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Enhanced border security that crosses the line

Post-9-11, most Americans appreciate the need for stepped-up security along our nation’s borders, north and south alike – provided people’s rights aren’t trampled routinely and with impunity in the process.

Huge sums are being spent on enhancing security, with more to come along the border with Canada, including more drones, electronic surveillance and manned checkpoints in places that once were “guarded” only by plastic highway cones.

This is all detailed in an excellent piece of journalism by Todd Miller at Mother Jones: US Quietly Ramps Up Security Along the Canadian Border.

Evenhandedly, Miller describes things you’ll probably deem necessary and worthwhile security measures, as we do. But you’ll also learn about some disturbing routine practices that cross the thin line that separates due caution and blatant harassment.

The abuse is insidious because if you’ve got red hair, blue eyes and your name is Tim O’Brien, Ben Willis or Guy Sturdevant, your chances of being subjected to it are probably on par with being struck by lightning. But if your first name is Mohammed, one of your parents hailed from the Middle East and you’ve got that sort of Mideast-type look about you, you’re a cinch to be treated as guilty until proven innocent of . . . apparently, being a suspicious type of person.

If you’re a suspicious-type person, all you have to do to wind up in the harassment trap is travel to Canada and go through a U.S. Border Patrol/Customs Service checkpoint on the way back.

How much stepped-up security is too much? Where is that line between due caution and the trampling of a citizen’s rights? What constitutes reasonable cause for suspicion?

If those questions matter to you, take the few minutes required to read Miller’s piece, but be prepared to be disturbed by what you’ll learn.

And if you do that, please swing back by here and share your thoughts in a comment.

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Many hands busy in Uncle Sam’s pocket
— tales of Wall St. bankster love and lust

dollar grabIf you or I get laid off from a job, or if we have a business that gets knocked for a loop when certain Masters of the Universe collapse the economy in their quest for ever more billions, we must get by as best we can on unemployment checks or whatever a bankruptcy court leaves us.

But those same Masters of the Universe who periodically wreck the ecomony for millions of others — a.k.a. Wall Street banksters such as Jamie Dimon, J.P. Morgan Chase chairman and CEO — not only can get by but quickly reap even greater rewards because of their unique ability to call on Uncle Sam to clean up their messes with taxpayer dollars.

It’s a match made in greedmonger heaven.

They’re just loans, you say? True, but gigantic ones made at interest rates so low they qualify as charity.

Even between financial-industry-caused booms and busts these wonderfully wealthy masters and their peers in corporate America get to reach into Uncle Sam’s deep pockets in ways that make them even more wonderfully wealthy.

Get a load of this, the first of 18 brief but eye-opening items that detail who’s been getting what from the rest of us, and how.

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Jamie Dimon Is Not Alone

During the financial crisis, at least 18 former and current directors from Federal Reserve Banks worked in banks and corporations that collectively received over $4 trillion in low-interest loans from the Federal Reserve.

1. Jamie Dimon, the Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase, has served on the Board of Directors at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York since 2007. During the financial crisis, the Fed provided JP Morgan Chase with $391 billion in total financial assistance. JP Morgan Chase was also used by the Fed as a clearinghouse for the Fed’s emergency lending programs.
In March of 2008, the Fed provided JP Morgan Chase with $29 billion in financing to acquire Bear Stearns. During the financial crisis, the Fed provided JP Morgan Chase with an 18-month exemption from risk-based leverage and capital requirements. The Fed also agreed to take risky mortgage-related assets off of Bear Stearns balance sheet before JP Morgan Chase acquired this troubled investment bank.

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Isn’t that special? Don’t you just love a love story about fat cats and sweetheart deals?

You might think this well-researched, eye-opening report comes to us via some major newspaper, magazine or TV news operation, but you would be wrong. It’s the work of the General Accounting Office, updated by America’s senator, Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to include the names of those with a clear conflict of interest.

For some reason a direct link to the report doesn’t work, so instead click here, then click on “Sanders today released the names” to read the rest (it won’t take long). Finally, please share your thoughts in a comment.

We’re too ticked to add our thoughts right now. Grrr!

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For slanted media, there are rallies
and then there are non-events

CNN logoPlenty of people are asking why Republicans, who control only one house of Congress, seem to be running the government, and how a minority within the House Republican Caucus gets to call the shots.

We came across a pretty good indicator in Leslie Savan’s article, Tiny Tea Party Rally vs. Large Progressive Rally: Which Gets More Beltway Ink? at The Nation.

Here’s a teaser:

Yesterday, an American Dream Movement rally demanding a debt deal that “protects seniors and makes corporations and the rich pay [their] fair share” drew a significantly larger crowd than a Tea Party rally a day earlier that essentially demanded the opposite. Both were held on Capitol Hill, both focused on the same ginned-up debt ceiling “crisis,” but you’d be hard-pressed to find the Beltway media noting the difference in crowd size-or even reporting on the progressive rally at all.

You should read the rest, then join us in complaining to CNN or your biased corporate media outlet of choice. There are plenty to choose from.

Complaining loudly and in large numbers to media outlets they felt had treated them and theirs unfairly worked remarkably well for conservatives, starting back in the early 1980s. Isn’t it past time for progressives to make their dissatisfaction and numbers known as well?