It might not be too long before our economy gets screwed by Wall Street, again

The corporate corruption of our government is most glaring when it comes to regulating Wall Street. According to a new report released today by Public Citizen – lawmakers who oppose the Volcker Rule, which says banks can't gamble with your checking account money, receive on average four times more in campaign contributions from Wall Street than those lawmakers who support the Volcker Rule.

In total – Members of Congress opposing the Volcker Rule have collected more than $66 million since 2010 from the banksters – which works out to about $388,000 per Member. While most Americans are horrified by this blatant buy-off of our Congress – Wall Street considers it a worthwhile investment and the Supreme Court says it's legal.


Blue Mark's picture
Blue Mark 12 years 12 weeks ago

The word of the day is "BROCCOLI"

If government can force people to buy medical insurance, why not force them to buy broccoli?

Because not buying health insurance does not eliminate the use of medical care, it just shifts the costs from the individual to others. This is not theoretical, currently every health insurance policy holder is paying about $1000 dollars a year extra in order to cover costs incurred by the uninsured.

When you choose not to buy broccoli, you are not shifting its cost onto someone else.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 12 years 12 weeks ago

Don't give them any ideas! Really! If the Broccoli industry buys off the politicians to mandate we all buy a certain amount of Broccoli, because "it is good for us", and besides, their "unbiased scientific studies" have found that eating a certain amount of broccoli has been shown to keep people from getting sick and burdening the healthcare industry...they will mandate that we all buy a certain amount of broccoli. Of course, the "unbiased scientific study" would have been an internal broccoli industry paid-for study.

I happen to agree that broccoli is good for you (providing it is pesticide and fecal matter free) but our government should not be used as a strong-arm enforcer for the private industries to make a profit. The government is supposed to protect us from these criminal profit mongers...not help them rip us off. How was it that the pink slime meat industry was able to get away with it so long?

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 12 years 12 weeks ago

I am wondering how much longer it will be before that stupid bronze bull on Wall Street is stolen and sold as junk metal.

MaryMary's picture
MaryMary 12 years 12 weeks ago

Blue Mark,

According to the CBO, if Obama Care is implemented, that $1,000/policy holder, will grow to about $2,500/taxpayer. So implementing Obama Care will cost us an extra $1,500. You need to understand, THERE AIN'T NO FREE LUNCH.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 12 weeks ago

Live a while in Europe, try your 'free lunch' in things public healthcare -- it works and their economies work better than ours still.

Frankly, your phrases don't sound like teacher, but like simpleminded farmer. Very, very simple phrases! Which don't match reality.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 12 weeks ago

How far can Supreme Court actually go? Where is the limit??

If somebody would challenge, it would be unconstitutional to wear clothes in Congress, because Adam and Eva didn't either....

I mean, this is a very-very crazy case. But if Supreme Court would decide, yes, it is unconstitutional to not go like Adam and Eva into Congress, so all congresspeople would be required to be there with nothing but fig leaves? Doesn't it look like, even in this extremely unlikely case, America would have to eat that and furthermore see fig leaves in Congress??

Doesn't it look like Supreme Court is so extremely mighty right now, they are able to declare the sky "pink" and we all have to eat that (well, not to buy, but to eat)?

We need a very-very progressive Congress next year, to cut these absolutist rulers in judge's robes down and then end the Citizen United and corruption nonsense!

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 12 weeks ago

Thom, you can't just READ the Constitution. You have to understand this while comparing to factual cases. If I just read the book, I forget it in no time. Right now we can learn a lot. Not just read the text, but also understand while following Supreme Court's healthcare struggle. Thanks for helping, actually teaching us. :o)

So if you're right, Supreme Court will only go gray, and then the President will strike it down. Looking forward to that. :o)

MaryMary's picture
MaryMary 12 years 12 weeks ago


You are so nieve. Who do you think pays for the "free" public healthcare in Europe?

