Food for thought


It never fails y’all.  Just when I am ready to embrace Barack Obama’s historic campaign emotionally, he does or says something I find abhorrent and inimical to the interests of the Black Community in particular and damaging to everyone else in general.  I am not a head in the sand or up my arse kinda guy.  If you’ve been reading me for awhile, you understand that I pay attention to details and demand substance.

Barack, the Safe Negro, has decided to buckdance for his supper again.  News came yesterday that he announced a willingness to keep Bush’s Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, in some capacity in the next administration. This comes on the heels of an earlier announcement that Obama is considering asking Secretary of Defense Bob Gates to stay on as well.  Nothing about keeping Paulson and Gates is evocative of “Change We Can Believe in.”  Nothing.

Surrounded by a coterie of corporate vampires from the Clinton Administration, the same folk responsible for the deregulation that made this bailout necessary,Barack Obama seized the moment the other day to quiet the unease of capital markets in the throws of hysteria surrounding the near collapse of insurance conglomerate AIG and the failure of the federal government backed mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The resolution of this crisis threatens any progressive agenda for the next administration given the evaporation of one trillion dollars in stock market value and the massive size of a $700 billion bailout package.  It should be clear to even the most intellectually challenged progressive that Barack Obama doesn’t belong to us anymore, if he ever really did.

Bob Rubin, a corporate whore of stupendous magnitude, is the lead predator advising Obama along with Larry Summers, Laura D’Andrea Tyson, and Wal-Mart apologist Jason Furman.The symbolism and substance of an Obama victory is actively being destroyed behind the scenes by these people.

Naomi Klein is correct, it is time to get busy creating a progressive movement that will pressure and fight an Obama Administration’s inevitable capitulations to the corporate power structure.  If we don’t, we can forget about change.

26 thoughts on “Food for thought

  1. I’m taking the evil of two lessers approach. Nothing, I mean NOTHING is worse than putting Phil Gramm in as Sec. of Treasury. I never expected any Democrat to change anything substantively though, unless the economic collapse is as complete as it was in FDR’s time.

    I still don’t understand why I’m being robbed to prop up the teetering remnants of companies gutted by immoral greedheads.

  2. rikyrah

    while I wouldn’t want this, I would want a GOP face on this for as long as possible, SB.

    I have no ‘ ins’ with the Obama campaign, but considering what i know about his ‘ circle’, it’s quite possible you could get a Black Secretary of the Treasury. Do you want a Black face associated with this boondoggle? Just askin’.

  3. rikyrah,

    I want a Treasury Secretary that will push for progressive reform and reinstate the Glass Stegall Act that Bill Clinton repealed, and which is responsible for this speculative bubble that threatens to destroy our ecoonomy and tie Obama’s hands. I really don’t care what their race is.

  4. I agree that it is sad and disgraceful for Obama to consider Gates or Paulson for his administration. That being said, who would you suggest that he take economic advice from? I’m not being rhetorical. This is a serious question.

  5. Ernesto,

    I do like Krugman’s economic commentary. (I’m less enthusiastic about his political commentary.) He was actually a professor of mine in grad school, as was his wife—who is black by the way. I also like Robert Reich…That’s why I think we probably do need to fund some kind of bail out, loan..whatever we want to call it. Reich and Krugman are both opposed to the particulars of Paulson’s plan, but are also warning that we could suffer a global meltdown of the banking sector, which would be an unimaginable nightmare for Main St and Wall Street.

  6. Ernesto, TripLBee,

    As I recall, Krugman was on the Hillary tip this year, and as others have noted, the Queen of Triangulation’s consort is the reason for the speculative bubble that is crashing down all around us.

    The repeal of the Glass Stegall Act has been an unmitigated disaster and I don’t trust an economist who would push for the restoration of the Clintons corrupt Bourbon regime. It just doesn’t compute.

