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Obama Chooses Wall Street Over Main Street

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Posted on Nov 25, 2008
Summers and Obama
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

They have his ear: Lawrence Summers, left, is just one veteran of Clinton-era deregulation who has found his way into Barack Obama’s inner circle.

By Robert Scheer

Maybe Ralph Nader was right in predicting that the same Wall Street hustlers would have a lock on our government no matter which major party won the election. I hate to admit it, since it wasn’t that long ago that I heatedly challenged Nader in a debate on this very point.

But how else is one to respond to Barack Obama’s picking the very folks who helped get us into this financial mess to now lead us out of it? Watching the president-elect’s Monday introduction of his economic team, my brother-in-law Pete said, “You can see the feathers coming out of their mouths” as the foxes were once again put in charge of the henhouse. He didn’t have time to expound on his point, having to get ready to go sort mail in his job at the post office. But he showed me a statement from Citigroup showing that the interest rate on Pete the Postal Worker’s credit card was 28.9 percent, an amount that all major religions would justly condemn as usurious.

Moments earlier, Obama had put his seal of approval on the Citigroup bailout, which his new economic team, led by protégés of Citigroup Executive Committee Chairman Robert Rubin, enthusiastically endorsed. A bailout that brings to $45 billion the taxpayer money thrown at Citigroup and the guarantee of $306 billion for the bank’s “toxic securities” that would have been illegal if not for changes in the law that Citigroup secured with the decisive help of Rubin and Lawrence Summers, the man who replaced him as Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration.

As Summers stayed on to ensure passage of deregulatory laws that enabled enormous banking greed, Rubin was rewarded with a $15 million-a-year executive position at Citigroup, a job that only got more lucrative as the bank went from one disaster, beginning with its involvement with Enron in which Rubin played an active role, to its huge role in the mortgage debacle. It is widely acknowledged that Citigroup fell victim to a merger mania, which Rubin and Summers made legal during their tenure at Treasury.

Yet despite that dismal record of dismantling sound regulation, Summers has been picked by Obama to be the top White House economic adviser and another Rubin disciple, Timothy Geithner, is the new Treasury secretary. Geithner, thanks in part to the strong recommendation of Rubin, had been appointed chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank after working for Rubin and Summers during the Clinton years. Once at the New York Fed, he was the main government official charged with regulating Citigroup, a task at which he obviously failed. Yet over the weekend, it was Geithner who hammered out the Citigroup bailout deal with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and a very actively involved Rubin.

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As The Washington Post reported, Paulson had indicated last week that no further bailouts were planned before the new administration took office until “Rubin, an old colleague from Goldman Sachs, told Paulson in phone calls that the government had to act.” Rubin conceded in an interview with the Post that he had played a key role in the politics of the bailout.

This outrageous conflict of interest in which Rubin gets to exploit his ties to both the outgoing and incoming administrations was best described by Washington Post writer Steven Pearlstein: “The ultimate irony, of course, is that just as Rubin and Co. at Citi were being bailed out by the Bush administration, President-elect Barack Obama was getting set to announce a new economic team drawn almost entirely from Rubin acolytes.”

As opposed to the far tougher deal negotiated on the bailout of AIG, the arrangement with Citigroup leaves the executives, including Rubin, who brought Citigroup to the brink of ruin, still in charge. Nor is there any guarantee of the value of the mortgage bundles that taxpayers will be guaranteeing. That is because, as candidate Obama clearly stated in his major economics address back in March, the deregulation pushed though during the Clinton years ended transparency in banking.

Why then has he appointed the very people responsible for this disaster to now make it all better? Why not ask him? Heck, yes, it is time for the many of us who responded to his e-mails during the campaign to now challenge our e-mail buddy as to why he suddenly acts as if the interests of Wall Street and Main Street are one and the same.

Robert Scheer is editor in chief of Truthdig and the author of a new book, “The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America.”

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By truedigger3, November 28, 2008 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

Cryena wrote abaout Rubin and Summer:
“So, I’m not so sure how anyone got to pinpoint the destruction of the US economy on Rubin and Summers. Before this campaign, I’d never even heard of either one of them, so I’m having trouble blaming this on what they did in the Clinton Admin.”

Summer was Secretary of the Treasury before Rubin.
He is known to be a deregulation fanatic and also
having a low opinion about womens’ abilities in science.

Rubin and Graham were the prime movers to completely
deregulate the financial markets in 1999 during the
time of your beloved Clinton.

Financial deregulations is the root cause of the current economic disaster.
So, if you did not hear much about Rubin and Summer,
it is you fault and you have a lot to learn.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 28, 2008 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

troublesum, November 28 at 11:38 am #

On their way to the camps some of the people here will be saying, “Let’s see what the camps are like before we start complaining.”
**************************************

Is this supposed to be clever? It isn’t.  Is it supposed to funny? It certain isn’t that either.

Face it: Your guy lost. (Nader, right?) Obama has not deviated from his campaign statements.  He’s no different now than what we saw during the campaign—except maybe stronger and more decisive. 

So now you b**** about it.

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By troublesum, November 28, 2008 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

On their way to the camps some of the people here will be saying, “Let’s see what the camps are like before we start complaining.”

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By Maani, November 28, 2008 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment

Louise:

LOL.  I suppose what has happened is that Cyrena and I have come to that age-old agreement: the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  We both have the same enemy (Bush), and if Obama is HIS enemy, then Cyrena and I are more likely to be on the same page.  LOL.

Actually, despite all the tensions and passions that flew around during the primaries, I never thought of Cyrena as my “enemy”; simply as a misguided friend!  LOL.  (Cy - I’m just kidding…)  In fact, I’m guessing that had Hillary won the primary and the general election, Cyrena would be defending her in many ways (even if she bit straight through her lip doing so!  LOL).

Seriously, though, despite my disagreements with her, I have always felt Cyrena to be among the best-informed, most straightforward people on these boards.  She pulls no punches, suffers no fools, and stands on her principles.  Heck, if she weren’t already married, I might ask her out!  LOL.

Peace.

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By LarryInLA, November 28, 2008 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

Dear Bob: I’m a fan of yours and long time listener to LRC. I’d be interested in knowing if you read Joe Conason’s piece in Truthdig today on this subject and your reaction to it.

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By Amy Hill, November 28, 2008 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

troublesum:  “these people have done nothing but make excuses for him.”

This is a direct consequence of our archaic voting system.  People make excuses for their candidate to urge people against voting for the guy they hate the most.  People have nowhere else to go and thus no bargaining chips to urge candidates to support their positions.  The candidates know this and readily take advantage of their supporters.  Perversely, many people even actively try and talk people out of , or hate people for, voting for 3rd party candidates that actually represent their own views.

With Instant Runoff Voting, people could vote for their 1st, 2nd, 3rd choices without fear of helping to elect the Darth Vader candidate.  Under this system, more viable candidates would emerge that could pose a real threat to candidates who betray the people.

The way we vote isn’t just a detail (and it’s not just the electoral college and punch cards).  Our whoever-gets-the-most-votes system has profound implications on public policy.

So if you want to change this, go to http://www.fairvote.org and find out what you can do.

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By Louise, November 28, 2008 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

Bravo Maani and cyrena!

[Wow, this is a monumental moment! smile]

Lets not forget to point out Dubya’s simple approach to a strong economy. Keep lowering interest rates, keep lowering credit requirements, throw in a little “terror” for seasoning and watch the people spend, spend, spend!

Deregulation, fear and greed. The perfect recipe for obscene profit.

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By bobo6, November 28, 2008 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

Perhaps this may sound radical to those that have roundly condemned Obama but wouldn’t it make sense to at least see what happens after 1/21/2009 and how those decisions impact the Nation rather than screaming the sky is falling even before this administration begins to effectively function?

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By TAO Walker, November 28, 2008 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

Yesterday, according to a Nam Vet GreatNephew, was “the day the lord has made to give thanks for dead Indians and free land.”  Today, according to the “media,” is now set-aside to acknowledge the “contribution” us Natives’ve made to theunitedstatesofamerica….and trample-to-death aging Walmartian “greeters.”  “Black Friday” is right!

So what goes around really does come back around….only it’s now moving like lightening, having been amplified many-fold by all the institutional, ideological, and electro-mechanical gadgetry in-place for just that purpose.  That heterodyne whine we’re hearing is this latest (and last) “civilization” self-destructing all over the place.

And to think it all started (as it’s ending) right here on Turtle Island.  Tiyoshpaye Way anyone?

HokaHey!

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By uglyfemale, November 28, 2008 at 10:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

he ignores the neo-cons, Zionists, war hawks pushing an attack on Iran, Syria, et al.  No dammit, don’t wait until January 21, these monsters aren’t.

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By Maani, November 28, 2008 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

Cyrena:

Brava!  Here is a VERY rough primer on how we got where we are:

Carter: Deregulated the airline industry, beginning the road toward deregulation of other industries.

Reagan: Continued down the path of deregulation.  Passed first legislation undermining the Glass-Steagall Act.

Bush I: Continued down the path of deregulation.  Also during this time, investment banks began “going public” (via IPOs), thus subjecting themselves to the vagaries and dangers of “Wall Street.”

Clinton: Put the nail in the coffin of the Glass-Steagall Act (though many would argue that he almost had no choice, politically).

Bush II: Ignored all signs pointing to dangers in the housing (mortgage) and credit markets.

ITW also brings up something I’m shocked has not been pointed out ‘til now: that whatever “bad” he did, Clinton was the first president to fully balance the budget, pay down the national debt, and leave the next president with a hefty surplus.  Obviously, whatever Summers and others in the Clinton administration might have done wrong, they got quite a bit right.

troublesum: You note Obama’s “appearance before AIPAC” as a reason to distrust him.  However, this is moot: EVERY candidate in BOTH parties panders to AIPAC, and this has been true since AIPAC’s founding.  It may be objectionable in principle, but no major party candidate would even consider dissing them.

Peace.

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By Outraged, November 28, 2008 at 8:21 am Link to this comment

Re Cyrena:

Your comment: “Rubin and Summers make two good patsies and scapegoats for those who simply must have something to bitch and moan about.”

Ridiculous.  “Patsies and scapegoats”.....LOL…you forgot “centrists”.  Aside from that no one around here can supercede yourself in the “bitch and moan” department so it couldn’t be that either.

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By Leisure Suit Larry, November 28, 2008 at 7:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ITW says:

“The real moronic assumption made by the usual posters is that Obama’s picks are no different than the current bunch of clods and thugs Bush has in the econ positions.”

Funny, I must be reading a different thread. What I read is that Obama said “change” 4 squadrillion times, and his administration looks like a retread Clinton radial.

Bush did the same thing and retreadsd the Ford snow-tire.

When you say:

“Under Clinton’s administration, the collapse we have seen simply WAS NOT POSSIBLE!  Not even with Gram’s midnight POS, and the irresponsible borrowing and lending and loan bundling.”


