One Forgotten Document Casts Embarrassing Light on Krugman’s “Sanders Over the Edge” Column_ _ _ _ _ _ _
Bernie and the Big Banks
Why The Major Media Marginalize Bernie
If Americans Elect Hillary President, the One Percent’s Control Will Be Complete
#DemocracySpring activists chanting "Democracy Is Not For Sale, We're Not Too Old To Go To Jail"
Will it be a true Democracy Spring ?
Something around 500 citizens had volunteered to be arrested today in order to start the serious long-term movement to end the corruption of big money in politics.
Lots of people are committed to this movement.
And lots committed to stop it.
What a country.
12 Apr, 2016 17:41
Hundreds of Americans, many of whom are elderly, marched in support of political reform in Washington, DC, taking part in a sit-in and risking arrest as they pushed for fairer elections. RT's 'Redacted Tonight' host Lee Camp was one of those detained.
. . . “As ‘elders’ we have a moral imperative to care for and speak for future generations,” the Democracy Spring website reads. “We aim to use our wisdom and life experience to guide our actions, and stand together to create our legacy and reclaim our democracy.”
“Every voice is needed to speak up and say what we know is true – that a thriving and just democracy is the path towards a sustainable world for all children, for all life.”
Octogenarians being arrested for
#DemocracySpring! If they can stand up against this corruption, we all can.
Why have the Democrats (or DLC Democrats or New Democrats or Neoliberal Democrats or whatever passes for those in charge of planning the activities guaranteeing that Democrats have a good chance of having the votes counted correctly in the next national election) failed to ensure that the voting in 2016's national election will occur with as little vote stealing or denying of qualified voters as possible?
Our situation has devolved to the following:
- The GOP clown car has trickled down to three contested candidates – Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich – all with serious negatives for a presidential campaign.
But it now appears likely that Trump will fall short of an outright majority at the Cleveland Convention, making the nomination a jump ball.
In contrast to the Democrats, the GOP DOES have a backup – Paul Ryan. The Koch Brothers, who may be the only GOP voters who really count, are now saying Ryan will be the nominee.
Though an apparent long shot, Ryan did emerge from a crazed Congressional food fight to become Speaker of the House. As such, he’s right behind Joe Biden in the line of White House succession. He says he doesn’t want the presidency, but he also said he didn’t want the Speaker’s job.
Despite his outward appearance of civility, Ryan is a vicious corporate reactionary, an Ayn Rand fanatic with a brutal far-right agenda that includes (though he denies it) destroying Social Security, Medicare, labor unions, environmental protections and much more. A Ryan presidency would be a global catastrophe on more fronts that can be listed here.
Ryan has plenty of negatives as a candidate. And the Kochs earlier pushed Scott Walker, who failed miserably. But at 46, Ryan is more than two decades younger than Hillary. He has a family, speaks reasonably well and comes off as deceptively sane. With unlimited dark billions at his disposal, a well-calibrated running mate could make Paul Ryan hard to beat.
The idea that a GOP denial of the Trump or Cruz candidacies will shatter the party’s ability to win the fall election has meaning only if the Democrats are unified behind a viable candidate, or if the Kochs and their cohorts suddenly lose the billions they could spend to patch up the problem. The same is true if Trump or Cruz or Kasich actually do emerge as the nominee.
With ploys like Voter ID and other modernized Jim Crow disenfranchisement techniques, the GOP has effectively stripped the Democratic base of – literally – millions of likely voters. Written with Bob Fitrakis, our upcoming STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016 provides the detail, as does the ongoing research of Greg Palast, Bev Harris, Brad Friedman, Mimi Kennedy, Mark Crispin Miller, Lori Grace, Jon Simon, Richard Charnin and others. (There’s an hour-long radio discussion of this with Mimi, Bob Koehler and John Brakey at prn.fm’s Solartopia Show.)
In Wisconsin, significantly more votes were counted in the GOP primary than for Bernie and Hillary. The "New York Times" and others have estimated the number of Wisconsin citizens stripped of their right to vote at 300,000, comprising a margin easily large enough to deny the Democrats a victory in the fall.
Bob Fitrakis, Greg Palast and others have calculated the number of voters already stripped in Ohio in the hundreds of thousands, more than enough to cover this fall’s likely margin of victory in this crucial swing state.
