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September 11 2017 - VJ Epstein
Iowa Offers Amazon CEO “God-Like Status” in HQ Bid
Iowa surged into the lead in the race to secure Amazon’s new corporate headquarters on Monday after offering to establish the e-commerce giant as the state's One True God. The unprecedented offer comes at a time of intense competition for economic development (eco devo) prospects, as automation and offshoring continue to decimate state labor forces. The Amazon headquarters is the biggest American eco devo project in nearly a quarter century. It's expected to create 50,000 jobs for the cit...

September 9 2016 - VJ Epstein
Hurricane Prep for Clueless Dumbasses (Part II)
(Continued from Part I) 22) What to Expect From FEMA There's a common misconception about FEMA's role in a disaster. Many people seem to think thousands of government employees wearing FEMA hats will descend on their community ahead of an approaching hurricane.  That's not going to happen. What the federal agency responsible for disaster relief really does is serve as a clearinghouse for rescue supplies and trained personnel from around the nation. It funnels them toward the hard...

August 25 2017 - VJ Epstein
The Fees Over Taxes Shell Game
Painful Truth Number 178 Gazillion: I am slowly being killed by the American middle class I love so much. No shit. You guys are killing me. Literally. I developed a medical condition in 2014 called malignant, resistant hypertension. That’s the medical term for being a worrier, a workaholic, and a journalism lifer who gives a shit about their fellow Americans. It means my blood pressure spikes so high when I’m agitated that it can result in a fatal stroke or aneurysm. I’ve been as ...

August 24 2017 - Victor Epstein
How to Wash Political Bribe Money Clean
As politicians, we all confront the same daunting challenge: How to wash our dirty bribe money clean? It can be a vexing situation. Regardless of whether you're Republican or Democrat, represent a rural state like Wyoming or an urban powerhouse like New York, or serve as a first-term senator like Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) or an incumbent like House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.). We all have to find a way to camouflage the deluge of Wall Street payoffs enriching us, without losing credibility with ...

August 21 2017 - Victor Epstein
The Art of Padding Presidential Expenses
Most golfers tire of playing the same old courses over and over, but not President Donald Trump. Especially, when he can use the trips to pilfer the federal treasury like supersized comedian John Pinette at an all-you-can-eat buffet. A new data website shows that Trump invariably plays the same courses, which invariably deliver huge bills to the federal government, and are invariably the golf courses he owns. However, instead of visiting his own courses for free or at cost, Trump is chargin...

August 18 2017 - Victor Epstein
James Murdoch's Opportunistic Nazi Pivot
The youngest son of billionaire propagandist Rupert Murdoch sent a peace-loving message to his rich friends yesterday, decrying the Nazi attacks in Charlottesville his family's propaganda empire helped seed. The genius punch line: "There are no good Nazis." No shit Sherlock. This hypocritical private message, which mysteriously made its way to the media, is the worst kind of self-serving rich garbage and must be rejected by thoughtful people the world over.   Please allow me...

July 30 2017 - Victor Epstein
The Train Wreck Presidency
Know what the difference is between you and Little Donnie Trump? You'll read this story and digest the intellectual content as food for thought. He'll just read the headline and lede, while searching for his own name. Despite the considerable advantages money and social standing provide in the American caste system this train wreck of a president is neither intelligent nor well read. Trump remains deeply and profoundly ignorant, even at the center of the greatest intelligence and data ...

July 19 2017 - Victor Epstein
Anti-Obama Meme Costs Progressive Rag
The Cynical Times has lost more than 10 followers since we ran a meme on our Facebook page criticizing former President Barack Obama, who remains a beloved figure among many Progressives. Including those involved in the production of The Cynical Times. Ten readers may not sound like much, but it's an unprecedented development in the history of this Progressive nonprofit news organization. It's no small thing for Cynical, which was founded in 2011 to champion the faltering middle clas...

June 14 2017 - VJ Epstein
Liberal shooter targets DC baseball game
Sadly, it has come to this. Open violence in the streets against members of a Corrupt Corporate Congress who habitually turn a blind eye to the suffering of the poor and faltering middle class. The men and women who have hijacked our democracy behind bricks of corporate cash have opened a Pandora's Box of societal chaos which is now on the verge of consuming us all. One in which the only communication from the masses they heed is delivered at the muzzle of a firearm. U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, ...

June 3 2017 - VJ Epstein
Rich cowardice and the "Twenty Slave Rule"
Class warfare and elite draft dodgers like President Donald Trump are nothing new in the United States. The Predatory 1 Percent (P1) has been starting wars and exempting themselves from military service in the ensuing conflicts for as long as we've been a nation. They generally do not lead by example because they're incapable of doing so. These social parasites do benefits, not burdens. One of the best illustrations of their dishonorable behavior is a little known Confederate l...

May 29 2017 - VJ Epstein
Dear vets, thank you for your sacrifices
On Memorial Day 2017, The Cynical Times thanks all current and former members of the U.S. military for the sacrifices they've made for the greater good. Not for their service. Not for their blind obedience to policy decisions made by the political hookers of Washington, D.C. But for their conscious choices to put themselves in harm's way to protect our nation and our society, both during and after their military service. Altruistic choices which echo those of the members of pro-democracy...

May 10 2017 - Victor Epstein
Reporter arrested for committing journalism
Remember that anti-Occupy Wall Street law you didn't care about when it was passed almost unanimously by our Korrupt Korporate Kongress in 2012, and signed into law by our Korrupt Korporate President? No? Well, maybe you should have been paying more attention. Because this shameful legislation was just used to justify the arrest of Public News Service producer Dan Heyman for trying to question U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. The journalism lifer was accused...

May 4 2017 - VJ Epstein
Hillary tries to hijack resistance movement
Hillary Clinton continued to defy expectations this week by shamelessly claiming allegiance with the resistance movement targeting her Wall Street paymasters. The awkward power grab came at a time when many Americans thought the former presidential candidate couldn't possibly be more despised by the poor and faltering middle class. Or more out of touch. Against all odds, Hillary found a way. Just as the heavily favored corporate sellout found a way to lose the race for The White House ...

April 29 2017 - VJ Epstein
The Comforting Lies Which Enslave U.S.
Ever notice how pharmaceutical ads targeting senior citizens always feature younger people with a little fake gray in their hair, who couldn't possibly be over the age of 45? TV commercials for elderly people suffering from erectile dysfunction and high cholesterol habitually show their subjects bicycling, lifting weights, hiking or getting ready to hop in bed with their spouses for some hot afternoon sex. In short, the very kind of physical activities they're least likely to engage in. T...

April 24 2017 - Victor Epstein
Bert Wolfe Named Working Class Hero
The Cynical Times hereby honors reader Bert Wolfe as a "Working Class Hero" for his wonderfully insightful explanation of the global forces now battering the faltering middle class.The 61-year-old Pennsylvania man's comments in response to "Why Hillary Lost" were better than the story itself in some ways. Bert indicated that he realizes the human race is slipping toward global corporate feudalism."The emerging New World Order will become a multinational corporation dominated worldwide fascist or...

April 18 2017 - Victor Epstein
Please Stop Posting Links to the Facebook Live Killing
Please stop posting links to the video of the recent fatal shooting of a senior citizen on Facebook Live and then writing about how much this horrific act upsets you.Why?Because the veneer of humanity is much thinner than you may realize. Especially with the big talking coward in The White House right now.This kind of thing is contagious. The more attention the killer gets, the more likely other unhinged minds will follow his example.It's fine to write about the Easter shooting of Robert Godwin ...

April 16 2017 - Victor Epstein
Why Hillary lost
Used to be only Republicans used the term “reality-based community” to refer to principled Americans who stubbornly cling to the concepts like duty, honor and truth. However, some Hillary Clinton loyalists also have begun to embrace self-serving lies in the wake of her stunning defeat. Their main source of comfort being the fiction that the same voters who elected America’s first black president in 2008 and 2012 became Klansmen in 2016. This foolishness is supported by the equally ridiculous t...

April 13 2017 - VJ Epstein
The U.S. Military and Police are Socialist Institutions
Contrary to popular belief, the military, law enforcement agencies and fire departments of the United States of America are among the world's most socialist institutions. I kid you not. The heart of Democratic Socialism is the willingness of the individual members of a society to make voluntary sacrifices to advance the greater good. Whereas the heart of Savage Capitalism is the exploitation of the weak by the strong. These social distinctions are often lost in the dense economic discussions ...

April 7 2017 - Victor Epstein
Cynical pans SyriaMania 23
Last night's scripted "attack" on Syria's Shayrat Airfield was the political equivalent of the WrestleMania 23 professional wrestling promotion in Detroit in 2007.  Not a legitimate reaction to the horrible atrocities being committed against the Syrian people by the discredited regime of dictator Bashar al-Assad in that nation's brutal civil war. Political experts have been predicting for weeks that President Donald Trump will manufacture a fake conflict in a bid to claim the dictatorial pow...

March 24 2017 - Victor Epstein
Political Hookers Resurrect Keystone Pipeline
Apparently, no one in the mainstream news media saw the Keystone Pipeline being resurrected by our Korrupt Korporatist Kongress after the presidential election. Even though we predicted it four times at The Cynical Times. How did we know? We understand the U.S. is no longer either a functioning democracy or even a functioning society, where policy is crafted to advance the greater good. Instead, our government is a protection racket in which political hookers auction public policy to big c...

February 28 2017 - VJ Epstein
Trump's bogus "states' rights" attack on Obamacare
President Donald Trump is disingenuously citing "states' rights" as the justification for his efforts to dismantle Obamacare. If he was really committed to states rights, Trump would be dismantling the "emergency" measures enacted in the early 1980s to allow banks to charge more than 11 percent interest per year. That's still the cap on many of the individual state usury laws they undermined.   Banks could not profitably make loans under the caps in 1979 and 1980 because inflation had...

October 6 2016 - Victor Epstein
The Ultimate Hurricane Survival Guide Part 2
Go Back to Part 1: The Ultimate Hurricane Survival Guide Step 14: Prelude Timeline Finally, let's talk about the timeline. You should be charging all your battery-powered gear and power centers the day before the storm. You should also be buying ice and gasoline; taping your windows with duct tape or covering them with plywood; filling your bathtubs with water; taking pre-landfall pics of your home and vehicles for insurance and legal purposes; and parking your vehicles on the thir...

January 7 2017 - Victor Epstein
The Knowing Bullshit of Trump's Border Wall
Workers in the United States don't need a border wall to protect us from hardworking Mexicans making $8 a day. All we need to preserve our living standard is for U.S. employers who hire illegals to be subject to negative consequences. Right now, the criteria is that they don't have to be "documents experts." Which means that if an employer hires someone with a green card written in crayon it's not their fault.The illegal gets deported. The employer walks away and hires another illegal a day late...

December 13 2016 - Victor Epstein
U.S. to Get Railed by High Oil Prices Again
Outside, it's America.Where the Predatory 1 Percent celebrates "free trade" only when it can be used to hurt workers, and curtails it the rest of the time.Like when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries price fixing cartel stifles free trade by reducing the world's oil supply to manipulate oil and gasoline prices upward. As it's doing right now and has been doing since its founding in 1960.Look for gasoline prices to surge in the next six months in response to OPEC's latest tactic to...

