Obama WAS The Special Interests President

Barack-Obama-After-Presidency-Pictures

 

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/in-chicago-obama-tells-young-leaders-that-%E2%80%98special-interests-dominate-the-debates-in-washington%E2%80%99/ar-BBAha7Y?li=BBnb7Kz

 

The story headline “In Chicago, Obama tells young leaders that ‘special interests dominate the debates in Washington’” is is total crap. From day one Obama was all about pleasing special interests by funneling unrestricted bailout funds to Goldman Sachs and the investment/banking industries in general. Yes, TARP was a Bush initiative but Obama and his special interest lackeys, Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner, made it like they were proprietors overseeing kids in a candy store, even giving out handfuls of candy, aka taxpayer funds, to kids like every day was Halloween night. The banksters knowingly and intentionally committed global financial fraud and not one CEO paid the legal price. We all paid for the bailout and not ONE institution was required to change how they do business to prevent it from happening again. Dodd-Frank? Please…

They’re still selling the same derivatives (under new names) and other unsafe “investment products” that are again propelling the financial industry to another meltdown. The housing bubble is building again (checked out home prices lately?) and once again it WILL burst.

Remember Obama’s pushing through of all those trade pacts? We’re now just learning of some of the secret offshore accounts owned by American citizens and corporations housed in Panama banks. Remember how he also tried to push the TPP and the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline? How about his months-long silence and hands off policy with the Dakota Access pipeline?  Additional construction of nuclear plants? Pushing charter schools to the detriment of public schools? The Obama presidency was all about special interests, except for the middle and low income classes. I guess we didn’t hold much special interest for him.

Obama didn’t do a damn thing to unify anyone. If he had, we’d have a Democrat in the White House, a Democratically-controlled Congress, and Merrick Garland, as flawed as he was, would be the 9th Justice sitting on the SCOTUS bench.

The Obama administration will not go down in history for what it was but for its failure to become what it could have been. If his “aspiration” was to unify Blue and Red states, why did he do so much to polarize all of us?

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Bill Clinton: Big Dog? Big Phony

Bill Clinton. Big Dog. The guy the Democrats trot out every national convention time to rah rah the electorate to a fever pitch to bring the Democratic presidential nominee on home!

Big dog? Big phony. The only thing big about Bill is the stick he keeps trying to bash Bernie Sanders over the head with.

This morning I again heard on the radio the corporate media fiction of Clinton’s “Age of Prosperity” in the 90s. Yes, it was prosperous for some, unless you were poor. If you were lower-working class or among the poor there was little if any prosperity for you.  The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), the Republican bill which Clinton signed into law took care of that. It penalized poor children for living with their dysfunctional parent(s).  It forced people with no hope of finding a job to look for work or be removed from the cash grant after two years while a portion of any of the income they might be able to earn or receive was allocated to the child(ren) to further reduce their cash grant. After five years on welfare whether the parent(s) had found work or not the family timed out on welfare entirely.

The Food Stamps program (run by the USDA partly on behalf of agribusiness to sell more crops to sell more food) was slashed by over $20 billion dollars. The AFDC budget was $14 billion—less than 1% of the federal budget. Meanwhile, military spending was increased by about $60 billion over a six-year period, a time when we weren’t officially at war with anybody.  SSI eligibility for children was restricted.  LEGAL immigrants had their eligibility for programs greatly restricted and their benefits cut.

But while the those living in poverty were pushed into living in abject poverty, the rest of us were prospering, right? For some. For awhile. The Bill Clinton Golden Age of Prosperity sat atop the twin dotcom and real estate bubbles and balanced by some fancy shmancy bookkeeping that moved selected Accounts Payable ledger items off the Clinton books and onto the books of the next presidential administration. Yes, Dubya did fine in massively escalating the federal budget on his own but Bill did help his future best buddy along that path.

Yes, it sure was the Age of Prosperity alright, but all that prosperity was paid with credit cards and the bills started to come due in the 2nd financial quarter of 2007. You see, during Bill’s Age of Prosperity he sneaked a couple of things through: repeal of Glass-Steagall and the successful kibosh of the regulation of the sale of derivatives of which—if you saw “The Big Short” credit default swaps played a big part.

So here’s all these stock traders and stockholders becoming prosperous during the 90s but then the strangest stuff started to happen in 2007. Banks started to fail. Brokerage houses started to fail. Mortgage lenders started to fail. A whole lot of prosperous people lost their investments, lost their retirement savings, lost their jobs, lost their homes, lost their families, lost their lives.

The Republicans came up with a plan to save it all called TARP. They came up with at near the end of Dubya’s term. Obama replaced Bush but on the first round of voting Senate Democrats stuck to their principles and voted it down. They became unstuck on the second vote and passed it with Obama signing into law in 2009. The problem with TARP was handled was similar to what happens on a baseball sandlot. Kids line up and wait to see which team captain will chose them. The team captain sticks with his favorite players and tries to give the lesser players to the other team. This is what happened with TARP. Obama chose his favorites: Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, AIG. The lesser players not chosen: Bear Stearns, Shearson Lehman Brothers, Wachovia Bank, Countrywide, among others didn’t get to play at all because there was no other team to play for.  They had to take their bats and balls and thousands of employees and millions of customers and clients and walk away.

