Tim Geithner’s Ninth Political Life

By Simon Johnson

In modern American life, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner stands out as amazingly resilient and remarkably lucky – despite presiding over or being deeply involved in a series of political debacles, he has gone from strength to strength.  After at least eight improbably bounce backs, he might seem unassailable.  But his latest mistake – blocking Elizabeth Warren from heading the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – may well prove politically fatal.

Geithner was a junior but key member of the US Treasury team that badly mishandled the early days of the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and received widespread criticism (Life #1).  He was promoted as a result and thereafter enjoyed a meteoric rise.

As President of the New York Federal Reserve from 2003, and de facto head of the government’s financial intelligence service, he completely failed to spot the problems developing in and around the country’s financial markets; nothing about this embarrassing track record has since stood in his way (Life #2).  He subsequently became Hank Paulson’s Wall Street point person for one of the most comprehensively bungled bailouts of all time – the Troubled Asset Relief Program, TARP, which in fall 2008 first appalled Congress with its intentions and then wasn’t used at all as advertised (Life #3).

TARP and related Bush-Paulson-Geithner efforts were so completely and clearly unsuccessful in October/November 2009 that the crisis worsened and Geithner was offered the job of Treasury Secretary by President-elect Obama; the incoming team felt there was no substitute for “experience”.  Nevertheless, he almost failed in the confirmation process due to issues related to his taxes (Life #4) and then stumbled badly with his initial public repositioning of the TARP (Life #5), which was going to buy toxic assets again but in a more complicated way (perhaps his most complete and obviously personal political disaster to date).

His next Great Escape was the stress tests in spring 2009 – it turned out, supposedly, that there was really no financial crisis.  Most of the big banks really did have enough capital; all that had been missing was the government’s endorsement of this fact (this is the story, honest).  If this seems too good to be true, look at the mass unemployment still around you and tell me if the financial sector really looks healthy (Life #6).

Life #7 was expended concurrent with the forceful arrival on the financial reform scene of Paul Volcker.  The Geithner-Summers “financial reform” package from summer 2009 was weak to start with and weakened further as it was discussed in the House; the entire effort was rudderless.  Volcker’s new proposals helped rescue the reform and restore momentum – but instead of (appropriately) discrediting the Geithner approach in the eyes of the White House, it actually helped the Treasury Secretary climb new pinnacles of influence.  Go figure.

Life #8 is the blatant failure of the Geithner strategy to “just raise capital requirements” as the way to deal with distorted incentives and the tendency to take irresponsible risks at the heart of our financial system.   Treasury insisted on “capital first and foremost” throughout the Senate debate this year – combined with their argument that these requirements must be set by regulators through international negotiation, i.e., not by legislation.  But the big banks are chipping away at this entire philosophy daily through their effective lobbying within the opaque Basel process – as one would expect.  The latest indications are that capital requirements will barely be raised in any meaningful sense

Secretary Geithner likes to say, “Plan beats no plan” and in some positive interpretations this is the secret of his success.  But it turns out that he had no plan really – the stress tests were a grand improvisation (ultimately implying scary sized government implicit guarantees), the initial financial reform proposals fizzled (the Volcker rescue was against Geithner’s wishes), and the much vaunted tightening of capital standards is completely illusory (doesn’t anyone in the White House read the newspapers?).

On top of all this, it now appears that Secretary Geithner will oppose Elizabeth Warren becoming the new chief regulator responsible for protecting consumers from defective financial products – despite the fact that she has led the way for this issue, on both intellectual and political fronts, over the past decade.  The financial sector has abused many of its customers badly over the past decades.  This simply needs to stop.

Throughout the Senate debate on financial reform, Treasury insisted that complex details regarding consumer protected need to be left to regulators – and thus the Geithner team pushed back against many sensible legislative proposals that would have tightened the rules.  Treasury also promised – although in a nonbinding way – that the new generation of regulators would be an order of magnitude more effective that those who eviscerated whatever was left of our oversight system during the Bush years.

With his track record of survival, Geithner and his team apparently feel they can push hard against Elizabeth Warren and give the new consumer protection job to someone closer to their philosophy – which is much more sympathetic to the banking industry.

This would be a bad mistake – trying the patience of already exasperated Congressional Democrats.  If the Obama administration can’t even complete the deal they implicitly agreed with Senators over the past months, this will set of a firestorm of protest within the party (and with anyone else who is paying attention).

Financial “reform” is already very weak.  If Secretary Geithner gets his way on consumers protection, pretty much all of the Democrats efforts vis-à-vis the financial sector’s treatment of customers have been for naught.

Tim Geithner is sometimes compared to Talleyrand, the French statesman who served the Revolution, Napoleon, and the restored Bourbons – opportunistic and distrusted, but often useful and a great survivor with a brilliant personal career.  In the end, of course, no one – including Talleyrand – proves indispensible.  And everyone of this sort eventually pushes their luck too far.

If the Democratic leadership really wants to win in the November elections, they should think very hard about the further consequences of Mr. Geithner.

180 thoughts on “Tim Geithner’s Ninth Political Life

  1. Oh, come on. She’s just a school marm, while he’s Timonthy F’ing Geithner. Have you SEEN his JUMP SHOT?

  2. Obama’s whole economic team should never have been chosen, and Geitner is just possibly the worst of its members. The whole thing looks like a complete cave-iun to Wall St.

    I am beginning to hope that somebody like Bernie Sanders runs in the primaries against Obama in 2012. We need somebody like Roosevelt, not a wimp.

  3. Can GEICO really save you 15% or more on car insurance? Is Tim Geithner a lying dirt bag?

  4. Tiny Tim Geithner…..”Behind every great fortune there is a crime.”

    Honore de Balzac

    I patiently await his day of demise.

  5. As they say in Washington … “always back a horse called Self-Interest” … Mr Geithner, what’s your angle on this latest sleight of hand ???

  6. Hey, how come you guys don’t have an “E-mail this” button on posts, so that I could forward this brilliant one to lots of people?

  7. The stench of the corruption that is coming from within the White House is unbearable. It is obvious that Obama is either a tool of the kleptocrats or he is complicit. Either way we have been hoodwinked and we are looking at the distinct possibility of losing what little there is left of the Republic. Now that the SCOTUS has set the hounds loose on our political office holders, nothing stands between the neo-Robber Barrons and our liberty. Wake Up America, before it’s too late. They are so emboldened that, like Geithner, they don’t even bother to hide their true motives anymore.

  8. p.s. Also you seem to have elided AIG. Why skip AIG?

    Paulson may be a piece of work (his book actually managed to make Sarah Palin sympathetic), but he had comparatively little to do with that. When the AIG bonus situation blew up, Git. & his team went out and deliberately lied to the media, and — more salient to Congress, I would think — tried to spread the notion that corrupt Congressmen were to blame.

  9. If Ms. Warren is just “an old school marm,” then what does anyone have to fear; just let her do her stuff.

    As for Geithner, this is not the “change” I had envisioned for the Obama administration. Doesn’t Obama realize he has hitched his wagon to the Republican (status quo) horse?? He had the opportunity to effect real change, but settled for less, much less. Such a disappointment. Maybe/will history judge him more kindly?

  10. How can the political team that brought Obama to the White House, and are now his ultimate advisors, recognize Elizabeth Warren’s talents? They won’t.
    Timmy Geithner is their “man”.

  11. The bonus issue at AIG is just a sideshow relative to the rest of AIG, Actually, maybe that was the point–to focus the paens on bonuses while the real looting was going on.

  12. Welcome back, Simon. Seems you’ve been quiet recently. This is a wonderful re-entry and I support your thesis 100%. Thank you for cutting to the quick of these issues.

  13. Wasn’t it Talleyrand who was described by Napoleon as “de la merde dans un bas de soie”?

  14. You seem to have totally neglected Little Timmy’s history at the IMF where he first learned how to blow up entire economies. Please see Paul Blustein’s The Chastening to see how many additional lives this slimy little bureaucrat has had. Here is the link:


  15. I hope it won’t. He had a chance to be one of our greatest presidents but in the end he will be one of the worst. It would be sad if we weren’t all so screwed.

  16. If, as Simon says, the next financial crisis will come sooner and be more severe than the most recent one, then Obama has passed the ball to his successor. Ah, a crisis wasted.

  17. Michael wrote:

    “The stench of the corruption that is coming from within the White House is unbearable. ”


    Geithner Aides Reaped Millions Working for Banks, Hedge Funds

    October 14, 2009 – excerpts

    Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) — “Some of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s closest aides, none of whom faced Senate confirmation, earned millions of dollars a year working for Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and other Wall Street firms, according to financial disclosure forms.

    The advisers include Gene Sperling, who last year took in $887,727 from Goldman Sachs and $158,000 for speeches mostly to financial companies, including the firm run by accused Ponzi scheme mastermind R. Allen Stanford. Another top aide, Lee Sachs, reported more than $3 million in salary and partnership income from Mariner Investment Group, a New York hedge fund.

    As part of Geithner’s kitchen cabinet, Sperling and Sachs wield influence behind the scenes at the Treasury Department, where they help oversee the $700 billion banking rescue and craft executive pay rules and the revamp of financial regulations. Yet they haven’t faced the public scrutiny given to Senate-confirmed appointees, nor are they compelled to testify in Congress to defend or explain the Treasury’s policies…

    As part of Geithner’s kitchen cabinet, Sperling and Sachs wield influence behind the scenes at the Treasury Department, where they help oversee the $700 billion banking rescue and craft executive pay rules and the revamp of financial regulations.

    “These people are incredibly smart, they’re incredibly talented and they bring knowledge,” said Bill Brown, a visiting professor at Duke University School of Law and former managing director at Morgan Stanley. “The risk is they will further exacerbate the problem of our regulators identifying with Wall Street.”

    Sperling also drew a $137,500 salary from Bloomberg News for writing a monthly column and appearing on television, according to his disclosure.

    Geithner’s predecessor, Henry Paulson, brought on a coterie of non-confirmed advisers from Goldman Sachs at the end of his term. Paulson, who had been the firm’s chief executive officer, defended the arrangement as necessary to quickly bring in top talent when the financial system was on the verge of collapse.”


  18. Although I like to brag that I discovered you first, this piece tears up the only party that this nation can endure. I believe it is a little too easy to look back to those frightening days (as it turned out) at the end of the Bush Administration. Somebody (ies) had to step up and take the winning shots. Geithner and Paulson did it. Whether there was Goldman-self dealing, in my mind, is doubtful. (I inow you do not accuse Geithner-Paulson of this, so perhaps I am going too far afield.)

    I too thought Geithner was horrible in his first appearance before Congress, and I don’t like him yet. But somehow I think your piece is misplaced in a way i cannot define.

  19. Some poetic justice here I suspect. Big Sis Elizabeth Warren, the darling of the non-profit brie and Chardonnay set, rolled at the hearings, supportive of the hideous compromise that will put the CFPB under the auspices of the Fed, and vomiting on the rug with enthusiasm for the toothless “financial reform” legislation about to be signed into law, just may have been taught a lesson: You don’t compromise with filth so that you can secure a Federal job you covet, you go down with your ship. Its here that one sees the pitiable Warren eviscerated, and by the Mephistophelean Timmy! Its something like having served in the Red Army during WWII, having been captured and upon repatriation having been shot for cowardice. Bye-bye, Liz.

  20. Simon Johnson publishes a nonsencial book that remains #1500 in sales ranking on amazon despite being under-educated. Come on now mr. johnson, the incompetent should be allowed success, just like you!

  21. Geithner is the poster-child for a career bureaucrat who has quite literally failed at everything he has ever done but keeps getting raises because he will tell his bosses exactly what they want to hear. He is nothing more than a tool for the banking industry and is in many ways the person most responsible for the financial crisis (in his failure as a regulator) and for its completely screwed-up rescue.

  22. I think you are missing a key point here:

    Geithner’s vulnerability and incompetence is precisely what makes him so useful – his puppetmasters are 100% confident he will never turn on them, because with them he knows he is nothing.

    BTW, can I buy one of these for you?


  23. Will someone kindly check carefully when she’s interviewed next time by that mouse, Jim Learer? Does Elizabeth Warren really have a moustasche? :-)

  24. Mr. Johnson,

    People in glass houses should not throw stones. You were utterly clueless before the crisis. Your stint in the IMF was not marked by any insightful thinking. In fact you were engaged in and encouraging of conventional wisdom and groupthink. You never anticipated any significant economic event. But after the crisis and after the fact you have been vitriolic. But we have yet to hear you articulate a coherent pexecutable strategy.

  25. Carter – well said! I heartily agree; what would
    you think of Hillary Clinton to run against Obama
    in the 2012 primaries?

  26. Bravo, Mr. Simon. I just emailed the prez and told him to side with Warren…let’s see what happens. He likes her too, even though he has a man-crush on the Geithner. Maybe FLOTUS can make him choose correctly?

  27. “Competence, like truth, beauty and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.”

    Laurence J. Peter (1919 – 1988)

  28. President Obama is just as guilty as bush as far as lying to the people during the campaign. bush was going to be a center president and ended up an extreme right winger.Obama was going to be the champion of the liberal progressive democratic party but he lied and is in reality is right of center.

    That’s why he chose Geithner, summers and rubin to pull the banks out of the crisis with our tax money and has continued to support the banks. He will not select Warren for the position.

    I fervently hope that Howard Dean will attempt to run against obama in 2012 possible primary.

  29. @ Jen – if you sign up on (Baseline’s main page) to receive Baseline Scenario in your email INbox, you get the whole posts in your email – which you can then forward.

  30. Sen Bernie Sanders (VT) comes across too angry (listen to his past interview by Tavis Smiley show)…. William Black (previous regulator himself) too dopey (google Newshours Jim Lehr townhall with Mr. Bernanke and listen to William Black’s lame question to the Fed chairman). Robert Kutner almost got it right about the many missed opportunities by President Obama on financial reform, explaining how the president could have turned the corner on the economic crisis and Wall Street but says President Obama squandered it all away; Obama didn’t squander it away because President Obama was never the Progressive he (misleadingly) suggested on the campaign trail and what can be discerned up to now on his policies, supporting evidence to suggest that kind of observation; plus, President was never talking to his base anyway but instead, to his campaign contributors.

