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Krugman: 1% Have “Warped Our Political System” and What It Means

7:22 pm in Uncategorized by DSWright

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I do not typically find modern liberals particularly useful or engaging but I have to admit, Professor Paul Krugman may be an exception. His social and political analysis is always lucid (rare among academics) and his credentials – a feature oh so important to the establishment – are beyond reproach. So having Nobel-Laurette Princeton Economics Professor Paul Krugman PhD make similar critiques, or really just reveal the same set of facts, as the 99% Movement and Occupy Wall Street is both poignant and empowering. You don’t even have to be a Keynesian to enjoy it (though I imagine it helps).

 

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From Plutocracy, Paralysis, Perplexity:

Did the rise of the 1 percent (or, better yet, the 0.01 percent) cause the Lesser Depression we’re now living through? It probably contributed. But the more important point is that inequality is a major reason the economy is still so depressed and unemployment so high. For we have responded to crisis with a mix of paralysis and confusion — both of which have a lot to do with the distorting effects of great wealth on our society…

Today, Washington is marked by a combination of bitter partisanship and intellectual confusion — and both are, I would argue, largely the result of extreme income inequality…

Specifically, money buys power, and the increasing wealth of a tiny minority has effectively bought the allegiance of one of our two major political parties, in the process destroying any prospect for cooperation…

No, the real structural problem is in our political system, which has been warped and paralyzed by the power of a small, wealthy minority. And the key to economic recovery lies in finding a way to get past that minority’s malign influence.

Of course, there is one obvious critique to Krugman’s essay, not of the analysis but of an omission. While it is rather clear the heart and soul of the Republican Party are moneyed interests who use the organization to promote plutocratic interests, finding coalitions with any group that will drive turnout and not challenge Neo-feudalism (Gods, Guns, Gay-haters) – there is something Krugman is omitting.

The Democratic Party has been captured as well. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is the decline of unions. Politics is an ugly game, so say what you will about the pathologies of Big Labor but they weren’t afraid to take on Big Business and had the strength, tenacity, and viciousness necessary to do it and win. To be fair, unions helped destroy themselves with AFL-CIO President George Meaney and Teamster President Frank Fitzsimmons endorsing Nixon in 1972. How sorry can you feel for people who slit their own throat?

In the Teamsters instance the endorsement was part of a corrupt deal hatched by Nixon apparatchik Charles Colson and Fitzsimmons, namely that in exchange for Jimmy Hoffa getting out of prison the Teamsters would endorse Nixon. Oh, and Hoffa would be banned from labor activity until 1980. That last amendment was apparently requested by Fitzsimmons, securing his presidency of the Teamsters Union. When Hoffa found out he threatened to retaliate by exposing Fitzsimmons and others’ illegal activities and then Hoffa… disappeared. In the AFL-CIO instance President Meany stated he believed the Democratic candidate George McGovern was “an apologist for the Communist world.” The wrecking of the New Deal Coalition and a more malignant Chamber of Commerce diluted labor even further. Needless to say, Reagan’s Neoliberalism found a more receptive environment than it should have in 1980 (Reagan also received Teamster endorsements in both 1980 and 1984).

So with labor on the ropes who would pick up the slack and fight for the working class and poor within the Democratic Party? Nobody.

 

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The plutocrats got free reign while progressives made progress on other issues like civil rights, women’s rights, and gay equality. And the Democratic Party became a second front for corporate interests culminating in the creation of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) which promotes Big Business within the party itself. They even helped promote a corporatist party leader, President Clinton; who deregulated Wall Street, shredded welfare benefits, and helped jam through NAFTA and other trade agreements aiding Corporate America in its endless quest to ship jobs abroad and dodge taxes for greater profits. Big Business would have two political parties, one pro-life, one pro-choice.

This system, with all the electoral kabuki theater of two candidates pretending to actually disagree with each other vis a vis plutocracy (I’m a pragmatic liberal! I’m a compassionate conservative!), would have continued except allowing the 1% to do whatever they want with no check on their power and influence lead to the outcome it always does – a crash.

And not surprisingly the minute rich people got into trouble both parties scrambled to find ways to help them. By the end, the establishment ran out of ideas and simply handed Wall Street everything they wanted – endless loans from the Fed and hundreds of billions in bailout money to make private debts become public debts. Because both parties were constructed or should I say reconstructed to serve the interests of the 1%.

But here is the problem, most people in America (and the world if anyone cares) are not in the 1%. In fact, they will never be in the 1%. So they are getting royally screwed under this system, as Krugman notes rather clearly. The 99% have no reason to believe in this system and they don’t. Confidence in institutions and belief in a better future has been shattered. The noose of debt slavery and poverty is tightening around the middle class, what’s left of it.