December 1 2016 - VJ Epstein
Hillary's "Let Them Eat Cake" Moment
Hillary Clinton's exaggerated claims about the health of the U.S. labor market and economy, and lauding of a jobless recovery benefiting only the rich, are the primary reasons Democrats lost an election they should have run away with. The wealthy candidate might as well have said "let them eat cake," by claiming all was well at a time of widespread economic distress, suicide and joblessness. Hillary's privileged cheerleading was reminiscent of Marie Antoinette, the French queen who allegedl...

November 12 2016 - Victor Epstein
Middle Class turning on own in wake of Election 2016
Guess who won the 2016 presidential election:Trump supporters, Clinton supporters, or the Wall Street multinationals employing divide and rule tactics?If you said "Wall Street" you win a cookie.Guess who would have won regardless of which mainstream candidate was elected?Wall Street again.Guess who isn't even American any more?Once again, the correct answer is Wall Street.Now, guess who wins when American workers turn on eachother as we have the past year?That's right, Wall Street.The multinatio...

November 9 2016 - Victor Epstein
Trump rides economic shit storm to victory
Just awoke to a Trump presidency, angry feminists and delighted veterans.  My take? This was never a traditional election. It was a referendum on a corrupt political establishment, which gave the faltering middle class no other way to vote against the multinationals consuming us like flesh-eating bacteria.The GOP could have run a fudge brownie against Hillary Rodham Clinton and won on the back of the systemic corruption, job destruction, neutered news media, and corporate greed embraced by the p...

November 4 2016 - Victor Epstein
This McDonaldized election was over before it began
When I see "too good to be true" nonsense like the meme at left I have to wonder what is real and what is illusion in this verkakte presidential election, and whether Hillary Rodham Clinton is running a dirty tricks operation.When a campaign runs a dirty tricks operation - as Nixon did in 1972 - it becomes impossible for normal working people like you and me to tell who is doing what. One of the things their operatives do is manufacture false missteps on behalf of  opponents. Like this sloppy me...

September 26 2016 - Victor Epstein
Bogus Eco News: NYT’s misleading poverty coverage
Sunday's rosy economic story in the The New York Times was the worst kind of poisonous economic propaganda because it was virtually bereft of the historical context readers need to determine what's really happening. Instead of news you can use, it's more along the lines of news that abuses.  This type of inexcusable economic cheerleading has become the norm in recent years for news organizations like the Times, where elitist scribes routinely craft articles which inform the financially literate...

August 28 2016 - Tommie Paine
Cynical Times Endorses Hillary Clinton
Ever wonder how so many Africans could be crowded aboard European slave ships without a revolt in the 1800s?Or how so many Jews could be herded to their own deaths during the Holocaust without turning on their Nazi oppressors? Well, wonder no more. Cause you're living that kind of history right here and now as the faltering middle class is being forced to choose between dueling Wall Street sellouts in the biggest mockery of a presidential election in United States history. It's a political vers...

June 25 2016 - Victor Epstein
Don't believe the hype - the Brexit is great news for the 99%
Britain's vote to exit the European Union on Friday was a tremendous victory for a 99 Percent which is desperately trying to stem the shift toward global tyranny being orchestrated by predatory elites.The Brextit was a surrogate for their tainted version of globalization, which seeks to reestablish the super rich as the modern equivalent of feudal lords. Much as the Keystone Pipeline before it was a surrogate for public anger with the predatory ways of the fossil fuel industry.Both the Keystone ...

May 26 2016 - Victor Epstein
Bullshit News of the Day: AP's flawed Zumwalt coverage
You have to love the circular logic and shameless sins of omission in The Associated Press' latest fatally flawed article about the U.S. Navy's new Zumwalt class destroyer. The Zumwalt is a next generation naval weapons platform which represents the military industrial complex's latest ploy to pilfer the federal treasury. It's also a controversial vessel a significant number of naval strategists neither want nor believe in. Sadly, AP reporter David Sharp and his editors gave monied interest...

June 8 2011 - Cynical Times
OPEC split over increasing oil production
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries should be cited in every oil pricing story because its declared trading range, which is between $80 to $90 a barrel, is far more influential on prices than the relationship between supply and demand in a global free market. Why? Because there is no global free market, except for cheap labor. Oil is a manipulated market and OPEC has control of the spigot. Speculators represent the other driving force in prices. Sadly, most oil pricing stories fail...

July 2 2011 - Victor Epstein
Why South Dakota Should be Renamed The Loanshake State
It takes a lot to shock me these days, but South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds succeeded with his hypocritical support for states' rights and denunciation of federal authority in a recent story in The New York Times. Rounds was included in the story because he signed a bill into law in March 2010 declaring that the federal regulation of firearms is invalid if a weapon is made and used in South Dakota. I'm not outraged by Rounds because I object to states' rights or the denunciation of federal author...

August 3 2011 - VJ Epstein
The Tea Party Trojan Horse
The whole notion of the Tea Party as a legitimate grassroots movement is such a joke. Yes, there are millions of Americans seeking to change the United States in ways that serve the majority of its citizens. No, they're not going to accomplish that change via the Tea Party Movement. Anyone who takes a few minutes to connect the dots can see that the movers and shakers in this so-called grassroots movement actually are lobbyists and politicians in Washington, D.C. There wouldn't even b...

July 7 2011 - Victor Epstein
CEO Hypocrisy: Hurting Workers is Job One
You have to love the disingenuous words that business leaders construct for policies that are going to hurt large numbers of gullible voters. One of the best is on display in this story. It's the phrase "make American more competitive." What that really translates into is paying American workers wages that are more in line with those received by their counterparts in India, Mexico and China. That way, CEOs at publicly traded companies can keep the annual profit growth scam rolling just a f...

July 7 2011 - Victor Epstein
AP: Job outlook suggests more hiring
This is a typical flawed AP story on job creation. The world's largest news organization seems incapable of understanding that all the fancy numbers in its economic indicator stories are meaningless without a proper benchmark. In this case the benchmark is a lie, because zero does not equal zero. It takes a net gain of 100,000 to 130,000 new jobs each month just to provide employment for new additions to the workforce due to population growth. This is above and beyond the positions that normally...

July 12 2011 - Tommie Paine
The useful hypocrisy of the fringe right
My favorite piece of the recent New York Time article about the negative impact of fading federal aid is the paragraph that lists four of the states which receive the most: Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Ohio. These Tea Party strongholds are full of people railing against the sins of Big Government, but facing a litany of economic ills which are largely due to the private sector and lax government regulation. Florida and Arizona have been hit very hard by the housing crisis, which resulted from ...

July 12 2011 - Victor Epstein
U.S. Trade Deficit Widens Again in July
The U.S. trade deficit surged 15% in July to $50 billion due to resurgent oil prices and the outsourcing of American jobs. Every time the economic recovery starts to fire up, rising oil prices smother the flame. The deficit represents no more and no less than the wholesale redistribution of American working class wealth. We're not talking about money that's going to someone else in America in the form of wages or profits. We're talking about money that's being funneled out of our national econom...

July 12 2011 - Cynical Times
Bachmann is Big Government
It's comforting to know our tax dollars are not being wasted. Michelle Bachmann's hubby has helped himself to more than $137,000 from the federal treasury in recent years as part of his efforts to enrich himself while "counseling gay people into being straight"  and seeking to impose his religious views on the rest of this nation. If being gay were an illness, this would be money well spent. The fact that it's not is a great reason to heighten the separation of church and state....

July 12 2011 - Cynical Times
Citizen Empowerment 101: EIA Short-term Energy Outlook
The first step to being an educated voter is locating the right documents. Step No. 2 is actually reading them. This monthly press release from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is required reading in my opinion for anyone who claims to be a patriot and to care about the difference between propaganda and truth.There's nothing earth-shattering in here. Just a little explanation for why oil prices have stayed high despite the announcement that the U.S. and other nations were going to rele...

July 12 2011 - Tommie Paine
Netflix to Consumers: Screw You
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to consumers: Screw you. Pay us 60% more. The bargain basement movie provider, which has helped so many working families make ends meet, stuck its finger in everyone's collective eye Tuesday by raising prices 60% in one fell swoop. Predictably, the stock market loves it. Netflix's stock price has already surged $1.90 a share. They love greed on Wall Street.  This is just further evidence that when working people patronize a publicly traded company, they are neither view...

July 13 2011 - Cynical Times
Campaigns Setting New Record for Legalized Bribes
These kind of huge bribes are bad news for working Americans, because we don't donate this kind of money and the people who do expect something in exchange. You can bet that when campaign fundraisers are focused on besting their previous records they're not doing so by rejecting money form unsavory allies. They do it by selling us out and putting the interest of the donors ahead of the greater good. The fact that both major parties engage in this conduct is further evidence that neither champion...

July 13 2011 - Cynical Times
Here Comes The Double Dip
The Journal of Commerce, an industry trade publication that covers transportation, is reporting that trans-Pacific container rates are tumbling. Dewry Shipping Consultants told JOC that the spot rate for shipping a loaded 40-foot container from Hong Kong to Los Angeles fell 6.7% the past week to $1,636. It's the second decline in as many weeks for this key measure of international trade and the lowest rate since December. The rate was $2,624 a year ago. Meanwhile, the U.S. Depa...

July 14 2011 - Cynical Times
Debt Ceiling Crisis: Another Right-Wing Fear Tactic
Both big political machines put their agendas ahead of the national interest.However, conservative Republicans have taken misrepresentation and fear-mongering to new lows as they seek to magnify the political influence of our nation's business elites. Their latest tactic is to stir up economic fear among American wage-earners by making the need to raise the debt ceiling seem like a national crisis.This article in the www.addictinginfo.org blog notes that Senate Republicans voted to raise the deb...

July 14 2011 - Tommie Paine
The Murdoch Lynch Mob is Gathering
The recent problems of Rupert Murdoch and his media empire are reminiscent of the exposure and subsequent downfall of fellow hate-monger Joe McCarthy in the 1950s. In both cases, these bullies were quietly hated by a lot more people than they realized for the lies, innuendos and sins of omission they utilized to elevate themselves. That simmering hatred just below the surface was the fuel for the figurative public bonfire that consumed McCarthy's hopes and ambitions. Now, the Daily Dog, a PR ind...

July 14 2011 - Tommie Paine
Let Them Eat Pork!
This super NYT story paints a powerful picture of the sins of our archaic political machines, which exist to serve no one but themselves. It doesn't matter whether they call themselves Republican or Democrat, both machines place their interests and those of their wealthy legalized bribers ahead of our over-arching national interests. Pork barrel is a metaphor for the appropriation of government spending for localized projects secured solely or primarily to bring money to a representative's distr...

July 17 2011 - Victor Epstein
NYT Takes a Look Inside Law School
This fantastic NYT story provides the best look inside the law school business we have ever seen. It explains a lot. Including why lawyers seem so money hungry - they have huge student loans to pay off - and why so many non-law fields have become so predatory - they're been inundated by displaced lawyers taught to zealously advocate for their clients and ignore their own misgivings about them. The bottom line is that when we graduate more lawyers than the legal profession needs, the excess wind ...