Tens of thousands of likely Democratic voters were denied their ballot due to long lines in Arizona, which were set up with the stripping of precincts in urban areas and the denial of sufficient voting machines (and back-up ballots). As we did in Florida 2000, Ohio 2004 and elsewhere ever since, we can expect more of the same primarily in black, Hispanic and college town precincts throughout the country this coming fall.
Bernie spoke angrily about this after the Arizona primary, and Hillary has also mentioned these Jim Crow assaults – but nothing concrete has been done to blunt the massive disenfranchisement that is now defining the fall election.
Well over half the nation’s votes this fall will be cast on electronic voting machines that date back a decade and can be easily flipped. In key swing states like Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Arizona among others, GOP governors could have a free hand to shape the vote count with a few keystrokes in the deep night after the votes are cast. There is no accountability.
Those who consider this “conspiracy theory” must face one simple question: “How will the electronic vote count in the fall 2016 election be verified.” Right now there is only one answer: “It can’t be.”
Since the thefts of the 2000 and 2004 elections, the Democrats have been deafeningly silent about the specter of another presidential election being stolen. Numerous US Senate and House seats, governors’ mansions and statehouses have been lost in the interim. The usual Democrat dodge is that they don’t want to discourage voter turnout. But, as above, that is already being guaranteed by the new GOP Jim Crow laws.
The Democrats’ abject failure to deal with the stripping of the voter rolls and the flipping of the electronic vote count could doom their chances this fall, no matter who their presidential nominee. With that loss will go control of the Congress, governorships, state legislatures and countless other elective offices at all levels.
But in the interim, the Democrats’ hopes for winning the White House now rest on two candidates with serious handicaps that could cost either of them any reasonable chance for victory in the fall, especially amidst the dark tsunami of Koch cash.
The time to start at least considering potential backup alternatives is very much now.
Likewise the need to guarantee that the immense grassroots energies ignited by Bernie Sanders become an organized, tangible force for long-term change.
And – 16 years after the stolen election of 2000 – we at long last must confront the strip and flip “selectoral” realities that have turned our government into an utterly corrupt, globally lethal corporate subsidiary.
(Harvey Wasserman’s America at the Brink of Rebirth: The Organic Spiral of US History can be had via www.solartopia.org. The Strip & Flip Selection of 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft, co-written with Bob Fitrakis, is at www.freepress.org.)Read the entire essay here.
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There's a portion of the essay below which maintains that Obama and his chosen financial regulators and prosecutors who were asked to address the issues of solving the 2008 financial wrongdoings/but not illegal doings (very weak regulators it turns out) lacked the will to try to make the necessary fundamental changes, or even insist on enforcing the already existing law, on Wall Street perpetrators.
I can't help but think this whole country is suffering from some type of deep-seeded PTSD from these participants' personal financial catastrophes (or something) and the citizens' ready acceptance of such which seems to be flowing from this unmistakably incorrect but somehow personally comforting assumption.
Severe financial crises provide unique opportunities to the President, particularly if the president’s party also controls the House and the Senate, as was true of Obama in 2009. The Great Recession was the first immensely severe financial disaster since the Great Depression. FDR’s “New Deal” financial regulatory reforms, including Glass-Steagall, proved so successful that the U.S. went over 50 years without a severe macroeconomic contraction. Bill Clinton, of course, eagerly sought to kill Glass-Steagall. Read Tom Frank’s new book Listen, Liberal to get the full background on the New Democrat’s assault on the successful, fundamental legislative reforms that arose from the New Deal.
That means that Obama was the first President in over 60 years to have both the ability to achieve fundamental financial reforms analogous to the New Deal and the political need for change arising from public demand to achieve such a reform. But Dodd-Frank compelled nothing fundamental.
It did not mandate that the regulators transform Wall Street’s corrupt culture.
The most you can say is that it provided increased authority to allow the Obama administration to act against that culture should it muster the will to do so.
Consider two obvious examples. Bill Clinton, at the behest of Wall Street threats, passed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act for the express purpose of defeating Brooksley Born’s efforts to protect our Nation from financial derivatives. The Dodd-Frank bill could have been shortened by many pages and made more effective by stating: “The Commodity Futures Modernization Act is repealed.”
But Obama did not want to repeal the act. Similarly, Dodd-Frank could have been shortened and made more effective by stating: “The provisions repealing the provisions known as the “Glass-Steagall Act” are repealed and the regulations and interpretations in force as of 1980 shall be reinstated effective in 2013.”
