Nov 7, 2008 READ MORE



us.penguingroup.com

Nicholas von Hoffman on Kevin Phillips’ ‘Bad Money’

An insightful book discloses how a confidence game combined pride and cunning and stupidity to bring America to the brink of catastrophe.

Posted on Oct 31, 2008 READ MORE


McCain’s Socialist Delusion

Wherever John McCain appears on the stump in these waning days of the presidential campaign, he is always accompanied by his imaginary friend “Joe the Plumber,” but it is the specter of Karl Marx that lurks just offstage.

Posted on Oct 22, 2008 READ MORE


Bush Waving
usatoday.com

Bush’s Farewell Gala

As if there was no better way to conclude the past eight years of the current administration, President Bush will host his own personalized going-away party: the world’s first “global financial summit,” where leaders will discuss the current global economic troubles and hopefully ways to prevent such crises from recurring.

Posted on Oct 22, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Henny Ray Abrams

The Idiots Who Rule America

Our oligarchic class is incompetent at governing, managing the economy, coping with natural disasters, educating our young, handling foreign affairs, providing basic services like health care and safeguarding individual rights. They have no concept, thanks to the educations they have received, of the common good.

Posted on Oct 20, 2008 READ MORE


Bank
spiegel.de

Otto Von Bailout

If you thought the United States’ $700-billion bailout would quell the global financial crisis, think again. The German parliament just approved a $675-billion bailout of Germany’s financial markets, a plan that is part of a coordinated European response to volatile global and regional markets.

Posted on Oct 17, 2008 READ MORE


Palin and McCain
AP photo / Gerald Herbert

The Hoover-Palin Ticket

And the winner is … Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Remember him—the great Democratic president who saved capitalism from the capitalists by reining in their exorbitant greed? Forget the Reagan Revolution heralding a new era of small government, which turned out to be nothing more than a fig leaf for legalized corporate crime. The hero of the hour is FDR.

Posted on Oct 14, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Gerald Herbert

America’s Political Cannibalism

It is no longer our economy but our democracy that is in peril. Financial collapses lead to political extremism. The rage bubbling up from our impoverished and disenfranchised working class, glimpsed at John McCain rallies, presages a looming and dangerous right-wing backlash.

Posted on Oct 13, 2008 READ MORE


IMF Building
foxnews.com

IMF Warns of Pending Global Downturn

With all the negativity in the ether regarding the stability of the world economy, it’s surprising that the International Monetary Fund took so long to throw its two cents into the fray. Never the fund to disappoint, the IMF issued a report Wednesday that warns of a pending global downturn following the U.S. credit crisis, as confidence falters in finance and credit markets around the world.

Posted on Oct 8, 2008 READ MORE



news.bbc.co.uk

Europe Catches Bailout Fever

European leaders decided against a joint bailout of the Continent’s financial system, but that hasn’t stopped individual governments from trying to save failing and financially shaky institutions. The German government, which has been highly critical of U.S. economic mismanagement, just backed a $68-billion deal to save one of its biggest banks.

Posted on Oct 5, 2008 READ MORE


Unemployment Rate
bls.gov

How Can These Fundamentals Be Called Strong?

A government report released Friday morning leaves little room for any defense of the failed policies of the Bush administration or any belief in the economic wisdom of John McCain, whose erroneous assertion that the “fundamentals of the economy are strong” failed to mention a 6.1 percent unemployment rate, up nearly two percentage points since 2007.

Posted on Oct 3, 2008 READ MORE


Saying ‘No Deal’ to This New Deal

The marriage of American capitalism and democracy has always been a Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee affair—stormy and erratic since its hasty wedding. But during the debate over a Wall Street bailout this week, we watched that matrimonial knot unwind into a tangled tale of terror.

Posted on Oct 2, 2008 READ MORE


Making the Bailout Less Toxic

The initial failure to pass bailout legislation reflected a political system as bereft of confidence as the financial markets.

Posted on Oct 1, 2008 READ MORE


Machado at the UN
AP photo / Seth Wenig

Latin Leaders Blast Bailout

The most explicit anti-capitalist analysis of the U.S.‘s proposed bailout of major finance firms is not domestic, but rather international. A cadre of left-leaning leaders in Latin America is ramping up criticism of Bush’s crony capitalism, arguing that the U.S. economic crisis was caused by the driving logic of American imperialism: fast money at the expense of the poor.

Posted on Sep 25, 2008 READ MORE


BBT
finfacts.ie

Hustling Toward a Bailout Compromise

Following days of hype-work by the Bush administration to scare taxpayers into paying for Wall Street’s failures, support for the $700-billion bailout seems to be gaining steam. Analysts believe the final bailout plan, expected in a day or two, may look eerily similar to Bush’s initial proposal, with some slight changes.

Posted on Sep 25, 2008 READ MORE


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