Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street’

Let’s face it: Barack Obama paved the way for Donald Trump. Trump would never have been elected without Obama.

I’m not talking about the overt, always blatant racism of Trump and (since the mid 1960’s with its “Southern Strategy”) the GOP. That’s a given. Divide and conquer, a strategy they’ve been pursuing relentlessly since the ’60s, with great success. They’ve bullshitted their racist victims into voting for them and directing their anger onto scapegoats.

How do the Democrats fit in, how do they help convince the victims of economic injustice and exploitation to kiss the butts of their victimizers?

Going back just a decade, it’s easy now to see how Obama and his Wall Street backers did it: In 2008 the economy was in freefall, and with plentiful corporate money behind him Obama served up heaping helpings of vacuous “hope and change” bullshit. He won big, but didn’t deliver. He betrayed the people who elected him.

It would have been remarkably easy for him to have been a transformative president, to do great good. But, despite his rhetoric, he had no intention of doing so. He had huge majorities in Congress, could have raised the minimum wage, instituted mass public works projects that would have put millions to work, given relief to foreclosure victims, and at least tried for Medicare-for-all.  Instead, he chose to be Mr. Do Nothing, Mr. Status Quo. He proposed and got a stimulus just big enough to save the big banks, but not the eight million Americans who lost their jobs and/or houses. (About eight million jobs vanished and there were about eight million house foreclosures.) So, since Obama did nothing to help them, those who lost their jobs and homes sank into an economic abyss. He very evidently didn’t give a shit about them, and as a result they didn’t give a shit about him, and either sat on their hands or voted against Obama’s party two year later.

Instead of real change, he delivered a quarter-of-a-loaf healthcare package that left tens of millions uninsured and preserved the profits of the parasitic insurance industry and big pharma, with the pathetic real benefits delayed until 2014. What an achievement.

Not a one of the banksters who caused the collapse was ever charged with a crime. Not one. In the greatest financial crime in human history. Not one, thanks to Obama.

As for the disaster in 2010, he’s entirely responsible. People knew he’d betrayed them and stayed away from the polls in droves or voted for the Republicans. There’s no way to disguise this. (Hillary Clinton, the ultimate status-quo candidate, whose slogan should have been “No we can’t!” also bears large responsibility for the election of Trump and the Republican congress in 2016.)

When you see entertainers and pundits such as Steven Colbert and Rachel Maddow cozying up to Obama and Hillary Clinton, please remember that they have historical amnesia, are cozying up to those responsible for the 2010 and 2016 disasters, those who paved the way for Trump. And if the Democrats nominate another corporate tool, such as Booker or Biden, they’ll pave the way for a less personally loathsome, but smarter and even more dangerous fascist than Trump.

Obama et al. paved the way for the electoral disasters in 2010 and 2016. The first step to avoid an even worse disaster (and I very much hate to say this) is getting out and voting in November.

Do it. Vote the Republicans out. Then let’s organize for real change.



Nomi Prins

“It’s a land lacking in meaningful structural reform of the financial system, a place where the big banks have been, and will continue to be, coddled by the government. No CEO will be jailed, no matter how large the fines his bank is saddled with or how widespread the crimes it committed. Instead, he’s likely to be invited to the inaugural ball in January. Because its practices have not been adequately controlled or curtailed, the inherent risk that Wall Street poses for Main Street will only grow as bankers continue to use our money to make their bets. In Hillary’s America, Wall Street will still own Main Street.”

Nomi Prins, author of All The President’s Bankers and It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bonuses, Bailouts, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street, “Waking Up in Hillary Clinton’s America

Today’s Guardian features an article titled “Hookers for  Hillary: Meet the sex workers caucusing for Clinton in Nevada.”

My first thought–given Clinton’s more than cozy relationship with Wall Street, Godman Sachs, and big pharma, her $5,000-a-minute “speaking fees” to those financial behemoths, etc.–was to say, “How appropriate!”

But on second thought, most sex workers are either directly coerced into prostitution or are forced into it by dire economic circumstances, so it’s grossly unfair to compare them to Hillary Clinton, who climbed into bed with Wall Street voluntarily.

