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The Geithner Problem

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Posted on Mar 19, 2009

By Eugene Robinson

    President Obama’s claim that Timothy Geithner faces a more daunting set of challenges than any treasury secretary since Alexander Hamilton may be an exaggeration, but not by much. Geithner may indeed be the hardest-working man in Washington. But in order to survive, let alone succeed, he’s going to have to make a more convincing case that he’s part of the solution and not part of the problem.

    The case of the appalling AIG bonuses—I was going to call them outrageous, but politicians and pundits have exhausted the nation’s supply of outrage since the payments were revealed—is just the latest situation to raise the inconvenient problem-versus-solution question about Geithner. Why didn’t he know about the bonuses earlier? And when he did get clued in, why didn’t he do anything to head off what was obviously going to be a distracting and perhaps damaging controversy?

    A simpler way of asking the Geithner question is: Does he get it?

    Does he understand the profound sense of betrayal that so many Americans feel as we learn that the supposed wizards of finance, the Masters of the Universe who shower themselves with unimaginable wealth, were safeguarding our economic well-being with the diligence and sobriety of a drunken high-roller at a craps table in Vegas at 4 a.m.? Does he understand that the crisis is not just an economic watershed but a cultural one as well, and that what once was deemed perfectly acceptable behavior on Wall Street is now seen as reprehensible? Does he understand that outside of Lower Manhattan, the definition of a “retention bonus” is being spared from the latest round of layoffs?

    Geithner’s troubles began shortly after he was nominated for the Cabinet, when it was disclosed that he had failed to pay $34,000 in federal taxes between 2001 and 2004. It’s reasonable to expect the secretary of the treasury to have a record of faithfully paying his own taxes, and Geithner’s excuse—that he had used the computer software TurboTax to prepare his returns—didn’t sound likely to erase the scowl from an IRS auditor’s face. But Obama pushed hard for the nomination and the Senate went along, largely because Geithner was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and had been deeply involved from the beginning in the effort to contain the financial meltdown. He was one of the few people who truly understood how and why things were falling apart.

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    One thing Geithner doesn’t seem to understand, though, is how and why appearances matter. There has been a steady flow of news indicating that Wall Street doesn’t realize that the Era of Excess is over, the latest coming Thursday with a Bloomberg News report that the CEO of troubled Citigroup, Vikram Pandit, plans to spend about $10 million redecorating the firm’s executive offices. I know that the firm has made other economies and that Pandit is working for $1 a year. I just think that after accepting $45 billion in bailout money, I’d cancel any improvement project that couldn’t be accomplished with a trip to Home Depot.

    Obama’s job would be much easier if Geithner was more effective at communicating with the public about what happened to the economy and what the administration is doing to fix it. As things stand, Obama has to do all the explaining himself. Perhaps it’s unrealistic to expect Geithner to be both a financial whiz and a silver-tongued orator. He does speak the language of Wall Street, though, and one of the nonnegotiable requirements in his job description should be to make the men and women who run our financial institutions understand that their behavior has to change.

    The basic strategy for handling the crisis, begun under the Bush administration and continued by Obama, is to hook up a fire hose to the treasury and shower irresponsible and greedy financial institutions with money until the fire is put out. In political terms, to put it mildly, this is a hard sell. It becomes an impossible sell when Wall Street displays not gratitude but arrogance, reminding us how emotionally satisfying it would be—if ultimately counterproductive and even disastrous—to stand back and let the fire burn.

    The vast amount of money poured into Wall Street has bought American taxpayers the right to say that business-as-usual practices such as the AIG bonuses are over. Geithner needs to deliver this message. It he can’t or won’t, Obama should find somebody who can and will.
   
    Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)washpost.com.   

    © 2009, Washington Post Writers Group


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By KDelphi, March 30, 2009 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

garth—Gladly! I hope I’m not too late…I get Free Speech call thru credo…

If you care about every US citizen (not CONSUMER!) getting good, not-capitalist based, life or death health care (NOT “insurance”), PLEASE ask you reps to NOT support the “conclusions” arrived at by BC/BS,America’s Health Insurance Plans, Am. HOSPITAL Assoc., Families USA (THE LAST of the big time sell-outs), Federation of Am Hospitals, Natl Federation of Independent Business, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of Am., and US Chamber of Commerce..AMONG OTHERS. No bureaucrats there! It includes such gems as “not smoking, more activity and less food”!! Such innovation! How much did we pay them for this?! “Suggest ” and “encourage” are key words. The death insurance industry clearly has Pres. Obama by the balls.

If Pres. Obama’s Team cant do any better than this, do nothing. Lets not give the death insurance industry and killer drug industry and big ass kiss for helping to kill us.

Thanks.
http://www.advamed.org/NR/rdonlyres/42134469-D897-4AE8-B48E-DBB46B84255F/0/HRDCommonGroundFINALEMBARGOED32709.pdf

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By thebeerdoctor, March 30, 2009 at 5:38 am Link to this comment

re: garth

One of the reasons the national media will be shocked (absolutely shocked) when much of the world objects to the US sponsored hedge fund scheme, is that they have been in the cross hairs of this mess. But are all obliging media has been much too busy with octo-mom or the latest celebrity dust-up, to report what has happened to the Royal Bank of Scotland, the entire country of Iceland, or the sheer robbery of certain European banks by US bailout demands. In countries accustomed to having proper public services such as a national health system, it must be almost incomprehensible to watch this world’s giant flailing about while its citizens witness their legacy evaporate in front of their very eyes. Hard to believe that a nation that was once considered a beacon for the world has become the last refuge for shameless money suckers. But there is the rub: President Obama has said there is nothing wrong with making profits. But how much profit is enough Barry?... Oh you don’t know? Well that might explain why there are no usury laws.

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By garth, March 29, 2009 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Paul Volcker said that the best advance put forth by the banking industry was the ATM.  I think the best development for businesses and governments is the automatic deduction.

All this G22 talk is going to be about getting the Europeans to go along with something like Geithner’s plan and commit their peoples to the payback of about $1 quadrillion dollars to Wall St, the City of London and China.
The payback will take many generations and if only the Americans are left holding the bag, it could go on furgther into the future.
The only problem is the Europeans are not like Americans.  They’re rioting already.  They say you lost our money, you pay us back.
The old folktale about putting frogs in a pan of water and slowly raising the temperature until it boils and the frogs’ not moving is not true.  It is true, however, if you substitute Americans for frogs.  We did it before with S&L buyout.  The ruling class is betting that we’ll do it again.  Pay up or the economy will be in a shambles.  Hell, it already is in a shambles.  Now they want to sell us and the Europeans down the river.
The surge in Afghanistan is the military prong of the argument.  They are sending over the homicidal career personnel now to kill as many civilians as they can to drive home the point that Americans are ruthless barbarians.  As Noam Chomsky pointed out about the War in Vietnam, we essentially won that war by 1966 by virtue of the fact that we destroyed it.

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By garth, March 27, 2009 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi,

I’ll gladly send an email or call Kerry’s and Kennedy’s offices.  I saw Bernie Sanders on Democracy Now! and Gensler sounds terrible.

Can you contact your congressperson and tell them not to support the Food Safety Act 2007?  It’s a bill sponsored by Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticutt) whose husband is a lobbyist for Monsanto.  If made into law, this bill would outlaw personal gardens and put strict restrictions on local organic farms with penalties such as fines up to $ 1 million dollars and confiscation of property.
They want to drive out local organic farmers.  It’s like what Bechtel did to the Bolivians and their water. 
This bill has 22 supporters.  Capuano, my congressman supports it. I called his office yesterday.  This is a really bad bill.

Thanks

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By KDelphi, March 27, 2009 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

cyrena—I’m amazed your D4em buddies didnt tell you! Look it up yourself next time!

http://crooksandliars.com/tags/gary-gensler

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/3/25/sen_sanders_blocking_vote_to_confirm

“AMY GOODMAN: Independent Senator Bernie Sanders is attempting to block President Obama’s nominee to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Gary Gensler, who is a former Goldman Sachs employee. Sanders said in a statement that Gensler worked to deregulate electronic energy trading and exempt from regulation credit default swaps from regulation, which led to the collapse of AIG and has resulted in the largest taxpayer bailout in US history.


Senator Sanders joins us now from Washington, D.C., independent senator from Vermont, elected to the Senate in 2006 after serving sixteen years in the House, the longest-serving independent member of Congress in American history. “

I cant post the video…

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By cyrena, March 26, 2009 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi writes (supposedly quoting)


“While Mr. Gensler is clearly an intelligent and knowledgeable person, I cannot support his nomination. Mr. Gensler worked with Sen. Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan to exempt credit default swaps from regulation, which led to the collapse of A.I.G. and has resulted in the largest taxpayer bailout in U.S. history.

So KDel, I just wanna know this….


WHO is Mr Gensler?

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By KDelphi, March 26, 2009 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

garth—Sen. Bernie Sanders is , probably fruitlessly, trying to block it…ask your senators to do the same! Thanks..http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/bernie-sanders-blocking-key-obama-nom

“While Mr. Gensler is clearly an intelligent and knowledgeable person, I cannot support his nomination. Mr. Gensler worked with Sen. Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan to exempt credit default swaps from regulation, which led to the collapse of A.I.G. and has resulted in the largest taxpayer bailout in U.S. history. He supported Gramm-Leach-Bliley, which allowed banks like Citigroup to become “too big to fail.” He worked to deregulate electronic energy trading, which led to the downfall of Enron and the spike in energy prices. At this moment in our history, we need an independent leader who will help create a new culture in the financial marketplace and move us away from the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior which has caused so much harm to our economy.”

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By Arthur Bolan, March 26, 2009 at 6:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“We don’t need no stinkin’ badges.”
——————————————————————————-
According to Matt Taibbi, this Geithner plan looks like the penultimate step in the plan to dominate the world.  First, George W. scares the bejesus out of everyone with his bogey men, Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaedas, then the new hope comes in and revamps the economy, rebrands the wars to Overseas Contingency Operations and renames the combat troops to advisory troops.
Geithner’s plan with or without oversight allows the Treasury to determine what financial businesses need to be taken over.  They then rifle through the assets and sell off the value to their friends and leave us with the trash.  Soon they will control all the wealth.
It’ll be interesting when shove comes to putsch and they start their plans to weaken China and force Russia into submission.

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By garth, March 25, 2009 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

A couple of days ago I heard, I can’t remember where, that the authors of Geithner’s long awaited plan are partners in a Wall Street hedge fund, and one of them is going selected to oversee it.

As stated in Kevin Phillips book, Gresham’s Law says that bad money drives out good money, but good money cannot drive out bad money.

What we’ll have after this plan goes through and the Social Security fund goes Wall Street is neo-fascism.

Let’s face it, they have us by the short hairs and they have world’s economies in a sort chinese finger trap—the harder each group pulls the more the traps tightens.

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By KDelphi, March 25, 2009 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

cyrena—On reason i “believe the author” (who should I believe—-the fricking GOVT?) is that, it is being reported on most non-Dem/GOP websites, and, because Pres. Obama stated it himself—“the largest increase in veterans services”—that I agree we need to do. But, how could we honsetly go with more troops and not have it cost more? Now, maybe many (most?) agree that we need to increase our military budget and go (more) into Afghaniastan. I dont.

I followed a link that someone who has a “reputation” of non-bias gave me (they voted for Sen Obama and now are wondering what he is doing).

People are free to disagree, and, maybe, we will see when the budget comes out. But to think that we WONT increase military spending, but, will escalate what could prove to be our most costly endeavor ever (speculation on my part—ask Russia), is just silly. Of coutse it will cost money.
It is a question as to whether one thinks that that is where our money should be going right now.

So, you honestly think that Geithner is doing a great job, and, is advising Pres. Obama well when it comes to the economy, especially the toxic assets bailout…really. You think that it is fine that Geithner, Dodd and others knew about bone-us(es), sought to protect Wall St, etc. I dont believe it.

You think Geithner and Summers and their ilk are great economists who will serve us well in this crisis, because they have knowledge of it the way a fox has knowledge of hens. I dont think that you really do.

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By jackpine savage, March 25, 2009 at 4:42 am Link to this comment

n fact, in terms of anything other than military dominance, (which has never been the Obama policy) there are NO signs of US imperialism ANYWHERE, and haven’t been for over 2 decades. Do some travelling and see if you can find anything these days (besides weapons and global terror) that have been MADE IN THE USA.

Oh, now that’s funny.  That’s really, really funny.  The United States is the largest voter in the IMF and the World Bank.  It is almost impossible for a developing nation to get any funding without consenting to neo-liberal economic policies insisted on by the US through the IMF.

But under the new found patriotism of Cyrena, the United States forcing Mexico to accept US corn inputs that ravage its agricultural sector is not imperialism.  Further examples are too numerous to list.

thebeerdoc is right.  It has come to the point where actions no longer matter (past, present, or predictable future).  This is pure partisan, unquestioning devotion…ala eight years of Bushbottery.

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By Max Shields, March 25, 2009 at 4:25 am Link to this comment

Cyrena: “you don’t really know…” “where’s your proof?”

You sound like a Bushite, “how do you know there aren’t WMDs? Do you really really really know there aren’t? Did you go to Iraq and see there were none? Ok, then there ARE!”

That’s the kind of drivel that the Obamaites are now spewing - you really don’t know what Obama is “thinking”.

So your an academic, cyrena? Is this the what passes for a cogent argument in college classrooms now? It explains a lot.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 25, 2009 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

It is not what President Obama says, it is what is actually done. Take the appointment of Gary Gensler to be the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a regulatory body that has oversight of $5 trillion in business. This same Mr. Gensler, who strongly advocated for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, that exempted credit default swaps and its derivatives from regulation, which led to Timmy boy, our Treasury Secretary, to cooking up a scheme to save their sorry asses, to the tune of a trillion dollars. What Joseph Stiglitz said “quite frankly, this amounts to robbery of the American people.”
It would be refreshing if the Obama shills would lift their heads out of their illusionary cloud to examine the kind of people being appointed. But that would be too difficult. They would have to acknowledge all the shuck and jive Clinton era retreads that Obama has turned to. But this is change they can believe in: Robert Gates, Hillary Clinton, Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers, Eric Holder, Gary Gensler… how dare the ancient ones question the wisdom of the newly installed status quo prison. I guess all critics of Obama’s policies are doomed to hell.

