Category Archives: Obama’s Original Sin

The Real Reason To Damn Obama

“They’ve got a set of Republican waiters on one side and a set of Democratic waiters on the other side, but no matter which set of waiters brings you the dish, the legislative grub is all prepared in the same Wall Street kitchen.”

-Huey P. Long

The only reason that I ever bothered with the so-called librul [sic] New York Times, a paper that mind you pushed as many falsehoods as others in selling the Iraq invasion was to read the regular Sunday column of Frank Rich. Rich was a prince among toads like the street pimp for globalization Thomas Friedman, the country club Jew snob David Brooks, the occasionally brilliant Paul Krugman, the bizarre Maureen Dowd and a cast of lesser bloviators. When Rich, after decades with the Times left this spring to become a regular at the less prominent New York Magazine I had little use for the NYT. The Times by the way despite the ongoing standard bitching and moaning from the fascist right-wing that has seized control of the media precisely because of the Hitlerian big lie of the liberal media is anything but liberal. The Times is just another propaganda organ of the status quo and like all newspapers are headed for the tar pits, shuffling off like the doomed dinosaurs that they all are. The dismal state of the media in this country is largely to blame for our collective march into the history books as an example of the latest empire to self-immolate, when news began to be managed so as to present “both sides” even when one side was obviously bullshit it ceased to be credible. The ongoing dismantling of investigative reporting, the closing of overseas bureaus and the necessity to dumb down reportage to appeal to a public (few of whom even bother to read anything) that continues to regress intellectually and the profit motive have all combined to push the newspaper industry toward it’s inevitable extinction. That however is a story for another time.

I haven’t read much from Rich until this week, just prior to the orgy of flag-sucking and raw gluttony that is the Fourth of July when he launched his own barrage of fireworks that is the dead-on piece that is entitled Obama’s Original Sin. Rich writing with his standard brilliance lays out the exact reason why Obama, despite the collection of brainless ass clowns who will spend the better part of the next year trying to out-Nazi each other to run against The Pope of Hope will likely be a one term president. Despite all of the moronic spew vomited up by the Koch Brothers funded band of costumed imbeciles that is the ridiculous Tea Party, the racist nonsense, the Israeli fifth column black propaganda about the secret Muslim horseshit and the even more absurd labeling Wall Street’s savior as some sort of Socialist or Commie the real reason why Obama is likely doomed is for his administration’s ongoing bailout and manipulating of the markets with Ben Bernanke’s funny money. Obama, from the beginning has been nothing more than a corporate media creation, a triumph of deceptive marketing right up there with the canonization of the old dunce that was Ronald Reagan and a foot stool for Wall Street’s avaricious gambling casinos. He had a historical opportunity to regulate these monstrous institutions of looter capitalist greed and failed utterly and abysmally, in the true Democratic party fashion.

Rich’s piece is about this very failure and I excerpt the following:

What haunts the Obama administration is what still haunts the country: the stunning lack of accountability for the greed and misdeeds that brought America to its gravest financial crisis since the Great Depression. There has been no legal, moral, or financial reckoning for the most powerful wrongdoers. Nor have there been meaningful reforms that might prevent a repeat catastrophe. Time may heal most wounds, but not these. Chronic unemployment remains a constant, painful reminder of the havoc inflicted on the bust’s innocent victims. As the ghost of Hamlet’s father might have it, America will be stalked by its foul and unresolved crimes until they “are burnt and purged away.”

After the 1929 crash, and thanks in part to the legendary Ferdinand Pecora’s fierce thirties Senate hearings, America gained a Securities and Exchange Commission, the Public Utility Holding Company Act, and the Glass-Steagall Act to forestall a rerun. After the savings-and-loan debacle of the eighties, some 800 miscreants went to jail. But those who ran the central financial institutions of our fiasco escaped culpability (as did most of the institutions). As the indefatigable Matt Taibbi has tabulated, law enforcement on Obama’s watch rounded up 393,000 illegal immigrants last year and zero bankers. The Justice Department’s bally­hooed Operation Broken Trust has broken still more trust by chasing mainly low-echelon, one-off Madoff wannabes. You almost have to feel sorry for the era’s designated Goldman scapegoat, 32-year-old flunky “Fabulous Fab” Fabrice Tourre, who may yet take the fall for everyone else. It’s as if the Watergate investigation were halted after the cops nabbed the nudniks who did the break-in.