But Obama did not want to bring back the vital protections of the Glass-Stegall Act.
Further, the Obama administration has not taken any fundamental action to end the corrupt culture of Wall Street. It has not prosecuted. It has not forced the systemically dangerous institutions that pose global systemic risks to shrink to the point that they no longer pose a global systemic risk. It has not fundamentally changed executive and professional compensation even though they are intensely criminogenic.
Obama has appointed a series of weak regulatory leaders.
Yes, Dodd-Frank allowed Obama and his regulators to take more effective actions. But Obama and those he appointed have lacked the will to even try to make fundamental changes and restore the rule of law to Wall Street.
Wall Street remains rigged and its central business strategy remains fraud and ripping off its customers.
Rather than using the vital lessons and building on the policy remedies of the New Deal, Dodd-Frank did not even restore the protections FDR wisely had enacted 70 years earlier. Instead, net, we went backwards. The exception is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – and that is due overwhelmingly to (now) Senator Warren’s progressive efforts.
Dodd-Frank refutes (or proves) Hillary’s invocation of the Unruh defense. Even in the best political circumstances in roughly 70 years, Dodd-Frank failed to mandate fundamental change and Obama and the weak regulators and prosecutors he appointed lack the will to use their new statutory powers to require fundamental change. The system remains rigged because those that have the gold (Wall Street), and those that accept their gold, make the rules that rig the system and they commit hundreds of thousands of felonies with impunity for Wall Street elites.
We also need to ask a more fundamental question of Hillary – why? Why with your huge Super PAC funding from Wall Street, your delegate lead, and the criticism you are getting from progressives and will get from independents and Republicans do you continue to take enormous sums from Wall Street felons? It is clearly a liability politically. It blows your cover as a self-described convert to progressive approaches to regulating (and prosecuting) Wall Street.
To put another of my hats on for a moment – as a founding member of the Bank Whistleblowers United – why not take our campaign pledge and announce you are ceasing to take money from the Wall Street felons? Taking our pledge is the right thing to do as a matter of policy and ethics, but it is also the smart thing to do politically in your present circumstances. Your continuing refusal to stop taking huge sums from Wall Street felons in these circumstances should prompt your supporters to ask why you are so addicted to their millions and what Wall Street expects to get in return. Stop using Unruh’s sleazy defense of conflicts of interest.
One of the thoughts that I had that first made me suspicious about the story of Wikileaks' leaker was his extreme youth for one with access to so many secret accounts, and his obvious enthusiasm (overenthusiasm, I mused) for without-a-doubt deep-sixing the rest of his life. As a long-time DoD worker I had to wonder under whose likely aegis his actions were taken as it seemed beyond doubtful to imagine someone as young as he jumping into the fire so seemingly fearlessly.
The facts revealed by the recent Panama Papers dump could lead one to even stranger conclusions. And I know I've already said several times too many, but gollee! the rich and connected have really played the rest of us for super fools.
Super tax-paying fools.
We can only read as fast as we can to try to catch up.
But it seems that this trove proves it will never happen.
The crooks are always far too clever for us.
The year-long investigation carried out by 370 journalists of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists was prompted by a document leak from the files of Mossack Fonseca.
. . . The Panama Papers is a global investigation into the sprawling, secretive industry of offshore that the world’s rich and powerful use to hide assets and skirt rules by setting up front companies in far-flung jurisdictions.
Based on a trove of more than 11 million leaked files, the investigation exposes a cast of characters who use offshore companies to facilitate bribery, arms deals, tax evasion, financial fraud and drug trafficking.
Behind the email chains, invoices and documents that make up the Panama Papers are often unseen victims of wrongdoing enabled by this shadowy industry. This is their story.
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One question that has been raised since the publication of the Panama Papers has been about the relative absence of rich and powerful Americans. Fonseca told the Associated Press in an interview that their law firm has only a handful of American clients, most of whom were members of Panama’s growing expatriate retirement community. It’s not out of any anti-Americanism or fear of the Internal Revenue, according to the AP.
In other developments, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown wrote Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew seeking assurances that Treasury is investigating “any potential involvement of U.S. or U.S.-linked banks, financial services institutions, or other companies or individuals with Mossack Fonseca & Co.” They mentioned as a particular concern “whether companies or individuals involved with or utilizing the services of this firm may have facilitated money laundering or terrorist financing.