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By Oliver Sacks
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Democrats as Big Brother?

A lobbying powerhouse with an emphatically pro-Republican political action committee is pounding Democratic Senate candidates for supporting legislation that would make it easier for workers to unionize. The ads portray Al Franken in Minnesota and Tom Allen of Maine as backing Big Brother-style surveillance of American workers.

Posted on Oct 8, 2008 READ MORE



starwoodhotels.com

AIG Execs Enjoy Sun and Fun on Your Dime

What’s $85 billion if you don’t get to spend it? Just days after taxpayers saved AIG from ruin, executives of the insurance giant spent $440,000 pampering themselves at the exclusive St. Regis resort in Monarch Beach, Calif.

Posted on Oct 8, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Susan Walsh

Dennis Kucinich on the Democrats’ Bailout Betrayal

The passing of the $850-billion bailout pulled the plug on the New Deal. The Great Society is now gasping for air, mortally wounded, coughing up blood. It will not recover. It was murdered by the Democratic Party.

Posted on Oct 5, 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


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


A Welcome Pause Before the Bailing Starts

We all owe a debt of thanks to the skeptics who refused to be steamrollered by the Bush administration’s $700-billion financial bailout plan until we at least had some understanding of what we were doing and why.

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



Flickr / Qfamily

Bailout Bill Skates Through Senate

Well, that was easy: While the House had to contend with round-the-clock negotiations and a last-minute revolt, the Senate just threw more money at the problem. That was enough for 74 lawmakers to say yes to the $810-billion package. The House will take another crack at it on Friday.

Posted on Oct 1, 2008 READ MORE



npr.org

Unions Unleash the Troops for Obama

The nation’s most powerful labor unions are ratcheting up their efforts to elect Barack Obama with massive voter outreach campaigns. Both SEIU and the AFL-CIO have said this year’s efforts will be their largest voter mobilization campaigns ever.

Posted on Sep 30, 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


Whatever Happened to Personal Responsibility?

Why is a welfare mother to blame for her poverty while Wall Street fat cats can count on the federal government for $700 billion?

Posted on Sep 24, 2008 READ MORE



Scan of the "Obsession" mailer obtained by Truthdig

Who Is Behind the ‘Radical Islam’ DVD?

The blogosphere is alive with the sound of buzz—all about an inflammatory DVD on radical Islam being distributed to millions of households at the peak of election season. Critics are calling the DVD, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” anti-Muslim hate, or politicking, or both. The obvious question: Who is behind it?

Posted on Sep 23, 2008 READ MORE


Getting the Bailout Right

Unless something very strange happens, Congress will pass a massive bailout of the financial system by the end of this week simply because every other option is worse. But the content of the bailout package matters enormously.

Posted on Sep 22, 2008 READ MORE


Socialism for Dummies

So this is how the “ownership society” works. We own all the bad stuff.

Posted on Sep 22, 2008 READ MORE


So Much for the ‘Masters of the Universe’

Let’s be clear about why we’re facing a crisis that could pull down the global financial system. The irresponsibility of individuals who bought houses they couldn’t quite afford pales in comparison to the irresponsibility of the financial wizards who built on those shaky mortgages a towering edifice of irrational faith.

Posted on Sep 22, 2008 READ MORE


Follow the Money: New Group Runs Ads Promoting Drilling

A new advocacy organization with strong ties to the oil industry is funding pro-drilling radio ads, including one criticizing the energy votes of Rep. Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat running for the U.S. Senate.

Posted on Sep 22, 2008 READ MORE


Cadillac
Flickr / gmeurope

The McCains Have 12 More Cars Than the Obamas

Forget houses, John and Cindy McCain have 13 cars to Barack and Michelle Obama’s one. McCain would point out that most of the vehicles are in his wife’s name, but still, you can’t call the other guy an elitist when you sleep with one.

Posted on Sep 21, 2008 READ MORE


This Is the Man Who’s Going to Fix the Economy?

John McCain was telling the truth when he said that economics wasn’t his strong suit. In response to what many economists have called the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the Republican nominee has sounded—and let’s be honest here—totally, embarrassingly and dangerously clueless.

Posted on Sep 18, 2008 READ MORE


No Time for a Minimalist

Barack Obama isn’t going to win any arguments about the economy if he keeps winking at the robber barons who helped wreck Wall Street.

Posted on Sep 18, 2008 READ MORE



commons.wikimedia.org / Manfred Brückels

Reality Catches Up to the Free Market

Karl Marx, were he still about, would surely be interested in the report that unregulated free-market capitalism has died in a flash, by its own hand; whereas it took 70 years and a Cold War to bring down the Marxist economy established in the Soviet Union following the Bolshevik Revolution.

Posted on Sep 18, 2008 READ MORE


Wall Street Socialists

With financial institutions begging for bailouts, taxpayers should be in the driver’s seat. Instead, decisions that will cost people for decades are being made behind closed doors, by the wealthy, by the regulators and by those they have failed to regulate.

Posted on Sep 17, 2008 READ MORE


palin holding a gun
DoD / Pfc. Christopher Grammer

Why Liberals Love to Hate Palin

Sarah Palin has energized the Republican base, but she’s also helped Barack Obama raise millions. Political insider Taegan Goddard uses a viral e-mail to explain why the moose hunter makes liberals nuts.

Posted on Sep 16, 2008 READ MORE


Palin Keeps Lying, and Lying, and ...

What kind of person tells a self-aggrandizing lie, gets called on it, admits publicly that the truth is not at all what she originally claimed—and then goes out and starts telling the original lie again without changing a word?

Posted on Sep 15, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / whatshername?

Palin Feels Their Pain—When She Forgets to Roll Over

Not to chortle over every asinine twist in the Sarah Palin adventure, but there’s something truly bizarre about the news that the folksy candidate in the race had a private tanning bed installed in the governor’s mansion. The cost of the bed is undisclosed, but one source says the cost of such a device installed in a home can be up to $35,000.

Posted on Sep 15, 2008 READ MORE


Krugman on Bank Collapse and ‘1931 Revisited’

Financial columnist Paul Krugman, trying to make sense of the Lehman Brothers debacle, warns that “the defenses set up to prevent a return of those bank runs, mainly deposit insurance and access to credit lines with the Federal Reserve, only protect the guys in the marble buildings, who aren’t at the heart of the current crisis. That creates the real possibility that 2008 could be 1931 revisited.”

Posted on Sep 15, 2008 READ MORE


Country First? Hardly

Stripping away the partisanship, passion and propaganda, what about the veracity of the claim that the GOP puts this country first? Well, let’s just say it’s a little dicey.

Posted on Sep 11, 2008 READ MORE


Two Bridges to Nowhere

Even cursory examination shows that Sarah Palin’s posturing is wildly exaggerated and her campaign claims veer toward fraud.

Posted on Sep 10, 2008 READ MORE


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


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