Even now, on the heels of Bank of America’s reluctant $8.5 billion settlement with investors who held its mortgage-backed securities, the Obama administration may be handing it and its peers new get-out-of-jail-free cards. With the Department of Justice’s blessing, the Iowa attorney general, Tom Miller, is pushing the 49 other states to sign on to a national financial settlement ending their investigations of the biggest mortgage lenders. What some call a settlement others may find a cover-up. Time reported in April that the lawyer negotiating with Miller for Moynihan’s Bank of America just happened to be a contributor to his 2010 Iowa reelection campaign. If the deal is struck, any truly aggressive state attorneys general, like Eric Schneiderman of New York, will be shut down before they can dig into the full and still mostly uninvestigated daisy chain of get-rich-quick rackets practiced by banks as they repackaged junk mortgages into junk securities.

Those in executive suites at the top of that chain have long since fled the scene with the proceeds, while bleeding shareholders, investors, homeowners, and ­cashiered employees were left with the bills. The weak Dodd-Frank financial-reform law that rose from the ruins remains largely inoperative, since the actual rule-writing was delegated to understaffed agencies now under siege by banking lobbyists and their well-greased congressional overlords. The administration’s much-hyped Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is being sabotaged by Washington Republicans intent on blocking any White House nominee, whether Elizabeth Warren or some malleable hack, to lead it. “We can’t let special interests win this fight,” said Obama when he proposed the agency in October 2009. Well, he missed his moment to fight for both it and Warren, and the special interests won without breaking a sweat.

Rather than purge the crash’s crimes, Wall Street’s leaders are sticking to their alibi: Everyone was guilty of fomenting this “perfect storm,” and so no one is. Too-big-to-fail banks are bigger than ever, and ­Masters of the Universe swagger is back. Even Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, about the only bank chief not to be caught with a suspect balance sheet or a $1,400 office trash can, has taken to channeling Schwarzman. In June, he publicly challenged Ben Bernanke about the intolerable burdens of potential regulation—this despite a 67 percent surge in JPMorgan’s first-quarter profits and a 1,500 percent raise in his own compensation from 2009 to 2010. As good times roar back for corporate America, it’s bad enough that CEOs are collectively sitting on some $1.9 trillion in cash—much of it parked out of the IRS’s reach overseas—instead of hiring. (How many jobs can you buy for $1.9 trillion? America’s total expenditure on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars over a decade has been $1.3 trillion.) But what’s most galling is how many of these executives are sore winners, crying all the way to Palm Beach while raking in record profits and paying some of the lowest tax rates over the past 50 years.

The fallout has left Obama in the worst imaginable political bind. No good deed he’s done for Wall Street has gone unpunished. He is vilified as an anti-capitalist zealot not just by Republican foes but even by some former backers. What has he done to deserve it? All anyone can point to is his December 2009 60 Minutes swipe at “fat-cat bankers on Wall Street”—an inept and anomalous Ed Schultz seizure that he retracted just weeks later by praising Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein as “very savvy businessmen.”

 AND –

personal Zelig, the former Clinton Treasury secretary and Harvard Corporation stalwart Robert Rubin. In The Audacity of Hope, published in late 2006, Obama called Rubin, then busily cheerleading the excessive risk at Citigroup, “one of the more thoughtful and unassuming people I know.” Two years later, when Citi cratered and threatened to take the economy with it, Rubin demonstrated his unassuming thoughtfulness by denying that he had anything to do with the toxic investments that cost taxpayers a $45 billion bailout and 52,000 Citi employees their jobs.

In his unseemly revolving-door career, Rubin not once but twice sped the Citi apocalypse—first in government, where he and his eventual successor as Treasury secretary, Larry Summers, championed the deregulatory policies that facilitated the consolidation of too-big-to-fail banks, and then in his $15 million-a-year role as Citi’s “guru,” where, by his own later account, he had no idea what was in the worthless paper the bank peddled to greedy dupes. You’d think Obama would have dumped him faster than he did the Reverend Wright, but that’s misreading him. Obama is preternaturally secure on thorny matters of race—as his magnificent speech on the subject made clear—and could distance himself from his preacher with no ambivalence. It’s “unassuming” braininess that’s his blind spot.

And so a parade of Rubin acolytes entered the White House, led by Geithner, a nearly lifelong civil servant so identified with the financial Establishment that even Mayor Bloomberg mistakenly introduced him as a Goldman alumnus at a public event in New York last year. It’s Geithner’s influence on policy, however, not his persona, that proved fateful. Not until March 2010 did the White House get its first explicit, modest jobs bill through Congress.

