consultants are sandburs



Saturday, March 25, 2017

Deserving more than a closing paragraph link in the immediately preceding post (below), this from Amy Goodman's Democracy Now!

Dateline eight years ago today, March 25, 2009, Goodman's lead-in, "We speak with Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is attempting to block President Obama’s nominee to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Gary Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs employee. 'Gensler worked with Sen. Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan to exempt credit default swaps from regulation, which led to the collapse of A.I.G. and has resulted in the largest taxpayer bailout in U.S. history,' Sanders said. [includes rush transcript]"

Mid-item, this broadcast exchange:

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Well, I don’t know all of where Maxine is coming from in this, but I can tell you Gary Gensler was a partner at Goldman Sachs, as well, before he entered the Clinton administration.
AMY GOODMAN: So, what would his job be now, if he gets confirmed?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: He would be head of the Commodities Future Exchange Commission, which is a very important regulatory body. You may recall that when, among other things, the price of oil went up — the price of gas went up to $4 a gallon, there was a lot of belief on Congress and among the American people, and among the oil industry, I should tell you, that one of the reasons for this rapid increase in gas prices had to do with speculation coming from Wall Street. The Commodities Futures Exchange Commission under Bush was very, very weak in taking a look at that. And obviously we want somebody to be very strong and to look — looking at futures trading and excessive speculation. That would be, among other things, the job that Gensler would have.
AMY GOODMAN: Senator Sanders, what about the AIG bonuses? Where do you stand on this? The House passed the 90 percent tax on them.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Well, I mean, you know, my phone is ringing off the hook, Amy. And I think what these bonuses is about is just another example of the incredible arrogance of Wall Street. And we need to understand what these people have done. You’re looking at a few dozen huge financial institutions who, through their greed, their recklessness, and I think through their illegal behavior, has the — impacted the lives of hundreds of millions of people around this world, caused massive job loss. People are losing their savings. They’re losing their homes. They’re losing their hope. The incredible greed and arrogance that we have seen on Wall Street is unprecedented, certainly since the early Depression and the people who took us into that depression. So, for those people to say, “Give us a bonus for this fine work that we have done in destroying the American economy,” is literally beyond comprehension.
One of the things that we are fighting for, Amy, is a major and thorough investigation as to how we got into this disaster, who the people are who are responsible for that. We need the Department of Justice to engage in criminal prosecution, because I think some of these people know a lot more than they are telling us. And I think there is probably illegal behavior at the very top of the pyramid on Wall Street.
But we need a new Wall Street. We need a Wall Street which is not based on pushing exotic financial instruments that nobody understands, where CEOs are making unbelievable amounts of money. We need a Wall Street where it gets back to important banking, which makes sure that the American people and small business and businesses, in general, which create jobs, can get the money that we need. So we need a revolution, I think, in the way we do financing in this country, and I hope that this disaster on Wall Street will wake the American people up to move us in that direction.
AMY GOODMAN: Is the Obama administration, is President Obama, just trying to restore the system? I mean, Timothy Geithner yesterday laying out the $1 trillion plan of what many are calling socializing the debt and privatizing the profit.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Again, I — in this, I am a supporter of Barack Obama. I think, for example, the stimulus package that we worked with him on is the most important piece of legislation that we have passed in many, many decades, not only creating millions of good jobs, but in fact changing the national priorities of this country, in terms of energy, in terms of paying attention to our kids, in terms of rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. So I think, in many ways, what Barack Obama has inherited from the disaster of eight years of Bush is just an extraordinary set of problems, and I think he’s doing a really good job.
I think, again, in terms of how you deal with Wall Street and their power and their arrogance — and the fear that many of us have is that these guys are willing to bring down everything in order to protect their positions of power. It ain’t easy to deal with. It really is not. But I — all I would repeat is that I would like to see some new and progressive voices, people who don’t come from Wall Street, who look at the world a little bit different, help the President address this very, very difficult crisis.
AMY GOODMAN: Senator Sanders, you’re the independent senator from Vermont. For years, you called yourself a socialist. You hear the Republicans saying we’re not going to socialize this, for example, healthcare, etc. What is socialism? And where do you think it applies today?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Well, I think if people take a good look at what has gone on in Scandinavia, in Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, some other European countries, what they will find is that the people in those countries have good quality healthcare which is virtually free. Workers have, in some cases, thirty, forty days paid vacation. A college education in many of these countries is either free or virtually free. At a time when our country has an 18 percent rate of childhood poverty, which leads to so many people ending up in jail, in many of these countries the poverty rate for kids, and poverty in general, is three, four, five percent. Workers are more likely to be members of unions and have more power on their jobs to protect their own interests. People’s interest in politics and the political process is greater. So I think what you have seen is governments which are more responsive to the needs of working people and the middle class than certainly is in this country, where, among other things, we have by far the highest rate of inequality, in terms of distribution of wealth and income, of any major country on earth.
So what democratic socialism means to me is having a government which represents the middle class and working people, which guarantees the basic necessities of life for all of our people. Healthcare, obviously, has got to be a right, not a privilege. We need to make sure that our kids get off to a good start in life, not seeing so many kids living in poverty, childcare being the disastrous disaster that it is right now with so many working families unable to find quality affordable childcare. In other words, a government which works to protect all of the people, rather than, as we have right now, governments for so many years which have protected the needs of the very wealthy and the powerful large corporations.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you consider yourself a socialist today?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Democratic socialist, yes.
AMY GOODMAN: Are you for single payer.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Yeah, I am.

