An Open Letter to the Big Banks and Financial Institutions

In a way, you should be thankful. Not everyone gets the kind of chance you have now.

I’m sure you remember twelve years ago: you guys got really into selling derivatives and derivatives of derivatives, and you pumped the housing market up til it popped. The whole economy was set to go down the toilet, with y’all leading the way. You were greedy. You were irresponsible. And you left us holding the bag.

And we, the American people, bailed your asses out. We pumped you full of TARP cash, gave you zero-interest loans, bought those worthless derivatives of derivatives, and dragged your over-leveraged, too-big-to-fail near-carcasses back from the brink of bankruptcy and dissolution. Then we propped you up and kept you going, til now you’re bigger and stronger than ever.

Now that COVID-19 is shutting down the economy, it’s time for you to return the favor.

Loan payments? Suspended. Mortgage payments? The same. Small business grants and low- to no-cost loans? Bring ’em on. Keep paying employees who suddenly don’t have work to do? You betcha. Hire more outside contractors and freelancers so those folks have money coming in? There’s never been a better time.

Like I said at the beginning, you should count yourselves lucky. Not everyone gets a chance to balance the scales when someone saves their lives, preserves their very existence. But you, you now have the opportunity to square things out, clear the karmic ledger, and return the favor we did you twelve years ago when you really, really needed it.

I hope you’ll have the decency and foresight to do the right thing here. Because it’ll be good for your souls, because it’s the right thing to do.

And because if you don’t, and go on in your usual callous, rapacious, self-serving way, we’re gonna burn your shit to the ground and dance on the ashes. Trust.

Justice Dept. abandons prosecution of Russian firm indicted in Mueller election interference probe – The Washington Post

Because this isn’t squirrely at all:

“Assistants to U.S. Attorney Timothy Shea of Washington and Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers cited an unspecified “change in the balance of the government’s proof due to a classification determination,” according to a nine-page filing accompanied by facts under seal.”

Rebecca Traister: This Is How the Establishment Maintains Its Grip

“This is what it means to have an Establishment really bear down on a contest, bringing the full weight of its media, its institutions, and its party. But Establishment thinking — which often includes sexism, racism, and anti-left bias — doesn’t just operate in opposition to any would-be interlopers or disruptors. It also gets those interlopers to replicate its attitudes and aim them at each other. A primary race is the perfect place to perform this trick, since support for competing candidates naturally turns partisan and ideological allies against each other.

So there were the Chapo Trap House guys tearing into Warren, and Jacobin writers seeding doubt about her having been a public-school teacher or experienced pregnancy discrimination, while the National Organization for Women proclaimed last week that Sanders had done “next to nothing for women” (despite a robust history of advocating for them). Warren supporters began to see a left that leveraged racism and sexism in order to find common ground with right-wing resentments and cast feminism and the desire for a progressive female president as fundamentally conservative; some Bernie supporters began to see feminism, and the focus on a female candidate, standing in opposition to their preferred candidate, as being more concerned with individual advancement than the success of a left-wing campaign that could deliver policies that would be better for all women.

This is how Establishment maintains its grip: left feminists vilify feminism, and feminist leftists vilify leftism, and everyone is doing the work of the white capitalist patriarchy, and neither CNN nor the DNC has to lift a finger.”

Dan Kois On the Bullshit of American Life as Revealed by Coronavirus

“In every single one of these cases, it’s not just that most of these practices are accepted as “standard.” It’s that they are a way to punish people, to make lives more difficult, or to make sure that money keeps flowing upward. Up until now activists and customers have been meant to believe that the powers that be could never change these policies—it would be too expensive, or too unwieldy, or would simply upset the way things are done. But now, faced suddenly with an environment in which we’re all supposed to at least appear to be focused on the common good, the rule-makers have decided it’s OK to suspend them. It’s a crisis, after all. Everyone’s got to do their part.

So what will happen when the crisis passes? Yes, it’s worth asking yourself now, in the early days of this pandemic, how you might change your behavior, what temporary adjustments in your lifestyle you might adopt permanently in the after times—whether that’s working from home, or cutting back on airplane travel. But it’s also worth asking if we are willing to allow governments and corporations to return to business as usual. When everything’s back to normal, will we accept cities cutting off their poorest residents’ water, or evicting the sick, or throwing someone in jail because they can’t afford to pay a fine?”