Saturday, August 31, 2019

A revolution is the solution

"FDIC approves Volcker revamp, in latest move to roll back bank rules: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. board voted 3-1 Tuesday to give big banks more leeway to make risky short-term bets in financial markets by loosening a landmark but highly contentious regulation known as the Volcker rule. The FDIC and four other independent agencies have dropped their proposal to tie the rule to a strict accounting standard — a move that banks argued would have made it more burdensome by subjecting additional trades to heightened supervision. Instead, regulators will give banks the benefit of the doubt on a much wider range of trades, according to the text of the final rule." Regulators "will give banks the benefit of the doubt." Because they've really earned our trust.

David Dayen, "With the Volcker Rule Now Dead, Democrats Need to Bring Back Glass-Steagall: Trump's 'regulators' have allowed banks to play fast and loose with your deposits. It's time to make banks' speculation with your money flat-out illegal. In 2017, when Obamacare looked to be a vote or two away from oblivion, a popular argument in left circles went like this: The Rube Goldberg contraption that is the Affordable Care Act represented a compromise from the easier and cleaner way to do universal health care, and if Republicans and the medical industry couldn't even stomach that, the next time Democrats take power they might as well go to full single-payer. If Democrats are going to be called socialists either way, the left theorized, they should choose the best policy instead of a half measure in the faint hope of winning bipartisan support. Democrats now have another example of this in financial reform. Trump's regulators have finally eviscerated the compromise version of a structural separation between deposit-taking banks and trading institutions, known as the Volcker Rule. The financial sector could not allow even minor constraints on its practices of betting prodigious sums with other people's money. Well, fine. Then I guess when Democrats retain control they should just go back to the gold standard in this department, the firewall between commercial and investment banks passed in 1933 as the Glass-Steagall Act.

"Obama Repeatedly Tried to Get Biden Not to Run for President: The former president is reportedly worried Biden will 'embarrass himself.' [...] The most surprising part of the Times story though is how Obama has on multiple occasions tried to dissuade Biden from running for president. First, in 2016, Obama pressured Biden to sit out the race because he believed Hillary Clinton was the best shot at continuing his legacy. Even though that didn't pan out for Obama, he still tried to talk Biden out of running in 2020."

HILL TV EXCLUSIVE, Full Interview: Bernie Sanders sits down with Krystal Ball (28:55 video)

"Column: In shocking reversal, Big Business puts the shareholder value myth in the grave: Among the developments followers of business ethics may have thought they'd never see, the end of the shareholder value myth has to rank very high. Yet one of America's leading business lobbying groups just buried the myth. 'We share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders,' reads a statement issued Monday by the Business Roundtable and signed by 181 CEOs. (Emphasis in the original.) The statement mentions, in order, customers, employees, suppliers, communities and — dead last — shareholders. The corporate commitment to all these stakeholders may be largely rhetorical at the moment, but it's hard to overstate what a reversal the statement represents from the business community's preexisting viewpoint." But as David Dayen observed in his newsletter, "The Business Roundtable's statement that companies have obligations to more than shareholders is funny, considering that two months earlier they sent a comment to the Securities and Exchange Commission asking for a rule change to preserve 'long-term shareholder value.'

Matt Binder explains what the new domain name regime could mean, for independent sites (like this one) and other internet users, on Doomed. (The audio-only stream may be more useful and starts at the beginning of the show, unlike the video that starts over two minutes in.)

Since the usual suspects are dissing it, Bernie Sanders' Green New Deal.

Recommended video: "How Societies Turn Cruel - feat. Sargon of Akkad" (30 minutes)

What happened to America's unions? How the US Auto Industry Destroyed Its Capacity to Compete w/ Joshua Murray - MR Live - 8/29/19

Someone updated Al Franken's "Hang On Stevens" idea for Justice Ginsberg, "Hang On Ruthie!."

I keep telling people that the candidate who is most like Trump is Biden.

