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If Voting Means Little, Why Is the Right Working So Hard to Suppress It?

February 10th, 2015 by admin | No Comments | Filed in racism, rightwing, Voting Rights

Selma and Shelby: The Fight for the New South

BY JESSE JACKSON
Progressive America Rising

Feb 10, 2015 – What time is it?  It’s important to be clear.  Is it mid-day and our labors still have hours to go?  Or is it evening, our work done, and we can rest our weary heads?  What time is it for the New South?  Is it time to celebrate Selma, Alabama – and the triumph of the Voting Rights Act?  Or is it time to mourn Shelby, Alabama – and the radical backlash against voting rights?

Fifty years after Selma’s Bloody Sunday that led directly to the passage of the Voting Rights Act, many will gather to celebrate that victory.  But we should understand that our work is not done. With the Shelby decision of the Supreme Court, the struggle for equal rights must go on.

Too often, we remember the triumph and ignore the backlash.  In 1870, the 15th Amendment, codified in in the blood of the Civil War, was ratified to give African Americans the right to vote.  It declared that the right to vote shall not be denied “on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.”

But the triumph was immediately challenged by the backlash.  Across the South, states controlled the structure and laws of voting.  They immediately set up seemingly neutral barriers to voting – poll taxes, literacy tests and more – that were used to disenfranchise black voters.  The reconstruction of the South was ended as the Supreme Court ratified legal apartheid, and segregation was brutally enforced.

It took nearly a century, a mighty civil rights movement, Bloody Sunday and other sacrifices, to pass the Voting Rights Act that gave the Justice Department the right to pre-screen any changes to voting laws in states with a history of discrimination, and ban those that would have a discriminatory effect, even if they looked neutral on their face.

Two years ago, however, in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, the five conservative judges on the Supreme Court effectively gutted preclearance laws, arguing in essence that there as a new South that had moved beyond racism.

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Will ISIS Debate Get Us ‘War Without Limits?’

February 3rd, 2015 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Long War, militarism

By Tom Hayden

Progressive America Rising

The Republican Congress is expected to take up an authorization bill for the war against ISIS even though the U.S. bombing and ground escalation campaign has been underway for months.

The specter of the Islamic State has silenced Congressional criticism and marginalized anti-war voices on the outside. The looming question is whether an open-ended authorization will extend the War on Terror for years to come.

The most critical issues are these:

First, whether an authorization will include a narrow or a broad definition of the "enemy". Will it be ISIS in Iraq and Syria or ISIS and associated groups? The broader definition, similar to "Al Qaeda and associated groups" in the 2002 authorization, will allow US military action in any region where Islamic State loyalists raise a flag, like northern Egypt. Even the narrower definition  is ambiguous, since the "Islamic State" is a category based on shifting loyalties among battlefield factions. A new authorization for a global war on terrorism therefore may be in the making.

Second, whether the president’s prohibition on US ground troops will prevent another Americanized war. Obama already has sent hundreds of advisers and at least 1,500 new US ground troops. All reports indicate that Baghdad’s armed forces are incapable of fighting on their own, even with American bombing, with the exception of some Kurdish units and sectarian Shiite militias. Obama’s military advisers and Republican senators are urging the deployment of ground troops.

Third, whether the authorization will be for 18 months before another Congressional debate or extend for three or four years, into the next presidency. Secretary Kerry and Rep. Adam Schiff both are proposing a three-year extension, which would contain serious Congressional debate until 2017. That would continue the war as onecarried out by the executive branch and CIA except for annual debates on appropriations.

Fourth, whether the authorization will include mandatory independent reports on metrics of progress, casualties [including civilian casualties] and costs in US tax dollars. History indicates that such reports are useful if done by an independent inspector general with specialists in budgeting and wartime civilian casualties.

The most important test will be whether a majority votes to bloc US ground troops, or whether the gates of hell will be left open.

Rep. Barbara Lee is attempting to inject limiting amendments and non-military alternatives into the floor debate. On her left, many peace advocates want a vote opposing the use of US military force altogether. On her right are the McCains and Grahams who blame Obama for withdrawing UStroops in the first place. The unknowns include presidential aspirants of both parties.

