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"Quiet Coup"


Guest Tom Scully
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Guest Tom Scully

The following excerpts come from the column of someone who I read regularly. I think his points are of even greater concern because the author of the column is even more left leaning, politically, than I am. If what he is pointing out is correct, how will we explain to our grandchildren that we JFK CTs, folks who presumably know better than the average person, did not attempt to step in front of this "silent coup" while there was still any chance of the final outcome being in doubt.....the bankrupting of the future of said grandchildren, as official policy?

From transcript of Bill Moyer's PBS show, aired last night:

...Moyers: Yeah. Are you saying that Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong?

Black: Absolutely.

LNs will tell you that the above displayed accusation of a former S&L regulator cannot be true....too many would have to be involved, it just couldn't happen. Despite his personal tax problems and his complicity in what has already happened, Tim Geithner did get confirmed in the senate to be US Treasury Secretary, the former chairman of Goldman Sachs, the recent US Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, did appear to give Goldman "special treatment" and access during the final six months of the Bush admin., and Obama did invite into his administration, Bush secretary of defense, Robert Gates and his top military appointees in their Bush era positions.

Military funding is still growing, even during financial crisis, and a "Vietnam like" escalation policy in Afghanistan has been put into motion, topped with an "Iraq like", troop surge.....

CHICKEN SALAD

When I was a young man in the late 1960's, there was a now-extinct species known as "The Left." Some of these exotic creatures would bleat out a refrain that went something like, "This country is run by Wall Street." Although I was (and still am) a liberal, I thought these people were basically conspiracy theory screwballs. Now I realize that they were right and that I've been a sucker all my life. The joke's on me. On all of us. We put the foxes in charge of the chicken coop, not understanding that we're the chickens. How stupid is that?

-- flagwaiver

http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazin...tures/born.html

....As chairperson of the CFTC, Born advocated reining in the huge and growing market for financial derivatives. . . . One type of derivative—known as a credit-default swap—has been a key contributor to the economy’s recent unraveling. . .

...Greenspan and his deregulation-minded brain trust saw no need to upset the status quo. The sheer act of contemplating regulation, they maintained, would cause widespread chaos in markets around the world...

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200905/imf-advice

May 2009 Atlantic

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

by Simon Johnson

The Quiet Coup

Squeezing the oligarchs, though, is seldom the strategy of choice among emerging-market governments. Quite the contrary: at the outset of the crisis, the oligarchs are usually among the first to get extra help from the government, such as preferential access to foreign currency, or maybe a nice tax break, or—here’s a classic Kremlin bailout technique -- the assumption of private debt obligations by the government. Under duress, generosity toward old friends takes many innovative forms. Meanwhile, needing to squeeze someone, most emerging-market governments look first to ordinary working folk—at least until the riots grow too large. . . .

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...ml?hpid=topnews

The Obama administration is engineering its new bailout initiatives in a way that it believes will allow firms benefiting from the programs to avoid restrictions imposed by Congress, including limits on lavish executive pay, according to government officials. . . .

The administration believes it can sidestep the rules because, in many cases, it has decided not to provide federal aid directly to financial companies, the sources said. Instead, the government has set up special entities that act as middlemen, channeling the bailout funds to the firms and, via this two-step process, stripping away the requirement that the restrictions be imposed, according to officials. . . .

In one program, designed to restart small-business lending, President Obama's officials are planning to set up a middleman called a special-purpose vehicle -- a term made notorious during the Enron scandal -- or another type of entity to evade the congressional mandates, sources familiar with the matter said.

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04032009/transcript3.html

April 3, 2009

BILL MOYERS: Welcome to the Journal.

For months now, revelations of the wholesale greed and blatant transgressions of Wall Street have reminded us that "The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One." In fact, the man you're about to meet wrote a book with just that title. It was based upon his experience as a tough regulator during one of the darkest chapters in our financial history: the savings and loan scandal in the late 1980s.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: These numbers as large as they are, vastly understate the problem of fraud.

BILL MOYERS: Bill Black was in New York this week for a conference at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice where scholars and journalists gathered to ask the question, "How do they get away with it?" Well, no one has asked that question more often than Bill Black.

The former Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention now teaches Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. During the savings and loan crisis, it was Black who accused then-house speaker Jim Wright and five US Senators, including John Glenn and John McCain, of doing favors for the S&L's in exchange for contributions and other perks. The senators got off with a slap on the wrist, but so enraged was one of those bankers, Charles Keating — after whom the senate's so-called "Keating Five" were named — he sent a memo that read, in part, "get Black — kill him dead." Metaphorically, of course. Of course.

Now Black is focused on an even greater scandal, and he spares no one — not even the President he worked hard to elect, Barack Obama. But his main targets are the Wall Street barons, heirs of an earlier generation whose scandalous rip-offs of wealth back in the 1930s earned them comparison to Al Capone and the mob, and the nickname "banksters."

Bill Black, welcome to the Journal....

Black: Geithner is charging, is covering up. Just like Paulson did before him. Geithner is publicly saying that it's going to take $2 trillion — a trillion is a thousand billion — $2 trillion taxpayer dollars to deal with this problem. But they're allowing all the banks to report that they're not only solvent, but fully capitalized. Both statements can't be true. It can't be that they need $2 trillion, because they have masses losses, and that they're fine.

