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Is Larry Summers Taking Kickbacks From the Banks He’s Bailing Out?

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Posted on May 30, 2009
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Flickr / World Economic Forum

Larry Summers at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 2007.

Mark Ames via Alternet

Is Larry Summers taking kickbacks from the banks he’s bailing out?

Last month, a little-known company where Summers served on the board of directors received a $42 million investment from a group of investors, including three banks that Summers, Obama’s effective “economy czar,” has been doling out billions in bailout money to: Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley. The banks invested into the small startup company Revolution Money, right at the time when Summers was administering the “stress test” to these same banks.

A month after they invested in Summers’ former company, all three banks came out of the stress test much better than anyone expected—thanks to the fact that the banks themselves were allowed to help decide how bad their problems were. (Citigroup “negotiated” down its financial hole from $35 billion to $5.5 billion.)

The fact that the banks invested in the company just a few months after Summers resigned suggests the appearance of corruption, because it suggests to other firms that if you hire Summers onto your board, large banks will want to invest as a favor to a politically connected director.

Last month, it was revealed that Summers, whom President Obama appointed to essentially run the economy from his perch in the National Economic Council, earned nearly $8 million in 2008 from Wall Street banks, some of which, like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, were now receiving tens of billions of taxpayer funds from the same Summers. It turns out now that those two banks have continued paying into Summers-related businesses.

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According to filings obtained for this story, Summers first joined the board of directors of Revolution Money back in 2006 (when it was called GratisCard), the same year that Summers was forced to resign as president of Harvard after his disastrous tenure. Revolution Money/GratisCard was a startup headed by former AOL chief Steve Case. Revolution Money billed itself as the Next Big Thing in online payment, “PayPal meets MasterCard,” according to their own pitch.

In September 2007, Revolution Money announced that it had raised $50 million from a group of investors including Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank. Some found the investment strange even then, because normally big banks don’t get involved in seeding small startups—that’s the domain of venture capitalists, not mega-banks. Especially not in September 2007, when these same megabanks were Chernobyling their way into full-fledged balance-sheet meltdown.

What seems clear is that at least part of Revolution Money’s success in raising funds was due to their star-studded board of directors—which included not only Larry Summers, but also the notorious Frank Raines, the former Fannie Mae chief whom Time Magazine named to its “25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis” list. Raines is still a board member.

Over the next year and a half, Revolution Money didn’t quite live up to its promise of competing with PayPal or Visa/MasterCard. At least some of this could be attributed to the difficulty of starting up an online credit card company in the middle of a triple-cluster credit crunch, banking crisis and recession. But there is also evidence that the company wasn’t run well. Another one of Steve Case’s “Revolution” brand startups, Revolution Health (which also features a star-studded board of directors including Carly Fiorina, Colin Powell and several future Obama administration officials), essentially folded when it was sold to Everyday Health last September and merged into that company’s operations.

In spite of all of this, on April 6, 2009, Revolution Money announced the happy news: it had just successfully raised $42 million in the most difficult market since the 1930s. The investors? Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley—bankrupt institutions that Larry Summers was transferring billions in bailout funds to.

At the very same time that these three megabanks were pouring millions into Summers’ former company, Obama’s economic team, starring Summers, was subjecting these same banks to the stress test to decide how deep in shit these same banks really were. The banks wanted the government to fudge the results for obvious reasons—who wants the world to know how deep of a hole you’ve dug for yourself?

When the stress test results were finally released, the banks all came out with glowing reports that beat expectations and caused plenty of skepticism.

In an interview for this article, William Black, a former bank regulator who exposed the $160 billion savings and loan scandal and its ties to powerful U.S. senators, remarked:  “Summers wasn’t hired [by Revolution Money] for his expertise, because he doesn’t have relevant expertise in this kind of credit card operation.”

“He’s not a techie. He doesn’t have business expertise,” Black said. “So this is solely someone hired for the name and contacts, because he’s politically active and politically connected. And that’s made all the more clear by the fact that Frank Raines was put on the board at a time when he was pushed out in disgrace from Fannie Mae. Why? Because of his political connections.”

And it worked, as the recent investment shows.

“That’s the pattern of this entity,” said Black, “which hasn’t been doing well financially and desperately needs to get money from others, and has been able to get money from banks at a time when [these same banks] largely stopped lending to productive enterprises. But with this politically connected entity [Revolution Money], they’re happy to dump money.”