I beg to differ. In fact had Clinton vetoed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act which removed the Depression era Glass-Steagall Act instead of giving it his enthustic blessing, the crash could not have occured in the way that it did. Both Robert Rubin and Larry Summers supported the GLB act and gave it their best lobbying efforts. According to Summers (at the time, 1999) this “Modernization” was to save consummers 15 Billion Dollars.

Directly after the bill became law, Citi Group purchased Travelers Insurance Company, and AIG began offering financial services.

I know it is hard for partisan Democrats to accept, but the deregulation of the banking indrustry (supported by the likes of Chris Dodd D, Insurance, or Chuck Schumer D. Wall Street) began in the administration of Jimmy Carter.

Obama is giving the public the same ole same ole, and all the insults and attempted distractions won’t be able to cover this FACT.

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By troublesum, November 28, 2008 at 7:27 am Link to this comment

We are all just “meddlesome outsiders” as Noam Chomsky put it in a recent speech which was broadcast by democracynow.  Remember when Obama rejected public financing and his fan club all said it didn’t matter because he was getting donations from little people all over the country so it amounted to the same thing as public financing?  He was going to listen to the people not the power elites, remember?  From his rejection of public financing to his vote on Bush’s fisa bill to his appearence before aipac to his strong support of the wall street bailout to his selection of cabinet posts
these people have done nothing but make excuses for him.  They are no better than the people who blindly supported Bush regardless of the consequences of his decisions.  This is what’s wrong with our country.

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By sns, November 28, 2008 at 6:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Heck Bob Scheer who would YOU pick? What if Obama tells these people what to do? What if he directs them to fix this mess? After all they know better than most how it was broken so maybe w/ the right mix and Obama’s guidance they can do some good this time around.

Bob you need to hold off on the criticisms for now. And if you just can’t help yourself, then please give us greater insights…..

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By Inherit The Wind, November 28, 2008 at 6:54 am Link to this comment

Cyrena,
Once again I’m agreeing with you—but I think you mean Phil Gram, who snuck in a midnight clause that allowed the Enron mess—with his wife, Wendy, on the Enron board—how much did SHE make off the misery of others?  Lindsey Graham, however, was probably supportive of it.

Look, nobody will deny that Summers is a MCP prick. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know markets and economics—he does.

The real moronic assumption made by the usual posters is that Obama’s picks are no different than the current bunch of clods and thugs Bush has in the econ positions.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Under Clinton’s administration, the collapse we have seen simply WAS NOT POSSIBLE!  Not even with Gram’s midnight POS, and the irresponsible borrowing and lending and loan bundling.

See, what people keep forgetting, is that running a budget surplus, that Clinton left Bush, would have prevented the collapse completely, DESPITE all the market messups.  Why? Because, Bush’s deficits require the US Government to BORROW money from the same lenders as everyone else. He drained half a trillion dollars every year out of the credit market.  Year after year, half a TRILLION drained—we, our children, grand-children and great-grandchildren will have to pay that back…with interest.

So…is it any surprise that money and credit got tight, really tight, tighter than a gnat’s arsehole?  Yes, it was a house of cards.  But the wind that blew it down was Bush’s draining the credit markets of money.  That’s Bush: Find a bolus of money and get it to his friends, regardless of the damage.

Clinton’s people knew better.  That’s why so many of them are going to work for Obama.  That’s why the TD condemnations of Obama’s selections are ignorant BS.  And Cyrena called it such.

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By cyrena, November 28, 2008 at 2:33 am Link to this comment

Outraged writes:

“..As much as I didn’t think Obama was, at least in my opinion, “moving in the right direction”, even I, wouldn’t have gauged Obama choosing the very crooks who created this demise… he certainly couldn’t be THAT stupid…. so, “what’s wrong with this picture”...?”

~~~

Obama THAT stupid???? I guess that’s what comes of having such an ignorant and non-existent leadership for 8 years.

No. Obama is hardly STUPID, which is why you’ll never know why he selected the two objectionables…Rubin and Summers. (though I find it difficult to imagine those two people making up MOST of his economic team).

There’s so much irony here, that I almost have to laugh. Never mind all of the dead and dying that have occurred over the past 8 years, or the fact that after bringing us to this deadly precipice, it’s all Rubin and Summer’s fault.

I think not. Lindsy Gramm was actually one of the main people involved in the decades of deregulation, though certainly he wasn’t alone. In fact, anyone that has taken the time to really research this deregulation, (and Scheer has) knows this perfectly well.

So, I’m not so sure how anyone got to pinpoint the destruction of the US economy on Rubin and Summers. Before this campaign, I’d never even heard of either one of them, so I’m having trouble blaming this on what they did in the Clinton Admin. That was over a decade ago. THEY didn’t tell Dick Bush to start two wars and to eliminate the wealthy as sources of tax revenue. (need I mention the fact that as much as Slick Willie pissed me off, we were NOT in this perilous decline when the gangsters took the reigns in 2001.

So, Rubin and Summers make two good patsies and scapegoats for those who simply must have something to bitch and moan about. Now of course these same people rarely if ever make any suggestions for who might be better than these two, (and Obama DOES get lots of ‘advice’ on these selections from the general public - when’s the last time a current ‘leader’ gave a shit what ANY of our opinions or suggestions might be?)Remember when Georgie told us that we would take Mukasey as AG, or not have an AG at all? (The same Mukasey that wouldn’t/couldn’t say that waterboarding is torture). I said I’d just as soon not have one at all if that was the option, but he didn’t listen.

Now of course Obama does pay attention to what ‘we the people’ say, even if he doesn’t always make decisions based on what some members of a very clueless public might demand. That would be because he’s NOT stupid, and probably sees more sides to an issue than the narrow minded and clueless do.

So no outraged. I’m afraid you’ll have to go back to your old and less defined accusations. Stupid and Obama aren’t gonna work. The guy is brilliant, and the fact that you can’t figure that out doesn’t change it.

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By Outraged, November 27, 2008 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

Re: ITW

Your comment: “Just read the posts and see just how much fantasy is taken as gospel truth.”

LOL… come, come now, ITW.  You know as well as I that attacking the messenger only proves the weakness of your argument.  Aside from that, why do you qualify Obama’s choice of Summers and Geithner? 

Isn’t THAT fantasy??????????

Are you claiming you’re just going to “trust it” without question and then accuse others of being in fantasyland?  No way ITW, you know better.

As I’ve stated before…  Would you put your children in the care of a child care worker KNOWN to be a molester?  I don’t think CRIMINAL EXPERIENCE is the type of “experience” you’d be looking for.  Sure they’ve have child care experience but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing.

Can you qualify Summers and Geithner?  They are Rubin proteges’ and the ideology and disregard for consequences (and I feel certain they understood them) they endorsed cannot be qualified!  So… what’s wrong with this picture?

Or are we just supposed to let bygones be bygones…?  These people helped to send this country into a depression, people are dying and will continue to die.  Many are losing everything they’ve worked for…others already have because of the policies these two endorsed.  Now we have BIG, HUGE… businesses stealing from the American taxpayer (bailout) to pay for their wanton disregard of the very people they robbed.  Qualify this “choice”.... with anything other than “trust it”.

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By Outraged, November 27, 2008 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

Article quote: “But how else is one to respond to Barack Obama’s picking the very folks who helped get us into this financial mess to now lead us out of it?”

Funny you should say that…. I was kinda wondering the same thing myself.  With all these “Clinton folks” I started thinking about “The Family”, remember them…?  It’s certainly strange that Obama should choose appointees directly responsible for the current meltdown…. isn’t it?  Is Obama being threatened?  And now it seems the “plan” was Bush, Clinton, Bush, and well…all Clinton folks.  Isn’t that just like having a Clinton in office to continue the rape of the American People?

As much as I didn’t think Obama was, at least in my opinion, “moving in the right direction”, even I, wouldn’t have gauged Obama choosing the very crooks who created this demise… he certainly couldn’t be THAT stupid…. so, “what’s wrong with this picture”...?

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By Inherit The Wind, November 27, 2008 at 9:21 pm Link to this comment

mill, November 27 at 3:04 pm #

Don’t misunderestimate Obama

Some of these appointees were/are part of the problem - but they’re taking very different jobs now.

I believe Mr. Obama’s cabinet - all of whom report to him - will bend to his will, not run him over as in the previous President’s cabinet.

And I don’t believe that Mr. Obama is just about the spoiled elite, as in the previous President.
****************************************

Forget it.  The die-harders here know everything without bothering to expend a brain cell on actually collecting facts or analyzing them—and Scheer is as bad as any of them.

They argue “Through out the doctors: Bring in aroma-therapists to cure the cancer.”  Yeah, just that absurd.

Anyone who thinks Obama is beholden to ANYONE doesn’t understand that once he has the job, they are beholden to HIM, because he sits at the top of the pyramid.  They think they can destroy him—but nothing succeeds like success—and this guy is too smart not to be squeaky-clean.  They’ll all come to HIM on bended knee.

Just read the posts and see just how much fantasy is taken as gospel truth.  You won’t see anything like it unless you go to places like redstate.com (is that it? I forgot).  There, they know that the MSM is totally liberal-biased, pro-choice want every woman to kill her baby, anyone left of George W. Bush is a Communist/Marxist, and all male liberals are gay and all female liberals are lesbian.  The free-market cures everything, and all regulation is bad….

But that’s just the content.  The thinking here is the same, but the content is different.

Both live in worlds of cognitive dissonance, paranoia, and conspiracy theories….

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By Outraged, November 27, 2008 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment

Re: jackpine

Your comment: “ If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.  And if you refuse to accept that you’re part of the problem you have absolutely no right to chastise the elected officials who are perpetuating the problem on your behalf. (and we are all part of the problem)

For the most part I disagree.  Technically speaking, “Yes, we are part of the problem, but by making this type of blanket statement you imply willful disregard.  I don’t think that is the case.  It needs to be remembered that Americans were fed propaganda since they cut their first tooth.  It isn’t that people don’t care… many STILL don’t know!

Our history books were “filled” with the lies of omission, when truths were revealed they were then countered with lies by the media and others.  The liars are, even as we speak, doing their damnest to keep the lies alive.

Consider the issue of global warming and the cover up of the facts concerning it.  Do you remember the high school student (somewhere in a northeastern state I believe) who outed the textbook company for claiming global warming was a “theory”?  If students are TAUGHT these things, won’t most consider them valid…?  Of course they will, and it’s not their fault.  What would the outcome have been if all the students weren’t the “wiser”?

The same is true regarding other issues.  Most people are not asking for riches, but simply a viable livelihood.  So if you tell them this or that will increase their credit rating and they will be able to purchase a decent home for their family, that is what they will do.  THAT is not their fault.  Could we do it a better way…. sure, but it isn’t The People’s fault…. it’s the crooks on Wall Street’s fault.  THEY are the experts, they KNEW, they LIED, they STOLE, they KNOWINGLY created this situation, not the people.

Blaming the victim, and we ARE the victims, is simply a strategy used to focus blame away from the perpeTRAITORS.

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By autumnrose, November 27, 2008 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

Dear Mr. Robert Scheer,
  Can’t you just come right out and concede the point to Nader?  You, of all people, should have known beforehand:  Where/who did the largest percentage of Obama’s campaign donations come from?  Financial industry lobbyists, as far as I know.
  But I wish you had been right . . .

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By Allan Gurfinkle, November 27, 2008 at 5:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The question is, is Obama a real Manchurian candidate, groomed by the Establishment Elite (EE) for the position of the presidency, and only functioning to do their bidding.

There is a book by Webster Tarpley to that effect.  I’ll read it at some point.

Here are some tantalizing tidbits .... Obama was supposedly a student at Columbia, and he was a student at Harvard.  But, his student records are sealed.  Hey, I can’t get a job teaching at a JC without producing my transcripts.  But, Obama is hiding his.  Why?  Is he a fraud?

Also there is a question about whether or not he can produce a birth certificate.  Are these rumours, or legit concerns?  I don’t know.

Then there is the matter of the millions he made selling a book titled “The Audacity of Hope” ..... I haven’t read it ... but the title sure as heck is not impressive.  A book would be the perfect cover for the EE to fund Obama.

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By JakePDX, November 27, 2008 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

I admire Mr Scheer very much, but before we pass judgment on Obama, let’s wait until he actually takes office and begins to initiate policies. The people he has chosen to run his economic team may have contributed to the current situation, but it is Obama who will set policy, and we ought to give him a chance to prove himself.

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By Fahrenheit 451, November 27, 2008 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment

> jackpine savage, November 27 at 10:12 am;

Nice post.  I agree and think you are correct.  Mine got removed; probably because I said Scheer was above his pay grade on this one.  This site sucks anymore.

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By mill, November 27, 2008 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Don’t misunderestimate Obama

Some of these appointees were/are part of the problem - but they’re taking very different jobs now.

I believe Mr. Obama’s cabinet - all of whom report to him - will bend to his will, not run him over as in the previous President’s cabinet.

And I don’t believe that Mr. Obama is just about the spoiled elite, as in the previous President.

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By Alan, November 27, 2008 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s called the “bait and switch” , it’s a marketing trick,
repackaged as “three card monty” it’s a simple street hustle.
Now ya see it, now ya don’t.  Toss a coin into that bottle
there and win a cupie doll.  Carney stuff, it’s all carney stuff.
It’s Harry Lime at the top of the Prater wheel explaining to
Holly Martins about the suckers and the mugs.

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By Bernd Buerklin, November 27, 2008 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you hire someone from the corporate world, you’re dealing with brainwashed people who believe in greed only, to the point that greed will solve it all (the “free"market)!. The corporate world is a beast on it’s own that eats you up and will not let you go. It’s a cult, shaping your thinking until you are not able to see what’s real. Why not let a bunch of scientologists run this country? They’re promising salvation, too! Look at how the upper government has been permeated by corporates for years and it will open your eyes to what’s really going on: Iraq war, Katrina, 9-11, economic crisis, bailout, NAFTA, energy dependence - it’s all just a giant ATM! It’s the biggest theft ever committed! What do you think would happen to Obama if he would hire “radicals”, upsetting the status quo? Who is really in charge? Just use your common sense and make the decisions within in your reach. Live within your means. Don’t be ruled by fear. Keep your senses sharpened. Media are not a replacement for reality. Being informed, being REALLY informed is the staple of democracy and nowadays almost a full-time job. I still hope Obama will be able to shift the direction of this country by a degree or two. We will find out.

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By Clash, November 27, 2008 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

jackpine savage;

“But, hey, nobody’s stopping you from organizing in the streets are they?  Take a greyhound to DC and start a hunger strike in front of the White House.  Of course, there are plenty of other, less radical, things that you can do to change our society…but they’d be a lot more difficult than bitching on the internet”.

Finally the beginnings of a plan, very well conveyed.

When we realize that the event is the important thing and the names of the people or the way we receive the ideas are not, we will find just a system for pushing ideas and ideas are the drugs that keep us free or enslaved. The point I guess is credibility, do you believe what is being said and who is saying it, media is only what you make of it.
We have a few days left before the president-elect takes office write the congress cover them in your ideas left, right or center, clog there web site’s the same for the president, the courts and the press let them in on what YOU are thinking.

Organize, don’t be fearful of the government make them fear YOU.

You have the most powerful tool for change sitting right in front of you. It came close to working just before the great robbery. Once is not enough, it will take many times, but from what I have read on this site alone you can be a prolific group, so one letter a day should not be beyond us. Most of all convince others to participate, whether they post here or some were else. Keep the pressure on those that want to sleep through this talk to them even if they don’t agree with you. WAKE UP.

It may come down to being in the streets for all of us if we don’t start some were.

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By Little Brother, November 27, 2008 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

Geez, Louise!

No argument from me that President Unitard, his outgoing criminal maladministration, and political partners in crime shamelessly, openly, and blatantly promoted the agenda of the Hollow State.

But these actions were only a difference in degree, not in kind, from the general mission of our pathological political duopoly and its elite of wealthy technocrats occupying the para-corporate service delivery system into which our federal political institutions have devolved.