These are all people who have failed. Paulson failed, Geithner failed. They were all promoted because they failed, not because...

Moyers: What do you mean?

Black: Well, Geithner has, was one of our nation's top regulators, during the entire subprime scandal, that I just described. He took absolutely no effective action. He gave no warning. He did nothing in response to the FBI warning that there was an epidemic of fraud. All this pig in the poke stuff happened under him. So, in his phrase about legacy assets. Well he's a failed legacy regulator. . . .

The Great Depression, we said, "Hey, we have to learn the facts. What caused this disaster, so that we can take steps, like pass the Glass-Steagall law, that will prevent future disasters?" Where's our investigation?

What would happen if after a plane crashes, we said, "Oh, we don't want to look in the past. We want to be forward looking. Many people might have been, you know, we don't want to pass blame. No. We have a nonpartisan, skilled inquiry. We spend lots of money on, get really bright people. And we find out, to the best of our ability, what caused every single major plane crash in America. And because of that, aviation has an extraordinarily good safety record. We ought to follow the same policies in the financial sphere. We have to find out what caused the disasters, or we will keep reliving them. . . .

Moyers: Yeah. Are you saying that Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong?

Black: Absolutely.

Moyers: You are.

Black: Absolutely, because they are scared to death. . . . What we're doing with -- no, Treasury and both administrations. The Bush administration and now the Obama administration kept secret from us what was being done with AIG. AIG was being used secretly to bail out favored banks like UBS and like Goldman Sachs. Secretary Paulson's firm, that he had come from being CEO. It got the largest amount of money. $12.9 billion. And they didn't want us to know that. And it was only Congressional pressure, and not Congressional pressure, by the way, on Geithner, but Congressional pressure on AIG.

Where Congress said, "We will not give you a single penny more unless we know who received the money." And, you know, when he was Treasury Secretary, Paulson created a recommendation group to tell Treasury what they ought to do with AIG. And he put Goldman Sachs on it.

Moyers: Even though Goldman Sachs had a big vested stake.

Black: Massive stake. And even though he had just been CEO of Goldman Sachs before becoming Treasury Secretary. Now, in most stages in American history, that would be a scandal of such proportions that he wouldn't be allowed in civilized society....

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Guest Tom Scully

My reaction to this is to demand an investigation in congress on whether or not there are now grounds to impeach our new "right of center", president Obama:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/200...bama/index.html

Tuesday May 12, 2009 10:36 EDT

Obama administration threatens Britain to keep torture evidence concealed

......In other words: if you let your courts describe how we tortured Mohamed -- even if your laws compel such disclosure -- we may purposely leave your citizens vulnerable to future terrorist attacks by withholding information we obtain about terrorist plots.

Smith re-iterated to Lake what he told me last month: that the Obama administration's actions in issuing these threats in order to hide evidence of torture is itself a criminal act:

"What they are doing is twisting the arm of the British to keep evidence of torture committed by American officials secret," said Mr. Smith, a U.S. citizen. "I had high hopes for the Obama administration. I voted for the guy, and one hopes the new administration would not continue to cover up evidence of criminal activity."

The Metropolitan Police of London is investigating whether Mr. Mohamed was tortured when he was in American custody.

Mr. Smith said that by attempting to keep evidence of Mr. Mohamed's "abuse" secret, the U.S. official who communicated the threats to the British Foreign Office was in breach of British law, specifically the International Criminal Court Act of 2001.

"The U.S. is committing a criminal offense in Britain by seeking to conceal this information. What the Obama administration did is not just ill-advised, it is illegal," he said....

.....The principal issue here is that the Obama administration is not merely failing to investigate (let alone prosecute) acts of high-level criminality by U.S. government officials. Far worse, ever since he was inaugurated, Obama has engaged in one extraordinary legal maneuver after the next to block American courts from ruling on the legality of those actions. He has now extended his Bush-protecting conduct to the international realm, as he re-iterates Bush's threats that we will purposely leave British citizens more vulnerable to terrorist attacks if their courts rule that, under their laws, their citizens are entitled to know what was done to Binyam Mohamed.

Here is what the British High Court said when reversing its decision to disclose the evidence in light of these threats from the U.S. government:(click here to enlarge)

britain.png

I believe their error was in conceiving of the United States as a country "governed by the rule of law."

If you've built expectations that the election of Obama would usher in conditions for the release of the still withheld documents in the possession of the US government related to the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and MLK Jr., consider that the signs are that the changes that truly count are delayed indefinitely and the delay is masked over by a thin veneer of benevolent looking "window dressing" brought to you by the successors of the controlling right of center thug establishment in place in the US since as far back as in 1865.

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http://911truthsherbrooke.files.wordpress....modern-coup.pdf Read this and it will explain what we weren't told about Mr. Change-a-nothing.

Peter, I've made my way through the introduction, and caught a few ideas I've had and shared in conversation, plus a couple things I didn't know. But I'm dumbfounded at the optimistic tone used to address the Clintons.

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Guest Tom Scully

Unfortunately, Tarpley's book is full of material from a time period ending with the 2008 US presidential primary season.