According to a company spokesperson, Summers resigned from the board of directors at Revolution Money this past January, just three months before the banks invested. On one of Revolution Money’s main Web sites, Revolution Money Exchange, you could still see Summers’ name still listed as a director when this story was filed.

(Oddly, company filings obtained for this article show that Summers wasn’t even on Revolution Money’s board of directors in 2007-08, even though both he and Revolution Money repeatedly stated that he was on the board, and only served on GratisCard’s board in 2006.)

Whatever the case, Summers was pushing Revolution Money as recently as last September in an interview with Portfolio magazine:

“I’ve enjoyed being involved with a number of smaller companies such as the Revolution Money venture, which has a potentially very exciting credit-card technology, using credit and debit technology, using the Internet that, in a sense, brings together bricks and clicks by providing both a capacity for regular retail transactions and also for online.”

Whether or not Summers has a personal interest in the company, it still stinks that a company where the head of the National Economic Council served on the board until just a few months ago subsequently received millions in investment funds from banks that Summers bailed out. Taxpayer dollars went into these banks, and from the banks into the Summers-connected firm, a firm he was hired onto precisely because his connections could bring in this kind of money.

His involvement wasn’t just incidental. If you look at the press releases, Larry Summers’ name is always touted as part of the selling point. One press release in 2007 refers to Summers as “legendary.”

Moreover, Summers’ longtime chief of staff, Marne Levine, who also served as Summers’ chief of staff when he was in Treasury under Clinton and again at Harvard, joined Summers at Revolution Money, serving as “Director of Product Management.”

Black pointed out another sleazy aspect of Revolution Money’s pitch: it proudly boasted in late 2007 that it would make it easier than ever for people with low credit ratings to find access to lines of credit. In other words, Revolution Money billed itself as the ultimate ghetto loan shark.

That same 2007 press release that boasted of the “legendary” Larry Summers also said: “Unlike most bank credit card issuers who are limited to a narrow scope of credit approval guidelines specific to their bank, RevolutionCard seamlessly utilizes multiple partners to achieve unparalleled consumer approval rates.”

Nineteen months later, Summers, now in control of the economy, appeared on “Meet The Press” and declared: “We need to do things to stop the marketing of credit in ways that addicts people to it and so that our households are again saving, and families are again preparing to send their kids to college, for their retirement and so forth.”

So once again, Summers creates a problem that the rich profit from, then is put in charge of “fixing” it after vulnerable Americans have been picked clean.

Whether or not the three bailed-out banks’ investment in Revolution Money last month represents some kind of bribe or kickback or even the appearance of corruption is almost secondary, because shameless cronyism is the problem, and it’s the reason why America is in such a horrible mess today.

“Polite society was supposed to impose social pressures to make sure this wasn’t tolerated,” Black said. “Like the old phrase about hogs being slaughtered. But now the hogs get even wealthier, even fatter.”

Everything about Summers, from his horrible track record in the developing world in the 1990s to the sleaze and plunder he’s overseeing in the White House should make us terrified. Hell, he even looks like some old Batman villain: Summers, whose trademark bullfrog neck was enough of a distraction before Obama brought him into the White House, has seen his gelatinous layers of neck-fat swell up like an amphibian guarding its eggs ever since he took control of the economy.

Get this monster out of the White House now, before he devours us all.


Read more of Mark Ames at The Exiled. He is the author of “Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine and Beyond.”

This report is published with permission of Alternet.org.


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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, June 5, 2009 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

Well, Larry Summers is pretty bad.  It’s astonishing that Mr. O would appoint him to an important office where he could continue to do the damage that seems to be his special talent.  But it’s probably correct that he has carefully avoided anything he could be arrested for.

As for neutral money, that’s sort of a right-wing or libertarian idea.  I used to doubt its wonderfulness, but Bubbles Greenspan has made it seem very attractive.

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By Sepharad, June 5, 2009 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment

suziekidder ... is right. Focus & back to reason.

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By suziekidder, June 5, 2009 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

The upper echelons of the “financial services” world have always been totally incestuous.  The Masters of the Universe went to prep school and college together, vacationed together, married each others’ sisters, “neworked” their way into jobs with their buddies, and serve on each other’s corporate boards.  The really scary thing about both Larry Summers ... let’s be fair .. and Steve Case ... is that they are not the exceptions to the Rule.  They are the Rule. 
 
