Archive for the ‘Cronie-ism’ Category

From the U. S. Treasury – (Our emphasis in bold red.)

President George W. Bush nominated Henry M. Paulson, Jr. to be the 74th Secretary of the Treasury on June 19, 2006. The United States Senate unanimously confirmed Paulson to the position on June 28, 2006 and he was sworn into office on July 10, 2006 by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. As Treasury Secretary, Paulson is the President’s leading policy advisor on a broad range of domestic and international economic issues.

Before coming to Treasury, Paulson was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs since the firm’s initial public offering in 1999. He joined Goldman Sachs Chicago Office in 1974 and rose through the ranks holding several positions including, Managing Partner of the firm’s Chicago office, Co-head of the firm’s investment Banking Division, President and Chief Operating Officer, and Co-Senior partner.

Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Paulson was a member of the White House Domestic Council, serving as Staff Assistant to the President from 1972 to 1973, and as Staff Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon from 1970 to 1972.

Paulson graduated from Dartmouth in 1968, where he majored in English, was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and an All Ivy, All East football player. He received an M.B.A. from Harvard in 1970. He and his wife, Wendy, have two children, Amanda and Merritt.

Now – this is an interesting “take” on the bail-out issue from a columnist at Bloomberg.com and why Goldman Sachs NEEDS this money (your money). It’s a tough read for those of us who did NOT make $68.5 million last year, as did Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs…or even the $10 million or more “many otherwise ordinary human beings took home” – but well worth your time to see how these guys think. Here’s an excerpt about our boy Henry –

…One of the things they say is that, in leaving Goldman for government service, Paulson made the greatest trade of his life. Not only was he required to sell his half-billion dollars in Goldman stock near the high, but also, as Treasury Secretary, he was exempt from capital-gains taxes. By getting out of Goldman while the getting was good, the guy may have doubled his net worth.

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In a stunning rebellion by rank and file members, the House of Representatives defied their party leaders Monday afternoon to reject President Bush’s colossal sweeping bailout of Wall Street.

“This is a huge cow patty with a piece of marshmallow stuck in the middle and I’m not going to eat that cow patty,” declared Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) (Our emphasis.)

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 600 points, before rebounding slightly.

The measure went down 205 to 228 but party leaders were keeping the vote open to try to change enough minds to reverse the result.

The stunning vote came after three emotional hours of debate over the most sweeping government interference in the free market since President Franklin Roosevelt rewrote the American economy in the 1930s.

The bill, presented by Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as a vital measure to save an economy heading for serious recession, was backed by Democratic and Republican leaders of both houses, as well as presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.

As the debate began, Bush told lawmakers, “This is a bold bill that will keep the crisis in our financial system from spreading through our economy.”

Behind the scenes, administration officials were twisting arms, warning direly of financial crisis on Main Street if Wall Street doesn’t get help.

To win enough votes from rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans, party leaders said there was no choice but to vote for the bailout or see ordinary Americans lose their jobs and homes.

“The meltdown would begin, it is true, in a few square miles of downtown Manhattan. But before it was over, no small town in America would be untouched,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the Majority Leader.

But dozens of congressmen defied their leaders to vote against a bill that no one said they liked. (Our emphasis.)

Broun questioned why more government money should be thrown after the $200 billion given to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the $85 billion used to save AIG and $30 to save Bear Stearns.

“This is the same old story. We’re just going further down the road,” he said.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) warned America was on a “slippery slope toward socialism.”

Illustrating the urgency of the matter, Wachovia sold itself to Citigroup this morning, another huge bank failure that means most of America’s deposits are now in the hands of just three banks: Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America.

In the last two weeks, Wall Street titans have fallen like dominos, from Lehman Brothers to Merrill Lynch to AIG to Washington Mutual.

The credit crisis was spreading across the world yesterday.
In London, regulators swooped in with a $280 billion seizure of mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley, sending UK stocks to a three-year low.

The sprawling Belgian-Dutch financial group Fortis also needed a bailout from Benelux

Washington’s big bailout aims to unfreeze short-term lending between banks and corporations by buying up the widespread housing-related bad debts that are paralyzing financial companies.

By Megan McGinley

While Secretary of State (***As we proof-read this article, this mistake got past us. We know, as does the author, that Henry Paulson is Secretary of the Treasury. Condolezza Rice is Secretary of State. Sorry for the upset and inconvenience this seems to have caused many of you. It does amaze us that the uproar is over this mistake and NOT the $700,000,000,000.***) Hank Paulson pushes for the government to issue a $700 billion bailout, most of us in the media are still trying to comprehend just what that sum translates into.

For a better perspective on just how massive this bailout really is, check out Zephyr Teachout’s post yesterday on techPresident:

It is $140 billion more than has been spent on the Iraq war since the invasion.

It is $120 billion more than that spent on Social Security benefits.

It is almost 3 billion nonrefundable bus fares from Durham to San Francisco, leaving tomorrow.

It is nine times the amount spent on education in 2007.

It could pay for 2,000 McDonalds apple pies for every single American.