Are we on the verge of a revolution? Probably not. At least not yet. Right now people are just fed up but it seems most are still hoping for some kind of miracle that will shift the country in the right direction, as many were in 2008. They aren’t going to get one. So what happens the next time Wall Street shits the bed?

Nothing good and nothing peaceful. Then you might see that revolution.

That’s why this is the time for the Democratic Party to reform itself, cast out the 1% apologists, and provide voters a real alternative to 1% based politics. That’s not Obama, not even close. So vote him back in, but realize that’s not going to solve the problem. Because Presidents like Clinton and Obama come from a party that, since the wrecking of unions, is not dedicated to advancing the interests of the 99%. It is at best, plutocrat light. As Krugman notes the plutocracy has lead to paralysis – and paralysis in the face of a crisis is disastrous.

Reform now, before it is too late.

This Week In Occupy May Day

12:37 pm in Uncategorized by DSWright

Last Week.

* Labor Activist Video calling for Wildcat Strike on May Day:

(Occupy May Day 2012)

 

If you are involved in your Local Union, contact your fellow laborers about organizing May Day events or participating in them.

If you are not in a union but involved in your local Occupy, see how your Occupy is joining in local annual May Day festivities.

If you are involved in neither but want to get involved in a Local, I recommend you contact the Industrial Workers of the World at http://www.iww.org/.

Pete Seeger singing L’Internationale.

To learn more about May Day and Labor History, visit http://cwcs.ysu.edu/resources/museums to find a Labor Museum or Exhibit in your area. Labor History is important American History.

* The Occupied Social Network, Occupii:

BEGINNING MAY 1, 2012

NO WORK – NO SCHOOL – NO SHOPPING – NO BANKING – NO TRADING

THE PEOPLE OF THE PLANET WILL TAKE TO THE STREETS

#OLA & #OLB are calling on all Occupations and all Labor Unions to start planning NOW for a Global Strike. The goal is to shut down commerce worldwide and show the 1% we will not be taken for granted, we will not be silenced, WE WILL NOT MOVE until our grievances are redressed.

Every continent, every country, every state, every city will stand up.

Labor and workers are under attack by the 1%. Occupy stands Immigrants and with Labor both organized and not. Unions and union rights are what made our working class strong. Every benefit we have as working people has come from the struggles of organized labor and immigrants fighting for their rights. Now they are trying to destroy our bargaining rights, they want their greedy hands on our pensions. They don’t have enough already? ENOUGH.

A DAY FOR MIGRANT RIGHTS, LABOR RIGHTS, HUMAN RIGHTS.

STOP FORECLOSURES!!!

We demand good jobs and good pay for everyone on the planet. Citizen of the country they work in or not. Outsourcing will no longer be tolerated by the so called “job creators” for cheap labor. All human beings deserve a living wage.

Education, Housing and Healthcare are human rights NOT “entitlements.”

ALL COUNTRIES PARTICIPATING: If you send me translation of this invite in your native language, I will create an event on this page to coincide with the English version. Please send to Tkukreja315@gmail.com

* UK “Occupy Cafe ” member Anna Harris is ready for May Day:

MAYDAY! MAYDAY!
It is obvious we are headed for disaster unless we change course drastically, and we don’t have a lot of time. A project is being discussed internationally in the Occupy movement – Global Strike May 2012. What we are proposing is a continuous strike, a permanent withdrawal from the current system, a signal for all those who feel their work to be meaningless and unsatisfying, to switch to alternative means which are beneficial to the whole community, to support themselves and their families. In order to make this feasible this alternative system needs to be up and running by May 2012. Outrageous! Impossible! I agree with you. Nevertheless it has to happen if we are serious about moving from this morally bankrupt and physically damaging path we are on, to a sustainable system that puts people before profit. Join us on Take the Squares Network https://n-1.cc/pg/groups/1010883/15m-global-strike/. and please pass around to friends and colleagues. Anna@shsh.co.uk

* Speaking of the Take The Square Network – will Occupy May Day go Global?

 

What are you doing on May 1st, 2012?

 

Donald Rumsfeld Uhhh Tim Geithner May Not Serve In Obama 2nd Term

12:24 pm in Uncategorized by DSWright

 

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(Timothy Geithner by J Wohland)

 

Sometimes Presidents make horrible cabinet choices.

Bad cabinet choices can wound a good administration or damage one already spiraling down. It is easy to see how it could happen – someone comes highly recommended, with an impressive resume and lots of other credentials. They do well in the interview process and have a good rapport with the President-elect and his trusted aides or maybe he or she is a trusted aid. Given that dynamic, it’s not hard to see why George W. Bush chose Donald Rumsfeld and its not that hard to see why Barack Obama chose Tim Geithner. But in both instances Presidents made tragic errors.