Unless we desperately feel we need another Poster Child besides Bernie Madoff, there’s very little percentage in demonizing Larry Summers.  And there’s every reason to begin to look for ways to “hack our way into the system.” 

Unless and until money becomes a neutral energy in this country, one whose job it is to enable people to do interesting work, serve others, and make things other people need and want to buy .... we will continue to treat it as though it were an end and not the means.  Nasty patterns of interlocking influence, such as those this article lays out, will continue unchecked. 

Larry Summers is not a Serial Killer, and he’s not even a criminal.  He probably didn’t actually break any rules, let alone any laws.  He’s not the problem - the Rules are the problem.  Focus.  There’s some incredible intellectual horsepower out there among those in the Progressive Community, and not a lot of time and extra “bandwidth” to invest in pointless politics.  Focus on changing the Rules.

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By Anarcissie, June 4, 2009 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

AFriend—For more about Larry Summers’s career in crime, read “How Harvard Lost Russia”, http://jboy.chaosnet.org/misc/docs/articles/shleifer.pdf (I posted this link before, but never mind—it’s a great story.)

You’ll see that while Summers has not been caught with his hand in the till, he seems to be standing around while the till is being emptied, and does what he can to protect those who were caught.  He’s very good at walking a careful line just this side of legality.

Hawkeye—I have to question whether a ruling class that is throwing up people like Bush and Cheney—and Larry Summers—is really functioning in such a way as to keep its project of self-preservation and self-aggrandizement going.  You see people like those I mentioned popping up at certain points in the career of the Roman Empire, for instance, and the result is usually some kind of coup or revolution, in which many of the existing Established Order are deposed and usually executed.  When that empire finally got some serious competitors much of it collapsed.  In the case of the U.S., I suppose the Chinese will take over, and Larry may get pensioned off instead of sent to a reeducation camp, but who knows?

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By Sepharad, June 4, 2009 at 2:34 am Link to this comment

johannes, Thanks for the information. I didn’t know there were Jews who came from Surinam with the Dutch but it doesn’t surprise me because, as you say, the Jews and Dutch have always had good relations. (I have two friends whose grandparents fought against the English with the Boers in South Africa.) Also, we’re taught in school that Peter Stuyvesant bought Manhattan Island from the Indians for $24—but based on what you say I think I’ll look up some better, more detailed Dutch history. I do like the Catskills and Hudson River Vally—one of the most beautiful rivers in the U.S. (We Americans have a terrible record in our treatment of the Indians, with promised lands and broken treaties and outright killing. Some American immigrants had better relations with the Indians than others, but overall we managed to destroyed a remarkable culture that would have greatly enriched our country. One of our Revolutionary officers was an Indian, and the last Confederate general to surrender was the Cherokee Chief Stand Watie, four months after Lee gave his sword to Grant at Appomatox.) 

Both my husband and I have always admired the Dutch because even though their land was small they managed to keep the sea, then made it their “home” and explored and traded around the world without adapting the English disposition to create a huge empire (on which, they liked to say, the sun never set). Also the Dutch produced so many great artists. We once had the chance to visit Amsterdam and were amazed at the contents of the Reichs museum. Also visited the sailor’s market, and found some small treasures. The people of Amsterdam were very brusque but accommodating despite our inability to speak Dutch.

Empires are terrible things; the American empire is not the same as Europe’s colonial holdings, but I can hardly wait till we become a not-so-super power and turn more inward, to what we can do to improve our own country and not continually try to change other people’s.

I wish I was able to read in so many different languages. I’m interested in languages but am very bad at learning them. English, Latin, a little French and a little Spanish but no German, very little Yiddish and very poor Hebrew. (A friend of mine gave me an excuse: she is a writer too, and after she and her husband, a scientist, escaped from Poland, she said that he had no problem with English but she still does and insists that it’s because she’s a writer who has to find the exactly right word and he is a scientist, who needs words less than concepts and is less worried about making mistakes. I don’t know whether this is true, but it’s the only excuse I have. I do know just a little Arabic but not enough to read.)
I think you’ll enjoy “World’s End”—and I’m going to enjoy revisiting Dutch history.

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By Virginia Hammon, June 3, 2009 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

Thank you. This was an excellent post, weaving together a lot of substantiated information and raising important questions.