I think there are less controversial and more credible ways to convey how deeply oblivious Americans are to being overwhelmed by the influence of a right wing oriented, militant agenda. Upon "winning" the 2008 election, the first announced of Obama's major decisions was the appointment of this man as white house chief of staff:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1034855.html

Obama's first pick: Israeli Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff

By Haaretz Correspondents and AP , By Anshel Pfeffer and Shlomo Shamir

A day after his historic election to become the first black American president, Barack Obama stepped into the role of president-elect yesterday, inviting Rahm Emanuel to join his administration as White House chief of staff, Democratic officials said.

Emanuel, a former Bill Clinton adviser, is the son of a Jerusalem-born pediatrician who was a member of the Irgun (Etzel or IZL), a militant Zionist group that operated in Palestine between 1931 and 1948....

Consider that there had been rumors since 1997 that Rahm Emmanuel was actually a mossad "mole". Predictably, within days of Emmauel's appointment as Obama's COS, a Lebanese journalist reported on Emmanuel's alleged mossad ties.

Out came IDF intelligence's not very well disguised propaganda branch, aka "MEMRI", to draw attention to the Lebanese report in an attempt

to discredit it. I trust what Juan Cole has told me on his blog during the seven years of US occupation of Iraq. Obama seems to be positioned on the opposite side of Juan Cole:

http://www.niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fu...showcaseid=0027

The Middle East Media Research Institute

The Middle East Media Research Institute was founded in 1998 by Yigal Carmon, a retired Israeli military-intelligence officer. MEMRI monitors broadcast media an average of 16 hours per day and advertises its "in-house capability to translate, subtitle and distribute the segments from Arab TV in real time to Western news channels across the world."

"Our goal is bridging the language gap between the Middle East and the West,"says MEMRI executive director Steven Stalinsky.

Out of offices in Washington, Berlin, Baghdad and Jerusalem, the Institute provides translations in English, German, Hebrew, Italian, French, Spanish, Turkish, and Russian. They regularly monitor the print media in numerous countries, religious sermons, textbooks and a host of television channels including Al-Arabiya TV (Dubai), Al-'Alam TV (Iran), Iqra TV (Saudi Arabia), Syrian TV (Syria) and Al-Majd TV (UAE).

MEMRI boasts 75,000 subscribers to its daily mailing list, including many journalists and academics, who receive regular updates about new translations. The institute also delivers briefings on Middle Eastern media to the FBI and Congress, Stalinsky says.

Video clips and translated transcripts are MEMRI's bread and butter....

http://74.125.113.132/search?q=cache:qjUqT...=clnk&gl=us

Title of Video: Lebanese Journalist Hassan Hamadah: Future White House Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel Is a Mossad Agent

Link

Clip #1901 Broadcast: November 6, 2008

The clip you are attempting to view is now part of the MEMRI TV archive.

http://www.juancole.com/2004/11/intimidati...eli-linked.html

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Intimidation by Israeli-Linked Organization Aimed at US Academic

MEMRI tries a SLAPP

I just checked my campus mail and found a letter in it from Colonel Yigal Carmon, late of Israeli military intelligence, now an official at the Middle East Media Research Organization, or MEMRI. He threatened me with a lawsuit over blog comments I made here at Informed Comment, reprinted at anti-war.com. This technique of the SLAPP or Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation had already been pioneered by polluting industries against environmental activists, and now the pro-Likud lobby in the US has apparently decided to try it out against people like me.

I urge all readers to send messages of protest to memri@memri.org. Please be polite, and simply urge MEMRI, which has a major Web presence, to withdraw the lawsuit threat and to respect the spirit of the free sharing of ideas that makes the internet possible.

Here is the letter:

' November 8, 2004

Professor Juan Cole

University of Michigan History Department

1029 Tisch Hall

435 S. State Street

Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003

Dear Professor Cole,

I write in response to your article "Osama Threatening Red States?" published on November 3, 2004 on antiwar.com. The article included several statements about MEMRI which go beyond what could be considered legitimate criticism, and which in fact qualify as slander and libel. While we respect your right to argue the veracity of our translations, you certainly may not fabricate information about our organization. You make several claims that are patently false:

Trying to paint MEMRI in a conspiratorial manner by portraying us as a rich, sinister group, you write that "MEMRI is funded to the tune of $60 million a year." This is completely false.

You also write that MEMRI is an "anti-Arab propaganda machine" that "cherry-picks the vast Arabic press." If you have any level of familiarity with MEMRI, you should be aware of our Reform Project, which is one of the most important of MEMRI's projects, and which receives much of our energy and resources. The Reform Project (www.memri.org/reform.html) is devoted solely to finding and amplifying the progressive voices in the Arab world. It is especially disappointing that these charges do not come from an overzealous journalist, but from a member of the academic community, from whom one should be able to expect at least the minimum amount of research and corroboration.

In addition, you write that "MEMRI is one of a number of public relations campaigns essentially on behalf of the far right-wing Likud Party in Israel." This, too, is completely false. MEMRI is totally unaffiliated with any government, and receives no government funding. While I was formerly an Israeli official (and retired more than a decade ago), I have never been affiliated with the Likud Party, or any other party.

As such, we demand that you retract the false statements you have made about MEMRI. If you will not do so, we will be forced to pursue legal action against you personally and against the University of Michigan, which the article identifies you as an employee of. We hope this will not be necessary.