Part of being a teacher is too know your audience. I'm not writing too a bunch of Phd's. Please show me where I don't match reality? I can assure you I'm very grounded, and very much a teacher.

warrenfelt's picture
warrenfelt 12 years 12 weeks ago

The mosrt important reason for the election of a progressive president is to remake the federeal courts, especially the Supreme Court, but other federal couts as well. This is not a short term solution nor is there one. It will take several moderate to liberal presidents IN A ROW to remake the courts. But until we do, there is not much hope for the 99 percent. Andif we fail in this mission, we will have more Bush V. Gore and Citizens United decisions, one after the other to remake our society entirely for the 1 percent. As a matter of fact, we may be seeing another one right now with the possible, maybe even likely, emasculation of the Affordable Care Act.

tylf's picture
tylf 12 years 12 weeks ago

Why isn't this different than the government forcing us to buy a retirement annuity? Isn't that what Social Security is all about?

SteveS's picture
SteveS 12 years 12 weeks ago

We need to elect enough progressive Democrats to the House and Senate to write good legislation that will end these unethical banking practices. We also need to get a few more progressive justices on the Supreme Court. President Obama has been a disappointment in many ways (e.g., signing more free-trade agreements, promoting drilling for oil instead of promoting green energy, not pursuing criminal prosecutions of the big banks, accepting campaign donations from the big banks and Wall Street, etc.), but he has appointed good people to the Supreme Court. Therefore, since the Republicans are so far out of the mainstream, I think we need to re-elect President Obama rather than voting for a third-party candidate this fall. We the people are the ones who need to make the heavy lift to elect better, more honest politicians and defeat all the special, big-money interests.

historywriter's picture
historywriter 12 years 12 weeks ago

I keep waiting for the lawyer to bring up this analogy--a heck of a lot closer to reality than broccoli--but I don't hear it. Though I have read the exact same questions were raised in the 1930s before SS was implemented. Or how about workers' compensation. These guys probably will vote their worldview, not the constitutional issues. In any case, the Constitution was not meant to be definitive and set for all time; otherwise, we would not need courts to "referee" them.

TruthAddict's picture
TruthAddict 12 years 12 weeks ago

Yep, they will keep gambling with our money and collapse the economy again. I suppose this is preferable than suffering the ravages of war which is the usual way to reset economies. Although Germany and Japan seem to be better off for it. What a strange world we created for ourselves.

Here are some questions to consider asking our representatives to wake them up.

Economic growth is limited by the biosphere while innovation has no limits. Should our public policies value growth or innovation?

Since President Eisenhower, top tier taxes have dropped dramatically. How much further should they be reduced to increase our standard of living and improve our economy?

Since President Nixon, the burden of financial regulations has been reduced. How much deregulation is still needed to improve our economy and standard of living?

The economy is a subsystem of nature; without nature there can be no economy. Which public policies benefit both nature and the economy?

Cap & Trade in Europe is based on the principle that companies have the right to pollute while a proposed Cap & Dividend is based on the principle that people have the right to clean air and water and would be administered like oil revenue in Alaska. Which policy would most benefit American citizens and our environment?

Our current industrial agriculture is dependent on fossil fuels and fossil water, highly mechanized, water polluting, soil eroding, and low in nutritious content. Should public policy support small, local, organic producers that will increase jobs and our nation’s health while providing a sustainable legacy for our children?

Money is currently loaned into existence by private banks which requires a continual growth in the money supply to pay back the loan plus interest. For a sustainable future, is this the best model for the exchange goods and services?

Around the world, nations with higher taxes have less corruption than nations with low taxes (compare Norway to Italy or Canada to Mexico). How will our continued obsession to avoid taxes improve accountability to tax payers?

Our founding fathers restricted corporate charters to specific projects with limited duration after experiencing the effects of the East Indian Company’s monopoly. Should we once again limit the corporate charter since corporations can now spend unlimited amounts of money to influence our elections and political system?

It now takes two to three incomes to live as well as one family income did in the past despite a huge growth in GDP and worker productivity? Will our continued public policy to grow GDP the corporate mentality to increase worker productivity reverse this trend in our standard of living?

In principle government workers are to serve the public interest while by law corporations must act to increase value for their shareholders. How will further privatization increase accountability to tax payers? Should BP continue to lead the cleanup effort in the Gulf national disaster?

