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Robert Scheer on The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street

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  • We speak with veteran journalist and Truthdig editor, Robert Scheer, about his latest book, The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.
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  • “Perp Walks Instead of Bonuses”
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Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

Guest: Robert Scheer, longtime journalist based in California. He is the editor of Truthdig and author of many books. His latest is The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.

Amy Goodman: As we continue our discussion on the state of the economy, we’re joined in Los Angeles by veteran journalist and Truthdig.com editor Robert Scheer. His book is out today; it’s called The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.

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“Perp Walks Instead of Bonuses”: Veteran Journalist Robert Scheer on AIG Bonuses, the “Backdoor Bailout” and Why Obama Should Fire Geithner, Summers, Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
Appearing on Capitol Hill, AIG CEO Edward Liddy was repeatedly questioned over why the failed insurance giant is paying out over $165 million in bonuses after it received a $170 billion taxpayer bailout. While the Obama administration is expressing outrage, more details have come to light indicating that some officials have known about the bonuses for months.

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The true cost of the Iraq war: $3 trillion and beyond

Moreover, two years on, it has become clear to us that our estimate did not capture what may have been the conflict's most sobering expenses: those in the category of "might have beens," or what economists call opportunity costs.

Joseph E. Stiglitz, Washington Post | DC, from Citizens for A Legitimate Government

Writing in these pages in early 2008, we put the total cost to the United States of the Iraq war at $3 trillion. This price tag dwarfed previous estimates, including the Bush administration's 2003 projections of a $50 billion to $60 billion war.

But today it appears that our $3 trillion estimate (which accounted for both government expenses and the war's broader impact on the U.S. economy) was, if anything, too low. For example, the cost of diagnosing, treating and compensating disabled veterans has proved higher than we expected. For example, the cost of diagnosing, treating and compensating disabled veterans has proved higher than we expected.

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For many, a new job comes at a cost: lower wages

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  • Even as a tentative economic recovery wheezes along, data show a disproportionate growth in low-paying jobs.
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  • U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression
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  • Jobless? Your leaders are at ease with that.
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Michael Luo, New York Times | NY

Donna Ings took a lower-paying job as a home health aide after being out of work for over a year. Michele McDonald for the New York Times

After being out of work for more than a year, Donna Ings, 47, finally landed a job in February as a home health aide with a company in Lexington, Mass., earning about $10 an hour.

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Chelsea Nelson, 21, started two weeks ago as a waitress at a truck stop in Mountainburg, Ark., making around $7 or $8 an hour, depending on tips, ending a lengthy job search that took her young family to California and back.

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Jobless? Your leaders are at ease with that, Paul Krugman, New York Times
None of them want to fix it -- so high unemployment might become a habit.
Punishing the Jobless

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Updated: U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)<>

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  • Adjusting for demographic factors, current labor market downturn steeper than '82-'83 recession.
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  • The Horror Show
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  • The jobs emergency
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Summary: America's Financial Crisis: Week of August 29

6 New Items including:

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  • Can we afford endless war?
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  • This Is Not a Recovery
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

Lisa Benson

This Is Not a Recovery, Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY

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  • This isn’t a recovery, in any sense that matters. And policy makers should be doing everything they can to change that fact.
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  • GDP Revised Down: Economy Grew At A Much Slower Pace Than Previously Thought
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  • Tax Jujitsu: Why Democrats Should Propose a “People’s Tax Cut”
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  • Jobless? Your leaders are at ease with that.
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Fiddling While the US Economy Burns, Danny Schechter, Consortium News

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  • "We know we live in hard times that are on the verge of getting harder with 500,000 new claims for unemployment last week, a recent record. The stock market may be over for now as fear and panic drives small investors out. Big corporations hoard stashes of cash rather then hire workers. The D-Word (depression) is back in play."
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  • The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis
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  • The Horror Show
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  • America Goes Dark
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The Best Oligarchy Money can Buy, Anthony Dimaggio, ZComm, in Axis of Logic

