Jimmy Williams used to lobby for the powerful National Association of Realtors. He tells us about the steady flow of donations that Congressmembers need, and how he wants to take down the crazy campaign finance system.
Source: The Friday Podcast: A Former Lobbyist Tells All
How Politicians Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison
Peter Schweizer explains how members of Congress profit from insider trading and use their political influence for their own financial gain. He reports on several current members of the House and Senate who have affected votes on bills or gathered information from briefings to benefit their financial portfolio.
Jack Abramoff is a former lobbyist who pleaded guilty in 2006 to charges of fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to bribe public officials. Abramoff also worked as businessman, movie producer and writer. Abramoff's lobbying and the scandals and investigation are featured in a documentary movie "Casino Jack and the United States of Money" and a political satire movie titled "Casino Jack".
Lawrence Lessig is a law professor at Harvard. He has been the lead counsel in important cases concerning copyright laws for digital content. His current work concerns institutional corruption.
Source: Lawrence Lessig interviews Jack Abramoff
Dr. Justin Frank talks about his new book, Obama on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President with Peter B. Collins. Dr. Frank is a clinical professor of psychiatry at George Washington University, and previously wrote Bush on the Couch. Frank maintains a private practice in marital and family therapy. He describes “Obsessive Bipartisan Disorder” and remarks on Obama’s attraction to appeasing the GOP leaders who are committed to his destruction.
“The truth is that I never considered student loans to be an especially interesting topic. College debt, I believed, was a necessary evil – to be repaid expeditiously and then forgotten even more quickly. However, what I once thought of as an uninteresting issue has come to dominate my life.”
This highly informative book was written by a 1998 graduate of Cal Tech with three degrees in aerospace engineering who, after a student loan nightmare that took him from an original relatively modest $38,000 Sallie Mae loan to an obligation of $80,000 by 2002 and $103,000 by mid 2005. At that point he started the website www.studentloanjustice.org in an effort to hook up with others in similar straits, share stories and become politically active in restoring consumer protections for student loans.
I recommend opposing the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012. The U.S. is not at war with any country. Nor is U.S. threatened by any group of criminals. Therefore, the U.S. does not need a war-time budget. The only defense needed is a few ships on each of the coasts. Veterans must get the best possible treatments for physical and mental injuries. I support job training for all Americans unable to find work.
The U.S. military is not a global police force. No country can possibly afford to pay for this useless manifestation of arrogance. Any secret provisions of this bill directly violate the Constitutional requirements to spell out all government expenditures. Detention of suspects without a public and fair trial also violates the 5th amendment of the Constitution. The excessive military expenditures by the U.S. government threatens the future economic viability of the U.S. economy.
The only expenditures needed for Iraq and Afghanistan are those needed for a speedy and safe exit by all U.S. personnel. These recommendations will be opposed by all who equate military might with the mission of the U.S. to shape the world. They can not see the foolishness of such a conceit. Americans expect their elected officials to put the health and wealth of their country ahead of useless and self-defeating projections of power
America's Second Gilded Age has been scoured of its glitter, along with the platitudes that its town criers preached -- "too much government," "market infallibility," and "prosperity forever." The policies and ethical failures that sprang from this gospel are under intense scrutiny. After 30 years, the self-serving creed of a right-wing coalition of wealth and power -- ideologues, promoters, corporate executives, and the American aristocracy of money - is under assault, its system failures increasingly apparent. Their ideology tantalized millions with the promise of "getting the government off our backs!"
The consequences of this readily marketable guff have led us to drastically altered economic circumstances -- a ruinous drop in both stock values and ethical standards that has weakened the economy; far worse, a global loss of confidence in the American economic system, and in a pro-market administration that is squandering America's good name and credibility among allies and friends
Submitted by Tjadendevries on Sun, 11/27/2011 - 4:49pm
Watch the video ... Actually it's worse, when you look at it the right way
The L-Curve graph represents income, not wealth. The distribution of wealth is even more skewed. Quoting from a recently-published book by political philosopher David Schweickart,
If we divided the income of the US into thirds, we find that the top ten percent of the population gets a third, the next thirty percent gets another third, and the bottom sixty percent get the last third. If we divide the wealth of the US into thirds, we find that the top one percent own a third, the next nine percent own another third, and the bottom ninety percent claim the rest. (Actually, these percentages, true a decade ago, are now out of date. The top one percent are now estimated to own between forty and fifty percent of the nation's wealth, more than the combined wealth of the bottom 95%.)
The United States isn’t broke; we’re the richest country on the planet and a country in which the richest among us are doing exceptionally well. But the truth is, our economy is broken, producing more pollution, greenhouse gasses and garbage than any other country. In these and so many other ways, it just isn’t working. But rather than invest in something better, we continue to keep this ‘dinosaur economy’ on life support with hundreds of billions of dollars of our tax money. The Story of Broke calls for a shift in government spending toward investments in clean, green solutions—renewable energy, safer chemicals and materials, zero waste and more—that can deliver jobs AND a healthier environment. It’s time to rebuild the American Dream; but this time, let’s build it better.
Bob McChesney talks with Jacob Hacker, Professor of Political Science at Yale University. Jacob Hacker has made important contributions to public policy ideas in the areas of healthcare, social welfare and economic opportunity. Jacob has spent his career researching how the institutions of social protection work, practically and economically.
Paul Pierson is noted for his research on comparative public policy and political economy, the welfare state, and American political development. Pierson is Professor of Political Science at the University of California at Berkeley.