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Monday, December 28, 2009

President Obama’s Failed First Year

President Obama recently said as he accepted the Nobel Prize, “It is undoubtedly true that development rarely takes root without security; it is also true that security does not exist where human beings do not have access to enough food, or clean water, or the medicine and shelter they need to survive. It does not exist where children can’t aspire to a decent education or a job that supports a family. The absence of hope can rot a society from within.”

I wasn’t sure if he was speaking about a struggling nation somewhere in the world where a government had failed to protect its people from dangers pounding on it like a blistering winter storm blanketing its citizens with a few feet of snow, or the United States, for that matter. He spoke about people without adequate food, clean water, medicine and shelter, which are needed in order not only to survive, but also to provide a life for themselves and others. He emphasized that a nation is not a nation if it’s children, as well as others, do not have access to a decent education, or a job, which not only stimulates the economy, but gives life to families.

Was President Obama speaking about Iraq, Uganda, or, just maybe, the very country he presides over as its president?

How are we scoring Mr. Obama’s first year as our president? The very person who pledged to sail in Change We Can Believe In as if he were coming across the finish line of the Sailing Federation’s World Cup, it appears, as captain, has hit a sandbar just a mile into the race and tore a hole in its hull. His ship has been grounded.

I don’t see any accomplishments that as a progressive I can say were changes that I could believe in. Actually, they were policies that fit into the opposite category—failures.

We began the year with the Clintonian and Reaganesta economic toy soldiers who, in the past had spoken of different field instructions, more cautious in fact, about the economy, but once anointed by the new commander-in-chief went forward and continued the economic policies of Little Boy Bush by instructing the Federal Reserve’s Field General, Bennie-The Beard-Bernanke, to load up the wheelbarrows of cash and dump them into the laps of the very “infestment” bankstas that brought down the economy in the first place. No interest necessary Citi, or “Golden Sacks”.

The marching orders read that the “infestment” bankstas were to go forward and increase their capital reserves, since they never really had enough to cover the 30-year long betting cycle of risky loans, and credit default swaps, which made them all very, very rich upper classmen. So, to follow through they went ahead and gambled taxpayer dollars at the Wall Street casino tables, as well as moved forward advancing bets in foreign currencies, commodities, and in other stock markets. In other words, much of the cash they borrowed for free went overseas, just as the jobs they took away from us by outsourcing our own manufacturing livelihoods.

Bennie the Beard was crowned Man of the Year by Time magazine, even though he wrongly spoke about the security of our economy. Bada Bing Bernanke once said that the banks were not involved with subprime lending. In 2007, this economic crime syndicate field marshal general said, “ Importantly, we see no serious broad spill over to banks or thrift institutions from the problems in the subprime market…The troubled lenders, for the most part, have not been institutions with federally insured deposits.” Wow!! Was this guy trying to do some stand-up comedy when he said that?

It is hard to believe that since Bernanke, a PhD and expert in the Great Depression, was so successful selling so much propaganda about the economy, that he was able to be crowned Man of the Year. No doubt, he actually sold policymakers on taking a revised version of Alan Greenspan’s prior bag of crap and made it stick to the wall, such as believing that financial innovations were good for the economy and made banking safer!!! He threw up against the Wall of Crap a belief that our economy had entered a time in history that ushered in smaller and less frequent downturns, which he coined “the great moderation.”

These sweet-as-pie assessments of our grand ‘ole economy were made back in 2007 just before he went squawkin’ to Congress warning about a falling sky Chicken Little style; yet, Bennie The Beard was reading a brand of his homegrown tea leaves as the sky came raining down with Humpty Dumpty type banks, mortgage foreclosures, and failed financial innovations burning down the house so much that he needed a backhoe to get himself out from under the charred rubble. And, that backhoe was driven by Congress, which was blackmailed into accepting the Paulson-Bernanke-BushBoy economic extortion plan.

As we all know, five of ten of the nation’s largest “infestment” banking institutions were underwater with subprime loans that had to be bailed out by their field marshal general stationed at the Federal Reserve headquarters. These bankstas were so worried that they demanded from Congress the creation of a $700 billion bankster rescue program called TARP.

The reality is that Bennie The Beard actually failed to protect America’s depositors, homeowners, and investors to the tune of $12 trillion!!! Now, if that legacy deserves Man of the Year, then what would it take to deserve the dishonor of the Worst Man of the Year?

As the year progressed, the promise to end the war in Iraq became just an exaggeration, similarly to how Sarah Palin boasted to America using that infamous line: “I can see Russia from my house.”

Today, we are still in Iraq, and have escalated the troop deployment in Afghanistan. The war profiteers continue their gleeful praises of our War President. The stockholders of GE, General Dynamics, Halliburton, KBR, and the rest are so happy to see their end-of-the-year dividend/ 1099s all coming in profitably. In addition, Blackwater, ie. Xe, and now remade into The U.S. Training Center, has been allowed to become the new, domestic Brownshirts ready to be deployed anywhere inside the United States by our new president, even though Eric Prince, its commander-in-chief, should be put on trial as a war criminal. Our government continues to use Prince’s private, mercenary military force overseas, too.

