'The Big Short' By Michael Lewis

Probably The 'Best Piece Of Financial Journalism Ever Written'— Felix Salmon

Even if you have no intention of reading this important book by this brilliant writer, see the video of Michael Lewis appearing on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart below. See it, and then get angry about this shit. Because if you don't, they're going to do it again. And soon.

Reviews

Appearances by Michael Lewis

Related

New America Foundation's Barry Lynn (author of Cornered), has a very important article in Washington Monthly called:

"Who Broke American Jobs."

In my view, all of our problems, from campaign financing, to media consolidation, to the government dysfunctionalism and hyper partisanship that is breaking down anything that ever made American a worthwhile experiment, can all be seen as breaking not just American Jobs, but America itself.

A rampant, unchecked monopolization of nearly everything has powered a winner-take-all, crony Capitalism Gone Wild environment that infects every aspect of this nation and our world.

And the giant corporations behind it all are perfectly happy to have us shrug, feel it's beyond our control, or just some containable by-product of an invisible hand that will sweep us along and everything will turn out well in the end. Uh, ya..  good luck with that.

So inform yourself:  Watch the video of Barry on Washington Journal today.  Force other people to watch it. Capitalism provides useful tools for providing the basic goods and services of our civilization.  But this criminally stupid conservative myth that capitalism can only exist in this totally unregulated state is as childish as it is reckless and irresponsible. Only a suicidal culture would allow it to continue this way, especially after a global economic meltdown has just illustrated nicely just how bad things became while we were playing video games, listening to iPods, learning how to blog, and building Wal-Marts and Starbucks on every god damn street corner.

We have to understand this basic change to how things are now working and find some way to make them work differently; to reinsert some of the checks and balances that once existed. Nothing less than the future of this country depends on it.

Video

On C-Span's Washington Journal, March 8th 2010 — Barry Lynn Discussing the national and global monopoly problem, and how Wal-Mart and other big US corporations are driving our bus, and how we might stop them.

There IS hope: Be absolutely sure to see the end, where he discusses how WE have the power to control the corporations.

Other reading

Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction

Through stories of real people and real industries, Barry C. Lynn shows how monopolies threaten independent businesses, squelch innovation, degrade the quality and safety of basic products, destabilize our most vital industrial and financial systems, and destroy the very fabric of democracy. Avoiding the partisan cant that has poisoned virtually every important American debate in recent years, he explains how, over the past three decades, leaders of both parties and thinkers across the political spectrum have encouraged and enabled the growth of monopolies.

US Chamber Builds Political Operations

The LA Times reports today on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s growing “large-scale grass-roots political operation” that is being “funded by record-setting amounts of money raised from corporations and wealthy individuals.” In 2009, the Chamber spent $144 million on lobbying and grassroots organizing, “well beyond the spending of individual labor unions or the Democratic or Republican national committees.”

About Barry Lynn

Barry C. Lynn is a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation. He has written for Harper's Magazine, the Financial Times, the Harvard Business Review, and the American Prospect, among others. He has appeared on National Public Radio, CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Fox News, CBS, MSNBC, the BBC, and C-SPAN. He is the author of End of the Line: The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation.


This is the very essay I was going to try and tackle this week. These fine folks have done a superb job of writing it for me.  You must read it, and then see my note that follows:

How To Do Effective Political Activism: What Always Worked And What Never Did — by Peterson Park Blog

While young liberals and progressives were sitting in coffee shops tweeting, emailing and updating their Facebook status, embracing the tools of the “new activism,” tea baggers were disrupting town hall meetings and staging credible rallies and marches on the halls of power. While the left embraced the delusion that new media technologies have changed the rules of political and social activism, mossback conservatives and libertarians were effectively applying the same techniques of political protest that have worked and worked and worked since the dawn of history.

Now please..

Don't just read the above essay, maybe make a bookmark, and then promptly forget it. Take a few minutes and think about how many you might share it with by employing just the smallest amount of effort.

I don't just mean Retweeting it. Got email lists?  Got phone? Got a neighbor? Got a blog?

The social side of social media makes it so easy to organize voices, but it's getting those voices into the streets where they are really heard by politicians, employers and the media that will really make the difference. And that's the hard part. But social media makes it so much easier than it ever was before.  It provides the multiple megaphones with which we can drive the herd, and the herd can provide the warm bodies in the streets. But that herd must still go there when called upon. And the only way it will, is when it's been educated, enraged, engaged and excited. That's where YOU come in.

You personally may not be able to take to the streets, but you can compensate for that by making so much noise that it helps fire up so many others who might.

Wingnuts get active, and it's why they win. Even when they don't hit the streets, they keep their conversations and narratives alive with constant regurgitation and redistribution, which reinforces all their memes and messages.  It sinks in. The left–and all of us on it–must learn to do this too.

It's not that we don't all want to do it. It's that we simply DON'T do it.  We simply have to find a way to change that.  And very, very quickly. The only way we can start… is to just start.

Look at what @MLsif just do with #demandQuestionTime. That entire effort, as described here,  http://bit.ly/9uTPTU took just a few days. Yes, it's only an online effort at present, but he could very easily issue a call to action which might translate into action offline. It's just one small example of the powerful weapons we have. We just need to start using them. 

SO DON'T JUST NOD YOUR HEAD. 

  • Do your part. (Any part is better than no part at all).
  • Tell someone. Educate, Enrage, Engage and Excite someone
  • Make our narrative happen (and stop echoing theirs so often).
     
  • PROGRESSIVE PASSIVITY is what allowed the right to seize this county.
  • Change that, change our world.