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Runaway Wall Street

Posted on Feb 4, 2009
Geithner
AP photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner addresses members of the Senate Finance Committee during his Jan. 21 nomination hearing.

It is instructional that only one of the three tax-challenged Obama appointees has survived public scorn to claim a high position in the new administration. Oddly enough, it is Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the man who will collect our taxes, whose career has not been stunted by his failure to pay them.

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What makes Geithner so special? The answer, provided by everyone from the president to the media pundits, is that his services are indispensable because he has the expertise in regulating markets needed to preside over the most massive government intervention in the economy. Are they kidding?

Both in his years in the Clinton Treasury and as chair of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Geithner has been paving the way for a runaway Wall Street. Nor has he changed his ways, as was evidenced once again last week with his appointment of Mark Peterson, a Goldman Sachs vice president and lobbyist, to be his top aide. Peterson had lobbied strenuously for precisely the deregulation that the Obama administration now concedes needs reversing. It was confirmation that Goldman Sachs runs the Treasury Department—no matter which party is in power. 

Last October The New York Times ran a devastating story entitled “The Guys From ‘Government Sachs,’ ” spotlighting the many Goldman Sachs alums operating under the firm’s former head, Henry Paulson, after he was named Treasury secretary. The problem is that Geithner, whom Obama appointed as Paulson’s replacement, was totally enmeshed in Paulson’s handout to Wall Street while chair of the New York Fed. In that capacity, Geithner was intimately involved in the highly questionable negotiations to bail out AIG, in which Goldman had a $20 billion partnership at risk.

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein was present for those rushed and highly guarded weekend meetings, which resulted in an initial $85 billion bailout for AIG and has since grown to $122 billion. As The Times reported, “Mr. Paulson helped select a director form Goldman’s own board to lead AIG.” That decision to save AIG came after the New York Fed, led by Geithner, summarily spurned requests to save Goldman competitor Lehman Brothers. While he opposed Lehman’s attempt to reconstitute as a bank holding company and therefore obtain federal financing, he later supported a similar request by Goldman Sachs.

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Another major player in those machinations was Robert Rubin, who headed Goldman Sachs before becoming Treasury secretary under Clinton and who pushed for the radical deregulation that is at the center of the banking crisis. Geithner was a protégé of Rubin’s in that effort, as was Lawrence Summers, who went on to be Clinton’s Treasury secretary after Rubin moved on to head Citigroup. Regrettably, Summers is now the key White House economics adviser.

Rubin, Geithner and Summers are hell-bent on denying the responsibility of their deregulation initiatives for the economic crisis. But the reality is that the merger of investment and commercial banks with insurance companies and stock brokers was illegal before the approval of their legislation, which reversed the Glass-Steagall Act passed under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. So, too, the newfangled financial instruments were exempted from any government regulation, thanks to the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which Summers got Clinton to sign into law a month before he left office.

The reversal of Glass-Steagall unleashed the robber barons, as was freely conceded by Goldman CEO Blankfein in an interview he gave to The New York Times in June 2007. “If you take an historical perspective,” Blankfein said, gloating back then about the vast expansion of Goldman Sachs, “we’ve come full circle, because that is exactly what the Rothchilds or J.P. Morgan the banker were doing in their heyday. What caused an aberration was the Glass-Steagall Act.”

The “aberration” being the sensible regulation of Wall Street to prevent another depression, which now seems dangerously close at hand. Since Glass-Steagall was repealed in 1999, Goldman Sachs experienced a 265 percent growth in its balance sheet, totaling $1 trillion in 2007.

What we need is an honest accounting of how we got into this mess, beginning with an investigation of the role of Goldman Sachs as the most insidious Wall Street player. But we are not likely to get that from an administration populated by Goldman’s Washington allies.

On Tuesday, new Attorney General Eric Holder assured Wall Street that “We’re not going to go out on any witch hunts.” But what if the once-celebrated financial wizards, still allowed to dominate our economic policies, are indeed wicked witches?


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By KDelphi, February 7, 2009 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment

Folk—I see…

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By Folktruther, February 7, 2009 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

No, what I meant, KDelphi, was that Citibank, like your credit union, repaid the money, so in that respect there is no difference between commercial banks and credit unions.

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By KDelphi, February 7, 2009 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment

Wow, it seems that credit unions interest people alot. I dont really know much about them. Just belonged to one when working for state and county govts.

I am sorry to hear that Folks wife was ripped off, by the now citibank (which we have now bought—-they should give her her money back!), but,was it a credit union?? Was citibank a credit union at one time? I honestly wouldnt know.

My money was taken by someone who had seen me take money out, and saw the password—-they were addicted to opiates. I had to testify against them to get my money back. At least they got off dope and, didnt go to a “real” prison.

It was awful all the way around. They have since paid me back even though I told them that the credit union had replaced the money ($1200). I lost my membership a few years ago for only leaving $50 in there, which they had said was enough to keep it open. (They had better interest rates than a tradtional bank at the time). It was closed for “inactivity”. And that is what I know about credit unions!

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By Folktruther, February 7, 2009 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi, My wife, who does not understand or want to understand the business world, and who believes what business people tell her to an astonsihing degree, becuase she is herself very honest, was swindled in an internet scheme out of a thousnad dollars, as I remember.  Citibank replaced it.  So this does not distuinghish credit uniions from cmmercial banks.

Electing a borad of trustees tends to develop into personality favortism more than policy promotion, and most people don’t know ro care who the trustees are.  There has to be a firmer method of rand and file control if policies are to make any difference.

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By FiftyGigs, February 7, 2009 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

A small correction, KDelphi.

Credit unions are not “non-profit”. They are “not-for-profit”. They do exist to make money. The profit they make is not given to stockholders (cutting out the customers), but is meant to benefit all members of the credit union in the form of lower interest loans and higher interest dividends.

Generally, that’s true. You can almost universally get better deals from credit unions, the possible exception being the monolithic banks which, like Walmart, can absorb losses in one area by making them up somewhere else ... in another region of the country or another product line.

Anarcissie is correct about the election of the board. It does make them different from banks and it gives them a different business orientation. Maybe only slightly different, but definite. You can see that in some of the legislative battles the banking lobby initiates against credit unions, always trying to marginalize and minimize them.

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By Anarcissie, February 7, 2009 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

KDelphi—in the U.S. or anywhere else, only the poor pay for things because they do almost all the work and have the least power.  If you wrote the tax laws differently, this would still be the case, because new wealth is produced only by labor.  If there were going to be rich people under the new laws, they would have to find a way of raking off some of that wealth to pay the new taxes, and they would, because raking off is their métier.