    Mr. Geithner only reflects what most past presidents have done; relying on men to make the “wiser” decisions regarding finance; President Obama continues to support and defend Mr. Geithner (Summers, Bernanke, nominated budget director Jacob Lew) against their critics because in the end, President Obama shares Geithner’s economic outlook (contrast that with recent news events of Peter Orszag’s real reason for leaving; and General McCrystal’s criticisms). Unfortunately, President Obama is believing in his own lies and lies of others; he promised “diversity” of opinions in his White House but doesn’t realize he is the one being captured; although, the White House would be the first to know about job losses in this economy; the working/middle class are the 2nd ones to know about the loss of jobs not coming back; and economists by profession are the last to know about these economic losses that won’t be returning—last to know because they continue to rely on their academia to interpret reality.

  31. Who else notices the Clinton connection with all these people, and with the policy-making, legislation, and “reforms” ?

    Of course Hillary is going to run in 2012…the complete and total take-down of Obama is the prelude to that.

  32. Warrren will be perfect for this position. I just can’t imagine why Geithner would not want her. LOL

  33. “It is obvious that Obama is either a tool of the kleptocrats or he is complicit.”

    You are much too kind.

    Obama is a banker blowing whore.

    His only political priority is protecting the Ivy League mafia’s Wall Street racket.

  34. I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to come across as “too angry.” Virtually every sector of the public is incredibly steamed.

  35. Hillary Clinton gave up on that when she took the Sec. of State job.

    Anyway, I don’t think she would have played hardball either. Her hubby was always a compromiser and she would have grabbed the arrogant windbag Larry Summers and gone with almost the exact same game plan as President Obama.

    Look at the Mideast, she has Richard Holbrooke doing all the dirty work while she tries to look halfway articulate on the matter. Even she knows she’s a joke, going to to take care of women’s rights issues in Africa while Holbrooke and Gates do the heavy lifting??? Are you kidding me??? Everybody knows what happens down in Africa, they throw a few million/billion into the drain of corruption, things improve just enough to make a photo-op out of it, then they go back to corrupt leaders, starvation, raping of women (sometimes in front of family members), genocide and on and on.

    You can’t help people who don’t have enough intelligence to make a water well. It’s just as well. We don’t need any stories about how she was dodging imaginary bullets getting out of Marine One while men are dying in Afghanistan. Just on the Bosnia lie alone she should never have gotten the Sec. of State job.

  36. Perhaps ‘October/November 2008’ is intended, not ‘October/November 2009’.

  37. A few words from William S. Burroughs on leaders such as Bernanke, Geithner, and Summers who will sit, look you straight in the face and try to tell you that giving billions to corrupt European bankers will be beneficial to employment rates for American workers. Giving billions in money to corrupt European bankers (with no prerequisite audit) so it can sit stagnant in bank reserves or they can throw it away on credit default swaps isn’t even good for European workers, much less Americans.

    I hope the 3 men can listen to this as they throw taxpayer money at corrupt European bankers and realize shamefully what useless pieces of crap they are. It’s called “Commissioner of Sewers” again by William S. Burroughs.

  38. I have had little optimism about Financial Reform from the beginning considering the Geithner, Summers connection to Obama but believed in my heart that if at least Eliz Warren ended up as the head of the CFPB it might somehow be worth something. I suspected for some time that this was coming when I saw the increasing pressure Ms. Warren has placed on the Treasury. I suspect that she knows this is her last chance to put her take on the record for all to see, at least until we can convince her to run for office herself.

  39. Obama is the ultimate disappointment. Not rising one iota to the level of his campaign rhetoric. Now we know it was all so hollow. Fake reforms in every instance. No change we can believe in. This band of charlatans is worse for their blatant dishonesty. Instead of standing up to the system of wrongs out of balance they wallow in every perversion of the corrupt culture of Wall St/Washington. The financial oligarchy is desiccating this country and our political culture is nothing more than willing whores to the financial pirates sucking out our marrow.

  40. The unfortunate truth is that anyone who can speak over intrerruptions, regardless the worth of his speech, can impose his will on the American people.

  41. one more possibility; Ms. Warren indicated on On-Point a few weeks ago that even if she was offered the job she would only take it if the charter was suitable to success. Perhaps they need to reject her before she rejects them …

  42. Bingo. It couldn’t be more obvious.

    The fact that Obama chose Timmy-the-tax-cheat Geithner and continued/continues to support him says all one needs to know about Obama and his relationship to the bankster gang.

    Of course, there are many more pieces of evidence, should one be unconvinced by Geithner alone. Remember Obama’s 2/9/2010 comment re Dimon and Blankfein: “I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen,” Obama said in the interview yesterday in the Oval Office with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which will appear on newsstands Friday. “I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free- market system.” [“http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-says-he-is-cool-with-jamie-dimon-and-lloyd-blankfeins-bonuses-2010-2#ixzz0tpTtZ6kJ]

    What “free-market” system is Obama referring to? The one that pumped trillions of public dollars into the private financial sector black hole of gambling debts? (Aside: I am not a “free-marketeer.” We need COMPETITIVE markets, not “FREE-for-all markets.”)

    I have to admit sometimes I wonder if Obama isn’t just a charismatic idiot…oh, yeah, a decent orator, but beyond that – an idiot. Or perhaps he is just another sociopathic personality like his friends Jaime and Lloyd.

  43. Interesting take. I think you’re on the mark. These banksters are effectively financial terrorists. To imagine that any of their actions, words, or promises are straight-forward or well-meaning is a mistake, and reflects gullibility.

  44. I agree. Obama will definitely support Timmy-the-tax-cheat, and thus not support Elizabeth Warren. Obama is clearly aligned with the bankster gang.

  45. You folks seriously underestimate Elizabeth Warren. I only hope she decides it’s worth the fight.

    If so, in the game of poker politics I see your Timothy Geithner and raise you Michelle Obama.

  46. I agree with this entire thread of comments, though they may appear extreme to many (who are still fooled). When Obama appointed Geithner and Summers in Nov. ’08, the jig was up, and I knew we had elected a stealth neo-liberal corporatist candidate who had campaigned in semi-progressive clothing.

  47. Geithner and Summers are a good index as to whether Obama “gets it” in terms of economic policy. Their continued presence shows he doesn’t.

    Interesting, too, to compare Obama to Jimmy Carter’s one-term presidency, with Carter’s willingness to be dragged down by his reliance on Bert Lance.

  48. I like how Simon Johnson qualifies #6
    with unserious nonsense to fill up the space.
    With no financial crisis “supposedly”
    b/c and “this is the story, honest” the
    banks had plenty of money & didn’t need TARP.
    This article is dishonest, most of the comments
    are garbage throwaways as in *Geithner was
    incompetent, economists are stuck in their
    ivory towers, all the others were worse,
    Obama is a well meaning lying deceiving
    disappointment, bla bla bla. I am in favor
    Warren & I am not in favor of throwaway
    articles like this, after all we’re talking
    about Simon Johnson of MIT who writes a
    rehashed unserious mixture…of something.

  49. Come on simon. his advancement has nothing to do at all with his work. it has to do with the fact that he isn’t that skilled and always has wall streets back. therefore the street can always get over on him (career at NY FED) and he alwyas advances the streets position. he is like good at politics, bad thinker.

    This man is owned lock stock by wall street. he is against warren because wall street doesn’t want him there. warren has been pointing out how treasury and the fed really operate when it comes to wall street. this is something they don’t want to see the light of day.

    Since geithner still has a job, not that he should have gotten one to begin with, I can only assume that is because wall street wants him there. Cearly he has not kept his job based on performance.

    I give warren little chance at getting the job. why would the white house appoint someone strong when they have been working behind the scenes to weaken legislation.

    simon, I like what you write some times but you are very naive (sp). You appear way to aften to make assumptions that Obama and geithner are actually attempting to work in the publics best interest. I think that assumption can be put behind us. I knew what Obama was as soon as I saw summers and geithner get appointed. when the reappointed ben “the faiure” Bernanke he showed it is all about wall street and not about mainstreet.

    Look I hated Bush, but Obama is almost the same thing. Because he managed to get put on the democratic platform, gave a message of hope, and is an africn american we think he has our backs. He does not!!!
    he has not gotten rid of the partiot act, we still jail people for ever without trial, we still are wasting trillions fighting in outher countries so corporations can get their hands on resources. The list goes on and on. If a republican behaved the way Obama was every democrat would be screaming. It is like he is some kind of deep mole planted by the bilderberg group in the democratic party.

    I’m an american and I love this country, but I find myself rooting for the “terrorists” lately. I look at what we have become, the assults on our freedoms, never ending resource wars, financial reform (Joke), what we spend on the military but don’t extend unemployment, etc. I don’t like the country I live in and I don’t believe in the things our country stands for anymore. Obama is par tof that, as was Bush.

    Honestly I consider Bernanke, geithner, et al. to be gulity of treason for what they have done to our country. they should get a fair trial and then be locked up for life. What happens to a country when it is run by traitors and crook. You are looking at it. Just the same as under Bush.

  50. geithner is there because he is wall streets tool and they want him there. it isn’t because he as done a good job anywhere. that means his advancement has happened because he can be controlled by those who really have the power. this clearly makes all of his other actions easily understood.

    warren should get the Nod, but if Obama can appoint bernanke, geithner, and summers what makes you think he is going to pick someone on our side. since the white house also worked behind the scenes to weaken reform I don’t see them appointing Warren. They also would be afraid warren can’t be controlled and would open the closet door to some secrets. I don’t think it will happen.

    She is the anti Geithner. so for all the reasons she won’t get the job you see all the reasons geither and bernanke got theirs

  51. QUESTION: You wrote that Henry Kissinger’s memoirs “give the impression of a middle-level manager who has learned to conceal vacuity with pretentious verbiage.” You doubt that he has any subtle “conceptual framework” or global design. Why do such individuals gain such extraordinary reputations, given what you say about his actual abilities? What does this say about how our society operates?

    CHOMSKY: Our society is not really based on public participation in decision-making in any significant sense. Rather, it is a system of elite decision and periodic public ratification. Certainly people would like to think there’s somebody up there who knows what he’s doing. Since we don’t participate, we don’t control and we don’t even think about the questions of crucial importance, we hope somebody is paying attention who has some competence. Let’s hope the ship has a captain, in other words, since we’re not taking in deciding what’s going on. I think that’s a factor. But also, it is an important feature of the ideological system to impose on people the feeling that they are incompetent to deal with these complex and important issues; they’d better leave it to the captain. One device is to develop a star system, an array of figures who are often media creations or creations of the academic propaganda establishment, whose deep insights we are supposed to admire and to whom we must happily and confidently assign the right to control our lives and control international affairs. In fact, power is very highly concentrated, decision-making is highly concentrated in small interpenetrating elites, ultimately based on ownership of the private economy in large measure, but also in related ideological and political and managerial elites. Since that’s the way the society effectively functions, it has to have political theology that explains that that’s the way it ought to function, which means that you have to establish the pretense that the participants of that elite know what they are doing, in our interest, and have the kind of understanding and access to information that is denied the rest of us, so that we poor slobs ought to just watch, not interfere. Maybe we can choose one or another of them every few years, but it’s their job to manage things, not ours. It’s in this context that we can understand the Kissinger phenomenon. His ignorance and foolishness really are a phenomenon. I’ve written about this in some detail. But he did have a marvelous talent, namely, of playing the role of the philosopher who understands profound things in ways that are beyond the capacity of the ordinary person. He played that role quite elegantly. That’s one reason why I think he was so attractive to the people who actually have power. That’s just the kind of person they need.


  52. Somebody becomes a President, you never think that he has become a President at your cost (1:33).

  53. Tell what you wrote to Ed Schultz. He still backs President Obama. I don’t back him anymore. It’s too bad since I thought he would do things to help us “small people”.

  54. Of all the questionable decisions that President Obama has made, the appointment of Geithner is right at the top. Since when do you trust a member of the James Gang to keep an eye on Jesse?

  55. We see, then, that modern technology has led to the concentration of economic and political power, and to the development of a society controlled (ruthlessly in the totalitarian states, politely and inconspicuously in the democracies) by Big Business and Big Govern­ment. But societies are composed of individuals and are good only insofar as they help individuals to real­ize their potentialities and to lead a happy and creative life. How have individuals been affected by the tech­nological advances of recent years? Here is the answer to this question given by a philosopher-psychiatrist, Dr. Erich Fromm:

    Our contemporary Western society, in spite of its material, intellectual and political progress, is in­creasingly less conducive to mental health, and tends to undermine the inner security, happiness, reason and the capacity for love in the individual; it tends to turn him into an automaton who pays for his human failure with increasing mental sickness, and with despair hidden under a frantic drive for work and so-called pleasure.

    Our “increasing mental sickness” may find expres­sion in neurotic symptoms. These symptoms are con­spicuous and extremely distressing. But “let us beware,” says Dr. Fromm, “of defining mental hygiene as the prevention of symptoms. Symptoms as such are not our enemy, but our friend; where there are symp­toms there is conflict, and conflict always indicates that the forces of life which strive for integration and happiness are still fighting.” The really hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. “Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been si­lenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does.” They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their per­fect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted, still cherish “the illusion of indi­viduality,” but in fact they have been to a great extent deindividualized. Their conformity is developing into something like uniformity. But “uniformity and free­dom are incompatible. Uniformity and mental health are incompatible too. . . . Man is not made to be an automaton, and if he becomes one, the basis for mental health is destroyed.”

    In the course of evolution nature has gone to endless trouble to see that every individual is unlike every other individual. We reproduce our kind by bringing the father’s genes into contact with the mother’s. These hereditary factors may be combined in an al­most infinite number of ways. Physically and mentally, each one of us is unique. Any culture which, in the interests of efficiency or in the name of some political or religious dogma, seeks to standardize the human individual, commits an outrage against man’s biological nature.



  56. The final proof of Mr. Geithner’s mendacity — in addition to the kibosh he put on Ms. Warren — will play out when the revolving door opens and he leaves government to join Wall St for a gazillion dollars per year. Almost everything up to that (future) point will have been a type of unpaid internship.

  57. ah, it appears anon has found the *real cause* of G’s opposition to Warren.

    All this conspiracy theorizing by so many here may have been inevitable (in view of Obama vs. reality).

    But….as I always say: “Ideology is no substitute for information.”

    Occam’s razor, yes?

    We don’t need to reach far to comprehend wounded pride.

  58. Elizabeth Warren worked with Barney Franks in the House to protect push financial regulation in a direction to protect consumers. She recently challenged the Treasury Secretary. She has shown concern for poor and middle class citizens. She has non-Wall street credibility and should be appointed to this Consumer position.

