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MSNBC: Mark Ames and Yasha Levine
Broke the Koch Brothers' Takeover of America
Mark Ames


It’s that time of the year again when AIG’s executive bonuses are announced…and as every American raised on sitcoms knows, this means it’s that time in the show when the plot-twist causes the audience to gasp, and the camera cuts to a close-up of [NAME OF HORMONALLY-CAPABLE ACTOR-OF-COLOR] who delivers the viewer-pleasing catchphrase: “It’s outraaaaageous!” (more…)

Posted: February 3rd, 2010


Now I know what they mean when the media uses that word “outrage.” I saw it with my own eyes, during yesterday’s Congressional hearings with Tim Geithner. Turns out “outrage” refers to a ritual whereby Congressmen in Washington put on a kind of talent show on the TV to see who can play the role of Americans best. Then it’s all judged by the pundits, those connoisseurs of “Main Street’s outrage,” sort of like American Idol except that this is American Outrage. It’s really a lot of fun for everyone involved, and it’s useful too because this way, representatives can connect with us by actually pretending to act like they’re us–“outraged Americans”–which we’re told we are, and in fact, we are.  (The winning prize is more campaign money from the billionaires who are always on the lookout for talented politician-actors.) (more…)

Posted: January 28th, 2010

yemen rebels1

This article was first published in The American Conservative, March 1, 2010.

If the last few decades prove anything about America’s strategy in fighting Islamic terrorism, it’s that no matter what the other side throws our way, America will respond in the most counterintuitive and self-destructive manner imaginable.

The routine goes something like this: if America is attacked by terrorists from Country A, then our response will be to bomb the hell out of Country Z, in which Z equals a doormat of a country whose sole purpose is to provide an easy, morale-boosting win. This strategy has produced mixed results, from total failure to complete catastrophe, depending on variable Z. The doormats have turned out to be booby-trapped. (more…)

Posted: January 27th, 2010

nicholas deak coin1

Gold coin issued by Nicholas Deak at the peak of the last gold boom

While working on my upcoming book out here in the High Desert, I went off on one of those research tangents that led me to an old Time article about the bizarre murder, 25 years ago, of a man Time once called “the James Bond of the world of money.” The murderer was a classic  “lone nut” of the sort who conveniently appear every now and then to take out inconvenient people. But unlike other lone nuts who may or may not have been part of some bigger conspiracy, this particular lone-nut murderer–a homeless schizophrenic woman who somehow trekked thousands of miles to kill Nicholas Deak–creeped me out for very personal reasons. Back in 2002, when I was facing the scariest and most serious death threat in all  of The eXile’s 11 years, I was told exactly how I would be killed–and the details described to me have an eery similarity to the way Nicholas Deak was murdered.  (more…)

Posted: January 25th, 2010

Portrait of Failure

If President Obama wants to really understand why he got his ass handed to him in the Massachusetts Senate race—a defeat as shocking and strange as if Joe Lieberman was elected president of Iran—he might want to read one of the thousands of economic horror stories happening around the country every day, stories that have put most Americans in a very foul, desperate mood. Like this story out of a small town in northern Indiana, where a casket maker was forced to close down operations and lay off its 50 employees because Americans can no longer afford bury their loved ones, and instead they’re cremating their bodies to save money.

Even the dead are suffering in today’s economy. (more…)

Posted: January 21st, 2010

obama geithner twins

This article was first published in Alternet.

A lot of us have been wondering, despondently, why the Hell Barack Obama is keeping Timothy Geithner on the job as Treasury Secretary, given his central role in the plunder of trillions of dollars from American taxpayers, and his record of subverting democracy in the service of Wall Street billionaires. Geithner’s the guy that drove the getaway car in the heist — so why was he hired to run the Treasury? You’d expect to see a guy as corrupt as Geithner serving as the Finance Minister in some Central Asian autocracy — but not in Barack Obama’s government, not after all he promised in the campaign. (more…)

Posted: January 15th, 2010

blood sucking1

This article first appeared in Alternet.

Wall Street Vampires: Lately, a lot of Americans, myself included, have used the blood-sucking freaks as a metaphor to describe the Wall Street billionaires who rule us, and who are ruining us.  Like so many awful stories of the past few years, it turns out that these Wall Street vampire-billionaires really exist, literally. Like all vampires, they live in remote castles, and feed themselves by luring poor, desperate humans into their dens, hooking them into blood-pumping machines, and sucking out their plasma for mind-boggling profits. (more…)

Posted: January 9th, 2010