Janet Cruz 12 years 12 weeks ago

Wall Street is so powerful that it will take more than normal opposition to make any change. Only a massive protest demanding an end to the legalized bribery that controls all our elected officials, and support for candidates who promise not to take corporate money, will have any effect. The laws that are needed to end the corporate takeover of our country will never get passed without this kind of a revolution.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 12 weeks ago
Quote MaryMary:You are so nieve. Who do you think pays for the "free" public healthcare in Europe?
I THINK? No Siree, I PAYED in there myself, at that time when I worked in Germany. I know Republicans have no amp for solidarity in their brains, but this system works via solidarity. The government adjusts the premiums every couple years, deducted from your payroll -- in progressive percentage rate. Even those who are on welfare over there, have full health insurance, payed by government. In Germany it is required by law, that EVERYBODY has to have health insurance. In a civilized country nobody has a right to croak out on the street and possibly spread out their diseases. Republicans are savages, that's why they don't get it. Isn't Rush Limbaugh a savage? Isn't Donald Trump a savage? And how about Gingrich, dumping his wives as soon as they get sick. You guys are messy and asocial, that's all.

The reasons are humanitarian, sanitarian, it has to do with common good and order. No sane and civilized mind wants to have Ron Paul's kind of disorder, which after all is nothing but anarchy. Your kind of campaigning for disorder is actually good for pest, flees and bed-bugs. The resulting society would be middle-age chaos.

You're fighting for a goddamn battered old hat my friend. In central Europe (governed conservative, not socialist!) they would consider you a goop.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 12 weeks ago
Quote Janet Cruz:Wall Street is so powerful that it will take more than normal opposition to make any change. Only a massive protest demanding an end to the legalized bribery that controls all our elected officials, and support for candidates who promise not to take corporate money, will have any effect. The laws that are needed to end the corporate takeover of our country will never get passed without this kind of a revolution.
Dear Janet, this is an illusion. We need a 'revolution' figuratively in the electors' minds. That's why we're campaigning. Congress is so divided, because the American people is divided. We have to be honest to ourselves : there aren't just right-wingers in Congress, those right-wingers are our neighbors wherever we live. We cannot fade them out, or shoot them all. These people have a right to be dumb and vote against their self-interest. Over 40% Americans still are against Obamacare. It's crazy, but reality. We shouldn't block reality out.

Fact is, with this divided Congress we cannot make progressive laws, we can't even strike down Citizens United. It's just because so many voters failed. But these days the GOP make themselves so ridiculous, their acting is so silly and insane: I hope it will show in the results of coming election. :o)

We shouldn't twist the meaning of language. You cannot beat right-wing America via Revolution, unless you're not ready for civil war. As you know, many righties are well armed! We probably would win such civil war again (because stupid people rarely win wars), but it would be horrible, pretty much destroy America and many-many American lives and families.

We need a 'revolution' at the ballot -- figuratively. Which is the only peacefully civilized way. A real Revolution means violent overthrow. You can try that in a dictatorship (hoping the dictator resigns before you pay with too much blood), but not against a Congress, voted in by dumb voters. Because this would start a civil war for sure!!

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 12 weeks ago
Quote MaryMary:nieve
If this is your spelling of NAIVE, you're like a goat working as gardener.

"NAIVE -- People who spell this French-derived word “nieve” make themselves look naive." (quoted)

MaryMary's picture
MaryMary 12 years 11 weeks ago


Please don't lecture me on life in Germany. My family emigrated from Germany to the USA many years ago. It's a nice place, but my family left there for a better place. Here. You stated in Germany the Government pays for healthcare. You also apparently don't understand the meaning of naive (no matter how it's spelled) I believe you live in Tennessee so I'll say it so a person from Tennessee can understand it. You're dumb as a box of rocks. Where do you thing the German government gets it's money? From selling Volkswagens? No, they tax the citizens. The "free" healthcare they receive is paid for by taxes whether they want the healthcare or not .Also, where did I say I was a Republican? I consider myself an Independent. Your response is typical of most who post here, If I disagree with you, I must be a Fox news watchin, Obama hatin' Repub (notice how I'm trying to write so you can understand).

Lastly, your statement; "The reasons are humanitarian, sanitarian, it has to do with common good and order. No sane and civilized mind wants to have Ron Paul's kind of disorder, which after all is nothing but anarchy. Your kind of campaigning for disorder is actually good for pest, flees and bed-bugs. The resulting society would be middle-age chaos" sounds like you are describing those who particpate in the "Occupy" movements.

What does "Your like a goat working as a gardner"? mean. Is it some kind of Tennessee barnyard humor?