However, the next to last sentence, while witty, is an unnecessary and repugnant ad hominem attack, likely to discourage thoughtful people from reconsidering an alternative opinion.

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By johannes, June 3, 2009 at 2:47 am Link to this comment

@ Sepharad

Dear Madam,

When Pieter Stuyvesant was Governer of New Amsterdam, They did bye and payd for the land they lived on.

In the papers of the O.I.C. of that time are lettres
from Pieter Stuyvesant to the Bewindvoerders, writing about his permission to let some people from
the than colony of Suriname on the coast of south America, come to New Amsterdam, under this people where also some Jewes famelies, who where in high
esteem for their way of trading.


The Dutch had most of the time good relations with their partners, like the Germans, The Englisch are
all ways Empire building.


The great Captain Cook did find on a voyage to the Dutch city of Delft, a small book from the sea voyages of the Dutch around Australïë and so fort just till China and Japan, he made the same voyage but he clamed all the country’s for the Brities Empire, well its a other way of thinking, I think the Dutch way is more Human.


But they say there is still some esprit to by found in the Hudson valey, till 1918 the prayers where sayd in Dutch, well the Dutch had all ways good human relations with the Jews, and I have never here my father speeking about Zionisme in the Netherlands, I think the relation between the Dutch
protestants was very close, in business doings as in living, my father wash from Friesland, his famelie lived in the same part as where Pieter Stuyvesant was
born, he told me my father that in most smaller villages their where no special houses for the Jews, but they had their school for the children, and it was at the same time their Synagoge they say school in Yiddis.


I will try to find the book world’s end, I reed English, of cause France, German, Dutch, no Yiddi’s
wath I like much bether as Hebreeew, its close to us.


Well not that bad is it, Salutations

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By Sepharad, June 3, 2009 at 12:09 am Link to this comment

johannes, like Folktruther I appreciate your posts because you seem sincere, no doublespeak. Pieter Stuyvesant didn’t turn New Amsterdam over to any Jews or any other kind of Americans (though he more or less stole it from Native Americans aka Indians) but to a British general who sailed up with six ships and claimed a very broad swath of the East Coast and interior. It was some time later when the American colonists decided they had just about as much of King George and his taxes as they could take, beginning the American Revolution.

If you are interested in the Dutch period and heritage, Washington Irving has written quite a bit about it, history as well as stories, but most recently a very good American novelist, T. Coragghsen Boyle, has written the novel “World’s End” that is humorous, witty and describes the doings of the Dutch over a long period of time. If you can get a translation in French I think you’d enjoy it.

Re Jews in America, there weren’t very many in the colonial period (though there were certainly a few during the Revolution) because some of the colonies were quite religious—Puritans, Quakers, etc.—but the city of Charleston (South Carolina) wrote in their city charter that they welcomed “Jews and other heretics” to become citizens and residents. Louisiana also had a goodly number of Jews as there were French, Spanish, Creole, African-Americans and actually not that many Anglo-Saxons.

I’m a Jew myself, though my family hasn’t been in this country that long—roughly around in the Civil War era and the latest in the early 20th century. I’m also a non-religious Zionist and have family in Israel. (The other side of the family that was in Europe didn’t make it through Mr. Hitler’s war.) There is much debate about Zionism on the truthdig website, which might be of interest to you. My husband’s family has been here a long time: his first ancestor here was a French Indian trader who opened up the Shenandoah Valley and never seemed to settle anywhere very long. My husband has inherited that Frenchman’s genes, as he likes to ride horses and never wants to see the same horizon twice. (Luckily I too like horseback exploring.) He works out of our house via computer and phone, as I do, so when we can afford it we take our horses to a different part of the country and ride after work and on weekends.

I did not trust Obama but voted for him because I thought McCain would be worse, but so far am quite disappointed in what he’s done. But his failure is one of character, not because he is black/white. I’m afraid he’s like all the other people on top: bought and paid for. In this country it’s not so much whether someone is black or Mexican or Jewish or plain old white American, but a matter of education and principles absorbed from one’s tradition and culture. The American Indians are still here, on reservations and in towns and cities, pretty marginalized as they have been since the white man arrived in greater numbers, pushing out the red man.
The cowboys and vaqueros, real ones, are still here. And even in the Middle West you will find a lot of different people with many different attitudes. I hope you can come to the United States and see for yourself. Meanwhile, there is your countryman’s wonderful book written around 1835, Alexander de Toqueville’s “Democracy in America”. Enjoy.