July 17 2011 - Tommie Paine
Obama Set to Abandon Liz Warren
CNN is reporting that President Barack Obama is preparing to abandon the candidacy of consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren to be the first head of the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If this is true it represents a tremendous blow to working families and a tremendous win for big business and their lobbyists. The fact that Obama's political fundraising team is simultaneously setting records for the 2012 presidential election cannot be ignored, given that the industries exploiting...

July 19 2011 - Victor Epstein
Housing Industry Prepares June Housing Spin
The Cynical Times doesn't even have to read the spate of preview stories for June housing activity to tell you what these predictable misrepresentations are going to say. Housing starts, a measure of new construction, will be historically low in June, but will probably rise a small amount from the prior month. The wires will make it sound more positive than it is by leaving out the monthly average since 2000 and focusing just on the post-bust period. If the editors and reporters involved are par...

July 19 2011 - Victor Epstein
Five Nobel Laureates Oppose Balanced Budget Amendment
It's official. The wingnuts' penchant for putting their own interests ahead of the national welfare is now on display for all to see. A group of the world's top economists, including five nobel laureates just said as much in a letter to President Barack Obama and Congress. What's got them pissed off? Well, in general it's the complete politicization of the national economic discussion. That's a nice way of saying political lies are drowning out economic truth. More specifically, they're fuming o...

July 20 2011 - Tommie Paine
FBI: Pakistan Sought to Influence U.S. Politics
It's no surprise non-Americans are purchasing influence in our corrupt political system through soft-money political donations (aka legalized bribes), as reported in this New York Times article, but most Americans don't seem to understand that it comes at their expense.The rise of outside influence means American workers and their families count for less. The political machines have sold out working voters in pursuit of revenue growth, just as American CEOs have sold them out to enrich themselve...

July 20 2011 - Victor Epstein
Special Report: Housing Market Decline Worse Than Data Indicates
The average American has no idea how precipitous the national housing decline really is because the true depth of the problem is being obscured by a widespread sin of statistical omission. Several key economic indicators for housing are not adjusted for population growth. That means we're comparing the number of home purchases made by our current national population of more than 312 million with purchase activity that dates back to 1959 in some cases, when there were only 177 million Americans. ...

July 23 2011 - Tommie Paine
Fascist Villain Behind Norwegian Butchery
Same story - different nation. This time an intolerant, supremacist, right-wing religious extremist allegedly killed 91 people who thought differently than him July 22 in Norway. The incident just confirms what we already know - that religious and political extremism are the enemy of decent people everywhere. It's a safe bet that every nutty idea in this butcher's tin brain started out as a wedge issue that was introduced by someone who wished to rule a political or religious machine. ...

July 24 2011 - Tommie Paine
Finally, A Political Movement For The Rest of US
A new force in American politics is looking to harness the power of everyday voters and combine it with the Internet to give us back a voice in our own government. The Americans Elect movement wants to help us reclaim our representative democracy from the Democratic and Republican party machines and their wealthy supporters. They've turned Congress into an auction, where policy decisions are made by the biggest political donor. The Cynical Times supports the goals of the Americans El...

July 26 2011 - Cynical Times
Republican Eco Expert Slams GOP Leaders
It's amazing that the most damaging attacks on the fringe-right for their role in undermining the American economy are not coming from the competing Democratic machine, which is dependent on donations from many of the the same powerful special interests, but rather from former officials in the Reagan administration like Bruce Bartlett. Bartlett just wrote an excellent NYT column in which he slammed current GOP leaders for advancing the fiction that the huge tax cuts for the rich enacted un...

July 27 2011 - Victor Epstein
Debt Ceiling Craziness Already Hurting U.S. Finances
Maybe applying business practices to government wasn't such a hot idea after all. The 1990s panacea for government inefficiency is breeding new problems now as wingnut rhetoric drowns out economic reality in the debt ceiling debate and threatens to saddle the nation with higher borrowing costs. Just as CEOs of publicy traded companies have been putting short-term profit growth ahead of everything else, including behavior that's collectively damaging to their own companies and the national...

August 3 2011 - VJ Epstein
A Dishonored America in Decline
The opposite of one extreme is not the opposite extreme – it's moderation. Unfortunately, that axiom seems to have escaped the U.S. business community under the leadership of Tom Donahue and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They're still trying to solve the over-regulation of the 1960s and 70s with the rampant deregulation and self-regulation of the past 20 years. This simplistic solution has created more problems for the private sector than it has solved, by replacing the benign regula...

August 5 2011 - Victor Epstein
Fed Credit Rating Downgraded
Today, Aug. 5, 2011, is a date that will live in infamy. It is the day that Standard & Poor's - one of the three agencies which rate credit - removed the United States government from its list of risk-free borrowers for the first time. In so doing it officially questioned the stability of the dollar, the world's standard currency, and by extension the entire global economic system that has evolved around it.To paraphrase Winston Churchill at the end of the Battle of Britain: "now, this is no...

August 8 2011 - Victor Epstein
Gold Prices Surge, Oil Drops
Gold prices surged Monday, as stocks and oil fell, in the first full day of trading after the United States' risk-free longterm rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor's.Gold is widely viewed as a post-apocalyptic currency, meaning that it's the investment vehicle of choice for those who see national economies and governments struggling or even collapsing. The rise of gold prices in combination with the decline in growth-related stocks and industrial commodities suggests that the chances of...

August 9 2011 - Victor Epstein
Pentagon Questioning Use of Lumbering Chinook Helos in Battle Zone Landings
The Pentagon is taking another look at the use of lumbering CH-47 Chinook helicopters in active battle zones after 30 U.S. lives were lost when one was shot down Aug. 6 in the deadliest incident of the Afghan War, according to this article on the military.com website. The aircraft was the second tandem-rotor Chinook brought down by a rocket-propelled grenade in the war-torn country in the past two weeks. The helo was hit as it was descending with Navy Seals and Afghan commandos seeking to joi...

August 9 2011 - Tommie Paine
Global Stock Sell-off Now Third Worst in History
The Daily Beast's Zachary Karabell provides excellent insight into the world-wide economic meltdown in this article, noting that the recent global sell-off represents only the third time in the past 40 years that stocks have fallen this precipitously. He says the 16 percent decline in the S&P 500 during the past 10 days is surpassed only by drops in October of 1987 and October of 2008. The article is full of little gems like this one: "Since global markets bottomed in March 2009, there ...

June 20 2011 - Victor Epstein
For-profit Colleges Run Amok
Federal regulators have given an unexpected reprieve to the for-profit education sector by significantly weakening new regulations expected to hold the schools accountable for both the quality of their education and the ability of their students to repay taxpayer-funded tuition loans. The gainful employment rule released June 2 by the U.S. Department of Education came after an unprecedented lobbying effort against the regulations by the sector's publicly-traded schools. Experts say DOE's initia...

August 10 2011 - Victor Epstein
The New Normal: Dire Economic Straits
An interesting Bloomberg article by Sree Bhaktavatsalam suggests that Wall Street's reflexive cheerleading is finally melting off as investors embrace painful truths, like the fact that the "new normal" is very slow economic growth and high unemployment as the world weans itself from its debt addiction. That means we're not going to see a sustained period of annual growth in the 3 percent range as we have for most of the past 30 years. Those halcyon days are gone. We're going to spend the ne...

August 12 2011 - Victor Epstein
European Nations Ban Short Selling as Cities Burn
You have to laugh at the latest nonsense from the fringe-right about the riots now occurring in Europe, which some Washington, D.C., lobbyists and pundits are now citing in defense of the "greed is good" philosophy embraced by their wealthy patrons.They're pointing to European nations that treat workers fairly and effectively saying "look, we told you so. Europe is having problems because they're too generous to workers, instead of exploiting them as we do here in the land of savage capitalism."...

August 15 2011 - Victor Epstein
Banking and Financial Services Face Layoffs
The U.S. banking and financial services sectors are experiencing some of their own "greed is good" layoff medicine, and beleaguered middle-class Americans are finding it very hard to feel sorry for them. Former First-Lady Barbara Bush expressed our sentiments best years ago when she said of the angst her son George was experiencing due to his hard-partying daughters: "Now he's getting back some of his own."The painful truth is that we just can't wait to see members of the financial services indu...

August 15 2011 - Victor Epstein
Working-Class Hero Warren Buffett Lays Down Some Painful Truths
Warren Buffett may be the third-wealthiest person in the world, but he's never forgotten what it's like to work hard for someone else, been a poser, or lost his love for his fellow Americans - especially working-class Americans.The 80-year-old Oracle of Omaha came as close to cursing out federal elected leaders and lobbyists as he may ever get on Aug. 14, in a commentary in The New York Times entitled "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich." Buffett, who built a $50 billion fortune forsaking trendy short...

August 14 2011 - Victor Epstein
Bachmann Rides Monster Corn Dog to Straw Poll Win
Wingnut presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann gave America one of the most disturbing political images in its history when she went tonsils-deep on a monster corn dog at the Iowa State Fair. The U.S. Representative for Minnesota then held a second corn dog as her feminine husband Marcus daintily nibbled on it.  The stunt propelled Bachmann to an early win in the Iowa Straw Poll. No word yet on whether a Paris Hilton-style sex tape is next for the religious nut, but videos of the phallic event ar...

August 16 2011 - Victor Epstein
Social Climber Beds Wrong Woman's Famous Husband
Kudos to artist and mom Helen Marden for allegedly slapping the pancake makeup off former Vogue Magazine staffer Helen Lee Schifter, a notorious social climber who summers in the Hamptons and is one of the posers employed by the news industry's exclusive fashion magazines. In case you didn't know, "exclusive" is how businesses that cater to rich New Yorkers say "Bridge and Tunnel Crowd not welcome." And Bridge and Tunnel Crowd is Manhattan Society slang for the working-class people who tak...

August 16 2011 - Tommie Paine
No More Soup For You
A second working-class hero stepped out of the ranks of America's elites and up to the national leadership plate Aug. 16, when Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told the two big political machines to get their act together or risk losing their favorite toy - huge political donations from big corporations. Schultz gave squabbling Republicans and Democrats a very public "timeout." His announcement follows a New York Times commentary from Warren Buffett on Aug. 13 that criticized lawmakers for coddli...

September 6 2017 - Victor Epstein
Hurricane Prep for Dummies - 2017 Edition
Every hurricane season one of my friends invariably confesses to being completely unprepared for a disaster, even though they live in a vulnerable coastal area. This guide is for them.  It was first published in 2011 as Hurricane Irene was bearing down on the New York City metro area and people were laughing it up and holding hurricane parties. Irene was a bust, but no one was laughing a year later when Hurricane Sandy hammered the same woefully unprepared area.   Instantly, millions ...

August 9 2011 - Cynical Times
Reality TV Yawner 2.0
If you're one of the millions that still think "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" and the rest of the so-called Reality TV garbage is real, we have only one word for you: Duh! How dumb can you be? Seriously. Friggin cabbage is smarter than you. Look, all of the Reality TV shows are scripted to one degree or another. If for no other reason than because the camera focuses on those behaving the worst. This pattern of rewarding the dishonorable is a symbol of all that's wrong right n...