Sincerely,

[signed]

Yigal Carmon

Colonel Carmon's letter makes three charges: 1) that I alleged that MEMRI receives $60 million a year for its operations. 2) That I alleged that MEMRI cherry-picks the vast Arab press for articles that make the Arabs look bad. 3) That I said that MEMRI was affiliated with the Likud Party.

This is how I would reply:

1) I am glad to publish the annual funding of MEMRI, and its sources, as provided by Colonel Carmon, if he will tell us what the figure is, which he has not. As a historian, I have no desire to have anything but the facts in evidence. MEMRI obviously a well-funded operation, as any familiarity with its scope and activities would make clear. In the meantime, I am glad to acknowledge that the figure I gave has been disputed by Colonel Carmon. I think he would find that in democratic countries, in any case, a dispute over an organization's level of funding would be laughed out of court as a basis for a libel action. In fact, I am giggling as I write this.

2) I continue to maintain that MEMRI is selective and biased against the Arab press, and that it highlights pieces that cast Arabs, especially committed Muslims, in a negative light. That it also rewards secular Arabs for being secularists is entirely beside the point (and this is the function of the "reform" site). On more than one occasion I have seen, say, a bigotted Arabic article translated by MEMRI and when I went to the source on the Web, found that it was on the same op-ed page with other, moderate articles arguing for tolerance. These latter were not translated.

3) I did not allege that MEMRI or Colonel Carmon are "affiliated" with the Likud Party. What I said was that MEMRI functions as a PR campaign for Likud Party goals. Colonel Carmon and Meyrav Wurmser, who run MEMRI, were both die-hard opponents of the Oslo peace process, and so ipso facto were identified with the Likud rejectionists on that central issue.

Colonel Carmon was not a formal member of the Likud party while serving in Israeli military intelligence because active-duty military are not usually involved in civilian political parties. Since he retired to the US, he did not have the occasion to join the Likud, but there seems little question that if he were living in Israel he would vote for Likud rather than Labor, given his public stances.

So, the charge, that I claimed an "affiliation" of MEMRI with Likud, isn't true in the first place, and there is nothing to retract. That issue almost certainly generated the entire letter. MEMRI is a 501 © 3 organization, which is tax exempt in US law, and therefore cannot engage in (much) directly political activity without endangering its exemption. I don't think MEMRI does so directly intervene in politics as to make its 501 © 3 status questionable. But it is obvious that 501 © 3 is widely abused by rightwing think tanks.

More discussion on MEMRI on the Web can be found here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20051101155531/...mp;threadid=103

http://www.yaleherald.com/article.php?Article=4796

.. Despite Yale’s hope that its professors will engage the outside world, Graeber worries that its policies discourage intellectual adventurousness. “The structure is such that it rewards mediocrity,” he said. “That’s the problem—the lack of transparency, the lack of communication, but especially that system that never rewards people for standing out.”

Last year, Yale decided to woo Professor Juan Cole away from Michigan. Then it changed its mind.

The decision raised several eyebrows and many questions. Cole, the president of the Middle East Studies Association, speaks Arabic and Persian, is considered a powerful scholar, and had been approved for the position by votes in the history and sociology departments. The provost’s office refused to comment on the reasons for his rejection; Dr. Cole refused to comment on this story. But many eyes turned toward Cole’s blog as a factor in the decision, one that may have raised his profile and polarized opinion on his candidacy. On his site, “Informed Comment,” Cole has provided commentary on the news coming out of the Middle East since 2001. Discussing politics is almost guaranteed to cause controversy, but when professors can speak to their passion while educating an ever-growing blogosphere, how can they resist?....

....Cole’s blog seems to reflect a similar desire to expand beyond his traditional academic outlets, commenting on a more specific topic with an even more extensive willingness to engage in strident discourse. Yet both Althouse and Cole have a single great advantage over many of their compatriots: lifetime tenure. If untenured David Graeber had kept an anarchist blog, would he have been more or less likely to have seen his contract renewed last year?....

....“Faculty should be evaluated on their scholarship alone,” Butler said. “We shouldn’t be judging faculty on what seem to be, or what we deem to be, or even what they say their views are about contemporary politics.”

But in reality, a professor’s politics can stick with us no matter how hard we try to focus on their classroom lecture. And the same can be true when faculty come up for tenure, admits Deputy Provost Charles Long. “Blogs can’t help but raise your profile and create controversy,” said Long. And while he wouldn’t comment on whether Cole’s blog affected his candidacy, he acknowledged that the question had been raised. “I know there was a good deal of talk about the degree to which what Juan Cole said in his blog should be considered part of his application material,” he admitted.

And even Butler—who chaired the committee that rejected Juan Cole’s candidacy—admits that there can be unintended consequences when one speaks as an advocate. “It’s not possible to isolate, in the real world, that kind of speaking out on public issues from one’s scholarship,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that that should be done.”

The issues surrounding advocacy can really be boiled down to a matter as old as time: that of free speech. As long as people have been able to speak, they’ve been saying things other people don’t want to hear. Speech has consequences; your right to speak is protected, but you’re not protected from what people think of you. ....