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  • Revolving Door between Government and the Private Sector Reaches Appalling Highs
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  • “Three of every four gas and oil lobbyists [have] worked for the federal government.” --Washington Post
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Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science That Makes Life Dismal ~ Moshe Adler, Chat with Moshe Adler about his new book, hosted by Max Fraad Wolff, Progressive Reader

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  • Filled with lively examples—from food riots in Indonesia to eminent domain in Connecticut, and everyone from Adam Smith to Jeremy Bentham to Larry Summers—Economics for the Rest of Us shows how today’s dominant economic theories evolved, how they explicitly favor the rich over the poor, and why they’re not the only or best options. Written for anyone with an interest in understanding contemporary economic thinking—and why it is dead wrong
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  • Economics for the Rest of Us offers a foundation for a fundamentally more equal economic system.
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Attacking Social Security, Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY

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  • Social Security’s attackers claim that they’re concerned about the program’s financial future. But their math doesn’t add up, and their hostility isn’t really about dollars and cents. Instead, it’s about ideology and posturing. And underneath it all is ignorance of or indifference to the realities of life for many Americans.
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  • Defense spending far outpaces spending on Social Security
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  • DC Politicians Beware: If You Mess with Social Security, You're Toast
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Jobs: Permanently Gone? How to Reverse the Trend? Andy Driscoll, Truth to Tell<>, KFAI-FM | MN

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  • Andy Driscoll and Lynnell Mickelsen  talk about the reality behind the recession, job losses and permanent low wages, and how to even out the economy with portions of a talk by Economist Dean Baker to the annual meeting of the JobsNow Coalition and a talk with local jobs and economic policy advocates.
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  • The jobs emergency
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This Is Not a Recovery

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  • This isn’t a recovery, in any sense that matters. And policy makers should be doing everything they can to change that fact.
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  • GDP Revised Down: Economy Grew At A Much Slower Pace Than Previously Thought.
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  • Tax Jujitsu: Why Democrats Should Propose a “People’s Tax Cut”.
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  • Jobless? Your leaders are at ease with that.
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Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

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What will Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, say in his big speech Friday (August 27) in Jackson Hole, WY? Will he hint at new steps to boost the economy? Stay tuned.

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But we can safely predict what he and other officials will say about where we are right now: that the economy is continuing to recover, albeit more slowly than they would like. Unfortunately, that’s not true: this isn’t a recovery, in any sense that matters. And policy makers should be doing everything they can to change that fact.

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The small sliver of truth in claims of continuing recovery is the fact that G.D.P. is still rising: we’re not in a classic recession, in which everything goes down. But so what?

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GDP Revised Down: Economy Grew At A Much Slower Pace Than Previously Thought, Christopher S. Rugaber, Associated Press, in Huffington Post
Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski
The nation's gross domestic product – the broadest measure of the economy's output – grew at a 1.6 percent annual rate in the April-to-June period, the Commerce Department said Friday (August 27). That's down from an initial estimate of 2.4 percent last month and much slower than the first quarter's 3.7 percent pace.

Tax Jujitsu: Why Democrats Should Propose a “People’s Tax Cut”, Robert Reich, Robert Reich.org
Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski
Republicans are calling the Democrat’s proposal to end the Bush tax cuts on the richest 3 percent a “tax increase,” and demagoging that it will hurt the economy and small business. This is baloney, to put it politely. Let me count the ways.

Jobless? Your leaders are at ease with that, Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY

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  • None of them want to fix it -- so high unemployment might become a habit.
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  • Punishing the Jobless
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Fiddling While the US Economy Burns

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  • "We know we live in hard times that are on the verge of getting harder with 500,000 new claims for unemployment last week, a recent record. The stock market may be over for now as fear and panic drives small investors out. Big corporations hoard stashes of cash rather then hire workers. The D-Word (depression) is back in play."
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  • The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis
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  • The Horror Show
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  • America Goes Dark
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Danny Schechter, Consortium News

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

The stock market may be over for now as fear and panic drives small investors out. Big corporations hoard stashes of cash rather then hire workers. The D-Word (depression) is back in play.

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Foreclosures are up, and the Administration’s programs to stop them are down, well below their stated goals, only helping one-sixth of those promised assistance.