Lee argues that her Dec. 16 bill intends to "ensure that the U.S. pursues a comprehensive diplomatic, political, economic, and regionally-ledstrategy to degrade and dismantle ISIL, including working through the U.N. The bill would also repeal the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for the use of military force (AUMF) to ensure that they are not relied on for authority in lieu of an ISIL-specific AUMF passed by Congress. Lastly, the bill would require a report from the Administration on its comprehensive strategy to degrade and dismantle ISIL and information on human rights vetting for partner elements the U.S. is supporting in Iraq and Syria."

According to Lee’s legislative director Diala Jadallah, "The underlying point is to ensure that the non-military solutions to the crisis in Iraq and Syria are included in any debate on the war. Right now, no one is talking about that, and all other legislative proposals are simply putting limits on a possible AUMF rather than trying to end the war through diplomatic, humanitarian, and political means. We are not prescribing a [new] AUMF."

The Congressional vote also will define a core peace bloc willing to stand firm during a moment when the winds of escalation are

Greece Proves Populist Movements Can Fight And Win

January 27th, 2015 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in Banks, economic democracy, Europe, Greece

By Terrance Heath
Campaign for America’s Future

Jan 27, 2015 – After five years of protests, demonstrations and strikes, Greek citizens voted to throw off five years of crushing austerity. Their victory has emboldened populist parties across Europe, and should inspire Americans to resist austerity here at home.

The victory of Greece’s leftist anti-austerity Syriza party, and Alexis Tsipiras’ ascension to prime minister ushers in a government that will push back against the austerity measures devised by the troika of Greece’s international creditors and the International Monetary Fund, and accepted by the country’s economic elite, after the crash of Greece’s economy in 2009.

Greece’s new leaders left little doubt about their intentions as they celebrated victory.

    Alexis_Tsipras“Greece leaves behind the austerity that ruined it, at least behind the fear, leaves behind five years of humiliation, and grease moves forward with optimism and hope and dignity.”
    ~ Alexis Tsipiras, Greece’s new prime minister

    “We are going to destroy the basis upon which they have built, for decade after decade, a system, about a network that viciously sucks the of energy and economic power from everybody else in society. ”
    ~ Yanis Varoukis, Greece’s new prime minister, on Greece’s oligarchy.

The International Monetary Fund assumed the Greek government could impose austerity without significant impact on economic growth and unemployment. In fact, the IMF assumed Greece’s economy would grow as a result of the 2010 aid package, for which the troika and the IMF demanded austerity measures. The results were disastrous.

  •     Greece’s economy shrunk by 25 percent, and wages dropped about the same amount.
  •     Along with shrinking the economy, austerity increased Greece’s national debt.
  •     Unemployment has reached depression levels. Overall unemployment is at 28 percent. Youth unemployment stands at 60 percent — even after the government lowered the minimum wage for youth by 32 percent, to encourage job creation.

Wealthy Greeks got off scot-free. Cocooned in suburbs, austerity cuts didn’t touch them until mid–2013, when the government ruled that wealthy Greeks were no longer entitled to free police bodyguards. Since 2009, businessmen and journalists threatened by anarchist groups received personal police protection.

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Uphill Fight: Taking on Finance Capital in Congress

January 26th, 2015 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in Banks, Budget Debates, financial crisis, PDA, Wall Street

How Bernie Sanders, In New Role, Could Make Wall Streeters Very, Very Unhappy

By Ari Rabin-Havt
Progressive America Rising via American Prospect

Jan 26, 2015 – Big banks now have to contend with an old enemy in a new position of power.

Bernie Sanders, the United States senator from Vermont, plans on using his new position as ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee to take on too-big-to-fail financial institutions by advocating for their dissolution. Though a registered independent, Sanders caucuses with the Democrats, allowing him to assume the ranking member role representing the minority party.
Sanders knows how to draw the media spotlight when advocating for a cause.

While normally the domain of the Senate Banking Committee, the oversight of Wall Street, Sanders and his staff believe, is a critical budgetary issue. Democrats need to directly challenge Wall Street’s power, they assert, by boldly reframing the argument against the consolidation of financial institutions in terms of its cost to the national coffers. Though the term “ranking member” might not ordinarily have the barons of finance quaking in their custom-made oxfords, Sanders knows how to draw the media spotlight when advocating for a cause.

