Joe Costello

A Tale of Two Countries: Nigeria and the U.S.

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” —Milan Kundera

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Under Threat in Tanzania

September 1 is an important day for democracy in Tanzania. The political opposition party Chadema (Party of Progress and Democracy) will hold demonstrations across the nation against the growing dictatorial tendencies of the ruling government party CCM (Party of Revolution). Since last fall's controversial elections, Tanzania's new president, John Magufuli, has undertaken a series of crackdowns on political activities increasingly threatening Tanzania's move to multi-party democracy, free and fair elections and economic development.

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Why the Oil Industry is Running Into Major Trouble

Over the last year, some deep truths about oil and the oil industry have begun to bubble to the surface. Not necessarily that they were ever hard to see, but they were easy to obscure and maybe more importantly, without too much effort, ignore. No longer. Spread across the oil companies' quarterly reports and the pronouncements of government agencies from the U.S. Energy Information Agency to the International Energy Agency are the hard facts that the era of cheap oil is over. It's impacting the U.S. and global economies and forcing a fundamental rethinking and restructuring of our economic activities and thinking.

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The New Aristocrats of Finance Pose a Serious Threat to Our Democratic Way of Life

Let's face it, what a America needs is good clean fight. A fight that brings in everyone, redefines categories and alliances, cleanses our putrid politics, and establishes a healthy politics for the 21st century. At this point, there's just no way around it. Our politics is so defiled, our economy so completely in the clutches of a rabidly greedy few, and our government wallows in incompetence to the point of criminality, that the only cure is for the American people in unison to stand up, take responsibility, and claim what is rightfully ours. History shows this is never done without a fight.

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Finance Superstars Talk About the Massive Fraud in Our Economic System

Last Wednesday, I attended a conference initiated by the Roosevelt Institute on the financial mess, called Make Markets Be Markets. The conference's speakers included people with experience on Wall Street, the banking industry, government and academia; Nobel Prize-winning economist Joe Stiglitz, Elizabeth Warren, and other luminaries who have offered an alternative and reformist narrative to our recent financial crisis.  At two and half hours, it was relatively short, giving each speaker the opportunity to make their points and providing a sharp focus. One underlying theme of the event was fraud, the great elephant in the room, that neither the press or our government officials acknowledge, though it is a fundamental element to the financial crisis and its solutions.

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Goldman Sachs Plays at Giving Back to the Little People

Goldman Sachs announced it was giving the little folks $500 million spread over five years, because as CEO Lloyd Blankfein says, "We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret,” and...wait for it.... “We apologize." If only all the boys sitting behind bars for sticking up a 7-11 knew all they had to do was apologize and give back a pittance of that they stole. All would be forgiven.

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