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By flow, March 24, 2009 at 9:21 pm Link to this comment

jackpine savage

...And that’s why when flow asked if Obama was our Gorbachev (with a link i haven’t had a chance to read yet), i answered, “No, he’s our Khrushchev.” (Or at least that’s what it looks like so far.)...

Here is that link again for anyone interested. The link is to an extraordinarily insightful conversation hosted by veteran journalist Christopher Lydon. The dialogue features several unique, objective, intelligent, well articulated perspectives from around the world reflecting on the U.S. and our current predicament. Well worth the 37 minute investment!

Obama as Gorbachev: a Regime in Crisis

http://www.radioopensource.org/obama-as-gorbachev-a-regime-in-crisis/

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By cyrena, March 24, 2009 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

•  “So when the Obama folks talk about saving the system, they do not mean just economics. An entirely rotten regime of hegemonic influence is what they are so desperately trying to reserve. And with the help of the gullible who can not grasp the extent of this cultural coup; they have already succeeded.”

With all due respect beerdoctor,

You don’t really ‘know’ this do you. What do you think I mean by ‘saving the system’? Rest assured that it is NOT the global hegemony goal of the PNAC. Rest assured that it is NOT about Imperialism. I don’t see how you have decided in a matter of two months, that the new administration is attempting to maintain the regime of hegemonic influence?
You all keep making these claims of expanding imperialism and hegemony, (so your concern is obviously only economic and foreign policy) but you can never really back any of this shit up. In fact, in terms of anything other than military dominance, (which has never been the Obama policy) there are NO signs of US imperialism ANYWHERE, and haven’t been for over 2 decades. Do some travelling and see if you can find anything these days (besides weapons and global terror) that have been MADE IN THE USA.

The ONLY ‘dominance’ that the US now has is based on a broken down military holding a bunch of expensive and useless weapons and so-called ‘defense systems’ that obviously aren’t too superior if they couldn’t defend the PENTAGON from a so called attack by a group of mysterious Arabs and Asians. Guess our ‘defense’ system isn’t so vaulted and superior after all, eh?
KDel claims that the US is expanding the military, and comes up with an article to ‘prove it’, claiming that she ‘agrees’. Gee. So, that means that she ‘agrees’ despite whether it’s true or not. An author says it’s true, and so when President Obama says that he’s looking for a way OUT of the Afghanistan War that the previous regime initiated, (something he obviously couldn’t do anything about UNTIL 2 months ago) it’s as if there is a population who are determined to ignore any shifts in the paradigm that the New admin has undertaken. In short, they are still determined to maintain a partisan mentality in a world that insists on moving beyond that, if only because we simply have no choice. If we don’t move into the new Century with the future in mind, then we write-off the survival option. Now since we all have rights, it means that you have the right to give up and die. But that cannot prevent the rest of us from doing what we know is required to eventually set the ship right, if only for our future generations. You seem quite determined to continue to compare Obama to former regimes, and that is clearly an Alice in Wonderland fantasy that becomes harder and harder to maintain, as this admin continues to reverse those policies and move us forward whether you want to or not.

So to all of those of my generation and older, I can only say that you really should get with the reality of today, and you guys already think you know what that is. But you don’t, because you won’t acknowledge how things have come to this point, or your own complicity in it. You say that Obama is escalating the military action in Afghanistan, and HE has made it clear that we are NOT ‘winning’ ANYTHING in Afghanistan, and that the military presence is NOT a solution. So why am I supposed to believe what YOU guys say, when HE says the OPPOSITE, and I hear it from HIS own mouth?
You say there is no room for foreign entanglements, and I suspect that a large percentage of Americans (me included) feel the same way. The irony is that so does Obama, and you guys don’t get it.

Jackpine,

No proof on the Clinton-Holder Obama thing. I gave you the benefit of the doubt, and when you couldn’t support your claim, I looked myself. It’s not a valid claim.

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By jackpine savage, March 24, 2009 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

So when the Obama folks talk about saving the system, they do not mean just economics. An entirely rotten regime of hegemonic influence is what they are so desperately trying to reserve. And with the help of the gullible who can not grasp the extent of this cultural coup; they have already succeeded. ~beerdoc

That’s the nut, right there.  And that’s why when flow asked if Obama was our Gorbachev (with a link i haven’t had a chance to read yet), i answered, “No, he’s our Khrushchev.” (Or at least that’s what it looks like so far.)

Gorbachev saw the fundamental problems in the Soviet system; the contradictions; and the way in which it would ultimately kill itself.  He never moved to destroy socialism in Russia, but he was certainly willing to challenge his own system and try to remove the rot.  He had a tough go of it and did not end up being popular for his efforts.

Obama shows no indication that he’s ready or willing to address the fundamental problems that we face.  And he certainly shows no indication of challenging the American people to seriously reassess our situation and direction.

Like Khrushchev, he is simply denouncing his predecessor for taking things too far without questioning the systemic motivations that informed his predecessor’s actions.

There have been signs of improvement, and there still exists possibility.  I hope for the best like everyone else, but hope needs something substantial to rest upon.  To date, i’ve seen a politician.  We need a leader, and i haven’t seen that yet.

I refuse to assess the man along relativistic lines, because, quite frankly, my cat would look like a fine president after the disaster of the last 8 years. 

But what we’ve gotten so far is no surprise.  I noted his switch from “we” to “I” during the campaign…and that said it all.

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By flow, March 24, 2009 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

Another excellent segment on Democracy Now!  Thomas Geoghegan on “Infinite Debt: How Unlimited Interest Rates Destroyed the Economy”

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/3/24/thomas_geoghegan_on_infinite_debt_how

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By KDelphi, March 24, 2009 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

Here are some ideas I agree with:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/mar2009/toxi-m24.shtml  (“Wall St Celebrates Govt Windfall for Banks and Big Investors”)

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/mar2009/afgh-m24.shtml (“US prepares New Escalation of Afghanistan Intervention”)

Try this one (just in case you think that I “dont believe anything”)http://peaceandfreedom.org/home/

“The Peace and Freedom Party is an open, multi-tendency, movement-oriented socialist party. We are united in our common commitment to socialism, democracy, feminism and unionism and our common opposition to capitalism, imperialism, racism, sexism and elitism.

We recognize that we do not all agree on what we mean by “socialism” or on the strategies and tactics of how to get it. We do agree that it means we can have a world where we can all be part of the democratic decision-making on how the wealth of the economy will be used because we will be owners of it, as well as the cooperative self-managing co-participants in producing it.”


How about this—Freedom Socialist Party:http://www.socialism.com/fsarticles/vol30no1/obama.html


“Will a New Deal work today? Obama is marketing himself with Roosevelt’s very words, “we need action and action now,” to propose a $775 billion “economic stimulus” package. But despite the Rooseveltian rhetoric, this “bipartisan” plan bears little resemblance to the New Deal.

Fifty percent is supposed to fund the huge areas of infrastructure rebuilding and alternative energy development. But instead of a WPA-style public program, 80 percent of the jobs are to be in the private sector. Most of the billions will go to businesses which will fritter away money on cost overruns and the usual federal contractor skullduggery.

Only 10 percent is to go directly to extended unemployment insurance and healthcare. Forty percent is scheduled for tax cuts to businesses, supposedly for job creation, and the “middle class” (read: workers). Aid to state and local governments, which could help to stave off massive budget cuts, may be sacrificed to accommodate Republicans.

Fact is, the rulers can give up more of their wealth. But they won’t unless workers put the fear of revolution in them. And if we can do that, we might as well go all the way to socialist revolution, making the wealth everyone creates public property, controlled by the workers. Sound utopian? Actually, it’s crisis times like this when people do remake society, because there is simply no reasonable alternative.

Obama has already shown that, like the “Great Man” FDR, he will only do what is necessary to save capitalism. His loyalty is to the system, not to working women and men. It falls to the labor and social change movements to win an even break for the bulk of humanity and the fundamental change we desperately need”

There—that is just SOME of what I belivve…

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By KDelphi, March 24, 2009 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

Louise—You do not know me. Neither does cyrena. You dont know what i have done with my life, nor what I am planning to do.

I have plenty of dirt on my hanbds, and have had most of my life. I did many things with my life that have changed me forever—maybe that is why i just cant mainstream it anymore. I saw too much. And I know that both parties are ful of shit.

If you want to know what I believe (I dont think that you care), read my post to wildflower. Check out the websites I mentioned. (wsws.org, peaceandfreedom.org, FreedomSocialist Party, and Socialist Worker Party—I support elements of each of those.)I’ll give you links , if you care to read them. I know enough about the Dems to last me 2 lifetimes. I voted Dem for many, many years. I spent half my life doing it.

Now, I’d like to spend SOME of my life actually working for something different. You know—change.\
Clinton had wooed me back to the Dems. I was mistaken. I thought that he might help the working classes. I realize now that neither party ever will.

Here’s a fairly conservative Dem link about Geithner—I agree with The Nation here./ http://www.thenation.com/blogs/state_of_change/420588/geithner_goes_from_zero_to_hero_not_so_fast?rel=emailNation

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By Litl Bludot, March 24, 2009 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

There is nothing that I can see in Obama’s choices of policy or personnel that indicates a pragmatic mind intent on learning from the past. Nor is there any indication of a mind with moral priorities.

As to the first point, he continues to appoint the very people that have originated and implemented economic policies that have led to financial chaos while greatly enriching the few. The latest example is Gary Gensler who is about to take his place along side Summers and Geithner, both of which have become lobbyists for the hedgefunds and private equity firms (latest, persuading the Senate to stop the taxing of AIG bonuses) . From Democracy Now:

“In news from Capitol Hill, independent Senator Bernie Sanders is attempting to block President Obama’s nominee to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Gary Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs employee. Sanders said Gensler had worked with Sen. Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan to exempt credit default swaps from regulation, which led to the collapse of AIG and has resulted in the largest taxpayer bailout in US history. He also worked to deregulate electronic energy trading, which led to the downfall of Enron. Sanders said, “We need an independent leader who will help create a new culture in the financial marketplace and move us away from the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior which has caused so much harm to our economy.”

Then of course, in foreign policy we have the continuing Iraq “war” (land grab for oil) and the divide and conquer strategy to destabilize the whole Indian subcontinent for disaster capitalism’s benefit. Devised and implemented by the same people who brought us the last 20 years of genocide in Africa and the middle east, “free trade” that has effectively made the U.S. a third world country, and so it goes.

The “pragmatic” BS parroted by the MSM has been effective in hiding the most vicious policies, financial and foreign, in U.S. history.  The noncontroversial sops to progressives, for example, of allowing medical cannabis, some rational discussion of infrastructure building, appointments of rational but weak cabinet officers, in no way threatens control by the cooperate elite.

Obama is now planning another health care plan to enrich the “insurance companies”, excluding single payer from the discussion.  There is also going to be privatization of social security, a goal of the corporate fascists since its inception.  They’ve finally got their most dazzling Trojan Horse in place, who seems to have effectively captivated the chronically battered and abused population of the world (not to mention that of the U.S.).

So Max, and others that think they have a rational, liberal, good willed but constrained president, who would do good if he only could, I am afraid, really afraid, that you are sadly mistaken.

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By KDelphi, March 24, 2009 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

wildflower-

“But I also believe it’s important to acknowledge shifts. In the case of Obama, I believe the new administration has brought some positive changes to the table, particularly changes involving the “common good” so to speak, our justice system, and even a new approach to foreign policy. These shifts may not be important to you, but they are to others. For example, I’m very much in agreement with a comment that Sheer made last week.  It feels good to have leadership that has dropped “demonization” as an approach to foreign policy.

My point is that life is just more complex than any one single issue, especially when it comes to politics. If you doubt this, just reflect on how we got into the various messes that we facing now.  I believe we are where we are because too many people ignored the details of the bigger picture.”


Very true…and here are among the many issues that I disagreee with mainstream Dems about:(too many to go on). I think you make a mistake when you assume that I diagree with Pres. Obama on EVERYTHING! I am merely commenting about economic policy here, because that is the topic, no? I like SOME of what PO has done in foreign policy—I disagree with his general policy of “US leadeship” and Imperialism. I also think we need to leave Iraq immediately and Afghanistan ASAP. I do NOT think that the “world awaits further US moral leadership”. I am certain that we cannot maintain Empire , as well as a decent living for our citizens.

This crisis has bankrupted many, many people, and, yet, PO and Geithner seem to want to continue the destructive “free mkt” policies that make the rest of the world hate us, and, our own citizenry to have the biggest class gap in the “free” world. I do NOT believe in the “free mkt”, AND, what is more, under Geithner’s policies , we have the WORST of BOTH worlds—-socilized risk, privitized profit. We were screwed. PO expresses “sympathy” and, even “anger”, but, continues to trust Wal St hacks.

The money is not coming back to the middle clas. Those that were going to retire, now cannot. Yet. there aRE NO jobs.

To me, as a socialist, the “common good” would involve at least CONSIDERING single payer health caer. it would mean not asking the Merkin people to bail out Wal St again and agian, and again. It would mean that we might take over this “bad housing” and rent it out (to buy) to people who cannot afford housing. It would mean someone besides a real estate executive in chaerge of the FHA. How can Hedge Fund mgrs serve the “common good” these days?! “Hedge” Fuinds shoudl NOt be regulated—they shouldnt fricking exist!

To the justice system??  dunno—let see when GITMO is really closed. Lets see when the “detainees” get fair trials or release. Lets see when the war criminals are brought to justice. Until then, we are just kidding ourselves. The USAns will NOT “get past this” without justice.

These “change” are important to me—they are just too little . They are often in the wrong direction . And, yes, they are better than Bush. But not enough to garner my trust nor gratitude. We deserve better. I will continue to expect it.

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By garth, March 24, 2009 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

Beerdoctor,

Thanks for the link.  Reminded me of a quote atributed to Woody Hayes, the football coach at Ohio State, on why he never called passing plays, “Only three things can happen and two of them are bad.”  According to the article, all three of Geithner’s outcomes are bad.
I noticed that no one is talking about the size of the credit default swaps.  I heard a range from $450 trillion to $1.5 quadrillion.  If either number is true, we’re screwed.  If the result from the collapse of Lehmann Bros. showed how interconnected the world’s economies are, then I fear credit default swaps are the thread that keeps it tightly bound.
I think that is why China, Russia and a few are countries are suggesting a market basket of currencies for exchange because when this credit default swaps scheme unravels, it’s going to bring everything with it.