“Being the ranking member of the budget committee gives Senator Sanders the opportunity to say, look, people on food stamps didn’t cause the economic crisis, people that lost their jobs weren’t responsible for the economic crisis that we faced,” explained Warren Gunnels, director of the committee’s minority staff, during an interview in his office. “Average ordinary Americans weren’t responsible for the financial crisis we had.”

While centrist Democrats have expressed displeasure with progressives’ forceful defense of regulations included in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Sanders plans on pushing the boundaries of the debate in the other direction. This potentially puts Sanders, who is seriously considering a run for the White House, in a head-on conflict with Hillary Clinton, Wall Street’s favorite presidential candidate.

As media types muse over Sanders’s prospective presidential campaign, the focus of the minority Budget Committee staff, hard at work in a corner suite on the sixth floor of the Dirksen Senate office building, is elsewhere. Such a run by the senator would no doubt shine a light on the mission he’s set before his committee staff, but the work in this office has no connection to that effort.

Packed boxes are stacked almost randomly as the staff focuses on more important matters—unpacking would be just a temporary process, anyway. Republicans, having won the Senate in the midterms, will take over the office in a few months after the rush of budget season subsides.

Warren Gunnels’s office has a sweeping view of the Capitol dome, but for most of the hour I spent speaking with him about Sanders’s plans for the upcoming Congress, the blinds remain closed.

Gunnels has worked for Sanders in a variety of capacities since 1999, journeying with the Vermonter from his House staff to his Senate staff, when Sanders won the office in 2006, and now to the Budget Committee. There Sanders has recruited a hard-charging group that is by far the most progressive of any committee on Capitol Hill. Instead of sulking in the Democrats’ new minority status, Sanders is preparing to use his staff to advocate aggressively on behalf of a progressive agenda.

Even late on a Friday afternoon, with the senator back in Vermont, there is a sense of hustle in the office, with several meetings taking place around desks.

Gunnels put the blame for our economic collapse squarely on Wall Street. “The people responsible for the financial crisis were the CEOs in charge of the largest financial institutions in this country,” he said. “That nearly drove the economy off a cliff. We are still paying for that today.” (Continued)

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‘American Propagander’

January 21st, 2015 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in iraq, Long War, militarism, Veterans

Six ways Paul Reickhoff’s “American Sniper” column deeply bothers this American veteran

By Emily Yates
EmilyYatesDoesEverything.com

When I first laid eyes on the guest column Paul Rieckhoff wrote about “American Sniper,” I thought I’d read the byline wrong. This has to have been written by the Department of Defense, I thought, before scrolling back up. When I saw that the founder and chief executive officer of America’s largest corporately-sponsored veterans’ organization did indeed pen this post, it concerned me on a deep level. How could a veteran of his stature speak this favorably about a movie that many of my fellow veterans found completely disgusting, even propaganda-like in nature? The only unifying factor I found was that Rieckhoff and the DoD both seem to share a propensity for cleverly exploiting veterans. Here are six ways in which Rieckhoff, like the DoD, supports the oversimplification of the Iraq War and its effects on veterans and Iraqis.

1. He claims that when talking about the Iraq War, “simple is better”

“Simple is better when something is so overwhelming, so complicated, so distant,” Rieckhoff says of “American Sniper” blithely, with all the persuasive powers of the Ministry of Truth. In his opening paragraphs (if you can call them paragraphs), he announces that “the single best work of film about the Iraq War ever made” is “not a complex film.” He states unabashedly that, in his opinion, the Iraq War’s “best” cinematic telling thus far can be encapsulated for the American public through the “storytelling, action, emotion, production and performance, attention to detail and especially the frighteningly accurate soundscape” of a simple, “very black-and-white view” of the entire conflict. He goes on to say that this was not his view of the war, which apparently means that in his view, the “single best work of film about the Iraq War ever made” reflects essentially the same perspective that the government has been desperately pounding into American brains like so many weapons of mass destruction. Never mind the fact that Rieckhoff’s casually blowing off every single other work of film about the Iraq War – he’s actually calling for more of the black-and-white view that got the movie’s protagonist to buy into his mission in the first place. He names the “power” of the movie as its “focused simplicity.” He applauds director Clint Eastwood’s efforts to make his film just like one of the classic Hollywood Westerns – which is exactly nothing like the actual Iraq War.