It is true that credit unions are not much different from banks.  They are, however, under the control of the people who use them, so if there is a problem with the behavior of the banks toward their customers, that would seem to be the solution.  If there’s no problem, of course, then we might as well leave things as they are.  But I had heard there was some kind of problem.

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By KDelphi, February 6, 2009 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

There are ALL kinds of “credit unions”, but, for the most part, they are considered to be “non-profit”...but, as we can see, there are alot of 501’s these days that claim to be non-profit, that make alot of money. Just check online—-there are all kinds of “instrucitons” as to how to get your organization classified as a 50- c, etc.

Only poor people pay taxes, in the uS.

I’ve used a credit union, and, it seems the same as a bank, excpept, when I was robbed, via ATM card, they put my money back in….

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By Anarcissie, February 6, 2009 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther:
<i>’... We have to consider the possiblity that coperatives in their present form may be too much trouble for most people.  How then could they be structure to allow members to assert communal control? ...’</b>

The form of representative democratic control (e.g., the membership elects a board of directors) might often be sufficient to motivate the credit union’s officers to treat the members/depositors/customers well.  This would be true of all cooperatives.

It is true that it is a certain amount of trouble to partipate in the business of a cooperative, but the alternative is control by exploitive bureaucracies, corporate or governmental.

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By blogdog, February 6, 2009 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment

RE:This man [Geitner]  had oversight of a market twice the size of the U.S. economy. Can he now be trusted with your retirement money?

Geithner’s Silent Crisis
http://www.gamingthemarket.com/2009/01/geithners-silent-crisis.html

There it is. Nobody knows how big this Derivatives Bubble really is - numerically speaking, could rival the known universe. Geitner, Summers, Volker, Rubin, et al, are now charged with the mission of re-inflating this spurious, nefarious, multi-layered, labyrinthine global pyramid scheme, the collapse of which is verging on laying waste the economy’s of the entire world; re-inflating it just long enough to allow for all their cronies a safe bailout and descent to that welcoming beach on Grand Cayman.

Obama’s mission is to smoke up Left Cover and draw fire as a “Commie” while the insiders finish the job. It’s all down hill from here.

Appears more and more every day like there will be blood. Where’s Robespierre when you need him? Where are the attorneys?

INVESTIGATE - INDITE - PROSECUTE - EXECUTE!

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By KDelphi, February 6, 2009 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

It is not like nationalizing the banks has only been done by totalitarian states. It has worked, in full or partial, in many countries, which have economies, as far as per capita income, that put the uS to shame. What we are “doing” is NOT “working”!

http://seekingalpha.com/article/116160-does-full-nationalization-of-banks-matter

From Steve Waldaman of Seeking Alpha:

“Failing to exclude old shareholders from a post-recapitalization bank results in a transfer of wealth from taxpayers to shareholders in proportion to the degree to which they i) invest in “too big to fail” banks, and ii) encourage management to understate asset impairments in their books. Those are really bad incentives.

By eliminating private shareholders entirely, full nationalization permits regulators to “do what needs to be done”, to restructure the firm without having to hew to a fiduciary duty of profit maximization in designing the new structure. Full nationalization limits the ability of shareholders to extract windfalls from taxpayers by becoming “too big or interconnected to fail”. Finally, full nationalization makes it possible to value assets ruthlessly, thereby eliminating market uncertainty about whether a bank is really fixed. Either to maximize their share of a recapitalized firm or to maximize the subsidy in a “toxic asset” purchase, legacy shareholders will always insist on optimistic asset values. But getting past a banking crisis requires working from an assumption of extremely pessimistic values.”

What the US did with TARP, just nationalizes the debt, while keeping assets private!

Nordbanken, of Sweden, was already 77% nationalized—but, the govt taking on the entire bank, in many peoples’ opinion, is what made the Swedish ecoinonmy what it is today. At the rate we are going, we are headed more towards Austria’s economy—-which is great, if you are rich…Here is a post from a Swede who was around when it happened.


“The crisis continued. We had to make a big quick fix for Nordbanken. However, it was soon clear that the quick fix was not enough. So we decided to nationalize the bank and recapitalize it. Nordbanken was very large, as its asset base equaled 23 percent of GDP. The initial cost of recapitalizing Nordbanken equaled 3 percent of GDP. A few years later we were able turn it around at a profit for the taxpayers and that transaction, more or less, paid for the banking crisis.

The restructuring of Nordbanken was really important in that it served as a showcase for the rest of our work. It demonstrated the government’s determination to address and resolve the crisis and it helped us to gain respect…”

The UK Independent’s economists are , many, calling of the uK to ‘bite the bullet and nationalize”. I think that we are just putting off the inevitable, so that the govt can soak the working class for more money.(the govt already owns 66% of RBS in the UK, and, will eventually natinalize—-the UK people wil insist on it)
WHY do you not want to OWN what you have BOUGHT??!!

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By Folktruther, February 6, 2009 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

Let us know, Anarcissie, what government constraints there are on cooperatives.

I have to say that I belonged to credit unions but they don’t seen any different than banks.  And I’ve belonged to unions and less than a few percent of union members attend meetings.  I have the feeling that cooperatives would degenerate in the same way, that a few committed members would donminate the policies, due to general indifference.

We have to consider the possiblity that coperatives in their present form may be too much trouble for most people.  How then could they be structure to allow members to assert communal control?

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By Anarcissie, February 6, 2009 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

yours truly:
‘Communal forms of banking, education & health care aren’t popular?  In what universe is this.  Credit Unions are so popular that a few years ago a Republican Congress passed a bill restricting membership.  As for education where else but in public institutions (K-12 & up) are most Americans educated.  As for health care & Social Security, these are referred to as the third rail of American politics, meaning that politicians mess with them at their own peril.’

I will have to check out the law about credit unions you mention.  I have suspected that there are important political constraints on them, but I’m not sure what they are.  There does not seem to be any public pressure to get the constraints removed, in any case.

The schools and Social Security are not communal: they are run by governments, and political control and influence upon them is being increasingly passed to higher and more remote levels of bureaucrats and politicians.  Much of what happens in and to the schools is now determined by the Federal government.  This is often hailed as “progress” by those who call themselves progressives.

In the realm of health care, I have often suggested that medical insurance companies and HMOs could be organized as cooperatives, instead of as exploitive capitalist enterprises or a government bureaucracy.  My suggestions have evoked no interest whatever as far as I know, much less provoked any action.  Instead, the idea of transferring the administration of payment for medical services from corporate bureaucrats to federal bureaucrats has become an obsession and no one who desires any sort of change can think of anything else.

