Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Avarice, Fraud, Thievery and a Pimple

Post 9/11 2018 is an excellent time to consider where we are going as a nation. In fact, it will serve us well to look at who we have become and who we want to become.

With that thought in mind, here are two discussions for your consideration.

The first helps us understand that we have made zero progress since the 2008 “recession” devastated our nation. I do mean devastated. Because from my Michigan perspective, we suffered a 10-year economic depression brought on, in large part, by predatory bankers and outright fraud. (Have you forgotten the millions who lost their homes; the failed businesses; and the unscrupulous debt collectors”?) And, worse, the bankster frauders were rewarded with billions in public money bailouts while homeowners suffer without relief and were forced to overcome financial ruin “by pulling themselves up by the bootstraps”, if they managed to hang on to their boots from the layers of blood-sucking bill collectors.

The second discussion confronts us with the certain realization that we are not the people we believe ourselves to be. In fact, Mr. Trump is a manifestation of the people we have allowed ourselves to be.

Oh, my!

The questions which perplex me are: How and when will we as a people decide we’ve had enough? When will we end the scamming, fraud and thievery not only condoned by our society but seemingly cherished by it? And, finally, honestly, do you believe you and your children and grandchildren, are well served by, “a pimple on the face of the Presidency”, a President who is “merely a noxious, venal, and ineffectual blowhard, who has assembled a team of associates who are themselves, with few exceptions, noxious, venal, or ineffectual”? When will we as a people take responsibility for correcting our government and force it to serve our interests— the interests of the 99.9%?

When Timothy Geithner Defied Barack Obama, Jacob Sugarman, 11 Sept 2018

“Less than a week after The New York Times ran an op-ed by an anonymous Trump administration official openly challenging the president’s fitness for office, the question of who wrote the piece continues to vex Beltway pundits and the White House alike. But Donald Trump is hardly the first occupant of the Oval Office to face insubordination, potentially from somebody in his inner circle. As The New Republic’s David Dayen reminds us, Timothy Geithner’s “refusal to obey his boss” altered the course of the Great Recession—and likely set us on a path toward Trump’s election.”

“In March 2009, the U.S. economy was imploding. Citigroup had reported losses in excess of $8 billion the previous quarter, and two government bailouts totaling $45 billion, along with an additional $306 billion in loan guarantees, had proved insufficient to right the ship. While President Barack Obama had publicly dismissed nationalizing the country’s most distressed banks, Larry Summer—then National Economic Council director—was intrigued by the idea, so Obama ordered the Treasury Department to explore a radical restructuring of Citigroup.”

“Geithner simply didn’t follow the request,” writes Dayen, citing “Confidence Men” author Ron Suskind. “It was a classic Washington move: When your boss asks for something you don’t like, just ignore it and hope that the request isn’t necessary when the boss follows up.”

“Geithner adamantly rejected this account, telling Suskind, “I don’t slow-walk the president on anything.” But as Dayen notes, Obama tacitly admitted that that was what happened, expressing his frustration with “the speed with which the bureaucracy could exercise my decision.” -more-

After Trump, The Donald in the Rearview Mirror, Andrew J. Bacevich, Tomgram. 11 Sept 2018.

“Donald Trump’s tenure as the 45th U.S. president may last another few weeks, another year, or another 16 months.  However unsettling the prospect, the leaky vessel that is the S.S. Trump might even manage to stay afloat for a second term.  Nonetheless, recent headline-making revelations suggest that, like some derelict ship that's gone aground, the Trump presidency may already have effectively run its course. What, then, does this bizarre episode in American history signify?”

“Let me state my own view bluntly: forget the atmospherics.  Despite the lies, insults, name calling, and dog whistles, almost nothing of substance has changed. Nor will it.”

“To a far greater extent than Trump’s perpetually hyperventilating critics are willing to acknowledge, the United States remains on a trajectory that does not differ appreciably from what it was prior to POTUS #45 taking office. Post-Trump America, just now beginning to come into view, is shaping up to look remarkably like pre-Trump America.”

“I understand that His Weirdness remains in the White House. Yet for all practical purposes, Trump has ceased to govern. True, he continues to rant and issue bizarre directives, which his subordinates implement, amend, or simply disregard as they see fit. “

“Except in a ceremonial sense, the office of the presidency presently lies vacant. Call it an abdication-in-place. It’s as if British King Edward VIII, having abandoned his throne for “the woman I love,” continued to hang around Buckingham Palace fuming about the lack of respect given Wallis and releasing occasional bulletins affirming his admiration for Adolf Hitler.”

“In Trump’s case, it’s unlikely he ever had a more serious interest in governing than Edward had in performing duties more arduous than those he was eventually assigned as Duke of Windsor. Nonetheless, the 60-plus million Americans who voted for Trump did so with at least the expectation that he was going to shake things up.”

“And bigly. Remember, he was going to “lock her up.”  He would “drain the swamp” and “build a wall” with Mexico volunteering to foot the bill. Without further ado, he would end “this American carnage.” Meanwhile, “America First” would form the basis for U.S. foreign policy. Once Trump took charge, things were going to be different, as he and he alone would “make America great again.”

“Yet the cataclysm that Trump’s ascendency was said to signify has yet to occur. Barring a nuclear war, it won’t.” -more-

So, in classic, Dirty-Hairy-"Do you feel lucky?"-tone, we ask ourselves this question: "Are you ready (to do something about these problems... or not?

Do you feel lucky?

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