Though I’m sure Bush was warned by people about Rumsfeld, it is well known Obama had a warning almost immediately from Senator Byron Dorgan that Summers, Geithner and crew were the wrong choices for his economic team, from New York Magazine:

There’s a poignant moment of sorts in December 2008 when the North Dakota senator Byron Dorgan implores the president-elect not to go with his economic team. “I don’t understand how you could do this,” he tells him. “You’ve picked the wrong people!” As indeed Obama did, under the tutelage of Robert Rubin, who also tried to finagle a White House guru role for himself, not unlike the perch from which he helped wreak havoc at Citigroup during its subprime orgy

Indeed, possibly the worst mistake of the Obama presidency. Larry Summers and his former Deputy Tim Geithner were the embodiment of the economic establishment that lead to the 2008 financial crisis. In fact, Summers and Geithner lead the campaign to oust Brooksley Born from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission – why? Because Mrs. Born wanted to regulate derivatives thinking they were dangerous and would lead to a financial meltdown. Summers, Geithner, Greenspan and Rubin destroyed Born then supported legislation that further deregulated derivatives. Woops.

Presidents also don’t like to admit they made a horrible mistake (who does really?) and so the most tacit admission is found when they dump people in the second term. This is what happened with Rumsfeld and why Tim Geithner is now, surely with White House consent, hinting he won’t be back:

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said he doesn’t expect President Barack Obama to ask him to stay in office if he’s re-elected, and dismissed Wall Street’s concerns about financial regulations.

“He’s not going to ask me to stay on, I’m pretty confident,” Geithner said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today. “I’m confident he’ll be president. But I’m also confident he’s going to have the privilege of having another secretary of the Treasury.”

I’m confident if Obama isn’t re-elected Geithner will be one of the reasons why.

There are many good reasons to dump Tim Geithner like him being a blatant Wall Street puppet, not paying his taxes and being in charge of the IRS, having his fingerprints all over the Bankster give away that has people in the streets…but an even more compelling reason for Geithner to go is this -

 

What if Elizabeth Warren Becomes a Senator?

 

No one did more in the Obama Administration to undermine Elizabeth Warren than Tim Geithner.

From HuffPo:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has expressed opposition to the possible nomination of Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a source with knowledge of Geithner’s views.

The financial reform bill passed by the Senate on Thursday mandates the creation of a new federal entity charged with protecting consumers from predatory lenders.

But if Geithner has his way, the most prominent advocate for creating the agency may not be picked to lead it.

Simon Johnson:

And having Ms. Warren on the scene — providing an alternative, pro-consumer perspective — may not be to his liking.

President Obama missed his best opportunity to reform the financial system when advisers — including Mr. Geithner – recommended in March 2009 that he defer to top bankers

But forget the backroom, the contention became clear as day during the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission when Warren grilled Geithner on his role in the bailouts and why AIG received 100 cents on the dollar and why banks are now MORE concentrated not less.

 

Needless to say relations would be much better between the White House and Massachusetts’ newest Senator if Tim Geithner was not the Treasury Secretary.

The tragedy of time or at least humans existence within it is the inability to go back and fix mistakes. Summers, Geithner and crew were bad choices that not only secured the power of Wall Street to keep putting the country at risk but deeply damaged the public’s trust in the Obama Administration and government generally.

Kicking Geithner to the curb after re-election will not undo what has been unfortunately done, but it will be a good start. What needs to happen for America to heal is not just a repudiation of certain individuals like Tim Geithner and Larry Summers but a repudiation of the philosophy they brought to government – that a Wall Street Elite should ruthlessly operate America for their own interests only stopping to confer with society through its representatives in DC with a check and a message “We own you.”

The First Occupy Candidate (Won’t Be The Last)

1:58 pm in Uncategorized by DSWright

Cry havoc and let slip the primaries!

The Democratic Party is going to be taken out for a walk (and not a moment too soon). One of the first candidates from the Occupy Movement has announced their campaign, from Politico:

Nathan Kleinman, a 29-year-old member of the Occupy Philadelphia movement, intends to run for congress in Pennsylvania’s 13th district against Democratic incumbent Allyson Schwartz.

“The petition gathering period starts today and lasts for three weeks, so I plan to file by then,” Kleinman told me over the phone today. “I’ll be running in the Democratic primary.”

Kleinman, who refers to himself as a human rights activist and organizer, served as an aide to Joe Sestak’s unsuccessful 2010 Senate campaign before becoming a legislative assistant to Pennsylvania State Representative Josh Shapiro.

More recently, he has been a member of the Occupy Philadelphia movement, participating in a number of associated working groups, including “Free University,” “Outreach Working Group,” “Process Working Group,” “Camp Liberty,” and “The Committee of Correspondence,” through which he became involved with InterOccupy.org, which he describes as “a central hub for communications” in the national Occupy movement.

Now, he plans to campaign for the House of Representatives, which would make him the first member of the Occupy movement to seek a seat in Congress.