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By Sepharad, June 2, 2009 at 11:26 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, you’re right. Which power source IS going to challenge the banks (and now the GM bailout)? Things are pretty bad when even I—not particularly astute economically—can see that we’re being robbed blind, that the rhetoric about the American people owning GM does not mean that we actually will get a portion of the profits if any in our mailbox. I’m going to try writing my senators, Feinstein and Boxer. Right now the immediate concern for Californians—you’re one, right?—is the Medical cuts, school cuts, parks cuts ... and yet no cuts to salaries of most legislative staffers.

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By Jason!!, June 2, 2009 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

I wonder how much Obama is going to make out of all this.

Any surprise that former presidents and vice somehow manage to become multi millionairs. Heck, even the UN leaders pull the same crap. Ol Kofi is making huge cash on the global warming scam thanks to gore.

Pathetic.

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By AFriend, June 2, 2009 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

AbuMubarak,

So you’re assuming Mr. Summers must have done something illegal?

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By Steve E, June 2, 2009 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These so called Titans of Commerce have like many of our politicians regarded the common citizens as the enemy and an inconvenience in their pursuit to pile up the cash and most importantly power. They also despise us for our stupidity and spineless inaction. Until the American people rise up in unison much like during the Viet Nam War years, they laugh all the way to the Bank. Don’t forget their motto, ” there is a sucker born every minute “, and there were a lot of suckers born when Obama was elected.

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By AbuMubarak, June 2, 2009 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

Has he broken the law? Probably not, because bankers write the laws, so they make sure what they do is not illegal.  But anyone who has ever dealt with corporations knows you MUST grease the palm that saved you. Anything less is deemed to be disloyal.

Has he taken money? Almost for sure

Was it illegal? Probably not in the legal sense.

But since when do banks get charged for doing anything illegal? They seize people’s Social Security money, certainly illegal…...but then again, not.

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By johannes, June 2, 2009 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

@ Folktruther

Thank you for your nice friendly words.

Well I give it a try, the thing is that I am very interested in the USA, and we in Europe have old famelie bonds, and we don’t want to forget all the young men wo did lost their live for our freedom, this is without any political thought, just the bloody human dead boys.

When you go and see all this graves, and rows of white crosses, with the names and where they came from, and then the start playing, when the saints are marching in, well you hope they are somewhere,
in a place very nice and beautiful.

Its a pity that on the 6 of June, its not a happening for the soldiers, but for the generals,and
people who where not even their, well its like that
allways, we do it on our own one day.

Salutation

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By AFriend, June 2, 2009 at 4:15 am Link to this comment

Just out of curiosity; of those here calling Summers a criminal can anyone explain how the man has broken the law?

I too don’t agree with many things he’s advocated but, I strain to see the lawlessness.

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By truedigger3, June 2, 2009 at 1:14 am Link to this comment

Mary Ann McNeely wrote:
“Obama, are you listening?  Sure.”

Sure he is listening, but only to the banksters and
the fraudsters of Wall St. who selected him and financed his election campaign.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, June 1, 2009 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment

Obama, are you listening?  Sure.

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By Folktruther, June 1, 2009 at 10:21 pm Link to this comment

What power source is going challenge the banks, Sepharad?  You see that they are stealing in plain sight.  The American population no longer has power in the American neoliberal powerstate.  In the US today, if the powerful do it, it means that it is not illegal.

Hawkeye, do you really think the ruling class steals money the way beavers build dams?  Maybe there is some of that, but they are competing with each other within the ruling class, as well as cooperating with each other against the population.  I aagree that do have a strong urge for appropriation, like the Mafia.

Johannes, I really like your posts, if only because there is now someone who spells as bad as I do.  But you have the excuse that English is not your cradle langauge.