...If words are indeed weapons, then one must hope that the questions that surround advocacy get answered to the betterment of the academy, one way or another. Certainly free speech can have—has had—its consequences, but none of these three, when questioned, would have chosen any other path.....

http://www.yaledailynews.com/articles/view/17496?badlink=1

Cole is poor choice for Mideast position

Michael Rubin

Published Tuesday, April 18, 2006

In the coming week, the Yale Center for International and Area Studies will consider the candidacy of Juan Cole for a tenured position to study and teach the modern Middle East. The vacancy is palpable, but Cole should not be the man to fill it.

.....Universities thrive on scholarly discourse. Professors should be open to new ideas omg-- not only those that challenge policymakers, but also those that test entrenched campus opinion. Unfortunately, Cole has displayed a cavalier attitude toward those who disagree with him. In a February interview with Detroit's Metro Times, he argued that the U.S. government should shut down Fox News. "In the 1960s, the FCC would have closed it down," he argued. "It's an index of how corrupt our governmental institutions have become that the FCC lets this go on." Many Yalies may not like Fox, but top-down censorship is no solution. Cole's outburst was the rule, not an exception. On Sept. 4, 2004, he wrote that "The FBI should investigate how [Walid] Phares, an undistinguished academic with links to far right-wing Lebanese groups and the Likud clique, became the 'terrorism analyst' at MSNBC." While Cole has labeled his own critics "McCarthyites," they have not called for his censorship or arrest....

Michael Rubin '94 GRD '99 is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

http://web.archive.org/web/20071128100243/..._East_Quarterly

Middle East Quarterly (MEQ) is a quarterly journal devoted to subjects relating to the Middle East. A publication of the American pro-Israel neoconservative think tank Middle East Forum (MEF) founded by Daniel Pipes, the journal was launched in 1994. Edited by Michael Rubin, it is published in print, and all but the current issue are also available as full texts from the website of the Middle East Forum,....

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Guest Tom Scully

Washington Post's Dan Froomkin notices what has happened:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/white-hou...o-disclose.html

The president who came into office promising to restore our international reputation and return responsibility to government now seems

to be buying into the belief that covering up our sins is better than coming clean.....

I'd like to see opinions posted as to whether Obama was a stealth, right of center "planted" candidate, all the while.....or, he was sincerely a candidate "for change",

who was influenced to veer so obviously to the right, politically, so as to increase the odds that he would not end up like JFK.

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The following excerpts come from the column of someone who I read regularly. I think his points are of even greater concern because the author of the column is even more left leaning, politically, than I am. If what he is pointing out is correct, how will we explain to our grandchildren that we JFK CTs, folks who presumably know better than the average person, did not attempt to step in front of this "silent coup" while there was still any chance of the final outcome being in doubt.....the bankrupting of the future of said grandchildren, as official policy?

From transcript of Bill Moyer's PBS show, aired last night:

...Moyers: Yeah. Are you saying that Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong?

Black: Absolutely.

LNs will tell you that the above displayed accusation of a former S&L regulator cannot be true....too many would have to be involved, it just couldn't happen. Despite his personal tax problems and his complicity in what has already happened, Tim Geithner did get confirmed in the senate to be US Treasury Secretary, the former chairman of Goldman Sachs, the recent US Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, did appear to give Goldman "special treatment" and access during the final six months of the Bush admin., and Obama did invite into his administration, Bush secretary of defense, Robert Gates and his top military appointees in their Bush era positions.

Military funding is still growing, even during financial crisis, and a "Vietnam like" escalation policy in Afghanistan has been put into motion, topped with an "Iraq like", troop surge.....

CHICKEN SALAD

When I was a young man in the late 1960's, there was a now-extinct species known as "The Left." Some of these exotic creatures would bleat out a refrain that went something like, "This country is run by Wall Street." Although I was (and still am) a liberal, I thought these people were basically conspiracy theory screwballs. Now I realize that they were right and that I've been a sucker all my life. The joke's on me. On all of us. We put the foxes in charge of the chicken coop, not understanding that we're the chickens. How stupid is that?

-- flagwaiver

http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazin...tures/born.html

....As chairperson of the CFTC, Born advocated reining in the huge and growing market for financial derivatives. . . . One type of derivative—known as a credit-default swap—has been a key contributor to the economy’s recent unraveling. . .

...Greenspan and his deregulation-minded brain trust saw no need to upset the status quo. The sheer act of contemplating regulation, they maintained, would cause widespread chaos in markets around the world...

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200905/imf-advice

May 2009 Atlantic

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

by Simon Johnson

The Quiet Coup

Squeezing the oligarchs, though, is seldom the strategy of choice among emerging-market governments. Quite the contrary: at the outset of the crisis, the oligarchs are usually among the first to get extra help from the government, such as preferential access to foreign currency, or maybe a nice tax break, or—here’s a classic Kremlin bailout technique -- the assumption of private debt obligations by the government. Under duress, generosity toward old friends takes many innovative forms. Meanwhile, needing to squeeze someone, most emerging-market governments look first to ordinary working folk—at least until the riots grow too large. . . .

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...ml?hpid=topnews

The Obama administration is engineering its new bailout initiatives in a way that it believes will allow firms benefiting from the programs to avoid restrictions imposed by Congress, including limits on lavish executive pay, according to government officials. . . .