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By M.B.S.S., February 6, 2009 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

i tend to share anarcissie’s distrust of public and private buearocracies and yours truly’s faith in communal institutions in general.  its a delicate balance but we need to come together and assume our power and responsiblity.  the problem is anytime an institution is established then buearocracy comes along with it and it becomes its own entity with desires to grow and to avoid death.  some bueaurocracy is unavoidable, just make sure to keep a good eye on its efficiency or lackthereof.

anarcissie is right about the lack of motivation for the vast majorities of people to engage fully in communal ventures but enthused minorities show they can be tremendously successful.  maybe the current state of affairs is a kick in the ass of the sleepwalking masses.  maybe we cant afford to not be engaged in the world around us anymore?

what if political service was just that, service.  what if you or i took our turn performing our civil duty and for a relatively short term functioned as a cog in our local, state, or federal government.  the money and prestige would be stripped away, aside from the pride inherent in knowing that you were serving your community, nation, and self by representing your area.  if our current politicians were employed in any other SERVICE business they would be fired for crap customer service.  imagine senators as a waitress.  “i ordered hashbrowns but you gave me oatmeal.  now you’re telling me to keep my mouth shut and just eat the oatmeal because thats what i really want?”

but i digress.

communal projects may seem daunting to those of us having a hard enough time looking out for #1.  but maybe the reason that is the case is exactly because we havent spent enough time looking out each other first.  combined we are much more than the sum of our parts.  we will need this extra strength to deal with the challenges we have in front of us.

early in the comments whyzowl was whipping up the revolutionary zeal and eventually the inevitable question was raised:  we talk a lot, but what should we do?

i have a couple of ideas.  first off how is it that issues that large majorities of the population agree on are dissmissed by our political leaders, and they proceed to do the exact opposite thing?  did you sit by in impotent outrage as the first tranche of the bailout was passed?  did you write letters to your representatives as i did?  i found myself as a strange bedfellow of people that i never seem to agree with any other situation.  yet here we were yelling in unison to no avail. 

id love a powerful show of force across political lines on issues where we mostly all agree.  there are a few of them.  put washington d.c. in check. let them know who is really in charge.  remember, we have simply abdicated our power.  they have not stripped it from us.  take it back.

second thought.  lets not dismiss what we are already doing.  everything that is built begins first as an idea, beomes a word, and eventually is made manifest.  think it, speak it, do it.  just sending our revolutionary thoughts into the nooshphere spreads the seeds.  in fact we are already in the speak it stage.  now all we have to do is Do It.

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By gamingthemarket, February 6, 2009 at 1:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great summation on Geithner!  I discovered some of his weasel-like behavior last year while the Fed finalized a monopoly over the derivatives market.

This man had oversight of a market twice the size of the U.S. economy. Can he now be trusted with your retirement money?

Geithner’s Silent Crisis
http://www.gamingthemarket.com/2009/01/geithners-silent-crisis.html

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By danny quintana, February 5, 2009 at 11:05 pm Link to this comment

Nothing GS does should be surprising. The explosion in oil prices last July has GS fingerprints all over it. They went out and bought calls last year at this time. Then they “predicted” $150.00 oil. Their good buddies in Israel immediately and on script announced they were going to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, knowing this would ramp up ire of the nutcases who unfortunately are in power in Iran. The Iranians basically were up for the challenge and said “bring it”. All of this tension made the world’s favorite sponsors of terrorism, the Saudis smile as the price of oil continued to climb. The Russians and the Chavez smiled as the higher the price of oil, the greater their consolidation on power. Unfortunately, GS and their oil producing allies completely miscalculated. The last thing the already weaked economy needed was high oil prices coupled with a collasping housing market, and GS’s creative financial instruments, i.e., credit derivative swaps starting to explode.

Had GS, and their friends not been engaged in very dangerous and greedy financial derivatives, upping the price of oil and behind the scenes work on bailing out bad billionaires, we would not be in the current economic mess we face today.

GS should be investigated for fraud, price fixing and even racketeering. It was a big mistake to bail them and their Wall Street friends out of the mess they were instrumental in creating.

As the song goes, look at the new boss, same as the old boss. If you were to do a careful examination of the bank accounts of Congressmen and Senators who voted to transfer all of the bad risks from Wall Street to Main Street, you will find off shore payments from major investment banking firms. In this rape of the taxpayers and you will probably find GS prints on the payments.

Cheers,

Danny Quintana

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By Ted Swart, February 5, 2009 at 10:26 pm Link to this comment

To Fadel Abdullah:

What a fascinating contribution to this discussion. Many of us feel that fixing the current economic/financial fiasco needs much more radical action than what is currently being contemplated (which is simply more of the same). But never before have I heard anyone suggest that the situation can never be fixed without the demise of Wall Street.
This is probably an unfair and very hypothetical question. But how would you be feeling now if your $70K had turned into $140?  I suspect it would not have changed your view one iota. 
As a modification of your extremely radical and presumably defensible position one could argue that the amount of borrowed money should never exceed more than a small percentage of what we already have.
What should certainly frighten all of us is that the collapse of the economic system arises as much as anything from a massive excess of borrowed money and the proffered solution farcically claims that, in order to get things back on track, the government needs to lend yet more non existent money.  That is surely both illogical and immoral.

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By blogdog, February 5, 2009 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment

RE: ...some seventy-thousand dollars in stocks, a precious little hard-earned money that was wiped out during the last stock crash before the current one.

Hence, based on my personal experience, which started as a poetic revelation and gut feeling, I am convinced now that “Wall Street” is a domestic enemy of the “main street” that must be eliminated.

Too bad you didn’t use your $70k to publish your poetic musings - perhaps best done in your native language, as it’s so well confirmed that Americans don’t need art, only celebrities.

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By yours truly, February 5, 2009 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Communal forms of banking, education & health care aren’t popular?  In what universe is this.  Credit Unions are so popular that a few years ago a Republican Congress passed a bill restricting membership.  As for education where else but in public institutions (K-12 & up) are most Americans educated.  As for health care & Social Security, these are referred to as the third rail of American politics, meaning that politicians mess with them at their own peril.  Yes, there may be bureaucratic problems but nothing like what afflict their corporate counterparts, not to mention the complete lack of transparency of privatized banking & health care.  As for popular involvement, that’s not even an afterthought in the world of privatized banking and health care.  Power to the people!