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By Sepharad, June 1, 2009 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

Is Larry Summers taking kickbacks? Whether he is or not, the larger problem is whether the U.S. Congress and both parties receive so much money from the bank lobby that they will follow recommendations from Timothy Geithner re federal regulation of derivatives—recommendations that will leave in place the same players and the same lax oversight that led to the financial meltdown—or whether our politicians will have the good judgment and nerve to force imposition of regulation by the CFDC, making derivatives deals happen on the exchange rather than in the opaque clearning houses. President Obama should fire Geithner immediately for his role in this whole thing, as well as calling for a rehearing on the derivatives issue where the individual answering questions does not, as Ed Rosen did, have financial ties to the same people he was representing (yet failed to advise the Congressional committee of his conflict-of-interest status). Any member of Congress, any President, who goes along with the banks attempts to foil transparency and regulation of derivative trading, should be voted out of office at the very earliest opportunity.

According to the NYTimes, the bank lobby contributes three times as much money to politicians’ campaigns and other expenses as the next-largest lobbying group. At this moment, when people are still outraged by the bank bailouts and the practices that nearly destroyed this country’s economy, may be the only time we have sufficient backing to really press our Congress and parties. Don’t waste this opportunity.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, June 1, 2009 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

I don’t think the ruling class is anywhere near as coherent and disciplined as you all seem to suppose.  I agree with Folktruther on Larry Summers and his kind: they’re smash-and-grab artists.  The war-mongers turn out to be chicken hawks, and the tycoons to be frat boys who won the lottery.  These guys are not going to rule the world, and if things turn sour enough, they’re going to be lucky to save their necks.

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By johannes, June 1, 2009 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

@ Hawkeye

Yes now what, with kind regards and respect.

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By johannes, June 1, 2009 at 2:49 am Link to this comment

All the banks in Wallstreet have the money they wanted from the governement.


Now this people in the white house, will stard to slaugther cut to pieces and wipe out one of the biggest still standing bastion from the white power of the old mid west.


How is it possible that the American citizen, leth this all happen, the ripping out of the old hart of the land of the free.


Salutations

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By Bisbonian, May 31, 2009 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

JimBob:”...but I was hoping for much more change than this.”

Come on JimBob!  They get the billions, we get the change.

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By truedigger3, May 31, 2009 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

JimBob wrote:
“How does Obama sleep at night, having hired slimeballs like LS to help him achieve his promise to us?”
_____________________________________________________

JimBob,

You got it backward. Larry Summer and his Wall Street pals hired Obama and NOT Obama hired LS.

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By bcc, May 31, 2009 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

johannes, I hope to see u banned from Truthdig.  You are turning a legitimate inquiry into the integrity of the Obama economic policy team into a offensive personal anti-semite rant. Truthdig, please check out johannes post.  Your “report this” link does not function for me.

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By mill, May 31, 2009 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How ironic.  Harvard MBA grads sign meaningless ethics oaths, while their former university president is suspected of taking kickbacks for using his official position to benefit those with whom he is personally financially connected.

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By Folktruther, May 31, 2009 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

I told you about Obama, Anarcissie, but did you listen to me, no, nobody listens.  But I think you were right about my over-emphasizing Zionisn; zionism is subsidary to neoliberalism in the American ruling class, and overlaps with Zionism.  Because three quarters of the Amreican ruling class are not Jews, and they go along with Zionism because their primary intest is maintaining their power position in the US neoliberal powerstate.

That doesn’t make Zionism any less evil but the main enemy is neoliberal capitalism which Obama supports primaily, and he may give somewhat on Israel.  It is not Zionism waving the neoliberal dog, but US capitalism supporting Israeli oppression for its own interests, against the longterm interests of Israel.  Rubin, Summers and the others are primarily interested in making money, and couldn’t care less about the long term interests of either the US or Israel.

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By greystone, May 31, 2009 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

Tribe Hawkeye.

Well then I guess you me an everybody else best be working on correctifyin tribal protect our own thing huh?  Best be or there ain’t gonna be any.
Best be workin real hard on that All inclusive One Tribe idea.

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By johannes, May 31, 2009 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

@ Anarcissie

The day Pieter Stuyvesant then the governer of New Amsterdam, that he did give permission to the Jews who lived in the Dutch colonys in the west Indies, to come and live in New Amsterdam, is costing very dearly now an the American Citizen.

Do you think that they can role this Zionist fors back wards, if you reed this about Harvard, its more or less an Jewes institution, its like a country in a country, but with special laws, I don’t want to come up with something rotten, but out of old papers and books this situation is not that far of, from the situation in Germanie before Hitler, well they have ways of doing things, no body nows, Jezus did trow them out of the porch of their holyest of holys, because they where changing money, wel they still changing the money, but so that you are very poor after that.