That’s a lot of pie. Here are some more numbers that we came up with to help you wrap your head around how much money $700 billion really is:

– It would reimburse banks, home owners, and local governments for nearly 9 million foreclosures
– It could prevent over 200 million foreclosures
– It could buy 8.6 billion monthly Metrocards
– The government could rebuild Katrina-ravished New Orleans and Gulf Coast … three and a half times
– Roughly 538 Yankee Stadiums could be built
– 5.4 million students could be sent to a public university
– It equals nearly 520 times the amount of Amtrak’s current operating budget
– It is $14 billion more than the U.S. spent during the Vietnam War

You won’t @#$#&$%-ing believe this!

“It’s not based on any particular data point,” a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. “We just wanted to choose a really large number.

From Forbes

CONTACT YOUR SENATOR AND CONGRESS-PERSON NOW! THEY ARE NOT SAVING THE MARKETS – THEY ARE COVERING THEIR CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES AND YOU WILL PAY FOR IT! TELL THEM NOT TO VOTE FOR THE BAIL-OUT.

AND BY THE WAY – WHY CAN THEY FIND $700,000,000,000 TO BAIL OUT CROOKS, BUT CAN’T “FIX” NEW ORLEANS?!

Google “Charles Keating” and “The Keating Five” – NOW!

In case you don’t have time –

Keating 5 – Ring a bell?

The are taking YOUR money and giving it to wealthy, unscrupulous, greedy people who have proven that they cannot manage money. They have made bad investments, taken HUGE salaries, purchased multi-million dollar homes – and are being bailed out by the very people they have cheated. What about that seems like a good idea to you?

What U.S. could learn from China

It’s been called ‘financial socialism’, ‘socialism for the rich’, and ‘lemon socialism’. But whatever it’s called, the Bush administration ‘bailout’ for financial institutions is the greatest transfer of wealth from ordinary working people to the rich in world history.

The proposed program to buy a mountain of non-performing housing loans and other worthless assets from banks and finance companies will cost an estimated $700 billion to $1 trillion U.S. dollars.

This money will come from U.S. taxpayers, most of whom are ordinary workers. It amounts to taking around $2500 U.S. dollars, or 17,000 RMB, from every U.S. citizen – and giving it to the banks and finance companies.

The cost for each family of four is around $10,000 or 68,000 RMB. This money could have been used for health care, for improved education, for scientific research, for social welfare program; for environmental protect; or a myriad of other socially useful purposes.

Alternatively, it could have been used to cut taxes for ordinary people, or even to help them buy their houses. Instead it is being donated to banks and financial companies whose managements and owners are among the richest in the world. These measures represent a massive redistribution of socially -produced wealth from working and poor people to the rich.

Learning from China

The argument of the Bush administration – echoed faithfully by the U.S. media – is that there is ‘no other way’. The claim is that the U.S. system, and the jobs of U.S. workers within it, can only be safeguarded by this transfer of wealth to the banks.

In fact, this argument is incorrect.

Obviously the government must act to protect banking and finance in an economic crisis of this magnitude. But if banks are bankrupt or insolvent, a fair solution would be to buy or nationalize the banks themselves, *not* their bad debts. Then the taxpayers would receive something of value – a stabilized and accountable banking system belonging to the people instead of worthless debts.

In China, such a solution would seem almost common sense. With its socialist market economy growing at about 10% per year, Chinas’ government banks play a key role in providing a stable foundation for the financing of Chinese economic development,

But the possibility of taking over or nationalizing U.S. banks has not even been mentioned by any mainstream U.S. political figures or mainstream media.

Instead, up to a trillion dollars or taxpayer money is being donated to institutions whose managements have shown themselves incompetent to manage their own funds.

Perhaps the economic interests of the powerful wall street companies, one of whose former CEO’s is U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, has something to do with this ‘blind spot’.`

Over the years China has resisted intense pressure from Paulson and other U.S. officials to radically deregulate its financial markets. They have lectured China repeatedly on how deregulation of financial markets, and letting foreign financial capital operate freely in China – as in the U.S. – was in Chinas best interests.
“An open, competitive and liberalized financial market can effectively allocate scarcer resources in a manner that promotes stability and prosperity far better than government intervention,” Paulson said in Shanghai in March last year. “Time is of the essence.”

Now even the U.S. has been compelled to abandon this ‘open financial markets’ approach. With the sub-prime crisis now expanded into a full-blown crisis in the western financial sector, knowledgeable Chinese experts are thankful that China never accepted this laisez fair prescription for financial regulation.

“The U.S. crisis reflects regulatory problems in the U.S. and innovative financial products that ignored basic economic rules,” former Chinese central bank deputy governor Wu Xiaoling told a financial conference in Beijing recently.”

“The U.S. crisis today would be China’s tomorrow if financial products such as securitization are introduced without proper risk-control measures.”

Chinas’ cautious attitude, government banks, and regulatory framework have helped China to restrict its losses and write-downs from the credit-market crisis to less than 1 percent of the massive global total.

The feasibility of bank nationalizations, closer regulation, and banning certain types of transactions, such as derivatives, which carry excessive risk are all lessons which can be learned from China.