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By Folktruther, March 24, 2009 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

Wildflower, Louise-Thank you very much for the posts you wrote.  I simply didn’t understand when you called me ‘Republican’ what you were referring to.

You are absolutely right that I am rigid, vehement and close minded like a Republican when it comes to policy.  But here is the part where the confusion lies. I’M ON THE OTHER SIDE.  Of course there is nothing orginal about this, so is Max, KDelphi, Beerdoctor, Anarcissie, etc.  But to avoid putting words in their mouths I’ll give only my views.

I am a standard class-struggle socialist which is not common in the US, but is in the rest of the world.  I’m for nationalizing the banks, socialized medicine (single payee) and unionizing the country.  And this is where the confusion lies.  The ruling calss in the US is overwelming Republican and I am the opposite of this, on the side of the population ruled by them, the overwealming majority of the population. 

However, you regard the opposite of the Republicans as the Dems.  If one is not a Dem, one must be a Gop.  Well no, One can be a socialist.  Which is the opposition parties in most countries, usually fake socialists.

But Louise is a conservative Liberal.  Her idea of community involvement is to have a good realitionship with her bank.  And she is for a strong military which she is willing to pay taxes for. 

I am in favor of nationalizing that bank and destroying that military.  Strongly in favor, just as strong as a republican would defend them.  Of course, Louise, you are a Dem.  But as many of us have tried to make clear, there isn’t much difference between the Gops and Dems, insofar as policy goes.  Or as Obama goes.  And we are against militarism and neoliberalism.

But, being Dems, you seem to have internalized Dem rhetoric of being against these in theory while supporting them in practice.  And oppose those of us who want theory and pracitice to coincide.  So your idea of politics, which is restricted to the Dems and Gops, is that since they both promote essentially the same policies, that of the ruling class, while differing in rhetoric, you feel it is not practical to ACTUALLY change policies while sticking to being a Dem.  So you are in favor of Hope.

Hope for the Dems, Faith for the Gops.  It makes all the difference, doesn’t it.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 24, 2009 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

Here is some economic advice from the manager of a hedge fund:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-schram/three-scenarios-for-the-g_b_178466.html

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By wildflower, March 24, 2009 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

Re: KDelphi

I hear what you’re saying, but just see things a little differently than you. Like you, I’m very much into expressing our views and critiquing our elected officials. In fact, I believe we would not be in the mess we are in today if there had been more of it.  Hopefully, the crisis will change this for the better.

But I also believe it’s important to acknowledge shifts. In the case of Obama, I believe the new administration has brought some positive changes to the table, particularly changes involving the “common good” so to speak, our justice system, and even a new approach to foreign policy. These shifts may not be important to you, but they are to others. For example, I’m very much in agreement with a comment that Sheer made last week.  It feels good to have leadership that has dropped “demonization” as an approach to foreign policy.

My point is that life is just more complex than any one single issue, especially when it comes to politics. If you doubt this, just reflect on how we got into the various messes that we facing now.  I believe we are where we are because too many people ignored the details of the bigger picture.

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By wildflower, March 24, 2009 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

Re Max Shields

Thanks, no need to apologize, Max. I actually thought it was humorous and assumed you were trying for clever. After all, I did suggest that you had trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time in an effort to make a point.

Anyway, I agree the Republican and Democratic “leadership” led the way to this economic crisis. It’s common sense that markets don’t regulate themselves. I suppose with some it was greed and with others it was cowardice. All parties involved betrayed the public trust and should be ousted on grounds of incompetence and/or negligence of duty.

The “ground swell movement” you mention, is in some ways already here, and Obama was able to tap into it. My sense is that it pulls from the “cream of crop” from both parties as well as a lot of newcomers. People who are actively involved in the public and non-profit sectors are very aware of it, especially those dealing with environmental and social/criminal/economic justice issues.
 
Have not read anything by your guy Herman Daly, but I’ve read several others who have address what economies are likely to resemble in the future.  One of the most fascinating was a book that I read several years ago, “End of Work,” by Jeremy Rifkin. There is no question big changes will be occurring in the future, but for the moment we’re still in the here and now.

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By psickmind fraud, March 24, 2009 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

Louise,

Actually it’s “cesspool”.  And with Obama having been handed over $22 million in campaign contributions from the financial sector, what makes you think he has any intention of filling in the cesspool?  Seems that he’s supping at the proverbial trough, instead.  Perhaps you’d expand on why you think that $22 million isn’t going to affect Obama’s decision making and policies? 

As to the earlier post, let me explain.  Geithner and Summers had their hands in designing and building the dam that burst (no matter whether it’s two years or eight years), and you think it’s okay to hire them for redesign.  Personally I think we’d have a better chance with that little Dutch boy sticking his finger in the dike.

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By Louise, March 24, 2009 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

KDelphi, March 23 at 5:50 pm

Well gee thanks KD!

About that tag-team thing. It’s called trying hard to hang on to the edge of the cliff when so many left-overs from the era of red are jumping up and down on my fingers, trying to make me fall!

See I’ve been around long enough to know, the sess-pool at the bottom of that cliff was big and wide, long before Bush happily became the champion of make the sess-pool deeper!

Long before Clinton, between chasing skirts, managed to lift the economy a foot or two above that sess-pool.

Long before Bush One pretended he cared about the nation, by looking the other way while the diggers busily expanded their sess-pool.

Long before Reagan left his “dream-a-perfect-world” diary for a minute so he could say to his handlers, “yeh that sounds about right, go ahead, pee on them. And while your at it, make the sess-pool bigger.”

Long before Carter tried to save government from the folks busy digging that sess-pool, and managed instead to get some of their shit on himself.

Long before Ford stepped up and removed Nixon from accountability.

Long before Nixon tipped over sideways and proclaimed, while standing on his head, “yeh dig it here.”

Long before Kennedy fell into the bright red [as in so-called conservative] trap but still managed to keep us out of a nuclear confrontation. And longer still.

Near as I can tell, the last time we had a president who saw the secret plans for the sess-pool and warned us not to dig it, was when Eisenhower was president!

Strange. The repubs have had ONE truly great president since the Great Depression, and they hardly ever mention him, why is that?

But we mustn’t forget Truman, who had really nasty decisions to make but made them anyway. You-all would have hated him. Or maybe you-all would have loved him. I’m not sure, because it’s really hard to figure out exactly what you-all love and stand for. Except bashing Obama. Oh sorry, I forgot. That’s not what your doing. It just LOOKS that way.

Meanwhile, for the first time in a very long time, I see a president in D.C. who wants to fill in that sess-pool as much as I do. And since he’s the one “we” plunked down on top of it, I figure the least I can do is haul a few bags of sand.

And at the end of the day, safely being able to say, “I didn’t get so much as a grain of sand on my hands.” You-all will have to look for another excuse to bitch and moan, because in spite of your fondness for processing shit, that sess-pool will get filled in!

As far as tag-team goes, seems to me one has to understand what being a team player means, before one can tag. That’s another bit of common sense. But not to worry, you-all have the “team” of media types who daily build their “news” around your fault-finding. So in a way ... you too are playing tag. Only instead of reaching a goal, you’re just running around in circles.

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By Max Shields, March 24, 2009 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

The issue on TD is that there are supporters of the Dem/Obama administration that aren’t looking at the problem we’re facing. The problem is complex and multifaceted. It is global to be sure and the US as a unilateral empire is at the core.

The fact that the US is expanding its military presence, has increased its spending, is at war under this administration, is not a trivial matter. Each day is an act of war criminality, both legally and morally. This is not a case of a milder form of hegemony or a more gentle form of military killing and ecological destructions, not to mention the way in which this is being paid for.

This is Obama’s war on terror. He took it on and is executing it. It is Obama’s economic plan regardless of “who” got us here. And the Obamaites need to start facing those facts.

Not sure if someone already posted the Open Source piece: http://www.radioopensource.org/obama-as-gorbachev-a-regime-in-crisis/

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By garth, March 24, 2009 at 8:07 am Link to this comment

Obama’s affect on his interview on 60 Minutes and Geithner’s while giving his introductory remarks on C-SPAN today sent underlying signals that these two are really lacking in adult empathy.  In short, they come off as sort of near-persons.  Like George W. Bush, who came across as someone who was not quite right in the head, these two were selected by some overseeing advisory body or group of handlers.
Obama openly laughed went he talked about the problems in the economy(and we thought that Bush’s smirk was offputting).  Croft asked, “What are you, punch drunk?”
I think Webster Tarpley had it spot on.  Obama is really the Manchurian candidate.  One of his problems, however, is that he can’t get the right affect.  The press criticized him for being too down in the first 6 weeks of his administration.  Now, he comes on somewhat like a hebephrenic.  However, when Croft asked him that question, he did wipe the smile off his face.  His tonal attempt to sound black also comes across as a fraud.
In his debates with McCain he appeared to be echoing talking points from his advisors without really having visceral contact to what he was arguing.
Today, Geithner came across as still the high school valedictorian, feigning concern, but in a mental slip in his closing he assured the members of congress that he was going to help in solving this problem with “your government.”  All this time I thought he was a citizen, too.
The real issue seems to be a continuation of the American propensity not to solve problems but to wear them down. This new approach to restoring the U.S. economy turns out to be not new at all, just a rehash of what Paulson suggested. 
Our government went on a search for the fountain of youth and found the fountain of loot.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 24, 2009 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

re: Max Shields

Max makes a very good point about Paul Krugman. Although adept at complaining about the Obama economic plan, by simply being a columnist for the NY Times and Huffington Post, Max points out quite correctly all the neoliberal drivel that the Nobel laureate economist believes in. Someone will say, hey, didn’t Krugman win a Nobel prize? Yes, and so did Milton Friedman.
Max’s other point about avoiding reality is also quite true. For those filled with delusional grandeur about the greatness of the United States, simply the idea of this country becoming a small m mercantile republic whose primary concern is the health and welfare of its people, must seem unfathomable. No, in such a national vision there is no room for foreign entanglements with massive military expenditures. Nor would the idea of pushing everybody around in the world be considered valid.
So when the Obama folks talk about saving the system, they do not mean just economics. An entirely rotten regime of hegemonic influence is what they are so desperately trying to reserve. And with the help of the gullible who can not grasp the extent of this cultural coup; they have already succeeded.

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By jackpine savage, March 24, 2009 at 5:01 am Link to this comment

I don’t have any links handy, but Clinton (via Holder) most certainly did ramp up the war on marijuana in particular.

The prison population grew by 700,000 (from 1.3 million) during the Clinton years; most of the growth coming from simple possession.  It was the Clinton administration that refused to recognize the state laws on medical marijuana and began the federal prosecution of growers and dispensaries.  It also threatened doctors who wrote prescriptions with revoking their licenses.

Obviously, Holder wasn’t at the top of the hill during this but he was a part of it.  And when Obama declared that federal raids on California dispensaries were to stop (good on Mr. Obama), Holder’s statement was basically “i’ll do what the president tells me to do”.  He repeated that it was the president’s prerogative something like six times in a paragraph…giving the definite impression that he was only doing it because he was told.

(On the other hand, i agreed 100% with his statement on race that Obama made him retract/soften.)

I guess that i simply do not trust anyone from fairly high up in that administration because it was so adept at pretending to be liberal and so eager to act like a Republican administration.

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By Max Shields, March 24, 2009 at 4:27 am Link to this comment

By Litl Bludot, March 24 at 1:59 am #


I generally agree with your statement, except, I don’t think it’s benign to be in the pocket of the money plutocrats.

Obama is a conservative personality more than simply a conservative in the pure Reagan, GWB, or neocon sense. He is cautious, not bold. He relies on the past, mostly recent, to provide him with how to move forward; rather than demonstrate a more prescient way forward.

As I’ve said, he did not create what we have,even though he voted for the bailout. He is simply a pawn of the power-elite. Should he break with that…we’ll see. I don’t know what Obama believes but his actions indicate that he has either not come to terms with the problem or he deeply believes that the problem requires an adjustment; that it, as he recently stated, is fundamentally sound (sounds like McCain, don’t it?).

The most interesting point I’ve read here is the comparison of Obama to Gorbachev. Now that’s a thought worth pondering.

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By cyrena, March 24, 2009 at 1:04 am Link to this comment

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Jackpine writes:

•  “(BTW, Holder is a jackass who teamed up with Clinton to put hundreds of thousands of Americans in jail for committing the ghastly crime of smoking a little dope.)”

Jackpine, I don’t remember this. Do you have anything I could read to find out how they teamed up to put HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of Americans in jail for smoking a little dope? I’m NOT being facetious, because this too has been an issue for me in my field (Law and Society) for quite some time. For instance, the sentencing for possession of crack cocaine as opposed to the pure powdery stuff is like 10 to 1.

Anyway, it could be that Holder and Clinton teamed up to do this, and I just never heard about it. (I was working pretty hard and long hours back in those days, and I also lived in Texass, where mainstream news fails to reach). Be that as it may, if that was the case with Holder then, he’s since done a 180 degree turn under President Obama, having recently announced that the Feds will no longer interfere (as they did under the bush alcoholic) in the local state laws governing the cultivation and use of marijuana. In fact, it was even in my small town newspaper today, (though I’d read it a few weeks ago) that these Federal raids on legitimate marijuana clinics and CROPS would not be done.)

For us, this is a big thing, because Californians voted to make the stuff legally available back in 1996. There were no major problems with the operation (that I’m aware of) until 2001 when GWB Dick took over. At that point, they started raiding farms, dispensaries, and worst of all, the hemp crops that the Indigenous tribes here grow as one of the few means they have to make goods from it to sell. And, each time they would jail the leaders.
Anyway, the ‘announcement’ on this in my own paper came from Holder. So, like I said, he must have changed his mind, or Obama recommended that he change it. But, I also find it a tad bit difficult to believe that Eric Holder’s position in the Clinton Admin, (nothing even close to a cabinet position) actually allowed him to hook up with Clinton to jail HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of Americans for smoking a little dope. At any rate, I’d be interested to know about that if you can direct me to a reference.