Good riddance to the Bad Cop, indeed—but consider whether you’ve been manipulated into believing that the Good Cop is part of the solution.  It appears that you and other peeved and supercilious commenters have difficulty understanding that there’s more than one way to “think things through”.

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By Folktruther, November 27, 2008 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

Of course the NYTimes is a ruling class paper, Maani, part of the Zionist ruling power structue, which you support.

It genuinely supports the elimination of Gitmo because it is too public and destructive of the image ofthe US power system.  With its elimination the US can torture in a more concealed way in other bases and ships around the world, and with client regimes.

It is ostensibly for the elimination of the electoral college confident in the existing power configuration tht such elimintion is politically impossible.

It is for the bailout swindles, covering its ass on the obvious looting of the population’s money.

It is for the rule of Law, from which the rich and powerful are immune.

These are all ruling class opinions, part of the guise that is the cover story under which the banks and corporations continue to plunder and increase class inequality.  First under Bush, now under Obama.  Part of the American ideology that conceals the barbarity and brutality of the American power system.
It supports the bailout swindles with caveats that cover its ass when it is revealed that this has only marginal effect on the coming depression.

It suppsorts the rule of law to buttress the image of US power which the corruption and oppression of power has ruptured.

lt supports the elemination of the

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By mud, November 27, 2008 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

Ralph was right, you were wrong.

It’s great that you are able to admit your mistake.

Now shut up and go find another job where your stupidity won’t do so much harm.

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By Louise, November 27, 2008 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

The Bush/Repub SHORT list!

Legislation dumping labor laws and elevating corporate power. Followed by tax breaks to the rich, and a shortfall in revenue, made up by borrowing from foreign nations.

Lumping vital government agencies into one unmanageable agency, then putting someone in charge who cant manage.

Mandating un-funded Legislation, that attacks public education by enforcing irrelevant tests which if failed force the closing of schools, leaving a critical gap. Eliminating programs that enhance public education, while offering public funding to private corporations to fill in the shortfall. And reducing available funds for student loans.

Starting an unnecessary war, allowing the use of so-called war powers, and putting people in key positions who have duel citizenship. While re-defining the Constitution, allowing despotic behavior without accountability.

Dumping the Bankruptcy safety net while giving more power to banks that “sell” credit. Followed by loosening credit requirements, structuring bad loans, and encouraging debt over saving. All the while eliminating controls that force banks to show what they are buying and selling. Followed by, trying to lock every man woman and child into a dead-end mortgage on their home or housing.

Corporate America trying to hook every man woman and child on “legal” drugs whether they need them or not. Followed by Legislation that dumps sick peoples right to redress, while giving absolute control to drug manufacturers and Insurance corporations. And forcing people into a drug purchase program structured to increase profits to drug manufacturers and Insurance providers, while levying fines on all senior, sick and disabled citizens who need drugs, but cant afford to sign on to the “drug bill.”

Dumping laws created to preserve the safety of the nation, while using up our military, and giving public revenue to private war-making corporations. And putting people in charge of Congress who can be manipulated, [or bought] no matter what their party.

All the while, looting the Treasury, then creating new money, then looting it again, and again, and again.

Until we arrive at the inevitable outcome of Reagans dream to shrink government. Only these many years of diminished government capacity has almost eliminated the capacity of the people to succeed. Because We The People ARE the government. Which tells me, those who give an oath to protect and defend the Constitution DO NOT understand the Constitution, nor a good part of We The People!

Those called republican, have controlled almost everything these many years! But strangely they can not, or will not see the fallacy of their position! Working hard instead to convince the population everything is Obamas fault, and the guy isn’t even in office yet!

One should expect this kind of idiocy from FOX, but we see it on CNN, CBS, NBC and ABC as well! And while some might argue it’s necessary to present both extreme sides to the public, so they can make a decision for themselves, that’s based on the premise that the public has the capacity to think a thing through far enough to make an intelligent decision. Another falacy!

The majority on Obamas economic transition and economic teams are lawyers and/or bankers. If one is to enforce the law, one needs to know the law. If one is to fix the banks, one needs to know the banks.

Likewise, if one is to go after the law-breakers, one needs to know the law, and know where to find them.

So, it seems to me if we really want the wrong-doers to be put out of business or held to accountability, that’s a plus! But I guess everybody’s been to busy finding fault with Obama and blaming Clinton for those faults, to have thought that through!

Obama is facing a nightmare of greed, corruption, duplicity and impending collapse!
And he’s facing it head-on!

Stop belly-aching and get behind the guy!

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By jackpine savage, November 27, 2008 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

Maani,

You’re trying to talk sense here, it isn’t going to work…but i applaud you for your effort.  Yes, most of the now regular posters want to see inexperienced people try to overturn everything that DC has become over the last 200 or so years.

Bert,

Weren’t you all about Clinton?  Do you think that the formation of her government would be any different than the one that Obama is forming?

To all and sundry “progressives”,

You’re damned fools if you thought that the kind of radical change you demand will come from a national election.  Most of you don’t actually want to do anything about the situation, you simply want to complain that the powers that be are unwilling to see and implement the TRUTH that you know.  You’ve been rattling this stuff around in your own heads for so long and circling it around with people who think just like you that you’ve lost touch with reality.

But, hey, nobody’s stopping you from organizing in the streets are they?  Take a greyhound to DC and start a hunger strike in front of the White House.  Of course, there are plenty of other, less radical, things that you can do to change our society…but they’d be a lot more difficult than bitching on the internet.

I’d really like to see a poll of the regular commenters here to find out how many carry major bank credit cards in their pockets, who’ve put their money into 401K’s (or other investment vehicles that support the status quo they hate so much), who slave all day in corporate America only to bitch from the safety of an internet handle in the evening.  If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.  And if you refuse to accept that you’re part of the problem you have absolutely no right to chastise the elected officials who are perpetuating the problem on your behalf. (and we are all part of the problem)

Our problems are bigger than Obama or Bush or Clinton or Bush or Reagan.  It’s well past time to grow up and start dealing with them…rather than expecting someone else to solve them for us.  I only wish that i saw a glimmer of recognition from the American people that we cannot have everything and have it easy.

Let me say this one more time: the crooks of Wall Street have the power that they have because we gave it to them.  If you’re too afraid to take it away and deal with the consequences then you’re unworthy of having the power in the first place.

Finally, the replacement of the neo-lib/con establishment with some “progressive” establishment that will overturn everything is exactly the same process that landed us in this mess.  You can change the names and the details, but the process is what’s important.  Most of you don’t want to solve anything, you want to shove your vision down everyone’s throats because you’re convinced that your vision is the only right vision.  Can you explain how that is fundamentally different than the Bush/Cheney idea of governance? If it wasn’t so sad it would be funny.

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By msgmi, November 27, 2008 at 10:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Corporate America rules and will do so forever. Wherever the conflict, Mickey D, KFC, BK and Halliburton et al subsidiaries will be there to profit.

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By Paolo, November 27, 2008 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

I think Bob Scheer is coming around to the reality that Nader is right about the so-called “Two Party System” (ironic quotes—actually it’s a one party system).

Even though I am a libertarian, and disagree with Nader on a lot of things, I think he speaks a lot of truth.

Obama is smart, but not daring enough to realize he has to throw the old guard under the bus if he is to succeed in solving any of our economic problems. Hiring old Bush and Clinton advisors and bureaucrats will get him nowhere.

Our country has had a very strong movement for a centrally-run economy since its very inception. Alexander Hamilton especially believed in a strong central government, and government-business “partnership” in which those businesses who helped the government, would get help in return.

Hamilton was born to early to have his dream called by its real name: Fascism. But that is the type of system he believed in.

Barack Obama now inherits a system in which government-business “partnership” (Fascism) is so deeply entrenched, that our tyrants in Washington can now openly call for their favored business buddies to be given boatloads of money, right out of the treasury via the Federal Reserve, just because.

The unbelievable amounts of loot that both R’s and D’s (remember: one party, folks) propose throwing at their favored business interests will surely sink the dollar for good.

Up until now, we have been able to “export” our inflation because the dollar has been the world’s “reserve” currency. It’s only a matter of time—and not a whole lot of time—before foreign countries start to realize they’ve been played for fools, and start dumping their dollar holdings. At that point, we will see hyperinflation, or perhaps a complete monetary collapse.

It’s a shame that Obama’s Administration will probably inherit a literally hopeless economic mess.

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By wordsonfire, November 27, 2008 at 10:10 am Link to this comment

I will ignore any words of wisdom from anyone who uses negative racial aspersions such as “house boy” and “Uncle Tom” when discussing Obama’s behavior/appointments.  It demonstrates that Nader and all you all are neither progressive nor inclusive.  If you don’t understand the negative and corrosive impact of your language then you just aren’t smart enough for me to listen to your opinion in the first place.

Nader’s use of the term “Uncle Tom,” is unforgivable enough that I have no intention of every listening to anything he ever says again.  And, as a woman of color, I am owed an apology and some hint of understanding the damage the phrase does to those of us who strive to convince our kids to get an education and to do well.  By his behavior and his words he has demonstrated he is a bigot.  So you third party voters, be smug . . . you are no less in bed with the entitled, close-minded and bigoted.  You must be so proud.

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By troublesum, November 27, 2008 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

Obama’s words quoted by Maani were quite ironic to say the least.  If we thought experience was so all important we wouldn’t have voted for Obama himself.
There must be hundreds if not thousands of economists working outside government who were qualified for some of those jobs.

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By Ted Swart, November 27, 2008 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

Manni, You say:

“As well, if the Times is such a “ruling class” paper, why has their editorial board been at the FOREFRONT of such issues as (i) closing Guantanamo, (ii) restoring the rule of law (i.e., reversing the evisceration of the Constitution under Bush), and (iii) abolishing the electoral college in favor of a true “one person, one vote” system?  These are not exactly “ruling class” opinions.”

Whilst I only read the Times sporadically what you say is clearly totally correct. It is not rigidly hitched to the ruling classes.  But what does semm to be the d=case is that the ruling clsses do often band together in an unseemly fsshion. From everything I have read the current financial crisis is caused by a combination of greed, stupidity and hubris and I simply fail to see much evidence of repentance (to use a somewhat neglected word) on the part of the key players in the financial debacle we are in. There are some economist of note such as Steve Hanke who sound alro bells over the supposed decisive actions that have ebeen taken many of which may well aggravate rather than mend what is at fault.
What I do find odd is that there is somewhat of a discosnect between what Obama says (and he ofetn says soem very encouraging things) and what he actually does. So, in this regard, I can only say as I have said beofre: “I hope I am wrong” when it comes to being discomfited by many of the appointments he has made.
As you rightly point out he has not yet been inauguarated and it remains to be seen how he will actually behave when is no longer a president elect. There is a rather odd analogy between the the catholic church and the functioning of the US government. There were those who broke loose from the catholic church on the grounds that it was too corrupt or inept to be fixed and those who tried to reform it from within.  The horrible sexual predations by catholic priests in your own day suggests there are limits to reform from within. 
Obama is clearly hitched to the notion of reform from within though many who voted for him expected something rather different.

Have a good day—as Canadians say.

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By Little Brother, November 27, 2008 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

I never succumbed to the dreamy delirium of Obama Fever, and I certainly don’t buy into the panglossian adulation of either the man or the benevolent Machiavellianism touted as “pragmatism” that is the new mantra of the enthralled.

So for the nonce, I’ll just add to Samson’s comment about the NY Times.  Apart from the tapdancing and melodramatic vignettes of its editorial page, and occasional Blows Against the Empire, e.g. publishing “The Pentagon Papers”, let’s not overlook the NYT’s legacy of “All the News that Fits”.

The wealthy elite of owners and senior executives of the NYT, and other comparable media corporations like the Washington Post, have historically served as willing adjuncts and partners in controlling information and disseminating misinformation at the behest of high government officials.