August 2 2011 - Cynical Times
Reality TV Yawner 1.0
A recent Daily Beast story pretty much tells us what we've known all along: Reality TV is not real and neither are its stars. Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, who have sold their last fake story to the checkbook journalists that staff news organizations like Us Weekly and TMZ, admit as much in this interview. Montag is best known for having 10 plastic surgeries performed on the same day. It's safe to say that's not the kind of thing you'll see on the resume of award-winning actress Dian...

July 17 2011 - Cynical Times
Cynical Salutes American Hero Yukari Mihamae
The Transportation Security Administration should give 61-year-old Yukari Mihamae, of Colorado, a medal for sensitizing one of their agents to how it feels to be groped by "public servants" drunk with power. According to this AP story, Mihamae allegedly "grabbed, squeezed and twisted" the left breast of a TSA agent July 14 at an airport checkpoint, which is a string of actions that ranks right up there with "smack it, flip it, rub it down" given to us by the old musical group Bell Biv Davoe. The...

July 13 2011 - Tommie Paine
Loving on Actress Kristen Johnston
There should be a photo of Nadya Suleman, the so-called "Octomom," in the dictionary under "fame addict." As a matter of fact, she could probably fill up a lot of pages under headings like "selfish," "vain," "short-sighted," and "idiot." There's just nothing positive to say about someone who uses tax dollars to cover the expenses associated with having more kids than they can care for. It's bad enough when the kids result from poor family planning by a teen, but it's a downright crime when a kno...

July 13 2011 - Victor Epstein
California Woman Cuts Off Hubby's Penis
So, this lady in California is having marital problems. Her solution? Drug her hubby, tie him to the bed and cut off his penis while taunting him. Catherine Kieu Becker, 48, then allegedly tossed the severed penis in the sink and turned on the garbage disposal. Why is this worth talking about? It's an exercise for every person who buys into the nonsense that any man could have done anything to justify such butchery. Which is exactly the same discredited thought process neanderthals used to justi...

September 7 2011 - Victor Epstein
Another Republican Loyalist Blasts Hijacked Party
Retired Congressional staffer Mike Lofgren destroys the widely-held notion that there are no more American heros in this incredible expose of the treasonous behavior now commonplace in Washington, D.C. He does so by putting his ass on the line to advance the greater good and leveling his intellectual Gatling gun on the Republican Party he served for 16 years, and the wingnuts who have hijacked it. He describes both of the big political machines as "captives to corporate loot" in this Truth...

September 7 2011 - VJ Epstein
Economic Superhero Joe Stiglitz Slams G.W. Bush
Joe Stiglitiz is a somebody. The Nobel Laureate is one of the greatest economists ever to walk the planet and he takes a stand against former President George W. Bush and his disastrous eight years in the oval office in this terrific story. Stiglitz goes so far as to allege that Bush has done more harm to the United States than al-Qaeda, endangering both our global leadership and economy prosperity by spending irresponsibly as he was pushing through tax cuts for the rich, powerful and politi...

August 17 2011 - Victor Epstein
Economic Sage Sees Tough Times Ahead
Nouriel Roubini, the economist who predicted both the collapse of the United States housing market and the latest worldwide recession, suggests the global economy is not just on the verge of a double-dip recession, but a complete restructuring as it deleverages. "Until last year, policymakers could always produce a new rabbit from their hat to reflate asset prices and trigger economic recovery," he said, citing near-zero interest rates and trillions of dollars in bailouts as examples."Now, ...

September 15 2011 - VJ Epstein
Beefy Dude Suing White Castle
This just in from the world where people do things they know are wrong: New York stockbroker Martin Kessman is suing the White Castle fastfood chain under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Why? Because his beefy rump doesn't fit in their chairs any more. The Suffern, N.Y., resident is 6 feet tall and weighs 290 pounds. According to the legal complaint Kessman filed Sept. 7, he suffered so much embarassment when a White Castle booth refused his approaches that he decided t...

September 20 2011 - VJ Epstein
Fiery Obama Lifts Middle Class Hopes
President Barack Obama took the figurative gloves off Monday with a stinging rebuke of America's pay-to-play political system and the gaping deficit it has created in the most aggressive address of his administration. The son of a Kansas activist finally stepped away from the politics of compromise and the rhetoric of diplomacy in a sizzling speech the beleaguered middle class has been looking for since they elected one of their own three years ago. Obama called out the far-right and its w...

September 25 2011 - Victor Epstein
"Occupy Wall Street" Antes Up
The Occupy Wall Street movement is for real. No one is really sure exactly what OWS is yet. However, the nonviolent grassroots movement already has eclipsed the choreographed, astroturf protests that predominate in Manhattan since moving into the downtown financial district Sept. 17. More than 1,000 marchers turned out on a rainy Saturday to voice their displeasure with a Fortune 500 which  has placed short-term profit growth ahead of the greater good of the nation and promoted the id...

September 28 2011 - VJ Epstein
Fed Chief raises alarm on unemployment
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke did a very unusual thing Sept. 28, when he described long-term unemployment as a "national crisis." It's a shocking statement for the head of the Fed, which has the dual mandate of promoting price stability and maximum employment. The holder of this spot typically leans Republican, simply by virtue of the Grand Old Party's symbiotic relationship with markets. That's what makes Bernanke's declaration so amazing. He was essentially wading into ...

September 29 2011 - Cynical Times
High Society Hottie Cops A Walk
Still think there's one justice system for all of us in the United States? Think again. Socialite Beata Boman was given a slap on the wrist by Connecticut Judge Robert Genuari this month and allowed to walk free after allegedly stealing $11,750 worth of scarves in the latest example of a wealthy elite being shamelessly favored in our increasingly plantation-like nation. The alleged thefts occurred in two separate incidents in June at an upscale shop called Richard's of Greenwich. ...

September 29 2011 - VJ Epstein
BOFA launching new attack on middle class
It's hard to find a single company that has hurt middle class Americans more than Bank of America and the predatory institution's latest swindle is a charge for using your own money. That's right. BOFA is still circling what's left of the middle class like a shark that smells blood and is intent on the kill. The Charlotte-based bank plans to charge people $5 a month just to use a debit card to spend their own money - above and beyond the fees it already charges when customers withdraw money...

October 3 2011 - VJ Epstein
Afghan interpreters looking for the exit door
If you're wondering whether our exit from Afghanistan is going to be as successful as the one from Iraq, you might draw some insight from this military.com article. It reports that Afghan military interpreters have so little confidence in the regime of Hamid Karzai that they're scrambling for visas to the United States. That doesn't sound much like victory. The really sad thing is that we have lost so many lives and squandered so many tax dollars in Iraq since 9/11, even though the attacks wer...

October 4 2011 - VJ Epstein
The Porning of Broadcast News
Media pundits love to talk about the failure of newspapers to envision and adapt to the Internet, but what about bobblehead broadcast news operations like CNN and Fox? Clearly, their leaders are as bright as a bag of hammers when it comes to understanding what the Internet's unlimited pornographic options mean to their gussied up newscasts. Look folks, it's time to get back to news fundamentals and away from news boobs and strong chins. Not the other way around. That's what the Inter...

October 5 2011 - VJ Epstein
Citibank backhands American middle class
If you have more than $15,000 in your checking account - and who doesn't these days - you won't be impacted by the raft of new fees being imposed at Citibank. If not, get ready to be legally pickpocketed. Again. That's right, Citigroup, the financial services giant that helped precipitate the economic meltdown we're still living through, has decided it deserves even more money from the average Americans that bailed it out. So, the New York-based company is raising checking fees at it...

October 5 2011 - VJ Epstein
Wall Street Protests Yield "American Autumn"
Gasoline, meet rocket fuel. Organized labor joined with anti-Wall Street protesters Oct. 5 to produce one of the biggest demonstrations in more than 30 years in lower Manhattan and a volatile force for political change. Drawn together by shared frustration with corporate greed and a political system plagued by legalized bribes, older middle class Americans joined the younger generation to produce a boisterous crowd of more than 30,000 protesters. Smaller protests were staged in cities and on c...

October 19 2011 - VJ Epstein
Vets backstabbed by corporate oligarchy
The Veterans of Foreign Wars has issued a "call to action" to its 2 million members, according to this Military.com article, asking them to plead with Congress to spare military and veterans benefits as a bipartisan committee looks to trim $1.2 trillion from the federal budget. Why soldiers have to beg their own government to keep its promises is another story. One that begins and ends with its apparent takeover in a bloodless coup d'etat by business leaders with a legal obligation to maximize ...

October 20 2011 - Tommie Paine
Moammar Gadhafi Killed By Fellow Libyans
Moammar Gadhafi was killed Thursday by fighters belonging to the popular uprising his murderous antics spawned among the 99% of the Libyan population that didn't benefit from his despotic rule, according to this story from the Al Jazeera news service. Their National Transitional Council (NTC) is the oil-rich nation's government now. Gadhafi was wounded and captured after Libyan fighters - don't call them rebels any more - drove the remnants of his once powerful army from the 69-year-old's h...

October 20 2011 - Victor Epstein
Deficit Reduction Committee Raking in "Donations"
The 12 members of Congress' deficit reduction committee are experiencing a windfall in political donations. They've received more than $300,000 from 93 special interests in the six weeks since their appointments, according to an analysis of FEC data by iWatch News. More than a third of the money has come from health-related interests, which helped create the deficit by boosting their revenue from the Medicare and Medicaid government health programs. The bipartisan committee is supposed...

October 21 2011 - Victor Epstein
Plantation of Texas Cuts Inmate Food
There are a couple old sayings to the effect that you can judge the morality of a man by the way he treats his servants and dogs, and the morality of a society by the way it treats its prisoners. In other words, the folks who can't hit back. Fake tough-guy and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry has shown that he's hell on wheels when it comes to bullying those groups. In his latest move, the Texas governor and his administration have ended the practice of serving last meals to inmates ab...

October 21 2011 - Victor Epstein
GOP Pollster: Marco Rubio a Pathological Liar
It seems that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the wingnut darling, has trouble with both the truth and with money. Other people's money. Chris Ingram, a veteran GOP pollster and former Rubio supporter, pulled the curtain back on those alleged failings today in a courageous column entitled "Rubio's pattern of pathological behavior is pervasive." The lifelong Republican runs through a litany of alleged misconduct on his Irreverent View website that includes double-billing taxpayers for flight...

November 1 2011 - Tommie Paine
Model Stands By Her Tyrant
Apparently, there is no love like the love of a self-centered model for a wealthy suitor. It's stronger than terrorism, mass murder, the torture of thousands of countrymen and women, and the transformation of an entire nation into a plantation. In fact, this kind of greed is so powerful that Telefonica Germany canceled its advertising contract with Vanessa Hessler, after the 23-year-old Italian-American model recently pined publicly for her passionate relationship with Muatassim Gadhafi (l...

November 1 2011 - Cynical Times
The Tim Tebow dilemma
There's a curious passion play underway in the National Football League in which a devoutly Christian player - who is white, speaks well, and is very good looking - is being ruthlessly ridiculed by opponents for his lousy play. The curiosity is that so many NFL beat writers seem incapable of understanding the dynamic at work here, which is that the average football player has to bust his ass just for a chance against very long odds and views the special treatment given to Denver Broncos ro...