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By Fadel Abdallah, February 5, 2009 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

With two threads on Truthdig about Wall Street, this is my opportunity to tell the story of my poetic and philosophical hate for this unhealthy entity.
Since I became aware of Wall Street and stock markets thirty years ago, I always had this strange feeling of discomfort about this entity and what it stands for. First, it was a linguistic discomfort with what I thought was a misnomer about combining the word “wall” with the word “street.” I always thought that “street” is a word that conveys a positive meaning of freedom and openness, where humans, animals and cars can walk and travel relatively freely embracing open nature. On the other hand, the word “wall” conveys the poetic negative of a closed space, designed either to keep certain people out, erect barriers between people, or a closed dark place where evil things can be schemed.

First, I thought this entity was named after a person by the name of “Wall” who had a prominent establishment in that “Street.” Later, I learned a little about the background of the name as explained in the following piece:

“The name of the street derives from the fact that during the 17th century, Wall Street formed the northern boundary of the New Amsterdam settlement. In the 1640s basic picket and plank fences denoted plots and residences in the colony.[3] Later, on behalf of the Dutch West India Company, Peter Stuyvesant, in part using African slaves,[4] led the Dutch in the construction of a stronger stockade. A strengthened 12-foot (4 m) wall [5] of timber and earth was created by 1653 fortified by palisades.[5][3] The wall was created, and strengthened over time, as a defense against attack from various Native American tribes, New England colonists, and the British. In 1685 surveyors laid out Wall Street along the lines of the original stockade.[5]” (from Wikipedia)

The information quoted above confirmed my worst fears about this entity, since it confirmed that it was an institution originating in the dark era of colonialism and exploitation. Then I started to feel a poetic hatred for this entity as partly responsible for the horrors of the annihilation of the Native Americans and the exploitation of the black slaves. Furthermore, I started thinking about the people who work on Wall Street as a bunch of ugly idol-worshipers who worshiped mammon, money and greed-driven profits to the exclusion of the One God.

Then came the final revelation, when, thanks to the pressure of a greedy brother-in-law, I made the serious mistakes of investing some seventy-thousand dollars in stocks, a precious little hard-earned money that was wiped out during the last stock crash before the current one.

Hence, based on my personal experience, which started as a poetic revelation and gut feeling, I am convinced now that “Wall Street” is a domestic enemy of the “main street” that must be eliminated. And as long as this entity exists, America will continue to be visited by NEMESIS, the goddess of retribution, who punishes human transgression of the natural, right order of things and the arrogance, greed and worship of mammon that cause it.

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By Anarcissie, February 5, 2009 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

Public ownership of banking, finance—and education, health, and many other things—has been available in the form of cooperatives (credit unions, in the case of banking) for many years.

Most people don’t seem to be very interested in them.

Looking to public ownership by the national government, however, is simply trading one remote elite for another.  One can expect to observe many of the same problems.  Some of the problems, like lack of concern for the consumers, clients, patients, victims, or whatever word is appropriate, may be even worse when the problem-makers are Civil Service bureaucrats rather than corporate bureaucrats because the former are generally more secure in their jobs and harder to, shall we say, motivate.

The only way any kind of socialism, in the sense of public or worker ownership of the means of production, can work is if the people actively concern themselves with its operation.  Trading a corporate master for a government master is not likely to automatically improve anything.

But I guess I’ve said that before a few dozen times.

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By TAO Walker, February 5, 2009 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

What “the power elite” already know all too well, and the “huddled masses” are being kept as much as possible from realizing, is that ALL of their long-time gods are no longer satisfied anymore merely with a steady diet of industrial-strength Human sacrifice strung-out over hundreds of Human generations.  Today those un-dead entities are become ravenous, demanding ever larger and more frequent servings of Human misery….spiced-up now with buckets of abject terror, rather than only the “historic” ladles of chronic induced fear.

So the plutoligarchy does what it can to shovel more and more of their arbitrarily designated “inferiors” into the gaping maw, putting-off a little longer (they “HOPE,” stupidly) their own inevitable passage into its bottomless gut.  Domesticated Humans who want to escape this fate have only to make their bite-sized, heavily-processed “selfs” unpalatable, even toxic, to their voracious tormentors.  They can do that by re-ORGAN-izing into the given Natural FORM of Humanity within the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth.  Our Lakotah cousins call it the Tiyoshpaye Way.

Not unexpectedly, doing so will also solve every single one of the ideological, institutional, and electro-mechanical “problems” now plaguing “civilized individuals” to-death.  It is Earth Herself who is responding to attempted rape, ruin, and murder (at the hell-bent “hands” of those among Her Human Children who’ve succumbed to domestication), by bringing all their dreams of CONquest, comfort, and CONvenience to the NOTHING they’ve always really been.

She is completely unconcerned with all this abstract nonsense like CONstitutional CONventions (They had one of those double-CONs in “Montana” a few years ago, to no good end.), “power,” “security,” “individual IDentity,” religion, “global economy,” and-on-and-on-and-on, ad nauseum.  There’ll be no place in Her scheme-of-things for those who are obsessed with such self-generated self-serving make-believe.

Those here who persist in thinking they can somehow “manage” to pervert Her Purification to their own selfish and homocentric purposes are deep in denial.  “Civilized” Humans are even now entering the “furnace” that will re-FORM them into something WE CAN ALL GO ON LIVING WITH.  Good thing some of us surviving Savages know what that looks like….more important, how it ACTS.

There is a Way OUT of your self-inflicted predicament, tame Sisters and Brothers, but it won’t be found in any mere rearrangement of the ideological/institutional/technological “furniture” of your captivity….or in simply “CHANGE”-ing the guards.  You must emerge from the smothering cocoons of your helpless synthetic “selfs,” and come together as mature Peoples fulfilling the organic function of Humanity within the great Song ‘n’ Dance of Life herownself.

All your kid-stuff just ain’t gonna cut-it anymore.

Hokahey!

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By Clash, February 5, 2009 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

The valiant Kyrgys are just selling out to the highest bidder. The Russians though promise to back the US up in the war on terrorism.

More bread , more circus please.

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By yours truly, February 5, 2009 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We Need Public Ownership Of Banking & Finance?

“Why?”

“Profit-making social service* is an oxymoron.”

“Based on?”

“Greed.”

*including, among others, health care & education

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By Anarcissie, February 5, 2009 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

There is a lot of dissatisfaction with the current scheme of things but no agreement among the dissatisfied as to what ought to replace it.  Hence, there is no focus around which a political movement might form.  When some sort of issue does emerge—as has recently been the case with imperialism and the malfunctions of finance capitalism—the issue has easily been coopted by a mainstream party which then does nothing but perpetuate and exacerbate the problem.  I don’t think this is going to change any time soon.  I have noticed other purported agents of change, for example the World Social Forum, gravitating toward established-order bureaucracy.