Examples are too numerous to detail, especially in a tangential comment like this.  But at least I can drop the names of top-notch infotainwhores like Judith Miller and Michael Gordon.  And episodes of questionable editorial “judgement calls”, from suppressing a story about the Bush maladministration’s warrantless wiretapping to spiking the investigation into the mysterious “bulge” on Bush’s back during the campaign debate that is generally known to have been a communication device.

And of course the Amerikan “Pravda” is, er, pragmatic enough to obscure its function as an organ of the Ministry of Truth by occasionally publishing critical and superficially damaging or dissenting material.

Regardless of whether Tweedledee or Tweedledum, the conjoined twins of our corrupt duopoly, is in office, the civil service executives of federal departments and agencies have long since moved into the Fourth Estate—the collusive Times merely occupies a handsomely-appointed suite in the servants’ quarters out back.

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By Maani, November 27, 2008 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

“I suspect that…the American people would be troubled if I selected a Treasury Secretary or a chairman of the National Economic Council at one of the most critical economic times in our history who had no expeience in government whatsoever…What we are going to do is combine experience with fresh thinking…But understand where the vision for change comes from first and foremost: It comes from me.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/27/us/politics/27obama.html?sq=obama&st=cse&scp=8&pagewanted=print

Peace.

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By Samson, November 27, 2008 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

The Times is an elite paper that does largely report the views of the ‘ruling class’.  The mistake is in thinking that this class is uniform and always in agreement.  There can be disagreements within this ruling class.  That’s when ‘the Times’ will report the sort of dissenting opinions that Maani cites.  But in areas where the ruling class is in agreement, the Times will never challenge that agreement.

The Times also has a long track record of sucking up to people in power.  So, the pro-Bush suck-up will change to more of a pro-Obama suck-up.  But that doesn’t mean there is any great change in the nature of the Times.

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By coloradokarl, November 27, 2008 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

The Wall Street fiasco IS EXTORTION which is a form of TERRORISM. Our government has policies that we do not Negotiate With Terrorists. This is sending the wrong signals to Alkiada and the others who pray on freedom and democracy in the world. I say STORM the IVORY TOWERS of Wall Street and rescue the hidden assets of our People!!!

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By Maani, November 27, 2008 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

Jaki:

You obviously do not read the Times.  Below is their very first editorial regarding the bailout.  They basically say that it is better than nothing - but they are clearly not happy with it.  Since then, they have had five other editorials on it, three of which noted that the bailout is SERIOUSLY lacking where the average American citizien is concerned (particularly re the mortgage crisis), and the other two of which also spoke castigatingly (if not harshly) about it.

As well, if the Times is such a “ruling class” paper, why has their editorial board been at the FOREFRONT of such issues as (i) closing Guantanamo, (ii) restoring the rule of law (i.e., reversing the evisceration of the Constitution under Bush), and (iii) abolishing the electoral college in favor of a true “one person, one vote” system?  These are not exactly “ruling class” opinions.

You REALLY need to actually READ things before you make such completely ignorant comments about them.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/30/opinion/30tue1.html?pagewanted=print

Peace.

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By troublesum, November 27, 2008 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

“Politics, not capitalism, is responsible for promoting the common good.”  Wall street wasn’t supposed to look out for us, our elected representatives were.  http://www.signandsight.com/features/1798.html

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By Stephen Smoliar, November 27, 2008 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

Purple Girl offers some nice metaphors.  I would add one of my own, possibly “inspired” by the news from Mumbai.  Wall Street has put the nation in a hostage situation, and Obama is trying to assemble a team of skilled hostage negotiators.  “Success,” such as it is, involves averting total economic collapse (which would be devastating to Main Street) and the restoration of the “monetary confidence game” to a degree that folks on Main Street are back in a position to provide food, clothing, and shelter without having to prioritize one over the others.  To the extent that we value self-sufficiency over welfare, that position will have to involve the restoration of viable income, most likely through properly-compensated jobs.

In the context of this metaphor, has Obama provided us with a skilled hostage negotiation team?  Most of us probably lack the knowledge to make an assessment, but that assessment will involve more than the sort of elementary-school-level arithmetic that Rachel Maddow has been flogging.  I am more inclined to go with the opinion of someone like Krugman, whose mathematics resides more in the complexity of non-linear equations.  On the other hand I would be even more comfortable with an opinion from someone like Robert Solow or Joseph Stiglitz, both of whom are very good at translating numbers into readable text and both of whom, curiously enough, have been off the radar recently.

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By Purple Girl, November 27, 2008 at 6:11 am Link to this comment

We need to know where the bodies are Buried and exactly which steps to take to find our way out of this labrinyth of booby trapped graves.
If Obama immeidately appointed a ball Buster in Economic positions, WallStreet would retaliate…do you notice the ups & downs that occur during his announcements? They are intentionally Holding our economy hostage to get their way. Is this Economic TREASON..YES! However at the present time, we have little wiggle room esp not retribution.does this mean we will never see these ‘breath holding Tantruming Toddlers’ in Orange jumpsuits and shackles.. I hope not. Let them have a bit more Rope, let them play their Gambling games and let them continue to defraud the ‘House’...We are gathering evidence to their Treasonous acts.
So what I really wonder is not whether th e’Left’ is flipping out about these Announcement, But the ‘Trickle Down’ criminals who realize their co conspirators are Singing. How did they finally convict the ‘Teflon Done’...By turning his most ‘loyal’ Hitman. The one who not only buried the bodies…But took the orders for the Hit & excuted it. Are the Wallstreeters really cheering or merely ‘whistling past the Grave yard’?

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By William W. Wexler, November 27, 2008 at 5:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

LOL!

Seriously, you need to STOP writing and START reading.

You can start with “In Pursuit of Justice”, a collection of Nader short pieces written between 1999 and 2003 which eerily describe EXACTLY what is going on today.

“Maybe” he was right? 

If you are looking for solutions to these problems, you ought to be hammering on Obama’s front door every day demanding that Nader be included in the administration in a high level position.  Treasury Secretary would be great.  Or how about Attorney General?

-Wexler

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By Jon, November 27, 2008 at 4:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just for a ‘change’ I’d love to see someone appointed by Obama who actually had PROGRESSIVE roots, and had other experience than how to loot the treasury and get tossed out of Harvard.  Rubin and Summers are the foxes, no doubt.

Obama is owned by the banks and Wall Street, who gave him more money than they gave to McCain, almost twice as much. 

Obama is a slick suit, not a man of the people, but he played one for the last few months on TV.

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By albert miller, November 27, 2008 at 12:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Unfortunately nothing will change until the super-rich are made to realize there are things more valuable to them than the excessive money they have.

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By Clash, November 26, 2008 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther;

Thanks for the definition of what a progressive is, and now it is a million and one times.

The end to war and controlling the military industrial complex I agree.

Regulating the banks and corporations, removing the regulations should have never happened. Helping those with viable mortgages that’s great.

Stop spying on citizens reduce the power of the police, stop the war on drugs (poverty) stop torturing other human beings this gets even better. The media is only what we make it.

We will have to see what happens with the president-elect, he has not taken office yet and in this country we are still guilty till proven innocent.

Israel needs to deal with the fact that Palestine will eventually evolve into a self governing state. Weapons should not be used against anyone’s children.

Born into economic slavery, lied to and hunted through my youth, nothing new under the sun. The majority of the population, either asleep or, so numb from the constant shock from fear and crisis they won’t be much use unless they are brought to their senses.

Nothing happens without a plan, this is so that a cohesive bond is formed, and the bond is formed so that the group can act as a unit to affect the desired results. Without this bond the unit disintegrates.

From what I have observed no one had much more of a plan than to get Berry elected and after it was done they all splintered off to there respective camps proclaiming that their cause was the most worthy. But as would the world goes, when they turned around Berry wasn’t quite what they expected. 

Still looking for the plan?

maani;

Labels are nothing new anarchist, outlaw are just a few but Zionist……..LOL

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By Jaki, November 26, 2008 at 11:13 pm Link to this comment

Gmonst says he trusts Paul Krugman’s opinion of Obama’s picks (over Scheer’s), to wit:

“Seriously, isn’t it amazing just how impressive the people being named to key positions in the Obama administration seem? Bye-bye hacks and cronies, hello people who actually know what they’re doing. For a bunch of people who were written off as a permanent minority four years ago, the Democrats look remarkably like the natural governing party these days, with a deep bench of talent.”

Well, G, you go with Krugman, who works for The New York Times, the biggest ruling class newspaper on the planet, and I’ll go with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who is making a lot of noise about Obama’s picks as well as about the plunder of the masses by the rich few. 

I haven’t seen Krugman or The NYT talk about the price of this “bailout” of Big Banks the way Maddow does.  Last night (Tuesday) she did a “comparative analysis” of the cost (now estimated currently at over 4 trillion dollars) of this heist with the cost of nine Big Ticket items she culled from history.

Examples include the entire budget of NASA since its inception, the entire Iraq War, several other wars, and other things my memory can’t retrieve right now, but they were BIG.  The cost of the Financial Institutional Bailout was more than all nine of these historical money suckers COMBINED!

Her method of comparison was meant to shock and wake us up to just what 4 trillion dollars really means.
We don’t even think about it because we have nothing with which to compare and who can even contemplate what a trillion looks like?  It’s kind of like thinking about Global Climate Change.  Too much reality.  Overwhelming.  Time out.

The cost of this financial bailout would likely educate every child in America through graduate school, provide universal health care for the population until all who are now alive die, repair all of our roads and bridges, save several million blue collar jobs, and a whole host of other things that PEOPLE without means or power need.

So what does Paul Krugman and The New York Times have to say about this?

Tonight, in the spirit of the season, Rachel Maddow gave thanks for the soon-to-be-ending Bush Administration by naming 27 members of the “gallery of rogues” (read “experts”)of the Bush Team who have been indicted and convicted of crimes against us.  27 (not including Congress), from Libby to Gonzales and a host of others.

Yes, we do have a lot to be thankful for in terms of endings.  But I do wonder what Krugman means by a “natural governing party?”  Seems to be those who maintain the interests of the elite.  The People be damned.

And, finally, to Stonejaxx—Obama does not propose “universal health care.”  He has a more conservative health care plan that would continue to fill the coffers of insurance companies.  And it does matter if he is beholden to corporations.

Let us not be satisfied with crumbs.

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By Jack Ronan, November 26, 2008 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ralph Nader said many years ago, prior to his Presidential runs, that no matter who gained the White House, he/she would be a “prisoner of the lobbyists”.  Well, we know who the lobbyists are these days.  We really do need to listen to Ralph Nader.

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By ApprxAm, November 26, 2008 at 10:37 pm Link to this comment

CO-Karl, nothing escapes the pockets of the United Bankz of Amerika.  Green economy; infrastructure; bailouts of mortages, Wall St or Main st., the “Money-Changers” will have a hand in it.

It may even be possible for them to profit from anarchy in some way not quite seen by us, friend.  Although I’m sure the Ivy’s MBA and Physics graduates from the last 20 years have already Quantum those odds and quanified the value in that as well.

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By Jaki, November 26, 2008 at 10:33 pm Link to this comment

I hope Barack Obama underlined this quote in his recent reading of Lincoln:


“If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.” : Abraham Lincoln-
(1809 -1865) 16th US President


(thanks again to ICH—International Clearing House—for their many pertinent and timely quotes and articles)

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By ApprxAm, November 26, 2008 at 10:24 pm Link to this comment

TroubleSum, you’re right about the reality of excepting what is, as opposed to the “Ideal”.  CitiGroup, AIG and the rest has made it perfectly clear that they rule the universe (for now).  Unlike the Detroit Cabal, Wall Street has no competition and, therefore, hold all of the cards.

Doing nothing, or less for the Big Three would be damaging, but that can be reasonably contained. The banks own everything: hell, even the underwear on most American’s asses were purchased on the dime of the banks; and credit is everywhere.  36% of the cars on the road may be foreign, but even foreign money is controlled by American financial institutions. So where do we go for here?

We, the Americans, must rethink the asperity aspect of getting rich.  I beleive that this posture lends to our acceptance of usary laws being sticken nationally, the “dog-eat-dog” motive behind profit and the exceptance of corporate intities paying unreal sums to CEO’s who don’t even want to comply with the requirement that they varify the true earnings claims by the legally called for accounting statements; leading to low risk rewards for corporate officers who do dubious, even reckless things to bump up profits, no matter how specious and temporary they may be, just so they can “CASH-OUT” under false pretenses.