November 7 2011 - VJ Epstein
Empowered Consumers Let Their Hands Go
Beleaguered consumers have taken a page from the boxing world in recent weeks by "letting their hands go" in their battle with predatory corporations like Netflix and Bank of America.Boxing trainers use the phrase when they want a pugilist to stop being cautious and pound away at an antagonist with unbridled fury. The effect in the business world has been to turn the clock back on customer relations to a time when more businesses had a moral compass and worried about how they were viewed by thos...

November 8 2011 - Tommie Paine
Michael Jackson doc guilty of involuntary manslaughter
It's nice to be the King of Pop's personal physician, but it's even nicer to be an honorable professional who shoulders your ethical burdens and resists the temptation to profit from a powerful person with a substance abuse problem. A Los Angeles jury said as much to Dr. Conrad Murray on Monday, when they found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the pop star's drug-related death in 2009. That's the doctor's official crime. However, Murray's real crime was being a blatant lackey who t...

November 11 2011 - Cynical Times
Occupy Wall Street overcomes bad press
By Susan J. Douglas Despite the media’s atrocious coverage, the Occupy protests have clearly changed the nation’s conversation. So here’s the question: Despite the media’s appalling coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement, is a more sustained and sustainable assault on the injustices of corporate capitalism gaining a foothold? With the emergence, and spread, of the Occupy movement, the first scandal was the mainstream media’s ignoring the story (until the NYPD got violent). ...

November 14 2011 - Cynical Times
Delving into the mind of a political provocateur
By Corey Robin Everyone seems to be going after Ann Coulter - and rightly so - for her racist comments on the "Hannity" show. Asked why liberals and Democrats are up in arms over the sexual harassment allegations that have been leveled against GOP candidate Herman Cain, Coulter said: "Our blacks are so much better than their blacks. To become a black Republican, you don't just roll into it. You're not going with the flow…" That "our blacks" is especially gruesome. Sounds like th...

November 14 2011 - Tommie Paine
Occupy Protests Gain Momentum
U.S. mayors are trapped between a rock and a hard place by the Occupy Wall Street protests. On the one hand, they have a vested interest in protecting the pay-to-play politics that got them elected as leaders of their local political machines. On the other, any visible crackdown feeds the energy for change churning out of the movement's encampments. No one has screwed up as visibly as Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. Her police force critically wounded Marine veteran Scott Olsen by shooting ...

November 15 2011 - VJ Epstein
Bloomberg Cracks Down on Occupy Movement
The New York Police Department cleared pro-democracy protesters from Zuccotti Park in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday morning in an attempt to stifle a fast-growing movement against class warfare by wealthy citizens and corporations. "Occupy Wall Street is being raided by NYC police," Adam Green of the Progressive Campaign Change Committee said in a statement. He indicated the raid began at 1:10 a.m. At least 140 protesters were arrested in the park, including some who chained themselves to...

November 18 2011 - VJ Epstein
Pro-democracy marchers flex new muscle
The greed-is-good community spent Thursday walking the streets they supposedly own as "masters of the universe" with their heads down and their proverbial tails tucked deeply between their legs. Investment bankers and stock traders clicked the locks shut on their Range Rovers (below left) and BMWs as they drove between protesters and police in cities across the United States, and clambered on foot over the barricades separating them from the once voiceless poor and middle-class. "I don...

November 20 2011 - VJ Epstein
Failing middle class nears poverty line
A new government poverty measure meant to better count disposable income has also exposed the startling demise of America's middle-class in the face of two decades of class warfare and pay-to-play politics by predatory elites. About 100 million Americans are now either living in poverty or just above it, according to this article in The New York Times. Given our nation's 315 million people, that's about one in three. Fifty-one million middle-class Americans are now considered near-poo...

November 20 2011 - VJ Epstein
California cops gone wild
Two police officers have been suspended for using pepper spray against nonviolent protesters on Nov. 18 at the University of California, Davis, in a visceral illustration of the reason why courts have curtailed law enforcement judgments calls in the field. UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi issued a public apology Nov. 20 for the incident after initially voicing support for the police, amid cries from faculty and students for her resignation. Two officers have been placed on administrative le...

November 23 2011 - Cynical Times
High-handed Congressman gets set straight
The Cynical Times is loving on historian Douglas Brinkley today for his courageous stand during a Congressional hearing in Washington, D.C., after an icon for pay-to-play politics mispronounced his name, denigrated his testimony as "garbage" and repeatedly interrupted him. The Nov. 18 incident occurred after Brinkley was invited by machine politicians to appear at a hearing of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, whose members pretend to regulate the U.S. energy industry while pocketin...

November 25 2011 - Tommie Paine
The dark side of organized religion
The Amish are supposed to be pacifists but religious dogma can always be turned upside down by a ruthless and ambitious leader, and that's exactly what the head of one breakaway sect appears to have done. Sam Mullet and six of his followers were arrested Nov. 23 and charged with a laundry list of decidedly violent and intolerant behavior, according to this story from The Associated Press. Mullet allegedly allowed those Amish who disagreed with him to be beaten, and forced others to sleep in...

November 26 2011 - Tommie Paine
Machine pols ready new OWS crackdown
Machine politicians and their well-paid allies are readying themselves for another crackdown on the nonviolent pro-democracy protesters of the Occupy Wall Street movement. This time they're preparing to go after the Los Angeles protest camp that began Oct. 31 in a one-acre park south of City Hall. It has grown to more than 450 tents in a metropolis characterized by homelessness, nepotism, greed, indifference toward the less fortunate, and appearance over substance. The LA general assem...

November 26 2011 - Tommie Paine
NBA Millionaires to Resume Money-Making
The National Basketball Association and its players reached a tentative agreement ending their labor impasse on Saturday, Nov. 26, after discovering the rest of us have more pressing issues than the sport of the 1 Percent amid the most damaging economic slowdown since The Great Depression. The deal calls for a 66-game season for the $4 billion industry, which has hiked ticket prices so steeply under Commissioner David Stern that many decent American families can no longer afford to attend a g...

November 28 2011 - Tommie Paine
Pro-Democracy Protesters Post LA and Philly Wins
Occupy Wall Street posted wins in Los Angeles and Philadelphia on Monday when police passed on the violent crackdowns expected after mayors of the two cities ordered the pro-democracy protesters to clear out. "Too much media for the police to do the down and dirty as the other cities had in the past," Pamela Rose Hauser wrote on Occupy Los Angeles' Facbook page. More than 2,000 protesters filled the streets around the LA camp in the early morning hours Monday to demonstrate their resolve...

November 29 2011 - VJ Epstein
Lobbyists Draw Bead on Occupy Wall Street
No group has profited more from the status quo than the fast-growing political lobbyist industry, which is now drawing a bead on the Occupy Wall Street movement as it seeks to shake loose new money from Wall Street. The lobbying firm of Clark-Lytle-Geduldig-Cranford (CLGC) recently sent a $850,000 proposal to the American Bankers Association for a political effort to counteract the pro-democracy protesters. The document, which was obtained by the  MSNBC program “Up w/ Chris Hayes," is a per...

November 29 2011 - Cynical Times
U.S. Headed Toward Third-World Status
By Ron Hera Economic data suggests the United States is slipping toward the status of a Third World nation as wealth becomes more concentrated in the hands of the richest 1%. If fundamental changes are not made the U.S. could become a post-industrial, neo-Third-World nation as early as 2032 if the embattled middle class continues to slip into poverty. American families are working harder than ever before, with both spouses now firmly in the workplace in most households, but real house...

November 30 2011 - VJ Epstein
Machine Pollies Raid LA and Philly Camps
Machine politicians in Los Angeles and Philadelphia acted to preserve the status quo that's enriching them Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, by ordering police to break up the Occupy Wall Street camps outside their respective city halls. More than 200 pro-democracy protesters were arrested. About 1,400 police officers took part in the late-night operation in Los Angeles under the direction of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa two days after the Democrat ordered marchers out. Most of the OWS pr...

December 2 2011 - VJ Epstein
Syrian Political Machine Breaking Down
There used to be a rule of thumb that any successful family business would fail by the third generation as the hardworking founder was replaced by his privileged, pampered and sheltered offspring. In machine politics, those family businesses seem to be failing even sooner now. Bashar al-Assad is proving as much in Syria, where his ferocious and misguided crackdown on decent working people is fueling a popular backlash that now has its own military wing. The nonviolent movement has morphed i...

December 5 2011 - Cynical Times
Marine Corps Eyes Return to Core Mission
By Smedley Butler The U.S. Marine Corps plans to return to its roots as a quick reaction force as the pumped-up military sheds the bulk needed to fight simultaneously in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Marines want to move away from their current status as a second American land army and occupation force, and focus on their core-role as an expeditionary force, according to a recent article in The Associated Press. "We need to get back to our bread and butter," said Marine Commandant James F...

December 5 2011 - Cynical Times
Earth Trundles Toward Enviro Disaster
By Petey Barnum What would happen if mankind were threatened with extinction, but national leaders were so obsessed with advancing their own short-term individual interests that they were incapable of acting together in the longer term to save the planet? You tell me. You're living it. Emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels surged 5.9 percent to a record high in 2010 as developing countries fouled their air and rivers in a mad dash for financial equality with the former c...

December 7 2011 - VJ Epstein
The Insanity of Annual Profit Growth Expectations
You don't have to be a math major to realize the insanity of the ridiculous profit growth expectations that have taken over big business and machine politics in the United States. You just have to do the math. Wall Street has inculcated investors with the ridiculous idea over the past 20 years that they should only purchase shares in so-called "growth stocks," like World-Com, Enron, and Global Crossing - all of which are now either nonexistent or corporate shells that serve as case studies for c...

December 7 2011 - Cynical Times
The birth of the "reality-based community"
By Cory Robin Long before Ron Suskind tangled with the media and the White House for telling truths or tales about the Obama administration, he was the hero of liberals. For it was Suskind, in the course of exploring the Bush presidency for The New York Times Magazine, who stumbled upon the Rosetta Stone of the contemporary conservative mind. In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire the White House didn't like. It was about Bush's former communications director, Ka...

December 8 2011 - Cynical Times
New Perry Ad Reminds Faithful It's "Us" vs "Them"
By J. Nazareth There are few people who make decent Americans more ashamed of their country than Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who seems hellbent on making ignorance and bigotry seem mainstream. The Republican presidential candidate - and what self-respecting circus clown isn't these days - reached a new low this week with the release of a televsion ad in Iowa that basically says "it's us versus them and them ain't Christian." All that's missing from the 30-second spot is a big red nos...

December 9 2011 - Cynical Times
Global Rebellion: The Coming Chaos
by Wlliam I. Robinson As the crisis of global capitalism spirals out of control, the powers that be in the global system appear to be adrift and unable to propose viable solutions. From the slaughter of dozens of young protesters by the army in Egypt to the brutal repression of the Occupy movement in the United States, and the water cannons brandished by the militarized police in Chile against students and workers, states and ruling classes are unable to hold back the tide of worldwide popu...