The administration believes it can sidestep the rules because, in many cases, it has decided not to provide federal aid directly to financial companies, the sources said. Instead, the government has set up special entities that act as middlemen, channeling the bailout funds to the firms and, via this two-step process, stripping away the requirement that the restrictions be imposed, according to officials. . . .

In one program, designed to restart small-business lending, President Obama's officials are planning to set up a middleman called a special-purpose vehicle -- a term made notorious during the Enron scandal -- or another type of entity to evade the congressional mandates, sources familiar with the matter said.

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04032009/transcript3.html

April 3, 2009

BILL MOYERS: Welcome to the Journal.

For months now, revelations of the wholesale greed and blatant transgressions of Wall Street have reminded us that "The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One." In fact, the man you're about to meet wrote a book with just that title. It was based upon his experience as a tough regulator during one of the darkest chapters in our financial history: the savings and loan scandal in the late 1980s.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: These numbers as large as they are, vastly understate the problem of fraud.

BILL MOYERS: Bill Black was in New York this week for a conference at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice where scholars and journalists gathered to ask the question, "How do they get away with it?" Well, no one has asked that question more often than Bill Black.

The former Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention now teaches Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. During the savings and loan crisis, it was Black who accused then-house speaker Jim Wright and five US Senators, including John Glenn and John McCain, of doing favors for the S&L's in exchange for contributions and other perks. The senators got off with a slap on the wrist, but so enraged was one of those bankers, Charles Keating — after whom the senate's so-called "Keating Five" were named — he sent a memo that read, in part, "get Black — kill him dead." Metaphorically, of course. Of course.

Now Black is focused on an even greater scandal, and he spares no one — not even the President he worked hard to elect, Barack Obama. But his main targets are the Wall Street barons, heirs of an earlier generation whose scandalous rip-offs of wealth back in the 1930s earned them comparison to Al Capone and the mob, and the nickname "banksters."

Bill Black, welcome to the Journal....

Black: Geithner is charging, is covering up. Just like Paulson did before him. Geithner is publicly saying that it's going to take $2 trillion — a trillion is a thousand billion — $2 trillion taxpayer dollars to deal with this problem. But they're allowing all the banks to report that they're not only solvent, but fully capitalized. Both statements can't be true. It can't be that they need $2 trillion, because they have masses losses, and that they're fine.

These are all people who have failed. Paulson failed, Geithner failed. They were all promoted because they failed, not because...

Moyers: What do you mean?

Black: Well, Geithner has, was one of our nation's top regulators, during the entire subprime scandal, that I just described. He took absolutely no effective action. He gave no warning. He did nothing in response to the FBI warning that there was an epidemic of fraud. All this pig in the poke stuff happened under him. So, in his phrase about legacy assets. Well he's a failed legacy regulator. . . .

The Great Depression, we said, "Hey, we have to learn the facts. What caused this disaster, so that we can take steps, like pass the Glass-Steagall law, that will prevent future disasters?" Where's our investigation?

What would happen if after a plane crashes, we said, "Oh, we don't want to look in the past. We want to be forward looking. Many people might have been, you know, we don't want to pass blame. No. We have a nonpartisan, skilled inquiry. We spend lots of money on, get really bright people. And we find out, to the best of our ability, what caused every single major plane crash in America. And because of that, aviation has an extraordinarily good safety record. We ought to follow the same policies in the financial sphere. We have to find out what caused the disasters, or we will keep reliving them. . . .

Moyers: Yeah. Are you saying that Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong?

Black: Absolutely.

Moyers: You are.

Black: Absolutely, because they are scared to death. . . . What we're doing with -- no, Treasury and both administrations. The Bush administration and now the Obama administration kept secret from us what was being done with AIG. AIG was being used secretly to bail out favored banks like UBS and like Goldman Sachs. Secretary Paulson's firm, that he had come from being CEO. It got the largest amount of money. $12.9 billion. And they didn't want us to know that. And it was only Congressional pressure, and not Congressional pressure, by the way, on Geithner, but Congressional pressure on AIG.

Where Congress said, "We will not give you a single penny more unless we know who received the money." And, you know, when he was Treasury Secretary, Paulson created a recommendation group to tell Treasury what they ought to do with AIG. And he put Goldman Sachs on it.

Moyers: Even though Goldman Sachs had a big vested stake.

Black: Massive stake. And even though he had just been CEO of Goldman Sachs before becoming Treasury Secretary. Now, in most stages in American history, that would be a scandal of such proportions that he wouldn't be allowed in civilized society....

This is some good info.

I am waiting for an "insider account" book to reveal some of the particulars of the massive bailout/sellout/fraud.

I would add that it is no small coincidence that Warren Buffett agreed to inject Goldman Sachs with $5 billion the week that Congress was considering passing the bailout legislation, contingent on the passage of such $700 billion bailout.

And then Buffett went on national television shows to assure us that life as we knew it would stop if the legislation wasn't passed.

We now find from the TARP Special Inspector General that the total TARP program needs, not the paltry amount of $700 billion, but $2.6 - 2.9 trillion.

Everyone who supported this multi-generational throwaway of money (GWB, Paulsen, Bernanke, Obama, McCain, approximately 75 Senators and I forget how many Congress members) is complicit in the fraud.