Profiteering may have been around since this colony/nation’s nascency, but can we afford it to continue to become the cultural substance of what it means to be an American or Westerner?

We must resolve to break up and minimize the FIRE SECTOR of the nation’s GDP and return to a nation that builds things.

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By stonejaxx, November 26, 2008 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

This article has come to an end such that it’s doubtful I will be heard, nevertheless…

Obama’s platform is something to vote for with small business incentives, tax cuts for 95%, foreign oil independence, universal healthcare, a call for community service to get you to college, a repeal of the bush tax cuts and the elimination of capital gains for small business.

This creates the “trickle-up” economy that helps small business and the middle class.

In creating this economy, it doesn’t matter if the president-elect is beholden to corporate interests or not. If even a percentage of the campaign commitments are met, America will be better for it, no matter who is in his cabinet.

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By Maani, November 26, 2008 at 9:54 pm Link to this comment

Clash:

Folkliar said, “[Obama] has surrounded himself with Zionists who support apartheid Zionism as Maani does…”

See what I mean?  I do not support “apartheid Zionism”; never have, never will.  But since I disagree with even a few aspects of Folkliar’s position, I am a “Zionist” (he has also called me a “right-winger” - which is even MORE absurd).

Tread carefully.  LOL.

Peace.

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By Folktruther, November 26, 2008 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

Clash, you don’t know what progressives are for? It’s been mentioned a few million times.

Ending the wars, reducing the military and using the money for the population.

regulating the banks and corportions and bailing out the people losing their houses rather than giving money to the rich.

Ending the spying on the Amereican population, torture and the Bushite police state.

All of which Obama said or implied he would do and is doing the exact opposite in his appointments.

Is there something difficult to understand here?  Obama is continuing the wars, lobbying for the bailout for the banks, and supported the spying on the American population.  He is cutting money for people expenditures while the Dems have been supporting the increase in military expenditures.

Instead of supporting a two state solution in the middle east, he has surrounded himself with Zionists who support apartheid Zionism as Maani does, while pretending not to.

Is taxing the rich a complicated concept?  Obama is reneging on that too.  He is uniting with the Gops and shitting on the left. This may be hard to understand if you don’t want to understand it, but enough people do to split the pro Dem-Gops from the anti-Dem-Gops.  Both the Dem and Gop parties being funded, mediad, and orgaized heavily by Zionists.

You may find it cynical to oppose oppression, deceit and injustice but hopefully most of the population won’t.

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By Maani, November 26, 2008 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

Clash:

You are wasting your breath where Folktruther is concerned.  He does not HAVE any suggestions or alternatives - or even compromises or ideas - beyond railing at the powers that be and the structures that be.  He would rather be against something than for something; and has never met a person who disagrees with him who is not a right-wing Zionist.

Really.  Disagree with him just for fun and see how long it takes him to label you with that exact label.

Peace.

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By Maani, November 26, 2008 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

Birch:

Breytenbach’s interview is based on a piece he has in the current issue (Dec 2008) of Harper’s Magazine.  FYI, that issue also has a fabulous article on how to go about prosecuting Bush, Cheney et al.

Peace.

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By Clash, November 26, 2008 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther;


Ok we are all playing to a script written for us with no knowledge of the next line. What would you have us be FOR? 
Keeping in mind that we face certain inescapable issues, out of control climate change, over population, the possibility of a world wide depression, corporations out of control robbing us while we do nothing, a world wide energy crisis looming in the near future, and a health care system that doesn’t work. Just a few issues no big deal.

You see it very easy to be cynical and yell lock and load head for the bush yelling every man for him self.

What if we agreed to improvise on their script, not to battle shadows, but to push who ever holds the power just enough to change the direction we are all going. Isn’t this the mobilization you speak of? But then again I doubt any one could agree on which direction that would be.

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By MAR, November 26, 2008 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment

You don’t use ba rabbit to catch a fox, but a smarter fox. Obama can look after Main Street just fine but he needs people who know the ins and out of the financioal world to come up some better answers and regs.  After all, Obama is not stupid but smart enough to hang on to the tail of the fox when he tries to go down his hole with a rabbit. Or perhaps a falcon is a better analogy. You have to have a bird that is trained to pursue but yield up to the falcon master.

Surely these Secretaries and other picks are not independent barons but ones who have to bend the knee to Obama.

I hope I am noy wrong but I believe that Obama is not stupid.

The problem with this site is that its writers and its frequent posters really want a revolution but you folks already did that once - or was it twice when the South resisted the obvious need to change?

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By coloradokarl, November 26, 2008 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

This whole financial scam is just too perfect. The timing,the suddenness And the way it went worldwide overnight. The solution Obama’s crew comes up with will tell the tale. Will it be money for new green small businesses or a massive “infrastructure” program that benefits large corporations and city and county bureaucracies. The changing of the rules for domestic use of the military, the building up of the “Emergency services” through homeland security along with domestic surveillance , kill jobs, kill credit and then what, wait for the food riots and kill us?? Families are three meals from Anarchy! This is an interesting time for me as I have become kind of bored with the mundane comfort of my life. Watching fat people plead for food is great entertainment! I feel bad for the very young , they are innocent and shouldn’t have to go through this rough patch. The rest of us…well, that’s another story.

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By Dale, November 26, 2008 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Want to stop being treated like a doormat?  Develop and show real political power.  And that means stop being an automatic vote the Dems can count on while giving you nothing in return.”

Which would be much better than what we’ve received from the present administration. I strongly disagree with most of what you wrote in your post, but I must say that if the GOP has any chance to EVER regain seats in Congress and the White House it’s about time it dumps the filthy religious right who claims that “gay marriage is the most important issue confronting the US today,” as millions are losing their homes, the middle class is disintegrating, unemployment is skyrocketing, and the lines for bread and cheese are getting longer.

The GOP is nothing but a party of hateful, bigoted liars that has lost every ounce of credibility it ever had - thank you baby jeebus with all of the gay hatred you have.

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By E Villegas, November 26, 2008 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

JNagarya, the republican party was at one time a 3rd party. Do you think that is an excuse to vote for one side of the same coin? That’s what is wrong with this country, people with narrow vision like you.

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By JNagarya, November 26, 2008 at 6:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

same old bunch of Clinton crooks.
_____

Where is the EVIDENCE for that bullshit?  Right: it doesn’t exist. 

Tell us: in view of the fact that you view all politicians as “crooks,” without bothering with whether it’s tue, then why do you pay any attention whatsoever to politics? 

I get it: you hate gov’t—ignorant as your are as to the actual underpinnings of our system of laws—and are mindlessly about destroying it.  You have facts; you have no plan; you have no hindsight or foresight.  You’re simply a pseudo-sophisticated illiterate showing us all hjow you know better by knowing nothing at all.

Clue: You have nothing of value to offer, so STFU.

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By Birch, November 26, 2008 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

There was an interesting discussion today on Amy Goodman’s show with Breyten Breytenbach, South African poet and artist, regarding the failure of the ANC in South Africa to realize the promise of Nelson Mandela’s election.  Among other things he said: “I think that strangely enough Mandela, perhaps because he’s such an adulated figure and because he’s become such an emblematic symbol, the real political power, in terms of his own party, and probably of the country, was leached from him—and I’m somewhat concerned that maybe something similar may be happening to Obama. That, of course, we’re talking of vastly different moments in history. It seems to be very interesting and very intriguing parallels between these two men.” He goes on: “These two people first of all in their personal histories obviously had to work very deeply upon themselves…. I think in some ways it has to do with constructing one’s own identity, it has to do with constructing one’s own ethical guidelines…  But they come to power carried on a huge wave of popular expectation. You know, what I find painful at the moment it seems to me—of course one doesn’t know because it’s at a very early stage—it seems to be kind of a discarding of what this national mandate actually means that brought Obama to power.” This is borne out I think by many small signs, but mainly by the idea pushed by the right wing that America, is you know, a center right country.

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By Samson, November 26, 2008 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

Anyone old enough to remember Gomer Pyle and that line of his?  Say it with the right amount of sarcasm today and its a nice reaction to the “Obama team.”

If anyone is surprised by this, then they weren’t paying attention.  People were trying to warn before the election that Obama’s election coffers were being filled by Citigroup and Goldman Sachs and that his economic team during the campaign was this same old bunch of Clinton crooks.

Now, after the election, the Dems seem to be able to take off the blinders and realized they’ve been conned.  At least for a short while.  Until its time for the next election and they all line up line good lemmings to vote Democrat in the mid-terms.

Or will they?  Do you want this to stop?  Do you want to quit having the Dems laugh in your face after the election and always do the opposite of what you want? 

Well, start to develop political power.  The left showed zero political power in this last election. The Dems assumed the left would line up and vote for their pro-war, pro-Wall Street candidate.  And they were right.  So, of course you are being abused and ignored now.  You showed zero political power in the last election, so you are a doormat today.

Want that to change.  Develop real political power and show it.  Take a look at the Congress right now, and figure out how many vulnerable seats we need to go after to kick the Dems out of power.  Then start right now to develop strong 3rd party campaigns in precisely the races where the Dems are most vulnerable.

Let the Dems see the left not being upset and just whining about it, but instead organizing a strong challenge aimed right where they are vulnerable and where the left can cost them their majorities in the House and Senate.  Let them see the beginnings of a ‘Don’t get fooled again’ 2012 Presidential bid, and one that is building and organizing in exactly the battleground states they need to win.

Want to stop being treated like a doormat?  Develop and show real political power.  And that means stop being an automatic vote the Dems can count on while giving you nothing in return.

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By realitycheck, November 26, 2008 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If I’m going to get f**ked anyway, I’ll go for the guy offering a blanket.

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By Folktruther, November 26, 2008 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

It is true that it will take a while for the Obiden turn to the right to sink in,truedigger but, surprisingly, not a very long while. The split between the Dem-Gop progressives and the anti Dem-Gop progressives is proceeding apace, even before the inauguration.

Since the major alienation from the US power system has occurred in the 60% of the population who don’t vote, it is necessary to somehow shape this grouping into a cohesive force.  This is what will take a long time, not mobilizing a force against Obama.  Being against is not enough; we must be FOR something to prevail historically.

The rich and powerful are for getting richer and more powerful.  It is not enough to be against this for the population to get richer and more powerful relative to the power structure.  Nor will the Dem approach, a laundry list of issues do it.  It is necessary to electrfy the population emotionally and spiritually with political, moral ans spritual values to counter the class and ethnic ideological glue of the Educated classes.

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By samosamo, November 26, 2008 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

By truedigger3, November 26 at 2:49 pm

You are right. I noticed the issue when the media sorted the repubs and dems down to mccain v. clinton or obama which means there is more differences in a human compared to our nearest relative, the chimpanzee, which is around a 95% similarity, than a democrat and a republican. Not one damn chance for another other candidate. Then there was the pandering to the lobbyists most especially the american izreali public/political affairs committee. It don’t look like there will be much difference in now and later and the people better not expect that they can keep their tvs and vehicles and empty lifestyles of over consumption and expect things to be back to ‘normal’ in a few months. We’ve been attacked by the financial terrorists and are still just waiting for ‘normal’.

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By Will, November 26, 2008 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Someone wrote:  “Unfortunately people see what they are looking for and not what is actually out there…”

Yes, like people who are so invested in the cynical Nader view of the two parties that they’re determined to dismiss Obama as a failure and a conservative even before he takes office.  Pathetic.  Its obvious how badly some people want to be disappointed by Obama.

I don’t believe Obama agrees with Rubin on every issue any more than I believed that Obama agrees with William Ayers or Rev. Wright on every issue.

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By JNagarya, November 26, 2008 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“prole” would like to pretend he’s superior in intelligence and political smarts, etc., but with the name calling (the correct name is Barack Obama—you want respect? then give respect) and personal attacks merely reveals that he’s juvenile in metier.