Meantime, my ‘sense’ of this Obama bashing crowd tells me that they really have no interest in anything about the new administration other than the people who they believe are in control of ‘their’ money. That seems to be the overwhelming concern that none of them had when Dick Cheney was robbing them blind for 8 years, or when Phil Gramm was re-writing all of the legislation that would allow for the Greatest Heist in the history of the US and probably the world, or when BushI was preparing for the Free Trade Agreement that would ultimately doom us.  (only a moron could NOT have seen what was coming from THAT!) Apparently it was all A OK back then, because they thought they were sitting high and pretty, because Americans have been, (by and large) totally ignorant to the goings on of their government until NOW. Whoops! This was never supposed to happen to THEM.

So my ‘crowd’ is fine with Holder, if only because so far at least, the new Justice Department is doing exactly what we’ve hoped they would do for the last 7 years. In short, CLOSE fucking Guantanamo, (though I wouldn’t mind keeping it available to jail all of the former thug regime) and stopping the kangaroo trials with confessions from torture victims who will confess to everything under the sun and the moon to stop the torture.  Then there’s the restoration of the Freedom of Information Act. (for 8 years, academics haven’t been able to get to tons of records that Dick Cheney locked up back in 2001, INCLUDING stuff that had already been declassified!)

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By cyrena, March 24, 2009 at 1:03 am Link to this comment

2 of 2
Then there’s all of the other illegalities secret signing statements and Executive Orders. (more than all other presidents/admins combined). We had been hoping (some prayed) that the New Admin would make these previously secret documents available, and Holders group has been pumping them out like mad, and we’re gobbling them up the same way….like junkies after an 8-year withdrawal stint. (ever tried to read a document when 3/4th of the thing has been redacted?).

That said, I think it’s important to acknowledge that as individuals, our approval or disapproval of the job that the New Admin is doing obviously has everything to do with what our individual and/or smaller collective interests are. For many of us, Education, Labor, the Environment, Agriculture, Foreign Policy/International Relations, and the Justice Department, (to name a few) are far MORE important than the current crimes of Wall Street, and the corporate bailouts. This isn’t the first time we’ve bailed out corporate entities,

http://www.fdic.gov/bank/historical/s&l/

http://www.propublica.org/special/government-bailouts

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2008/07/where-credit-due-timeline-mortgage-crisis

http://www.subnet.nga.org/centennial/timeline/1980.htm

Consequently, while this is certainly the biggest and the worst of these corporate bailouts it’s not like they haven’t happened before, with very little fanfare from the general public. Why not while all of this was going on? And while it’s true that I DO pay a great deal of attention to the Cabinet members actually involved in the various functions of the government, (Like FEMA’s guy brownie, who used to be an Arabian Horse owner until he was named to the head of FEMA and watched New Orleans drown) that’s NOT to suggest that I’m willing to IGNORE people like Summers or Rubin. Still, they are part of the new Economic team, not the whole flippin’ government, and as Louise has noted, they have far more reason to know where the bodies are buried, and how the fraud was perpetrated to begin with.

So I am HAPPY with the choice for Labor Secretary, and I am HAPPY about the choice for the Veterans Affairs, and I’m particularly delighted with the choice for Education as well as the Environment. And I’m equally delighted with the choice for HHS AND the Justice Department. Again, those are just a few, but for reasons unknown to me, the regular bunch of anti-Obama people have yet to consider anything about the formation of their New Government, OTHER than the selections for the treasury and other posts requiring the expertise of economists, (even though this economic crisis is primarily a result of criminality rather than a systemic/endemic problem with the structure of the capitalism.)

As far as I’m concerned, these complaints about Geitner are akin to complaints about the bedside manner of the physicians trying to save their lame ass lives. They allowed some other gang to cut off their dicks, and now all they can do is whine and complain about how much it hurts as the surgeon tries to sew the useless thing back on. Admittedly, my patience is limited with these types, and if I happened to be the surgeon, I’d be inclined to just let them stay dickless for the rest of their miserable lives.

Meantime, the now ENORMOUS disparity in wealth distribution only began about a decade or so ago, but it should be noted that such disparity was guaranteed to produce the crises that we have now. In fact, it was intended that way. When 1% of the population controls 90% of the wealth/resources, and the other 99% of us are forced to scrabble among ourselves for the remaining 10%, we get what you see now. I would argue that this is by no means systemic or endemic, because that denies the fact that this crisis was CREATED by criminality, and not the normal ebb and flow of the free market.

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By cyrena, March 24, 2009 at 12:54 am Link to this comment

2 of 3

I will concede that it is endemic in the sense that Alan Greenspan was WRONG,  and the so called ‘free trade’ agreement created even more of a disaster. Still, fraud is fraud, and it’s difficult to consider that as systemic or endemic, unless the legislation that makes it possible is firmly rooted in the founding documents, as intended to be exactly that. And in all honesty, that is simply not the case, unless one is willing to put a time frame on it. For instance, one might make the argument that this has been systemic or endemic since Reganomics, but not any further back than that, at least in my opinion.

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By Litl Bludot, March 23, 2009 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

I have a different, less benign take on Obama’s world view. He is not a conservative or a progressive.  His policies are dictated by the people who give him the money to win elections.  What he says about helping the poor, the environment, peace, whatever, are only words calculated to get votes.  The policies are made by the rich.  He is completely controlled by them.

At present, he is in the process of turning over the U.S. government to the hedge funds, private equity firms, and the big failed “banks”.  Foreign policy is made by the industrial/military/prison complex.

That’s the way it is.

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By Max Shields, March 23, 2009 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

Thank you KDelphi, Garth and Flow.

This president is a conservative who knows the “right words” to appease some “progressives” and the “base” of the Democratic party.

There is a reality. The service sector, just like in a company, is NOT the center of an economy. It is only suppose to serve the economy. This is not the case in the US of A. Mixed with the debtor nation the US has become, are two needless “wars” on a vague notion called “terrorism”. The bubbles and bursts that we’ve seen over the last few decades, from S&L, to DotCom, to Enron, to 2008 and beyond meltdown with subprime are all symptomatic of a collapsing economy.

My guess is Obama’s keeping the war game going in Afghanistan/Pakistan because he buys (at least in part) in to the old guns and butter that seemed to “work” during the FDR Depression. But LBJ demonstrated that it doesn’t work. There is no economic engine in the US. There is only the highly speculative electronic casino. The latter emerged over the last 20 years. And what’s left of the US economy has tied its “fortunes” to that casino roll of the dice. The subprime is a perfect example of pretending that the lie can go on indefinitely…and it can’t.

Obama may be brighter the Bush, certainly knows how to play the political game, but the game is over.

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By Amon Drool, March 23, 2009 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment

last thursday, a Congressional Oversight Panel held a hearing with the title “Learning from the Past__Lessons from the Banking Crises of the 20th Century.”  timmy was invited but he was too busy doing his heckuva job to attend.

one of the people at the hearing was a swedish guy who was a major player in turning around his country’s banking crisis of the early 90’s.  his testimony has lead to a very interesting article over at the naked capitalism website. the article invokes rousseau’s concept of the general will and how it is still being used in social democratic political economy.  if interested, google “geithner’s faustian bargain, the general interest, jean-jaques rousseau and uncle sam’s lost inner compass.”

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By garth, March 23, 2009 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment

Max Shields,
I agree with Kdelphi, yours is a great post.  It gives alot to think about.

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By jackpine savage, March 23, 2009 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment

flow,

No, no he is not.  He’s our Khrushchev…at least that’s how it’s shaping up so far.

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By jackpine savage, March 23, 2009 at 4:39 pm Link to this comment

I haven’t read any of the back and forths about who’s stupider than who; who’s an evil Republican; or any of that.

There’s a good, good chance that the days of America being king of the hill will soon be officially over.  No more world, reserve currency status for us…no more paper for oil…no more borrow/print with impunity.

China and Russia are taking the lead, and the UN recommended the same recently.  The other BRICs are either supportive or neutral, leaning to support.  And the EU is neutral on the matter.  Only the US and the UK will stand firmly against using the IMF’s SDR accounting method.

In plain terms, that would mean replacing the dollar with a basket of currencies.  It would also mean that the US would no longer be able to borrow in its own currency and repay in devalued dollars.

That’s a huge issue, enough so that a director general of the China Banking Regulatory Commission recently said, “We hate you guys”. (Because between Bush and Obama there is no way that the dollar will not devalue.)

Kiss the bailouts for Wall Street, the empire, and the easy living of being an American goodbye.  And we can probably expect a US default before then if the new system would require converting our debt into the SDR basket.

Mr. Obama will probably not be enjoying his trip to the G20, where China (apparently) intends to push it as official policy.

More here:
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2009/03/the-us-is-losing-its-reserve-currency-privilege.html

http://www.newshoggers.com/blog/2009/03/a-new-reserve-currency.html

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By flow, March 23, 2009 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

By Max Shields, March 23 at 5:14 pm

Well said Max. I too agree.

For some interesting ideas concerning alternatives to the current paradigm, I recommend checking out the work of Charles Eisenstein.

Money and the Crisis of Civilization
Money and the Turning of the Age
The Original Religion
Money: A New Beginning
Money: A New Beginning (Part 2)

Charles Eisenstein is the author of The Ascent of Humanity. You can see his articles online at realitysandwich.com

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By KDelphi, March 23, 2009 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

Excellent post, Max Shields, and excellent ideas. I’ll back you.

Louise—You put up such a common sense post as the one you did here (explaining about your lifestyle, etc.), which wasnt really expleined before, and, I get it. It makes sense. I dont agree with it all, but, hey, good thinking.

Amd then you go back to tag teaming for Pres. Obama, I dont get it.

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By flow, March 23, 2009 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

As complex as all the finances are, the politics aren’t hard to follow. By creating an urgent crisis that can only be solved by those fluent in a language too complex for ordinary people to understand, the Wall Street crowd has turned the vast majority of Americans into non-participants in their own political future. There is a reason it used to be a crime in the Confederate states to teach a slave to read: Literacy is power. In the age of the CDS and CDO, most of us are financial illiterates. By making an already too-complex economy even more complex, Wall Street has used the crisis to effect a historic, revolutionary change in our political system — transforming a democracy into a two-tiered state, one with plugged-in financial bureaucrats above and clueless customers below.—The Big Take Over, Rolling Stone

Wow, sure makes one recall Henry Ford and his publication of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Remember that? Where a Jewish run cabal seeks global dominance through the means of Materialism; World wars; Curtailment of civil liberties with the excuse of defeating the enemies of peace; Creating the impression of the existence of freedom of press, freedom of speech, human rights and democracy, all of which are subsequently undermined and become mere illusions or deceptive smokescreens behind which actual oppression lies; Distractions; Pornographic literature; Economic depressions; Undermining financial systems by foreign loans, creating national bankruptcy, destroying money markets and replacing them with government credit institutions; Justification of previous acts of evil and expectation of a great new society; — to name just a few of the protocols. Source, Wikipedia.

Goldman Sachs was founded in 1869 by German Jewish immigrant Marcus Goldman.—Wikipedia

1869? Wasn’t that just about the time of the original Protocols of the Elders of Zion was published? It is probably just a little coincidence and an interesting bit of irony that last September, while confronted with a financial crisis of catastrophic magnitude, and Congress in the throes of a heated debate concerning whether or whether not to pass the Paulson Plan, Congress elected to shut down for 3 days to observe a Jewish holiday. Sometimes life is stranger than fiction.

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By Max Shields, March 23, 2009 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment

Wildflower,

First, I apologize for the referring to you as wallflower - it is completely unintentional and I’d like to keep the discussion on topic as much as possible.

First, I realize there is no viable third party. Parties are not the point, except to the extent that they restrict real solutions to today’s real problems by focusing them within a very linmited and old paradigm. The Dems and Repubs got us here, regardless of the vague rhetorical differences, and the gamesmanship they play with one another while playing the American people for fools.

Just to be clear, as as to put my cards on the table, I’m not a Krugman fan. Not because I disagree with his particular points on the wrongness of the Obama fiscal plan. Krugman is just barely left of center and regardless of political spectrums, he’s a free trader who thinks NAFTA is a ok by him.

My issues are two fold: 1) the current economic problem is far deeper and in many ways different than anything this nation has EVER experienced. I say that because we have a global economy and energy limitations and dependencies (and I’m not simply talking about where oil comes from) that creates a perfect storm. We have off-shored the US economic engine. That means stimulating, pour funds, into what’s left of the engine is a total waste. There is no substantial engine. Obama didn’t create it, he’s just not facing this reality. Nor is Krugman.

The contraction of the US economy will continue. It will find a place which is a fragment of what it use to be. Resource limitations and population growth will impeded returning to a “growth-based” economy. We will need to reformulate what we mean by an economy. This is not something that just happened, or was just recently recognized - see the works of acclaimed economist Herman Daly or become familiar with the systems modeling found in Limits to Growth.

We have reached the end of the road that got us what is clearly an expansive empire, one that exceeds anything every dreamed of in all of human history. It is unsustainable.

For me it is not simply regulation - though that is part of the issue. It is more fundamental. It is mix of creating a sustainable economics whereby all monoplistic wealth resides in the public sector - that includes access to all resources, food, water, infrastructure, health care and the like. Localization of economies built around bio-regions with a much smaller central government that responds to regional needs and regions that respond to local needs. The local economy is, under this picture, the economic engine, decentralized and meaningful to real people who transact on a daily basis, on a human-scale.

It doesn’t exist. The current system is in free-fall. The current president is simply reciting yesterday’s hymns to try to pull the US economy off the cliff as if this is simply the 1980s or 1930s. It aint. The other alternative is fascist corporate capitalism. We have nearly completed that transformation. Again, we have some choices. Obama will not bring us there. Events will determine what happens.

We need a powerful ground swell movement to intentionally transform what we have to one that is both sustainable and humane. One that does not require endless war to keep it going.