More change we can believe in.

As we move threw the year, the bankstas were paying out huge bonuses funded by the taxpayers through various Fed and Treasury programs. There were no significant regulatory changes, nor the elimination of too-big-to-fail. The mega-banks were even allowed to become bigger as they gobbled up closed down smaller banks.

None of the mega-banking CEOs or top executives has been jailed for fraud, either. The Justice department has not done any serious, large scale investigations clearly defining why this economic fraud occurred, who were the ones to blame, and why are they still smiling.

We saw a token “real” economy bailout of only a couple billion dollars because the remainder of the economic stimulus package bailout went into tax-cuts. The Republicans hijacked a Democratic Congress, once again. The unemployed-under employed-no longer looking for work, and the part time wanting full time unemployment picture has reached a near Depression era aggregate figure of almost 20%. 16 million unemployed.

Foreclosures grew to 1 in 6 homeowners. Those still paying mortgages, but are now underwater is around 1 in 4.

Wages continue to erode or stay stagnant. Those who are leery of losing their jobs have cut back on their spending.

34,750 lobbyists continue to infect our government with powers that are unprecedented.

Corporate bankruptcies are looming on the horizon. Bank credit card defaults and those 30-60-90 days delinquent have been on the upswing. Professor Elizabeth Warren, PhD, and chairperson of the Congressional Oversight Bailout Committee has warned our president that we could be on the brink of losing our middle class!!!  But what does our president do when such an honorable and brilliant person hoists the distress flag on his ship? He goes out-of-town, gives a nice speech, and informally poses for pretty pictures. When not doing that he is ducking the issues, or letting others do the work.

Professor Drew Westen, PhD, and political psychologist, summed it up in the first paragraph of his outstanding article called, “Leadership, Obama Style, and the Looming Losses in 2010: Pretty Speeches, Compromised Values, and the Quest for the Lowest Common Denominator”----

“As the president’s job performance numbers and ratings on his handling of virtually every domestic issue have fallen below 50 percent, the Democratic base has become demoralized, and Independents have gone from his source of strength to his Achilles Heel. It’s time to reflect on why.”

Professor Westen goes on to say “What’s costing the president are three things: a laissez-faire style of leadership that appears weak and removed to everyday Americans, a failure to articulate and defend any coherent ideological position on virtually anything, and a widespread perception that he cares more about special interests like bank, credit card, oil, and coal, and health and pharmaceutical companies than he does about the people they are shafting.” Beautifully said!!! There is more!! “Consider the president’s leadership style, which has now become clear: deliver a moving speech, move on and when push comes to shove, leave it to others to decide what to do if there’s a conflict, because if there’s a conflict, he doesn’t want to be anywhere near it.”

YIKES!! Is this the Change We Can Believe In? Have we elected a cowardly president afraid to take on the opposition, the important issues and defend the very people that elected him president?

Dr. Westen continues the hammering. “Leadership means heading into the eye of the storm and bringing the vessel of state home safely, not going as far inland as you can because it’s uncomfortable on the high seas. This president has a particular aversion to battling back gusting winds from his starboard side (the right, for the nautically challenged) and tends to give in to them. He just can’t tolerate conflict, and the result is that he refuses to lead.” “This White House has no coherent message on anything.” Bravo! Bravo! I don’t feel alone anymore. I have been calling out President Obama since day 2, and now the crowd is thickening.

With health care, President Obama delivered nothing he promised. Dr. Weston says that “If the president had simply placed appropriate blame on the health insurance industry for its pre-existing conditions, it’s cutting off care for breast cancer victims in the middle of treatment, and its doubling [of] our premiums and co-pays during the Bush years, he would have harnessed populist anger and pushed this bill through six months ago, and it would have looked like the change we were told to believe in.” Well said!!!

There will be no public option. The health care industry will be covering nearly every American and receiving taxpayer dollars in return. More corporate socialism delivered to the richest sectors in the nation. The allowance to import drugs for Canada will continue to be outlawed.

The Employee Free Choice Act has not been made into law.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has said that the US president has failed to provide accountability on torture.

In the area of domestic spying, “The people at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) make a sobering case why President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice’s new arguments in a case involving warrantless wiretapping are much worse than those made by former president George Bush. In a motion to dismiss Jewel v. NSA, EFF’s litigation against the National Security Agency for the warrantless wiretapping of countless Americans, the Obama Administration’s made two deeply troubling arguments. First, they argued, exactly as the Bush Administration did on countless occasions, that the state secrets privilege requires the court to dismiss the issue out of hand. They argue that simply allowing the case to continue “would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security.” As in the past, this is a blatant ploy to dismiss the litigation without allowing the courts to consider the evidence. Then, Obama’s Department Of Justice second argument is the most pernicious. They claim that the U.S. Government is completely immune from litigation for illegal spying — that the Government can never be sued for surveillance that violates federal privacy statutes.
This is a radical assertion that is utterly unprecedented. No one — not the White House, not the Justice Department, not any member of Congress, and not the Bush Administration — has ever interpreted the law this way.” (,“In Domestic Spying Case, Obama DOJ’s New Arguments Are Worse than Bush’s” 4-9-09)
We continue to see that President Obama has not been the person he claimed to be on the campaign trail, or on inauguration day. I see a person who has sold out to the corporate elite beginning on day two. He has become our Manchurian President. The question is will he show courage in 2010, and no longer remain the coward? Will he become a commanding leader demanding effective and necessary changes that we all can believe in? This remains to be seen, but from what he had thus far demonstrated, the answer is doubtful. FDR led from a wheelchair. His physical limitations were only that to him. President Obama must show progressive action, instead of allowing those with agendas to keep him in the deadly center leaning right.
Thanks for reading, jerry