More to come, watch your back Blue Dogs.

This Week In Occupy May Day

8:42 pm in Uncategorized by DSWright

(photo: ari, flickr)

(photo: ari, flickr)

Occupy May Day - May 1st, 2012

Last week (no TWIOMD) was Martin Luther King Day. MLK Would Occupy

* From Ryan Rice on OccupyMay1st.org:

May Day is an international workers’ day celebrated in more than eighty countries to honor labor and left-wing movements. Originally organized to commemorate the Haymarket Massacre, the day has broadened to include workers’ rights, immigrant rights, and anti-war efforts. The occupy movement is calling on the ninety-nine percent to no longer stand idly by and remain complacent. May Day is an opportunity to flex our collective power to show the plutocracy that their time is over, that profits over people will no longer be the modus operandi…

So will you call out of work for the sons and daughters fighting an illegitimate war, endangering themselves to enrich CEOs? Will you buy nothing in support of the ten million foreclosed homes expected in 2012? Will you march out of classes for the millions of uninsured children in this country?

Will you general strike with me?

* Another Facebook Group – they need to know where to go, WALL STREET

* Reddit Occupy May Day

* Occupier Margaret Flowers calls for May Day General Strike:

Occupy Los Angeles, Occupy Long Beach, Occupy Riverside and Occupy the Hood, building on the “Occupy the Ports – A Day without Goldman Sachs!” action on December 12, have all issued calls for and started building towards a General Strike on May 1, 2012.

At a meeting of the General Strike Preparation Committee of Occupy LA today, with representation from Occupy Long Beach, Pasadena and Riverside as well as Occupy the Hood, consensus was reached to call for the formation of a broad, deep and larger coalition for a General Strike, first meeting to be held on Sunday, January 22 at 2:00 PM, location to be announced, around the following provisional program: Read the rest of this entry →

ON SECOND THOUGHT: Fed Chair Bernanke Now OPPOSES Fraudclosure

4:39 pm in Uncategorized by DSWright

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke – aka the man who said everything was fine and will live in infamy as a Wall Street puppet who funneled cash to the 1% and their wives (facts only know due to lawsuits by the media) – has now reversed his position on foreclosures as the solution to America’s housing crisis. Yes, you read that correctly, it only took 5 years of total miserable failure for him to realize something obvious to anyone not hoping to work for Wall Street after their “public service

From HuffPo:

More than four years into the housing crisis, and after millions of Americans have lost their homes, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is finally taking a stand.

Bernanke sent a Federal Reserve paper to the leaders of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Financial Services arguing that relying heavily on foreclosures to deal with mortgage borrowers that can’t meet their obligations is “costly and inefficient” for the housing market because they can lead to deteriorating homes and weigh on the property values in the surrounding community.

… he just realized that? Seriously?

Instead, the paper encourages lenders to “aggressively” pursue loan modifications and for servicers to be given more incentives to seek alternatives to foreclosure.

Wow. Does meat puppet Bernanke think families aren’t “aggressively” trying to not get thrown out on the street and lose the most valuable asset most working and middle class people will ever have? Seriously?


Bernanke’s Fun Scenario


“Hey honey we are about to lose our home and a better future for our children as we try and live out of a motel until the credit cards run out”

“Wait dear, have you considered trying to get a loan modification so we can stay in our home and avoid poverty?”

“Yes, the bank told me no.”

“Oh dear…did you ask them to aggressively try?

“Ah shucks honey. You’re right! I forgot to ask them to be aggressive! That will make all the difference in the world!”

“Everything is going to be OK. Oh America is a dreammmmmmmmm”

Somehow I don’t think it’s going to work.

Foreclosures “can result in ‘deadweight losses,’ or costs that do not benefit anyone, including the neglect and deterioration of properties that often sit vacant for months (or even years) and the associated negative effects on neighborhoods,” the paper said. “These deadweight losses compound the losses that households and creditors already bear and can result in further downward pressure on house prices.

Anyone? Try again.

There’s a reason fraudclosure is occurring and why the banks want a 50 state settlement and correspondingly why the Attorney Generals’ of New York and California dumped the scheme.

 

The Banksters oversold the paper.

 

Yes, you also read that correctly. Wall Street sold mortgages more than once – also called fraud. This is why they won’t produce authentic documentation, they shredded it to avoid fraud charges.

So not only are people being foreclosed on without documentation, if any of that documentation still exists it will show the mortgage has been collateralized multiple times and then sold multiple times. Because why sell a financial security once when you can sell it twice for twice the fee? Or even more than twice.

And who is helping coverup this crime of the century by flooding the market with cash and buying every crap mortgage he can? Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke.

Thanks but no thanks Bernanke. Stuff your advice. Time to go to court and find out what’s really going on.