      Every veteran knows that each of our war experiences are different. It’s vastly irresponsible for Rieckhoff, who makes a six-figure salary off the backs of the veterans in his organization, to fail to highlight the need for complexity and gray area when discussing a conflict that has been debated and protested by veterans and civilians alike for 13 years now. Now, more than ever, the complexity of the Iraq War and its context must be examined. Refusing to call for more context in a blockbuster film about an ongoing conflict only makes sense if Rieckhoff’s main interest is to keep recruiters’ hands full of young, prospective snipers, and keep his organization full of veterans whose needs were never intended to be met by the government that sent them off to war. Don’t think about the complexity of the war, he croons, just look at all the shiny pictures.

2. He wants Americans to be entertained by the Iraq War

“Most of America is tired of hearing about Iraq. But now, they’re at least open to being entertained by it.” The first sentence is an aggressively ignorant statement, considering that Rieckhoff can’t even claim to speak for “most” veterans, let alone “most” Americans. That’s bad enough for me to throw up in my mouth a little, but in the second sentence, when he implies that Americans ought to be “open to being entertained” by an ONGOING, U.S.-led conflict, he almost made me throw my computer at a wall. The exact opposite of what American veterans need is for our experience to be  entertainment fodder for a deliberately-misinformed public. Our war experiences need to be examined critically for their permanent effect on our individual and societal psyche – not gaped at on a big screen for the financial benefit of Hollywood big shots. Claiming that going to see a big-budget action movie is an acceptable alternative to “hearing about Iraq” from news outlets and from actually listening to veterans’ accounts of widely varying combat experience is misguided at best, and deceptive at worst. The best way to keep Americans from being interested in the actual Iraq War is to tell them that a hyperviolent, oversimplified action flick about a sociopathic killer is the one movie that “may bring civilians closer to [veterans] than anything else.” For Rieckhoff to claim such a thing is to do a great disservice to every veteran who’s ever had a differing experience of the war, and yet still must return home to a nation full of people who can’t wait to ask us that most-hated question, “So … did you kill anyone?”

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The NYPD’s Mini-Rebellion, and the True Face of American Fascism

January 6th, 2015 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in Fascism, Police Crimes, rightwing

By Andrew O’Hehir
Progressive America Rising via Salon

Jan 5, 2015 – In 1935, with Hitler and Mussolini forging a historic alliance in Europe and the world sliding toward war, Sinclair Lewis published the satirical novel “It Can’t Happen Here,”which depicted the rise of an indigenous American fascist movement.

Lewis is a fine prose stylist, but this particular book has an overly melodramatic plot, and is highly specific to its era. It has not aged nearly as well as “Brave New World” or “1984,” and not many people read it today. (At the time, it was understood as an attack on Sen. Huey Longof Louisiana, the populist firebrand who was planning to run against Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, but was assassinated before he could do so.)

But certain aspects of Lewis’ fascist America still resonate strongly. His clearest insight came in seeing that the authoritarian impulse runs strong and deep in American society, but that because of our unique political history and our confused national mythology, it must always be called by other names and discussed in other terms.

Oh, yeah — Happy New Year, everybody! Now let’s get back to fascism. When the “Corpo” regime installed by tyrannical President Buzz Windrip in “It Can’t Happen Here” strips Congress of its powers, tries dissidents in secret military courts and arms a repressive paramilitary force called the Minute Men, most citizens go along with it. (Yeah, some of that sounds familiar — we’ll get to that.) These draconian measures are understood as necessary to Windrip’s platform of restoring American greatness and prosperity, and even those who feel uncomfortable with Corpo policies reassure themselves that America is a special place with a special destiny, and that the terrible things that have happened in Germany and Italy and Spain are not possible here. No doubt the irony of Lewis’ title seems embarrassingly obvious now, but it was not meant to be subtle in 1935 either. His point stands: We still comfort ourselves with mystical nostrums about American specialness, even in an age when the secret powers of the United States government, and its insulation from democratic oversight, go far beyond anything Lewis ever imagined.