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Guest Tom Scully
Washington Post's Dan Froomkin notices what has happened:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/white-hou...o-disclose.html

The president who came into office promising to restore our international reputation and return responsibility to government now seems

to be buying into the belief that covering up our sins is better than coming clean.....

I'd like to see opinions posted as to whether Obama was a stealth, right of center "planted" candidate, all the while.....or, he was sincerely a candidate "for change",

who was influenced to veer so obviously to the right, politically, so as to increase the odds that he would not end up like JFK.

Dan Froomkin "weighs in", again, in a new column:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/white-hou...into-gover.html

....Obama's approach to disclosure issues is turning out to be profoundly schizophrenic. On national security issues, Obama has been intensely disappointing. Most notably, I now consider him a willing and active partner in the cover-up of the Bush torture legacy....

If true, surely legitimate grounds for an impeachment investigation? Back on January 20, didn't he swear the oath, witnessed "in person", by nearly a million, "to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." ?

The "profoundly schizophrenic" that Froomkin describes, seems to be signs of the same disagreement and resulting struggle that had JFK making his American University speech in June, 1963, followed by his sudden death in November, and then by the contrived Gulf of Tonkin "attack", less than a year after the June, '63 speech.

Looks like no progress in settling the disagreement between an obsessive, right wing militancy vs. cooler heads, even after 45 years have passed. Looks like the only recently sworn in president has been put in his place. compromised by treaty breaking complicity in covering up war crimes and crimes against humanity at the highest levels of current and former government. The lack of concern about this from most of the citizenry and nearly all of the corporate media is an indication that the extreme right remains in 45 years of nearly uninterrupted control of core US policy and politics......

Edited by Tom Scully
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The only thing that Obama's "coup" will be judged on is the economy.

As Lutwack points out in his book "Coup d'etat - A Practical Handbook," the administration that takes over, regardless of policies, must make the economy viable in order to succeed and remain in power.

If the economy recovers during Obama's administration, the Democrats will probably remain in power until it tanks again.

Any talk of impeachment is a joke, and if anyone notices, and doesn't laugh, then they will when there is a real issue that deserves impeachment review, but then won't get it because people like Tom are calling for it without just cause.

Are't you glad you asked Tom?

Bill Kelly

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Guest Tom Scully
The only thing that Obama's "coup" will be judged on is the economy.

As Lutwack points out in his book "Coup d'etat - A Practical Handbook," the administration that takes over, regardless of policies, must make the economy viable in order to succeed and remain in power.

If the economy recovers during Obama's administration, the Democrats will probably remain in power until it tanks again.

Any talk of impeachment is a joke, and if anyone notices, and doesn't laugh, then they will when there is a real issue that deserves impeachment review, but then won't get it because people like Tom are calling for it without just cause.

Are't you glad you asked Tom?

Bill Kelly

Okay....I'll bite....if the president breaking the presidential oath to "protect and defend the constitution", does not qualify, IYO as a "real issue", what sort of "high crimes and misdemeanors:, would qualify as a "real issue that deserves impeachment review"? Isn't it reasonable to hold a "poser", a hypocrite who promised "reform" related to open government, specifically with regard to FOIA, and who promised to obey the appellate court order to realease photographic evidence of systemic US abuse of prisoners, be held to

some reasonable standard?

I don't disagree that it is reaction to the economy that is the ONLY determining factor of who to vote for, for too many who do vote.....it also explains how a president who lied us into war got elected to a second term, and how we perpetuate the same ultra right wing elected government and financially and morally bankrupt corporatist-neofascist policy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/12/us/polit...ml?ref=politics

.....Amrit Singh, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, which is seeking the release of the photographs as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, said she was disappointed by the court’s ruling. “It will only serve to delay further the release of these photographs, which are critical for informing the ongoing public debate about the treatment of prisoners,” she said.

Ms. Singh said the photos portrayed abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq in places other than Abu Ghraib prison, the Iraq jail made infamous in 2004 by photographs of abuse there, and would therefore show that abuse was “not aberrational but systemic.”....

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/200...stan/index.html

..... Isn't it best if the truth is just kept from us and the government suppresses it all so that we don't look bad in the eyes of the world? Isn't that obviously where this mentality leads -- and is already leading?

Along those lines, I'd like to ask you to subject yourself to six minutes of video -- embedded below -- from Bill O'Reilly's show last night, in which O'Reilly, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham jointly praise Barack Obama for suppressing these torture photos, and viciously attack House Democratic leaders as Far Leftist radicals who don't care about the lives of the troops.

On one level, it's worth watching for the pure spectacle of seeing these individuals self-righteously parade around as defenders of the lives of The Troops who desperately want to avoid inflaming anti-American sentiment -- when these are the very same people who sent more than 4,000 American troops to their deaths in Iraq for a completely unnecessary war and, even more so, cheered on policies -- from torture to Guantanamo to the invasion itself -- that, as even General Petraeus, John McCain and numerous other military officials point out, sent anti-American sentiment to the highest levels ever. Now, suddenly, these very same people pretend to be so concerned about the lives of Troops and not doing anything to increase anger towards the U.S.