Salutations

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By ocjim, May 31, 2009 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

Summers and Geithner both seem as toxic as the assets that compromised financial institutions they are supposed to be overseeing.

I am afraid that Obama has looked the other way in his desperation to turn around our economy.

Both Summers and Geithner are as toxic to fairness and a competitive economy as Cheney is to honesty and democracy.

All should be cleared out of our house.

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By jackpine savage, May 31, 2009 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie,

Thanks much for the link!

You’ve all already read Ames’s piece, but the picture he paired it with on his own publication is waaaay better than this one.
http://exiledonline.com/is-larry-summers-taking-kickbacks-from-the-banks-hes-bailing-out/

Go read exiledonline and don’t forget to browse the archives of The eXile for classic Ames, Taibbi and Zaitchek.  Nobody does class war reporting or nut kicks to authority like Ames, nobody.

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By Anarcissie, May 31, 2009 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

For more about Larry Summers’s career in crime, read “How Harvard Lost Russia”, http://jboy.chaosnet.org/misc/docs/articles/shleifer.pdf

As rbrooks say, however, “The elephant in the room is the question of why President Obama is protecting this man….”  And, I must add, why did he appoint him in the first place.

I’m afraid Mr. O is turning into quite a disappointment, not because he isn’t leftish enough, which I expected, but because he accepts and employs people like Summers who are unacceptable regardless of one’s ideology.

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By reason, May 31, 2009 at 6:16 am Link to this comment

I am not going to dignify Summers behavior with a long discussion about right and wrong; I would think most Americans realize how ethically and morally wrong this behavior is. His behavior is not about polical parties, it is the latest example of those who pillage and plunder the country and its assets with complete impunity (in Summers case, he has the sanction of the government). To think Obama can stop the rampant greed without the complete support of the ordinary American people demanding it, is beyond ridicules. Truthdig has become nothing more than a place to “bitch and moan” by many who would like to demonstate their intellect (or lack of it). Sadly, many people who post on this site, only demonstrate how easy it is to play on their thoughts and emotions. Playing political games is not going to stop these high tech “robber barons” from stealing whenever and wherever there is an opportunity. There was a time when being an “entrepreneur” was about building a productive enterprise that demonstated a social conscience but now it is little more than “piracy”. Summers and those like him are different from the Somalian pirates only in the respect that the Somalian pirates have no other hope of ever having a decent life for themselves (of course the Somalian Pirates are killed and imprisoned when caught).

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By Purple Girl, May 31, 2009 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

There is no doubt we needed some of the players in this Economic Organizaed Crime Syndicate to be the ‘Sammy the Bulls’ and aid US in Unraveling the convoluted Web they have woven over the last few decades. But Summers have proven he is in it to either continues his criminal activities or try burying it as much as Possible. Summers reminds me of a fat cat burying his shit in the kitty litter box.
Obama gave him the opportunity to rectify his Treachery and redeem himself- he has Betrayed Obama and this Country (once again). He shouldn’t just be forced to resign, he should be prosecuted under RICO statutes and for Economic treason.Obama had better be the one to demand the DOJ,The SEC and Trade Commission take up this case immediately- Otherwise it will be his to Own.
Pres Obama - Summers has a “lean and hungry Look about him”- Ok the “lean’ is purely metaphorical.
If nothing else install a Gallows Outside Summers office Window, with a pitchfork and an ‘eternal’ torch next to it.

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By Outraged, May 31, 2009 at 1:40 am Link to this comment

Quote: ““Polite society was supposed to impose social pressures to make sure this wasn’t tolerated,” Black said. “Like the old phrase about hogs being slaughtered. But now the hogs get even wealthier, even fatter.”

Everything about Summers, from his horrible track record in the developing world in the 1990s to the sleaze and plunder he’s overseeing in the White House should make us terrified. Hell, he even looks like some old Batman villain: Summers, whose trademark bullfrog neck was enough of a distraction before Obama brought him into the White House, has seen his gelatinous layers of neck-fat swell up like an amphibian guarding its eggs ever since he took control of the economy.

Get this monster out of the White House now, before he devours us all.”

Mr. Summers certainly is FATTER, is he not…. and such a outright “picturesque” figure at that.  Certainly, he is “amphibian” in the most belly scuffed manner.

