Weekly Audit: Progressive Pressure is Repairing the Economy

by Zach Carter, Media Consortium MediaWire Blogger 

Progressive media is sounding the alarm on the AIG bonus scandal, demanding that policymakers stop repeating Bush administration mistakes and offering concrete solutions to the dire economic situation those missteps have created.  

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich describes the bonus insanity in a blog distributed by AlterNet. "Had AIG gone into chapter 11 bankruptcy or been liquidated, as it would have without government aid, no bonuses would ever be paid," Reich writes, noting that institutions like AIG "are no longer within the capitalist system because they are no longer accountable to the market." If AIG is not accountable to the Treasury Secretary of the country that owns an 80% stake in AIG, then the company has unlimited access to taxpayer coffers without being accountable to anyone at all.  

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Recovery Begins With Truth

I am an alcoholic.

I got sober almost 20 years ago.  Before that, I abused alcohol, drugs, sex and money in order to ignore the damage I had done to my life, deluding myself .  I crawled through life in a cycle of being drunk or not yet drunk, making more mistakes that would need more drinking to erase.  I am nobody special.  Absolutely nobody.  Everyone on this planet has problems and I have mine.  I chose to deal with them by 'feeling better', one glass at a time.  All day.  Each and every day...week...month and year - until I turned to someone for help.

(Cross-posted at The National Gadfly)

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And the budget grows...

As Obama bails out AIG and Citicorp and  probably all the automobile companies,  we are still not sure where the new jobs will come from... or if they will come at all. We wait to see the massive hirings to fix bridges and highways or the "shovel ready" projects from the states get started.

Yes, It's been about a month and only a couple of weeks with the legislation in place. However, saving AIG seems to be much more important than employment, and maybe it is.

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In defense of securitization and derivatives

I originally was writing this up as a response to Billmon's excellent article today, Chocolate Covered Cotton. For the record, he makes some very valid points.  The whole system is now burnt, and we the average citizen has to pay for what really is fraud on a massive scale.  Saying all this, I have to take issue on the idea on the concept of CDOs, Swaps and the entire idea of securitization of loans being total junk.  That isn't to say that whats out there isn't toxic, but I'm looking forward.  

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Rich Blog, Poor Blog

Last night I was watching NOW, featuring Harvard law professor and TPM guest writer Elizabeth Warren, discussing the rapidly melting down state of consumer credit in a segment entitled, "The Secret History of the Credit Card." And do check out the full Elizabeth Warren interview.

It reminded me of how funny it was, that time when I lost my job a couple months ago and called the company that was 'insuring' my credit card, charging a moderate fraction of the balance so that in the event I lost my job they'd make my payments for me. And they asked how many hours I'd worked a week, but because I was a part-time contractor who only worked 20 hours a week, they wouldn't pay.

Then I called the credit card company, who had marketed this product to me while I was doing part-time contract work to complain, and they said it was too bad, but if I could come up with some money, then a consumer credit counseling service would be able to negotiate a fair deal with my creditors. So I told the nice, not very helpful lady on the phone that it's too bad my creditors wouldn't just give me a fair deal. So hilarious.

In other news ...

- I have a philosophical dilemma that maybe you can help me answer. Certain Democrats who shall remain nameless: are they arthropods or annelids? Both phyla are comprised of spineless organisms, but I lean arthropod (your crustaceans, insects, spiders, etc,) and it's because creatures with jointed exoskeletons can occasionally show a little verve, usually at times when you wish they wouldn't. On the anti-arthropod side, even their tiny brains have better friend or foe recognition than your typical elected Democrat. Annelids (segmented worms like earthworms, leeches, marine tubeworms, etc,) on the other hand, tend to be bottom feeders when not parasitic, and when more classically predatory they usually attack other invertebrates. On the anti-annelid side, earthworm sh*t makes the flowers grow, which is to say that they serve some greater purpose. I'm open to lively debate on the matter.

- These facets of society are features, not bugs.

- This is not the 'business cycle'. This is the whole nation getting bled dry by a bunch of greedy f*in' bastiches.

- What's wrong with 'public' solutions?

- Intriguing. Is climate change an energy problem? The author contends that it isn't, and when he puts it as he does, I must admit that he makes a fine point.

- Facebook fratboys think breastfeeding is obscene, but pasties, not so much. It should be understood as a friend of mine explains: breastfeeding women are performing the public service of calming hungry babies, and is it ever a public service. It's unreasonable to make women choose between giving their children formula at an early age and cloistering themselves in private for what can add up to quite a lot of time. Total *sshattery.

- The Israel/Palestine thing just isn't that hard to understand. Unfortunately, we can't get a better press, so here's a translation guide for reporters. Why Americans can't predict the likely outcome of a powerful nation deciding to dispossess, starve out, financially ruin, institutionally destroy and disproportionately attack a weaker population, I just don't get.

What're you reading these days?

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Diaries

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