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 11 weeks ago

Very easy : a goat shouldn't be employed as gardener, for this wouldn't be good for the garden. Somebody who spells naive "nieve" shouldn't be employed as teacher. For this is bad for the students! At least you're bragging too much with being a teacher, if your orthography looks sloppy like that.

Quote MaryMary:nieve : "NAIVE -- People who spell this French-derived word “nieve” make themselves look naive." (quoted)

You have no clue how German health insurance works : NOT financed by tax, but by premiums of those who are insured over the payroll. I had explained that! The government only pays health insurance for those who are on welfare.

If I was in the south, I'd run away in no time. I wouldn't even take vacation in Florida or Tennessee for free! As I wouldn't go to Iran for free. My beloved town was consistently BLUE since WW2!

The Occupy Movement, camping in parks, are a little bit of a sanitary project indeed, but this isn't a drama. A sanitary drama would be mass poverty, and this is what the GOP ideology aims at! Millions without health insurance are a grave sanitary problem too. If you don't feel that way, you're not part of the civilized world.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 11 weeks ago

The German Professor in Thom's show was just being polite. Some Germans think America is a great country, but most Germans say America is insane and a threat to the whole world. Well, that's what they kept telling me all the time.

You can tell Germans about Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz ect. -- they never heard about that. Sadly they don't know LIBERAL America, they just hear our crazy things. But at least they like President Obama. Since Barack Obama is our president, they actually like us a bit. ;o)

Santorum gay? Probably. People who can't accept being gay, are trying to fight gayness in their environment. Trying to stop being gay by trying to kill everything gay. Pink Ball? Aaaaaah, GAYYYY -- amok-amok-amok this ball is GAY!!

Insane Republican world. LOL

MaryMary's picture
MaryMary 12 years 11 weeks ago

Hi Clarissa,

You're correct, I'm proud to be a teacher. I worked hard, paid my way through school (no student loans, no government assistance) to get the proper education and credentials to teach. I didn't enter teaching right out of college, I worked in private industry for a lot of years and after a successful career, I retired and decided to pursue teaching. For your information, I have a BS, and a MA from the University of Maryland. Unlike you, I make mistakes. I try to learn from them, mistakes are a great teacher.

My guess about you is you are in your late twenties, and judging from the comments you make, have quite a bit to learn. I too was an idealists once, I never had much interest in politics though I never could understand why anyone want to depend so much on someone in government. I see a glimpse of practically in you. I give you ten years and your foolish ideals will be behind you.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 11 weeks ago

Alright, for that you get good grades now. I don't care to bash you at any expense. I make mistakes too.

Aha, you're a teacher and can tell people...... I'm probably too impatient to pass as older person.

Foolish ideas...... say, don't the things Mitt Romney babbles make you cry at times?! I mean.... you're not as crazy as Liberty-First, so you should actually see this candidate is a perfect jester. How do you want to beat the President with that kind of goops?

You've learned a lot about German healthcare from me. You can't afford being too bold now! Did you store that in your brain : Germans pay into the health insurance, deducted from their payroll in progressive percentage rate!

By the way, Frau Merkel is way older than me, though still believes in public healthcare. There're more actually old people in Germany who are not young and impatient, but still believe in public healthcare. You can't really blame it all on my innocent, gullible, young blue eyes. LOL

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 11 weeks ago

But the Germans are all goddamn Marxists GRRRRRRR!

No, Frau Merkel is a Christian Conservative. Their whole Social Free Market System (auf Deutsch : sozial Marktwirtschaft) was founded under a guy named Konrad Adenauer, who also lead a Christian-Conservative government after WW2. No Marxists, just conservative Christians -- many of them decent Catholics, who care for order, justice and their poor neighbor.

American conservatives are mean, asocial and flat-out not civilized, that's all. JUST PRIMITIVE IDIOTS!!!!!

MaryMary's picture
MaryMary 12 years 11 weeks ago

Hi Clarissa,

I read a little more about the German Health Plan, and from what I read, it has a lot in common with the US plan. I like that it's offered through employers. Also, from what I read it is not a single payer program, but many insurance companies participate. I'm against single payer, because no matter who provides it, things will go wrong. Monoplies are not a good thing, even if a government monoply. I'm not against health care for everyone, nor even healthcare provided by a non-profit. I like the idea of employee provided health care. It serves as an incentive to work. When we work, we increase our standard of living.