  59. has anybody else been struck by the oddity of geithner’s demeanor? his responses to questions are always very plodding and seem (without art) to miss the point. his facial expressions are consistently vague and have a deer in the headlights quality. even in photos, he looks dopey and unfocussed. finally, as i realized today listening to him on the radio, he doesn’t seem to know how to inflect his speech; it’s as if he’s trying to speak in a foreign language, and has no sense of where to put the emphasis. i think this is a symptom of autism…

  60. “simon, I like what you write some times but you are very naive (sp). You appear way to aften to make assumptions that Obama and geithner are actually attempting to work in the publics best interest”

    Are we reading the same blog? He has been very critical of Obama and especially of Geithner (the above article: case in point).

  61. HRC’s devotion to empire is obvious. She’s been down in Latin America strong-arming heads of state, trying to get them to recognize the illegitimate coup government of Honduras (as it turns out, said coup was engineered by the CIA. Big surprise there, huh).

  62. “Of all the questionable decisions that President Obama has made, the appointment of Geithner is right at the top. Since when do you trust a member of the James Gang to keep an eye on Jesse?”

    Alden- HA!
    Next thing you’re going to tell me is that Obama is putting the former VP of Wellpoint (+35% increase) Healh Insurance Co. in new Administration position charged with implementing America’s health insurance system.

    I’m Struck By-

    Not only did my mom read 0bama’s book and was deeply moved by it(them)- but Claire Frickin’ McCasgill’s daughter pleaded with her mom to give her last-minute/late season support for Barack over that mean/cold Hillary during the Primary so I really hope that Constitutional Lawyer President Obama will eventually do the right thing-
    assassinations be damned!…

    I just hope Mr. Geithner is sufficiently worried about The Deficit. Furrow on!


  63. Ron, you are a true free-thinker. You have any talking points you could regurgitate for us?

  64. 7/16/10 10:31 AM – The Washington Independent

    “The most obvious candidate is Elizabeth Warren, a professor at Harvard Law School and the head of the Congressional Oversight Panel over the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Treasury Department’s signature effort to stem the financial crisis. She devoted her career to studying how the modern financial system ends up giving families and workers bum deals.

    The idea for the CFPB is hers. She is, bar none, considered the foremost mind on the topic. As the head of the CFPB, many in Washington hoped, she would act not just as a strong leader, but as a draw for smart minds — a kind of J. Edgar Hoover, sexing up the bureau rather than letting it become just another wan regulatory agency. This might sound a bit strong. But I am serious in saying that most everyone I speak with about this issue — on the Hill, in consumer groups, in think tanks — considers Elizabeth Warren just that good.”


  65. Martha Stewart didn’t get away from “lying to the Feds” about insider ImClone something-or-other…

    But Madoff? He never “lied” to the Feds.

    You just can’t trust a woman, right?

  66. Just another piece of evidence: The 20 PAGE Brown-Kaufman “Safe Banking Act of 2010” went down to defeat in June. All but 3 Repubs voted against it, and 27 Dems voted against it. Where did Obama stand? We’ll let’s just say he wasn’t out there supporting it.

    The Federal government has been captured by the bankster gang. Anyone who thinks they can negotiate with this gang are fools – the gang is composed of people who are essentially fiancial terrorists, nothing more, nothing less.

  67. Please don’t reply to the first comment just to get yours near the top. Your opinion isn’t that important.

  68. Sounds aligned with Social Anarchism. Would Rajineesh and Emma Goldman be friends and allies? Mmmm.

  69. What a load of hooey :-)

    Give him some books about the evolution of CULTURE.

    Some “societies” always had a Round Table to checkmate the craven power hunger of sadists and nihilists.

  70. USA’s history is one of a rowdy bunch of idealists. It breaks out into extreme populist violence (Civil War) when it reaches a flash point of competing ideologies – selfishness versus HUMAN progress. Selfish societies are retrogressive to human potential.

    Obama needs to remember the one million faces present in D.C. for his inauguration. He knows EXACTLY what the moment of history required. None of us know what he always meant to do with it.

    “Gangs of New York” on the movie list this weekend :-) Too many “middle class” VERY close to Wall Street, how delusional can you get?

    And for more serious history study, who lead a awakened country successfully in the recent past..?

    An awakened country is a law of physics you lead because there is no POWER to stop it.

  71. I like these comments, and especially the “Ivy League Mafia.” I mentioned to a friend recently (one still mesmerized by the Obama charisma) that I have the impression Obama’s already thinking ahead to post-presidency hobnobbing with Jamie Dimon. He won’t push these people too far because he sees them as part of his social circle.

  72. Nice.

    Here is something that really bugs me about the Obama Admin. Rather than take a stand, rather than show leadership, they send out “feelers” or spew deceptive messages before commiting to anything.

    Here’s a recent example: “Obama’s Ratings Down As White House Promises to Push for Unemployment Extension Bill.”

    Why PROMISE? Why not just push and let THAT be the news? Oh yeah, because he may not actually end up supporting it, and he’ll certainly have to weigh in first with bigCorpa and the bankster boys first.

    This is my take on Obama: He wants to please whoever has his ear. “The small people” are clearly the losers in this regard.


    I want 2 of these people to run as independents in the 2012 Presidential/VP election.

    Others to add to the list?

  74. There is absolutely no impulse in the Obama Adminstration to concern itself with working people. Neither was there any during the Bush Regime. Essentially, working people have been unrepresented in the political life of the United States and the European Union for decades now. The head of the Socialist International, Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, announces austerity programs that decimate the incomes of Greek workers! There is and has been absolutely no one there to represent the average worker or consumer, no one. A state of war has been declared on the citizens of Western Nations by the class that rules them. This state of things can only end in strikes and demonstrations. They’re not all that far away.

  75. Wrecking Crew is incapable of creating an eternal moment in history – something GOOD that stands the test of time like the Declaration Of Independence in 1776 and the PROOF of civilization in establishing the kind of superior government that only SELF-governing people are capable of establishing.

    A larger group of individuals will always produce a superior manifestation of their highest ideals of truth beauty and goodness than the lone individual can produce. An aggregation of unique expressions of timeless values is the foundation of rule of law.

    We have to take away their technocrat power by repealing the Patriot Act that provides them with the data about who to ruin next…”press any key to continue”…

    Watch how they freak out when their computers get the baseball bat treatment

    in contrast to how vacant of “care” they are when they snuff out millions of lives ala “press any key to continue”

  76. Fri Jul. 16, 2010 – Mother Jones – excerpt

    “OK, everyone take a deep breath.

    The news that Tim Geithner, joining several other Obama economic advisers, isn’t keen on Elizabeth Warren and might not want her as CFPB head (even though the Bureau was her idea) is hardly breaking news, no matter how big HuffPo’s headline is. Indeed, anyone who’s followed the work of Warren’s Congressional Oversight Panel could tell you that.

    After all, Warren’s public grillings of Geithner have taken on an almost ritual quality—not a month goes by, it seems, without the blunt, Oklahoma-raised Warren bashing Geithner for AIG’s backdoor bailouts or the Treasury’s botched homeowner relief programs or the failure of megabanks to resume lending again, despite trillions in government assistance. Little wonder Geithner might not like Warren.”

  77. I’ve been wondering as well who would and could successfully primary him. Perhaps it’s someone not currently in politics? I’m curious how many in the Dem party would like to see a primary opponent for Obama….20% or 50%?

  78. Business Preps for ‘Supreme Court’ Battle Over Consumer Czar

    July 16 (Bloomberg) — “The imminent reshaping of U.S. banking regulation creates a new center of gravity in Washington, a consumer czar with thousands of employees, a $400 million budget and power to impose federal rules on mortgages, credit cards and lay-away plans. With the stakes high, business lobbyists who failed to kill the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Congress now hope to influence President Barack Obama’s choice of director and the Senate’s confirmation proceedings.

    “This is akin to a Supreme Court nominee for financial services,” Richard Hunt, president of the Consumer Bankers Association in Arlington, Virginia, said in an interview. “We are taking this very seriously.”

    “Every bank in America set a goal of killing this agency. We won and they lost,” Mierzwinski said. “Congress created its skeleton. The first director will create its soul. We will not be looking for a caretaker.” – excerpts


  79. Thanks for this Anonymous, as disgusting as it is to watch. I remember watching Judge Stanley Sporkin in the opening comments of the Roosevelt’s Make Markets Be Markets report railing, really angry, wanting to know who allowed AIG to pay 100% on the dollar to Goldman Sachs and others. Poor Mr. Geithner doesn’t know… right.

    I wish that Warren had really nailed Geithner to the wall. She asked the right questions but she didn’t follow up on his wordy empty answers. What a slime ball he is.

    I loved watching Warren’s presentation at MMBM. Contracts should be 2 pages long in clear legible print. Cut out the crap. Her passionate lucidity is positively arousing. No wonder that at the end of her interview on The Daily Show, Stewart leaned in and said, When you talk like that, even though I know your husband is back stage, I just want to grab you and kiss you. Warren just smiled and laughed..

    If she isn’t appointed to head the Consumer Protection Agency, maybe she should just be appointed Secretary of the Treasury. Wow, am I dreaming or what :-((

  80. Typos forgiven, my thought process exactly.
    “Change” must have meant faces not policy.
    However, when you look at where these folks were educated, you can’t expect anything else. It is amazing that Warren differs so much, being a Harvard alum, also.

  81. More proof that, in Washington, nothing succeeds like abject failure. Just look at Alan Greenspan and all those Iraq War supporters.

  82. Another hit-piece on Geithner. [titter]

    Funny how all these hit pieces go back to some original false premises about what he was involved in.

    Funny in the “we progressives are doomed to rehash the mistakes of the MSM” way that is.

  83. No. All this about Geitner may well be true. But Summers and Romer are WAY, WAY better than Geitner and neither is a tool for Wall Street.

  84. Now that you’ve exposed Geithner for who and what he really is (The Prince Has No Clothes!), I wish that simon and Jim would do an in-depth of the Real Unemployment Rate, not the ridiculouly low rate we get from the Government Reports. I can’t think of anyone with more credibility to expose this propaganda (Gov. Stats) than simon and Jim. I’m keeping my fingers croseed that they will.

  85. Hey Carter, it wasn’t a “cave-in”, it was a “Carrying The Flag”. We’ve all been duped by another self-serving, very sophisticated political operation.

    “Hope”….let’s Hope the voting schmucks don’t catch on too soon.

    “Change”….let’s change where the money’s going. The Repubs have gotten their share, now it’s our turn.

  86. Obama Admin Praises Elizabeth Warren But States ‘There Are Other Candidates As Well’ To Lead CFPB

    07-16-10 03:30 PM – excerpt

    ” But a senior adviser to Obama left open the possibility that she would not be chosen while administration officials did not deny a report that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner opposes her nomination.”


    * You can’t make this stuff up, Charles Dickens where are you?

  87. Ann, this is so true.
    I was one of the middle class moderates who wanted to believe that our system still allowed a good man to come out of nowhere. How utterly naive I was.

    I now believe that Obama was a political “manchurian candidate”, managed by big money interests and power hawks within the Democratic party. I now believe that despite his intelligence and inherent decency, he’s in so far over his head that he has no real idea of what’s happening. He relies totally on his advisors, and we’ve seen where they all come from.

    I’m sick to say this, but the Tea Party is looking better and better to me and I’m a moderate!!). There just has to be an alternative to the two parties who have grabbed the power, and corrupted our political system.

  88. I guess he now has 10 lives, All these f’ing people fail up. I just read that with the passage of the passage of the FinReg, Wall St. Welfare bail out bill Congress is so happy about putting another turkey feather in Obama’s head dress. I honestly believe Congress doesn’t care what is in the bills as long as they get passed. Words are all they are nothing concrete or substantial or anything that will actually help out the undeserving masses of small, little, lesser people.

    “But the bill broadly reflects Geithner’s faith in regulators and his overriding belief that large financial companies can be protected from financial upheaval”

    “The legislation passed this week does not specifically set new capital levels for banks but”

    “Some Treasury officials sought to play down the influence Geithner will have.”

    “One of his aides said the bill merely details the authority that treasuries secretaries could exercise during a crisis”

    (Like the one they already had/have but chose not to use>)

    “It essentially enshrines(them)

    The official added that, “in the near term, Tim has a lot of new powers, but I don’t think he’ll use them.”

    (Why would he? it could lead to him not getting gigantic huge big $$$$’s when he leaves the WH for Goldman Sachs?

    Geithner’s influence might go beyond what is delineated in the law.

    (You can bet on that next time The St. gets in trouble again. We as a nation no longer follow the rule of law anyway)

    Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), who shepherded the financial overhaul package through the Senate, said it wasn’t his preference to put the Treasury secretary in charge of the new council.

    (But to do otherwise may jeopardize my getting a lobbying job when I leave congress in the fall)

    Good going thanks again duly elected representatives of the American people, Excuse me I meant to say Wall St.

  89. Yes, thank you. You seem like a thoughtful individual.

    I would suggest, however, that you learn a little about pathological narcissicm, and how we reasonably decent folks are so taken in by these people. They are rampant in our politics. In fact, the system attracts them because few decent people would have the stomach for what it takes to succeed in American politics today.

  90. Does Tim Geithner have a Future ?

    ‘THERE IS EVERY possibility that there will be no future as far as life is concerned. We are coming closer to a dead-end street. It is sad to recognize the fact, but it is good to recognize it, because then there is the possibility of taking a different turn. As things are moving today, the logical conclusion is a global suicide.

    And the most alarming factor is that the intelligentsia of the world, the scientists of the world, the philosophers of the world, are ignoring all these facts.’


  91. Tom wrote:

    “…do an in-depth of the Real Unemployment Rate, not the ridiculouly low rate we get from the Government Reports.”


    If you are not prepared for the answer, don’t ask the question.

    “John Williams’ Shadow Government Statistics” is an electronic newsletter service that exposes and analyzes flaws in current U.S. government economic data and reporting, as well as in certain private-sector numbers, and provides an assessment of underlying economic and financial conditions, net of financial-market and political hype…..significant material is provided free of charge to the public on this Web-site, including a Primer Series on key economic reporting…”


  92. Hey, is this you Timmy?? Come on now, ‘fess up.
    Are you still smarting over Liz’s take down, and now Simon is rubbing salt in the wound?

    Poor boy….such a waste of an expensive haircut.