Obama had taken office at a true populist moment that demanded more than this. People were gagging over their looted 401(k)s and underwater homes, the AIG bonuses, and the bailouts. Howard Dean rage has never been Obama’s style—hope-and-change was an elegant oratorical substitute—and had he given full voice to the public mood, he would have been pilloried as an “angry black man.” But Obama didn’t have to play Huey Long. He could have pursued a sober but determined execution of justice and an explicit, major jobs initiative—of which there have been exactly none, the too-small stimulus included, to the present day.

By failing to address that populist anger, Obama gave his enemies the opening to co-opt it and turn it against him. Which the tea party did, dishonestly but brilliantly, misrepresenting Obama’s health-care-reform crusade as yet another attempt by the elites to screw the taxpayer. (The Democrats haplessly reinforced the charge with marathon behind-the-scenes negotiations with insurance and pharmaceutical-­industry operatives.) Once the health-care law was signed, the president still slighted the unemployment crisis. A once-hoped-for WPA-style public-works program, unloved by Geithner, had been downsized in the original stimulus, and now a tardy, halfhearted stab at a $50 billion transportation-infrastructure jobs bill produced a dandy Obama speech but nothing else.

Obama soon retreated into the tea-party mantra of fiscal austerity. Short-term spending cuts when spending is needed to create jobs make no sense economically. But they also make no sense politically. The deficit has never been a top voter priority, no matter how loudly the right claims it is. At Obama’s inaugural, Gallup found that 11 percent of voters ranked unemployment as their top priority while only 2 percent did the deficit. Unemployment has remained a stable public priority over the deficit ever since, usually by at least a 2-to-1 ratio. In a CBS poll immediately after the Democrats’ “shellacking” of last November—a debacle supposedly precipitated by the tea party’s debt jihad—the question “What should Congress concentrate on in January?” yielded 56 percent for “economy/jobs” and 4 percent for “deficit reduction.”


There’s not much Obama can do to alter the economy by 2012, given the debt-ceiling fight, the long campaign, and nihilistic Capitol Hill antagonists opposed to any government spending that might create jobs and, by extension, help Obama keep his own. But the central question before the nation couldn’t be clearer: Who pays? The taxpayers bailed out the elite; now it’s the elite’s turn to return the favor. Massive cuts to the safety net combined with scant sacrifice from those at the top is wrong ethically and politically. It is, in the truest sense, un-American. Obama knows this, and he hit a welcome note last week when he urged some higher corporate taxes for hedge funds and the like. But his forays in this direction are tentative and sporadic. You have to wonder why he isn’t seizing the moment to articulate and fight for the big picture instead of playing a lose-lose game of rope-a-dope with the Republicans on their budgetary turf.

Some Obama fans think it’s tactical genius that’s holding him back—his fabled long ball. Americans are no longer as angry as they were in January 2009 so much as they are defeated, depressed, and jaded by the slow recovery and by four decades of raging inequality that tells them the deck is stacked no matter who’s in Washington. Better, then, not to ruffle these still waters—or those easily rattled independents fetishized by political consultants—and instead scare seniors about imminent Medicare cutbacks and plot deep-think policy initiatives that (like health-care reform) might fix America over time. But the voters’ placidity hardly augurs well for Democratic turnout in 2012. And it may not last. All that’s required is one more economic panic to shatter the phony peace and whip the rage back to center stage, once again to the right’s advantage.

“A nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous,” Obama declared at his inauguration. What he said on that bright January morning is no less true or stirring now. For all his failings since, he is the only one who can make this case. There’s nothing but his own passivity to stop him from doing so—and from shaking up the administration team that, well beyond the halfway-out-the-door Geithner and his Treasury Department, has showered too many favors on the prosperous. This will mean turning on his own cadre of the liberal elite. But it’s essential if he is to call the bluff of a fake man-of-the-people like Romney. To differentiate himself from the discredited Establishment, he will have to mount the fight he has ducked for the past three years.

The alternative is a failure of historic proportions. Those who gamed the economy to near devastation—so much so that the nation turned to an untried young leader in desperation and in hope—would once again inherit the Earth. Unless and until there’s a purging of the crimes that brought our president to his unlikely Inauguration Day, much more in America than the second term of his administration will be at stake.