But even more important, perhaps seeing the arguments in favor of the suppression of these photos come out of the mouths of these individuals, rather than from Obama officials, will enable some people to see how bankrupt, manipulative and incoherent the arguments actually are: (watch the short video clips....)

Edited by Tom Scully
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You want to start impeachment proceedings against Obama, go right ahead.

I don't think it insulting to say that those who insist on the interrogation photos be released is voyueristic, as it most certainly is.

It will also inflame the passions of hatred against Americans abroad, especially those in arab countries, and those in Iraq and Afghanistan, and place them in more danger than they are already.

When I got an email from a right wing nut case with a speech Obama should have given to the Arabs, I said the same thing to that idiot.

Now I guess I'm caught in the middle, with one guy calling me a right wing Conservative pretending to be a libertarian, while I defend the liberal president for withholding military photos and impeachment.

You can mount the fight to impeach Obama and to pry the photos loose, I won't argue anymore about either issue.

My goal is to get Congressional oversight hearings on the JFK Act, free the remaining JFK records and spark a grand jury investigation of the assassination.

You want to argue about that and I'll listen to your arguments.

BK

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Washington Post's Dan Froomkin notices what has happened:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/white-hou...o-disclose.html

The president who came into office promising to restore our international reputation and return responsibility to government now seems

to be buying into the belief that covering up our sins is better than coming clean.....

I'd like to see opinions posted as to whether Obama was a stealth, right of center "planted" candidate, all the while.....or, he was sincerely a candidate "for change",

who was influenced to veer so obviously to the right, politically, so as to increase the odds that he would not end up like JFK.

-------------

Dan my vote is democratic rightist all along. He was blown by big media day 1. He said nothing. He was deliberately vague at every instance. All you have to do is compare him to the other candidates who were to the left, especially during previous campaigns. Above all he never tried to link issues and show the public that their causes had connections that could also result in a winning majority for change. This campaign was PURE PR from the outset, like no other in history.

THe CNN elections was Hilary v Obama for two and half years. NObody else was going to be given a chance. They were going to use either RACE OR GENDER TO BE THE CHANGE SO THAT THEY COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING ELSE AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.

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Guest Tom Scully

Well....Dan Froomkin is gone !

(Froomkin's firing today by the Washington Post's management is a good example of why I wince when I hear extremists refer to the "liberal" media!

It is an example of why I confidently declare that there is no "left" in the USA...there is no BALANCE in the political POV projected by corporatist controlled major media, USA news and political commentary ...just the projection of the establishment POV of two right wing major parties, one more extreme than the other.)

The single most transparent and damaging myth in American political discourse is also one of the most unquestioned: The Liberal Media.

http://wonkette.com/409290/washington-post-fires-froomkin

IMPORTANT LOCAL MEDIA NEWS

Washington Post Fires Froomkin!

....the very liberal Washington Post, which has abruptly fired its only liberal pundit, Dan Froomkin, who in past years did more than the rest of the Post op-ed staff combined to show how our beloved leaders George W. Bush and Richard “Dick” Cheney were careless law-breaking criminals from Hell....

.....UPDATE: We should add, as some commenters have pointed out, that the Post does still have Eugene Robinson, Harold Meyerson, and E.J. Dionne, who are graciously given a few words each week to write mild, agreeable left-center blurbs near the more respectable Krauthammer’s unresearched, vociferous war and torture death chants that importantly push the centrist position somewhere to the right of David Addington.

http://www.niemanlab.org/category/themes/danfroomkin/

Dan Froomkin: Why “playing it safe” is killing American newspapers

By Dan Froomkin / May 26 /....

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ombudsman...white_hous.html

Post Axes Froomkin's "White House Watch"

After five and a half years as a regular feature on the Web site, Dan Froomkin’s White House Watch column is being axed.

Froomkin was quietly passing the word today that he was told by The Post that his contract will be terminated in early July. ...

...."I’m terribly disappointed. I was told that it had been determined that my White House Watch blog wasn’t 'working' anymore. But from what I could tell, it was still working very well," Froomkin said. "I also thought White House Watch was a great fit with The Washington Post brand, and what its readers reasonably expect from the Post online."

"I think that the future success of our business depends on journalists enthusiastically pursuing accountability and calling it like they see it. That’s what I tried to do every day," he continued. "I’m not sure at this point what I’m going to do next. I may take White House Watch elsewhere, or may try something different."....

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/200...mkin/index.html

....Notably, Froomkin just recently had a somewhat acrimonious exchange with the oh-so-oppressed Krauthammer over torture, after Froomkin criticized Krauthammer's explicit endorsement of torture and Krauthammer responded by calling Froomkin's criticisms "stupid." And now -- weeks later -- Froomkin is fired by the Post while the persecuted Krauthammer, comparing himself to endangered journalists in Venezuela, remains at the Post, along with countless others there who think and write just like he does: i.e., standard neoconservative pablum. Froomkin was previously criticized for being "highly opinionated and liberal" by Post ombudsman Deborah Howell (even as she refused to criticize blatant right-wing journalists).

All of this underscores a critical and oft-overlooked point: what one finds virtually nowhere in the establishment press are those who criticize Obama not in order to advance their tawdry right-wing agenda but because the principles that led them to criticize Bush compel similar criticism of Obama. ...

Edited by Tom Scully
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