And a supporter of Nader?  Now there’s a politically sophisticated approach: no third party has ever won the presidency, so vote third party.  Smart move if one—in thius instance a smug neophyte—wishes to continue to render himself irrelevant.  Marginalized.

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By alterid, November 26, 2008 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

to those who think or, who choose to believe, that they cannot email PE Obama,
here is the link to the site with the link in it (titled “Tell Us Your Story)
that asks for our opinions.

There may even be other ways..

I suggest that a respectful, civil tone to one’s rhetoric
will at least get one’s message read:

http://change.gov/

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By JNagarya, November 26, 2008 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is a bogus issue—

Our country was and always has been based upon greed—from separation of powers, each of the three contending for dominance, to our economics.

“Earmarks” bad?  “Pork” evil”?  Only when a state other than our own gets it, because that’s how the system operates. 

Complain all you want about “earmarks” or “pork,” if YOUR state’s Congressional delegation doesn’t get it and bring it home, another will—and you’ll elect someone else to rectify the situation.

Being a “saint” about it only means you cut off your economic nose to spite your hypocritical face.

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By Scott Knight, November 26, 2008 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am not allowed to post here anymore because I called a spade a spade, but as a Nader supporter let me say with relish, I TOLD YOU SO.

scottk

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By truedigger3, November 26, 2008 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Many wrote to truthdig including myself had warned repeatedly that Obama is “another etablishment politician” and he is another war-monger and big Money/Business water carrier.
Unfortunately people see what they are looking for
and not what is actually out there and there were
indignant reactions to such opinion!!!
It will take a while to sink in and convince Obama’s
followers

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By GoodKnight, November 26, 2008 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The president’s cabinet is just that; his cabinet/team.  A team such as, for example, a football team does not rise or fall on the vision of the players, either individually or as a group.  It is the coach who gives the team direction and takes advantage of the sometimes conflicting abilities of the players.  In this particular instance, the president is the coach.  The vision and direction for his administration comes from the president and I think this president is not one to shirk responsibility. 

No cabinet pick is going to be acceptable to 100% of the people.  That being said, I think it would be difficult to accept completely new people in these positions at this critical juncture.  As the president has said, he and his team must hit the ground running.  As Paul Krugman has said, it is an impressively talented team.  In my humble opinion, in a correctly run administration, competing points of view are considered and, once they are reviewed and evaluated, a decision is made by the president which will be carried out by the team.  The ideal team should consist of very capable people who are unafraid to voice their opinions and are willing and vigorous team players once a decision is made.  To criticize the effort before the complete administration is put together and has, at the very least, begun to work in earnest and with the authority to make changes is not only premature but self defeating.

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By prole, November 26, 2008 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

“How else is one to respond to Barack Obama’s picking the very folks who helped get us into this financial mess to now lead us out of it?”?? Depends on who “one” is, s’pose.  If “one” ‘done’ “heatedly challenged Nader in a debate on this very point”, and “one”  voted for Obama “with enthusiasm”, then it looks like “one” at least,  doesn’t have much credibility left (or is it left credibility) to respond to these questions anymore, now does it?  Any “one” that put “his seal of approval” on Obama Copacabana and proffered such intended “decisive help”, however slight, pretty much has to share in the shame. Even if “one” may “hate to admit it”, there’s no way around it, and no point in innocently trying to flip-flop, after the fact. Nader indeed, bless his soul, tried to warn us, and some of us heeded the warning, and for the “ones” that didn’t, they have no one but themselves to blame. And the rest of us have them to blame, as well. Some Obama supplicants even now are desperately clinging to forlorn hopes that it’s not really true, just wait a little longer, and our new messiah, with a wave of his hand, will usher in the secular-humanist new zion, despite those old adviser meanies! Say it ain’t so, St Barack!. “Heck, yes, it is…”  too late now …“for the many of us who responded to his e-mails during the campaign to now challenge our e-mail buddy as to why he suddenly acts as if the interests of Wall Street and Main Street are one and the same.” Heck, you gave him all the power and he can damn well now do whatever he pleases – or, more to the point, whatever his handlers and backroom boys want. He’s not your “buddy” and never was. And he’s not acting “suddenly”, it was leading up to this all along. So for all you ‘illiterate’ ‘progressives’  “who responded to his e-mails during the campaign”.......T.S.!

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By Outraged, November 26, 2008 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As I see it we just have 4 more years of Bush in different packaging. We won’t make it through 2009!

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By rplantz, November 26, 2008 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

Jaki, you are correct about elections, but these changes cannot be made until we restore the definition of “corporation” back to what our founders intended—a legal entity under our control through our government. See my post of 10:51 for some links to learn how corporations gained all the rights and privileges you and I enjoy as persons. The difference is that you and I, as real persons, have conscience; corporations do not.

Since corporations control our elections, they control our government. They provide choices to us, but the choices are like deciding between two appliance brands—they’re both made in the same factory but have different labels on them. Note that corporations invented this branding scheme as a way to increase their profits. Their primary goal is to maximize profit.

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By Lawrence Oswald, November 26, 2008 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I consider myself pretty cynical but y’all make me seem quite moderate. It seems that power corrodes and absolute power corrodes asininely. Right now is not the most auspicious time for radicality. The financial house of cards has lost ONE card (housing), several more (credit cards, car loans and state budgets) are teetering while the big one, China buying our national debt, is questionable. Beware a real crash and the ultimate disaster, loss of electrical power to the internet, with all of us on solar power and bicycle generators in order to drivelize. Recall how absurd the coulterites sounded when they took over. My friends .... don’t go there.

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By Clash, November 26, 2008 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

Eight long years, although really just a short time, is all it took for the disaster shock doctrine to bring this country to its knees. We are still embroiled in the last scripted shock therapy, economics. It has been and will continue to be King george’s part in the play to perform these roles right until the curtain closes. We should not forget how well he played his part with mindless efficiency. It will take far longer to repair the damage done in the name of Milton Friedman. We also should not ignore the warning signs during the transition off power to Berry, but understand that he has not taken the wheel yet and cannot effect on his own any policy.

As citizens we must also spend the some time looking at the liberal congress that has effectively done nothing for the past four years and are proud of it. You see one can not blame the failures of our system off government on just one person; it was WE the People who allowed this to happen by cowering before the rhetoric of 9/11, and all the while our congress in their rush to seem patriotic turned this country over to a tyrant. 
Enacting illegal if not treasonable laws on our behalf with the excuse that they had no time to fully read and understand them, seems to me that that was their job. We have tolerate too many excuses from those who sit in congress and if they were truly patriots they would still be working there this week if they really believed in the bullshit purvey when they are sitting in session. It is my humble opinion that most of the people in congress are not up to the task of leading this country and should be made to understand that they work for us. They need to also understand that we appreciate a good fight as much as winning , to do nothing is a crime what ever the excuse is, and that ethical behavior may ostracize them from their colleagues but may turn out to be the very thing we need now. With that said we need to be bombarding congress with letters, e-mails and yes even phone calls that contain some of the ideas we share here. It only takes a few minutes of the day, it starts with one and then ten and then1000, one could imagine tens of thousands of emails a weak to alternating senators and congresspersons letting them know we still survive , we want representative government and we won’t give up.

To those that post defeatism they have you right were the want you, we more than likely can not stop the privatization of the socialized restructuring of the infrastructure but we can sure as hell keep throwing giant road blocks up, that is if those with crystal ball’s that tell the future are correct.

So until January 21, 2009 I will give Berry the benefit of doubt with regards to his plans and actions. The battle is done but the war is never over

coloradokarl:

You are on the right track any plan Berry presents will need to include green energy, and real tax credits for public and private solar power and NO COAL NO NUKES.

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By Gmonst, November 26, 2008 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

This is what Paul Krugman had to say about the picks Obama has been making.  I trust his judgment more than Mr. Scheer.


“Seriously, isn’t it amazing just how impressive the people being named to key positions in the Obama administration seem? Bye-bye hacks and cronies, hello people who actually know what they’re doing. For a bunch of people who were written off as a permanent minority four years ago, the Democrats look remarkably like the natural governing party these days, with a deep bench of talent.”

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By Folktruther, November 26, 2008 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

The truthers who object to criticizing Obama before he takes office appear to identify with the formal, public, legalistic aspects of the American power system.  He is not the president so you can’t criticize him as if he were.  Becaue he hasn’t formally promoted any policies.

There appears to be a lack of awareness of the relation of appointments to policy.  Advisers and cabinet members are themselves power figures with their own policies.  And those policies must be close to the ones Obama is going to pursue.  If he made an apppointment of Treasurer of someone who advocated nationalizing the banks, he would pursue a different policy than if he appointed someone against significantly regulating them.  As he did.

If he appointed Zionists to positions of power, he would pursue a different policy than if he appointed Palestinians.  If he appointed bankers, his policies would be different than if he appointed union leaders.

His appointments indicate that he is not going deviate significantly from Bushite policies.  So he is operataively a Bushite, despite his intellegnece, talent and Afrcian-American heritage. 

Consequently the Change You Can Believe In was so much electoral bullshit used to con the American people, as McCain was doing.

The people criticizing Obama oppose the Dem-Gop coalition of leaders who are obviously continuing Business As Usual.  If it is change one wants, it is necessary to oppose Business As Usual.  Which means one must oppose Obiden.

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By Gmonst, November 26, 2008 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

I like probably everyone else here, including Mr. Scheer, don’t have a firm grasp of the cause and effect of this financial crisis.  There seems to be a lot of folks who are perfectly comfortable with assigning blame to individuals as having caused this crisis.  I am not so comfortable doing so, since I have no clue.  Especially when none of those people have been part of the administration which has been in power for the last 8 years.  It seems like everyone is now willing to place blame on the Clinton administration.  I don’t doubt that some things done during Clinton’s reign have played into this crisis, but really doesn’t Bush and company deserve some of the blame?  Did the 8 years of non-governance at home and war making abroad contribute nothing to this?  After all they are the one’s who were on watch when this went down and they are still the one’s in charge of the mess.

Somehow there seems to already a shift to place blame on democrats and Obama for this mess as if they had been in power all along.  I find it ironic that many of the Clinton supporters during the democratic primary are back on here trashing Obama’s choices for his economic team, as if Hillary is less of an insider or would have choosen “progressives” whatever that means.  All I know is that people who know about money and markets are usually those who like making money.  Why else would you learn about it in the first place?  This isn’t a fox running a hen house its a money making market and those who like to make money. 

All I can tell from the reports from those who actually have some knowledge is that the people Obama has chosen are known for being pragmatists rather than ideologs.  That to me is a good thing, and represents a change.  I personally want people who know about these complex markets to run them.  Guess what, most of those who study economics and business in school are interested in making money and so they are capitalists.  I am a capitalist and believe that ethical capitalism in the style promoted by Muhammad Yunus can be a driving force in creating a better situation for everyone.

Obama isn’t even president yet, we have yet to see the results of any actions.  I at least will give him the benefit of the doubt.  We came this far, I think the least I can do is be patient for a few months and see what actually unfolds.  Those looking for Obama to instantly completely change the system or destroy the status-quo are going to continue to be disappointed.  However, its my firm belief that those who want honest even handed governance which can allow naturally slow and incremental process of change to occur are going to be happy with that which comes next.

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By Anarpeace, November 26, 2008 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was not shocked; so much buy this election as saddened. I did not vote for McCain or Obama; but I voted Dems in the local/state selections. Some of you demand that I apologize to Mr. Nader. I was a huge critic of Nader; even though I voted for him twice for president—but I only voted for him to trade my vote in swing states.