SPECTRE of Deflation said...

Bankers Get $4 Trillion Gift From Barney Frank: David Reilly

SPECTRE of Deflation said...

Move Your Money

SPECTRE of Deflation said...

TSA Threatens Blogger Who Posted New Screening Directive
By Kim Zetter December 30, 2009

SPECTRE of Deflation said...

Jerry, another great piece my friend! I would take exception to one short paragraph:

"We saw a token “real” economy bailout of only a couple billion dollars because the remainder of the economic stimulus package bailout went into tax-cuts. The Republicans hijacked a Democratic Congress, once again. The unemployed-under employed-no longer looking for work, and the part time wanting full time unemployment picture has reached a near Depression era aggregate figure of almost 20%. 16 million unemployed."

There is no difference between the Crime syndicates that call themselves the Democratic and Republican Party. It is simply bread and circus to keep those too busy trying to survive from seeing the thieves as they really are. They have both bankrupted this country. The math is simple enough, as Karl Denniger would say.

carlandjerry said...

Hi Spectre,

Hey, thanks for your comment and support!!! The way I see things is that the bread and circus has been misguided even though we all know that this has been the modus operandi for decades. A bread and circus government is the way it will be, at least for the time being.

We see China channeling their stimulus packages into real things that can be made and sold. They do not put all their financial energy into creating securities and derivatives that are worth-less and non-productive. China makes things, and hires workers to do those jobs. Not the United States. All Obama's energies have gone into the banksta economy and the war machine economy.

The people were thrown a minuscule bone with a small scale stimulus.

Anyway, we are now in a new year. The show continues.

take care, jerry

SPECTRE of Deflation said...

Gene Burnett - Jump You F*#kers (A Song For Wall Street)

SPECTRE of Deflation said...

Is the US Goverment Preparing the Lifeboats for the Next Financial Disaster?

03 January 2010

Zero Hedge has an interesting review of proposed rule changes by the SEC and the Obama Administration which you can read in its entirety here.

Yet new regulations proposed by the administration, and specifically by the ever-incompetent Securities and Exchange Commission, seek to pull one of these three core pillars from the foundation of the entire money market industry, by changing the primary assumptions of the key Money Market Rule 2a-7.
The primary concern seems to be the new ability of money market fund managers to freeze redemptions (withdrawals) of funds at their discretion.

"A key proposal in the overhaul of money market regulation suggests that money market fund managers will have the option to 'suspend redemptions to allow for the orderly liquidation of fund assets.'"
If you have the time, you should sit down and read through the entire essay at ZH, because it is fascinating. I understand that many will not because of the length and density of the piece, which is really not all that bad, and fairly well written as all of their pieces tend to be. I am not so adverse to some of the other changes in the MMFs such as the tightening of durations, but that is more a quibble.

One also has to wonder if and when the government will begin to more aggressively manage the access of private citizens to their 401K's and IRA's and other forms of savings. Or is it just sufficient to manage the things that one might hold in them. Hard to say.

Now that the government will be forcing Americans to buy private health insurance (and presumably use it to prevent certain trasmittable diseases for the public good as your private health insurer will have your records) where will they stop? What about life insurance, long term disability insurance, and retirement plans? How about psychological counseling and sensitivity training for social malcontents? "A gram is better than a damn."

Here is the concluding paragraph from this essay and I wanted to highlight it here because otherwise it will be overlooked by many who should read and understand it. The conclusions that the author draws about WHY the changes are being made are more important perhaps than the changes themselves. Or at least to me, because I have very little money in any US money market fund, and even that is 100% short term Treasuries. The fraud and mispricing of risk in the US financial system has become pervasive and epidemic, such that a good stiff headwind could have taken it all down, and because of a lack of serious reform, still can. Rather than fixing potential causes of the next disaster, the Obama Administration seems content to block the escape routes and issue priority passes to the big Wall Street banks and a favored few.

"At this point it is without doubt that even the government understands that when things turn sour, and they will, the run on the bank will be unavoidable: their solution - prevent money from being dispensed, when that moment comes. The thing about crises, be they liquidity, solvency, or plain-vanilla, is that "price discovery" occurs all at once, and at the very same time. And all too often, investors "discover" they were lied to, as the emperor, in any fiat system, always has no clothes.