You need to know this. Goldman Sachs is literally taking over the world. On Monday, the Bank of England named former Goldman Sachs investment banker Mark Carney as its new chief – adding to the long list of former Goldman Sachs bankers who’ve seized positions of immense power all around Europe and the rest of the world. As Europe descends into an austerity-induced economic crisis, Goldman Sachs is making sure it gets all of its failed investments back. As the British newspaper The Independent reported earlier this year, the Conservative technocrats steering fiscal policy in the Greece, Germany, Italy, Belgium, France, and now the UK, all hail from Goldman Sachs. In fact, the head of the European Central Bank itself, Mario Draghi, was the former managing director of Goldman Sachs. It’s widely known that Goldman Sachs made the euro problem worse when it helped Greece hide their debt back in 2002. As the DailyKos describes the scheme Goldman is playing, “The normal scenario usually involves helping a nation hide a problem and sell its debt until the problem blows up into a bubble that bursts in a spectacular way…Goldman Sachs then puts their ‘man’ into a position of power to direct the bailouts so that Goldman gets all its money back and more, while the nation’s economy gets gutted.” The same thing has happened in the United States, as the last two Treasury Secretaries came from Goldman Sachs, and Goldman made out like a bandit in the 2008 Wall Street bailouts. Plain and simple, when a bank the size of Goldman can run the world, democracy is dying.
In screwed news…Walmart is adding to its bad reputation. Over the weekend – a fire at a Bangladesh sweatshop garment factory killed as many as 112 workers. That factory had previously been warned about safety conditions, yet, as ABC News reports, on the night of the fire, extinguishers weren’t working, exits were locked, and managers told their workers to report back to their stations when the alarms sounded. We now know the factory was producing clothing for Walmart. In a statement on Sunday night, Walmart gave condolences to the victims’ families, but claimed that the factory was not authorized to make clothes for Walmart; that a rogue supplier had contracted with them. But, according to reporting by Josh Eidelson at The Nation, Walmart has a long history of exploiting workers abroad in dangerous factories. As Scott Nova, the Executive Director of the Workers Rights Consortium told Eidelson, “Walmart is supporting, is incentivizing, an industry strategy in Bangladesh: extreme low wages, non-existent regulation, brutal suppression of any attempt by workers to act collectively to improve wages and conditions.” As the largest buyer of Bangladeshi-made clothes, Nova went on to say that Walmart’s “culpability is enormous.” Deadly factory fires in developing nations are becoming more and more common, as transnational retail giants race to the bottom for low-wage labor and cut costs when it comes to safety regulations. Just this Monday, another Walmart factory in Bangladesh burst into flames, injuring eight people. We didn’t end slave labor in America – we merely exported it. The only difference between now and the 1850’s is that we no longer have to look our slaves in the eyes.
In the best of the rest of the news…
The battle over Obamacare continues. This week – the Supreme Court ordered a lower court, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, to re-hear a case challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare. Liberty University filed suit against the law’s “employer mandate,” arguing that it violates the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, since it could lead to employers paying for health insurance that covers birth control. The lawsuit was previously dismissed on technical grounds since the employer mandate has fully gone in effect yet. But the Supreme Court ordered the Fourth Circuit to hear the case again on its merits. The Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year upholding Obamacare didn’t even consider the employer mandate, which holds the entire law together. So, depending on how the Fourth Circuit rules in this case, the Supreme Court could once again determine the fate of tens of millions of Americans who don’t have health insurance. Stay tuned.
It’s the infrastructure spending, stupid! With our national infrastructure needing as much as $2 trillion in improvements, and millions of Americans still out of work, President Obama and Democrats in Congress are pushing legislation to invest money in putting Americans back to work rebuilding roads and bridges. Republicans have blocked these efforts, claiming the nation can’t afford it. But a new report by the San Francisco Federal Reserve shows Republicans are lying. According to the report, for every dollar invested by the government on infrastructure, at least two dollars in economic activity is generated. That’s because with more Americans working and collecting a paycheck, they can afford to spend more, which stimulates the economy. Plus, with better roads and bridges, companies can move their products around the nation at a lower cost. As more workers and businesses make more money, more tax revenue comes into the government and pays down our deficit. This is Econ 101, and the fact Republicans have blocked these measures for years proves they’re just trying to crash the economy so they can blame it on a Democratic president.
And finally…Progressive firebrand Alan Grayson is heading back to Congress, but before he does – he made a little pit-stop at Walmart on Thanksgiving night. But it wasn’t to go Black Friday shopping. Instead – Grayson showed up to lend support for Walmart workers and the pending Black Friday strike that took place in 46 different states around the nation. According to WatchDogWire.com – Grayson showed up at an Orlando Walmart and handed out turkey sandwiches to employees while affirming their right to unionize. Walmart management called the police, and Grayson was escorted off the property. There’s a reason why they call him the “Congressman with Guts.”
And that’s the way it is, today – Tuesday, November 27, 2012. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.