I’m not the first person to observe that the New York police unions’ current mini-rebellion against Mayor Bill de Blasio carries anti-democratic undertones, and even a faint odor of right-wing coup. Indeed, it feels like an early chapter in a contemporary rewrite of “It Can’t Happen Here”: Police in the nation’s largest city openly disrespect and defy an elected reformist mayor, inspiring a nationwide wave of support from “true patriots” eager to take their country back from the dubious alien forces who have degraded and desecrated it. However you read the proximate issues between the cops and de Blasio (some of which are New York-specific), the police protest rests on the same philosophical foundation as the fascist movement in Lewis’ novel. Indeed, it’s a constant undercurrent in American political life, one that surfaced most recently in the Tea Party rebellion of 2010, and is closely related to the disorder famously anatomized by Richard Hofstadter in his 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.”

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States’ Minimum Wages Rise, Helping Millions of Workers

January 4th, 2015 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in poverty, safety net, Wages

Fast-food and health care workers, and supporters, demonstrated in Los Angeles on Dec. 4 in a nationwide rally for higher pay.
Robyn Beck / Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

By RACHEL ABRAMS
Progressive America Rising via New York Times

Dec 31, 2014 – For some low-wage workers, everyday tasks like spending money for bus fare to get to and from work also involve deciding which bill to pay or delay, or what to give up.

Rita Diaz, 26, who works two low-wage jobs, sometimes walks the three miles home from her job serving chicken at a Popeye’s fast-food restaurant in Roslindale, Mass., when she doesn’t have money for all of her expenses. Her plight is one of many highlighted by labor advocates who have been pushing for higher minimum wage levels.

In January, with an increase in the minimum wage in Massachusetts taking effect — raising hourly pay to $9 from $8 an hour — Ms. Diaz envisions being able to walk less and ride more.

“I need to make a decision to buy clothes, or pay the rent or pay my cellphone bill,” she said. “Now I’ve got to do that decision, but I’m going to have more money for me, too. A little bit of money for me.”

By Thursday, minimum wage increases will go into effect in 20 states, including Massachusetts, as well as in the District of Columbia. A few other states will enact a pay bump later in the year.

All told, 29 states will exceed the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour at the beginning of January, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The initial changes will enhance minimum pay by as little as a few pennies to as much as $1.25 an hour, affecting about 3.1 million employees, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal research group.

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Black Lives Matter Must Move Beyond Protests — Or Risk Losing the Fight for Racial Justice

December 29th, 2014 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in Black Lives Matter, Organizing, racism

 

By Zeeshan Aleem

Mic.com

Witness the rupture.

Once the worry of minorities and leftists, the ease with which a white man with a badge can end the life of a black person is finally on America’s mind. The realization that police practices can be brutish and unfair to black men has become a matter of serious concern for many whites, bourgeois liberals and some conservatives — apparently even George W. Bush. Law enforcement is undergoing a crisis of legitimacy.

But the window of opportunity for the racially equalized institutional changes, which we desperately need, is wider than it’s been in decades. The recent non-indictments for police killings in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, have reignited awareness of the systemic nature of racial discrimination. Riot, protest and media pressure has made the White House anxious and piqued the interest of a generally useless Congress. Some modest reform is in the works.

But all of this is fragile. When there is a long enough pause in the rate at which black men are killed by the police, the cameras will point elsewhere. If there is any hope of reaping lasting change from this moment, it must take shape in the form of something more durable than rage.

"Black Lives Matter" is the closest thing we have to a unified rallying cry for this movement. It’s a slogan, a website and a Twitter hashtag, which first surfaced in 2012 in response to vigilante George Zimmerman’s acquittal after he killed unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin. At this point, the phrase has become shorthand for the various streams of resistance to police brutality across the country.

The Black Lives Matter movement resembles Occupy Wall Street in 2011, which is cause for both celebration and concern: Both establish a polarizing antagonist — police, bankers — who serves as an entry point for structural critique (systemic racism and politico-economic inequality, respectively). Both have given birth to and mobilized highly decentralized, politically diverse and fairly spontaneous protest movements. Both operate amid contentious politics and feed off friction — or the threat of it — with the state. And just as Occupy mostly dissolved during its first winter, so too could Black Lives Matter. 

So now the movement must evolve. Here are three ideas for those interested in carrying on with campaigns under the umbrella of Black Lives Matter:

Public protest is a tactic, not a strategy: Protesting is vital, but it’s not a substitute for the organization, discipline and grit needed for long-term change. Groups small and large need to organize locally and coordinate nationally on specific programs with short- and long-term goals. Resources for political, economic, legal and cultural advocacy need to be pooled and employed strategically. Campaigns for reform — whether assigning special prosecutors for police homicide trials, disarming public servants or closing the white-black wealth gap — must be focused. Local community efforts should be paired with efforts engaging the federal political process.