My, my, my…. how the truth does “filter” out.  And it will continue to do so.  This man is a traitor, he is undermining the economic strength this country had/has and has been doing this for quite some time, YEARS, in fact.  Like his mentors, Gramm and Rubin he continues the thievery or more bluntly ROBBERY of the American People, unabated.

Know this Mr. Summers, like a flesh-eating virus we will slowly but surely bring you to justice.  While this latest “sore” may appear benign, reality can be deceiving….. YOU of all people must understand that.  Tell your friends, this virus is “communicable”.

Time is not “on your side”, not this time.

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By geronimo, May 30, 2009 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Fed up, had enough?  If so…....

Vision + Plan + Spirit = Change

“The vision?”

“Peace on earth and goodwill to all living beings.”

“The plan?”

“Mass uprisings.”

“Leadership?”

“Each and everyone.”

“The spirit?”

“Yes we can.”

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By idarad, May 30, 2009 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment

Can’t imagine why anyone would be surprised that corporate america still runs corporate america.  Did you think this a democracy.  Larry Summers is obamas version of dick cheney, couldn’t run the company but knows how to bring in the money.

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By samosamo, May 30, 2009 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

By Hawkeye, May 30 at 6:43 pm

I have looked at the picture and my take on that expression is that he is wondering why he has to sit through this shit when he could be out stealing some more better money. But it does show him as someone who could care less what the people think of his sorry ass because he knows he won’t be walking down any main streets across america without a squad of navy seals protecting him which would be a smart thing to do.

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By JimBob, May 30, 2009 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

How does Obama sleep at night, having hired slimeballs like LS to help him achieve his promise to us?  Is it humanly possible that Obama is not aware of these…ahem…conflicts of interest?  That he approves of them or at least considers them unimportant?  That he doesn’t feel We the People deserve at least an explanation, if not reassurances that this will all turn out well?  I’m relieved beyond words that the McCain/Palin team didn’t win, but I was hoping for much more change than this.

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By johannes, May 30, 2009 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

We in Europe I mean people who allways looked to the
US as something brave and free, most of us had some famelie their, well we liked it and trusted it.

Now with this man from yes we can, we see popping up every where, black Americans, Mexican Americans, Jewes Americans, where are the American Indians, and the regulair White Americans, will they wipe the middel western old folks out, will they be soon ryders in the sky, its a shame, its real disgraceful,
how they are killing this great country after the have robbed it of his money and dignety.

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By Folktruther, May 30, 2009 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

This helps make bribery legal in the US, the function of Obama being to normalize oppression and corruption. Madoff, after all, was on the ruglatory comminssions of Wall Street and his family, officers in his company, have not een been indicted.

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By rbrooks, May 30, 2009 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The elephant in the room is the question of why President Obama is protecting this man, who is compromised on so many levels - who almost certainly belongs in prison. What the hell is going on, and why is NOBODY in the media talking about why Larry Summers, Mr. Deregulation, Mr. Goldman Sachs, Mr. Bail Out The Speculators, Save The Hedge Funds, Screw the Taxpayers, is running Obama’s economic team?
Seems to me Obama has gotten a pass for long enough. This is his ball game. This isn’t three-dimensional chess. This isn’t transparency, or reform, or any of the other happy crap we were showered with during the campaign - and even now, every time Obama goes on camera to sell his good intentions. This is Business As Usual with an shiny new marketing plan.

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By Eric L. Prentis, May 30, 2009 at 11:52 am Link to this comment

Stinky, stinky on-the-take Larry Summers, looting, raping and pillaging the US Treasury for the benefit of his financial elite pals. When are we going to get rid of these crooks?

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By samosamo, May 30, 2009 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

How does this alter anything? Would anyone think this criminal will actually be held accountable much less see a day in court?

This is the purpose of control fraud when it is allowed to function as long as it has, then it becomes the accepted way of ‘doing business’ without the bother of rewriting old laws, much as the antitrust laws still being on the books aren’t used to serve the purpose they were intended.

All of which goes to show the effectiveness of the collusion of corporations, government, law enforcement and our judicial system, all subverted to make the control fraud what it is; and the only way around that is to totally rebuild a system that will work and not function as a ‘bought and paid for’ patsy for the benefit of the criminal minded thieves that it now supports.

http://conservationfinance.wordpress.com/2007/03/06/control-fraud/

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