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By Louise, March 23, 2009 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

psickmind fraud, March 23 at 12:21 pm #

“So, Louise, let’s say that you hire my civil engineering firm, Geithner and Summers, PSC, to design and oversee the construction of a dam for you.  Two years after completion, the dam fails, flooding the valley and causing vast amounts of monetary damage.  Are you going to hire my firm again to redesign and oversee the damn dam repairs?”

~~~ 

Well actually no.

I never would have hired you in the first place. Since you use the weak comparison of your firms two year failure to Bush’s eight year fiscal failure, I rather suspect a conversation with you, in which you might propose your contract on the original project, might reflect your problem with figures and time-frames. So, I’d be suspicious of your credibility anyway. Suspicious enough to look else-where.

If I were wealthy enough to pay for a Dam I’d want to pay for the best!

However, if I were dealing with a public works project, like an Army Corps of Engineers Dam, and it failed. You bet I’d make them come back and fix it!

Unfortunately, the Army Corps of Engineers, while staffed by Army Engineers, [who are the best in the world] are saddled by politicians, who are saddled by tax-payers who not only don’t want to pay for the best, they don’t even want to pay taxes!

Apples and Oranges.

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By Louise, March 23, 2009 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther,

“What is there to brag about not having a car or truck if you need one?  Or a credit card?  or a medical perscription?  What is virtuous about not switching banks?  Or watching TV.  Why do you want to pay property or income tax to support a military.”

“I just don’t get it.  You think all this is virtuous but what is Democratic abaout any of it.”

“You appear to have something definite in mind but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what it is.”
~~~

It is choices, unecessary expense, simple, NOT paying, convenient, support, empty heads and Obligation vs ability. Devious huh.

First: Has nothing to do with democratic, beyond I have the right to make choices. All of the above are choices I’ve made!

Second: I can get around and do what I need to do without a car or truck So why should I spend the money to buy one, fuel one and insure one? That would be an unecessary expense.

Third: If I had a card that allowed me to buy whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it, I might “impulse buy” stuff I don’t need. Then spend years paying for it. And I’d be in debt, making it harder to afford what I actually need, when I actually need it. People think they cant buy anything without a credit card. Who do you suppose created that notion, the people who market credit cards maybe? It is possible to get what you need, when you need it, without a credit card. I’ve done it all my life. When I buy something, I’m just paying for it! Seems pretty simple to me. 

Fourth: I see no reason to get hooked on prescription drugs if I don’t need them. In spite of corporate advertising telling me otherwise, if I feel OK, I feel OK. NOT paying a fortune on some drug I don’t really need, appeals to me.

Fifth: Building a good relationship with a local community bank is part of the not having a credit card thing. People know me, know my worth, trust me and respect my dependability. That’s what happens when one builds community ties. Also makes me feel better knowing my money is in circulation. Not in a pie in the sky leveredged fantasy world that just evaporated out of Wall Street! And it’s convenient.

Sixth: I support the military, because we NEED a military. Also it helps to know that my kids [retired now] and grandkids in the military are receiving compensation for their service. Not a lot, but decent. And know [now that we have a president leading the country] they will have the stuff and back-up they need. Which, as you recall, was in short supply under previous leadership.

Seventh: TV was in response to jackpine savage, who said, “I’ll keep on - not watch[ing] TV.” I do know people who believe TV is dangerous and harmful. [Not saying jackpine savage thinks that, I don’t know what he thinks on the subject] I suppose if one watches whatever is on, even something really dumb, it can damage the empty head. I like to fill my empty head with the wealth of education and information available on TV, if one knows where to look.

Finally, I don’t consider paying property taxes to be virtuous. I consider paying property taxes to cover the cost of providing the things I need and use, an obligation. If I use it, I should help pay for it. Obligation vs ability: Paying taxes on income is a reflection of ones ability to earn an income. Right now, I wish I could say I was one of those people fortunate enough to earn a big enough income to pay income tax. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t pay income tax. But this world isn’t perfect. The wealthy have the advantage of being able to find a b’zillion loopholes to jump through, often leaving tham paying the smallest percentage of income tax, on income, that’s where we need to begin making change in the tax code!

But I’m not laying awake nights waiting for that to happen. smile

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By KDelphi, March 23, 2009 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

I, for one, (well, there were plenty of others) screamed bloody murder about Summers and Geithner from day one! it has nothing to do with a “media feeding frenzy”. I was just hoping that Pres. Obama would figure it out , as many on the Hill called for Geithner’s dismissal. Apparently not. It is not too much to ask that the person “leading the way"to “fixing things” did not help create the problem. Follow him if you like. I hope you can figure out where the hell he is going, because he doesnt seem to know. Well, to Wall St. Its his home of homes.

psickmind—we better get more than pitchforks. I am sure the govt wil be glad to use contractors—what do they cal Black water now? Xe!?

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By psickmind fraud, March 23, 2009 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment

Beerdoctor - Thanks for the link to the RS article, very good stuff. If I can use your lighter for my torch, I’ll gladly sharpen the tines of your pitchfork.

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By Louise, March 23, 2009 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

jackpine savage,

This is not [at least as far as I’m concerned] about Obama versus Bush. It isn’t about Clinton either. I learned a long time ago, if a mess needs to be cleaned up, attacking the person assigned to clean up the mess, doesn’t usually get the mess cleaned up faster. In fact might cause the assigned mess-cleaner-upper to leave, meaning I might have to clean it up! Kinda like throwing rocks at the Park Attendant cleaning up somebody else’s dog crap! The Attendant didn’t crap on the grass, so I don’t tend to blame him/her for the crap!

Oh there I go again, metaphorically speaking - impossible for some to understand. Sorry about that.

Blatant, stubborn anger feeds into the feeding frenzy that drives - well, blatant stubborn anger. Angry people generally are angry all the time, about everything, so they always swim to the frenzy. Sometimes their anger can be distructive, or dangerous. That’s when we all have choices. We can either get the heck away from them, or assuming they’re smart enough to realize they are being driven by simple emotion, try to point out the Yin/Yang in the situation. If that fails, or someone’s unwilling to figure out why they are so angry, for the sake of my sanity, I try to find the humor, or silliness, or obvious ridiculousness in certain behaviors.

What drives the “get Geithner and Summers, and by association, Clinton and Obama” train? The true motive, no matter how well intended, starts to look a lot like no motive, beyond just “get them!” If that’s not the motive then maybe you-all need to stop and think about how comments expressed defending that non-motive, come across. Ridiculous springs to mind. Sometimes pointing out the rediculous helps the truly thoughtful person understand. If they have a genuine concern about a serious problem, it wont go away by attacking the person assigned to try and solve that problem. You may attack the methods they have chosen, if you can identify the methods. But if you only attack the person(s), that only highlights you don’t understand or know the methods!

If you want to post my comments on your blog, feel free. Who knows, you might actually have a reader who understands metaphorically expressed humor and sarcasm. But please, do not use me as an example of the true Democrat. I rather like to call myself an HONEST, conservative Liberal!

Figuring that out should keep you busy for awhile wink

If you-all truly understood, you’d realize attacking Geithner has become a handy tool for “news” people to create a story around. They’re very good at identifying anger and feeding on it. Especially if it boosts their ratings, or leads to more advertising revenue. Since the majority of them wouldn’t get caught dead working hard to dig out news, the predictable reaction by you-all serves them by giving them more so-called news. If you understood that, you would also realize economists with columns to write use the same stuff to flesh out their story! However, their concern is more about the fact that Obama appears to not realize his support of Geithner appears to indicate he isn’t trying to solve the problem! And that people who run on anger and fear create a sense of loss and hopelessness. And right now, what we need to be doing is creating a sense of confidence.

It would help if they ALL would take the time to talk to Obama. Then they might discover how hard it’s been to find people willing to join the effort, to tackle the financial mess, that Bush left behind. Geithner couldn’t leave if he wanted too, but he sure could use some help! Somebody has to be there and so far, he’s the only hapless person stuck with the job! OK, that’s not a confidence booster, so what are YOU going to do about it?

Now, if you-all think you can be effective team players, aren’t afraid of hard work with little thanks, can tackle the job and are willing to try, President Obama would LOVE to hear from you!

YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU!

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By flow, March 23, 2009 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

When you read Matt Taibbi’s excellent article at Rolling Stone, pay close attention to the part where he talks about the Fed’s newly minted, carefully shrouded programs.  Yall got the memo on how to become an investor in the Fed’s new program, right?

Most economists believe that deflation is a problem in a modern economy because of the danger of a deflationary spiral. Deflation is also linked with recessions and with the Great Depression. Additionally, deflation also prevents monetary policy from stabilizing the economy because of a mechanism called the liquidity trap.

Milton Friedman suggested that [the Fed] can escape a liquidity trap by bypassing financial intermediaries to give money directly to consumers or businesses. This is referred to as a money gift or as helicopter money. The term helicopter money is meant to portray the image of a central banker dropping money on people from a helicopter. Political considerations make it difficult for a monetary authority to grant the money gift, because individuals and firms not receiving free money will exert political pressure. The monetary authority must act covertly to give gift money to specific individuals or firms without appearing to give money away. During the Great Depression in the United States, the Federal Reserve offered to buy any gold at a price well above current market prices. This was essentially a money gift to gold holders.—Wikipedia

Did yall get your helicopter money?

We are fighting the threat of deflation here right?

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By KDelphi, March 23, 2009 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

wildflower—you were not addressing me, but, i must ask, what happened to pres. obama’s request to “make him pull Left”? Thats what all these so-called Left supporters were saying. You know, like FDR—MAKE him do the right thing! I never bought it (why cant our officials just DO THE RIGHT THING??!) . But, criticizing the president, as well as the Dems, is what they asked for. They are in charge “times three”, youknow. I have answers to your questions and most here have other plans. (Krugman has been mentioned alot, as has the Rolling Stone article)You didnt ask for mine, but, the website wsws.org and socialistworker.org and peaceandfreedomparty.org pretty well express what I think need to happen. But, if I vote for them , I wouldve been “letting McCain win”. So they have us by the balls. I dont think so.

thebeerdr—I agree 100%! And, very well said! Both parties do it—“oh, lets vote Dem, cause we can ‘pull them Left’. and what choice do we have?” Well, everyone couldve realized thaT Dems sell us out everytime and voted Nader or McKinney or Kucinich. But, if not, then, we could at LEAST, be allowed to protest, criticize, and expres our opinion! I am NOT going to pretend that this is working! We have done it for at least 50 years! It doesnt work! It doesnt! I swear to gawd, it doesnt work!

Lets try something different—you know, like hope and change.
\
Anyone see Mike Davis on Bill moyers this wknd? It was great. “This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with author Mike Davis for a socialist perspective on the world’s daunting economic situation. Davis referenced a column he wrote for TomDispatch.com likening today’s perspective on the crisis to when Europeans first saw the Grand Canyon. The column read..” Well, here:http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/

Its really worth a look-see, and, explains how the prevailing view that “radicals” and “socialists” are “un-Merkin” is just so much horseshit. The rebels have a chance to resurge! On with the surge!

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By thebeerdoctor, March 23, 2009 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

re: KDelphi

I just wish those who defend this snake oil, would for once Prove as they say, that all the economic critics are wrong when they claim that Geithner’s great scheme is simply Paulson’s great scheme, given nifty new repackaging by the new (old) wizards in charge. Don’t take this web peasant’s word on it, ask them if all the naysayers should simply be silent and go away? Is that not what they really want?
One of the great tricks of news control is to get people to believe that Wall Street represents public opinion. Thus, if the Dow Jones Industrial Average rises today beyond the dreams of avarice, the news will announce that the Obama team must be doing something right, because the Street has spoken. To say, like many observers have noticed, that the system is fundamentally broke, is to those so fundamentally intent on preserving the illusion, a blasphemous utterance against orthodoxy that will not be tolerated.
And just for the record, when was it accepted wisdom that Clinton era retreads are the only ones who know anything? We are being so royally screwed. The tragedy is that only those on the outside are the only ones brave enough to admit this. Clear across the political spectrum: from Krugman, to Nader, to Paul etc… the best way to answer any of these critics from any viewpoint is to ignore them all. Surly and dismissive, Larry Summers can show you how it is done.

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By wildflower, March 23, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

Re Max Shield

In all due respect, Max, I believe you’re the one missing the point. The reality is there is no major third political third party in the U.S. at this particular time in U.S. history.  Personally, I believe there is an urgent need for a major third and fourth political party in the U.S., but we simply don’t have them.  Granted, we have good people out there trying, but we’re not there yet.

Until this becomes a reality, we are pretty much stuck tallying up the issues that we personally believe are important, fighting for these issues and selecting an individual that best represents our views, which brings us to people like yourself, folktruther, thebeerdoctor, and jackpine savage.  What are the objectives in your posts?  We all know about the critical problems within the Democratic and Republican parties, are you suggesting we all just throw our hands up in the air and give up on the issues as well?  If you’re on the left the only people that would gain by this are the right-wingers who do not share our views.

Ultimately, it seems to me your problem is that you can’t walk and chew gum at the same time – by this I mean you need to be fighting simultaneously for the issues that you believe are important as well better representation on Capital Hill, which brings up the question I ask of folktruther. What is your position on deregulation, Max? Do you think hedge funds should be regulated like mutual funds? And what is your position on universal health care for all Americans? And, Max, do you support the Employee Free Choice Act?

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By KDelphi, March 23, 2009 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

beerdr—thanks for rolling stone link—i had lost it. good article!

the space wars can be found if you google spacewar.com/obama_wants_to_increase_military_budget

Thats the only way I’ve been able to access it.

this new “buying up toxic assets” for $1 trillion (which Wall St already says they will NOT sell at auction, because they wouldnt get a ‘fair price”—-lolololol) Did WE get a “fair price”?? I dont mean to laugh—cant help it! What fools!

Here’s Erin Burnett—and MSNBC, supposedly the Pres. Obama station. “well, wall st is already complaining that they wont make the assets available to geithner at auction, as they already know the value of the assets (!!!! ; 0 !!!) and might not get a fair price”. Read that again. LOLOLOLOL

The MSNBC anchor (cant remember her name) “yes, its not just wall st, i have business friends who are afraid of retroactive taxation, too. why work if the govt can just decide to go back and take it all”

we should be asking ourselves that, as should every union who paid so much money to support Pres. Obama…

; 0 ...ooops! I laughed till I cried1!