The Obama presidency has been one endless series of failures, cave-ins, half-measures, broken campaign promises, capitulations and pissed away opportunities for change. The only good moment for the man who failed to close Gitmo or even better yet send Lloyd Blankfein and the rest of the Wall Street criminals there was the hit on the bad assed bogeyman of the past decade Osama bin Laden, days after a blistering dressing down of the pompous ass that is Donald Trump. Even that was a failure in that Obama failed to use the bully pulpit once again to wave our Emanuel Goldstein’s bloody scalp, perhaps it had something to do with the missing body but you get the point. That the fascist GOP is actually looking like an alternative to Obama in the form of Mitt Romney prancing about I his magic red, white and blue underwear is a stunning example of how badly that Obama has been up to this point. I really loved Rich’s line about the O-Bots, those who are the same type of apologists for Barry O. that drove the left so batshit during the Bush years. Rich wrote “ Some Obama fans think it’s tactical genius that’s holding him back—his fabled long ball.” To this I quote myself from a previous post entitled Money Doesn’t Talk: It Swears:

There will be no help for anybody but the pigs at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase coming from the Obama administration, face it people, the only change that the Pope of Hope really ever stood for was to provlde left cover for the gargantuan upwards redistribution of wealth. Obama is quite obviously even worse than Bush as the wars continue and mount in number (under the malarkey guise of humanitarian interventions), the torture never stops, the constitution continues to be disemboweled and the airports are filled with dooling thugs in TSA uniforms with the full blessing of the U.S. government to feel up pre-pubescent little boys and girls. Hell, Bush never could have gotten away with that one and when it comes to economic relief, Le Enfant Terrible did actually send people checks for $600. I always got a sardonic little kick out of the silly liberals who only made excuses for Obama (and still do) in that he was the chess master, or Michael Jordan just studying the opposing team’s defense and ready to explode at any moment into a whirling dervish of athletic daredeviltry as he broke down the formidable defense of the Bad Boys for the championship hardware. The truth, and it is as dark as the proverbial black steer’s tookus on a moonless prairie night is that Obama is the chessmaster, it’s checkmate for the working class and he is just like Michael Jordan, a greedy, amoral, selfish millionaire prick who once commented that “Republicans buy sneakers too” rather than doing the right thing in using his global celebrity to promote progressive social change.For some reason Jordan’s famous quote conjures up one of Obama’s, the one where he proclaimed that if Americans were being denied their right to collectively bargain that he would put on his own pair of comfortable shoes and join them on the picket lines. This alas like so many other things (wars,closing Gitmo, renegotiating trade pacts etc) was just more of the same bullshit about hope and change marketed by Wall Street’s soon to be new bagman at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Granted that Obama inherited a disaster from his predecessor but his leadership skills quite frankly suck, and I am being diplomatic here, he is a spineless weasel and just another Ivy League educated elitist who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the little people. The image makers really hit it big with Obama, it was like the Huxtable family goes to Washington and it was lapped up by schmucks across America including this blogger who held his nose and voted for Obama instead of Nader or Cynthia McKinney. It was more the image that I saw of Hitler standing next to German Chancellor Paul Von Hindenburg that was juxtaposed with one of John McCain and Sarah Palin that sealed the deal for me personally. I wasn’t expecting much but what I didn’t expect was an escalation of the worst abuses of the Bushreich including the domestic spying, government sanctioned sexual abusers feeling up children in airports, more wars, attacks on whistleblowers and the obviously disgusting green light given to the capitalist predators on Wall Street to continue to suck the marrow from the bones of the dessicated remains of the middle class with their revolving door between government and their New York casinos.

Obama is going to have to be slicker than a greased hamster at Bohemian Grove to beat back the Romney challenge, fuck the teabaggers, do you honestly think that the real overlords of this lemming colony would EVER let Michele Bachmann anywhere near the nuclear launch codes? Romney is perfect and despite the cries of heresy that this may elicit from my progressive and liberal friends he, a Mormon if elected president on the Republican ticket could do more damage to the culture warriors than Pat Buchanan did during his infamous call to arms at the 1992 GOP convention in Houston. A strident diatribe that was so over the top that the great departed Texas gadfly Molly Ivins once pegged dead on as “it probably sounded better in the original German”. Romney would do a good job of giving the Republicans a badly needed mange dip, spanking the ferociously superstitious Christian Right base that soaked up the former libertarian Tea Party like a mop dragged through a pool of vomit.

I have zero faith in Obama ever doing the right thing, the lack of alternatives is a damning indictment of just how badly that the American political system has failed.