  93. US’s Geithner: Warren Qualified To Head Consumer Bureau

    WASHINGTON | Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:24pm EDT

    July 16 (Reuters) – “U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner considers consumer rights advocate Elizabeth Warren well qualified to head a new financial consumer watchdog bureau, a Treasury Department spokesman said on Friday.

    “Given her strong leadership on consumer protection, Secretary Geithner believes that Elizabeth Warren is exceptionally well qualified to lead the new bureau, and, ultimately, that’s a decision the president will have to make,” Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams said.”


  94. “The buck stops here” is a phrase that was popularized by U.S. President Harry S. Truman, who kept a sign with that phrase on his desk in the Oval Office.

  95. who is writing about geitner-warren battle over consumer agency and what is their purpose?

  96. “Doesn’t Obama realize he has hitched his wagon to the Republican (status quo) horse??”

    Why of course he does. And he’s been conscious of that all along. The whole thing has been quite purposeful, actually, the naivete of his worshipful entourage notwithstanding. And if there has been one characteristic that has become predictible of the man its been his ordinariness, his utter lack of imagination. Being pedestrian Is Obama. Nothing epoch making here particularly.

  97. <>

    I’m well prepared for the answer. I think it’s time that the answer become front-page news. Not that even that will shake the middle class out of their lethargy.

    Maybe it could be made into a video game !! That ‘id do it!

  98. Timothy Geithner is a perfect example of the politically astute yes-man. The problem of any intelligent yes-man is the rare need to say no — the need to judge between competing superior powers.

  99. Mr. Johnson wrote”

    “If the Democratic leadership really wants to win in the November elections, they should think very hard about the further consequences of Mr. Geithner.”

    Jesus through the bankers of the temple, we know how that story ended.

  100. Cockburn’s article is nonsense. Part of the problem, not the solution. “The reality is that there can be no “good” American president. It’s an impossible hand to play. ” is ridiculous.

    Obama WANTS TO BE Buchanan Hoover Obama. (And in addition wanted to appoint himself the assassin-in-chief). If he wanted to be Lincoln or FDR, who faced far greater challenges with far fewer resources, he could be. It’s simple. Play hardball. Use the bully pulpit. Use the constitutional powers of the presidency. Whip Congress in line, get rid of the filibuster farce – (even now, the bills that Obama really wants, like the healthcare scam giveaway do get passed.) Have the right enemies – the banksters, the military industrialists, the healthcare industry scum, call their bluff and tell them you welcome their hatred.

  101. Most capital-D Democrats’ actions look a lot like Republicans’.

    As Noam Chomsky once observed our two parties are really just two wings of our Business Party.

    And as Howard Dean said in 2003 while campaigning for the Democratic nomination he wanted to represent the democratic wing of the Democratic Party; he had a narrative founded on acknowledging our predicament and an awareness of the corruptions causing it.

  102. I’m not so sure that she did give up on the presidency by becoming Secretary of State.

    In 2004, I actually hoped that John Kerry would win the presidency because I thought Bush the Younger was meandering down the wrong path and that an elected Kerry would alienate so much of the electorate that the election of 2008 might produce candidates of greater (or even perhaps – and this is probably a bridge too far – great) merit.

    Well, that scenario has been deferred at least 4 years, but it’s still, I think, intact.

    I wonder if HRC thought in a similar vein. “If Obama proves to be the lightweight Bill and I think he is” she mused one day, “maybe I should consider getting out of the way of politics while this train wreck happens. Where else to be far away from public politics, i.e. legislation, yet be close to the presidency (4th in line) than the State Department? And all those who think Barack has successfully co-opted me by joining his administration will be lulled to sleep. Give Holbrooke, who believes foolishly like so many before him that a Balkans peace can be created from outside, the South Asia portfolio, while I do good works around the world.

    Of course, a sitting (or just recent) Secretary of State challenging the President for nomination is unthinkable, so was the housing crash and devastation of the economy beginning 3 years ago. Black swans don’t take place in economics alone.

    The real challenge for the other political party, although most of them don’t know it yet, is how to put up a candidate who the American people would vote for in preference, not to Barack Obama, but to her.

  103. Calgucus,

    You entirely missed the point Cockburn sought to make when he said “there can be no ‘good’ American president”. Is it that you didn’t read past the first paragraph? It would seem so.

    Here’s his meaning: That over the last 30 years the ruling class has screwed things up so thoroughly that no one can now extricate us from the horror we face. Here’s Cockburn in his own words:

    “The nation’s first black president promised change at the precise moment when no single man, even if endowed with the communicative powers of Franklin Roosevelt, the politic mastery of Lyndon Johnson, the brazen agility of Bill Clinton, could turn the tide that has been carrying America to disaster for 30 years.”

    I don’t know how anybody in their right mind could see “nonsense” in that statement. You work for an investment bank or plan on running for Congress, perhaps?

  104. To Beria, you wrote: “Calgucus,
    You entirely missed the point Cockburn sought to make when he said “there can be no ‘good’ American president”. Is it that you didn’t read past the first paragraph? It would seem so.
    Here’s his meaning:….
    I don’t know how anybody in their right mind could see “nonsense” in that statement. You work for an investment bank or plan on running for Congress, perhaps?”

    I understood what he was getting at. This isn’t the place for ad hominums. If someone is reading this blog, I’m interested in what they have to say, even if I disagree….particularly if I disagree. I don’t want to see ad hominums discourage people from posting.

  105. The intelligentsia came up with crap like “Nihilism” in Russia as a way to get the rabble into the rubles…

    me no likey virtual reality…no cultural touchstones when everything inside everyone’s head is made-up crap…

    Sun rises in east, sets in west :-)


  106. And she caved and endorsed the idea that the CFPB would be run under the auspices of the Fed. Today she even raves about this hollowed-out legislation. Think she would have done either if she didn’t have ambitions to run that agency? I don’t. Not for a minute. A person with integrity would have gone down with their ship. But not Big Sis. That would have required that she walk away from any offer to head CFPB.

  107. Hi Lydia,

    Here’s another way to look at it…Holloweed has trained the movie/TV viewer how to fall in love with the “star”.

    They do this by filming the protagonist of the “story” alone in the house dancing around in underwear, lip-sinking to some powerful rock music blasting out the speakers. We are only nakedly real and adorable when alone with our narcissism, right?

    So the Timmy generation probably filmed themselves doing that classic routine and were left horrified at how even they, themselves, had the urge to hurl at the “real me” that they saw…

    Hence the modulation of the “real me” to the extreme – the “autistic” presentation.

    We should consider a brown-nose Nobel Prize for “politics” in the future :-)

  108. Tom, we certainly need alternatives to the utterly corrupt dems and repubs…take a look at the Greens. They take many good positions. There is something called the Constitutional Party, I believe. Maybe we need an Independent Party (at least a third, if not more, of Americans are Independents). The Tea Party is getting major funding from the far right. Don’t accept it as the only alternative. But man ‘o man, we gotta be done with the repubs and the dems.

  109. What you say is of course correct. Sadly. The people who get ahead are generally the pawns of big business. Here is a relevant quote from Norman Finkelstein extrapolated for the following link:


    “Most intellectuals have a self-understanding of themselves as the conscience of humanity,” said the Middle East scholar Norman Finkelstein. “They revel in and admire someone like Vaclav Havel. Chomsky is contemptuous of Havel. Chomsky embraces the Julien Benda view of the world. There are two sets of principles. They are the principles of power and privilege and the principles of truth and justice. If you pursue truth and justice it will always mean a diminution of power and privilege. If you pursue power and privilege it will always be at the expense of truth and justice. Benda says that the credo of any true intellectual has to be, as Christ said, ‘my kingdom is not of this world.’ Chomsky exposes the pretenses of those who claim to be the bearers of truth and justice. He shows that in fact these intellectuals are the bearers of power and privilege and all the evil that attends it.”

  110. pairochucks, that fantasy world of yours sure is well developed. But I’ve yet to hear any evidence that Hillary would have been less of a corporatist tool than Obama has proven to be.

  111. Thanks, Tom for getting what I said and for your kind words. Personally, I am not bothered by and even welcome ad hominems. :)

    Lavrenti, I understood and showed I understood perfectly well what Cockburn said, “That over the last 30 years the ruling class has screwed things up so thoroughly that no one can now extricate us from the horror we face.”

    I disagreed with it. It is loathsome, ridiculous, pernicious nonsense – A counsel of mindless despair. This essay, supposedly critical of Obama, is in reality shameful apologetics for him. LBJ, Lincoln or FDR wouldn’t have the slightest trouble unscrewing things and extricating us. We don’t need “warning of the political and corporate corruption destroying America and the resistance he would face if he really fought against the prevailing arrangements ..” We need someone to really fight. Obama doesn’t. Period.

    “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”

    I admire Alexander Cockburn and his writings and efforts, but to the extent he believes the nonsense in this essay, he has handed the most potent weapon to the oppressor.

  112. Gee Tom, I’ll make sure to consult you before I post next time. How could it be that in my callous disregard I’d allowed myself to tread so incautiously upon your exquisitely tuned sensibilities? And how to make this right, if it can be made right? A formal pledge, perhaps, to be signed by all blog contributors promising to think “What Would Tom Want” before letting those little fingers just tear away at someone’s soul? I know its not enough but its the best I can do at the moment.

  113. Calgacus,

    You presuppose that the system is reformable, my friend, and if there is any view that is pernicious and hands the oppressor a potent weapon it is that one. We’re long past a time that parliamentary devices will be of any use in bringing to the fore leaders that will “really fight”. This is the naive romanticism of the League of Women Voters and it’s the very thing that brought us Obama in the first place. Headline: There will be no meaningful change short of mass demonstrations and strikes. The system is irretrievably corrupt and unresponsive. To believe otherwise is the stuff of a late and very privileged adolescence.

  114. During the time since the election, I have lost all faith I had that our new President resembled, in any way, the harbinger of change he pretended to be. While his campaign committee spent immense amounts of energy convincing us that he was the “people’s” candidate, we failed (or our media more like it failed) to watch who his big dollar contributors were. Had we done so, we would have very soon caught onto why he hired Summers and Geithner, essentially right off the “Street.” Once that was done, my impressions of Mr. Obama started changing markedly. Then, after he espoused a desire to reform health care, he literally gave the corporate providers, insurers and pharmaceutical companies everything they could have wanted (and actually much more — it will be some time before the flaws in this massive debacle can be unwound, if ever). And, even during financial reform, the administration has done everything in its power to create legislation that consists of mostly political talking points, but, in the end, without adequate funding to the regulators, will probably largely result in change without improvement (known as change we can’t believe in).

    If Geithner, with the backing of the rest of the administration, attempts to derail an appointment of Elizabeth Warren to head up one vital part of the largely pathetic reforms, this would surely be not only the deathknell of Tiny Tim’s career, but probably any hope that Obama might have for re-election (they are dimming as I write). This would be the ultimate travesty. Ms. Warren is probably the single most trusted public figure working inside the Beltway in literally decades. The best Tim could do would be to just stand aside and try to run the Treasury. Leave Ms. Warren to Bernanke — he may be able to tame her sanity, but not likely.