December 14 2011 - Cynical Times
Spec Forces NCO Stole Afghan Funds
By Smedley Butler A U.S. Special Forces soldier pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing about $210,000 from the federal funds entrusted to his team in Afghanistan for overseas operations and reconstruction. Philip Stephen Wooten, 35, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud to steal and convert government money and to smuggle currency into the United States, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The former staff sergeant  with the ...

December 14 2011 - Cynical Times
Occupy Protesters Face Biased NYC Legal System
By Art Kirkland Let's say you got in a fistfight with your next-door neighbor. You wouldn't expect to find yourself being judged in court by his best friend the next day. However, that's roughly the situation confronting Occupy Wall Street in New York City. Its members face a criminal court system in which every judge has either been appointed or reappointed by the city's billionaire mayor, who is an icon for the very Wall Street greed that gave birth to their movement. The outcome...

December 16 2011 - Cynical Times
Chicago Machine Polly to Hike Protest Costs
By Vinnie Foster Just when you thought it was impossible to give the children of the rich any more help than they already receive, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is looking to tilt the playing field even further in their favor. The machine politician wants to quadruple the minimum fine to $200 from $25 and double the maximum fine to $1,000 from $500 for political protesters resisting a police officer or aiding escape in the latest bid to disenfranchise decent working class Americans, acc...

December 16 2011 - Cynical Times
Dying for Ass: the Quest for the Perfect Badonkadonk
None of us look like the magazine cover-models that pepper our news-stands. Not even the models. Know why? Because that's not them. What we are usually seeing is the best image of them from the 400 or so shots taken during a typical two-hour photo-shoot. After it's been photoshopped. Sadly, some people still think the images we're bombarded with daily by the mainstream media are real. A percentage of these useful idiots wind up jeopardizing their own health with chemicals like s...

December 17 2011 - Cynical Times
Archbishop Desmond Tutu Antes Up
Note to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Trinity Church: when you find yourself on the other side of an issue from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu it's time to consider the possibility you're in the wrong. Tutu, a hero of the battle against apartheid in South Africa, sided with the Occupy Wall Street movement on Thursday, Dec. 15, in its dispute with Trinity Church. The 80-year-old Anglican cleric urged the uber-wealthy Episcopal institution to allow pro-democracy demonstrators to make a...

December 18 2011 - Victor Epstein
Analysis: Occupy 2.0 Emerges Lean and Mean
A group of handcuffed Americans sat inside a fenced enclosure in Lower Manhattan on a blustery Saturday afternoon, their hands bound tightly behind them as fellow Occupy Wall Street protesters shouted words of support and thanks. Their crime? Challenging the public image of one of the chief beneficiaries of a New York City political machine dominated by real estate interests, Wall Street bankers and powerful religious institutions. The script reads like something out of Oliver Twist. H...

December 20 2011 - VJ Epstein
Editorial: Meet Occupy Wall Street
The mainstream media's flawed coverage of Occupy Wall Street has been a disservice to both its readers and viewers, and to the average Americans at the heart of this grassroots organization of pro-democracy activists. If you want to see what it's really like, watch this clip of an impromptu discussion at the Dec. 17 march in New York City.  Occupy members have been alternately characterized as extremists, communists, anarchists, socialists, libertarians, the unemployed, free-love advocates, ...

December 27 2011 - VJ Epstein
Organized religion's dark side: Christmas murder in Nigeria
Organized religion showed the world its ass once again on Christmas Day, when Muslim extremists in Nigeria butchered at least 40 of their Christian countrymen for calling the invisible man in the sky by a different name. Three churches in northern and central Nigeria were rocked by bomb blasts Dec. 25. The attacks were claimed by the Boko Haram movement of Islamic militants, which aims to impose their religious laws on the 167 million people of Nigeria, which are about evenly split between...

December 29 2011 - Cynical Times
Bush tax cuts for wealthy are gift that keeps giving
By Paul Buchheit Recent reports suggest that almost 50 percent of Americans are now living in poverty or at a "low income" level, even as the wealthiest Americans see their tax burdens diminish due to cuts enacted during the administration of former President George W. Bush. That's more than three-quarters higher than the official account published in September. The claim is based on a new supplemental measure by the Census Bureau that includes health care, transportation, and other es...

January 1 2012 - VJ Epstein
Montana court boots oligarchy in the ass
Montana's highest court affirmed the legality of its century-old ban on corporate political expenditures in a Dec. 30 ruling that represents a challenge to the horrendous Citizens United by the United States Supreme Court, which equated corporations with people. The ruling in Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. State of Montana may also represent the beginning of the end for a budding corporate oligarchy that has disenfranchised middle class voters, allowed influential industries to raid...

January 6 2012 - Cynical Times
Cordray takes helm of new consumer watchdog
Richard Cordray, the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is hard at work this week after being appointed by President Barack Obama to lead the nation's new business watchdog agency. Obama used a recess appointment to seat Cordray (right) on Jan. 4 and to skirt members of Congress who had blocked his appointment in return for heavy donations from the business interests regulated by the CFPB. The new agency will supervise payday lenders and other firms outside the convention...

January 12 2012 - VJ Epstein
Awareness of Class Warfare Surged in 2011
One of the most wrenching political signs to come out of the Occupy Wall Street movement reads "they only call it class warfare when we fight back." A new survey on class warfare by the Pew Research Center suggests that middle-class dirge is an increasingly common refrain in post-Bush America as the wealthy continue to grow wealthier and the financial playing field increasingly is tilted toward them by a U.S. Congress in which half the Senators and Representatives are now millionaires. T...

January 16 2012 - Cynical Times
New Societal Worry: Aging Baby Boomers
By Jeffrey Lewis Each day more and more middle-class families are faced with the same economic challenge: how to simultaneously pay their bills as prices rise for everything from food to gasoline, and still put something away for their parents' future long-term health care needs. This challenge is no more and no less than a source of future economic terror for the beleaguered American families championed by the Occupy Wall Street movement, many of which are completely without health ca...

January 16 2012 - Cynical Times
Eyeballing Carnival After Costa Concordia wreck
by William Bruce The captain of the cruise ship, Costa Concordia, is accused of running the ship aground off the coast of Italy on Jan. 13 and then abandoning the sinking vessel. He is in police custody in Italy, where he is charged with manslaughter and abandoning ship. Witnesses say the captain was among the first to take a lifeboat to safety, effectively leaving the passengers and crew of 4,000 to fend for themselves. The Costa Concordia is owned by Carnival Cruise Lines. The shipw...

January 22 2012 - Cynical Times
Pouting Pakistan Costs US $87 Million A Month
Pakistan is still taxing the United States for the May raid in which Al Quaeda leader Osama bin Laden was slain and the November firefight in which our boys killed 24 of their soldiers. So much so that the U.S. military is now paying six times more to supply our troops in land-locked Afghanistan, according to Associated Press reporter Robert Burns. The higher cost is due to the use of more circuitous supply routes after our unreliable ally closed two border crossings to NATO convoys in Novemb...

January 26 2012 - Victor Epstein
New Home Sales Fell to Record Low in 2011
U.S. new home sales fell to an all-time low in 2011 for a third consecutive year, amid growing consumer distrust of the same housing industry which helped precipitate the worst economic climate for middle-class Americans since the Great Depression. Officially, purchases fell 46 percent to a record low of 302,000 in 2011, from the 560,000 new homes sold when the government began tracking new home sales in 1963. However, a Cynical Times analysis found the true decline was much more precipitous ...

February 8 2012 - Victor Epstein
Editorial: The Keystone XL Pipeline is a Good Idea
The problem with the complex national debate about the Keystone XL pipeline is that it's not really about energy, the environment or job creation - it's about political gamesmanship and misinformation from at least three different interest groups. The painful truth is that the Keystone XL Pipeline is a good idea because it gives the United States more energy options by expanding our pipeline grid and because the environmental impact of the tar sands will increase without it. But you could s...

February 10 2012 - Cynical Times
Occupy Wall Street Activist Defends Nonviolence
By Zachary Maichuk There is a conversation right now among the Occupy Wall Street activists in Oakland about whether or not to use a “diversity” of tactics to achieve our goals. People are wondering if they should abandon the principles of peace and consider acts of violence. I encourage Occupy Oakland to remain peaceful, because that has always been the strength of this movement, as well as every battle for human rights in this country. I have always supported your cause in Oak...

February 11 2012 - Cynical Times
Money Manager: Occupy Wall Street's Inequality Claims Resonate
By Charles Biderman For some, this economy is lots better. We keep hearing that an economic recovery is underway. Yet for those who don’t have lots of money in the stock market, there’s been no economic recovery. How many of you know that the market value of all U.S. listed stocks right now is $18.7 trillion. Not only is that almost a double from the March 2009 low, but the gain itself is just over $9 trillion. Let me repeat, the value of all US stocks is up by over $9 trillion in thr...

February 7 2012 - Cynical Times
Bradley Manning Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize
By Smedley Butler Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier who gave people around the world a peek inside government star chambers, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The 24-year-old private-first-class is now in prison, facing a general court martial. He's accused of disclosing more than 250,000 diplomatic cables as well as video of a 2007 airstrike in which two Reuters news service reporters and 10 other unarmed people were killed. Manning, a member of the elite 10th Mountain Di...

February 11 2012 - Cynical Times
Ben & Jerry's Endorses Occupy
Chubby Hubby's got some big brass balls. The leaders of the Ben and Jerry's ice cream empire have endorsed the Occupy Wall Street movement, according to Vermont Public Radio. It's the latest move for the socially conscious company, which has given the world an array of tasty ice cream flavors, ranging from "Chubby Hubby" to "Bonnaroo Buzz." Chief Executive Officer Jostein Solheim and co-founder Jerry Greenfield, made the announcement Feb. 9 in the Cookie Dough Room of their corporate head...

February 12 2012 - Cynical Times
North American Imams Condemn Honor Killings
By T.O. Avila Thirty-four North American imams signed a fatwa this month condemning the practice of honor killings after a Canadian court convicted Afghan immigrants of murdering female relatives for damaging their family's reputation. Twenty-eight Muslim religious leaders in Canada and six in the United States made the call in a religious order issued by the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC). "All family issues must be resolved within the laws of the country we live in,"...

February 13 2012 - Cynical Times
Wonkette Story Exposes CPAC's Closeted Gays
By Alden Brown There may not be anyone hornier than a closeted gay Republican seething with unquenched sexual angst and self hatred at the Conservative Political Action Conference after a provocative presentation about the importance of screwing over the 99 Percent. Apparently, nothing gets the old fun juices flowing like an appearance by hate-mommy Sarah Palin, sandwiched between a bunch of butch security men to make it look like she's relevant. What red blooded Republican wouldn't hit t...

February 13 2012 - Cynical Times
Hysterical Santorum Parody Hits YouTube
The current crop of U.S. politicians are so venal, opportunistic and sheltered from the real world that they no longer rate the respect traditionally accorded public officials in this nation. However, their shortcomings and excesses do make for great political comedy.  Case in point, Republican presidential wannabee Rick Santorum. The former Pennsylvania senator is a religious nut who is so anti-abortion and anti-woman that he's jumped the shark into being pro-rape The folks at Second ...