It is for this reason I favor local activities which, although strictly non-violent, are radical, that is, pursuing fundamental change, in intent, such as Food Not Bombs.  I think we may also see a resurgence of housing appropriation, that is, squats, again on a local level.

When we find out how to do whatever we’re doing locally, we can take it up to the next level.  There will be no revolution from on high: it is one more thing that won’t trickle down.

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By whyzowl1, February 5, 2009 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

Folktruther,

The thrust of elite manipulation has been to turn us into spectators of our own lives, and that’s the thinking (or, more accurately, non-thinking) we see reflected on these boards and in the “blogosphere” in general. It’s just the white noise of people who don’t matter because they refuse to do what it would take to matter—act.

It’s an acute observation that approximately 97 percent of most people’s mental effort is devoted to coming up with reasons why they don’t have to do something. We have to overcome our own inertia and prod our brothers and sisters to do the same—to have, as Ralph Nader puts it, a civic life.

In second and third world countries that we tend to look down on, people spontaneously form sweeping political movements that win first local then national power within a few short years. Do you mean to tell me they can do it and we can’t?

The problem is, we’re too busy watching television (Our Master’s Voice) or fine-tuning our meaninless opinions (meaningless because they do not lead to action) online—what Neil Postman has referred to as “amusing ourselves to death”—to do what they, with a fraction of the resources we have at our fingertips, do all the time: ORGANIZE. There’s no substitute for talking to one person at a time, to holding living room teach-ins with a handful of people, to doing the hard work of holding fundraisers for the party, and etc., etc.

There’s no profit in sitting around complaining about “what they’re doing to us.” We need to build our own power that makes THEM afraid of just what the hell WE’RE about to DO to THEM. We need a real opposition party in this country that will take it in a more democratic and egalitarian direction, and nothing good is going to happen until we do just that.

And there’s no excuse for not getting to work on it—NOW. As Chris Hedges, among others, has been trying to warn us, the current political vacuum caused by the collapse of the prevailing economic paradigm is going to be filled somehow, by something. And it’s for sure that if we don’t get off our collective asses and fill it ourselves, we aren’t going to like what does. Heil Petraeus!

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By Folktruther, February 5, 2009 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

Good point, Blogdog.  Since the US learned and mass media is so restricted by power, radical ideas are being imported from the rest of the world.  Restricted of course by US immigration laws.

Political ideas and actions are spread by imitation.  As Europe and Latin America dsengage from US domination, ideas that detail the brutality, barbarism, injustice and corruption of Amereican power will cross the oceans and land mass.  And will eventually buggle up in other countries as well.

So Turkey is changing its view on Zionism and the valiant Kyrgyzs are kicking a US airbaise out of its country.  The rot that begins at the heads of power iw being purified from the bottom up, all over the world.  Americans eventually will identify with this new truth and value consneus that is being born historically.  And replace the pathological megalomania that now rules us.

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By blogdog, February 5, 2009 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

RE: But how do we get this to happen?

It’ll happen everywhere else in the world before it happens here. Even as we bounce this around they’re rioting in Europe and and have doing doing so for sometime in the 3rd world.

What, you didn’t hear? Of course not, why would the US corpse-media want to rouse anyone from its nonstop programmed infotainment distraction.

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/112387/riots_spread_in_europe:_how_long_till_they_break_out_in_the_u.s./

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090202_its_not_going_to_be_ok/?ln

http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affairs/Security-Watch/Detail/?lng=en&id=95684

http://www.thestar.com/News/World/article/552544

http://www.topix.com/forum/world/australia/TT42TO4HQNE8CBRKN

BTW, this is not my knee flexing to a tap below the cap. It’s a serious recommendation: Battery Park in Lower Manhattan - perfect staging ground for La Place de la Concord redux!.

Oh. too gruesome? OK, certainly there are plenty enough underemployed lawyers, anxious to make their bones. Use the law. INVESTIGATE, IDITE, PROSECUTE, EXECUT!

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By Ted Swart, February 5, 2009 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

To Whyzowl1:

You may be 100% correct when you say:

” I was hoping to see at least one rational reaction to Mr. Sheer’s column, but nope, nada. IMHO, the only sensible thing to do is form our own political party, take over the country, and nail these power elite scumbags to the wall (figuratively speaking, of course). All of these splenetic outbursts, or faux “reasonable” inside-the-box responses are getting us exactly nowhere. There’s only one “solution” for what ails us: seize power! Let the currently mighty tremble and never stop looking over their shoulders and listening—for us! Wake up; the Democrats are Judas Goats. Into the ashbin of history with both of the elite’s parties! Let the revolution of the ballot, not the bullet, begin now!”

But how do you or anyone else get this to happen?

The only person who came close to achieving this in recent history was Ross Perot.  Despite his flaws the one thing about him which was indisputable was that he would have shaken the current entrenched tweedle dumb and tweedle dee two party system to its foundations.  And that is ideed excatly what is needed.

But how do we get this to happen?

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By Kashilinus, February 5, 2009 at 9:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama has installed the foxes to run the hen house, as it were. Look forward to a mass recantation, reciting, after Obama, “I screwed up.”

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By Folktruther, February 5, 2009 at 4:13 am Link to this comment

Whyzowl- the problem with the revolution of the ballot is that the ruling class’s money, media, and management controls the electoral system.  And a mass revolution is never a revolution of the bullet.  It is a collapse of mainstream power whose senturies are replaced by the sentries of the people.
Almost no people were killed in the Feburary revolution in Russia and less were killed in the October.  The counter revolution in the Soviet Union, initiated by a form of disguised class struggle, involved very little bloodshed.

The population can only shrug off an oppresive power structure by uniting against them, and this is a historical struggle. The American population has been fragmented and disunited to allow the power strucure to divide and rule.  It must be united, and this can only be done by common ideas.

We do not possess those ideas.  I think they will arise out of the right’s libertarian freedom and the left’s socialist equality, but this unity must be forged over historical time.

And ideas are by no means enough.  Changing ideas is very different than changing society.  The people’s institutins: unions, schools, media, political orgnaizations, etc have been destroyed or coopted by power.  Somehow they must be rebuilt or replaced.  We don’t know how.  We need new pratical ideas as well as new theory.  We have a long way to go before we hold a new Constitutional Convention under article 5 of the American constitution, and transform the American power system.