  115. Hey everybody, please copy and paste my email I sent to the white house a few minutes ago: Thanks, maybe we can make a difference to their screening software. Dan Nelson https://baselinescenario.com/2010/07/16/treasury-makes-a-mistake-claiming-they-are-not-blocking-elizabeth-warren/#more-7852 The Baseline Scenario What happened to the global economy and what we can do about it Treasury Makes A Mistake – Claiming They Are Not Blocking Elizabeth Warren with 138 comments By Simon Johnson It’s one thing to block Elizabeth Warren from heading the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It’s quite another thing to deny in public, for the record, that any such blocking is going on (e.g., see this report; Michael Barr apparently said something quite similar today). There is a strong groundswell of opinion on this issue from the left – see the BoldProgressives petition. But the center also feels strongly that, given everything Treasury has said and done over the past few months, it would be a complete travesty not to put the strongest possible regulator in change of protecting consumers. (See Ted Kaufman on the NYT’s DealBook, giving appropriate credit to the SEC, and apply the same points to broader customer issues going forward.) This can now go only one of two ways. 1. Elizabeth Warren gets the job. Bridges are mended and the White House regains some political capital. Secretary Geithner is weakened slightly but he’ll recover. 2. Someone else gets the job, despite Treasury’s claims that Elizabeth Warren was not blocked. The deception in this scenario would be nauseating – and completely blatant. “Everyone was considered on their merits” and “the best candidate won” will convince who exactly? Despite the growing public reaction, outcome #2 is the most likely and the White House needs to understand this, plain and clear – there will be complete and utter revulsion at its handling of financial regulatory reform both on this specific issue and much more broadly. The administration’s position in this area is already weak, its achievements remain minimal, its speaking points are lame, and the patience of even well-inclined people is wearing thin. Failing to appoint Elizabeth Warren would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It will go down in the history books as a turning point – downwards – for this administration. Written by Simon Johnson July 16, 2010 at 9:26 pm Posted in Commentary Tagged with Elizabeth Warren « Tim Geithner’s Ninth Political Life 138 Responses Subscribe to comments with RSS. 1. Let’s have a third option. Larry Summers and his sycophant, Geithner, are the ones to go. Joyce July 16, 2010 at 9:35 pm Reply * If this were a world in which competence and integrity mattered, these two would go. As it is it’s a world in which tribal membership is all important; and Larry and Tim are members of the Wall Street tribe; a tight knit group of males that is low on integrity, mediocre on talent and high on chutzpah. Elizabeth Warren doesn’t belong to this tribe; she’s got too much integrity and too much talent, besides she’s not male. I suspect the carrier that brought these pathogens into the White House was Robert Rubin, one of the senior members of the Wall Street tribe. Edwin Lee July 16, 2010 at 10:45 pm Reply o True, all truisms. Sorry to say. Kipchuk July 16, 2010 at 11:00 pm Reply + Two years ago we were told that they had doubts that a black man and a woman were not likely to be elected. That black man is now our President and the woman is our Secretary of State. Let us not count our chickens before they hatch. Hope springs eternal. Melinda July 16, 2010 at 11:37 pm Reply # few people i know had and doubt that they could be elected plus 2 of the 3 last sec of states had been females Anonymous July 17, 2010 at 12:13 am # It is three of the last four secretaries of state that were women, but who’s counting (Albright, Powell, Rice, Clinton) lbcyclist July 17, 2010 at 1:09 am o Yes, one of the main pathogen carriers was Rubin. But Obama could’ve appointed somebody else. Dunno why people seem so reluctant to hold Obama’s feet to the fire. He’s the president, right? gus stone July 16, 2010 at 11:22 pm Reply + There was a time when presidents appointed highly credentialed economists to the Treasury position. Obama appointed a Wall Street insider — that’s certainly not Change I Can Believe In. Lord Koos July 16, 2010 at 11:41 pm Reply # Too, there was a time when politicians listened to and were guided by the insight and knowledge provided by experts instead of making it up on the fly which is how they operate today. rob July 17, 2010 at 12:29 am # pls that was a stroke of genius nobody bad an ‘insider’ to produce great results give the man , our great President a break enough with the abuse it is easy to talk but talk is cheap i think he is doing the best he can with what he has let us trust him he cannot do it alone – we need to help our trust would be of great help pls – if you can do better …run for President let us see what u r made of robert July 17, 2010 at 1:57 am + Was, once upon a time, a CEO myself for 16 years. Selecting people who will succeed on your team is the most difficult job for any leader. The system requires a new President to select scores of key jobs in a matter of weeks. Not possible unless you rely on a team of screeners. What you do is pick someone you trust (or who is trusted by someone you trust) to screen down to one or two candidates. Economics was not an Obama strength (nor was it a strength of any of the Presidents of the last 40 years), so he relied on someone’s recommendations to select a key economic advisor. Is Obama responsible for his bad choices… You bet! He should be replacing some of them. (Another scary, but essential process.) Is it reasonable to expect him to make more than 40-50% excellent choices. No way. A good batting average for a competent leader with a reasonable amount of time and a good process is comparable to a good batting average in Major League baseball. That’s a reality that those who have never been in a position of leadership in a large organization don’t understand or would prefer not to believe. It is one of the fundamental reasons large businesses are so badly run… banks, oil companies, auto companies….etc. Governments are no exception; probably worse. Edwin Lee July 16, 2010 at 11:57 pm Reply # And this is why big goverment will never work effectively for the people. Paul July 17, 2010 at 12:16 am # Interesting perspective that, I believe as you say, most of us are ignorant to or don’t want to believe. I do think though that Elizabeth Warren has a proven record of being a worthy watchdog for this venue. She shoud be head of the CPA and she should have teeth big as anyone else involved in our economic decision making process. IF Obama does not appoint her, it will send a chilling message to us all about where he ISN’T coming from…a point of view that consumers need real protection. Anonymous July 17, 2010 at 1:07 am # I really have a hard time understanding the “Big Government” comment. Government has an important role to play in our economy and lives. It can stimulate and protect. It levels the playing field so that small companies can compete with large ones. When managed effectively it does all this with a relatively small footprint. Does no one remember, under Clinton/Gore, government became efficient and got smaller at the same time. They were not perfect by any means but we had surpluses and American life was improving. Stan Bryant July 17, 2010 at 1:29 am o Well described. Praful R Shah July 17, 2010 at 12:52 am Reply * Amen to that Joyce. Long overdue. I suggest a line of Americans stretching from the West coast to the East coast to kick the bejesus out of Summers and Geithner. Robert July 16, 2010 at 10:54 pm Reply o What will getting rid of geithner and summers accomplish? Now removal of their corporate whore boss would be a another matter. yuan July 16, 2010 at 11:14 pm Reply * Ridding the administration of the two foxes Obama hired to guard the nation’ financial hen house is the best possible outcome – and sadly, the least likely. Cdr. John Newlin July 16, 2010 at 11:29 pm Reply o u do not seem to understand having people with knowledge is the ‘key’ Obama’s integrity is not in question here – why do you all seem to think u can have a go at him when he is proving to be the best President ever ? Stop it already – get a life.. or run for President yourself and find out the truth about what u can and cannot do… bunch of idiots so unAmerican not to back your President regardless robert July 17, 2010 at 2:02 am Reply * There is a tipping point beyond which Progressives will absolutely not support Obama further. Does the Obama brain trust know where that tipping point is? If you don’t think it’s real, that a political tipping point exists, just ask the right wing voters who checked out and wouldn’t support McCain knowing that meant Obama would be elected. It happened, it’s real, and it can happen to Obama. tj1 July 17, 2010 at 12:17 am Reply o Hey, tjl, I’m long past the tipping point and feel liberated. CDR Cody July 17, 2010 at 12:33 am Reply + good , who needs silly people like you instant gratification miracles from day one is what u are all talking about Rome was not built in a day go to the right and good luck to you ! robert July 17, 2010 at 2:04 am Reply o Some may want to withdraw support, but in the final analysis, the alternatives are simply unacceptable. Palin? Jeb? Paul? Mitt? Seriously? Obama’s not perfect, but he is on track to push through more major legislation in a shorter amount of time than any president in a very long time. This despite a Republican party whose sole agenda is to make him fail and the most daunting set of crises in our lifetime. Perhaps progressives and those disillusioned should work with our president instead of weakening the effort by continually threatening to withdraw support. Remember, every day you wake up, the Bush era. We could be back there in a heartbeat. dianekjs July 17, 2010 at 12:37 am Reply + The key to political power for followers is making unacceptable alternatives real to the leaders. When the followers throw in the towel up front admitting that the alternatives are unacceptable – they are conceding power. Nothing changes. It’s the same game of chicken we all learned in kindergarten. It’s the nature of the thing. tj1 July 17, 2010 at 12:47 am Reply # Who said anything about throwing in the towel? In fact, when the followers move towards the unacceptable, the leader assumes he needs to move in that direction — since that’s where people are heading. Rallying behind the president and working to make him – and in the process us – better, empowers him to take more risks and further the agenda he originally set out to follow. dianekjs July 17, 2010 at 12:54 am # Nicely said. But my way of doing that is with a line in the sand past which I will no longer go. I crossed that line a couple of weeks age. The only way I’ll support Obama is if he figures out what my issues are and do something to woo me back. No more of my time is to be wasted hoping. jimbo July 17, 2010 at 1:24 am + Since we are in a downward spiral lets get the end over with sooner than later. John July 17, 2010 at 2:09 am Reply * Simon, where is the exact quote stating “Treasury’s claims that Elizabeth Warren was not blocked.” Even from your provided link: “Given her strong leadership on consumer protection, Secretary Geithner believes that Elizabeth Warren is exceptionally well qualified to lead the new bureau, and, ultimately, that’s a decision the president will have to make,” Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams said.” From Huffington Post (first posted: 07-16-10 03:27 PM): “ Top Obama administration officials rushed to praise leading consumer advocate and bailout watchdog Elizabeth Warren on Friday as being “exceptionally well-qualified” to lead a new consumer protection office. But a senior adviser to Obama left open the possibility that she would not be chosen while administration officials did not deny a report that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner opposes her nomination.” Earlier, from Huffington Post (first posted: 07-15-10 06:22 PM): “Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has expressed opposition to the possible nomination of Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a source with knowledge of Geithner’s views.” “Geithner’s objections to Warren taking over that role also involve her views on Wall Street, sources say. The longtime professor believes the nation’s megabanks are Too Big To Fail and have been among the biggest abusive lenders in the country. Her toughness on giant banks is said to be a longtime source of tension with Geithner.” “Obama’s top economic adviser, Lawrence Summers, is also said to have a strained relationship with Warren, though his stance on her nomination is not known.” Sources say…. some say….. as in who….like, the source of David Axelrod? Depty Secretary Neal Wolin? Staff intern from Treasury? I don’t think President Obama wouldn’t mind Elizabeth Warren but he also wants to maintain his political campaign promise of “No Drama Obama” Supposedly, President Obama does not tolerate drama and conflicting egos within his inner circle (being that his, will be the biggest in the room). Vice President Biden’s economic advisor, Jared Bernstein, would also be a good choice to lead the Consumer Protection Agency – Geithner wouldn’t be able to force him out if he (Geithner) was serious about keeping his own job. Re: Senator Kaufman’s perspective on Goldman Sach’s settlement with the SEC, I would have to respectfully disagree; GS admits to making “mistakes”, not admitting to fraud and deception. Beth July 17, 2010 at 12:18 am Reply o He is going to get a lot of drama when the Progressives either start marching or when he is defeated. John July 17, 2010 at 2:10 am Reply * I agree – Obama could turn his integrity around almost overnight if he were to replace those two. At least he could regain some ground by putting Warren in the proposed post. That at least must be done! Erika July 17, 2010 at 12:41 am Reply * Yes indeed. Show Summers and Timmy the door and get Krugman and Warren in the drivers seats. Does that sound like “change we can believe in President Obama?” Timster July 17, 2010 at 12:52 am Reply 2. Go Elizabeth!! It’s been one disappointment after another since this melt down. Not having Elizabeth seems par for this government. We need 10 Elizabeth Warrens to watch the kids in this candy store. Ellen Famrer July 16, 2010 at 10:03 pm Reply 3. Thanks Simon for your usual timely post. I could not agree with you more. Having seen Elizabeth on “Need to Know” on PBS tonight I cannot see how the White House can get away with this one. Please Mr. O…appoint Elizabeth Warren. Douglas M July 16, 2010 at 10:07 pm Reply 4. Call me naive. This strikes me as an issue where a note to the White House in support of Elizabeth could make a difference. It really is a case of: “the straw that breaks the camel’s back.” The sad part is my belief that this administration is capable of doing just that. Nowhuffo July 16, 2010 at 10:21 pm Reply * I did this last night. Told ‘em I trusted E.W. and don’t trust T.G. in the least. I don’t think it will make any difference and I think the die is cast for someone less forthright and effective than E.W. Goldman got fined $550M which is pocket change and nothing but a symbolic gesture for both the SEC and Goldman. The people who caused the problems haven’t gone anywhere and they are still being rewarded with job security, financial compensation and legal absolution. I guess that Obama and Co. are better than teapublicans but that’s damning with pretty faint praise. They are afraid of E.W. She has more integrity and concern for the consumer than the whole lot of Obama and Co. put together. The more of them you get together, the worse it gets. Maybe you just can’t be president without drinking this hedge fund shyster Kool-Aid. I’m not sure that E.W. wouldn’t just end up quitting in a few months anyway, when she realized that she wasn’t going to get any cooperation. Maybe, if she isn’t picked and the reality of this situation manifests itself, the sooner we can better acknowledge the underlying nature of Obama’s corporate/bankster administration. burro July 16, 2010 at 11:18 pm Reply 5. Larry Summers is the best candidate for the helm of the CFPB. Go Larry! bungalowbill July 16, 2010 at 10:31 pm Reply * Larry is best suited to sling burgers in the CFPB cafeteria. CDR Cody July 17, 2010 at 12:35 am Reply 6. You are right. This whole Hope + Change = Obama has turned into a train wreck,… smoldering and nauseating. I agree with the phrase, “complete and utter revulsion”. At least Bush was honest, you knew where he was coming from. Obama is a chamelion. Michael Shaw July 16, 2010 at 10:57 pm Reply * Exactly. Matters turned into a train wreck because Obama was dissembling, concealing, disguising, cloaking; covering; equivocating his real intentions until AFTER he won the Presidential election. Everything he has done since then reinforces that interpretation. Kipchuk July 16, 2010 at 11:14 pm Reply * Are you being serious? Bush was not honest at all. Dan S. July 16, 2010 at 11:27 pm Reply * I’m sure no one but the administration knows how big and recalcitrant the forces are out there that he has to contend with. While far from perfect, his achievements have been astounding rob July 17, 2010 at 12:34 am Reply o I lived through the presidencies of Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, and Johnson. All were more effective than Obama, and none of them betrayed his primary constituency the way Obama has. This progressive is very disappointed. Jim B July 17, 2010 at 12:51 am Reply 7. If Elizabeth doesnt get the job. I would feel that Obama neednt bother to run again as a Democrat. If he wanted to run as a Republican i could understand that and Rahm must go along with Geitner and Summers. DHK July 