VOICES FOR CHANGE

Will Government Use Its New Leverage Over the Financial Industry?
David Sirota
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If you read one business book this year, make it "Flash Boys" by Michael Lewis. The journalist famous for "Moneyball" and "The Big Short" takes readers inside the parasitic world of high-frequency trading that is harming the broader economy.

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Antitrust in the New Gilded Age
Robert Reich
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We’re in a new gilded age of wealth and power similar to the first gilded age when the nation’s antitrust laws were enacted. Those laws should prevent or bust up concentrations of economic power that not only harm consumers but also undermine our democracy — such as the pending Comcast acquisition of Time-Warner. 

In 1890, when Republican Senator John Sherman of Ohio urged his congressional colleagues to act against the centralized ...

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Ryan’s Joke Is on Us
Jim Hightower
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My guess is that Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican Party’s highly touted budget guru, doesn’t have a very tight grip on the concept of irony.

Otherwise, why would he choose April Fools’ Day to release the latest version of what the GOP intends to do to federal programs (and to the people who count on them) if it takes total control of Congress? But there he was on April 1, declaring with a straight face that, “We [Republicans] believe that ...

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NSA Spying is Here to Stay
Jim Hightower
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On Monday, April 14, the the Washington Post and the Guardian US newspapers received the Pulitzer for Journalism Public Service for their reports on NSA spying. In light of their hard work, let's recap events of the last year.

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The Hedge Fund Managers Tax Break: Because Wall Streeters Want Your Money
Dean Baker
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The coming of tax day provides a great opportunity for everyone to focus on their favorite tax break, and there are many from which to choose. However for all the sneaky and squirrelly ways that the rich use to escape their tax liability, none can beat the hedge fund managers’ tax break. This is the way the rich tell the rest of us, because they are rich and powerful, the law doesn’t apply to them.

The hedge fund managers’ tax break, which is ...

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If Jesus had a Wife, Would it Change the GOP War on Women?
Juan Cole
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This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

A Coptic fragmentary manuscript page that dates back to a few hundred years after Jesus’ death (and the text of which may go back to the second century) has been found by ...

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The Global Banking Game is Rigged and the FDIC is Suing
Ellen Brown
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Taxpayers are paying billions of dollars for a swindle pulled off by the world’s biggest banks, using a form of derivative called interest-rate swaps; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has now joined a chorus of litigants suing over it. According to an SEIU report:

Derivatives . . . have turned into a windfall for banks and a nightmare for taxpayers. . . . While banks are still collecting fixed rates of 3 to 6 percent, they are now ...

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From J.P. Morgan to Jamie Dimon
Nomi Prins
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(This piece originally appeared in the New York Daily News, April 10, 2014): New York is a wonderful town — if you run a mega bank. Because for over a century, the Big Six banks and their leaders have dominated not just the U.S. banking industry, but American and global finance, traversing the power corridor ...

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Russian Sanctions-Busting? Putin’s Bruited 500k B/D Oil Deal With Iran Draws US Threats
Juan Cole
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This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

Russia has rejected US criticism of a plan that has been floated to import 500,000 barrels a day of petroleum from Iran on a barter basis. 

The US Treasury Department has been instructed by Congress to place a financial blockade on Iran.  The US has had that country kicked off major international bank exchanges, making it very difficult for Iran to pay for imports or get paid for exporting ...

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The Chicago Way
David Sirota
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In America, there is regular ol' corruption, and then there is Chicago Corruption, with a capital "C." America's third largest city is so notoriously corrupt, all you have to do is say "Chicago politics" and many people instantly start making jokes about payoffs and reciting lines from "The Untouchables."

Yet, while the Windy City's brand of corruption is extreme, it is also emblematic, as a recent spate of revelations ...

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Obamacare: First Fruits for Workers?
Dean Baker
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The analysts and reporters who ploughed through the March jobs report came back with a mixed assessment of the economy. The 192,000 pace of job growth for the month was better than the prior two months when weather slowed growth, but the 178,000 three month average is certainly nothing to be happy about. At this pace the economy will not return to anything resembling full employment until ...

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Let There Be Light on Health Spending
Froma Harrop
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Foes of Obamacare often frame such health reforms as "redistribution" schemes. They take money from hardworking Americans and give it to the presumably undeserving.

My ...

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Hiding Profits in Slimy Offshore Wormholes
Jim Hightower
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The dictionary defines the caterpillar as a “wormlike larva” and a “crawler.” Also, that “pillar” part of the word is derived from a French verb that means to “pillage, abuse, mistreat.”

Good to know. Now, meet Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest maker of construction and mining machines.

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Sniffing the Ethical Rot in Wall Street’s Culture
Jim Hightower
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Not too many years ago, any news story about bonus money would've been about some 20-year-old baseball player — an up-and-coming superstar getting $100,000 or so on top of his salary as an extra incentive to join the Yankees, Giants, Red Sox or whatever team. Sportswriters dubbed them: "Bonus Babies."

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All Sheldon Adelson Wants
Froma Harrop
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There is something truly spectacular about Sheldon Adelson. Witness the parade of Republican supplicants paying tribute in his Las Vegas lair. They would include Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

What's remarkable is not the aesthetics of possible presidential nominees beseeching a casino oligarch in return for campaign cash. Wannabes from the other party also engage in such activities — ...

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On Our Highest Court, a Former Lobbyist Guts Campaign Finance Reform
Joe Conason
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For a large and bipartisan majority of Americans, the increasing power of money in politics is deeply troubling. But not for the conservative majority of the United States Supreme Court, whose members appear to regard the dollar's domination of democracy as an inevitable consequence of constitutional freedom — and anyway, not a ...