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And here’s a statistic for you: 300,000. That’s the number of foreclosure filings every month for the past 17 months.

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The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis, Think Progress

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  • Without more intervention, the housing market will continue its 'slow motion' adjustment that will continue to inhibit economic growth and drag down consumer spending.
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  • Foreclosures Rise with Unemployment
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The Horror Show, Bob Herbert, New York Times | NY

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  • Policy makers seem intent on allowing the employment crisis to fester. As bad as the July employment numbers were, a deeper look into them shows a seriously scary situation.
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  • Long-Term Economic Pain
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  • Jobless? Your leaders are at ease with that
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America Goes Dark, Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY

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  • So the end result of the long campaign against government is that we’ve taken a disastrously wrong turn. America is now on the unlit, unpaved road to nowhere.
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  • America: The Grim Truth
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The Best Oligarchy Money can Buy

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  • Revolving Door between Government and the Private Sector Reaches Appalling Highs
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  • “Three of every four gas and oil lobbyists [have] worked for the federal government.” --Washington Post
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Anthony Dimaggio, ZComm, in Axis of Logic

The symbiotic connection between government and business is reaching alarming levels in light of recent evidence, indicating that government officials and business executives are increasingly one and the same.  Consider the evidence that’s recently come to light.   

A recent study by the Washington Post finds that “three of every four gas and oil lobbyists [have] worked for the federal government”.

Among those currently lobbying for energy companies who have worked in government include 18 former members of Congress and dozens of former presidential appointees. Two of these former officials were directors of the Minerals and Management Service, a disturbing revelation considering that the agency has received strong criticism for granting 198 leases for oil wells following the April 30th Deepwater explosion in the Gulf, with BP the winner of 13 of those bids.  For those unfamiliar with the MMS, it gained infamy in late 2008 when it was reported by the New York Times that its employees were trading lucrative offshore drilling contracts for cocaine sex parties, funded by the oil industry (More on that story).

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These kinds of stories are usually the stuff of mystery and action thriller novels, but in the case of MMS-incest, the development simply looks like a failure of an agency to regulate private interests.   

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Summary: America's Financial Crisis: Week of August 22

7 New Items including:

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  • Can we afford endless war?
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  • Homeowners' Rebellion: Could 62 Million Homes Be Foreclosure-Proof?
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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Stuart Carlson

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Crisis. What Crisis? Profits Soar! James Petras, Axis of Logic

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  • "From the first quarter of this year, corporate profits have shot up between twenty to over a hundred percent."
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  • The jobs emergency
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  • The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis
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Can we afford endless war? Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune | IL

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  • Minding our own business would be cheaper — and safer.
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  • We Can’t Afford War
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Warehouse workers suffer while Wal-Mart rakes in cash, Pepe Lozano, People's World
"Major companies are making millions of dollars, like Wal-Mart, and they're far from broke. In fact they treat their workers bad in order to increase their profits while some guy working at a warehouse can't feed his kids. It's just wrong."

Paralysis at the Fed, Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY
The fact is that the Fed — which is required by statute to promote “maximum employment” — isn’t doing its job. Instead, like the rest of Washington, it’s inventing reasons to dither in the face of mass unemployment. And while the Fed sits there in its self-inflicted paralysis, millions of Americans are losing their jobs, their homes and their hopes for the future.

U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

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  • Adjusting for demographic factors, current labor market downturn steeper than '82-'83 recession.
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  • The Horror Show
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The jobs emergency, Robert Reich, Robert Reich

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  • Twelve thousand new jobs in July -- when 125,000 are needed monthly just to keep up with population growth, when more than 15 million Americans are out of work, and when more than a half-million more state and local jobs are on the chopping block.
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  • Predictably, Washington's latest rescue effort falls woefully short
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  • U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression
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  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program.
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Homeowners' Rebellion: Could 62 Million Homes Be Foreclosure-Proof? Ellen Brown, Yes! Magazine

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  • A committed movement to tear off the predatory mask called MERS could yet turn the tide for struggling homeowners.
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  • The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis
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