Obama's Katrina Moment: Is It Here This Soon?
By Number Six
Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 09:18 AM
Got to hand it to Frank Rich at the New York Times for this little and yes, acidic piece. It's an eye-opener to truth, justice and the American way.
We just need Superman, don't we?...
Frank pulls no punches, either:
A CHARMING visit with Jay Leno won’t fix it. A 90 percent tax on bankers’ bonuses won’t fix it. Firing Timothy Geithner won’t fix it. Unless and until Barack Obama addresses the full depth of Americans’ anger with his full arsenal of policy smarts and political gifts, his presidency and, worse, our economy will be paralyzed. It would be foolish to dismiss as hyperbole the stark warning delivered by Paulette Altmaier of Cupertino, Calif., in a letter to the editor published by The Times last week: “President Obama may not realize it yet, but his Katrina moment has arrived.”Ehhh. Damn. And this soon, barely 100 days into a new era, eh?
"Katrina moment". It's just entered the American lexicon. It's when the public snaps to and realizes that the administration can't find its collective ass with either hand.
Has it already happened? And so soon? Did we elect Bush III and not realize it?
Bob Schieffer of CBS asked Summers the simple question that has haunted the American public since the bailouts began last fall: “Do you know, Dr. Summers, what the banks have done with all of this money that has been funneled to them through these bailouts?” What followed was a monologue of evasion that, translated into English, amounted to: Not really, but you little folk needn’t worry about it.Ah, and who used to work for Goldy Sacks, pray tell?
Yet even as Summers spoke, A.I.G. was belatedly confirming what he would not. It has, in essence, been laundering its $170 billion in taxpayers’ money by paying off its reckless partners in gambling and greed, from Goldman Sachs and Citigroup on Wall Street to Société Générale and Deutsche Bank abroad.
Granted, this entire bailout clusterfuck was one of the last acts of the sinking HMS Dubya, and Hank Paulson's stupid "Just write them a check and they'll go away" bullshit.
But, there exists a fire spreading: Mounting public anger.
Since Americans get the big picture of this inequitable system, that grotesque reality dwarfs any fine print. That’s why it doesn’t matter that the disputed bonuses at A.I.G. amount to less than one-tenth of one percent of its bailout. Or that CNBC — with 300,000 viewers on a typical day by Nielsen’s measure — is a relatively minor player in the crash. Or that Edward Liddy had nothing to do with A.I.G.’s collapse, or that John Thain, of the celebrated trash can, arrived after, not before, others wrecked Merrill Lynch.Translation: We put our widdle 401K's into play, whilst the read Lords Of The Sith sit in the back rooms and play Keno. And the game about destroyed everything when it was raided, yes. Many I know have had to return to work, their retirement funds...decimated.
These prominent players are just the handiest camera-ready triggers for the larger rage. Passions are now so hot that even Bernie Madoff’s crimes began to pale as we turned our attention to A.I.G.’s misdeeds, just as A.I.G. will fade when the next malefactor surfaces.
What made Jon Stewart’s takedown of Jim Cramer resonate was less his specific brief against CNBC’s cheerleading for bad stocks than his larger indictment of the gaping economic inequality that defined the bubble. As Stewart said, there were “two markets” — the long-term market that Americans earnestly thought would sustain their 401(k)’s, and the fast-moving, short-term “real market” in the back room where high-rolling insiders wagered “giant piles of money” and brought down everyone with them.
And wonder why they're so royally pissed?
As the nation’s anger rose last week, the president took responsibility for what’s happening on his watch — more than he needed to, given the disaster he inherited. But in the credit mess, action must match words. To fall short would be to deliver us into the catastrophic hands of a Republican opposition whose only known economic program is to reject job-creating stimulus spending and root for Obama and, by extension, the country to fail. With all due deference to Ponzi schemers from Madoff to A.I.G., this would be the biggest outrage of them all.A second bailout, I pray, won't happen, not if Barney Frank and others in Congress have their say on this issue. It's quite simple: The banks got into financial hot water, begged Unca Sammy for some loot, and relooted, decided to go off on the usual bullshit they always do...expensive lunches, hiring rock bands to play birthday parties, and yes, handing out bonuses to fucking dickwads who played to line their pockets, whilst AIG was melting down.
Others have commented besides me: Keith O, a fiery tirade, with the word...ENOUGH...as the catch phrase. Enough, yes. Enough lies, enough extravagance and if some motherfucking banker wants sympathy from moi, I remind such that it can be found in Webster's part-ways between shit and syphillis.
I, personally, am working and busting ass, like everyone else to keep my head above the tide. I do not want or like the idea that the tax monies I supply are keeping some in payments on their Rolls, got me?
And I am not alone. Mention "AIG" around, and I see a lot of fellow rednecks get that "gonna whup me some ass" look. Quite a danger with some, yes.
Rich's point? President Obama may have walked barefoot into a minefield, and dancing out doesn't work. Summers and Geithher both need their asses kicked, and with golf shoes, yes.
The same crap that caused the last mess has now caused this one, and Mr. Obama had quickly better learn how to channel the ghost of Roosevelt and at wF(20) or faster.
Otherwise, he's looking at one term, a possible return of Rethugs to congress, and, just possibly...a civil uprising. Remember those fiery protests in Greece, Iceland, Russia? They may well be coming soon to a Wall Street near you.
Act fast, Mr. President. Ahead, warp one.