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By racetoinfinity, February 5, 2009 at 1:42 am Link to this comment

I recognized, with acute disappointment, that the (disastrous) economic song would remain the same, when Obama brought Robert Rubin acolytes Summers and Geithner onto his team last November.

We need progressive pressure on Obama!  For those who still have stars in their eyes about him, read Robert Scheer’s post again and take a clearer look!

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By whyzowl1, February 5, 2009 at 1:16 am Link to this comment

I read all the comments down to the bottom, so now I’ll add a brief comment of my own.

I was hoping to see at least one rational reaction to Mr. Sheer’s column, but nope, nada. IMHO, the only sensible thing to do is form our own political party, take over the country, and nail these power elite scumbags to the wall (figuratively speaking, of course). All of these splenetic outbursts, or faux “reasonable” inside-the-box responses are getting us exactly nowhere. There’s only one “solution” for what ails us: seize power! Let the currently mighty tremble and never stop looking over their shoulders and listening—for us! Wake up; the Democrats are Judas Goats. Into the ashbin of history with both of the elite’s parties! Let the revolution of the ballot, not the bullet, begin now!

Can I get a witness?

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By Jon, February 4, 2009 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We’ve witnessed a terrorist attack on America by bankers and Wall Street.  And nothing happens, except that the terrorists are handed about 8 trillion dollars so far as a reward. The thugs who did this should be in Gitmo right now, not at their parties to celebrate victory over the American people.

If Americans cannot see that this country has been financially attacked and looted, with Congress’s approval, then well, we got what we deserved.

If I were a neocon watching how timid America has been over this, I’d take special note that I could foment anything and Americans would take it.

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By Virginia777, February 4, 2009 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment

“The SEC is non-functional and harmful to the reputation of the U.S. as a global financial leader”

“the SEC is ... captive to the industry it regulates”

“The SEC was never capable of catching Mr. Madoff. He could have gone to $100 billion without being discovered”

—Harry Markopolos

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By Ted Swart, February 4, 2009 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment

For mill:

How do we know that Geithner is in any way reformed?

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By Jeff Moore, February 4, 2009 at 6:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There’s a class of people who rule within every country and higher class that also rule across national boundaries through mega corporations. They often fight bitterly among themselves but will come together across their own battle lines to fight us, rob us, and help us remain divided.
Obama’s win still represents a small gain. There won’t be a change in class structure, but whites voted for a black with a funny name that reminds me of “the terrorists” names, and the vote was to a large extent a demand.
Obama of course can’t meet that demand and please his paymasters at the same time. So, it’ll be a variation on business as usual, but a bangup time for organizing against business as usual. 
Many across the world recognize that the criminals being appointed are roughly the same grouping as the ones who guided us into this mess.
No use hating them personally, and every reason to pose an economic alternative.
A political economy that rewards exploitation above all other concerns will produce Geithners and Freidmans by the truckload if it finds them necessary.
We will produce MLK’s, Trotskys, and Che’s because underlying these folks is the common notion that the bottom should also be the top. As King said: “We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power”.

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By mill, February 4, 2009 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

If Mr. Obama ran government like Mr Bush did, I too would be worried - Bush would hand off a problem then assume he solved it - absent any followup or adult supervision of any kind. 

Mr. Obama seems to have much more sense than Mr. Bush.  And the reality is, if you’re not among the biggies on Wall Street, you probably don’t know enough to regulate them either.  Nothing like a reformed sinner (Geitner is required to be a REFORMED sinner here)  to keep an eye on the as yet unreformed sinners in BOA, AIG and elsewhere

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By KDelphi, February 4, 2009 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

When I had miscalculated a tax refund, years ago, I had to BORROW money to pay it back with interest. They wouldnt even let me make payments.

If I had not paid it back, I wouldve gone to prison.

If I recieve “aid” from the govt, I first have to dispense with all assets. If I say that I was “mistaken” about the assets, or, I “miscalucualte” I have to pay it back with interest. I might go to prison.

Its not all that difficult to figure out what should happen.

Why even talk of Wall St “making bonuses reasonable”??  These people broke the law. They knew exactly what they were doing.

Being immoral doesnt make you stupid.

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By troublesum, February 4, 2009 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

Geitner and Volker both said today that wall street will need hundreds of billions more in bailout money.  This time people should revolt and say no to more bailouts.  Hopefully there will be even bigger protests this time around.

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By joe, February 4, 2009 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

lets not pay taxes like the high flying crooks

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By troublesum, February 4, 2009 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

Send an email to Obama’s website asking why the secretary of the treasury doesn’t have to pay taxes.

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By troublesum, February 4, 2009 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

The Wall St Journal said last summer that an Obama administration would be Bush’s third term, so here we are.  Not enough people were paying attention.  Obama’s treasury department is full of crooks.  People should demand that Geitner resign because of non payment of taxes.  Obama said today that there should not be even the appearence of double standards.  So what is he waiting for.  Geitner should go.  Why did Obama have one standard for Daschle and another for Geitner?

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By suggestions4obama.com, February 4, 2009 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While I believe less is more when it comes to government intervention, on this issue I wholeheartedly agree that income and perks should be limited for those who participate in the bailout until the money has been repaid. A good start but It’s time to do more. How about the stocks and other options that could easily add up to millions of dollars?

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By prole, February 4, 2009 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

“On Tuesday, new Attorney General Eric Holder assured Wall Street that ‘We’re not going to go out on any witch hunts’” -which is exactly why he is A. G. Another corporate Uncle Tom who’s learned how to serve ‘da Man and has been made a ‘positive example’ of, by his grateful masters. And so “what if the once-celebrated financial wizards, still allowed to dominate our economic policies, are indeed wicked witches?” - then they will, of course, be welcomed into Obama’s new Democratic whorehouse with open arms. At least corporate pimp Obama is consistent - they’re not going to ‘go out on any witch hunts’ to finger any of the perpetrators of torture and terror in foreign affairs over the past years, either.  “What we need is an honest accounting of how we got into this mess, beginning with an investigation of the role” of just about everyone among the ruling elites and their courtiers. “But we are not likely to get that from an administration populated by” thugs and con men. What we really need, of course, is a few guillotines, but that’s even less likely. All of this by now is a very old story, it’s been hashed and re-hashed too many times to require iteration. The crooks and cutthroats in high places get away scot free every time and the public stands by helplessly in impotent rage, powerless to do anything about it. Nonetheless, you can’t help but be a little indignant to have this sadly familiar saga waved in your face once again by someone with the damn gall of Scheer, who voted for Obama Copacabana with “enthusiasm”. You have nobody but yourself, and your political soulmates to blame Robert

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By RdV, February 4, 2009 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

Sooner or later—lately, sooner than ever, the bottom will fall out. How could it be otherwise since their denial has a shelflife.
What will they do then? Blame the terrorists?