This is reality. This is fact. This is not the Camelot-like “Age of Prosperity” that the Clintons, the Democratic Party (especially the DNC), and the corporate media is attempting to have you still believe. When the lie becomes truth, then what is the truth?

So I will not join in on the Big Dog rah rah stuff. I will not speaking glowingly and nostalgically of the Bill Clinton Golden Age of Prosperity. Too much water has flowed under that bridge. The same floodwater that swept all that “prosperity” away for good. At least it worked out for the poor.  As Janis once sang, “when you got nothin’ you got nothin’ to lose”.

John Stewart Schools Timothy Geithner In Economics

Watch Jon Stewart at his best: Geithner. It’s a 3-part interview with a 5-part extended interview.

Timothy Geithner is making the talk show rounds plugging his new book. Geithner is a typically, tone deaf political economist who was one of the primary constructionists of two economic policies which led to and has perpetuated the effects of the crash of 2008. Watch his body language as he insists the Obama administration did the only thing possible to help the economy recover while Stewart keeps calling him on his bullshit, requiring Geithner to reset and try to throw it again.

Geithner is not a people person and it shows. He has been around economic theory, growing up living a privileged life; he has never known poverty. Throughout most of his childhood he lived abroad; throughout his education, his focus was on Asia, not on the USA. He went to two universities in China and then majored in and got advanced degrees from two American schools in Asian and international studies. His entire career has put a firewall between him and the average person,. He’s all economic theory and no personal knowledge or experience with or—I think—any true compassion for the plight of the people who suffer as a result of economic policies he put in place.

After the 2008 economic meltdown, what was his primary concern? He wanted to avoid setting off a bank panic, or even making them slightly nervous. That’s why he insisted the banks be given all that free money with absolutely no restrictions or federal controls. He smugly claimed to Stewart that the banks paid back all those loans with interest; therefore, the taxpayers made a profit. Really? Was that profit shared with all those homeowners who lost their home because banks like Bank of America, Citibank, and JP Morgan Chase refused or delayed to refinance homes, denying or delaying applications for refinancing under HARP? Over and over again you see Geithner try to run, but he can’t hide from Stewart.

To him, the economic problems of the poor and the middle class are theoretical. So, no matter how much he tries to argue to the contrary, Stewart is right: TARP gave no-strings-attached money to the banks hand-over-fist, and then allowed them to borrow money at the discount window for 0% interest and make 3% interest on that same money. Yet despite both TARP and HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program), homeowners were foreclosed on in record numbers—many through fraudulent and illegal means—and the banks were left off the hook by paying plea-bargained fines which amounted to pocket change for them.

Even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Geithner insists the Obama administration did the right and the only available thing to fix the economy. Tone deaf, again. And this speaks volumes about Obama because he was the one who hired Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury, to work beside Larry Summers, the Clinton retread who gave us unregulated derivatives and the repeal of Glass-Steagall during the Clinton years which directly lead to the 2008 crash. While Stewart did a great job of nailing Geithner to his own cross, even better than Stewart, I’d love to see Paul Krugman and/or Robert Reich debate Geithner over his book. Both of them would bring along their good friend, John Maynard Keynes (in spirit), who I believe would have loved the opportunity to go a few rounds with Geithner on TV. Talk about REALLY being schooled…

After Soaring With Bill, Barack Brings Us Back Down To Earth

President Obama’s DNC speech was pretty good overall.  He didn’t take us on an astral trip like Bill Clinton did, but it had its highs—and lows.  He mixed in references to Michelle, Malia, and Sasha.  He hit the bullseye with a couple of zingers aimed at Romney/Ryan.  He ended the speech by turning the DNC/Time Warner Cable Arena into a tent show revival meeting with his preacher’s call and response cadence and the overall power of his oratory gifts.

But as good as most of the speech was, there were certain points that escaped most people and pundits but raised my b.s. antennae big time:

“I’ve signed trade agreements that are helping our companies sell more goods to millions of new customers, goods that are stamped with three proud words:  ‘Made in America.’” The Panama trade agreement enables corporations like Bain Capital and multimillionaires (billionaires?) like Mitt Romney to hide offshore accounts there that the IRS can’t touch, let alone investigate.  Neither the South Korean nor the Colombia trade agreements do much if anything to create American jobs.  And please check out the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement.

“I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan or endanger our coastlines or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.”  Obama has opened the Arctic Ocean to offshore oil drilling off the Alaskan coast.  The oil damage from the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster is still there because the oil companies STILL don’t have in place the oil spill response plans mandated by the federal law, as was amply displayed by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion (leaving more families with dead relatives but no bodies to bury) in the Gulf of Mexico.  This doesn’t faze Obama in the slightest:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-epa-shell-arctic-20120831,0,6058124.story

But it sure fazes the U.S. Maritime Forces: http://www.usnwc.edu/Research—Gaming/War-Gaming/Faculty-Blog.aspx

For even more on this, read “Vultures’ Picnic by Greg Palast

“…where we develop a hundred-year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet.” In other words, fracking.  See below about mountain top removal to learn about the same environmental, human, and wildlife damage caused by fracking.

