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Showing posts from April 12, 2009

Bailout Indignation, Ralph Nader

How about a test of your injustice barometer?

You might think that the reckless, avaricious, giant corporations, having shrunk the economy, cost millions of jobs and then demanded that taxpayers be dunned for years into the future for multi-trillion dollar bailouts, would show contrition, regret, or self-restraint of their power over Washington.

Forget it. They’re baaack! Their greed and power are revving up big time to bring Washington and you the taxpayer, you the parent, you the consumer, you the worker, to your knees.

Here is a sample of the appalling dynamics of corporate greed and continuing over-reach each day in your nation’s capital.

1. Just when people thought the taxpayer-subsidized corporate student loan racket was ended by the Democrats, Sallie Mae, its cohorts and lobbyists, like Jamie S. Gorelick of FannieMae notoriety, are descending on Congress. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that replacing these subsidized loans with direct Department of Education…

My Letter to Clark University President and Hillel Head on the Finkelstein Cancellation

Click above for more information.Dear Sirs:Once again, a university has bowed to pressure to limit free speech and academic freedom. Once again, in so doing, it has made itself a laughing-stock and has amplified the message of the person disinvited. The excuses are transparently false. From Freud to Fraud in just under a century; you must be so proud. Well done!I understand that a college president’s main job is to ensure the flow of funding, but one would hope that some vague notion of the educational purpose of the university would still occasionally penetrate the miasma of corporate decision-making.As for Hillel’s position, take it from this American Jew whose family lost members during the Nazi holocaust: by using that historical event to undermine, Nazi-like, the free speech and academic freedom of a nonviolent scholar, you have committed one of the worst moral atrocities I can imagine that doesn’t entail physical violence. Well done!This is surely the triumph of ethnocentrism ov…

Czar Obama, Bruce Fein

First paragraph:President Barack Obama's claim to czarlike powers in a perpetual global war against international terrorism has been blunted by a judicial appointee of former President George W. Bush. Last week, in the case Fadi al Maqaleh, United States District Judge John D. Bates denied that President Obama could make suspected "enemy combatants" disappear into the Bagram Theater Internment Facility at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan without an opportunity for exoneration. (While President Obama has abandoned the term enemy combatantfor Guantanamo Bay detainees, he has retained the label for detainees held elsewhere.)

Israel's Racist-in-Chief, Chris Hedges

Posted on Apr 13, 2009By Chris HedgesIt was unthinkable, when I was based as a correspondent in Jerusalem two decades ago, that an Israeli politician who openly advocated ethnically cleansing the Palestinians from Israeli-controlled territory, as well as forcing Arabs in Israel to take loyalty oaths or be forcibly relocated to the West Bank, could sit on the Cabinet. The racist tirades of Jewish proto-fascists like Meir Kahane stood outside the law, were vigorously condemned by most Israelis and were prosecuted accordingly. Kahane’s repugnant Kach Party, labeled by the United States, Canada and the European Union as a terrorist organization, was outlawed by the Israeli government in 1988 for inciting racism. Israel has changed. And the racist virus spread by Kahane, whose thugs were charged with the murders and beatings of dozens of unarmed Palestinians and whose members held rallies in Jerusalem where they chanted “Death to Arabs!” has returned to Israel in the figure of Israel’s pow…

Post-Bailout Interest-Rate Hikes? Say No!

Bank of America last week zapped millions of credit card customers with big interest rate hikes. Banks say if they can’t randomly change the deal you agreed to, it will ‘harm consumers and the economy.’ We say "No!"-- help us say it loud enough so Congress acts!Dear Doug,Just a one-vote margin got the credit card reform bill out of the Senate banking committee. And the powerful banking lobby is licking its chops at the thought of weakening the bill or outright killing it when it comes up soon before the bitterly divided Senate.We’re too close to victory to let the banks have their way again. Getting you the credit card deal you signed up for isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue, it’s simply putting fairness back into laws that for too long have been skewed in favor of the banks.Help us seize this opportunity. Give $5 to push reform across the finish line!The bank and credit card lobbyists are swarming Washington to gut the bills, claming they will “harm consumers and the e…

CPAs MIA, Ralph Nader

Where were the giant accounting firms, the CPAs, and the rest of the accounting profession while the Wall Street towers of fraud, deception and cover-ups were fracturing our economy, looting and draining trillions of dollars of other peoples’ money?

This is the licensed profession that is paid to exercise independent judgment with independent standards to give investors, pension funds, mutual funds, and the rest of the financial world accurate descriptions of corporate financial realities.

It is now obvious that the accountants collapsed their own skill, integrity and self-respect faster and earlier than the collapse of Wall Street and the corporate barons. The accountants—both external and internal—could have blown the whistle on what Teddy Roosevelt called the “malefactors of great wealth.”

The Big Four auditors knew what was going on with these complex, abstractly structured finance instruments, these collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and other financial products too abstruse to …