  7. tabt

    I’ve been sick for a few days, so this is the first time I’ve seen the new format. I watched the video clip of Obama speaking without realizing that you would be giving your opinion after I scrolled down. The whole time I was watching the clip I was thinking, “Damn, here he goes again. Every time he starts a sentence I think maybe he’ll really do something to change things. Then he gets to the second half of the sentence and he turns into the corporate, out of touch, rethuglican lite centrist that I can’t stand.

    Because I’m an old far left Democrat who still believes, perhaps foolishly at this point, in the old two party system, I’ll definitely be voting for Obama in November.

    However, when I did scroll down and see that many of your thoughts mirrored my own, I seriously began to wonder if this old dog needs needs to learn some new Progressive tricks. Maybe a third party, after Piglin/McInsane is hopefully defeated, is what this country truly needs for the future. That is my food for thought.

    SB, I come here because your voice is so unique and intelligent. I also know how hungry I am for genuine food for thought. I’ll keep coming back as long as you serve it.

    I truly wish you would consider running for office. But in the meantime,thanks for everthing you’re doing now.

  8. Chesapeake

    If there is just one thing I feel with you, SB, it’s the roller coaster I feel I’m on in supporting Obama.

    Paulson, the Fed, and the Bush administration maintained a hands-off stance on the economy and markets after repeated warnings that began in earnest at least 15 months ago. This stance caused them to be in an expensive reactionary (“unprogressive”) position. The reaction is “elitist” – the rescue packages temporarily save those financial institutions and permanently bails out the execs. The packages, as proposed, do not rescue, in any direct and imminent way, the people. The property and collateral the people will obtain are of far lesser value than the cost of the “rescue.” We’re going into debt to obtain flea market assets. The people are upside down on this deal.

    The people also are stuck with their same personal debt, with no more money, with less opportunity to make money (because small businesses are in hiring freezes and large ones are laying off), with losses of homes, and with broken families. Hopefully the dems will be successful in adding some direct relief.

    Paulson has run the plays from the trickle-down playbook. He has practically ignored the employment, income, and savings factors of the GDP – not progressive. I agree with you, SB, that Obama considering Paulson (and Gates, although he has some sense) is indication of no change or reform. Stiglitz and Reich are good names. I think Krugmann is a major improvement. Others who get it include Davidson of NYU and Castels of MIT.

    You’re right: Progressive agenda are threatened. Paulson and Gates run the departments that have put us in the red. As long as the soldiers are there, they deserve maximum support, but when you add up trillions to the soldiers, plus trillions to the country clubs – LARGELY PAID FOR ON A CREDIT CARD – it’s pretty much a wrap. Though I think Obama will try to divert money to a few New Deal-type changes, he will be limited by the budgets and the people (oy … Paulson … ill!) in his circle.

    I am shocked, but not surprised, that he’d consider Paulson and Gates. Gonna work and ride the coaster out.

  9. Rain

    I think Obama deserves criticism as much as we all do. What I like about him is that he seems truly concerned with the things that truly concern me. Fairness, education. He seems to be concerned with building his legacy on the advancement of people rather than his personal wealth.
    The fact that I do not agree with him on every point is not a reason I would not vote for him. Instead, I would recommend anyone so inclined as some of you appear to be to join the party and do what Barack did – make a difference.
    It’s easy to have all the answers when you don’t have to convince the rest of the nation that you are correct. It’ also very difficult to win a popularity contest like the presidency expousing unique veiws that the masses don’t comprehend or relate to. Sometimes you must temper your views to “bring people along”.
    I would have preferred Obama come out strongly against all the bail outs. The banks and financial institution executives are paid to plan and project. They planned to bilk the middle class. They projected to make windfall profits suckering people into low rate mortgages and raising them later. What idiot didn’t review the finances of the intended victims to see that there was no way they could pay at the higher rates. Who didn’t notice that the people who lost those homes would be the same inelligible buyers of all the homes for sale. All of the above leaving a collapsed real estate market. Those executive deserve to lose their jobs. Yes, so will some who were not at fauly. However, we have to trust and ensure that if the poorly run financial institution fail, the deserving employees will find new jobs with well run, growing companies benefitting from the abandoned customers of the failed institutions. Unfortunately the scare tactics work once again. Obama has to deal with that.
    He also has to create bridges by selecting some people to take or remain in office that will have the ear of the other side. He’s running for president, not God. He won’t be all powerful or all knowing.
    You all have some very heartfelt and probably good recommendations. If you feel that strongly about them, again, perhaps you should work to get in an advisory position. You should have a better chance of getting Obama to understand and agree with your views than he has of convincing rural Americal. Put your money where your mouth is. Make your demands to someone who can make a difference.

