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Tag: Money

The Party Police

The Democratic and Republican national conventions have passed, but controversy surrounds how they were funded and how they were run.

Posted on Sep 10, 2008 READ MORE


Markets Respond to Fannie, Freddie Takeover

Investors have been throwing money at stock markets the world over following the news that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been placed under federal conservatorship. Some analysts are confident that the move will stabilize the mortgage giants and, in turn, a tanking housing market. With hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars on the line, let’s hope they’re right.

Posted on Sep 8, 2008 READ MORE


book cover

Robert Christgau on America’s Secret Fundamentalists

Just how dangerous are evangelical zealots? A new book by Jeff Sharlet takes a close and disturbing look at the group known as The Family and its disturbing and apparently widespread influence on mainstream political culture.

Posted on Sep 5, 2008 READ MORE


Making Goliath Walk

In the imminent confrontation over the Employee Free Choice Act, an almost embarrassingly modest proposal, corporations are actually billing themselves as the underdog—the poor, overmatched peasant David against the Philistine monster Goliath.

Posted on Sep 4, 2008 READ MORE



vanityfair.com

Cindy McCain’s ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ Dress

It’s hard to paint the other guy as an elitist when your wife wears an outfit that cost more than most houses. Vanity Fair estimates that Cindy McCain’s convention ensemble, complete with super jewelry, set her back somewhere in the neighborhood of $300,000.

Posted on Sep 4, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Jae C. Hong

Curb Your Enthusiasm for Obama

Barack Obama’s health care plan coddles the corporations that profit from the misery and illnesses of tens of millions of Americans. The plan is naive, at best, and probably disingenuous when it insists that we can coax these corporations, which are listed on the stock exchange and exist to maximize profit, to transform themselves into social service agencies that will provide adequate health care for all Americans.

Posted on Aug 31, 2008 READ MORE


An Unconventional Convention

When I first heard about the Democratic convention coming to my hometown of Denver, I wasn’t all that excited. For many reasons, in fact, I was pretty unhappy with the whole idea.

Posted on Aug 28, 2008 READ MORE


The Mystery Candidate

There’s a candidate in this presidential race who remains a mystery—hazy, undefined, so full of contradictions that voters may see electing him as an enormous risk. I’m referring to the cipher known as John McCain.

Posted on Aug 21, 2008 READ MORE


Housing Crisis

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Posted on Aug 21, 2008 READ MORE


Turning Gold Into Green

Michael Phelps’ million-dollar bonus for making Olympic history is chump change compared with the hundreds of millions he is expected to rake in over the course of his career. What does swimming have to do with credit cards? Visa is prepared to spend millions to convince you the answer is “a lot.”

Posted on Aug 18, 2008 READ MORE


Iraq’s $79-Billion Windfall

A congressional report has found that the Iraqi government will soon have a $79-billion surplus, thanks to the record price of oil. It’s a figure that will surely raise eyebrows as the U.S. shells out an additional $48 billion for reconstruction, but the situation, like all things involving billions and bombs, is a lot more complicated.

Posted on Aug 5, 2008 READ MORE


A Common-Sense Approach to Social Security

In this summer of our economic discontent, it isn’t necessary to manufacture a financial crisis or to make political hash out of discussing a nonexistent one.

Posted on Aug 4, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Hasan Sarbakhshian

A War of Self-Destruction

An attack on Iran, which Israeli and Bush administration officials appear set to carry out if Iranian uranium enrichment is not halted, would ignite a regional war in the Middle East and lead to economic collapse and political upheaval in the United States.

Posted on Aug 4, 2008 READ MORE


What Else Is New? Economy Slumps, Oil Profits Surge

Despite the massive federal stimulus package, national GDP only grew 1.9 percent from April to June, the Commerce Department has announced, and it actually shrank in the last quarter of 2007. Meanwhile, high gas prices, supposedly reflecting costs, spiked profits of oil companies, with Exxon recording its most profitable quarter ever. In fact, reports the NYT, “It was the highest quarterly profit ever for any American company, as Exxon made nearly $90,000 a minute.”

Posted on Jul 31, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / pmarkham

Bridge Repairs Going Nowhere

According to an AP review of more than 1,000 structures, just 12 percent of the nation’s most troubled and traveled bridges have been repaired since the deadly collapse of a Minneapolis bridge a year ago. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but most officials seem to agree that the money just isn’t there.

Posted on Jul 30, 2008 READ MORE


McCain’s Oil Drilling Hoax

John McCain’s newfound enthusiasm for oil drilling probably has more to do with campaign donations than any public benefit—that’s because there isn’t any.

Posted on Jul 30, 2008 READ MORE


George W. Bush
AP photo / Ron Edmonds

From Surplus to a Record Deficit

George W. Bush rode into office with a budget surplus, courtesy of his predecessor. When he leaves in January, he will not return the favor. The White House estimated the budget deficit for next year at a record $482 billion—and that doesn’t include the full cost of two wars, the potential bailout of Fannie and Freddie, the full stimulus package or the loss of tax revenue from an economy in the toilet.

