In the years before becoming a full-time writer, Sirota worked as the press secretary for Vermont Independent Congressman Bernard Sanders, the chief spokesman for Democrats on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, the Director of Strategic Communications for the Center for American Progress, a campaign consultant for Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and a media strategist for Connecticut Senate candidate Ned Lamont. He also previously contributed writing to the website of the California Democratic Party. For more on Sirota, see these profiles of him in Newsweek or the Rocky Mountain News. Feel free to email him at lists [at] davidsirota.com Note: this online publication represents Sirota's personal views, and not the official views of the organizations he works with.
(3 comments) Saturday, September 12, 2015 Prosecution of White-Collar Crime Hits 20-Year Low
Holder has recently defended the administration's record of not prosecuting any individual financial executive involved in the financial crisis. He says the fines the administration has assessed against financial institutions were effective. Left unexplained is how those cultures have supposedly changed when many of the same individuals who were involved in the financial crisis have managed to avoid any punishment.
(8 comments) Saturday, September 5, 2015 Why Biden's Bankruptcy Bill Could Complicate a Presidential Run
Biden earlier this month met with Warren, a Wall Street critic who is well-known among Democratic voters. The meeting was widely seen as an effort by Biden to try to convince the Massachusetts lawmaker to support his prospective White House bid. While some Democratic activists are pining for a Biden-Warren ticket, Warren's writing suggests such a political marriage would be more than a bit complicated.
(3 comments) Friday, August 7, 2015 Hillary Clinton Says She Didn't Work on the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Considering all the evidence, Clinton nonetheless pretending she had nothing to do with TPP is clearly a strategic calculation: She is betting that few voters will notice the gap between her rhetoric and her own record. It is certainly a cynical tactic. Time will tell if it is a politically shrewd one.
(1 comments) Saturday, July 18, 2015 Silicon Valley Emerges as a Political Force
All of a sudden, Silicon Valley has surpassed many traditional political powerhouses as a source of campaign cash. Specifically, in the last election cycle, technology firms delivered more money to candidates for president and Congress than defense contractors, pharmaceutical manufacturers, the automotive industry and Hollywood.
(11 comments) Saturday, June 27, 2015 How the Trans-Pacific Partnership Gives Corporations Special Legal Rights
Opponents of the TPP say the new deal would do little to increase enforcement, and much to give companies special rights. Sure, corporations may still be considered people under U.S. domestic law -- but under American trade policy, they get far more rights than almost everyone else.
(4 comments) Friday, June 19, 2015 Jeb Bush's Audacious Announcement
Jeb Bush's announcement address at Miami Dade College this week was an extreme makeover that included passages that likely had America doing a double take. He did not offer voters a run-of-the-mill speech. He delivered a tour de force of sheer audacity. The trouble is, it's the kind of audacity that assumes America will never bother to consider even the most basic facts about Jeb Bush.
(7 comments) Saturday, June 13, 2015 Has the U.S. Learned Anything From Edward Snowden's NSA Revelations?
While Snowden's critics say he should come back to the United States to air out his grievances in open court, journalist Glenn Greenwald notes: "He's barred under the Espionage Act even from arguing that his leaks were justified; he wouldn't be permitted to utter a word about that."
(1 comments) Saturday, June 6, 2015 Can Jeb Bush Be His "Own Man"?
Jeb Bush will no doubt have more opportunities to try to distinguish himself from his family members. If he can't, though, even the enormous advantages that come with his last name might not be enough to carry him to victory.
(3 comments) Saturday, May 30, 2015 Hillary Clinton's State Department Authorized Billions in Arms Sales to Foundation Donors
While Clinton was secretary of state, her department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors. That figure from Clinton's three full fiscal years in office is almost double the value of arms sales to those countries during the same period of President George W. Bush's second term.
Friday, May 22, 2015 Amtrak's Spectrum Gap
Amtrak had for years failed to acquire adequate rights to broadcast communications signals through the public airwaves. Without these so-called spectrum rights, Amtrak's trains could not communicate with the electronic brains of the safety system, preventing its use along key stretches of track.
Saturday, May 16, 2015 The Marijuana Economy Comes Out of the Shadows
After Colorado voters legalized marijuana in 2012, more states and cities are considering a similar path for themselves. At the same time, the cannabis market is looking less like a music festival and more like a Silicon Valley confab -- upscale, data-driven and focused on investors.
Sunday, May 10, 2015 Christie's Administration Is Facing Another Investigation
In recent months, details have emerged showing that Christie officials have directed lucrative pension management deals to some financial companies whose executives have made contributions to Republican groups backing Christie's election campaigns. Additionally, Christie's officials have admitted that they have not been fully disclosing all the fees the state has been paying to private financial firms.
Friday, May 1, 2015 In Defense of Hillary Clinton, Democrats Embrace Citizens United Decision
Is it morally acceptable for firms to pay a public official's spouse while those firms are getting government contracts from the agency headed by that same public official? That's a matter of opinion, and if the Democrats want to now champion the ideology behind Citizens United, that's their right.
Friday, April 24, 2015 Cities And States Paying Massive Secret Fees To Wall Street
Currently, about 9 percent -- or $270 billion -- of America's $3 trillion public pension fund assets are invested in private equity firms. If CEM's calculations are applied uniformly, it could mean taxpayers and retirees may actually be paying double -- more than $10 billion a year.
(9 comments) Friday, April 3, 2015 A Deepening Democratic Party Divide
For those pining for a Democratic Party that tries to represent more than the whims of the rich and powerful, these are, to say the least, confusing times. National Democratic politicians may not yet be hearing the message, but if they hope to hang onto power, they probably should start listening.
(1 comments) Sunday, March 29, 2015 The SEC Illustrates the Danger of Regulatory Capture
When a government agency is effectively captured by -- and subservient to -- the industry that agency is supposed to be objectively regulating, it is a big deal. In 2013, the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight published a study showing that "more than 400 SEC alumni filed almost 2,000 disclosure forms saying they planned to represent an employer or client before the agency."
Friday, March 13, 2015 The Ugly Truth Behind Chris Christie's Sweetheart Deal with Exxon
In agreeing to such a small settlement in the Exxon case, Christie placates his politically connected colleagues and gets himself some extra cash to spend on his budget's new tax cuts. He also gives a gift to an oil industry donor just as he starts raising money for a 2016 White House bid.
Sunday, March 8, 2015 Technology Does Not Guarantee Transparency
The proponents of secrecy may not have to use clunky document shredders anymore; instead, they can shred more of those documents with a click of a button. Preserving any kind of open government, therefore, requires continued vigilance and stronger freedom of information laws because new technology alone does not guarantee transparency. Too often it can foster the opposite.
(1 comments) Friday, February 20, 2015 Tax Fairness Could Mean More Resources
The facts about tax fairness are certainly compelling -- the numbers prove that the system could be at once more equal and raise more resources for public priorities. But those numbers will only become a reality if there is a serious political counterweight to the GOP -- and that remains a big if.