  10. Cliff

    “News came yesterday that he announced a willingness to keep Bush’s Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, in some capacity in the next administration. This comes on the heels of an earlier announcement that Obama is considering asking Secretary of Defense Bob Gates to stay on as well.”

    SB, Let him play.


    Let him play them and move those pieces.

    He is just buckdancing with a hidden agenda.

    He’s just playin’ them.

    Okay SB, Rikyrah, if he was a Real Ruckus, then this would have probably happened

    Obama: I have officially denounced my wife’s comment.

    She should not have spoken in , uuhhh, a demonstrative manner towards our country, which truly divides the idea of a real America. An America of the Free, the Brave, and the truly blessed.

    Media Machine: Obama you’ve constantly deonounced radical people attached to you, with all these people close to you, it’s hard for us to trust you. How do we know that we can trust you, and you’ve been proud with being a slave more that just a first time?

    Obama: You have my word that I will not fail your wishes. I’ve always been happy with being a slave, I’ve never heard of an idea of one not being happy for less than a “first time.”

    But he did’nt say that. 🙂

    He is not going to support the policy of Paulson.

    “Paulson, the Fed, and the Bush administration maintained a hands-off stance on the economy and markets after repeated warnings that began in earnest at least 15 months ago. This stance caused them to be in an expensive reactionary (”unprogressive”) position. The reaction is “elitist” – the rescue packages temporarily save those financial institutions and permanently bails out the execs.”

    I know Chesapeake, and thank you for informing, but

    He is still playing chess.


  11. Skep,

    Yep. I’ve been very, very disappointed with Krugman’s political commentary. And somewhat surprised given the vehemence with which he criticized the Bush Administration. He lost a lot of credibility with his fawning over Hillary, even in the darkest moments of her campaign. That being said, his economic predictions are remarkably accurate which indicates to me that he understands how these markets work.

    Also, it is a huge relief that the Congress is soundly rejecting this crazy bail out plan. After 7 and a half years of capitulating to Bush’s insanity, I was worried they would do so again. They appear to have grown some backbone.

  12. Angie

    I’m here.

    Rikyrah, you’re so sweet! Again, like I said on the other thread: Thanks for looking out for me. For what it is worth, that really means a lot to me.

  13. JH

    You’re over zealous with your skepticism about Obama. Shouldn’t we be complaining about the people who got us into this in the first place? For Obama to even be caught in the situation where he has to be co-opted into a decision such as this shows the greed that has existed before him and the level to which he would have to clean up. This is huge responsibility that is being shifted onto the first black guy that might actually be presdient. And just for you to note: He spoke out against the deregulation and predicted (long before) what is happening would happen. Why don’t you talk about that?

    Also, could you be guilty of holding a black person to a higher standard than a white person – just as much as white people are? Think about that.

    Healthy critism is OK and I often read those from other critics of Obama. But to try to transfer all the blame (you have normally attributed) to white sumpremacy onto Obama just because he has a chance of winning is a bit questionable.

    I used to see your skepticism as a healthy one but now you’re just entertaining your readers with what you expect they expect to read.

    My feeling by the way is that if this had been MLK in this situation he would make a lot of the choices that Obama makes. He was the 60s version of what you would call ‘accomodating’.