Here's what I'd like to see in a US health plan:

Employer provided, non-profit, multiple payers, (adds competition), incentives for following a healthy lifestyle, no mandates (If someone wishes to opt out, so be it, but he or she must accept the consequences, and may not able to get insurance at a latter date or may pay a much higher premium.)

In the USA, we have the best Health Care in the world. We do more research, fund more research, have more and better medical schools than any other country. I find it interesting, if you ask most Canadians if the US should have a single payer health care system similar to Canada's the won't hesitate to tell you no. After all, where would Canadians go for quick health care should they get sick.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 11 weeks ago

I looked up a few things too. The German system is NOT a socialist system. We shouldn't forget East Germany was communist since WW2 through 1999. And their eastern Government called their system socialistic. Basically government was the only employer, as the only decider to plan and influence the economy. It has clearly shown, this leads to carelessness : nobody feels responsible and motivated. Germans really know what centrally planned economy means. On the other hand, since their Nazi horror, they seem to care more for the weak. The Nazis had felt like only strong people had a right to live, as they had really begun to kill disabled persons. So it looks like the Germans found the middle of the road, after all those bad experiences. It's actually not difficult and means something Ron Paul hates: Government makes rules and watches. It's like, "Okay, you guys may have free market, but you're not allowed to do this and that...." So Congress and government regulate with laws:

You're not allowed to edge grandma out of her health insurance, right after she got cancer

You're not allowed to charge higher premiums from women

You're required to accept and admit everybody who asks you for insurance, ect.

And as I remember now, this was the point where they reformed their system under Merkel: They had had private insurers (above all for freelancers) that where not regulated by government. And those have to follow the rules now too (maybe there's still a difference to 'public' insurers).

The big health insurers, like DAK, are not government enterprises -- they're just regulated by government. I just looked up their term at Wikipedia : "Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts mit Selbstverwaltung" -- translated : corporation under public law with autonomous administration.

So there you are. It's not socialist, but it's not libertarian as well. It is free market, regulated by government. This is actually what I had tried to explain to Liberty-First : a free market that is not being regulated goes wrong. Communism and libertarianism both don't work. People tend to cheat and act ruthlessly, so there have to be rules.

So now I have learned, the simple term 'public heathcare' has to be explained. Well, you sound like you already got that point too. As I heard on the radio, parts of Obamacare will come to effect in 2014 and this was supposed to get the private health insurance companies unter public law, without taking away their autonomous administration.


All this isn't easily to explain, since common language is so sloppy. It's like calling the piano-forte just "piano". Well, a spinettino is "piano" (silent), while a grand harpsichord is "forte" (loud). The late 1700s invented a keyboard that was able to be played piano and forte, so they called it "piano-forte". But people say just "piano", which actually is nonsense. Wind instruments are messed up too and it's even worse....

MaryMary's picture
MaryMary 12 years 11 weeks ago

Hi Clarissa, I know a thing or two about selling. Rule 1. Don't call your prospect stupid, talk down to him, or make him/her feel uncomfortable. Rule 2. Your prospect has the right to say no. Tell him/her so up front. If your prospect doesn't buy your product or idea, it's probably because he/she doesn't understand the benefits. Rule 3. Never, Never, Never, allow a prospect to say "let me think about it". Find out what they want to "think about" and answer any questions raised. Once you've answered all their questions, Yes or No is the only response to accept.

Use the above principals to sell health care, and you'll be successful.

ps, I like your musical soliloquy. It's educational.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 7 weeks ago

LOL This sounds like bed-bugs complaining about insecticides. Making right-wingers feel uncomfortably is NOT against my strategy. I'm not so naive to try convincing Republicans. My job is to prove them wrong before the eyes of independent voters who just read here. I am trying to convince THOSE people : that it's a matter of life and death to vote Republican and corporate power OUT of Congress.

MaryMary has alway been different from the nasty righties I struggled with on Thom's blog. I always appreciated that. It was just his recent trial to tag me "nieve" that challenged my irony for a moment. ;o)

No, as I feel, my job is to prevent Republican domination on this liberal blog. I have to prove them wrong. And sorry, if they feel too comfortable here, they might muliply and after all become a severe pest....

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