16, 2010 at 10:58 pm Reply 8. Tim Geitner reminds me of Reagan’s pick for the Interior Department. James Watt was so hated that he deflected much of the ire people felt toward Reagan to himself. Reagan used Watt’s unpopularity for political gain. Is that what is happening here with Geitner? Obama is a consumate politician and my trust is diminishing as the game is played. Tzeckenham July 16, 2010 at 10:59 pm Reply * Yes! James Watt, Rita Revell–annd–oh who was Rita’s boss. Geitner and Summers sicken me. Mark July 16, 2010 at 11:11 pm Reply 9. actually it would be the last straw, the last straw towards the business community that the white house and congress has been at war with, blasting sector after sector rhetorically and legislatively day after day, week after week, month after month since Obama took office. The appointment of Warren would cause every business leader to completely throw in the towel on the administration, convinced their anti-business bent has no chance of being reversed. There is nobody more anti business than Elizabeth Warren, I can’t think of anyone else even in the Obama administration that would give Michael Moore trailer-worthy quotes in a friendly interview for one of his documentaries. There are a lot of academics like Paul and Simon who might fawn over her, but nobody in the real world, who deploys real capital and hires real people rather than exercises thought bubbles on blogs without real life consequences, views her as anything but an enemy to capitalism. jc July 16, 2010 at 11:03 pm Reply * Hallelujah! She’s perfect for the job of protecting the public in the real world. Susan J. July 16, 2010 at 11:14 pm Reply * I am the president of a corporation that I started in 1996. I would love to see Elizabeth Warren in charge of the big-boy club. The only business people who would not want the financial mess straightened out are the Big Bankers and their cronies. Anonymous July 16, 2010 at 11:16 pm Reply o What corporation are you the President of? Michael Shaw July 16, 2010 at 11:47 pm Reply * The “business community” drove our country into the worst financial crisis in the past seventy years. Regulating business is the essence of effective capitalism. Unfettered capitalism is no better than any other unfettered ideology. Any power center needs a counter balance. The nonsensical “anti-business” rhetoric is meaningless. No one is this administration is anti-business; just look at the executive appointments. In your worldview Goldman Sachs is anti-business? Your rhetoric is tiresome. Anonymous July 16, 2010 at 11:22 pm Reply o Regulation is essential. Big Business rarely does anything for the common good unless there is a regulatory gun put to their collective heads. Lord Koos July 16, 2010 at 11:44 pm Reply * The “business community” drove our country into the worst financial crisis in the past seventy years. Regulating business is the essence of effective capitalism. Unfettered capitalism is no better than any other unfettered ideology. Any power center needs a counter balance. The nonsensical “anti-business” rhetoric is meaningless. No one is this administration is anti-business; just look at the executive appointments. In your worldview Goldman Sachs is anti-business? Your rhetoric is tiresome. Eric Anderson July 16, 2010 at 11:24 pm Reply o Here here could not have said better myself these people just like to bent nonsense they do not read , just watch Fox Saint Drunken Beck who is enjoying stardom based on lies and ugliness how did he get away with so much ?? it is beyond me robert July 17, 2010 at 2:07 am Reply * The best thing that could ever happen on this earth is for the criminal cabal that you call “business leasers” to be completely destroyed. After trillions in free, taxpayer founded dollars for these “leaders”, they haven’t contributed a job or their fair share of tax burden. They should pay back my (and all of our) money. Since no jobs whatsoever are being created by these “leaders” in the real world or anywhere else, they are useless parasites and everything that you say is either delusional or downright mendacious. shivadas July 16, 2010 at 11:28 pm Reply o IF THE GOP WERE TO STOP THINKING OF THEMSELVES MAYBE THIS ADMINISTRATION COULD GET ON WITH THEIR AGENDA TO HELP AMERICANS THEY ARE SORE LOSERS and we all know what happens to them figure drunken B as speaker of the House nausiating robert July 17, 2010 at 2:09 am Reply * Jc, I’m assuming you are a satirist or a humorist. What capitalism? the one heavily subsidized by government, that writes its own lines of tax code? Or the capitalists who run to uncle Sam when they squander their clients funds in gambling schemes- those capitalists? or perhaps the ones who are allowed like Goldman Sachs was today to get a slap on the wrist for cheating their clients, yes? or how about the “capitalists” getting secret loans through the FED to the tune of trillions 12 plus and counting… to be paid by the tax payer if anything goes wrong. Those capitalists? Throw away your Atlas Shrugged copy – it’s sheer fantasy…..And yes, I own a business, hire people and interact with big and small business. Stop repeating Rush’s mumbo jumbo. gus stone July 16, 2010 at 11:42 pm Reply * She will be vilified as an enemy of capitalism without a doubt. The fact that the bureau is within the Fed should help keep her from “hurting” capitalism, as practiced and defined at that level of government. I would consider Warren’s function to be similar to that of Volcker. Nice names with broad appeal who hopefully are fighting the good fight. I’m not expecting them to win. Nowhuffo July 16, 2010 at 11:50 pm Reply 10. This is a true test in showing the true color of how serious of this administration regarding to protecting customers. Go Elizabeth!! Yesretire July 16, 2010 at 11:03 pm Reply 11. Absolutely correct. It has been so disappointing to watch the government’s “response” to this crisis and the time has come for them to put up or shut up. This is the big moment. Joe S. July 16, 2010 at 11:03 pm Reply 12. Have not as yet read a word of the story nor any of the comments, but could not agree more with the sentiment of the headline. I love my President, but I love the People more. Elizabeth Warren loves the People, and the People love her back. Luther DeHaven July 16, 2010 at 11:04 pm Reply 13. Seeing that The Office of The President appears to be little more than a Central Bank sock puppet, there is no way Dr. Warren will get offered the position. None. I want to be wrong… redleg July 16, 2010 at 11:08 pm Reply * You are wrong – of course she will get the job sit and watch it happen take my word for it ! robert July 17, 2010 at 2:11 am Reply 14. You know, she conceptualized and pretty much designed the agency, and now the agency exists. I don’t see how this doesn’t count as a “win” for her even if she doesn’t get to run it. She’s been tough on Geithner during hearings, and now to have her work for him would be awkward (even temporarily until it transitions to the Fed). How about option 3: she says she doesn’t want to run it. elbruce July 16, 2010 at 11:10 pm Reply 15. What will happen is summers and geithner will make life/work so miserably impossible that EW will not be around for the job. They have shown their craven mettle when they drove Brooksley Born out of her job. You can grouse all you want about the vipers that the President has on his econ team, the fact is he WANTS them there, same for rahm. This President is too intellegent, he won’t abdicate his sense of things, or responsibility, to a person who isn’t performing as he desires. You complain about the ‘team’, look at the Coach. Myshadow July 16, 2010 at 11:11 pm Reply 16. I have followed Elizabeth Warren for years, ever since she was on Frontline talking about what the banks and their credit cards do to consumers. There is no one else remotely qualified for this job. Elizabeth Warren is an unsung hero, and GREAT!! California Homeowner July 16, 2010 at 11:12 pm Reply 17. A box…Wall Street has us in a box and they know it and there’s nothing we can do about it but accept it like we choose it and move on. In the next election we will have the choice of a revulsion vote for the ‘turdblossoms’ who we worked to put into office (along with the prototypical ‘Uncle Tom’ of this century) or vote for the Republican opposition. We have been fleeced, pantsed, wedgeed, and bitch slapped by the playground bully. I believe that in the words of waste management we’re referred to a environmental biosolids, and our purpose is to become compost. The funny thing is that the Prez still doesn’t see that he’s also being mocked and led by a carrot inch’s in front of his nose. Gene July 16, 2010 at 11:13 pm Reply 18. The Empire knows how to deal with these scenarios. Stay tuned for a Smear Campaign from the Plutocracy’s Press Lapdogs aimed at Elizabeth Warren. The humanity July 16, 2010 at 11:13 pm Reply 19. I’m an Independent and I gave money to Obama last election. I’m so disappointed in his lack of commitment to the values he ran on. No more money from me. JH July 16, 2010 at 11:13 pm Reply 20. Have someone who has demonstrated a concern about people placed in charge of consumer protection? Puhleeeeze! It’s a no-brainer. Anything less and the love for Obama will be down the drain. Roderick MacDonald July 16, 2010 at 11:16 pm Reply 21. If she does get the job, what’s likely is Geithner and Summers will drive her out the way they (with Rubin, of course) did with Brooksley Born in ’99. Steve July 16, 2010 at 11:20 pm Reply * I am glad you remember Brookesley Born vs. Summers, Rubin and Greenspan. Geitner is of the same ilk. If Elizabeth Warren is not appointed I will be absolutely disgusted with Obama. WARREN FOR PRESIDENT!! (Why couldn’t that happen? Are all American voters influenced only by the amount of money spent on ads.? ) Verizon July 17, 2010 at 12:36 am Reply o yes dear The Tea Party people do not like sensible people they like crazy people Elizabeth Warren is far too sensible for them i agree EW is the only American woman qualified to be our President she has it all : intelligence, presence, elegance, wisdom ! robert July 17, 2010 at 2:15 am Reply 22. Dear Liz: Come back when you’re seasoned (i.e. can be bought) like us and we’ll talk. Lovingly yours, Big O and Little T monkeypill July 16, 2010 at 11:21 pm Reply 23. I am a conservative who hates obama for so many reasons… but I want this woman as president. Liz = what this country needs. Please PLEASE put her in power of SOMETHING. n/a July 16, 2010 at 11:22 pm Reply * I’m a liberal and I, too, would like her as president. Oscar Leroy July 17, 2010 at 12:05 am Reply o Elizabeth for President! I’ve been saying this for a LONG time too :) If Obama knows what is good for him, he’ll appoint her to a prominent position to help keep her out of the running. I could see an effort to primary him with her taking shape. Anonymous July 17, 2010 at 1:07 am Reply * Gee, somebody hates Obama. I am ever so curious as to what reasons you have to ‘hate’ Obama. Please list some, maybe I will agree with you. jimbo July 17, 2010 at 1:12 am Reply 24. Roger that. If Geithner gets his way on this I for one am done with these guys. Just smoke and mirrors is all you are getting. There will be no base left. They have already lost the margin. Go figure. And I thought these guys were smart. Maybe they just think everybody else is plain stupid. Well they need to think again. Micar July 16, 2010 at 11:23 pm Reply 25. This is sour grapes coming from the progressives who pushed this fluttering intellectual pimple down our throats at the caucuses, with the refrain still ringing in my ears that i was racist because he wasn’t qualified for the job of Dog Catcher. Progressives have been thrown under the bus along with the labor unions by this useless president. Here’s hoping that Hillary re-thinks about not running for the job that she is qualified to handle I do agree Warren had better be occupying that seat, for if she is not there will be no campaign funds for the DNC from this donor til Obama is gone. I’m sick and tired of Goldman and Sachs running the bank so to speak and depleting its massive resources to the few 10%. And then tossing us under the bus that belongs to us. michael dittamore July 16, 2010 at 11:25 pm Reply 26. If Warren doesn’t get this job, I move that we draft her to run against Obama in 2012. She is smart, qualified and genuinely progressive. She would be terrific. Dan Kervick July 16, 2010 at 11:27 pm Reply 27. The club that is running the financial control of this country want to police themselves. If the Obama Administration allows them to hand pick the person and continue on without regard to the people, the already obvious will become too obvious even to the most asleep Americans. The Elite are restructuring this country and if Warren is passed on it will a major exhibit of proof. Textynn July 16, 2010 at 11:33 pm Reply 28. I have seen Elizabeth Warren on TV many times and had the privilege of being a part of a conference call that she was on concerning this very cause. She has lobbied hard to get this done and cares about the American consumers who have been hit hard by financial institutions that took our tax dollars and paid themselves bonuses while continuing the same policies that made them near failures. She knows what she is doing and has a heart. We NEED Elizabeth Warren to head this. It would be a real disservice to the voters to do otherwise. Melinda July 16, 2010 at 11:34 pm Reply 29. I worked for him, gave to him, convinced others to support him, and voted for him. I now oppose his policies, his presidency, and the party that supports him, after being a life long Democrat. Chazet July 16, 2010 at 11:37 pm Reply 30. I am with Dan. Warren for president. First blank of platform couldn’t that bankers start making their money the old fashioned way. Try earning instead stealing it for a change. Noe that is “change” you could believe in. Micar July 16, 2010 at 11:38 pm Reply 31. Summers and Geithner spend most of their time with their lips pressed tightly up against Lloyd Blankfein’s buttocks. That’s the way Lloyd likes it and the way Obama likes it–those hopeless bipartisan romantics. A.S. July 16, 2010 at 11:39 pm Reply 32. Elizabeth Warren is a weak reed. She was rolled in the hearings and she favored the compromise that placed the CFPA under the Fed. If she were half as principled as most here believe she never would have done that. Could it be that in compromising she knew the “financial reform” legislation would pass and that there actually would be an agency she would almost certainly head? I mean an honest person would have gone down with their ship. But that would have made her later appointment as head of CFPA impossible wouldn’t it? Noticing also the rather out-of-character vehemence that Simon is emiting here. It would seem that he actually has an emotional dimension after all. Now if we could only get him out from behind that angel suit and those rose colored glasses that prevent him from calling “intellectual capture” what it is: Corruption. I’m just not sure that Elizabeth Warren justifies this kind of a tantrum, however. Lavrenti Beria July 16, 2010 at 11:45 pm Reply 33. If you feel strongly, as I do, that Warren should be appointed, sign the petition AND contact the administration. Comment on articles, post it on Facebook, Digg it, blog about it. Ask your “friends” and fans to do the same. If we do not apply equal amounts of progressive pressure on Obama and company, we have no one to blame but ourselves as he continues to move ever rightward. After all, it is the squeaky wheel that always gets the grease. Carrie Stone July 16, 2010 at 11:49 pm Reply 34. This will be the last straw if she is not put into the position. I am not donating to the DNC because I am fed up with this administration, but I’m only shooting myself in the foot. If the Republicans get in office we’re screwed, if the Democrats stay in office, doing what they’re doing, we’re screwed. We need a new party and it’s not Lipton Tea. I never thought I’d say I’m happy to be old, but I feel sorry for you young people, because,- – – – We’re screwed. John Whiteside July 16, 2010 at 11:53 pm Reply 35. My take on it goes like this….since Ms Warren has been about the ONLY one of her ilk to express concerns for the middle class in the US, then we elect her for this position. If she isn’t picked, we refuse to vote in the midterms. Pure and simple. We’re sick to sh*t of the BS and we won’t stand for it anymore. Elizabeth Warren is our pick, period. Westcoastliberal July 16, 2010 at 11:57 pm Reply 36. If Warren is not appointed, of some ‘moderate’ who sucks on the corporate teat like Geithner and Summers get it, Obama should be primaried unmercifully. Gus diZerega July 16, 2010 at 11:58 pm Reply 37. Poor Elizabeth. Yes, I would LOVE to have her get the job. But can she live up to all of your expectations? I don’t think anybody can. However, if she got the job, she would live up to enough of them to more than satisfy me…and to make a big difference. However it doesn’t seem to be Obama’s style to pick someone as aggresive for real reform as is Elizabeth Warren. lucysky July 16, 2010 at 11:58 pm Reply * It doesn’t seem to be Obama’s style to pick someone honest, period! From Emanuel, to Geithner, Summers, Bernanke, Obama’s Monsanto and Dupont choices to head the USDA this has become one of the most corrupt presidencies yet. All that’s missing is Carl Rove and he’s probably the one that pulled a fast one on us with Obama. They knew they could not get away with a 3rd stolen election so they figured out a way to get another Reagan – W into the WS. They hired the world’s best actor to give us what we thought was the first real hope in 30 years. jane July 17, 2010 at 12:10 am Reply 38. I’d want to draft her to be our next president even if she gets this job. I’ve had it Obama. He is as corrupt as Reagan – W were. All his “reforms” are shams where the same top 1% will profit the most. He plans to do what W