…”a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal…” “Clean” coal? Ask Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.  about clean coal and he’ll show you his documentary “The Last Mountain” about mountain top removal.  Ask the people of West Virginia who no longer have beautiful forested mountains to look at—and they’ll show you scarred, pitted, debris-strewn muddy lands and polluted water, ground and air, about clean coal. They’ll show you their x-rays verifying rampant cancers and diseases of the vital organs.  What they won’t be able to show you is the wildlife that disappeared and never came back.  Ask the families of the 25 Massey Energy coal miners who died in the 2010 Big Branch Mine explosion about clean coal and they’ll show you 25 gravesites.

Another power source he left out is nuclear.  Even after Fukushima, and after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Irene pummeled the Atlantic and Gulf coasts Obama is pushing for new nuclear power plants in Georgia, South Carolina, Texas and in other states.  Japan, France, and Germany are now cutting back or working to eliminate nuclear power from their grids and replace them with safer, renewable energy sources (not so much Japan) but the Obama administration is either eager to fund new plants or re-certifying aging nuclear power plants way beyond their engineered life expectancies.

“From Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beings…” Is he talking about Burma or Myanmar? They are the same country but believe me, they are not the SAME country.  Just ask the National Human Rights Commission.  Ask the CIA about the SPLA/M in South Sudan and mass torture and genocide inflicted on civilians. Libya? Ask Freedom House about their “7” rating for the new government of Libya’s political rights and civil liberties atrocities.

“…and we certainly don’t want bailouts for banks that break the rules.” That’s exactly what TARP was all about.  The banks (and Wall Street) broke the rules while gambling with OUR money, not theirs.  The Bush Administration may have created the plan but it was Obama’s Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that the billions of dollars be given to the banks with no strings attached, lest they become a bit nervous from the micromanagement and cause a worldwide panic that would have economies falling like dominoes.  He was confident that if you handed banks all that free money, they would do the right thing and hand it over to consumers in the forms of easy-peasy personal, business, and mortgage loans.  He was so SURE they would do that…

Make no mistake: I am voting for Obama because there is no other choice.  Every complaint I have lodged against him would be a thousandfold worse under a President Romney.  I do believe that Obama has a conscious and may be eventually persuaded to do the right thing refusing all the policies I cited here.  If Romney ever HAD a conscious, it is locked away in the Cayman Islands keeping his money company.

Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand: Hypocrisy By Any Other Name

Paul Ryan professes to admire Ayn Rand despite the fact he knows nothing about her.  Let’s compare Ryan’s philosophies with Rand’s.

Paul Ryan is supposed to be a devout Catholic.  Ayn Rand was a confirmed atheist despite being born Jewish.  Since Ryan is a Catholic, he knows adultery is condemned in the Bible as a mortal sin and is also prohibited by the Ten Commandments.  Ayn Ryan was an open adulterer, carrying on at least one affair with a student working with her and her husband.

Ayn Rand believed that people should not elect anyone to anything.  Paul Ryan ran for Congress in 1998 and has been re-elected every two years since then.  He is now running for Vice-President.  Why would he be earning a paycheck from the very government Ayn Rand deemed unnecessary?

Ayn Rand believed in a laissez faire system of government regarding business.  Paul Ryan voted for both TARP and the auto bailout.  He voted against the stimulus yet got stimulus funds from Obama’s Secretary of Energy for local businesses and homeowners in his state.  Ayn Rand was totally opposed to the type of government handout.

Ayn Rand opposed all government handouts like unemployment and Social Security.  In 1976, she signed up for and started receiving Social Security and Medicare.  Paul Ryan was raised in a wealthy, influential family but he still collected Social Security survivor benefits after his father died.

So every benefit Ryan and Rand received from our government they would deny you.  Ryan’s plan to privatize Social Security would not give the poor, aged, and disabled what he got—not even close.  What was good for Ryan and Rand is not good for you.  This is called both elitism and hypocrisy.

Now to get away from Ryan’s Rand-connected hypocrisy and focus on that which is solely his own.  He’s a self-styled deficit hawk yet…he voted for both the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions which George W. Bush kept off the books for his entire presidency.  Why do you think the budget deficit Bush handed over to Obama was so high? Pure borrowing and spending.

Ryan voted for Medicare Part D which forbids the federal government from negotiating drug prices with the major pharmaceutical companies. The government has to pay whatever the companies say it has to pay which means the government is spending more than it should be, thanks to Ryan and the Republicans.

Ryan plans to eliminate Pell Grants for 1 million students in order to pay for $40 million in big oil subsidies because he owns stakes in companies that would benefit from these tax subsidies:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/06/17/247570/paul-ryan-family-beneft-subsidies-for-big-oil-in-his-budget/

This is what makes him such a great match for Mitt Romney.  Both believe in entitlements for the rich which are to be denied the poor and middle class.  Imagine those two sitting at a table, clinking glasses of champagne together and gleefully saying “The poor are not like you and me.”  Nope, to these two, the rich are rich and the poor are poor and never the twain shall meet.  Never.