Past efforts with similar agendas provide useful case studies. One example worth considering is the rise of the Black Panther Party in response to police brutality in the late 1960s through the early ’70s. Typically depicted as armed separatists, the Black Panthers were antiracist and committed to building interracial coalitions. Their most divisive position, advocacy of armed self-defense, was only one relatively short-lived element of their complex political program. Soon after they developed a nationwide following, they focused on community programs providing free services to neighborhoods; their most popular nationwide initiative was the Free Breakfast for Children Program. The Panthers’ other communitarian programs — which included free clothing, medical care, transportation, housing cooperatives and much more — highlighted the shortcomings of the state and economy, while empowering ordinary citizens to conceptualize and participate in an alternative political economy.

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Can the Left Launch Its Own Tea Party?

December 9th, 2014 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in Democrats, Organizing

After the midterm debacle, liberal insurgents say it’s time to upend the Democratic Party.

By BILL SCHER

Progressive America Rising via Politico

Dec 08, 2014 – Even as they publicly condemn Tea Party Republicans as hostage-taking legislative thugs, the truth is that some Democrats are quietly jealous of them. Think of it: The Tea Party gang gets to intimidate party leaders, threaten legislation, block nominees, shut down the government and default on the debt if they don’t get their way. They cause major trouble.

Boy, does that sound good.

The extreme right has power, and that’s something the left hasn’t had much of for a long time. But in the aftermath of the party’s disastrous midterm performance, it’s very possible that the Democratic Party leadership will be facing its own Tea Party-style insurgency from the other side of the spectrum. “You’re going to get a fight within the Democratic Party. There is a substantial disagreement coming up,” Rep. Jerry Nadler, an outspoken Congressional Progressive Caucus member, recently told the Wall Street Journal.

The only question is, how serious a fight will it be? Will it be a polite spat that results in what has happened most often before—the fast marginalization of the left, with the best elements of the various critiques being stitched together by a centrist Hillary Clinton, or whoever is the nominee in 2016? Or are the populists ready to stage their own grass-roots rebellion, setting their sights on eradicating all corporate influence from the Democrats and undermining any attempt by President Barack Obama to compromise with Republicans by any means necessary?

Progressive activists such as the feisty Progressive Change Campaign Committee would love to be able to instill some of their own intraparty fear, sharpen their populist pitchforks and prod Democratic leaders leftward. And there is reason to believe this could be their moment.

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Big Banks Broke America: Why Now’s the Time to Break Our National Addiction

December 2nd, 2014 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in Banks, Budget Debates, Wall Street

Why are these guys smiling? Since looting all of us for a generous bailout, you’d have thought they’d all lie low. Here’s what they did instead

Big banks broke America: Why now's the time to break our national addiction

Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein (Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite/Reuters/Natalie Behring/Photo montage by Salon)

By Robert Hennelly

Progressive America Rising via Salon.com

They just can’t help themselves. Like the drunk that ruins family holiday gatherings year after year, the big banks, once they are caught in yet another episode of their serial criminality, feign contrition, pay billions in fines, and swear to go forth and sin no more.

But these repeat offenders know the law does not apply to them. These 21st century pirates of the Caribbean were actually rewarded for sacking and pillaging America. They never have had a greater share of the pie and they have no allegiance other than global wealth accumulation beyond the reach of any social contract.

The one relationship to which they remain faithful is the fee for service one they have with the members of Congress they showered more than $65 million in campaign donations on since 2012.

You would have thought after they peddled hundreds of billions of dollars in worthless toxic mortgage-backed securities to the nation’s pension funds, setting into motion the largest destruction of American household wealth  since the Great Depression, the big banks would have taken their bailout and tried to stay out of the headlines.

But in the years since they took the U.S. economy for a near death spiral spin they have been caught instigating one scam after another. No sooner had the big banks settled with the federal government for perpetrating their massive mortgage fraud and they were back pushing the envelope. Law enforcement and regulatory agencies all scrambled to keep up with these banking behemoths that navigate the line between innovation and criminality with the help of former regulators and prosecutors in their employ.

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