February 13 2012 - Cynical Times
Former Diplomat Sees Seeds of Participatory Democracy in OWS
By Carne Ross The global financial crisis has provoked a profound and necessary questioning of the prevailing political and economic orthodoxy. So pervasive is this disillusionment with the current order that it is hard to find anyone prepared to defend it. Disorder is the new order; disequilibrium rules, and old assumptions no longer hold. As Kuhn's theory might suggest, the rank contradictions of the current political-economic paradigm—gross inequality and massive environmental ...

February 16 2012 - VJ Epstein
Occupy Brings Working Class Outrage to Fashion Week
The arbiters of cool got a lesson in people power Thursday as Occupy Wall Street shined a public spotlight on the $340 billion United States fashion industry. Protesters clad in red eye makeup braved a chill rain and 40-degree temperatures to confront the beautiful people attending a Calvin Klein fashion show on the final day of Fashion Week in Manhattan. They lambasted the industry for moving millions of American jobs overseas to low-wage economies, which has caused an 82% decline in the ...

February 19 2012 - VJ Epstein
New Yorkers Rally With OWS For Embattled Greece
More than 250 people took to the streets of Lower Manhattan on Saturday to support decent working people in Greece against banking interests that wish to shield investors as the underwater global economy dries out.   The Zuccotti Park protest was one of dozens held around the world on International Mobilization Day. The New York crowd was evenly divided between Greek-Americans and members of Occupy Wall Street, but they had a common goal: support Greek wage-earners against austerity measures ...

February 29 2012 - Cynical Times
Occupy The Planet: Indian General Strike Targets The 1%
By Special Correspondent Craig Boehman MUMBIA, India - Indian workers stepped to the forefront of the global battle against the avarice of predatory elites on Tuesday as more than 40 million participated in one of the largest general strikes in human history. The 99% sent a message to India's self-appointed business and political aristocracy as they demanded a minimum wage, permanent jobs for 50 million contract workers with virtually no job security, regulation of runaway living costs, ...

March 1 2012 - Cynical Times
Occupy Wall Street Takes on Corporate Oligarchy
The pro-democracy protesters of the Occupy Wall Street movement overcame unfavorable weather and the absence of their former camps Wednesday to target the corporate oligarchy in 70 cities. Occupy Portland put more than 1,000 marchers on Oregon streets to advance their nationwide effort to  "Shut Down the Corporation," despite a chill rain. More than 200 protesters showed up in New York City, a former hotbed of populist angst where winter marches continue to be damped by biting winds and rai...

March 2 2012 - Victor Epstein
Breitbart Takes A Dirt Nap
Propagandist Andrew Breitbart collapsed and died Thursday while walking near his home in Los Angeles, leaving behind a string of wrecked individuals and organizations devoted to the less fortunate. As a conservative media hatchetman and journalist of convenience, Breitbart had been at the forefront of the race to the bottom in both national news and politics for more than a decade. The 43-year-old melded political activism with propaganda to bring woe to liberal causes and individuals who o...

March 7 2012 - Cynical Times
Whistleblowers Being Marginalized by Elites
By Eyal Press What’s worse: to be persecuted and indicted for trying to expose an act of wrongdoing -- or to be ignored for doing so? Whistleblowers have been under intense scrutiny in Washington lately, at least when it comes to the national security state. In recent years, the Obama administration has set a record by accusing no fewer than six government employees, who allegedly leaked classified information to reporters, of violating the Espionage Act - a draconian law dating back t...

March 7 2012 - Cynical Times
People May Be Too Stupid For Democracy to Flourish
By Livescience.com The democratic process relies on the assumption that the majority of citizens are capable of recognizing the best political candidate, or best policy idea, when they see it. However, a growing body of research seems to disprove this notion, implying that democratic elections produce mediocre leadership and policies. The research, led by Cornell University Psychologist David Dunning, shows that incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of others an...

March 8 2012 - Cynical Times
Gingrich Bets Big Oil Will ‘Crater The Economy’
By Brad Johnson and staff Appearing on CNN, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich bet that oil companies will ruin the economy, getting President Obama out of office. Asked by political correspondent Candy Crowley why he is so confident of a Republican landslide in the November elections, Gingrich predicted that gasoline prices — already on a rapid rise to the massive benefit of the oil industry — will continue to skyrocket, leading to an economic collapse by August. "T...

March 14 2012 - Cynical Times
Editorial: Waiting for Organized Labor to Rediscover its Mojo
Organized labor is finally trying to get off its collective ass and become relevant to the 99 Percent again, according to a recent article in The Los Angeles Times. However, union leaders have become so fat and lazy in recent decades, and such a part of the ruling political machines, that regaining their credibility and relevancy with decent working people is no easy task. Much like predatory elites, union leaders often reside in an echo chamber of their own creation, where they're insulate...

March 16 2012 - Cynical Times
Predatory Lenders Hijack Microfinance
By G. Smith For decades, microfinance was cited as one of the ways the global banking industry advanced the greater good by making small amounts of capital available at affordable interest rates to third-world entrepreneurs. However, a new Time Magazine story suggests the sector may now be a better illustration of the modern plague of unhinged bankers and their impotent government regulators. When microlending got its start in 1983, for-profit financial institutions had little interest...

March 23 2012 - Cynical Times
Whitney Houston Dead of Narcissism
Officially, singer Whitney Houston's chronic abuse of cocaine contributed to her drowning in a bathtub on Feb. 11 in the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Unofficially, she died not so much because she was addicted to cocaine, but because she was addicted to shameless flattery. The painful truth is that Houston died because she transformed her relatives and close friends into employees, thereby short-circuiting the safetynet they normally provide. Two very negative things result from such narcissistic ...

March 24 2012 - Cynical Times
Weekly OWS March Gains Strength
By Guy Fawkes More than 400 pro-democracy protesters marked the end of the work week Friday by marching through lower Manhattan in the weekly procession of the resurgent Occupy Wall Street movement. No arrests were reported. The ranks of marchers appear to be on the upswing after a winter lull as fair weather, itchy activists, and the inflammatory rhetoric of New York's billionaire mayor combines with the polarizing politics of an election year and the growing divide between rich and p...

March 25 2012 - Victor Epstein
Occupy Turns Up The Heat
New York City officials targeted police brutality protesters Saturday, arresting at least 14 members of the Occupy Wall Street movement and tearing the shirt off a 16-year-old girl.The violent reaction played out like a script from the satirical Colbert Report. "Another day, another few notches out of the right to assembly in Bloombergistan," New York University Media Professor Nick Mirzeroff said of the March 24 arrests. "A march against police violence was broken up by – guess what – police v...

March 30 2012 - Cynical Times
Occupy Flash Mobs Stock Exchange
by B.A. Manning For months, New Yorkers have been treated to the odd spectacle of the nonviolent protesters of the Occupy Wall Street movement being barred from public areas around the New York Stock Exchange as foreign tourists strolled through them at their leisure. That all changed Friday, when more than 300 protesters made their way into the area in small groups and gathered at the foot of the statue of George Washington before bursting into song, dance and protest.   The resulting ...

April 2 2012 - Cynical Times
Brooklyn Bridge Re-Occupied Sunday
by Colin OstomyMore than 200 Occupy Wall Street supporters returned to the scene of the proverbial crime Sunday on the Brooklyn Bridge, where 700 Americans were arrested when New York City's billionaire mayor unleashed his "private army" on the nonviolent movement during a similar march Oct. 1. That's the term Michael Bloomberg uses to refer to the New York City Police Department, which herded those earlier protesters into a confined area of the bridge and kept them penned the...

April 4 2012 - Cynical Times
30 Americans Peppered at CA Public Meeting
by Augie PalmRuling political machines continued to struggle with representative democracy in the wake of decades of popular apathy Tuesday, as California police pepper sprayed as many as 30 people trying to enter a public meeting of the board of trustees of Santa Monica College, including a 4-year-old child. Five people were reportedly hospitalized and dozens more were manhandled by police when they tried to enter a public meeting room that was too small for the overflow crowd. The turnout was...

April 4 2012 - Cynical Times
Pensioner Commits Suicide Near Greek Parliament
by Inga CarlbomA 77-year-old pensioner despondent over his financial situation committed suicide Wednesday morning in Athens with a pistol, shooting himself in the head in front of the Greek Parliament in Syntagma Square. Dimitris Christoulas' symbolic suicide bears similarities to 26-year-old street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi's self immolation in Tunisia in January 2011, which helped trigger the Arab Spring. The site next to a tree where the Greek ended his life has already drawn the atte...

April 6 2012 - Victor Epstein
Oil Speculation Undercuts March Job Creation
The pace of job creation in the United States cooled in March, yielding a net gain of about 20,000 jobs as the fragile economic recovery was headed by surging oil and gasoline prices.   Overall job creation was officially reported at 120,000, but the U.S. economy must create a minimum of 100,000 new jobs each month just to keep pace with population growth. Hence, the net gain of 20,000.   Economists had expected an overall gain of 205,000 jobs in March, according to a Bloomberg News survey, whic...

April 7 2012 - Cynical Times
Occupiers Spend Protest Friday Outside NYSE
by Guy Fawkes Nine-year-old Jude Rollison stared in wide-eyed amazement Friday as a peaceful member of the Occupy Wall Street movement was manhandled by police and arrested for writing on the sidewalk with chalk near Zuccotti Park.   The Brooklyn girl routinely draws in chalk on the pavement outside her school and home and the picture she took in of police harassing a nonviolent pro-democracy protester was completely contrary to the popular image of the New York Police Department as an orga...

April 10 2012 - Cynical Times
Refining Sector Boosts Profits By Closing Plants
By Ida Tarbell The official justification for the 1981 deregulation of the U.S. refining sector was that the greater good would be better served by increasing competition, which would provide consumers with lower prices and encourage energy companies to embrace innovative technology more quickly. Well, that’s not happening right now. In fact, a recent article by the Dow Jones News Service suggests that refiners are becoming more profitable this year by closing refineries and producing ...

April 12 2012 - Cynical Times
The Coming War to Defend the Dollar's Status as a Global Currency
By Ron Hera Given the history of the U.S. dollar, it now seems likely the eventual end of its reign as the world's preeminent currency will be marked by war. Most likely with Iran.   This article does not take a side in that drumbeat to war. It simply seeks to expose the conflict's economic pressures so you can make up your own mind.   Wars are expensive, both in terms of lives and treasury. The history of the dollar is closely linked to our nation’s military activity, with each war c...

April 19 2012 - Cynical Times
The Drug War’s Savage Toll on Mexican Women
By Patricia Gras More than 45,000 people have lost their lives since the United States and Mexico signed the Merida Initiative in June of 2008. The security cooperation agreement provided Mexico with $400 million for the so-called “Drug War” to address issues of security, crime and drugs, but this outlay isn’t denting the $23 billion a year cross-border drug trade.   There’s been no perceptible impact upon either the quantity of illegal drugs or the rate at which they’re being consumed....

April 19 2012 - Cynical Times
Occupier Recounts Monday Arrests Near NYSE
By Nicole Rose Pace Unseasonably warm air filled the streets of Manhattan as I climbed the stairs and exited the subway. I approached the intersection of Broadway and Wall Street, glanced to my right and knew I was exactly where I wanted to be. I had found my comrades on the stairs of Federal Hall. Generally, I enjoy taking some time after I first arrive to write, gather my thoughts or maybe even spin a hula hoop for a bit, but I was greeted by a familiar face almost instantly. We shared ...

