Late Night: Fire Sales

By: Thursday July 11, 2013 8:00 pm

Hard to believe, but yet another corporate malefactor turns out to be a hollow shell, devoid of assets and accountability, and this time half of a town got obliterated because of it. With every emerging detail, the derailment and explosion of an unmanned (!) train in Lac Megantic, Quebec turns out to be the same old plot with new characters. A larger concern with assets to protect “spins off” its shoddiest and riskiest parts, and any attendant liabilities, and leaves it alone to flame out, usually not so literally, but still leaving everyone but the con artists at the top holding the conveniently empty bag just the same.

 

Government by Platitude

By: Sunday May 19, 2013 9:00 am

A society where knowledge is irrelevant, replaced by focus-group tested slogans and canned talking points created by and for a bunch of rich people isn’t a democracy.

Beverly Hillbillies, Updated

By: Thursday April 4, 2013 8:00 pm

It turns out that it really is possible to strike black gold in your own backyard, but instead of getting rich from the experience, now the oil belongs to someone else and you end up in an ExxonMobil-controlled no-fly zone where the foul black goop that swept away your petunias is now on its way to your drinking water supply.  The comedic possibilities of such a turn of events seem limited, especially when Keystone XL is barreling ahead unimpeded.

Late Night: Pump and Dump

By: Thursday May 31, 2012 8:00 pm

By any objective measure, Republican dominance in either state or local government ends in failure. Deficits, cronyism, declining services and economic malaise are always the result, conveniently leaving in their wake increased public cynicism about the value of government at all. But that leaves out the curious paradox that it precisely when government is so thoroughly trashed, rich people are more eager than ever to buy it. Why? For the same reason they love to buy “troubled” companies and fixer-uppers; somewhere, someone has left money on the table, and they’ve got to get their paws on it.

For Sale: The Desperate States of America

By: Monday May 30, 2011 3:00 pm

While we have been frantically playing defense against relentless assaults on multiple fronts, from anti-union legislation to draconian anti-choice laws to the attempted privatization of Medicare, the selling off of public assets to the private sector has received little attention.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Anya Schiffrin, Bad News-How America’s Business Press Missed the Story of the Century

By: Sunday March 27, 2011 1:59 pm

Bad News is a collection of essays edited by our guest today, Anya Schiffrin. It features chapters by Ms. Schiffrin, as well as by Nobel Laureate Joe Stiglitz, Columbia Journalism Review’s Dean Starkman, HuffPo Business Editor Peter Goodman, and others in the field from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

The book examines the financial press’s version of the Veal Pen, or what Stiglitz calls “cognitive capture.” Just like the political reporters inside the Beltway have become slaves to access, Financial and economic journalists are just as dependent on their sources in industry and government for information and feel the need to keep those sources happy to avoid being cut off from the information flow that is the lifeblood of their production model.

Military Contracts in Afghanistan Demonstrate Profound Failure of Government Oversight

By: Thursday July 8, 2010 12:35 pm

Graft in Afghanistan is not limited to the Afghan government. Military contracts written by ISAF are subject to such poor oversight that US companies are pocketing the proceeds without paying Afghan subcontractors, while ISAF stands by idly claiming the Afghan subcontractors have no recourse since they don’t have the resources to hire attorneys in the US.

Come Saturday Morning: We’re All “Lesser People” to the Elites on the Catfood Commission

By: Saturday June 26, 2010 6:45 am

“The very rich are different from you and me.” Yes, and that’s why their representatives on the Catfood Commission are horrified that their fellow commissioner Alan Simpson was so indiscreet as to reveal what they think of most Americans: Namely, that we’re “lesser” than them.

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