  14. Anne

    If we’re being honest with ourselves, we need to see clearly that Obama is a politician playing to win an election. Just because he looks different, doesn’t mean he’ll act different. I worry that we forget that in our enthusiasm to see him live out our own hopes and dreams as he ascends to the Presidency. No doubt we’ll disagree with him from time to time. I know I took his FISA vote very hard. Wrong vote, wrong decision. I also don’t care for Biden as VP pick. It was a ‘safe’ choice to make everyone comfortable, not inspired at all.

    In the end though, we can only hope that Obama will rise to the occasion and make us all proud by doing the job well. Like I said, he’s raised doubts for me along the way, but I still have hope he’ll be the great man I think he could be if we can just get him to the White House.

  15. Chesapeake

    Folks, I’m starting to get an even sicker sense of the events on Wall Street. JPMorgan got BearSterns in the spring. Now it’s getting WaMu: Bank of America got Countrywide in the spring. Now its getting Merrill Lynch.

    JPMorgan practically waited for both Bear and WaMu to fail and then bought them for pennies. I don’t know if my recollection is 100% correct, but in the spring, the govenrment and the Fed financed JPM’s purchase of Bear. Now, JPM will pay just $1.9B to acquire over $300B in assets and about $200B in deposits. The slashing of competition and centralization in untold assets in BofA, JPM, etc. makes these present events even more ominous.

    I promise you, I am not a conspiracy theorist (not a hard core one, anyway); however, I imagine a few hundred major officers, directors, shareholders, and government officials getting on regularly scheduled conference calls to work out these conditions and deals to take advantage of their miscalculating brothers’ and their government’s failures. Bush and his crew will go out of office very proud.

    I hope you brothers and sisters are arranging your personal finances and businesses to avoid the oppression that monopolies/oligopolies can cause. Better yet, I hope you are putting yourselves in positions to take advantage of opportunities that will become available to well-positioned people enabling us to empower our communities to survive and thrive in the new world that is upon us. Cut up the credit cards – No more debt – Pay by cash, check, or debit card for everything or nothing!

    I apolgize if this comment insults anyone’s intelligence. These thoughts just all hit me at once.

  16. Rick

    coming to the party here late.
    some of you know i work in finance in nyc.
    i won’t go any details, but i just ask that you rest on any credibility
    i’ve established during the 18mos being here.

    folks, you have to sometimes separate what is said from what true intentions are.
    and there is no one in the industry that expects paulson to stay on as treasury
    sec, or for obama to ask him to stay, a single day past his tenure.

    there’s a good sense on the street who obama will ask, but i’m not at liberty to say.

    i just had to weigh in on this. there is no way paulson will be treasury sec jan 1 2009.

  17. Rick

    i feel ya, but there was a “run” on Wamu’s deposits.
    Had someone not taken over their deposit liabilities, in this case, JPMC, it would have been a hit to the taxpayer because FDIC insurance would have had to step in and cover the mess. also, firm could have bid for Wamu because the bank’s assets were sold at auction. JPMC just had the highest bid.

    still all stinks, but if FDIC had to cover the mess…it would have been a disastor to every single american that pays taxes, i.e., the working poor and middle class. this time around, it was the bondholders and shareholders that got wiped out. in my opinion: this is a case of the process WORKING. (and wamu depositors are still safe)

  18. Chesapeake


    Your cred is established. I agree that the deposits had to be protected. I also can’t blame JPMC for doing the deal. Shareholders are loving management for doing it especially when they recall that their company negotiated to merge WaMu in in January.

    My concern in the comment above is to a broader point that BofA and JPMC, in particular, are growing power and influence by acquiring their former competition. This is not good because (1) we are relying more and more on profit-seekers to provide the public good; and (2) the confluence of such huge wealth in so few organizations and people, who happen to be profit-takers, may only lead to more abuse resulting from their worldly power.

    With the competition withering away, these companies are moving closer to being able to dictate the economy and government action (consider what national and local banks remain to whom your city or county govenments and agencies can go for financing). I believe reduction in competition will also directly adversly affect personal and small business finance through the reduction of investor rights to information, higher costs and fees to invest, borrow, and bank, ….

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