I resented his followers; I guess when I look back more then, I did Nader., so Mr. Nader, I offer my apology, for my incorrect, and cruel criticism I gave about you, concerning your motives for the left. you were 100% correct about—the fact that we have a one party system.

As a half jew; I feel as though the Middle East issue, is something I will have to research more. As it is now, I cannot support, a Palestine government,  or the Naderites international political point of view, but that is about the only thing we , disagree on.

I am actually shocked, that the Dems would be so in the face; of the liberals on this. My guess it has to be money.—money and fear are the root of all evil; and with the coming financial depression, fear and greed, took over these people and made them into sheep in a new plutocratic and totalitarian form of government.

However, the good news, is that with the coming financial depression, people will naturally ignore the government, simply out of survival.

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By troublesum, November 26, 2008 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

Way to go democrats in congress: http://www.boingboing.net/2008/11/25/bailout-costs-more-t.html

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By Jaki, November 26, 2008 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

Alejandro…wait for what?  Obama HAS spoken and continues to do so, unfortunately from the other side of his mouth.  They are HIS appointees.  What else does he have to say to convince you that you’ve been duped, like the rest of us who dared to think he was telling the truth about change. He didn’t waste a moment, did he, to tell the truth about what KIND of change? Just the faces, not the policies.  Wasn’t quite what we were hoping for.

Kloe 11/26 10:55 A.M. is right on the mark, but I’m not sure the answer is pushing for more parties as the first order of business.  We have to get the money out of elections first; PUBLIC FINANCING, with no outside money allowed, and very strict oversight in the form of a non-partisan civilian structure charged with the most important underpinning of democracy (we can only hope to get there!)—VOTING.
Seems reasonable, doesn’t it?

The entire voting system also has to be revolutionized and de-computerized in order to best provide fairness at the ballot box.  Paper ballots, hand counted more than once.  Doesn’t that seem reasonable for the benefit of the entire population of the country in terms of what is at stake for the rest of our lives?

A National Holiday for voting.  In the middle of the week, so no one can use it for extending their weekends.  This, of course, will require a huge outlay of government funds to expand the opportunities to vote, more polling places, workers, ballots, oversight, etc.  But doesn’t that seem reasonable for what is the most fundamental aspect of having a so-called democracy?

Absolutely no television or other advertising of candidates or anything else that we are voting on.
Many more debates, as well as Town meetings in person and via television, which are free and cannot be charged for by the media.
Prime time and other times of the day.  All channels.  Doesn’t that seem reasonable given that the airways actually belong to The People?

Our elections are a boondoggle for the advertising and media industries. They feed us unfettered, unresearched, sound-bite popularity contest or swiftboat crap and we need to start taking the democratic process more seriously.  If we do, perhaps more people will participate.  In other countries, people vote at rates higher than 90% of the population.

A shorter election time so that people don’t get wiped out by the sheer volume of the barrage…and, of course, tune out.

And, YES, we do need multiple parties and a new representational system whereby each party has proportional (to the vote received) representation, not a winner-take-all result.

This will require a revolution, not just working “within the system.”  The system is completely corrupted, but it is also tightly in control of the Capitalist/Ruling Class Monopoly.  Ralph Nader’s journey to get on the ballot and being sued multiple times by the Democratic Party to keep him off, is but one little clue.

No wonder we reap the rewards of a corpatocracy.  We are being plundered and we are allowing it to happen by our jaded, lazy acceptance of perceived powerlessness.

Consider an 1837 quote from President Jackson when he left office** “Unless you become more watchful in your States and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges, you will in the end find that the most important powers of Government have been given or bartered away, and the control of your dearest interests have been passed into the hands of
these corporations…”
Andrew Jackson, farewell address, 04 March 1837

In case you don’t want to do the math, that was 171 years ago! 

“Change we can believe in?”

Change will come from the bottom up.  Get out there and join something radical!  Radical: Get to the ROOT of the problem.

**Thanks to International Clearing House for the quote (Mailing List [http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1101581137416]

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Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, November 26, 2008 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

re: By marta kaye, November 26 at 6:46 am:

Yes, indeed. And Marta, now that you mention Israel: does anyone know how Israel is weathering the world financial meltdown? Are they having trouble paying for their luxury condos and swimming pools in the West Bank?

And if Israel were experiencing any negative fallout from the current financial crisis, does anyone doubt that they would be demanding additional financial largesse from the US Congress? And does anyone doubt that they would get it, no questions asked?

And does anyone doubt that it would be done very swiftly and quietly, with our press remaining silent on the matter, so as not to embarrass our dear little “ally”?

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By kloe, November 26, 2008 at 11:55 am Link to this comment

To those on this blog who are defending Obama’s appointments and saying others on this blog are attacking him before he’s taking office and we need to give him a chance, etc. etc…, Please read outerman’s comments posted today at 9:40.  They are dead on.  For anyone that voted for either major party you’ve already been played - once again.  When will you learn? 

Here are my comments posted elsewhere on this same site for a different article yet similar subject.  The subject and content apply here just as equally.

As Obama continues to appoint former Clintonites to his administration, its becoming painfully obvious that the same pattern of musical chairs will continue. For everyone who foolishly believed the Democrats were going to really “change” their own dismal past performance as well as somehow be different than their Republican cohorts, here is the proof that this political duopoly will just continue business as usual in order to keep themselves and the corporate elite they work for in power. In another four or eight years it will simply swing back to a newly reinvented Republican party who also will promise “change” and new direction. Once elected back into the majority, they too will simply bring back former Bush administration officials and the revolving door pattern from public government to private corporate lobbyists that so many of these politicial/corporate elite enjoy will continue its sickly cycle. When will the voters learn not to be suckered by the RepubliCrats and get on with demanding real competition and exposure (viable third, fourth and fifth party candidates) from the media conglomerates who fawn over both of these dysfunctional parties and continue to feed us the same old drivel that is just repackaged in slick new public relations campaigns every election cycle.

This was the third time I voted for Ralph Nader. As tempting as it might have been to buy into the Obama hype it was so clear that it was pure nonsense as we are quickly learning by the administrative appointments being made and by simply researching his past voting record. My conscience is clear that I voted for “real change” and for someone who has a “real” track record of truly representing the interests of We The People and actually accomplishing something.

Thank you Ralph Nader and really all of us who see through the daily barrage of propaganda delivered to us in the guise of news from the major media outlets.

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By rplantz, November 26, 2008 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

This country’s founding fathers fought hard to maintain government control over corporations. The fight took a significant turn with Santa Clara vs. Southern Pacific in 1886, which is cited as granting personhood to corporations. (It was actually a court reporter’s error about the case.) Now the corporations control our government. Until this is reversed, We the People are beholden to corporate interests.

For more see http://reclaimdemocracy.org/. Click on “Corporate Personhood”. Ted Nace’s “Gangs of America” and Thom Hartmann’s “Unequal Protection” provide the history.

Nace’s book is available in pdf for free at http://www.californiademocracy.org/corporations/corporations_main.html. Chapter six describes how Tom Scott invented the holding company, which re-invented the corporation and started us down this path.

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By rage, November 26, 2008 at 11:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Look, screw Scheer, Maddow, and all the rest of you naysaying detractors, whining about the sacrifices we’re all about to make, thanks to REAGANOMICS!!! The Magic 8-balls of half these media idiots have yet to call a single thing right, including Scheer’s. So, based on the circumstances, what do these idiots really know? What can they really foretell?

Barack Obama hasn’t even taken oath yet, and has still done more to fix this economic mess than George Dumya over his entire eight year vacation in office. It’s real easy to point the finger of castigation at Obama for picking his team from the Clinton list. Well, last I checked, Big Dog did manage to run a fairly prosperous economy that boasted jobFULLness and a budget surplus.

All of you, STFU!!! Hell, give the brutha a chance to be sworn in before you go crucifying him for making the Presidential effort George Dumya is congitvely incapable of making to save your 401K plan and lower the interest on that mortgage that now outpaces the value of your house by a 3:1 ratio. Hell, Wall Street just happens to an American MAIN STREET! A MAJOR MAIN STREET! If we don’t fix that main street, the other main streets will subsequently cease to exist. Sure, it sucks hugely, but that ain’t Obama’s fault. Unlike George Dumya, who technically is still the pResident, Obama is at least bringing a couple rolls of duct tape to try patching this leak until he takes Office and can fix the plumbing problem.

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By Alejandro, November 26, 2008 at 11:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why would this very politically astute, intelligent President elect, disregared his campaign promises of change you can believe in? What happened to Mainstreet before Wall Street? Or was this guy just blowing smoke? (no pun intended)

He must know, that we know; that the very people he has appointed to his economic advisory team, are some of the very pigs that initiated the economic mess we’re in. More will be revealed on this one.

For now, I will take a wait and see attitude, and I want to hear from Obama himself not his surogates, an explanation as to why these failures should be trusted to fix the fiscal and economic mess they created.

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By Alejandro, November 26, 2008 at 11:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why would this very politically astute, intelligent President elect, disregared his campaign promises of change you can believe in? He must know, that we know; that the very people he has appointed to his economic advisory team, are some of the very pigs that initiated the economic mess we’re in. More will be revealed on this one.

For now, I will take a wait and see attitude and I want the hear from Obama himself not his surogates, an explanation as to why these failures should be trusted to fix the fiscal and economic mess they created.

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By samosamo, November 26, 2008 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

I would hope that congress would be back up to par in their oversight, investigaions and whether to confrim him or her as the case may be for appointed positions but, with pelosi and reid and the noises they make and obama’s pandering to corporations and lobbyists, especially aipac, then I can only hope that the checks and balances with a healthy dose of concerned congressionals that more stable decisions will come forth.
But as a couple have pointed out here and I have at other posts at this sight, obama and his administration are not in power yet; there is still a chance w & dick can pull the plug on the tranfer of power; and for myself, I will see what that first 100 days brings. For now, it was just like that goddamn 2 and 1/2 year start of the presidential campaigning and the wait to see who gets elected, we will all have to wait to see what we really have.

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By craig, November 26, 2008 at 11:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The left is sounding like a bunch of spoiled children. Obama just may be smarter than ya’all. Give him the benefit of the doubt and at least withhold you’re bitter vitriol until he takes office and gives you something to snarl at…You’re proving to be every bit the sore winners that Republicans were.

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By JFoster2k, November 26, 2008 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

For all of the collective intelligence of the people posting here, it is amazing how slanted and stupid the majority of the content is.

Robert,

Reading this made me do a double-take at the by line… I would have sworn it should read “Sean Hannity” or “Bill O’Reilly”.

To the rest of you doomsayers,

Do none of you realize that Bush is our president for another 2 months? Do you even understand what the word “inauguration” means?

Obama is not the president yet! He has no real authority yet! Whatever you may THINK he will do in the future, he has not done it yet, so your criticism and condemnation is beyond premature. It’s simply ridiculous.

If any of you myopic bloggers could see past your hand-picked sound bites you might have heard Obama clearly state a message of unity vs division. THAT is change we can believe in. He also stated that he wants to hear all points of view… especially those he may disagree with, so he can make the the most informed decision possible. THAT is change we can believe in.

To think there is some Obama Magic Wand is naive, but at least give our pres-elect the chance to take office before you crucify him for what he may or may not do!

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By JakesTake, November 26, 2008 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

Dearest naysayers - Let it all play out for a while. All leaders have had to deal with Jefferson’s heart vs. head conundrum. We knew before the election that Obama was a pragmatic man.  We know his appointees are intelligent – and, hopefully, have learned much from their mistakes.  If Greenspan has learned something, these guys have also. And the leader can make a huge difference. You get a good quarterback (Obama may be a Jim Plunkett) and teams, policies, and results can be positively transformed.

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