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By Ted Swart, February 4, 2009 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

Unless Mr no change more of the same Geithner follows in the footsteps of the other honourable tax cheats and resigns—which he almost certainly wont do—there will be no change of any kind let alone “change you can believe in”.

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By William W. Wexler, February 4, 2009 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

Geithner is just another player in the conga-line of insiders that Obama is dancing into our government.  The public is supposed to believe the rationale that this is part of the post-partisan era, where we are to park our progressive ideals somewhere outside the Capitol and take the Compromise Express into the new land where up is down, right and left are the same, and crap is the currency of discussion.

The basic problem has yet to be defined so how can a solution possibly be developed?  We are bombarded by daily news that reports the symptoms of the problems, such as layoffs, stock market devaluation, foreclosures, etc.  However, these are symptoms, not the problem, and throwing money at symptoms will NEVER solve the problem, it will just disappear into the black hole. 

The basic problem is partially or even mostly structural, and none of our political or media or economic experts are talking about fixing the structure.  That’s how a tax cheat gets a job as head of the Treasury.  Nobody gives a rat’s patootie about his tax problems because they ALL have tax problems.  And they want Geithner in office because he will play the game and keep the structure intact.

The structure is empowered by decades of exploiting labor, writing rules and laws that build itself up, and enslaving a nation of people who are born and bred to think they are living as free people when in fact we are afraid to speak our minds on the phone lest we end up on somebody’s watch list.  We can’t quit our job because if we do that too often it’s bad for our resume, no matter what our employer has done to screw us into the ground.  We might lose our health insurance. We are a ship of fools who keep telling ourselves that we are the “best damn nation the world has ever seen” while we have been ripped off, screwed, subdued, and distracted to the point that our government can now steal from us in plain sight and we don’t dare to say anything about it.  $2.2 trillion in bank loans, $700 billion in TARP funds, $850 billion in the new AAR Act.  And where the money goes… that’s not public information.

We are on the brink, hanging over the edge.  It would be so simple for something to nudge us over right now, and we would go down without ever even having a EFFING CLUE as to why.  And that’s the way Obama wants to keep it, as he’s the new guardian of the structure.

-Wexler

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By blogdog, February 4, 2009 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

RE: Goldman itself is divided between the two parties and a constant power struggle seems to be at hand there.

With all respect, that’s a misreading. Power players like Goldman, Citi, Lehman, et al adhere to no political ideology. Politicians of any stripe are simply tools - owned and used, and that goes for the POTUS as well.

They’re now being used to fix the damage wreaked by the Derivatives Demons and Hedge Fund Hyenas upon their investors the world over and themselves - the only reason they want it fixed - they broke it so badly it’s no longer generating the winnings they crave.

Did anyone honestly expect anything other than this troika (Rubin, Geitner, Summers) to take the lead in serving their cronies on Wall Street? Well, no independent, informed thinker did, especially after Obama, whose campaign touted its grass-roots support, while accepting massive Wall-Street support. And then he delivered, playing the “enforcer” on Capitol Hill, to make certain the TARP was passed, free of “troublesome” oversight.

Well, if you’re among the koolade drinkers, you doubtless turned a blind eye. And likely, are still drugged: Geitner wristslaps Citi for it’s eyeing a 50-mil corpse jet, while slipping them another 20-bil. Barky harangues the bankers over bonuses, as he greases the wheels for the second tranche to be released with no more aggressive oversight than for the 1st.

Smoke and Mirrors

Prediction:

1) Social Security is next on the block, and Barky’s massive “humanitarian” Left Cover, is the smoke screen under which it will be stollen.

2) The Global War Of Terror will expand and symbolically shutting down the Torture Gulag is the mirror to confuse as it does so.

note: the Torture Gulag was never intended to “get information” - rather to terrorize any and all dissenters and genuinely self-determinant democratic activists and humanitarians (most of the Guantanamo detainees) - all made to fear its very existence - all the “information” needed is already at hand - the CIA/MI6/Mossad nexus run the whole show - terror on demand, where it’s needed, when it’s needed - the goal: sow chaos, fail states, dehumanize populations, set them upon one another, put them on their knees begging for protection - oldest game in the book.

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By remoran, February 4, 2009 at 10:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Excellent post. Obama’s doing what the bankers are telling him. The Fed is a cartel protected by government and the NY Fed is the most powerful of the regional central banks in the US. The root of the problem lies with the Fed as it’s a private entity run for bankers by bankers. People don’t understand that the Fed is not part of government. When Wilson enabled the Fed to come into being, the power of the government was terminated. Jefferson, Jackson and Lincoln understood this and even Wilson later lamented it was the worst thing he ever did as president. People need to wake up and learn what money is and how it’s created. Once this happens, then people will fully understand how this nation has been screwed since 1913, the year the Fed and IRS were instituted.

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By DHR, February 4, 2009 at 10:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is not witch craft.  It seems to me it is a criminal conspiracy. 

The idea that this amount of money can be ‘demanded’ and received from the people of the United States would not even make a good movie plot because of the inability of the viewer to suspend disbelief. 

But we are asked to suspend our disbelief and watch this B movie.

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By Eric L. Prentis, February 4, 2009 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Without the Glass-Steagall Act, bankers, aided and abetted by the Federal Reserve, have caused two economic depressions, one in the 1930’s and the other developing now. Geithner, Summers, Bernanke, Paulson, Rubin, Gramm, Schumer, Dodd, Frank, Goldman Sacks and the rest of Wall Street pressed for financial market deregulation and the creation of derivative financial instruments which are now worthless. What gets my goat is that the slimy-on-the-take, fascist/corporatist politicians are protecting Wall Street welfare kings, directors, stock/bond holders and throwing the taxpayers and the US economy to the wolves. Let these large bankrupt banks fail, e.g., Citi and BofA, they are a cancer killing America’s livelihood.

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By bilejones, February 4, 2009 at 10:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

10 years ago The Nation ran an article called
“The Harvard boys do Russia”

http://www.thenation.com/doc/19980601/wedel

The Harvard boys are now doing America

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By MB, February 4, 2009 at 9:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Average workers, particularly low wage workers, are regularly denied employment because of their credit reports. They are also subject to higher rates for car insurance, interest payments etc because of negatives that show up on credit reports—I think tax problems can also show up on an average credit report. Yet the wealthy nominees, especially the econ people, seem to not even be held to the same standard of job discrimination caused by negatives that regular people get stamped on their credit reports.

