Economy

Foreign Entangling Sanctions

President Thomas Jefferson in a portrait by Rembrandt Peale.

The U.S. government prefers economic sanctions as the opening move in any international chess match with adversaries, but sanctions on Iran – and threatened ones against Russia – could disrupt energy supplies and hurt the West as much as the targets, ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar observes.

America’s Mad Dash to Oligarchy

Mr. Moneybags from the "Monopoly" game

Since Ronald Reagan’s “supply-side” tax cuts for the rich – followed by other giveaways like eliminating the “death tax” so billionaires can pass on their fortunes to lucky heirs – the United States has been on a mad dash to oligarchy, as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship note.

Marijuana as a Wedge Issue

A marijuana plant.

Given the damage to so many lives from enforcement of the prohibition on marijuana use, liberalization of those laws is emerging as a movement with bipartisan appeal, even reaching into Red States like Oklahoma, as Richard L. Fricker reports.

What Venezuelan ‘Regime Change’ Could Mean

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. (Photo credit: Valter Campanato/ABr)

Exclusive: Venezuela’s socialist government may be next on Official Washington’s list for destabilizing sanctions as violent protests sweep across the oil-rich country. But “regime change” in Caracas also could undermine the entire region’s independence, as Andrés Cala explains.

Making Money the Measure of Politics

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts.

U.S. pundits decry countries like Iran as undemocratic for having a screening process for candidates to high office. But U.S. politicians must pass muster with wealthy donors to be considered serious candidates, a system that the Supreme Court just made worse, says Lawrence Davidson.

Misunderstanding Jesus’s Execution

Jesus, driving the money-changers from the Temple, in a painting by El Greco.

From the Archive: Over the centuries as Christianity bent to the interests of the rich and powerful, the story of Jesus’s fateful week in Jerusalem was reshaped to minimize its pivotal event, overturning the Temple’s money tables, a challenge to religious and political power, says Rev. Howard Bess.

Greasing Skids for the Comcast Deal

comcast-logo

Americans often complain about their cable bills which always seem to be going up. Part of that money, however, goes not for entertainment but to curry favor with Congress and other officials who will judge the Comcast-Time Warner merger, as Michael Winship notes.

The Age of the Oligarchs

Oil billionaires David and Charles Koch.

Exclusive: The concentration of power in the hands of billionaire “oligarchs” may be most alarming in places like Ukraine but the United States is moving in the same direction as wealth is consolidated at the top — and both elections and media are up for sale, says Robert Parry.

Ukrainians Get IMF’s Bitter Medicine

Ukraine's acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. (Photo credit: Ybilyk)

Exclusive: Though lacking legitimacy from national elections, Ukraine’s coup regime has approved a harsh IMF austerity plan that hits Ukraine’s “99 percent” the hardest and asks little from the country’s “1 percent,” including the corrupt “oligarchs,” reports Robert Parry.

Will ‘Too-Big-to-Fail’ Banks Fail Again?

Timothy Geithner (left), then Treasury Secretary, meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office. (White House photo)

Despite Wall Street’s booming recovery, Main Street continues to struggle with high unemployment and low wages, making another bust more likely. And, the “too-big-to-fail” banks may be more vulnerable than they appear, writes Danny Schechter.