Posted on Jul 28, 2008 READ MORE



Mr. Fish

Ray Bradbury on Literature and Love

The renowned author sits down with Truthdig literary editor Steve Wasserman to tell stories about his books, the many loves of his life—including dinosaurs and Halloween—and his own starring role in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rise to fame.

Posted on Jul 28, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / PetroleumJelliffe

The Rich Get Richer

According to the most recent data from the IRS, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans took home a greater share of the nation’s income in 2006 than in any year of the previous 19. It’s possibly the biggest income disparity Americans have seen since the Great Depression. The average tax rate of the super-rich was at its lowest level in at least 18 years.

Posted on Jul 27, 2008 READ MORE


Who’s Paying for the Conventions?

The nominating conventions have become elaborate, expensive marketing events, but most people don’t know the extent to which major corporations fund them, pouring tens of millions of dollars into a little-known loophole in the campaign-finance system.

Posted on Jul 23, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / zoliblog

10 Troubled Banks

While depositors at IndyMac banks in California do battle for a chance to get their cash out, financial analysts have been crunching the numbers to identify other troubled lenders. ABC News snuck a peek to come up with this handy guide to banks with an unfortunate “Texas ratio.”

Posted on Jul 16, 2008 READ MORE


Betancourt Rescue
news.bbc.co.uk

The Real Operation to ‘Rescue’ Ingrid Betancourt

The July 2nd rescue of French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and U.S. mercenaries employed by the Northrop Grumman Corp. was heralded as a dramatic victory over the anti-imperial FARC guerrilla forces in Colombia. The real story may be significantly less daring. The mainstream media’s heroic rescue narrative is being contradicted by claims that a $20-million ransom payment was made.

Posted on Jul 9, 2008 READ MORE


Beyond Swift Boat

We’ve gotten used to the idea of independent groups funneling soft money into political campaign ads, but in this election some progressives are trying to do something entirely new. According to a report by NPR and the Center for Investigative Reporting, a band of crafty activists is trying to create a grand network for progressive issues and groups.

Posted on Jun 26, 2008 READ MORE


Inventing a Country-Club Muslim Marxist

Precisely on schedule, the usual assortment of right-wing operatives is preparing its expected assault on the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Posted on Jun 25, 2008 READ MORE


cash
Flickr / Tracy O

$1 Billion and Counting

We’re barely into the general election campaign and already more than $1 billion has been raised by the various candidates. That tally includes now-defunct campaigns and personal loans. Still, that’s more money than has ever been raised for an election, and we’ve got about five months to go.

Posted on Jun 24, 2008 READ MORE


Fixing Public Financing

Barack Obama’s decision to forgo public funds will bring joy to opponents of campaign finance reform. But to say that Obama has killed public financing is to miss the point.

Posted on Jun 23, 2008 READ MORE


Obama
Flickr / jurvetson

Obama Rejects Public Financing

Arguing in a video message to supporters that “the public financing of presidential elections as it exists today is broken,” Barack Obama announced Thursday that he will not accept public funds. John McCain would like to cast that decision as a major flip-flop, but as the Los Angeles Times notes, he’s got issues of his own.

Posted on Jun 19, 2008 READ MORE


Fiat Chief on the Global Finance Crisis

The Italian-Canadian chief executive of Fiat, the leading Italian industrial enterprise, Sergio Marchionne, speaking about the present economic crisis last weekend, mentioned the well-known argument first made by the Austrian-American economist Joseph Schumpeter about the function of “creative destruction” in modern capitalism.

Posted on Jun 16, 2008 READ MORE


An Anti-Clinton for VP

Some say Hillary Clinton’s defeat was the victory of sexism—but Obama faced at least as much racism. No, this resounding defeat goes beyond pernicious isms and beyond one candidate—it is a fist-pounding rejection of a corrupt ideology.

Posted on Jun 12, 2008 READ MORE


oil barrels
Flickr / XcBiker

Senate Blocks Oil Tax

Forty-one Senate Republicans stayed in lock step with the oil industry Tuesday as record gas prices have big oil rolling in profits at consumers’ expense. Even as they face another tough election, Republicans in Congress refused to allow a tax on oil companies’ “unreasonable” revenue.

Posted on Jun 10, 2008 READ MORE



DoD / R.D. Ward

Investigate This

As a critic of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, especially when unsubstantiated allegations of weapons of mass destruction are used to sell a war, I am no stranger to the concept of questioning authority. It’s too bad more journalists can’t say the same thing.

Posted on Jun 9, 2008 READ MORE


Firing Congress

In 225 days, at least one high-ranking politician will become unemployed. How many will join President Bush in retirement?

Posted on Jun 9, 2008 READ MORE


Mark Penn on Where Clinton Went Wrong

Mark Penn has taken no shortage of blame for the downfall of Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations, but the former campaign chief has a few ideas of his own about what could have been. Penn writes in the New York Times that Team Clinton should have taken on Barack Obama from the beginning and should have courted young voters and women more aggressively, but money “may just have had a lot more to do with who won than anyone imagines.”

Posted on Jun 8, 2008 READ MORE


book cover

Nicholas von Hoffman on ‘The Big Squeeze’

A new book by New York Times reporter Steven Greenhouse argues that the plight of American workers, both white-collar and blue-collar, is growing worse, putting the American dream out of the reach of tens of millions of citizens.