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By Max Shields, March 23, 2009 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

wildflower

I think you are missing the point. I won’t speak for folktruther, but he’s made it clear that neither parties have the capacity to deal with what’s going on, in terms of the economic unraveling and foreign policy.

The problem you, and other Dems like Louise and cyrena have is that you can’t “take the truth” and want to reframe it as if you’re not with Obama/Dems than you’re a right-wing Republican.

It doesn’t wash. The narrowness of argument is with the status quo that Obama represents. That’s the problem folktruther, thebeerdoctor, jackpine savage, and others are trying to communicate to you diehard Dems.

We know all about the hell of G.W. Bush and his “8 years”. You think it’s either Bush or Obama, Repub/Dem. That’s the problem. What we face cannot be dealt with pulling out the same ol’ voodoo economics.

The kind of economists who understand this would never be brought into the inner sanctum of the power-elite. The solutions are outside the scope of the plutocracy that has been running the show, and that Obama hired to continue to run it.

cyrena seems to need proof, you wallflower would prefer to distort the converation. In any case you both represent business as usual (yea there was an administration before GWB, and it was WJC - and that is what we got again - play it again Sam).

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By wildflower, March 23, 2009 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

Re Folktruther” “what it is with Louise and Cyrena is that there is no other policies than those of the Dems and Gops, and if you don’t support the Dems, you must be a Republican.”

No, I suspect it has more to do with what you don’t say in your posts, folktruther.  In all due respect, you seem to approach the problems that the U.S. is facing in a very rigid and narrow way, and this kind of rigidity is a common trait among right-wingers, and/or Republicans. Know what I mean?

But you could resolve all doubts about your true political leanings by answering a few basic questions, folktruther. You’ve posted your concerns about Iraq war, which is good, but there are many other issues that you ignore and you’ve been silent on. So without any further ado, folktruther, tell us:

What is your position on “deregulation,” especially in regard to hedge funds? Do you think hedge funds should be regulated like mutual funds? And what is your position on universal health care for all Americans, folktruther? If you are in favor of universal health care, what do you believe is the most economical approach? And do you support the “Employee Free Choice Act, folktruther?

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By psickmind fraud, March 23, 2009 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

So, Louise, let’s say that you hire my civil engineering firm, Geithner and Summers, PSC, to design and oversee the construction of a dam for you.  Two years after completion, the dam fails, flooding the valley and causing vast amounts of monetary damage.  Are you going to hire my firm again to redesign and oversee the damn dam repairs? 

I believe that the White House pressured Dodd to add the Feb 11 bonus provision to his amendment.  Look how successful it was in keeping people from bitching about the real travesty, that Goldman Sachs (among others) got billions more taxpayer money through AIG rather than the government just handing it to them directly.  This whole thing makes me think the American people are being played like the people of Rock Ridge in Blazing Saddles, with Hedley Lamaar telling the House and Senate to “give the president ‘harumph’.

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By flow, March 23, 2009 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

Is Obama our Gorbachev?

Christopher Lydon at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University wants to know.

http://www.radioopensource.org/obama-as-gorbachev-a-regime-in-crisis/

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By flow, March 23, 2009 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Thanks for the link thebeerdoctor

The latest bailout came as AIG admitted to having just posted the largest quarterly loss in American corporate history — some $61.7 billion. In the final three months of last year, the company lost more than $27 million every hour. That’s $465,000 a minute, a yearly income for a median American household every six seconds, roughly $7,750 a second.—The Big Take Over

I think it is irresponsible to call this a “quarterly loss.” It makes it sound as if AIG is losing this money conducting normal business operations. This is really just chump change.

AIG’s losses are simply someone else’s gain. Every second some chump gets paid $7,750 dollars for betting that the value of U.S. mortgages and corporate bonds would deflate.

Every minute AIG cuts a $465,000 check to someone who was willing to “speculate” that the resolution to the asset bubble engineered by Wall St. would not be positive for stocks and bonds.

Every hour someone is 27 million dollars richer while the US taxpayer is sliding deeper in a hole, left with a devalued currency, more debt and higher taxes to look forward to.

But I don’t think AIG is to blame. Just because AIG, the world’s largest insurance company, had profitably and successfully managed risk for decades does not mean they aren’t entitled to make a mistake once in a great while, does it? And just because Goldman Sachs and Citibank and Bank of America and the private equity firms and the hedge funds and all those foreign banks did see this coming and AIG didn’t, does that mean AIG is to blame?

Has anyone noticed that we have been hearing less and less about Mafia dons these last several years? I suppose this means these people have finally given up the grizzly business of organized crime and entered into a respectable occupation of some kind.

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By Goldfarb, March 23, 2009 at 8:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great article.  I can see why they were called Morgan’s mafia.  The mafia did that to businesses they took over, drain them dry then have a fire.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 23, 2009 at 7:02 am Link to this comment

The Matt Taibbi article is all over the place. See if this link works, if not I am sorry:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/26793903/the_big_takeover/print

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By garth, March 23, 2009 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

“Brownie, you’re doing a terrific job.”  George Bush in New Orleans.
“Tim’s doing a terrific job.” Barack Obama on 60 minutes.
Check out economist Ha-Joon Chang on “The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism” on Democracy Now website.  To borrow a phrase from that racist governor of Alabama whose name I’ve forgotten, “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the neo-liberal tenets of the Obama-like Democrats and those of the conservative Republicans.
So, ultimately, our choice is similar to ones faced by death row convicts in Utah, firing squad or hanging.

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By jackpine savage, March 23, 2009 at 5:26 am Link to this comment

Louise and Cyrena,

I would heartily like your opinions on the current plan to get private investors to buy the toxic assets so that if they ever turn around, those investors will profit.  And if they don’t, we’re all on the hook for their losses, because the enticement for getting them to buy the “assets” is to insure them with taxpayer funds.

Sure looks like the privatize the profits and socialize the losses trains rolls right along.  And since this is coming from the cabinet, it does fall within Cyrena’s concern grouping.

(BTW, Holder is a jackass who teamed up with Clinton to put hundreds of thousands of Americans in jail for committing the ghastly crime of smoking a little dope.)

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By jackpine savage, March 23, 2009 at 5:11 am Link to this comment

Louise,

You must have one of the most narrow minds that i’ve ever run across.  Are you only capable of visualizing the world in pairs of binary opposites?  I never did claim that this was “all Obama’s fault” or that we should return to the administration of the last eight years, but apparently your argument rests on the assumption that i did.

You told me to think about what i could do, so i responded with what i’ve been doing for a long time.  And then you use that to tell me how i’m not good enough, talk about a high horse.

Has it ever occurred to you that the people who know where the bodies are buried might not want them found?

Probably not, because these people have been appointed by Saint Obama, who’s incapable of making a bad decision and requires our unquestioning support in everything that he says and does…or at least that’s the impressions that your posts give.

OUR problem is something an out-of-control group of political despots created. An ideologically driven, money and power grab by an amoral group running on greed, hubris and lies.

Yep, and a significant portion of that group - the financial arm of it - is still sitting behind the current pulling levers.  Are you really so naive as to believe that there is any significant gap between the financial and political power players?

But more to the point of your statement: it runs right across party lines and stretches back decades now.  Yet you need, apparently for your worldview to not implode, to believe that the Democrats are not a part of the problem (at least not the majority of them).

So keep on marching behind Mr. Summers, but be careful not to slip on the putrid slime trail that he leaves everywhere he slithers. 

Your inability to see beyond party lines is the fundamental problem facing this country (aside from both parties’ fealty to the masters of the universe who have fealty to nothing but the size of their own bank account).

*May i use your comments in a blog post i’m working on.  They serve as good examples for my theory that the only thing worse than a Democrat is a Republican…and vice versa.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 23, 2009 at 4:30 am Link to this comment

From the Washington Post, this morning:
“Today, the Treasury Department is expected to introduce plans to finance the purchase of as much as $1 trillion in toxic assets from ailing financial institutions.”

It would be good to remember that this action is from Geithner and Summers, the people who Obama has so much faith in. Somebody better wake up. Read Matt Taibbi’s article recently published in Rolling Stone, to help comprehend what kind of royal screwing is really going on.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 23, 2009 at 4:00 am Link to this comment

For those who complain for holding President Obama account for his most recent actions:

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/132858/the_president_needs_to_hear_a_second_opinion/

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By Folktruther, March 22, 2009 at 9:50 pm Link to this comment

Louise, I read your ‘bragging rights’ post and, I confess, I don’t have a clue to what you are thinking.  and I want to, simce apparently many people think like you (although not as good of course.)

What is there to brag about not having a car or truck if you need one?  Or a credit card?  or a medical perscription?  What is virtuous about not switching banks?  Or watching TV.  Why do you want to pay property or income tax to support a military.

I just don’t get it.  You think all this is virtuous but what is Democratic abaout any of it.  Except not having enough money.  Why do you want to give more of it to the banksters and incrase class inequality?  You appear to have something definite in mind but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what it is.

As others and I have said before, we are not complaining that Obama is not doing the right thing fast enough; we are complaining, along with economists, etc that he is doing hte WRONG thing.  As Krugman is.  Is he a nincompoop and Republican too?

You apparently think that I want the whole power structure to collapse.  Louise, we are dealing here with tens of millions of people, most of whom do not know I exist.  What I want is largely irrelevant to what I think is going to happen.  As is the case of other commenters. 

Do you want things to hold together for your lifetime, is that it?  You’re afraid of what will happen if Obama’s policies fail?  But Louise, if giving money to the banks is the wrong policy, it will make things worse. 

That is Krugman’s point.  Read his piece in the NYTimes, yesterday or today, and please give your response.  I, for one, would sincerely like to hear it.

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By cyrena, March 22, 2009 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment

Well Max, glad I was able to entertain you. Anybody sick enough to find a joke in there can’t be easy to entertain.


I’m so sorry for your losses Max….

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By Max Shields, March 22, 2009 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

cyrena you’re a joke.

Proof: the posts you make on TD starting with the last two.

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By cyrena, March 22, 2009 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

By Max Shields, March 22 at 5:25 pm #
cyrena,
“proof” seems your catch all for lack of a counter argument. Obama was too young to blah blah blah. No excuse…I read he’s the president. It’s time you start realizing he’s in office.

~*~
No Max, it’s time YOU started realizing he’s in office, because an overwhelming percentage of Americans wanted it that way. God knows it must have been hard for you. In fact Max, I’m surprised you survived it. Did you shit your pants and have to be taken away in a straight jacket on Nov, 4th, 2008? As for your proof, NO argument, (counter or otherwise) can even proceed without it.  I’m not gonna have an argument with you or anyone else on something that you make up and refuse to provide sources for. Would I believe you if you told me that the moon was green with mustard colored stripes and blue polka dots? Of course not….I know better. However, as an academic, I would most certainly give you the opportunity to make your argument. So, how would you do it? You can’t. That’s the point. You just lie, and then tell me I should already know what you’re lying about.

Reading through these responses, KDelphi is the only one who has even made an attempt to put some proof to your lies about the expansion of the Military Industrial Complex.  What KDelphi failed to do, (and not necessarily through any fault of her own, since I’ve tried to search this information before, and it wasn’t accessible) is to say what the funds are for, in terms of the ‘defense budget’. In other words, a breakdown of how the defense budget is to be allocated, and it has to be a little bit more than just ‘the wars’.

Here’s why. The thugs never ONCE put their war spending into the defense budget. NOT ONCE. Instead, they built huge ‘defense budgets’ for all of the toys that kill people, and to keep the MIC in place. Then , they would routinely hold the Congress hostage, demanding SUPPLEMENTAL BILLIONS for ‘the wars’.  What part of the defense budget went to what things, and what part of the supplemental billions went to what else? Do you know? Of course you don’t. It went to Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater, KBR, and all of the other neocon multinational enterprises. So where did all of those billions go? Apparently you’ve failed to notice Max, that we have hundreds of thousands of homeless veterans.

http://www.nchv.org/page.cfm?id=81

Do you have a clue to what is involved in providing care for over 100,000 of them that are wounded…most with mental disorders that can’t be ‘patched up’ like a broken limb? How much do you think we should spend on the vets who’ve lives and families have been destroyed by Dick Cheney’s wars for oil and global hegemony? Should we just let them die there in the street, or just kill themselves, and their family members because we just can’t afford to pay to take care of them? President Obama disagrees with that you stupid asshole, and so do I.

And by the way Max, proof for your lies isn’t something that is a catch-all for me or anyone else. I’m an academic, and there is zero tolerance for bullshit in my field. People are expected to back up claims that they make, and when you can’t, it’s just bullshit. And if there is so much documentation of all of this, why can’t you produce it? I keep asking, and you keep telling me that I should ‘know’. Why should I ‘know’ this stuff if YOU don’t, and you’re the one trying to sell the shit? I’ve had my eye on Obama’s left hand since January 21st, (he’s a lefty, so that hand that signs the stuff we need to restore a Constitutional Republic is like gold in my opinion.) and the guy has been working harder than an 18 year old immigrant managing to work 3 jobs that white folks can’t be bothered with.

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By cyrena, March 22, 2009 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

2 of 2
As a US citizen, I don’t HAVE TO MAKE A CASE FOR Barack Obama, because he’s made that case for himself, to the American people. If I drop dead tomorrow Max, it will not change the LANDSLIDE victory that put Barack Obama in the Oval office, nor will it erase the criminal destruction perpetrated by your neo-con heroes in the repiglican party. That’s what you don’t get Max, because most old conservative white bigots don’t get it. They simply cannot accept the change that Obama represents, despite his efforts at patiently explaining it to you.

Be that as it may, Will Clinton left office in 2000 with an economy that was relatively stable, (except in Texas, where the neocons had already put that state in the same condition that the rest of us would fall to later, and I knew it was coming.) But you didn’t Max. You guys figured that as long as you were white and over 21, all would be well. I mean….the American Dream and all. Ah Max, you ALMOST had it all, riding there in your semi-first class seat. Or, at least you thought you did. If only you hadn’t believed the bullshit.

