Some crisis links (10.20-10.21.2008)

In his latest, Michael Hudson asks:

Is it too much to say that we are seeing the end of economic democracy and the emergence of a financial oligarchy — a self-serving class whose actions threaten to polarize society and, in the process, stifle economic growth and lead to the very bankruptcy that the bailout was supposed to prevent?

He answers his question with:

Everything that I have read in economic history leads me to believe that we are entering a nightmare transition era. The business cycle is essentially a financial cycle. Upswings tend to become economy-wide Ponzi schemes as banks and other creditors, savers and investors receive interest and plow it back into new loans, accruing yet more interest as debt levels rise. This is the "magic of compound interest" in a nutshell. No "real" economy in history has grown at a rate able to keep up with this financial dynamic. Indeed, payment of this interest by households and businesses leaves less to spend on goods and services, causing markets to shrink and investment and employment to be cut back [emphasis added].

Michael Winship debunks the Republican smear ACORN campaign while recalling the political scandal generated by the Bush effort to politicize the Justice Department after the 2004 election. In that instance the Justice Department fired some of its attorneys for refusing to prosecute weak voter fraud cases.

Anthony DiMaggio, in his fine article on the smear ACORN operation, concludes with the following:

The Republican Party and right-wing media's attack on ACORN is motivated primarily by their fear of electoral defeat, and their contempt for poor, minority voters who will help usher in that defeat. Sadly, the Obama campaign failed to condemn this racist hate movement by distancing itself from ACORN in the third debate. It should be applauding the group for its important and necessary work in registering disenfranchised voters. At a time when Obama leads in the polls by 6.5-7% over McCain, he should feel empowered to take on racism and class biased directed at those who're simply exercising their basic, democratic right to vote. This may be asking too much, sadly, from Democratic leaders who would rather pander to the affluent than stand up for the disadvantaged.

Chris Hedges believes (and here) the myopia of America's elite is a cause of the country's current predicament.

Noam Chomsky recommends choosing the lesser evil in a recent interview:

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