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I Think They Can
Jim Hightower
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Like that little choo-choo in the classic children’s book “The Little Engine that Could,” Moral Monday is the little movement that says, “I think I can” and keeps chugging up the hill.

This new progressive coalition became a full-throttle citizen uprising in North Carolina  early last year.

Led by Rev. William Barber, head of the North Carolina NAACP, they ...

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McCutcheon and the Vicious Cycle of Concentrated Wealth and Political Power
Robert Reich
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If wealth and income weren’t already so concentrated in the hands of a few, the shameful “McCutcheon” decision by the five Republican appointees to the Supreme Court wouldn’t be as dangerous. But by taking “Citizen’s United” one step further and effectively eviscerating campaign finance laws, the Court has issued an invitation to oligarchy.

Almost limitless political donations coupled with America’s ...

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Hijacking the American Plane of State
Tom Engelhardt
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Isn’t there something strangely reassuring when your eyeballs are gripped by a “mystery” on the news that has no greater meaning and yet sweeps all else away?  This, of course, is the essence of the ongoing tale of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.  Except to the relatives of those on board, it never really mattered what happened in the cockpit that day.  To the extent that the plane’s disappearance was solvable, the ...

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The Labor Market’s Double Standards
David Sirota
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Technology, sports and politics are distinct worlds. They have their own junkies, their own vernaculars and their own peculiar customs. Yet, in recent weeks you may have noticed a common economic argument coming from those worlds' respective leaders — an argument about who should have a right to engage in collective action and who should not.

In Silicon Valley, this argument was expressed in a flood of old emails from top executives at major companies ...

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Obamacare Enrollment Hits 8 Million
Tara Culp- Ressler
News Investigation
Milking Public Education
Alex Xourias
Op-Ed

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Oil Spills

Oil Continues to Wash Up Along the Gulf Coast Four Years After Deepwater Horizon Spill

Residents of Louisiana are tired of BP claiming that the crisis is over.

Human Rights

McConnell Claims he Revealed Sexual Harassment Scandal, but Real Story Differs

McConnell claims he led a 1995 investigation against a GOP senator accused of sexual misconduct. Actually, he took steps to keep it quiet.

President Obama

Obama budget plan would boost U.S. tax revenues, cut deficits: CBO

There is virtually no chance that Congress will advance Obama’s plan in its entirety.

Ukraine News

NATO’s Military Presence Increased in Response to Russia’s Aggression in Ukraine

The alliance’s chief said that more air policing aircraft will fly above the Baltic region and warships will be deployed to the Baltic Sea.

Banking Policy

“We Are in Great Danger”: Ex-Banker Details How Mega-Banks Destroyed America

“The power has only been more consolidated,” warns Goldman Sachs veteran Nomi Prins in an interview with Salon

Health

U.S. Healthcare Usage and Spending Resumes Rise in 2013: Report

Spending on medicine rose 3.2 percent in the U.S. last year.

Big Oil

Oil Companies Collect Billions in Government Giveaways

The federal government devoted more than $470 billion to the oil and gas industry.

Income Inequality

Let Them Eat McMansions. The 1 Percent, Income Inequality, and New-Fashioned American Excess

We have sprawl, wars over cheap gas, stagnant wages and longer hours because your boss wants this awful, ugly house

Voting Rights Act

Obama Criticizes Republicans for their Efforts to Restrict Voting Rights

The Obama administration continues its prevention of discrimination at the polls by challenging states who have restrictions in place.

Minimum Wage

Minnesota Lawmakers Approve Raising Minimum Wage

The Democrat-run Senate approved the measure on Wednesday, which raises the state’s minimum wage to $9.50.

Spanish Bailout

Comprehensive Disobedience: Occupying the Sharing Economy in Spain

Spanish “Occupiers” work together to fix the country’s economy with redirected taxes.

Ukraine News

Ukraine Ready to Use Force to Clear Out Pro-Russian Separatists

Authorities said they are prepared to use force to clear government building of pro-Russian separatists, who seized buildings in the east of the country.

Tax Day

Meet 5 Greedy Big Businesses Who Rip Off Taxpayers

Much of the corporate world tap-danced right around their taxes

Politics

Rand Paul Says Dick Cheney Pushed for Iraq Invasion for Profit

As the ex-veep blasts Paul for being an isolationist, old video shows the Kentucky senator charging that Cheney used 9/11 as an excuse to invade Iraq and benefit his former company.

George W. Bush

Bush’s Administration has Yet to Pay for Their Sins

Enough with puff pieces about painting and platforms for their self-defense. It only damns us to repeat the past.

Workers’ Rights

Wisconsin GOP House Candidate’s Agenda

GOP state Sen. Glenn Grothman believes Republicans have not done enough to slow down the Obama administration’s policy agenda.

Airplane Missing

Chinese Officials Report ‘Pulse Signal’ in Indian Ocean

Ship picks up pulse signal in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Chinese state media reports.

Economy

High-Speed Trading Being Scrutinized by Attorney General

The U.S. Justice Department’s Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that it was investigating high-speed trading looking for potential wrongdoing.

Ukraine News

Russian-Controlled Tanks from Crimea Head into Ukraine

It’s not a motion to invade, but rather a trainload of military equipment in poor condition that Moscow has no use for.

Dark-Money Groups

A Ruling in the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission Passed Down

Everything you need to know about the McCutcheon v. FEC ruling.

FROM THE BLOGS

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