couldn’t, turn Social Security over to Wall Street and cut it and Medicare and Medicaid until the poor elderly and disabled will be facing for real death panels but they’ll be facing them from the streets across our nations where they will be living when the right, with their puppet Obama’s help, will finally end every safety net for the poor. Candidate Obama was a lie. Nobel Prize hell, Obama should have received an Oscar for his performance as Candidate Obama. What do we do, how do we get a real Liberal into the White House in 2012? Will it ever again be possible to even get an honest person in the running or has Corp America done a total takeover? Someone tell me what one of the “little” “lesser” people like me can do, starting now and I’ll do it. I’m already only voting for the most genuine Liberals in my local elections come November. Is it too late? Will all the once middle class and the poor all be slaves of the top 1% by 2012? I’m not kidding. I’m scared. I’m one of those that lives on a fixed income and Obama’s hand picked right wing deficit commission wants to take what little I have away. I already live well below the poverty line. Even that is being begrudged to people like me. Don’t believe the poor don’t vote. I cannot wait to vote Obama out if there is a chance someone that really is what Obama pretended to be can get nominated and elected. I would never vote for a Republican but I’m not going to vote for the lesser of two evils. I think we all deserve better than that being our only choice. jane July 17, 2010 at 12:02 am Reply 39. Here’s another scenario. Obama appoints Elizabeth WARREN but does not push or really support here nomination. Same thing he did with Dawn Johnsen. He will leave her “twisting in the wind” as he did Dawn J. After that, he will claim the big, bad Republicans were at fault and appoint Barr. Hugo Quasimodo July 17, 2010 at 12:11 am Reply * Right, except that he just recess appointed his new head of Medicare to avoid a Senate fight. Now that we know is actually capable of by-passing the Senate when it counts, there would be no excuse for refusing to recess appoint Warren to this position. Steve July 17, 2010 at 2:14 am Reply 40. I trust the president & support him 100% to do the right thing.Prez has a lot of problems he is trying to fix that he did not create, here at home & abroad all the while bieng called hitler, stalin, the N-word,etc at the same time his supporters continue to cry & whine about every little thing. Heck why don’t you get off you butt & run for Prez in 2012, until then let Obama do what we elected him to do or go to the tea party. chris July 17, 2010 at 12:21 am Reply * Chris, you may trust him, but he simply ISN”T doing what he’s supposed to do. All his moves have benefitted, NOT us the general public- but the .00001 per cent – i.e., the super rich. We did not elect a religious leader in whom we all should have absolute faith- we elected a man who said he would work for US and hasn’t. Deal with it. gus stone July 17, 2010 at 12:30 am Reply o I said I trusted him to do the right thing. I believe he is doing his best under the circumstances -dealing with the party of NO & the ConservaDems in the senate like Ben Nelson, Landreu, Liberman, Pryor, just to mention a few. So either he’s gonna get some reform or non at all. Quit being such a baby & grow up okay!Health care, financial reform can all be improved in the future but if he didn’t get it done now even with the imperfections it probably never was gonna be done especially with the GOP poised to gain more seats in congress. Your beef should be with the senate, Obama has tried everything to get his agenda passed. He has tried twisting arms but that only works in dictatorships, you really think Obama can say anything to Nelson or Liberman to make them do something they won’t do? please. It is always in the senate that good legislation gets watered down & filerbustered with the help of some Dems. Hillary wouldn’t have faired any better either so what alternative do you have? Either run for office & be the leader you wish he was or grow up & realize that lasting change doesn’t happen overnight especially when you have entrenched interest even in your own party who are fighting tooth & nail against you. chris July 17, 2010 at 1:30 am Reply * He never wanted to do what we elected him to do. It was a sham. Obama protected Bush and Cheney and Wall Street and the bankers and had dirty back room deals with the insurance and drug companies and never for one second fought for any real HCR with a public option. Obama said “I will not sign a bill without a public option.” He promised transparency. Whatever became of that? He promised no lobbyists running his administration, what became of that too. Why is it that after one of Obama’s bills passes everything goes up on Wall Street? If only Obama would do what he was elected to do. Instead he’s doing what W didn’t have time for. I was scared to death he wouldn’t win in 2008 and cried tears of relief and joy when on election night. Now I just cry myself to sleep out of fear that the reality is no hope is coming. Wall Street, the banks, the insurance companies the drug companies, they all one. The Republicans won with Obama getting elected, everyone one except the people the grass roots people that worked for him and voted for him. This is a man that defended Lieberman while telling his base to STFU. This is a man who has hired a team of thieves to surround him. Sorry, if I could run I would but I think you realize how ridiculous that argument it. We’ve been had, pure and simple, WE’VE BEEN HAD. jane July 17, 2010 at 12:31 am Reply 41. I have pretty much given up on Obama. If EW doesn’t get the job, eithr I will sit out 2012 elction (I did vote for Obama in 2008)or actively work to defeat Obama irrespective of who his opponent may be. Krish July 17, 2010 at 12:23 am Reply 42. duuhhhh erik July 17, 2010 at 12:27 am Reply 43. THE BASE WILL REBEL OPENLY AGAINST THIS AND DEMOCRATS WOULD NOT CONFIRM ANYONE ELSE BUT WARREN Perhaps the President can begin to show that he is a true believer of this important legislation by appointing Dr. Elizabeth Warren as the first head of the new financial regulatory agency. It was Dr. Warren’s original idea and Obama used her name in the stompings to sale the concept. Now he must go the next step by appointing her to head it, even against Geithner’s objection. Dr. Warren is smart, has been studying this problem for so many years, is honest and is an outsider. Only her appointment will lend this process the credibility it quickly needs. Democrats must oppose any nomination that by-passes Warren–and not vote to confirm anyone else but her. The White should not be seen as a clique but the peole’s house working in the best interst of the people. Any further misstep on this would strike another blow to the base of the Democartic Party–and there would be a lot of noise about this! Dr. Sam July 17, 2010 at 12:35 am Reply 44. The subplot of the Warren drama is, will Wall Street deign to be regulated by a woman? There are a lot of big swinging d**** on the Street who say, not bloody likely. Wall Street is the last civilian tree house for the boys. Why do you think the buildings are so tall? jjohannson July 17, 2010 at 12:39 am Reply 45. It is a no brainer. Dr. Elizabeth Warren needs to be given real leadership. Anything else the Obama administration is showing true transparency in that they are not really caring about the people. You cannot use her to get this passed and then overlook her. What foolish move. You better really appoint her. Otherwise I do not see the Dems winning in ’10 nor ’12. A lost decade for sure. bgbgll July 17, 2010 at 12:40 am Reply 46. Does she want to do this? She is certainly very service-oriented, but she may prefer a non-administrative role that would permit her to continue to criticize the administration’s policies — and the work of the commission. It will be a nightmare, with low pay, endless hours, and total exposure to destructive sniping. jhill July 17, 2010 at 12:40 am Reply * Whether she chooses to accept or not… the offer should be made. She has kept us informed for months and has fought hard for much of this. She deserves the position and would be the best choice. bgbgll July 17, 2010 at 12:42 am Reply 47. Geithner is the “public servant” who made the latest Wall Street collapse mess happen! Obama’s moment to put up or bow to the Clintonistas! Either he’s REALLY outraged at the way Wall Streeters insisted that they’re entitled to their bonuses from the Bailout or he’s just their dummy and might as well quit the Presidency and go live on his 30 pieces of silver OR he’s one of us who rose to be President and intends to make his mom and grandmom, watching him from above, proud. If he’s the latter then he’ll tell Geithner: Tim, consider yourself lucky that you still have a job after your tax trick and get with the program. WE THE PEOPLE need someone to keep the kids out of the shark tank, period, and she’s it! Obama stuffed the White House with Clintonistas. These are the people who made the Wall street mess as PBS so clearly showed: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warning/ So you chose Mr. President, you’re with the people or corporate/banker slugs! DE Teodoru July 17, 2010 at 12:49 am Reply 48. DEAR PRESIDENT OBAMA–you told people to read HUFFPO and we are… WE ARE WATCHING your decision on this…THIS BUREAU WAS WARREN’S IDEA! SHE’S BEEN AN ASTUTE, ARTICULATE– YET SURREALISTICALLY POLITE– WATCHDOG. i am as loyal a follower as you have… (in 2008, i enlisted friends to raise 15K for you, with chili and music in evanston, il… the larger effort led entirely by women in evanston, raised over 50K for your campaign–in CHILI cook-offs, of all things.) PLEASE LISTEN… ELIZABETH WARREN is FOR middle america… nominating her to LEAD this bureau IS THE RIGHT THING, THE ONLY THING to do… You will lose women’s votes, if you fail to nominate her for this position… lynn t. lct. July 17, 2010 at 12:50 am Reply 49. I find it fascinating how often my fellow liberal Democrats proclaim that Obama is somehow being untrue to them (us), this is the end of his administration, his economic team is evil, etc. Let’s start with his election: he was never so liberal as many liberals claimed. Let’s turn to his Cabinet: he appointed people with experience or a solid background who had to clean up a mess in every department (one commenter said Treasury secretaries used to be economists–this is, to put it mildly, wrong because that has rarely been the case). He promised health care reform and got it–he couldn’t get all that he said he wanted during the campaign, and lefties blistered him while generally doing little to try to pressure members of CONGRESS, where the bill had to pass, to act–except when they attacked Harry Reid, who painted a masterpiece in the end by getting the 60 votes he needed to pass legislation. We got at least some degree of financial reform and one of the Senate’s great liberals, Russ Feingold, is too busy demanding perfection to accept anything. Thanks, Russ. Look, I wish Obama were more liberal. I can name many areas where I think he could do better or differently. But I am sick and tired of so-called liberals who don’t know from their back end to third base about the real world telling me and everybody else how things MUST be. You don’t like what’s happening? Get off your butts and get out there and elect more liberal Democrats. Give your money to the right causes instead of whining here. I’m out in Las Vegas doing my best to try to help reelect a Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, who has done an incredible job and now faces an opponent who wants to eliminate Social Security, and a congresswoman, Dina Titus, who is as liberal as it is possible to be in a moderate district that never elected a Democrat before she won. Go do something useful and quit sounding like the parodies of yourselves that the right claims we are. Michael Green July 17, 2010 at 12:50 am Reply * Bravo! And thank you, for expressing my thoughts better than I did and for doing your part to get Reid reelected. I’m frustrated with the withering base that fails to comprehend what the frightening consequences of divisive whining may be. Get off your butts indeed — we need to be working to better the situation and stop threatening to jump ship every 5 minutes because we can’t have it all, at once. dianekjs July 17, 2010 at 1:05 am Reply o I don’t think you understand the scope of the problem… Which means that you don’t read Johnson or, on the conservative side, the FT’s William Buiter. There were plenty of conservatives and liberals who wanted temporary receivershipnationalization of the big banks right after the crash. Now THAT’s bipartisanship. But if it ain’t corporate bipartisanship, Obama ain’t pursuing it. BTW, tell me how widening the Afghan hole into which we pour tax dollars borrowed from China et alia is responsible, humane, or somehow an improvement over Bush. You’re kidding yourself. I’ll be voting Democratic in 2010 and 2012, but I sure as hell will be working to primary Obama. Sigh July 17, 2010 at 1:35 am Reply * Michael, to describe Geithner as someone with experience who could clean up the ‘mess’ is either willful ignorance on your part or willful mendacity on your part. Geithner’s criminal behavior at the NY Fed should have done more than disqualify him for his current position – it should have led to an indictment. Obama promised traditional Democrats quite a bit – including a public option. He then worked his hardest to tank many of what he had promised. Your willingness to insult Democrats who hold Obama to even just 30% of his word will accomplish just one thing – it will further alienate those who campaigned so hard for him two years ago. Sigh July 17, 2010 at 1:27 am Reply * I agree completely with everything you said, nice to have a grown up in this conversation. chris July 17, 2010 at 1:37 am Reply o I agree with Michael. chris July 17, 2010 at 1:40 am Reply 50. Ms. Warren has integrity. Make her the head of the consumer protection agency would be a great step. President Obama has a real chance to protect the little person. Not nominating her would finish me from voting for him again. All the best Richard July 17, 2010 at 12:54 am Reply 51. Please join the Facebook group supporting Elizabeth Warren at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=103000713088833 . Egberto Willies July 17, 2010 at 1:06 am Reply 52. I won’t be voting for President Obama in 2012 if Elizabeth Warren doesn’t get the job. Period–not even if the 2 times divorced, 3rd wife Catholic Newt Gingrich or 10%+ unemployment is an ant John Boehner runs for Presidential office. Me and my family will look for others or just stay at home and eat pizza November 2012 if Elizabeth Warren doesn’t get this job. IF ELIZABETH WARREN DOESN’T GET THE JOB I AM FINISHED WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA, AND I WON’T EVEN REFER TO HIM AS SUCH. PERIOD. THIS IS IT OBAMA, BE A DAMNED MAN OR WE ARE DONE WITH YOU. Ted K July 17, 2010 at 1:08 am Reply 53. I’m led to believe that an anti-Warren petition just may be in the works. It will point to her weakness at the hearings and to her squishy softness in accepting the unprincipled compromise that led to the passage of the sham legislation which places the CPFB under the Fed. Can it be that we have Geithner to thank for these developments? I simply can’t imagine. Lavrenti Beria July 17, 2010 at 1:20 am Reply * Thanks for the heads-up. It wouldn’t surprise me at this point. Sigh July 17, 2010 at 1:38 am Reply 54. Will she become the Obama admimistration’s Brooksley Born? Last straw for me if that turns out to be the case. Johnnyset July 17, 2010 at 1:21 am Reply 55. I concur, Elizabeth Warren needs to be appointed…period. No appoint, no vote…period. Khepry Quixote July 17, 2010 at 1:23 am Reply 56. One of the major things hurting the Democrats (in addition to the 9.5% unemployment rate) is that currently the Democratic wing of the Democratic party is demoralized and not motivated and will have a low voter turnout, while the wingnuts on the right are strongly motivated and will turn out. Appointing Elizabeth Warren to this position is the one most important thing Obama can do to correct this problem and motivate this part of the Democrats’ base to turn out and vote in November. CaptainVideo July 17, 2010 at 1:40 am Reply * Thank you – it would provide a thin veneer of integrity, and as a loyal Dem (akin to being a Cubs fan) I’ll TAKE WHATEVER I CAN GET – even if it’s just a temporary souvenir pennant appointment of Warren before they tear her to shreds. Sigh July 17, 2010 at 1:47 am Reply 57. Appoint Elizabeth Warren!!! P. Henry July 17, 2010 at 1:47 am Reply 58. what is all of your peoples problem. There are plenty of people qualified for the job. There is some sort of obsession with this woman on this site. Get real and read a book people before acting like sheep and criticizing Obama. mike July 17, 2010 at 1:49 am Reply * You’re right – I’d accept Simon Johnson in the same position. But I ain’t gettin’ that, either. And Obama will have only himself to blame in 2012… But I am optimistic, as you put it, after all, there are plenty more qualified people for that position. What is your obsession with Obama? Sigh July 17, 2010 at 1:54 am Reply 59. What is wrong with all of you. Nobody’s been nominated yet. All of this is heresay. You’re all idiots for assuming. Get real. mike July 17, 2010 at 1:51 am Reply * No, Mike, we’d be idiots, after witnessing the Obama admin in action these last 18 months, to believe that he would appoint anyone with integrity. If there were integrity, geithner and summers would never have been appointed. Sigh July 17, 2010 at 1:58 am Reply o But you’re assuming this. He has appointed very qualified people to most posts. I don’t understa
  116. “We’re long past a time that parliamentary devices will be of any use in bringing to the fore leaders that will “really fight”.”