April 19 2012 - Cynical Times
Video: Young, Homeless and Intelligent in NYC
by Ben Teitelbaum and Milos Balac Scott, 23, and Whitney, 25, live on New York City's trendy Upper West Side. They’re a young, happy, married couple. They’re also homeless. The link to the video is http://vimeo.com/38611783. They've tried to find help via the social safety net, but were attacked, robbed and infested with lice at the shlelters they stayed in. They've also tried to find work without success. More than 2,600 people slept on the streets of New York City - one of th...

April 21 2012 - Cynical Times
Occupying the Personal Trauma of Police Brutality
By Zachary Maichuk Trauma is always a possibility in any conflict. One would think the probability of developing war wounds at the kind of nonviolent actions associated with Occupy Wall Street would be small, but trauma is a reality for activists like Cecily McMillan (below right), who experience both police brutality and the symptoms of trauma they produce.   Occupy has natural buffers to prevent brutal crimes from becoming traumatic episodes, but Occupiers still needs to be trauma-min...

April 21 2012 - Victor Epstein
OWS 'Protest Friday' Turns Into 'Field Day Friday'
Occupy Wall Street had a field day Friday as its civilian-tacticians outfoxed a dispirited police department, which has pushed its "protect and serve" mantra aside to wage a losing public relations battle on behalf of New York City's billionaire-mayor. NYPD's efforts to hinder the nonviolent protesters' freedoms of speech and assembly achieved a goal Occupy has never been able to fulfill on its own: paralyzing foot traffic around the New York Stock Exchange. Steel barriers deployed to fence...

April 26 2012 - Victor Epstein
Rallies Against Predatory Financiers Pepper Lower Manhattan
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April 27 2012 - Cynical Times
Brit Pols Use Private Email to Evade Public Scrutiny
By Maeve McClenaghan The emoticons probably don't exist to express how British Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is feeling this week as his political career stumbles toward extinction. Under pressure to resign, following allegations of improper communication in his department with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., Hunt announced today that he will hand over his private texts and emails to the media ethics inquiry led by Lord Justice Brian Leveson. The move is intended to clarify how implicated Hun...

April 27 2012 - Cynical Times
The Missing Link in Gov Enviro Toolbox
by Abrahm Lustgarten Two years after a series of gambles and ill-advised decisions on a BP drilling project led to the largest accidental oil spill in United States history and the death of 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, no one has been held criminally accountable. Sure, there have been about $8 billion in payouts and, in early March, the outlines of a civil agreement that will cost BP, the company ultimately responsible, another $7.8 billion in restitution to businesses...

April 27 2012 - VJ Epstein
Employers hogging benefits of productivity growth
It's been about 40 years since U.S. workers have shared in productivity gains resulting from technical innovations like the Internet and the rise of personal computers, tablets and smartphones, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute. It’s common for employers to use these new devices to increase worker productivity by transferring duties once performed by two or three staffers to a single wage-earner. However, the non-profit, non-partisan think tank's report suggests t...

April 30 2012 - Cynical Times
U.S. Massing Fighter Jets Near Iran
The forever war needed to support profit growth in the U.S. military industrial establishment shows no signs of abating under the administration of President Barack Obama, with the recent massing of fighter jets near Iran. The Islamic Republic has been on tap as the empire's next opponent since the administration of George W. Bush, even though the faltering 99% are weary of overseas conflict and our military remains heavily engaged in an unwinnable war in Afghanistan. WIRED reports that the ...

May 2 2012 - Victor Epstein
May Day Protests Hit More Than 100 U.S. Cities
For a dead movement, Occupy Wall Street packs one helluva wallop.   The populist protest against economic disparity, political corruption, and predatory banking practices joined with organized labor Tuesday to spark May Day protests in more than 100 U.S cities, which drew more than 80,000 participants and resulted in at least 56 arrests. The largest gathering occurred in Lower Manhattan, where more than 50,000 people marched in the single biggest turnout in the brief history of the 8-month-o...

May 16 2012 - Victor Epstein
Occupy Takes NYC's Times Square
The Red Stairs in Times Square joined the growing list of New York City landmarks closed to those who threaten the corporate revenue of its billionaire mayor Tuesday, while local news outlets controlled by Michael Bloomberg’s fellow media tycoons continued to limit public awareness of his repressive actions. Police blocked access to the Red Stairs to more than 1,200 peaceful protesters from the Occupy Wall Street movement, who had hoped to exercise their freedoms of speech and assembly ther...

May 16 2012 - Cynical Times
George Carlin Would've Loved Occupy Wall Street
It’s a good thing comedian George Carlin is dead, because if the working class hero were still alive there’s a fair chance Occupy Wall Street would not be the leaderless movement it is today. That’s how closely his ideas dovetailed with those of the nonviolent movement against predatory corporations and elites.   Carlin, who would have turned 75 last Saturday, had a healthy skepticism of all governments and institutions. He regularly skewered the ruling oligarchy, organized religion, privile...

May 21 2012 - Tommie Paine
Is it Live or Chris Brown?
Years ago, an iconic television ad featured a performance by singer Ella Fitzgerald while asking viewers “is it live or is it Memorex?” Well, it was neither Sunday at the annual Billboard Music Awards. It was Chris Brown. The 23-year-old dancer defined himself as a willing dupe of the entertainment industry's dregs with a shameless display of lip-synching that would have made the infamous Milli Vanilli blush. Brown and five others danced vigorously while a digitally enhanced recording blare...

May 21 2012 - VJ Epstein
Occupy Wall Street Grabs Spotlight From NATO
At least 93 protesters were arrested this weekend in Chicago when thousands of members of the Occupy Wall Street movement descended on the city to protest a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Two people also were detained by the Secret Service for allegedly attempting to scale protective fencing around the summit at McCormick Place. Sixty heads of state converged on Chicago for the two-day NATO summit, where they discussed the conflict in Afghanistan and other global ...

June 4 2012 - Cynical Times
ALEC loses battle for secrecy, but its war on the 99% continues
Wal-Mart’s recent decision to drop its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council is a milestone in the remarkable effort to drive a wedge between ALEC and the large corporations that have used the organization to promote their self-serving policy agenda at the state level. At least 18 companies are reported to have cuts ties to ALEC in the face of a pressure campaign which has ben spearheaded by groups such as Color of Change, Common Cause, People for the American Way and the ...

June 18 2015 - VJ Epstein
Analysis: Roger Ailes and Fox News big winners in church massacre
The hate-fueled massacre of nine black parishioners in a predominantly black church in Charleston, South Carolina, was a huge win for Roger Ailes and the predatory 1 percent he lackeys for.  They're the big winners whenever beleaguered workers and their families respond to class warfare by attacking their own, just as alleged shooter Dylann Roof did Wednesday. The tit-for-tat sound of working class revenge murders is starting to gather momentum beneath the relentless weight of the race-bait...

June 20 2015 - Cynical Times
Greatest Amazon Product Review of All Time?
The No. 1 ally of tyranny is fear and the unscrupulous billionaires waging class warfare against the poor and middle class have done a pretty good job of terrifying their fellow Americans in recent years. So much so, that many people are now convinced that if they say anything the Predatory 1 Percent finds evenly remotely offensive they will lose their jobs and become unemployable. Some Americans have begun reacting to this limit on their freedom of speech in unlikely venues, like the Ama...

July 16 2015 - Victor Epstein
Bullshit Eco News: Jobless Claims
Today's Reuters story about initial jobless claims is pure bullshit because it concludes that the low level of workplace firings we’re now seeing signals improvement in the U.S. labor market, but does so without explaining that there are a lot fewer people with jobs they can be fired from. This is the economic equivalent of saying "good news, none of your kids died this week" to someone who lost all of their children in a horrific car crash a year ago. Why? Because the painful truth i...

July 25 2015 - Tommie Paine
Gil Fulbright for President
“Listening to my constituents, legislating – these are things I don’t do,” says maverick presidential candidate Gil Fulbright. “What I do is spend about 70 percent of my time raising funds for re-election. I’ll do anything to stay in office. My name's Gil Fulbright, but hell,  I'll change my name to Phil Gulbright or Bill Fulbright or Phillip Mamouf Wifarts.” Fulbright is the newest entry in a crowded field of candidates for the 2016 presidential auction. However, he’s already threatening the s...

November 20 2015 - VJ Epstein
Why The Cynical Times uses foul language
I grew up in the Bronx - one of this nation’s great working class communities. One of the joys of my return to the area nearly 20 years later was the ability to speak colorfully, profanely and directly again without offending anyone. I was also delighted to be reunited with a childhood friend named "Tony," who had just returned to New York City from Boston after completing his doctorate at Harvard. Tony had landed a job as a professor at a local university and everyone in our old circ...

November 29 2015 - Victor Epstein
Bullshit News: Black Friday sales
The geeks at TechCrunch may be hell on wheels when it comes to covering new computer software and hardware, but "not so much" when it comes to covering the economy. Unless your idea of "news you can use" is the kind of shameless stock market cheerleading which is only good for getting on the wrong side of a bad trade, underpinning yet another knowing lie by a political hooker, or making overworked Americans feel like they're coming up short. The kind of regurgitated economic journalism TechC...

February 1 2016 - Victor Epstein
Sanders battles Clinton to Iowa tie
Political Outsider Bernie Sanders fought Wall Street favorite Hillary Clinton to a virtual standstill in Monday’s Iowa Caucus, the first state primary election of the 2016 presidential race. The outcome spells trouble for the monied interests which have controlled the federal government since 1980, orchestrating a huge shift in wealth from the middle class to the privileged 1 Percent. Why? Because Iowa Caucus voters tend to be whiter and more affluent than those in the nation as a whole, an...

February 9 2016 - VJ Epstein
Recognizing Osama's sweeping victory
It's hard to believe Osama bin Laden will go down in history as the architect of our democratic society's downfall, but this painful truth is becoming clearer with each passing day as fearful Americans continue to abandon the moral compass and civil liberties that made us great. What Bin Laden (shown with National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski in 1979, in pic at left) lost on the battlefield after 9/11 he won on U.S. streets and in our living-rooms as we traded in our precious civil li...

March 30 2016 - VJ Epstein
The Cynical Times endorses peaceful revolution at The Bernie Box
I respectfully disagree with those who say choosing Bernie Sanders over Hillary Rodham Clinton is solely the province of the young and naive. I feel the same way as the kids do and I'm 51. Many of my age-mates are of a similar mind. That’s why The Cynical Times is endorsing Bernie Sanders for president. It's the first real endorsement in the history of this news and satire website devoted to the faltering middle class. I worked in the mainstream news media for more than 30 years bef...

April 18 2016 - VJ Epstein
Energy Industry to America: Drop Dead
Wall Street's treasonous sonsabitches are now destroying U.S. energy security in their locust-like quest for profit growth. Their latest move is to sell America's fossil fuel reserves to the highest bidder and export them for foreign consumption. Our sellout Congress cleared the way during the Christmas dark period with a discreet rider buried in a big appropriations bill, ending the ban on oil exports enacted after the 1973 oil embargo. The U.S. energy industry has used "energy security"...