Meagan Day, "Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren Aren't Playing the Same Game: The Democratic Party establishment has shown itself time and again to be an enemy of left-wing policies. Despite her progressive plans, Elizabeth Warren is cozying up to those Democratic elites. Bernie Sanders welcomes their hatred. [...] The differences between Sanders and Warren on the one hand and Biden on the other are obvious. Biden has no idea what he wants the country to look like or why he's running for president. Warren and Sanders do. But the differences between Warren and Sanders continue to confuse many in the mainstream media, who repeatedly assert or imply that they're ideologically identical. They aren't. Sanders calls himself a democratic socialist and Warren calls herself a 'capitalist to my bones.' These aren't just labels. They're distinct approaches to the fundamental problems facing our society. A socialist tries to liberate the things people need to survive from the clutches of capitalist markets, which is why Sanders has taken the lead on Medicare for All, transforming it into the most popular working-class demand of the moment. A capitalist respects the superior wisdom of capitalist markets and tries to restore them to optimal functionality, which can help explain why Warren is so frustratingly noncommittal on Medicare for All. A socialist pursues decommodification through universal social programs that enshrine new social rights for all, which is why Sanders has proposed to eliminate every last penny of existing student debt. A capitalist of the liberal or progressive variety is seduced by means-testing, which is why Warren needlessly introduced eligibility requirements and caps into her student-debt forgiveness program.

"Another Nail in the Coffin' of Democracy and Journalism as US Newspaper Giants Gannett and GateHouse Announce $1.4 Billion Merger: 'Hundreds of communities and ultimately our democracy will pay the price for this deal. Less journalism and less deep-dive investigative reporting will only lead to less informed citizens.'

"Corporate Interests Use Voter Purges To Disenfranchise Citizens: The SCOTUS decision in Shelby County v Holder ruled that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is unconstitutional. Greg Palast talks about how what followed has been the expansion of the very issue that the VRA was implemented to curb."

Every now and then I find myself in a conversation with someone, usually a libertarian, who seems to have no idea how people and history ever happen. And I ask them, "And where does private property come from?" Nice little interview from Sammy pretty much explains why this is a useful question. "The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth & Inequality w/ Katharina Pistor - MR Live - 8/27/19"

"Memo to mainstream journalists: Can the phony outrage; Bernie is right about bias: Mainstream media is shocked at Sanders' suggestion that ownership influences coverage. I can tell you it's true. Mainstream journalists are having a ridiculous hissy fit over Sen. Bernie Sanders' suggestion that there may be a connection between the owner of a news outlet and the content or biases of that outlet's coverage. If Sanders had suggested that Rupert Murdoch's ownership of Fox News impacts its coverage, few would argue with him. But Sanders referred to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' ownership of the Washington Post — a corporate centrist outlet. And the senator, an Amazon critic, complained that the newspaper 'doesn't write particularly good articles about me.' [...] I worked in and around mainstream TV news for years, including at corporate centrist outlets CNN and MSNBC. Unlike at Fox News (where I'd also been a paid contributor), there's almost never a memo or direct order from top management to cover or not cover certain stories or viewpoints. But here's the sad reality: There doesn't have to be a memo from the owner to achieve the homogeneity of coverage at 'centrist' outlets that media watchdog groups like FAIR (which I founded) have documented in study after study over the decades. It happens because of groupthink. It happens because top editors and producers know — without being told — which issues and sources are off limits. No orders need be given, for example, for rank-and-file journalists to understand that the business of the corporate boss or top advertisers is off-limits, short of criminal indictments. No memo is needed to achieve the narrowness of perspective — selecting all the usual experts from all the usual think tanks to say all the usual things. Think Tom Friedman. Or Barry McCaffrey. Or Neera Tanden. Or any of the elite club members who've been proven to be absurdly wrong time and again about national or global affairs. [...] If you still want to believe there's no connection between corporate media ownership and content, join me in a mental exercise: Imagine how quickly heads would roll at the Post in the fantastical event that it somehow produced even three negative stories about owner Jeff Bezos in a few hours. (Needless to say, there's much to critically report about Bezos, including Amazon's tax avoidance, labor exploitation, taxpayer subsidies and CIA contracts.) [...] I said above that there's 'almost never a memo or order from top management' to newsroom journalists. In normal times, the media system works smoothly without top-down directives. But in times of crisis, such as during the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq — when I was a senior producer of MSNBC's primetime Phil Donahue show — there may well be orders and memos. As the invasion neared, top management at MSNBC/NBC News ordered us to bias our panel discussions. If we booked one guest who was antiwar on Iraq, we needed two who were pro-war. If we booked two guests on the left, we needed three on the right. When a producer proposed booking Michael Moore, she was told that three right-wingers would be required for balance. (I thought about proposing Noam Chomsky as a guest, but our stage couldn't have accommodated the 28 right-wingers we might have needed for balance.) During that period, we were told by MSNBC brass that invasion opponent Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. attorney general, should not appear on the channel. Apparently, some sort of blacklist." And we all know what happened to Phil Donahue.