Banks, financial companies, and the wealthy should not be allowed to unload their bad debts onto ordinary workers and taxpayers. It’s sheer madness to allow them to transfer a trillion dollars from workers and taxpayers to themselves.

By Eric Sommer
China
Beijing

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) Lobbied IRS for Tax Breaks on Behalf of Yankees

The city and the Yankees secretly crafted a letter Rep. Charles Rangel used to lobby the IRS for tax changes that would save the team $66 million, the Daily News has learned.

They did this at the same time Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and the team’s law firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, raised almost $25,000 for Rangel, records show.

The law firm’s political action committee also donated an additional $30,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in this election cycle. Rangel is chairman of the DCCC’s board of directors and a key fund-raiser for House Democrats. Yankees President Randy Levine is senior counsel at Akin Gump.

Read the rest of the artilce.

From Mike Lupica of The NY Daily News –

Bush Mob is Like West Wing “Sopranos”

You are inclined to say that Scott McClellan is like the first one out of The Bada Bing Club, scurrying into the light and looking for redemption, except that it has become clear by now that even the hoods from “The Sopranos” would be out of their weight class with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove.

The shame of McClellan and this new book of his isn’t that it took him this long to develop a conscience or actual convictions about what he says he saw and heard in Bush’s White House, especially in the runup to the war in Iraq.

The shame of this particular White House, the rock from under which McClellan reappears, is that no one is surprised for one minute about the story he tells, no one is shocked, no one is outraged. No matter how fast the book is selling.

One of the ironies of the hysterical reaction, mostly from the media, is that even a watered-down version of the truth about Bush and his lieutenants could sell this big.

For now the real outrage on McClellan comes from inside the White House, not outside. What McClellan does here is make work for them on their way out the door, because for the first time they will be forced to Swift Boat one of their own.

To save what is left of his sniveling reputation, Rove – noted analyst for Fox News – will have to take down one of his own. They all will, now that somebody from their own club is calling them out as criminals for the way they got us into this war.

You can call McClellan any kind of bum and weasel, a mouse who grew up to be a rat. Nobody will stop you. But when you look at the shameful cost of the war in Iraq, the cost of it in all ways, starting with the dead and the wounded, you tell me whether the real bum here is the one writing the book or the ones he is writing about?

“I would not personally participate in a process in which we are misleading the American people,” former White House counselor Dan Bartlett said on the “Today” show yesterday morning, during McClellan’s appearance there.

To the end Bartlett defends an administration as weak and lousy as we have ever had, Nixon’s without the indictments, at least so far. But then Bartlett comes out of a culture where little Scooter Libby, given a get-out-of-jail card by the President, is treated like some kind of an American hero.

It is different with McClellan. They will get him good.

You were unpatriotic if you tried to go against them in the months before the war. You are some kind of traitor if you cross them on it now the way McClellan does.

McClellan, who helped sell this war the way ad companies used to sell cigarettes and now feels real bad about that, knew something long before he wrote a book: You can only sell war the way these people did if you have a willing and eager buyer.

The buyers in this case were the media. Some of them bought the White House’s huckstering on Iraq because they would have bought anything. Some were afraid to speak out against the huckstering because they didn’t want to look soft on terrorism in a post-Sept. 11 America. All fell over themselves getting on board.

The hyenas Bush still has in the media will make this all about disloyalty. They won’t just try to shoot the messenger – McClellan – they will try to shoot him out of a cannon. They will make him the issue. And when they are through with him, he won’t just be a disgruntled former employee, he will be some kind of threat to national security and if you believe him, the terrorists win.

“He can’t back up his story!” they are already yelling about McClellan.

Maybe he can’t back up all of it. But look where the loudest yelling about Scott McClellan, author, comes from, the authors of a war that Frank Rich described in his own best-selling book as “The Greatest Story Ever Sold.”

McClellan is no hero here, or even close. If he believed all these things when he stepped down as Bush’s press secretary, nobody was stopping him from saying something as soon as he was out on Pennsylvania Ave. He said nothing at the time. No money there.

So he is late in the church service finding religion, late having the stomach to tell the truth about the people that he worked with, looks as if he is only doing it to sell a book.

But take a look at the ones coming after him hardest for the story he is selling this time around. It is those for whom he sold the war, and the ones who helped him do it.

The war lovers will declare war on McClellan now. At least this time somebody actually attacked them.

You’ll pardon us if we don’t jump on the “Yay Scott McClellan” band wagon – what we see is yet another son-of-a-b cashing in on what he knew to be wrong in the first place.

We wish to say to Mr. McClellan –

“What you have done, or more importantly, WHAT YOU DID NOT DO BY CALLING OUT THE UNTRUTHS AS YOU SAID THEM, has led directly to the deaths of thousands of American men and women as well as to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis civilians.

Whatever your beliefs are about ‘Karma’ – we’d hate to be in your shoes.”

If you have the stomach to read about yet another “fine American civil servant just doing his duty” and then finally telling “the truth” – click below for the story of Mr. McClellan’s book:

McClellan Whacks Bush, White House

Not that we’re fans of GW or his cohorts but we’re just curious, Scott – as an admitted liar, what makes you think we should believe you now?