Obama needs to address the fact that regular people experience problems in their job searches because of problems in credit reports caused by exploitive practices in the financial industry. And he needs to at least hold his nominees to the same criteria as job applicants seeking low-wage employment.

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By Ana Sotrel, February 4, 2009 at 9:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes Mr. Sheer, your statement that this seemingly unusual survival of Mr. Geithner is yet another “...confirmation that Goldman Sachs runs the Treasury Department—no matter which party is in power,” is unfortunately correct!

As an ardent supporter of Mr. Obama, I was hoping that he would have all the courage required to CHANGE the system that has apparently been in place for a long time. To the detriment of our country, he seems to be powerless! 

Like Mr. Sheer, Andrew J. Bachevich (a professor of history and International relations at Boston University),  in his 2008 book-The Limits of Power-The End of American Exceptionalism-, claims that a “A WASHINGTON POWER ELITE,” has been imposing its will upon our Nation for decades, regardless of whom “we the people,” elect to be our President.

On the pages 82-87 of his book the author states: “To say that a POWER ELITE (composed of corporate, political and military directorate) directs the affairs of state is not to suggest the existence of some dark conspiracy. It is simply to acknowledge the way WASHINGTON actually works. Especially on matters related to NATIONAL SECURITY, policy making has become OLIGARCHIC rather than DEMOCRATIC.The policy-making process is not OPEN but CLOSED, with the voices of PRIVILEGED INSIDERS carrying unimaginably greater weight than those of the UNWASHED MASSESS… The power elite… defines international reality as basically MILITARY…(hence) absolute security cannot be NEGOTIATED; it can only be WON. And winning implies the possession of military might along with a willingness to use it…from the late 1940s to the present day, members of the POWER ELITE have shown an almost pathological tendency to MISINTERPRET reality and INFLATE threats…(their joint modus operandi)...in practice nullifies PUBLIC reaction and makes RATIONAL DISSENT the equivalent of ...TREASON.”

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By Old Geezer Pilot, February 4, 2009 at 8:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, Inheritthewind, you see there is only one party in America - - the capitalist party, but it has two wings. One favors the people just slightly more than the other, but BOTH are bought and paid for by Wall $treet.

So don’t get your hopes up for change, at least not on Wall $treet.

We have the best government money can buy, as Greg Palast once observed.

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By Folktruther, February 4, 2009 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie is right.  As Troublesum put it, the sky isn’t falling, it has already fallen.

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By Anarcissie, February 4, 2009 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

Robert Sheer:
’... The “aberration” being the sensible regulation of Wall Street to prevent another depression, which now seems dangerously close at hand. ...’

This is a bit likely worrying about sensible driving after you’ve gotten a load on, run your car off a cliff, and are on the way down.

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By JLoerzel, February 4, 2009 at 7:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hi Inherit;
I think perhaps they are plying both sides against the middle. There are only two teams in the present governmental arrangement; why not bet on both sides?

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By ProTester, February 4, 2009 at 7:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The more things change the more they stay the same.
Reference the Robber Barons and Rebels chapter of Howard Zinn’s The Peoples History of The United States.

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By reason, February 4, 2009 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

I like many citizens of the United States have been watching the political responses of both democrat and republican career politicians to President Obama’s efforts to appoint people to government posts that he feels will act as needed in their respective appointed positions.
What I have seen thus far, is the political maneuvering on the part of congressional leaders (of both parties) to maintain the status quo.
The last so called stimulus package sailed through congress with relatively little resistance from those same leaders and their cohorts.  The difference now is that their personal ambitions as politicians are at stake.
Our country and the rest of world are at the edge of an economic disaster that could easily bring all the results of the depression of 1939 and more.
It seems that these so called “representatives of the people” and their corporate sponsors (banking, investment brokers, etc.) still feel their interests should come at the expense of the ordinary citizens who actually support our country.
There are those who would have us believe that it is simple to address the problems our country has been facing for more than 30 years and that the people who were responsible for making the decisions of the last 30 plus years did so without knowing what the results would be.
It is ludicrous that the same politicians and corporate elites now want us to believe they know best, how to fix our economy and steer our foreign policy from the catastrophic results of their past efforts.
Obama has been elected and is now President of the United States with a mandate to change the way our government does business to something more representative of the needs of the American people while sensitive to the needs and rights of other nations. Those who would destroy the possibility of that mandate are the enemies of democracy and more a threat to the security of the United States and the world that all the “terrorists” combined.
President Obama cannot make the changes mandated by his election if the American people allow themselves to be manipulated into the divisive rabble that served the purposes of the corrupt politicians and corporate miscreants.
This is a crucial time for our country and the world; we are standing at the precipice and we need to have faith in ourselves as individuals and citizens of the United States. We need to show the rest of the world we have the courage to face our failures and in so doing, make decisions based on what is best for all (not those who have declared themselves “entitled” few).
As painful as the last year has been, we have not seen the worst that can happen and if anyone thinks that those who brought us to “the precipice of disaster” now cares about their country and the rest of the world; they are beyond delusional.
The choice is simple, we can experience the pain of a “shot” or suffer a long drawn out illness that could destroy us.

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By Cornerstone, February 4, 2009 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

Geitner is another “example” of Obama’s change and transparancy.  It’s pretty transparent that it’s politics as usual in Washington.

Obama states there will be no lobyists in his cabinet but he has three that I know of now.  Obama stated on TV last night that there has to be exceptions for good people.

You either follow the rules you set forth for yourself and publically stated or you lose credability. 

Reminiscent of of a hummer isn’t sex.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 4, 2009 at 4:20 am Link to this comment

Here in NJ, our governor, too, is a Goldman-Sachs alumnus.

But here is what is omitted: Jon Corzine and Henry Paulsen are bitter enemies.  Paulsen had been Corzine’s protege, then in a power play reminiscent of Byzantium, turned on him to force Corzine out.  It’s instructive that Corzine is a Democrat, and Paulsen is a Republican.  Summers has served Democratic regimes,  but other served Bush and Co.

What does this mean? I don’t know, but it has to be significant that Goldman itself is divided between the two parties and a constant power struggle seems to be at hand there.

The author also fails to recognize that all Paulsen had to do to save Lehman was say one word, Geithner or otherwise, one word.  The ship hit the iceberg and was sinking—time to kill the rival!

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