Oh my….poor, poor, Max. Like so many other old white guys who thought they had the system pegged, Dick Bush absconded with all of your money, and now you’ve gotta rely on the black guy kid to try and get it back for you. What a hoot. Not to worry though, he’s gonna get it back for you.

http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE4A931B20081110

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/df3eeb9c-feb7-11dd-b19a-000077b07658.html

Don’t hold your breath. You aren’t likely to be at the front of the re-distribution line. Some call it Karma. But hang in there. A soup kitchen will be in your neighborhood soon, and if you’re lucky, the President or First Lady might even scoop your soup for you.

As for your obsession with the past, (and specifically Rubin and Summers) it’s YOUR obsession, not mine. Neither of them is an elected official, and they don’t answer to me. They answer to Obama, presumably to provide him with whatever information he thinks is relevant to what he needs to know. Geitner is another story, because he actually holds a Cabinet position that had to be confirmed by the Senate, and they did. So I suspect you should probably get over it, seeing as there is a headline here indicating that President Obama hired him for a reason, and isn’t planning to let him go, even if he wanted to. Guess that answers that.

But like I said, I don’t care about Rubin or Summers. I care about the cabinet that was appointed to oversee Labor, Education, the Environment, Energy, Health Care, the Justice Department, (I love Eric Holder as well) the UN, the State department, the Dept of Transportation, and the Interior…just for starters. Those are the appointments and posts that I care about. I don’t like Hillary Clinton for the Sec of State position, and I’m not particularly crazy about Gates either. But I know President Obama has a reason for his staff selections. He could hire 100 Rubins, and 1400 Summers’, and they could never create the damage that one Dick Cheney, David Addington, Karl Rove, John Bolton, or Richard Perle, or Scooter Libby did.

Put a cork in it Max, since you probably can’t afford the pills. You’ve got a serious problem with diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of the brain. Maybe a touch of Alzheimer’s as well.  Based on that, you’re excused from further obligations to post bullshit that you refuse to source, expecting intelligent people to just believe you, the way you obviously ‘believed’ that Dick Bush had you covered. SURPRISE.  When somebody tells me that up is down, or that black is white, I call ‘em a liar unless they can prove otherwise, and of course they never can.

Gotta go Max. My gumbo is ready.  Looks like the last batch of shrimp and scallops must have jumped right out of the ocean and into the pot. (or maybe a kid did it while I was wasting time writing this to you. )

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By Max Shields, March 22, 2009 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

Yes, it is not only his economic team. It’s his whole Clinton neoliberal interventionist team on foreign policy (almost thought we’d have a bright exception with Charles Freeman, but he caved into AIPAC on that).

KDlephi, a month from now, cyrena will be asking yet again for proof. It’s the way she works it here. It’s like never never land. Everything is “prove it”. Must work for her somewhere.

Obama is living proof of what he is and isn’t. He sure as hell aint Lincoln or FDR. So, far he’s barely doing a good Bill Clinton imitation.

Expands the military spend, escalates the “war on terror”, caves into AIPAC and Republicans (ala Bill Clinton), hires old neoliberal hacks during the worst economic collapse in anyone’s memory, wants to put quasi star wars military cabal in Poland (sound like Reagan).

Who the hell is this guy. Plays the violin with the left hand and holds it with the right? Centrist? New Democrat? Neoliberal? War hawk? Israel/AIPAC patsy?

Where the hell are the poor and working class in any of this? What kind of instincts does this guy have? I say it’s elitist knee jerk when the going gets tought he looks to the recent past.

Change? New face, same old policies…may be worse.

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By KDelphi, March 22, 2009 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

This should work (it is less specific)http://www.spacewar.com/

(Obama requests military budget increase)

“The budget request includes 533.7 billion dollars for the main defense budget, a four percent increase over the main budget for fiscal 2009, excluding most of the costs of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some war costs were shifted to the main defense budget, including funding to increase the number of soldiers and marines, and programs for wounded soldiers, Gates said.

The president also requested an additional 75.5 billion dollars to cover war costs for the remainder of the current fiscal year, after Congress approved 65.9 billion for fiscal 2009 before Obama took office.

The vast US defense budget represents more than 40 percent of the world’s total military spending and US spending will continue to grow under Obama’s budget, albeit at a slower pace than under former president George W. Bush…”

It will “grow more slowly”, I guess…changechangechange

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By MeHere, March 22, 2009 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

The two parties are a thing of the past. They have a deeply corrupt grip on government and culture. Republicans fear Democratic rule and vice versa when, in fact, they are both to be feared.  But Democratic voters are probably the main obstacle in the path of the country moving forward. You never really know what Democrats stand for and you cannot have a rational political discussion with them. They are always playing by ear. At least, Republicans are clear in stating their retrograde views.

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By KDelphi, March 22, 2009 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

Pres. Obama doesnt need to “fix everything in 2 mos”...I just would like to sees him head in the right direction!

Geithner and Summers are NOT the right direction!

I will try to look up that link..

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By KDelphi, March 22, 2009 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

beerdr—Is it my browser? or my hd?(I keep running out of memory)I cant go to the link…just wondering if anyone else could…

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By thebeerdoctor, March 22, 2009 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

Sorry the link does not work. Go to spacewar.com and look it up. To those who do not want anyone to complain about BHO’s stupid moves, I say, hey I voted for him. I have every right to complain when I see my vote went to enable some pretty diabolical bullshit.
What do you call getting rid of Summers and Geithner? I call it a start. Did it ever occur to the Obama can do no wrong crowd, that his faith in the Secretary of the Treasury is similar to a former president’s faith in a director of FEMA.
“Doing a heck of a job there Timmy.”

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By thebeerdoctor, March 22, 2009 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

For those who claim that they need proof that President Obama is expanding the military industrial complex, I say read this: http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Obama_seeks_defense_budget_increase_for_2010

The apologists will have to comfort themselves with the fact that Obama’s increase to defense spending is “modest” compared to previous increases by George W.
For those who think having Summers and Geithner around because they might know where the bodies are buried? What a hopelessly delusional thought, not much different than President Obama’s faith in these individuals.

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By Max Shields, March 22, 2009 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

Louise Obama, your guy, hired Geithner/Summers…what’s your beef?

KDelphi, you’re right the tag team Obamaites are so confused they they George W. Bush is still running things and not O. Go figure.

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By KDelphi, March 22, 2009 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

The Denial Tag Team

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By Max Shields, March 22, 2009 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

Louise and cyrena,

It’s Obama who is “stuck” in the past. What part of Geithner/Rubin/Summers don’t you get?

Obama has chosen to stick with the Clinton/Reagan economic team. Reagan began what Clinton and now Obama have continued as a corporate/finance-based solutions to the collapsing global economy.

You may want to put the past behind you but Obama, the guy you think is doing a swell job, is clearly a creature of the past. His approach to governance is Clinton repeat.

Oh I get it Louise you’d rather FORGET the past. The old memory hole is exactly what policians like Clinton/Obama hope for. I think Biden calls it RESET.

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By Louise, March 22, 2009 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

cyrena,

Hallelujah! I’m not the only one who wants to say “Amen” to the past and build on the present to a positive future!

You go girl! smile

A Shining Example of Hikmah!

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By KDelphi, March 22, 2009 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

Who said anything about wanting to bring Bush & Co back?? Just because Bush et al REALLY truly SUCK doesnt meat that the Dems dont suck to a lesser degree.

So…getting rid of Geithner and Summers is like—“tough love for a child”?? How?? What are you talking about?? I dont want “love of any kind for these Hedge Fund crooks! I just want a NEW economic team that wants—-CHANGE!! It would give me hope and help fulfill the Merkin Dream, I guess, which, is apparently the smallest of all world dreams.

Why are we expected to not expect better than this?

I want someone to stop campaigning and work on the problems. I want people like Dodd, and, Summers and Cheney, and Paulson, and Bernanke and all those of BOTH parties who were involved in this mess to GO HOME!

I want rid of GATES too—I dont want anything to do with anyone who has worked in DC, who helped create this mess. (take both Clintons, too!)I thought you guys were “all about change”. Keep it up. You’ll lose the House or Senate in 2010.

If you are going to let Blue Dogs run things, who cares?

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By Max Shields, March 22, 2009 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment

cyrena,

“proof” seems your catch all for lack of a counter argument. Obama was too young to blah blah blah. No excuse…I read he’s the president. It’s time you start realizing he’s in office.

And now we have son of Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama who has put in place the very same minds that can be traced back to Reagan/Bush I (who I recall Obama also admired)/Clinton/Bush II. Goldman Sachs’ Rubin begets Summers begets Geithner. See the trend line?

The case, the proof, has been so thoroughly documented that it would seem cyrena that someone who is as up on these things as you, only asks others to go through a “proof” because you don’t have a real case to make for Obama.

Age is really a lame excuse. Again, one can have the policies of a T. Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson and not even have been born during their administrations.

Obama has choices. The situation is dire. Instead of going for change he’s gone for continuity. He’s said as much. Nothing he’s offered so far is real change. Stimulus packages, as I’ve said, are at best bandaids to the problem. He focuses on the financial sector in exactly the same fashion as G. W. Bush did. No change there.

Today’s problem is brand new terrain. Obama chooses to attack it with old solutions that arguable never really worked under the best circumstances.

Obama is a pleaser, happy as can be, so it seems, to be president of the US. I think he thought he could just re-do Clinton and coast through, but then the meltdown happened, and it was too late to back out and so he continued on.

You may be right cyrena. Obama is far too young for any of this. He’s got no executive experience, and seems to be more a team player than a leader.

What I saw during the primaries and campaign when he was the more conservative of the Dems and most like John McCain on foreign policies. He’s not Bill Clinton. He has simply tried to pick up the Clinton policies. He’s not Abraham Lincoln, either. As much as he tried to evoke that, and MLK, and RFJ, and JFK, and FDR. He never really wanted to be Barrack Obama. He asked Americans to believe he was a composite of these previous presidents.

It was always apparent, cyrena, to all but the devoted that Obama gave a great speech that and a nice suit and smile will take you just so far.

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By Louise, March 22, 2009 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment

jackpine savage, March 21 at 8:20 pm

Ok, lets do bragging rights. I don’t own a car or truck. I don’t have a credit card, NEVER have had! I don’t use prescriptions. Last prescription I bought was in 1989. I use the same local bank I started using when I moved here 14 years ago. I maintain a small savings account, harder to earn money now. I buy my meat, dairy and produce from the local farmers market. I do watch TV, not scared of it like some. When I retired, I used my 401k for a down payment on my 900 square foot house. I’ve been told I can opt out of property tax since my income’s so low, but I enjoy the things that tax pays for, so want to pay my share. I cant understand tax fixation. I’d be thrilled to have enough income to pay income taxes. Besides, someone has to pay to keep our military standing.

Oh, I forgot. Bush BORROWED all his WAR money! Could that be why our national debt is so high? Naw, it’s all Obama’s fault.

Some parents use “tough love” to deal with their kids. They throw the kid out instead of helping them out. Makes it easier for mom and dad to tell themselves, turning their back on their kid is good for the kid, not just easier for them. Out of site, out of mind is a cop-out. But holds appeal to people who don’t want to see a problem!

The notion that throwing Geithner and Summers out will change everything is a good example of people not wanting to see a problem, or their place in it. Do you think if they disappear, the problem will disappear? If they left, it wouldn’t fix anything, but you might feel better - for a day or two - until you realized the problem was still there. Oh but you’d still have Obama to blame! 

Maybe the question should be, what is YOUR Problem?

OUR problem is something an out-of-control group of political despots created. An ideologically driven, money and power grab by an amoral group running on greed, hubris and lies.

However Geithner and Summers may know where the bodies are buried. It helps if the guys digging in the muck have a good idea where to dig. But that’s not even good enough for you!

You want to throw them overboard, so your pretend Knight in Shining Armor can gallop up and solve our problem! So you can pretend your reality explains what’s happened! So you can climb up on the Knight’s, High Horse and spread your great wisdom across the land. Reveal your great capacity for memory and vision. That memory and vision you display every time you proclaim, it’s Obama’s fault! In your reality, Obama seems to have managed to undo - in two months - the simply fabulous government Bush and company left us! OK, lets get the members of the former administration to fix the problem! We know what a good job they do! Right? And while were at it, we can pretend they didn’t create the mess! And we can keep pretending Obama did!

Yeh, lets bring those republicans back! (Sorry about that, but that’s the only other party that’s been in power lately!) After all, we know so well what great and glorious fiscal managers they are. How could we not know? We see the fruit of their labor every single day, in every single way! Like when a rotten apple bonks us on the head.

You’ll probably blame that on Obama too! wink

Selah?

I “think about it” every single day. I have a good memory, “praise [the Lord].” See “connection” between fault-finding and holding up positive action, maybe “forever,” since many prefer laying stumbling blocks instead of stepping stones. I’d like to say “Amen” to the past and build on the present to a positive future. (Am I the only one?) Indeed, “wisdom cannot be measured against gold” precious gems, or money. However Selah, like so many Hebrew words people like to use, has too many meanings. I prefer the Arabic “Hikmah” one word with one meaning.

My solutions? I’ve run out of room, next time.

Shalom aleichem, Salaam ‘Alaykum, Peace and God bless

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By Clash, March 22, 2009 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

So much time and energy spent with nothing to show for it, the planet is being killed, peak oil is here or on the door step, and those that profess to be the change that will make it OK are doing exactly what the last killer clown’s have done for 8 years nothing.

Well not exactly nothing, they like the previous death dealers,  are using slight of hand to take the the focus from the true crisis while filling their pockets, believing that their paper riches will some how save them from what is coming.

If history is any indicator of future events these clowns will hang on to the bitter end, killing any thing that would keep them from their positions of power and control.

So much for the environment, health care, education justice, just rhetoric for the mill.

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By KDelphi, March 22, 2009 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

Pres. Obama voted for the Bailout. He is repeating it.

Geithner was very much involved in these decisons, from the start, as were most Congressional Dems. (that is one reason that none of it will ever be investigated)

Summers was practically an ENGINEER of Hedge Funds, so , to pretend like the Dems are blameless, is just to be in denial.

If Merkins dont move past party politics, and start concerning themselves more with the population of the US (the great majority), and less with adoring the political hacks, we will be more fucked than otherwise.

