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America's new aristocracy lives in an accountability-free zone.

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‘If there are no legal consequences for profiteers who defrauded the global economy into a collapse, what will deter those profiteers from doing that again?’ Illustration: Mark Long/Mark Long for Guardian US

Accountability is for the little people, immunity is for the ruling class. If this ethos seems familiar, that is because it has preceded some of the darkest moments in human history.

David Sirota, the Guardian

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Fri 5 Oct 2018 | When the former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling was released from prison a few weeks ago, the news conjured memories of a corporate scandal that now seems almost quaint – and it was also a reminder that Enron executives were among the last politically connected criminals to face any serious consequences for institutionalized fraud.

Since Skilling’s conviction 12 years ago, our society has been fundamentally altered by a powerful political movement whose goal is not merely another court seat, tax cut or election victory. This movement’s objective is far more revolutionary: the creation of an accountability-free zone for an ennobled aristocracy, even as the rest of the population is treated to law-and-order rhetoric and painfully punitive policy.

David Sirota is a staff writer for PandoDaily, television commentator and nationally syndicated weekly newspaper columnist and has written for the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Wired, Vice, the
Nation and Salon.com. He covers the intersection of politics, technology and popular culture.

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Planning to Vote in the November Election? Why Most Americans Probably Won’t

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Lula Hill at the hotel she owns in Madison, W.Va. She said she has grown disillusioned with politicians and no longer votes.Credit: Maddie McGarvey for the New York (NY) Times

  • “I just got to the point, I said, ‘I’m not going do it anymore,’” said Ms. Hill, sitting on a couch in the lobby of the hotel she owns and runs, the Hotel Madison, 30 miles south of Charleston. “I just can’t vote for any of them in good conscience.”
  • Related: Will we ever have another fair election?

Sabrina Tavernise, the New York (NY) Times

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Oct. 3, 2018 | Lula Hill voted in just about every election once she became old enough in 1952. Her coal mining family of registered Democrats believed that elections were like church services: You didn’t skip them.

But over time, her sense of civic obligation faded. Mines started laying people off. Opioids started poisoning her neighbors. As her town lost its vigor, Ms. Hill watched as smiling politicians kept making promises and, in her view, growing richer. By the late 1990s, when political leaders — Democrat or Republican — talked about the greater good, she no longer believed them.

https://static01.nyt.com/images/2018/06/13/multimedia/author-sabrina-tavernise/author-sabrina-tavernise-thumbLarge.jpgSabrina Tavernise

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Related:

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Common%20Cause%20%7C%20Polling%20Place%20on%20Election%20Day.jpgWill we ever have another fair election? Mike Phelan, Progress America

  • We need a Congress that fights voter suppression, stops the corporate takeover of our democracy and makes sure we all have a voice. Please join us.
  • Related: Planning to Vote in the November Election? Why Most Americans Probably Won’t

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Trump Is Not the Problem

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  • Trump is not the problem. Think of him instead as a summons to address the real problem, which … is the collective responsibility of the people themselves. For Americans to shirk that responsibility further will almost surely pave the way for more Trumps — or someone worse — to come.
  • The President as Pimple
  • Related: It's not all about Trump! The secrets of winning the long game.

Andrew Bacevic, TomDispatch / Truthdig

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Sep 12, 2018 | Donald Trump’s tenure as the 45th U.S. president may last another few weeks, another year, or another 16 months.  However unsettling the prospect, the leaky vessel that is the S.S. Trump might even manage to stay afloat for a second term.  Nonetheless, recent headline-making revelations suggest that, like some derelict ship that’s gone aground, the Trump presidency may already have effectively run its course. What, then, does this bizarre episode in American history signify?

Let me state my own view bluntly: forget the atmospherics.  Despite the lies, insults, name calling, and dog whistles, almost nothing of substance has changed. Nor will it.

Andrew Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East:  A Military History, which has been published by Random House.

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Related:

It's not all about Trump! The secrets of winning the long game. Jim Hightower, The Hightower Lowdown
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  • Take heart from these tales of regular folks battling the bastards–and beating them back.
  • Related: Democracy Is What We Make of It.
     

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Central Banks Have Gone Rogue; The Contagion Has Spread To Democracy Itself.

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  • Part 1: Ten Years After The Financial Crisis, The Contagion Has Spread To Democracy Itself.
  • Tim Geithner, BenBernankeand Hank Paulson dealt a catastrophic blow to public faith in American institutions.
     
  • Part 2: Central Banks Have Gone Rogue, Putting Us All at Risk.
  • It is time to curb central bank independence.Iftheirpowerful tools are going to be put to work, it should be in the service of the public and the economy.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Ten Years After The Financial Crisis, The Contagion Has Spread To Democracy Itself.

https://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/5b9d80ca2500003500367c9a.jpeg?cache=ux943pagyc&ops=crop_17_40_2983_1234,scalefit_970_noupscaleBen Bernanke (right) and Timothy Geithner (background) say they did what they had to do to “prevent the collapse of the financial system and avoid another Great Depression.” But what they really did was teach middle-class families a grim lesson. Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson dealt a catastrophic blow to public faith in American institutions.


Zach Carter, Huff Post

09/15/2018 | By the time Lehman Brothers filed for the largest bankruptcy in American history on Sept. 15, 2008, the country had been navigating stormy global financial waters for more than a year. Bear Stearns had been rescued in a bailout-facilitated merger with JPMorgan Chase, and the government had nationalized housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For anyone paying attention to the financial system, the situation had been quite dire for a long time.

And yet throughout the mess, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury had been permitting the largest banks in the country to funnel as much cash as they wanted to their shareholders ― even as it became clear those same banks could not pay their debts. Lehman itself had increased its dividend and announced a $100 million stock buyback at the beginning of 2008. Insurance giant AIG paid its highest dividend in company history on Sept. 19, 2008 ― three days after the Federal Reserve handed the insurance giant $85 billion in emergency funds. According to Stanford University Business School Professor Anat Admati, the 19 biggest American banks passed out $80 billion in dividends between the summer of 2007 and the close of 2008. They drew $160 billion in bailout funds from the U.S. Treasury, and untold billions from the Fed’s $7.7 trillion in emergency lending.

https://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/55a538cb1b0000c6022802c2.png?ops=100_100Zach Carter, Senior Reporter, HuffPost

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Part 2: Central Banks Have Gone Rogue, Putting Us All at Risk.

 

https://www.truthdig.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/208364955_bd1c4e4673_z.jpgIt is time to curb central bank independence. If their powerful tools are going to be put to work, it should be in the service of the public and the economy.

Ellen Brown, Truthdig.com

September 13, 2018 | Excluding institutions such as Blackrock and Vanguard, which are composed of multiple investors, the largest single players in global equity markets are now thought to be central banks themselves. An estimated 30 to 40 central banks are invested in the stock market, either directly or through their investment vehicles (sovereign wealth funds). According to David Haggith at Zero Hedge:

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Open%20Quotes.jpg"Central banks buying stocks are effectively nationalizing U.S. corporations just to maintain the illusion that their “recovery” plan is working. … At first, their novel entry into the stock market was only intended to rescue imperiled corporations, such as General Motors during the first plunge into the Great Recession, but recently their efforts have shifted to propping up the entire stock market via major purchases of the most healthy companies on the market."

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Ellen%20Brown_0.jpgEllen Brown is an attorney, chairman of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including "Web of Debt" and "The Public Bank Solution."

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