The Center for Media and Democracy's BanksterUSA campaign released a new video today, "It's NOT Such a Wonderful Life," saluting the classic film by Frank Capra. Our short video takes footage from the 1946 black and white film to make a point about today's financial crisis and the need for Congress to step up efforts to regulate banks so that this type of catastrophic financial meltdown never happens again. You can view our video at our BanksterUSA website or on our new YouTube channel. We hope you'll share the video with your friends.
Today, the Obama administration announced that it is stepping up efforts to pressure mortgage companies and banks to reduce payments for homeowners facing foreclosure.
As double digit unemployment becomes the major driver of foreclosures and as the vast majority of adjustable rate mortgages have yet to trigger, the White House is finally getting the message that news footage of families being tossed to the curb during the holiday season will not help Democrats going into the 2010 election cycle.
Last week, a humbled Goldman Sachs canceled its holiday parties and trumpeted a noble new program to mentor and loan to small businesses. The cost, $500 million, made headlines across the country.
Thursday, November 12th marks the ten year anniversary of the repeal of the depression-era Glass-Steagall Act that protected consumers from casino-style gambling on Wall Street and prevented significant financial crises for almost 60 years. As Congress took up a series of bills this fall to restore confidence in the financial sector, notably lacking were any bills to break up the big banks and restore Glass-Steagall protections.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has trouble understanding that the core responsibility of any federal official is to be thrifty with taxpayer dollars. This has been confirmed with new revelations from Bloomberg about Geithner's role in the secret AIG-Goldman bailout.
H1N1 is here. President Obama declared a national health emergency. Health workers and schools are worried because the vaccine is seriously behind schedule. Parents are worried about how they will stay home with their kids and keep their jobs. What are the watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office worried about?
With the newspapers full of talk about "zombie" banks and parasitic "vampire squid" financial institutions, it was particularly fitting that the "Showdown in Chicago" started with a ghoulish group of zombies rocking out to Michael Jackson's "Thriller." Chicago's own South Shore Drill Team opened the three days of banks protests with a bang and had the crowd of thousands of activists dancing in no time.
The Showdown promises to be the first major American protest against the banks since the financial meltdown in September 2008. Thousands are expected to join three days of educational activities and the large march on Tuesday to the American Bankers Association (ABA) convention at the downtown Sheraton hotel.
According to the Wall Street Journal, federal "pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg will order seven bailed out financial institutions and auto companies to cut their compensation packages for top officers by 25%-50%. According to one professor interviewed, this represents a "seismic shift" in corporate governance.
This week, the Center for Media and Democracy is launching its new campaign on the "Banksters" with a new companion website, www.Banksterusa.org, and a new portal in our online encyclopedia called the "Real Economy Project." We are so fortunate that Mary Bottari brought this much needed effort to demystify economic issues and spur people to take action to CMD, with the support of our founder, John Stauber, and our Board.
I see this project as the beginning of a new phase in CMD's life of weighing in on crucial issues in the media and before Congress and trying to make a real difference in outcomes. In many ways, this new effort is a return to our roots and builds on CMD's long-standing mission to "inform and assist grassroots citizen activism that . . . promotes economic justice." At the same time, this effort really takes the gloves off in aiming at both the spin and the underlying policies that have undermined the promise of the American dream.
Congress Daily reports today that the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA), faces another serious challenge and this time from Wisconsin. Milwaukee Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., appears close to getting her amendment adopted to exclude providers of credit insurance from regulation by the CFPA.