"For Bernie, The Washington Post's Hatred Is Pure The Post is apoplectic that Bernie would call out its bias. [...] Take a stalwart of the liberal establishment press, the Washington Post, for example. The Post seems to operate, similar to Cockburn, based on a principle of hatred for one's enemies. The problem, however, is that many of the Post's enemies would never have made Cockburn's enemies list: the Post's targets are all too often in the crosshairs not for being corrupt elites but principally for bucking the elite consensus."

ROT IN PERDITION: "After Life of Incalculable Harm, Billionaire Climate Denialist and Right-Wing Villain David Koch Dead at 79: 'Death is an escape hatch for David Koch while the rest of us are left scrambling for the emergency brake before we go over the cliff.'"
"David Koch's Monstrous Legacy [...] But Koch's largesse wasn't free. We are paying for it now, and have been paying for it for decades. Koch's legacy is a testament to the power of weaponized philanthropy. For Koch did not restrict himself to supporting artists and scientists. He, along with his brother Charles, who survives him, committed their vast family fortune to the construction of a powerful conservative network. We live in the world that he helped build, and it is on fire."

"Fidel Castro's crocodile attacks man at Stockholm crayfish party [...] Skansen's pair — named Castro and Hillary — came to Stockholm from Moscow Zoo in 1981, to whom they had been donated by a Russian cosmonaut who were given the animals as a gift by then Cuban President Fidel Castro in 1978. They have had 11 children since arriving at the Stockholm zoo."

"Disaster capitalism: the shocking doctrine Tories can't wait to unleash: The Tory right doesn't care about the damage Brexit will do. The prize is a free hand to exploit this mess and roll back the state for good. [...] Many thought that the near meltdown of the global financial system would prompt a comprehensive rethink of the principles underlying global capitalism. Instead, it was exploited to de-fund social welfare provision on a grand scale, prompting much of the anger wrongly vented against migrants during the referendum. What then about Brexit? The advocates of leaving the European Union have always claimed that it would be easy and, after a brief period of turmoil, positively productive. A vast chorus of experts disagreed. The decision to leave therefore delivered an enormous economic and political shock to England, Scotland, the EU and the global economy. Why is the government not doing everything possible to mitigate that shock? [...] As Andy Beckett pointed out in the Guardian on Friday, within minutes of the BBC declaring victory for Brexit, the free-market thinktank the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) revealed the plan B that has otherwise remained hidden from view. 'The weakness of the Labour party and the resolution of the EU question have created a unique political opportunity to drive through a wide-ranging ... revolution on a scale similar to that of the 1980s ... This must include removing unnecessary regulatory burdens on businesses, such as those related to climate directives and investment fund[s].'"

Garbage, "Sex Is Not The Enemy"

2 comments:

  1. You 'moved quickly' toward impeachment by re-writing the rules to be incredible unfair--even more so than the scumbag Republicans in 98. They used an untested (in terms of the courts) method and never went to court for anything, instead simply stomping their feet and saying 'Big Meanie! We won't try to get the courts to uphold our questionable subpoenas! We'll just add 100 articles of impeachment!'. Mostly because they don't have the power they would have if they had the confidence of the house (which is why the Republicans copied the Nixon impeachment). But that also means Trump gets to claim executive privilege--because the mechanism the SCotUS weighed in on half a century ago just aren't in effect now.

    Not that the epistemically closed sources will tell you that.

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