Posted on Jun 6, 2008 READ MORE


Rezko Goes Down

A day after Barack Obama made history, an unfortunate figure from his past was back in the headlines. Antoin “Tony” Rezko, a former Obama fundraiser, was convicted of 16 corruption charges. Obama said he was “saddened,” but took the opportunity to get in another plug for change: “This isn’t the Tony Rezko I knew, but now he has been convicted by a jury on multiple charges that once again shine a spotlight on the need for reform.”

Posted on Jun 5, 2008 READ MORE


Clinton
Flickr / Joe Crimmings Photography

Signs That Clinton Is Ready to Drop Out

Hillary Clinton’s advance team has been recalled to New York, her staffers have been told to turn in their receipts by the end of the week, and now the candidate has personally invited top supporters to attend a speech she’ll give in New York Tuesday night.

Posted on Jun 2, 2008 READ MORE


fighter plane
AP photo / LM Otero

Indefensible Spending

What should be the most important issue in this election is one that is rarely, if ever, addressed: Why is U.S. military spending at the highest point, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than at any time since the end of World War II?

Posted on Jun 1, 2008 READ MORE


Defense Auditors Can’t Keep Up

Thanks to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the privatization of the military and the surge in defense spending since 9/11, individual Pentagon auditors now have to keep track of more than three times as much money as they did 10 years ago. Because of limited resources, the Defense Department inspector general revealed in a recent report, about half of the military’s $316 billion weapons budget went under the radar last year.

Posted on May 28, 2008 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Gene J. Puskar

Vermont Leads the Way for Progressives

The rise of the Vermont Progressive Party, which has six members in the 150-member Vermont House, is another indication that Vermont, which has battled back everything from Wal-Mart to urban sprawl to billboards, may be one of the few sane states left in the nation.

Posted on May 26, 2008 READ MORE


A Welcome ‘Shareholder Democracy’

This movement could be more critical than even presidential elections. One example: ExxonMobil stock owners could generate major steps in the area of renewable and alternative energy.

Posted on May 22, 2008 READ MORE


McCain’s Shocking Discovery

Perhaps the senator hasn’t been paying attention for the past few decades, for he somehow seems to have surrounded himself with exactly the kind of Washington hustlers he professes to despise.

Posted on May 21, 2008 READ MORE


When It Costs Too Much to Support the Troops

The comment was outrageous, but it was not the least bit surprising. A psychologist responsible for assessing returning war veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder—a psychological ailment that could entitle them to monthly disability payments—told staff members not to diagnose the illness because to do so would increase the government’s costs.

Posted on May 19, 2008 READ MORE


Al Gore
Flickr / World Economic Forum

Al Gore to the Rescue

The former vice president’s “we” campaign has made a point of building bridges across the political spectrum, but it looks as though Al Gore is prepared to return to his partisan roots in order to get a Democrat back in the White House. Gore will preside over a major fundraiser that will unite Clinton and Obama donors in an effort to bring the DNC up to speed with the GOP.

Posted on May 19, 2008 READ MORE


book cover
press.princeton.edu

Chalmers Johnson on Our ‘Managed Democracy’

Sheldon Wolin’s new book offers a controversial but ultimately convincing diagnosis of how America’s democracy has succumbed to an unacknowledged totalitarian temptation.

Posted on May 15, 2008 READ MORE


Cindy McCain Flaunts Her Privilege

Double standards are endemic in American journalism. But Cindy McCain, wife of the Republican presidential candidate, displayed poor taste in flaunting her family’s special immunity from press scrutiny.

Posted on May 14, 2008 READ MORE


11 Million Reasons to Stay in the Race

Hillary Clinton is under immense pressure to exit the campaign, but thanks in part to one of her rivals, she would be saying goodbye to more than the presidency. Because of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, Clinton has until the convention in August to recoup her loans. After that, she could be out more than $11 million.

Posted on May 8, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Carolyn Kaster

The Super Problem

Throughout the primary campaign, Democrats have been explaining, equivocating and ultimately fretting over the role of superdelegates, but those unelected power brokers are themselves the result of previous party contortions. Perhaps the time has come for a new model.

Posted on May 8, 2008 READ MORE



time.com

Showing Hillary the Door

Everyone from Tim Russert to Time magazine seems to have decided that there’s absolutely no way Hillary Clinton can get the nomination. What happened? Sure, her chances of winning enough pledged delegates are nearly impossible, but wasn’t that true after Pennsylvania? Wasn’t it true before Pennsylvania?

Posted on May 8, 2008 READ MORE


The End of ‘American Idol’?

That might be going too far for a show that still averages 28.7 million viewers, but ratings are down. In part, the cause is the presence of an even more exciting reality show on television, and it’s not even really a show.

Posted on May 6, 2008 READ MORE


The Plague of Potomac Fever

Congress is ravaged by a disease inside the Washington Beltway inhibiting emotions like compassion and integrity. As the housing crisis intensifies, this malady is getting worse.

Posted on May 2, 2008 READ MORE


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