    Ahh- but that is not what Cockburn is saying. He is not saying that we cannot elect a “good leader”. That would be a piece of crystal ball gazing that I disagree with, but understand. He is saying that a recognized “good /strong leader” like Lincoln, FDR or LBJ would be unable to cope with the present supposedly so horrible mess. That he includes Clinton shows his thinking is defective from the start. It’s not “an impossible hand to play” – but a very easy one.

    Sure, strikes and mass demonstrations, the more the better. But how can one keep people from asking, reasoning from the false premise that if the preznit, for all intents and purposes dictator over foreign policy and the military, cannot do anything with his awesome powers, with majorities in both houses, then what good can any individual or popular organization do?

    Cockburn contradicts himself. He talks about a “window of opportunity” that has been missed, when Obama could have done things that he began by saying not even magical, mythical culture heroes could do. In the real world Obama could end the wars with the stroke of a pen at any time.

    Cockburn avoids the truth. The reason why Obama does nothing good is because he wants to do nothing good. He want to be a tool of depravity, even more than Bush. And the things he does want and does – continue, initiate and expand insane and murderous wars, declare he has the right to assassinate US citizens for exercising their right of free speech – are nauseating.

    Finally, better a late and very privileged adolescence than senile counsel of impotence, despair and quietism.

  117. This “economy” is the great depression but with credit cards. The use of credit cards is obscuring the real picture.

    What are the differences between now and the Great Depression? Give those people in 1930’s Credit cards and food stamps and you’re in 2010.

    Geithner is giving in to the Banks again, it helps him in the short run and screws us citizens. In this 2nd Great Depression the credit card fees will have an enormous impact on the public at large for many years. Geithner is a coward we cannot afford right now.

    Obama needs to get out of the rose garden more often and get some advisors with real muscle.

  118. Hey Beria, THANK YOU! I didn’t really expect a self-absorbed, pompous narcissist to actually feel my pain. I mean, it’s so out of character for a damaged ego that needs always to on the attack to apologize. Gosh, I apologize for misunderstanding you. You seem like a fine fellow after all.

    By the way, wasn’t there a Beria who was Stalin’s NKVD henchman? If I recall he was a sociopathic proponent of violence. I don’t suppose there’s any relatio …. no, must be coincidence….has to be a coincidence.

    Take care fine fellow, and thanks again.

  119. These are good names. We desperately need an Independent slate. How about Senator Ted Kauffman?

  120. @ ivyleaves: You spat: “Wow…..race card much?”

    Too often the politically correct culture equates negativity with racism or hate against minorities. And too often the politically correct culture gets a free pass. Got a grip?

  121. Thank you, Ted. I also think that Hillary is over with respect to the presidency. The thought makes me nauseous.

  122. I agree Jennifer.
    The real incomes of the middle class have been flat or declining for 30 years. Middle class buying has been fueled by debt, debt that was supported by illusionary assets.
    Growing middle class income supported the economy’s growth beginning in the 50’s. When that income growth ceased, debt replaced it. Now we’ve reached the limits of supportable consumer debt. So the bubble has burst.
    In the years immediately prior to the Great Depression, wealth became very concentrated in the hands of a few. Now, we have the same concentration of wealth as then. These elites can’t support the economy, nor will they. They seek only more wealth, and now have world markets into which to invest it. In the 30s, even the wealth realized, and for the most part grudging accepted, the changes that need to be made. This current group of weatlh holders has far more options to invest abroad.
    I consider the concentration of wealth to be the single biggest threat to our economy. The political shills for the wealthy elite who decry the current threats to “capitalism” are doing their bidding so they can be rewarded with their piece of the pie.

  123. I understand the progessive’s frustration with Obama. I am frustrated myself. but I aslo understand those who aren’t yet ready to throw in the towel.

    I believe that Obama is a decent man, though very politically naive. I think that his background suggests a person of compromise, reason, and the expectation that everyone approaches issues from a position of integrity. These are certainly not bad qualities.

    What seems to be missing is that, loath as he may be to “wrestle with pigs”, he, and others in his Administration will have to. Perception is everything (e.g. the influence of Beck, Limbaugh, et al; Reagan’s “success”; Carter’s failures).
    Clearly, when the perception of the President by his base falters, he’s in serious trouble.

    FDR, Truman, and Johnson all knew that politics in this country is hardball. They understood the “rules”, and didn’t hesitate to play the hardball game. Further back in our history, Washingtom, Jackson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt all were willing to “play the game” to see their vision through.

    The current crop of right-wing Republican have co-opted the game. Obama is playing by their rules, and seems unable to make it his game.

  124. “Too often the politically correct culture equates negativity with racism or hate against minorities.”

    So what you’re saying is that you’re not racist, you’re just “very negative” about black people?

  125. @Jim Demintia: I am not the OP and find the post objectionable for reflecting a common tendency to judge other cultures by values assumed to have universal validity. But that is not the point. The OP made the following statement and it was glibly classified as racist:

    “You can’t help people who don’t have enough intelligence to make a water well.”

    This is not prima facie evidence of a racist poster. I am sickened with how quick and easy it has become to brand someone an anti-semite, homophobe, racist or whatever, no matter how flimsy the evidence. Ultimately it serves only to trivialize the gravity of the charge.

  126. “Ahh- but that is not what Cockburn is saying. He is not saying that we cannot elect a “good leader”. That would be a piece of crystal ball gazing that I disagree with, but understand. He is saying that a recognized “good /strong leader” like Lincoln, FDR or LBJ would be unable to cope with the present supposedly so horrible mess. That he includes Clinton shows his thinking is defective from the start. It’s not “an impossible hand to play” – but a very easy one.”

    What Cockburn is saying is that forces unleashed 30 years ago have made their reversal today impossible for any elected leader, even someone “endowed with the communicative powers of Franklin Roosevelt, the politic mastery of Lyndon Johnson, the brazen agility of Bill Clinton”, as he puts it. Implicit in such a view is an indictment of the political system itself as it has evolved over that time and it is precisely the elements of this evolution that make any hoped-for reversal simply wishful. It is here that one finds the kernel of Cockburn’s meaning, not in some meaningless contestation over whether we’ve got someone in office who wants to bring change badly enough. Given the economic realities as they have developed and the relationships in our politics that undergird them, we’re quite beyond mere questions of will.

    “Sure, strikes and mass demonstrations, the more the better. But how can one keep people from asking, reasoning from the false premise that if the preznit, for all intents and purposes dictator over foreign policy and the military, cannot do anything with his awesome powers, with majorities in both houses, then what good can any individual or popular organization do?”

    Well that’s the whole point isn’t it. The system as presently constituted is incapable of addressing the needs of the people and it is utter foolishness to suppose that it can or will. And it is here that one sees the ultimate purpose of strikes and demonstations, not in some Don Quixote-ish effort to change the unchangeable. From the outset one accepts that nothing can be done within present structures, they’re poisoned. Wholly new solutions must be found.

    “Cockburn contradicts himself. He talks about a “window of opportunity” that has been missed, when Obama could have done things that he began by saying not even magical, mythical culture heroes could do. In the real world Obama could end the wars with the stroke of a pen at any time.”

    Perhaps he does, but that’s entirely peripheral. And I’d just love to see whether The Lobby would permit Obama ever to get his hands on a pen he could use to end the present war. That, sir, is the real world, the world to which Cockburn alludes.

  127. Chomsky is biased. He distorted the history of Kosovo to suit his political position, claiming that the Albanian minority’s gripes were merely a pretext fabricated to justify US intervention. I had been following Kosovo issues for more than a decade before that, and I know for a fact that the Kosovars’ grievances were authentic had existed for a very long time even before the breakup of Yugoslavia, and were consequently not something dreamt up on the spur of the moment to justify a military intervention, as Chomsky claimed.

  128. Bernie Sanders is fantastic, but I don’t think he’d play the political game well enough to win the White House. He’s VERY leftist. I don’t think he’d get the independent vote.

  129. My biggest mistake of the past three years was voting for Obama over Clinton. Not so naive as to think Clinton would be stamping out corruption and plugging oil spills, but surely she would have had more audacity and fight in her than Obama currently displays.

  130. ivyleaves,
    “racist much ?” I don’t know. Your words sound like a woman who can make her way through People magazine to get Oprah’s latest book recommendations but couldn’t make it through the front section of the NYT. Am I a “racist”?? Am I “sexist”??

    You can ask these two women what they think, or you can even buy the interviewee’s (Dambisa Moyo) book titled “Dead Aid”.

  131. @Tommy:

    “This is not prima facie evidence of a racist poster.”

    Oh, please. The comment in question is clearly racist. It says, quite openly, that Africans can’t be helped because they are too stupid to dig a water well. How that could be regarded as anything but overtly bigoted beggars the imagination and trying to cover for it with long-since stale accusations of “political correctness” simply won’t wash. Give it up.

  132. “Too often the politically correct culture equates negativity with racism or hate against minorities”

    I agree with that wholeheartedly. Matt Taibi’s “vampire squid” comment jumps to mind because of the backlash against his supposed anti-semitism in this remark.

    The water-well comment is borderline. There is definitely a scale between overtly racist and completely benign, many things are somewhere in between. It definitely doesn’t warrant an unequivocal “racist” tag..

  133. Baghdad Bob had a purpose too, so I imagine Turbo Timmy will hang around until the spin loses all credibility. I will readily admit I thought that should have been about five lives ago.

  134. Exactly,
    You said it “This current group of wealth holders has far more options to invest abroad,” now what is the trade off? That they get everything and we get Geithner being a watch dog/gate keeper against Elizabeth Warren?
    Obama can choose a course of action here:
    1. The Fearful Way (eroding America by giving elites Geithner to watch over their interests)
    2. The Courageous Way (building up America to be the preferred place to do business)
    This is the challenge, what is the definition of “business friendly”? To the greedy that means abolishing the EPA, social security, any meaningful regulations and it’s just easier for the time being to go abroad. The countries that will benefit in this kind of environment will be the ones willing to do anything legal, illegal, moral, and immoral. Multinational versus Main Street through “emerging markets” abroad; USAID paints a pretty business friendly picture of the emerging market of Afghanistan via website. http://afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/Article.589.aspx U.S. Agency for International Development -Privatizing State-owned Enterprises

  135. Geithner’s primary talent is to be able to fail upwards. We’ve seen this before – the incompetent are promoted to either A) keep them from screwing up at the level their at or B) to keep quiet to prevent the exposure of the mistake that would hurt other more powerful players. His other talent is the ability to push an agenda, lie through his teeth while keeping a straight face, and take the fire being dished out by angry Congressmen. I think he can do so because he knows that the administration (Goldman Sachs) has his back.

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  136. Geithner is doing all he can to screw up but Obama stands by him. This is part of the Obama plan folks. Of course, fellow progressives, we just have to be patient. Once Obama kills capitalism, he will throw Geithner overboard.

  137. to catch him someone has to be looking. who’s looking? there all looking at and covering each others’ backs. it’s called collusion. your dea will come before his dem. patience is our enemy with people like this in power.

  138. Obama’s economic program has been a complete failure. First they said that passing the simulus would keep unemployment from going beyond 8%. Unfortunately it went beyond 10%. For 9 months people have been saying job, jobs, jobs, and Obama has not come up with any new plans.

    Second Geitner was supposed to come up with a program for home mortgage modification. This has been a pathetic failure that has left millions losing their homes. Obama doesn’t realize that saving the Banks is not something to crow about.

    And now as what little stimulus we had peters out America faces a double dip recession threatening to drive more into unemployment.

    If Obama wanted to save him administration and his the prospects of many democrats in Congress, he would announce Geitner would be retiring after the election. America needs and wants CHANGE. Obama needs to start with some people in his administration.

    Nows the time to also replace Larry Summers. This champion of derivatives. George Bush made the mistake of keeping Rumsfeld around for 2 years too long – by the time the 2006 elections rolled around everyone could see that Iraq was going badly. The smartest move Bush made was putting Gates into Def. Secr. to salvage the situation.

    If Obama continues on his current course, I certainly would welcome a real progressive like Feingold or Sanders.

  139. I’m no Obama fan, but it is beyond rich to foist the term naive upon people who have the intellect, and more over, the discipline to write entire papers and books on singular subjects, without resulting to Total theories of everything that reside within a couple paragraphs of one sided tirades.

  140. Unfortunately, it was clear from the start where this administration was going, and not going, shortly after the 2008 election. Yes, financial reform is inadequate and the appointments of Geithner and Summers (because they knew where the “bodies were buried”) was clearly bogus. The foxes were appointed to guard the henhouse and protect their masters on Wall Street. As Dick Durbin said (see page 92 in ’13 Bankers’) referring to the financial industry lobby and Wall Street “…frankly they own the place”…and that fact becomes more obvious, everyday. For those of us who were looking for real reform and many fronts, not just financial, it is difficult to be enthusiastic about the Obama administration at this point, not to mention the mostly spineless Democrats in general, who let the other side set the agenda. It is hard not to feel duped all the talk of change when it looks mostly like more of the same.

    So, with Geithner at the helm, a friend of Wall Street blocks true financial reform. And the hawks (including Hillary “We can obliterate Iran” Clinton) remain in charge of foreign policy as Obama ups the ante in Afghanistan, and increases tensions with Iran, and Obama looks ever fearful of being called “soft on terror”. The health insurers are handing a gift with so-called health care reform as Obama negotiates away the public health care option before the debate starts. And as the recent Rolling Stone article on the BP spill has shown, the Department of Interior and Ken Salazar, a friend of Big Oil, still has his job. I can’t help feeling that at some point the only way to move the Democratic Party back to where it belongs, to the left is to sit home and remind the Democratic “Centrists” that they can’t take progressives for granted anymore. Otherwise, we remain stuck with good rhetoric and “Bush Lite”.

    President Obama has done nothing to break the big business stranglehold on our country and the oligarchs run the show. In fact, he has perpetuated it. There is no change we can believe in, just more of the same. I await the next financial panic.

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