Provocations, by Chaz Bufe, front coverby Chaz Bufe, author of Provocations: Don’t Call Them Libertarians, AA Lies, and Other Incitements

The Republican takeover of the Senate in 2014 can be traced to the waning months of 2008. That was when Obama fired his progressive economic advisors, the first sign of Obama’s coming wholesale betrayal of those who elected him. Out went Robert Reich and Robert Rubin and in came Wall Street insiders Tim Geithner and Larry Summers.  When Obama needed economic campaign rhetoric, he turned to the progressives. When he needed to set economic policy, he turned to Wall Street. This is prima facie evidence of deliberate betrayal.

The progressives had been pushing for a huge stimulus–somewhere around $2 trillion, which would have been enough to jump start the economy and put people back to work in short order. Instead, Obama asked for and got an $800 billion stimulus package (much of it in the form of tax reductions, one of the least efficient ways to stimulate the economy), which was enough to keep the economy from totally collapsing, but not enough to put significant numbers of people back to work.

The House and Senate Democratic “leadership” (an oxymoron on the level of “ex-gay,”  “humble televangelist,” or “compassionate conservative”) was more than happy to play along. In particular, Harry Reid could have changed the rules of the Senate and run it on the basis of simple majority rule. He didn’t. Instead, he left the old rules in place, which in effect required a super-majority (60 votes) to pass any significant legislation.

We all know what followed economically: continued massive unemployment; continuation of the decline in median wages that began near the time Bush took office; creation of relatively few new jobs, mostly low wage jobs; millions of people losing their homes in the foreclosure crisis; tens of millions more losing a major part of their savings as their home equity declined–and a huge rebound in stock prices and record corporate profits.

At the same time, Obama and the Democrats in Congress did nothing to investigate, let alone prosecute, the banksters responsible for crashing the economy, the banksters responsible for the greatest financial fraud in world history. And there were plenty of bank and other criminals to prosecute, if the Obama Administration had wanted to; it didn’t. (If you doubt this, read Matt Taibbi’s works on the topic, particularly Griftopia.) As Attorney General Eric Holder stated last year–demonstrating in a single phrase why he’s unfit to hold office–the major banks are “too big to jail.”

The Obama Administration and its minions in Congress also did nothing to investigate, let alone prosecute, those responsible  for lying the U.S. into an illegal, disastrous war of aggression in Iraq. Its record on torture is similarly shameful. Even as I write, the Obama Administration is trying to bury a Senate report on torture under the Bush/Cheney Administration.

What did Obama do instead? What did Obama deliver? About the only thing he delivered on was a healthcare plan, and even there he didn’t even try to deliver what was needed: a single-payer or some other type of public plan. Instead, he delivered a half-assed–more accurately, quarter-assed–plan that let the insurance companies continue to siphon billions from the healthcare system and that has left tens of millions uninsured.

At the same time, despite promises that he’d have “the most open administration in history,” Obama almost from day one began to ruthlessly persecute whistle blowers and journalists.  He also ramped up the the mass surveillance of American citizens begun under Bush, to the point where nearly everyone is under constant surveillance by the NSA and other government agencies.

In the face of this wholesale betrayal, Obama appeared stunned at the Republican rout of Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections. In 2008, a majority of the country wanted major change, which Obama promised. Instead, he cynically betrayed those who had voted for him in almost every single particular.

And he thought he could get away with it. His attitude prior to the midterms seemed to be, “Hey punks! Who you gonna vote for? The Republicans? Huh?  I don’t think so. You’re gonna take what I’m dishing out, and like it!”

Well, a lot of people didn’t like it; they decided not to reward betrayal with their votes, setting the stage for what followed: Republican takeovers of state legislatures across the country, voter suppression on a mass scale, and widespread gerrymandering, which ensured continuing Republican dominance in both state legislatures and Congress. (For example, in Ohio, which Obama carried in both 2008 and 2012, Republicans hold 12 of the 16 congressional seats.)

With Obama continuing his hypocritical, corporate-toadying, anti-civil liberties, war criminal-coddling policies since the 2010 debacle, it’s little wonder that progressives are disillusioned and apathetic. It’s little wonder that Republicans have continued to cement their hold on power.

Right-wingers are fond of pointing out Barack Obama’s middle name: “Hussein.” What they fail to point out is that that middle name is inappropriate: it should be “Judas.”