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“Protest works. Just look at the proof”


The last place you will hear about the new American labor movement is in big American outlets.

Via lambert, via susie. See them, their blogrolls, Twitter hash tag #1u and just about any other outlet where citizens can get the word out.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)

The CIW is a community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida. Via.


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This Week In Tyranny

No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post


Our image in the Muslim world would probably improve if we stopped killing so many Muslims.


Those links came from the Citizens for Legitimate Government daily email. You can sign up by writing Editor-in-Chief Lori Price (signup at legitgov dot org) and putting ‘subscribe’ in the subject line. She’ll often include links to news reports from non-Western sources, like the two in the previous item. PressTV is an Iranian outlet, and unlike, say, CNN or the BBC they will just report drone strikes with the facts - date of attack plus body count. Note that they do not describe the victims as “suspected militants” or some other nonsense. In this case, which outlets do you think are more directly engaging in propaganda?


Price drops in bits of editorial comment in her newsletters. This story came with the comment “Mega barf alert!”


Just for the record, our existing court system is capable of handling terrorism cases. I’m not sure how many times this has to be demonstrated for us to get the hint.


digby:

Ayn Rand would turn over in her grave if she heard these so-called “leaders” whining like a bunch of babies and refusing to own their ideology. Who in their right mind would trust any of them if, with all their billions, they run to the Chamber to launder their money so they don’t have to take responsibility for what they are doing. Of course, that’s pretty much how the titans of commerce in America operate these days. They screw everything up, take their profits, fuck over the plebes and then run and hide.
Preach, sister.


Along the same lines, here is why America loathes you, Wall Street:

“It seems a lot about it is, like, notaries,” the Goldman source said. “I didn’t know anyone even focused on what a notary did! It almost struck me as some kind of anachronism that must have had some value in the past—which I don’t understand.”
To paraphrase another part of the article, I’ll let that comment speak for itself.


At Corrente, MsExPat links to Dahlia Lithwick and lambert strains valiantly to keep pace with our corrosively cynical political culture. (Re: that last link , our financial system is teetering on the verge of collapse again. David Dayen has done a great job keeping abreast of developments in Washington and here is his latest.)


Bear with me for a minute. A while back I read Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor and have been holding on to a few quotes for just the right occasion. First, look how Graham writes about Wall Street reforms as America emerged from the shadow of the Great Depression: (p. 36):

The stock-market insanity of the 1920’s was lacking in obvious economic causes, but its economic effects were tremendous and temporarily disastrous. The most permanent result has applied to Wall Street itself - whether it was disastrous or not is a matter of opinion. The creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) has virtually revolutionized the conduct of the investment banking and brokerage businesses and has significantly affected the conduct of corporate affairs in relation to stockholders. Manipulation in the stock market has been all but abolished. Marginal trading - a potent cause of financial ruin to so many - has been held within strict limits and at times suspended entirely. (This has resulted from new powers granted to the Federal Reserve authorities.) The issuers of new securities have been compelled to supply an almost overwhelming amount of information about all aspects of the enterprise.
Compare to the shadow banking system as it’s developed in the last few years.

Then, it turns out Alan Greenspan isn’t a bullshit artist but an archetype (p. 48): “There is a well-developed art of Delphic phrasing which adjusts itself successfully to whatever the future brings.”

Okay, so here’s the point. One of the great charades of American capitalism is that shareholders are the owners of publicly traded companies. They are not, and never have been. Management and crony-stuffed boards of directors call all the shots, and shareholders who object are advised to simply sell their shares. If Rupert Murdoch wishes to funnel News Corp funds to political campaigns, even above the strenuous objections of shareholders, he can go right ahead. This is not new; Graham writes of shareholder impotence on pp. 224-5 and proposes a remedy:
it is still almost impossible for an outsider to have any action adopted by stockholders against the opposition of management, unless he and his group control a large proportion of the stock….If the [SEC] were directed to render advisory opinions on matters in controversy, upon the request of a designated percentage of the stockholders, an important element now lacking would be supplied, namely, an authoritative and impartial viewpoint to which security holders would pay respectful attention.
In any event, this longstanding state of affairs is clearly a mystery to the wilfully ignorant and obtuse reactionaries who comprise a majority on the Supreme Court:
Shareholders can determine whether their corporation’s political speech advances the corporation’s interest in making profits, and citizens can see whether elected officials are ” ‘in the pocket’ of so-called moneyed interests.”
If those dummies had spent any time at all observing how such companies are run they would know that there is absolutely no ability for shareholders to alter their company’s behavior regardless of what they determine. I’m not saying there should be corporate governance by plebiscite, but there’s a lot of territory between that and the current feeble state of the ostensible owners.


ECONNED EXCERPT from page 60. Writing about economic analysis Smith notes “the research methods are driving what research is being done, not vice versa.” Then:

it would be very useful from a policy standpoint to understand the role that deregulation played in the housing bubble. One proposal called for looking at mortgage data to see if the origination channel had an impact on how lax the lending standards were: mortgage brokers, unlike banks, were unregulated. If the mortgages that brokers wrote were dodgier than the ones provided by banks, that would suggest the lack of regulation made a difference.

However, the graduate students who wanted to pursue this topic ascertained that the information they could obtain from existing databases was neither complete nor comprehensive.

Now there are other ways to come at this question. An investigator could use a combination of data analysis in those markets where good information was available, and supplement it with qualitative analysis (obtaining information or underwriting standards from lenders of various type, say by interviewing former managers of third-party servicers). In fact, the qualitative analysis would serve as a useful cross-check on the statistical work. But that isn’t the style for doing this sort of research, so a paper of that sort would be deemed inadequate from an academic standpoint, no matter how useful it might be from a policy perspective.

Reader Comments (2)

The Supreme Court are hardly ignorant of how corporations operate. It's the rest of us who imagine that corporations are run by the votes of millions of small shareholders. Most small shareholders don't vote. When they do, they often assume that management has the company's best interest at heart. Even if they rise up against something or other, their votes often cancel out.

No, what you need is a translator's ear. When Republicans say "the people", they mean "the people with at least ten million dollars." The rest of us are of no importance whatsoever. We are not people, nor even animals. We do not even exist.

Thus, "the people" elected George W. Bush. "The people" want tax cuts for the wealthy. And, of course, "the people" will keep corporations from turning into tyranny by voting their shares.

And, yes, those people will surely prevent their corporations from turning into that tyranny of the popular will called republican democracy.

October 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCharles

Charles, I agree that the court knows what the score really is. It's just especially obvious in this case. And yes, their concept of who "the people" are does seem to be rather selective. Kind of like how if you really want to be a Constitutional originalist it's only white landowning men who should be allowed to vote and a black is 60% of a human being. You know - the good old days.

October 17, 2010 | Registered CommenterDan

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