Wall Street's Economic Crimes Against Humanity
Shoshana Zuboff writes for Business Week: "The financiers at AIG were awarded millions in bonuses because their contracts were based on the transactions they completed, not the consequences of those transactions. A 32-year-old mortgage broker told me: 'I figured my job was to get the transaction done... Whatever came after the transaction - that was on him, not me.' A long list of business executives have reaped sumptuous rewards even though they fractured the world's economy, destroyed trillions of dollars in value, and disfigured millions of lives."
A.I.G. Bonuses: Class War in the Media
Dean Baker comments for Truthout: "The debate over the A.I.G. bonuses is class war in its full naked glory. On the surface, everyone agreed that paying multi-million bonuses to the folks who bankrupted their company and handed the taxpayers a bill for $170 billion ($2,300 for a family of four) was outrageous. The difference is between the angry masses, who actually want to take back the bonuses, and the elites who insist that there is nothing that can be done. In spite of the superior education of the elites, the masses have the much better argument. As a result, the elites have been desperately cooking up excuse after excuse as to why their well-heeled friends at A.I.G. and the bankrupt banks shouldn't lose their bonuses."
Economic Dirty Bomb Goes Off in New York
Tom Engelhardt writes for TomDispatch.com: "In my neighborhood, back in those fateful September days in 2001, you could hear the sirens, see the jets streak overhead, catch the acrid smell of the towers and everything chemical in them burning, and like the rest of America, watch those apocalyptic-looking scenes of the towers collapsing in clouds of ash and smoke again and again. But if the look then was apocalyptic, the damage, however grim, was limited. This time around there's no dust, no ash, no acrid smell, no sirens, no jets, and no brave rescuers either. And yet the effect might, sooner or later, be far more apocalyptic and the lives swallowed up far greater. This time, of course, the fanatical extremists were homegrown. Their 'caves' were on Wall Street. They hijacked our economy and did their level best to take down our world."
Geithner's Plan: Like an Oil Spill
Laura Flanders writes for The Nation: "Twenty years ago this week, the Exxon Valdez ran aground, spilling ten millions gallons of filthy oil over 10,000 square miles of Prince William Sound. The Exxon corporation spent the next two decades fighting paying punitive damages to the victims. Announced, by coincidence, on the anniversary of that disaster, the Obama administration bank rescue plan is about as comforting as Exxon's clean up."
Obama's Toxic Advisers
Robert Scheer writes for Truthdig: "Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont who is independent in spirit as well as party label, has placed a hold on President Obama’s nomination of Gary Gensler to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Sounds like a minor issue to get worked up about, but the senator is right. Like most Americans, I am eager for Barack Obama to succeed, but I see this appointment as further evidence that the president has entrusted his economic policy to the wrong people."
The Iraq War's Six Years of Mayhem
David Swanson reports for Consortium News: "That's not counting many diagnosed after leaving Iraq, including estimated hundreds of thousands with traumatic brain injury, hundreds of thousands with post-traumatic stress disorder, unknown numbers poisoned by hexavalent chromium or depleted uranium, also not counting the many victims of murder by veterans unable to stop doing their jobs, not counting the one in three women in the military sexually assaulted by men in the military, and not counting 6,570 suicides, and twice that many attempts, per year by veterans, and rising."
These Colors Won't Run ... Afghanistan
Norman Solomon comments for Truthout: "Is your representative speaking out against escalation of the Afghanistan war? Last week, some members of Congress sent President Obama a letter that urged him to "reconsider" his order deploying 17,000 additional US troops to Afghanistan.
Ethanol's Land Grab
Adam Welz reports for Mother Jones: "Massingir is an unremarkable town. The electricity supply here in rural Mozambique is erratic, clean water is hard to come by, and the hotels—well, calling them hotels is a little too polite. The town center is two ragged blocks of colorful bars, stores, and market stalls arranged along a reddish sandy furrow—the main street—with goods packaged in the smallest possible quantities to match the pinched cash flow of local buyers: individual quarts of fuel in old bottles, spoonfuls of soap powder in bright little packets, single cigarettes, microcans of tomato paste and sardines, all laid out in creative patterns to catch the eye. Babies doze in the shade while their mothers gossip, pausing on the way back from the UNICEF tent outside the shabby clinic; loose-limbed teenagers play rough games of pool under a thatched roof by the side of the road."
Kansas Chamber of Commerce Sez Kansans Love Coal
From our friends at Kansas Jackass: "On Wednesday, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce released a poll that said a narrow majority, but a sizable plurality in their poll, of Kansans supported the construction of new coal fired power plants in the state of Kansas. From the Lawrence Journal-World: 'Fifty-one percent favor “the building of a new electrical power plant that uses coal in Kansas,” according to the poll. Twenty-six percent oppose it, and 23 percent were undecided, according to the poll of 600 registered voters that was conducted last week.' You can read each of the questions and see the all the spiffy little percentages here. While I am most certainly suspicious of anything released by the Chamber of Commerce ever- they are a very narrow ideological lobbying firm, after all- Passed my basic distrust, I don't put a lot of credence in this poll for two great big reasons:
- The poll, as republished by the LJ-World, doesn't include a breakdown as to where the 600 people polled live, or how the poll was conducted.
- The polling firm isn't what you'd call non-partisan or independent or unbiased."
Jeremy Brecher, Tim Costello and Brendan Smith write for SolveCimate.com: "The G-20 summit convening in London on April 2 is preparing to create a quarter trillion dollars of brand new stimulus money to help poor countries battle the global recession... If leaders at the G-20 summit can create 'paper gold' to jump-start the global economy, they can also turn it in a green direction to jump-start protection of the global climate."
EPA Says Global Warming a Public Danger
H. Josef Hebert reports for The Associated Press: "The White House is reviewing a proposed finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that global warming is a threat to public health and welfare. Such a declaration would be the first step to regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act and could have broad economic and environmental ramifications. It also would likely spur action by Congress to address climate change more broadly."
Finding the Power in Women's Voices
Hannah Miller writes for On The Issues : "A growing group of organizations work on what is called "media democracy," that is, changing the structure and legal framework of the media so that it reflects something a smidgeon closer to the actual public – including women."
Young Americans See Colbert, Stewart Replacing Traditional News Outlets
Megan Stack reports for the huffington Post: "A new poll released Wednesday by Rasmussen Reports found that about one-third of Americans under the age of 40 believe that shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are replacing "traditional" news outlets."
REPORT - Privatizing the Public Trust: A Critical Look at Connected Nation (pdf)
Public Knowledge, Common Cause, The Media and Democracy Coalition, and Reclaim the Media issue the following report: "As a result of the passage and signing of the new stimulus legislation, there is now up to $350 million available to map the deployment of broadband services across the country. The data collected as a result of this effort will be one of the important factors in the national broadband strategy plan the law directed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to construct."
TAKE ACTION: Tell O’Reilly’s Advertisers To Stop Supporting The O’Reilly Harassment Machine
From Think Progress: "Fox News host Bill O’Reilly employs producers charged with the specific mission of ambushing and harassing those who have said critical things about him. O’Reilly has not only stalked and accosted ThinkProgress deputy editor Amanda Terkel, but he has also targeted at least 40 other individuals in much the same way."