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By cyrena, March 22, 2009 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

Max writes:

•  “For some it was apparent during the campaign that Obama was built to please not challenge. He is simply part of the system which created and perpetuates the larger economic problems which are wrapped in a massive military industrial complex (one he is enlarging, by the way).”

For others, based on reality like an historical time line, there’s no possible way that Barack Obama was ‘part of the system’ which created and perpetuated anything, any more than I was.  Why Max? Well, because Barack Obama is 48 years old, and until 4 years ago, he was non-tenured Prof. of Constitutional Law at U of Chi, specializing in Civil Rights. He is a 21st Century political leader unlike the tired ass EGO DRIVEN old white guys who have been running this country into the ground for years.

You say he is enlarging the military industrial complex, and I say prove it. (You can’t, just like folkliar never can. He repeats the same lies over and over again, with twisted context, as if he can make it true.) Prove it Max. Prove that Obama is expanding the Military Industrial Complex. It shouldn’t take that long to find proof of it on the Internet, if in fact this is the case.

Prove please, how Barack Obama is ‘simply part of this system’ begun by Ronald Regan, back when Obama was in High School in Hawaii. Prove please, Obama’s involvement in the deregulation that created the huge disparity in income, that has crashed not just our economy, but the global economy as well.

Max, just as you have cautioned not to view this Depression thru a 1930 lens, I have as well, though there are a few basic similarities, beginning with the unregulated excesses that led to that particular crash. But that’s where it ends Max. The depression we are in now is not the least bit like that Depression, because this depression is the result of a long planned GRAND THEFT LARCENY by the Neocon crowd of the Dick Cheney Regime. It amazes me that you have so conveniently chosen to ignore the past 8 years that created this disaster. You’re like Rush Limbaugh. Four years ago you wouldn’t have recognized Barack Obama by name or face. Just another black guy in the South Side of Chicago. Four years later, he’s responsible for the environment, the global economy, the lack of energy, and the fact that Israel has been engaged in Genocide for over a century. Gee, he’s just one hell of a guy, eh?

And no, no matter how many times you try to make it so, Barack Obama is NOT Bill Clinton, and he never will be. We can’t go back Max. You can stay stuck on stupid for the rest of your life, because it’s a choice. But it should be obvious by now that we have a new generation of Americans who aren’t going to put up with it. The proof is sitting in the White House right now. You guys are part of a past that not only cannot be duplicated, but SHOULD NOT be duplicated.  So no, WE are NOT going back to Clinton, even though there have certainly been times during the past 8 years that we may have WISHED we had Clinton back, because we weren’t in trillions upon trillions upon trillions of dollars worth of debt. When Clinton left office,  we were not owned, lock, stock, and barrel, by China and the Saudis, and it was before Halliburton, The Carlyle Group, Dnyacorp, Bechtel, and others had laundered a cazillion dollars of our money, and millions of buckets of our blood and the blood of the Iraqis through the sands of the Middle East. These are the realities that you can’t change Max, no matter how deeply into denial you and folkliar choose to go.

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By cyrena, March 22, 2009 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

2 of 2

The wars on Iraq and Afghanistan were not initiated by Barack Obama, though he has been vocal in his opposition to the War on Iraq long before it was launched. He was opposed to the surge. Obama didn’t open the Torture Camp at Guantanamo, nor did he authorize the extrajudicial renditions of others who the former regime kidnapped and took to various and sundry black sites for the purposes of torture. Obama did not originate or otherwise perpetuate the biggest fraud in the history of the US, better known as 9/11 and the so-called “War on Terror”.  He had nothing to do with Abu Ghraib, Bagram AFB, or other black sites that we have only just begun to learn about. Barack Obama didn’t write the Patriot Act, and he wasn’t in the Congress at the time to even vote for or against it.

Phil Gramm, Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, John Bolton, Tom DeLay, David Addington, John Yoo, and least we forget, Richard B Cheney and the Project For a New American Century. Go back and do your homework Max. Look up those names, terms, and events.  Max. Do your research, and when you’re done, and ready to accept the reality of how things came to be this way, maybe we can talk. But as long as you want to insist on a CREATED ‘cause and effect’ that doesn’t exist in reality, you’ll just die in denial, and that really might be the best that we can do with the rest of you.

In other words, we just wait long enough for you to die off. (My hero, the late great Justice Thurgood Marshall promised long ago that he would “outlive the bastards”!! ) I call it attrition, and when I was young and idealistic, I naively believed this would have happened long before now.  But, it’s taken much longer, and we still have a ways to go. Still, this is the most progress we’ve made in decades. Those of you who have chosen to have your memories of the past 8 years completely erased, won’t recognize the progress, because you won’t acknowledge the damage that has to be repaired. That’s what you don’t get. This thing you call the USA, and I call ‘home’ has been completely destroyed during the past 8 years, and Barack Obama has been doing repair work for the past 60 days. It’s gonna take a hell of a lot longer than that, and many of us won’t survive. I hope it happens fast for you, and that you don’t suffer much.

We have an environmental crises because of Big Oil and the wiping out of government regulation and oversight. We have an energy crisis because for at least 30 years now, Big Oil has been subverting, (via bribe or worse coercion) any attempts to introduce alternative methods of energy.

As citizens of the US, we have been terrorized by a rouge regime who managed to destroy everything we ever stood or shrived for as a collective population, but you’ve had that erased from your memory, so for now, you’re just another casualty, and there’s no substance to anything you say.

Talk is cheap when you have no capital to back it up. Sorry, you can’t make Obama be Bill Clinton. They are from different worlds. Obama is a 21st Century leader, and if things hadn’t been so terribly fucked up by the Neocon thugs, we wouldn’t have even needed him to take the office right now. He’s young, and could have easily cooled his heels for another 4 or 8 years, had we not crashed and burned over the past 8. As late as September, 2008, GWBUSH was still plaintively wailing to his mafia handlers, (about the crashed economy), “Can’t we just say everything is fine?” Do you get that Max? He was saying, why can’t we just keep the lie going for a few more months, and then we’ll be out of here, having successfully managed to pull off the greatest heist in the history of the World.

The Clintons are the past Max, and so are you. The rest of us want to try and put ourselves and our country back together again.

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By Folktruther, March 22, 2009 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

Louise and Cyrena!  Another nincompoop has joined the party of No.  Krugman has written an article claiming htat Obama is doing the same thing that the Gops did, and it is the WRONG thing. 

Clearly another Republican bent on doom.  It’s up to you to explain how the Dems are doing the right thing, have always done the right thing, and always will do the right thing.  Obama is counting on YOU!  Let’s get those pompoms working.

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By flow, March 22, 2009 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

If a man approached you on the street and demanded your purchasing power, would you consider it a crime?

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By flow, March 22, 2009 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

I have a question, but first a couple of brief definitions to help frame the question. This information is from Wikipedia

The Federal Reserve System

The Federal Reserve System (also the Federal Reserve; informally The Fed) is the central banking system of the United States. Created in 1913 by the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, it is a quasi-public (government entity with private components) banking system that comprises (1) the presidentially appointed Board of Governors; (2) the Federal Open Market Committee; (3) twelve regional privately-owned Federal Reserve Banks; (4) numerous other private U.S. member banks; and (5) various advisory councils.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)

The Federal Open Market Committee [makes] key decisions about interest rates and the growth of the United States money supply.  The FOMC meets in secret and is composed of the Board of Governors plus representatives of the private regional banks.

Directive to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

When the FOMC reaches a consensus regarding the appropriate policy, a directive to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York—the Bank that executes transactions—is issued.

Therefore the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is the recipient of several trillion new dollars decreed into existence (without consent of the Congress or the President), and is presently chartered with the responsibility for purchasing government bonds (such as Treasury Bills) and “other assets.” These other assets include the deviates (see Goldman Sachs) of loans made by Freddie and Fannie and other lenders for autos, credit cards, education, etc.

As announced, The Federal Open Market Committee is pursuing a policy of dramatically increasing the money supply by several (2-4) trillion dollars in an attempt to “stabilize” the banking system and restore credit markets to their proper functioning.

My question: Given that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is among the private parts of the “quasi-public” Federal Reserve System, who realizes the income from the several trillion dollars worth of investments made by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York?  Assuming their investments performed poorly (say ROI of 3%) and only produced a couple of hundred billion dollars in income, how is this income distributed? Assuming the Fed is wrong and the assets they are buying turn toxic, then what?

Of course, the one thing we can be absolutely certain of is—as every economist knows—all the dollars we hold today (and all the dollars we will be paid in the future) are now certain to be worth less.

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By flow, March 22, 2009 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

In 1913 Congress abrogated its Constitutional responsibility for issuing money to the Federal Reserve in exchange for the Fed regulating the financial system, maintaining stability and preventing crisis.

How are they doing? (See the Great Depression, Stagflation, Saving & Loans Crisis, and Bubble Capitalism (i.e. sub-prime mortgages, derivatives, asset bubbles, credit default swaps, and government engineered bailouts))

Oh, if only we could return to the good ol’ days of WWII and the simple threats like the Cold War and Mutually Assured Destruction.

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By felicity, March 22, 2009 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

We may have a political democracy in this country - definitely open to argument - but we don’t have anything close to an economic democracy. In fact, by now an economic autocracy is firmly in place.

Geithner or no Geithner, the financial puppeteers grabbed our economic strings, maybe 30 years ago, and now, short of a major economic revolution, we’re the puppets.

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By KDelphi, March 22, 2009 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Bill Moyers had a great show this weekend—a guy named Mike Davis of UC Riverside (“In Defense of Barbarians”)

“I mean, to be a Socialist in the United States is not to be an orphan, okay? It is really it’s to stand in the shadow and a you know, immense history of American radicalism and labor, but with the responsibility to ensure its regeneration. And I actually think the American Left is about to receive a huge blood transfusion in the next year or two. It has to because the existence of the Left, the existence of radical social economic critiques, the existence of imagination that goes beyond selfishness and principles of competition is necessary to have any kind of serious debate in this country.”

Thank you. Lets go, peeps! Read more at http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/03202009/watch2.html

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By tp, March 22, 2009 at 8:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It seems everybody blogging here has something in common. They don’t like the situation we are in. It also seems they are pissed off by what these bankers have done to us and the world. It don’t amount to a hill of beans what we think, Obama is going to continue to bail out the same people who got us into this and have been running the show for almost a century - The bankers. Every war fought since had their fingerprints.
Has anyone heard of Ellen Brown? She not only has a grip on the problem but has the solution to it. So, what good is a solution if it is ignored?  Ellen Brown’s articles >> Link: http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=listByAuthor&authorFirst=Ellen&authorName=Brown in promoting her book, “Web of Doubt”, has an idea worth exploring.
But, what good does an idea have unless it is packaged and sold as a solution to the problem. The idea is to take ‘back’ the control of printing money, which we had until 1913,  from the private banking business, a group of banks called “The Feds”, a delusional name to make it appear to be a government operation. The problem is having these greed master bankers who control our pocket books allow us to take back the control. The only buyers to the idea are the bankers themselves as they are obviously calling the shots in all administrations whether they are Gops or Dopes. Obama is not in control!
By the way, what kind of patriot walks down the middle of the road in politics? What the hell is a moderate? To make a change one needs to be on one or the other. Only a coward, unable to commit, calls himself or herself none partisan.  Are you either an Ayn Rand preacher or a people person? The shit is about to hit the fan. A lot of people are ready to riot in the streets. The socialist are already in the streets of Roam.
Ralph Nader said, “tear down this wall!” referring to Wall Street. Let’s get started with the demolition - first with letting the gamblers go down with their toxic assets.We the real tax payers shouldn’t have to pay. No more bail outs for the Bankers. Let’s get back to the Green backs that built the rail system across the country which finally defeated the Red Coats last great attempt to divide us, in the Civil War. That’s right the Rothschilds money was supporting the Confederacy so Lincoln started printing greenbacks to build the rail system which ultimately won the war by getting supplies to the soldiers.
We need green backs instead of federal reserve notes!
tp

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By garth, March 22, 2009 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

Geithner has assumed the reputation of James Brown.  He is now the hardest working man in political show business.  Tomorrow he’s going to release his latest single, “It’s a Rich Man’s World.”
If anything, the new plan will be to spread the AIG financial product division’s Credit Default Swaps to other banks such as the Chicago Mercantile.  But this ploy will only remove AIG and its reputation from the front pages and tv news.  It won’t let the American taxpayer off the hook.  After all, the banks went to the track and lost all their money and all ours and now they want us to pay the vig.
The new mantra should be:
Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do to get a job like the ones at AIG financial products division.
During the Bush years we were the ones who saw through the administration’s veiled totalitarianisn, the lies, the spin, the cult of personality.  Now Obama is being given a free ride with excuses like, “He’s only been in office for 2 months. Leave him alone.” despite the fact that he has not lived up to his campaign promises.  50,000 troops to stay in Iraq, 17,000 more to Afghanistan.  He wants to build up Afghanistan’s military to 400,000.  Where have I heard something like that before?  Hmmmmmm, Iraq and Petraeus?  He has taken an exit from the highway of ideas that most who voted for him anticipated.  Now, he’s the CINC and the rest of you can go fuck yourselevs.
Someone here has already pointed out that the multipier effect of the money in the ERRP will not work because the money will prop up China and other exporters to the US.
Obama’s remark about the Special Olympics was so callous as to reveal his lack of connection with real people and their compassions.  His administration is all about continuing the path to world domination, Foreign Policy a la United States of America.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, March 22, 2009 at 4:09 am Link to this comment

re: AnnFrank

Thank you for posting a reminder of Barlett and Steele’s outstanding journalism on the subject of Timothy Geithner. Only a few weeks ago, they appeared on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman, but apparently, these revelations have been brushed aside by those supporters of Obama who feel their loyalty demands that they adhere to whatever strain of neoliberal nonsense he chooses to embrace, in the name of that political inclusion which the Obama team speaks so highly of.
Barlett and Steele have reported with great depth, over the years, about the politics of money and the influence it buys. I have not read or heard anyone dispute what they found about the Treasury Secretary. From the Philadelphia Inquirer, to Time Magazine, to Vanity Fair, and now the Daily Beast, these two journalists must have missed a meeting, because no one seems to have told them to stop doing their job.
Obama apologists should read the article, and then come up with some logical reason why someone such as Geithner should be in charge of anything.

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