Sidebar item on that Democracy Now! post: Sanders Votes No on Geithner: "[He's] More of a Part of the Problem...Than the Solution"

Bernie did NOT come out of nowhere without ideas in 2016 just to be a thorn in the side of the Podesta/Clinton Juggernaut. He was always Bernie. Bernie then, now, and in the future. As waffle free as anybody who's spent any time whatsoever in Washington, DC. Refreshingly consistent over decades. A well-intentioned caring gentleman.

UPDATE: If at first you don't succeed, don't punt, try again. Is there a suggestion Sanders has another try in him, for the Presidency? We wait to see.

____________FURTHER UPDATE_____________
ZeroHedge on Gensler, Dec. 4, 2011, views the man unfavorably, along the lines Sanders expressed in the Amy Goodman interview with overlap but also additional detail, and in the course of fleshing out the viewpoint, ZeroHedge links to Salon, "WEDNESDAY, OCT 27, 2010 07:30 AM CDT --- Barack Obama: The oligarchs’ president," here, with this prescient mid-item excerpt:

It is, in short, overwhelmingly clear that President Obama and his administration decided to side with the oligarchs — or at least not to challenge them. This raises the question of why they have made this choice, and whether it is a correct (in the sense of rationally self-interested) calculation on their part.

As to the “why,” several explanations have been proposed. One is that the president, as a matter of individual psychology, is extremely conflict-averse, preferring to avoid fights no matter how important. A second hypothesis is that the president is simply doing the most he can, given the political climate and the furious lobbying effort with which he is confronted. This explanation, however, is belied by the personnel appointments, among other evidence.

A more disturbing possibility is that the Obama administration has simply codified a new strategic equilibrium in American politics, one first devised by the Clinton administration, in which both parties are supine with regard to the financial sector and the wealthy.

The objection to this view is that there is some evidence, in conventional political terms, that the Obama strategy of giving in to Wall Street might be a mistake. The economy remains in bad shape, bad enough to be a major political handicap, and will likely stay that way for several years. Democrats are having trouble fundraising (from individuals, at least; interest group donors remain plentiful), union voters may desert them, and it looks like Republicans and the Tea Party will make substantial inroads in the midterm elections. The liberal media, most prominently the Huffington Post but many other outlets as well, have turned sharply critical of administration policy. And my own conversations with friends and colleagues have revealed a deep, angry disillusionment with Obama.

But consider the situation more broadly. If the two parties both lie down for Wall Street in roughly equal measure, but fight viciously over other issues, it is possible to construct a stable strategic equilibrium. At the margin, the Democrats are slightly less favorable to business, at least for unionized industries, but nobody upsets the financial sector apple cart.

This angers much of the Democratic base. But the Democrats avoid the epic confrontation that would surely ensue if they were to take on the financial sector, which would retaliate with a massively funded effort. Instead, the two parties fight furiously, or at least pretend to fight furiously, about a wide range of other social issues that affect many voters deeply — abortion, gay rights, gun control, stem cell research, creationism, global warming, health insurance and so on. Each side can credibly warn its base that if it deserts the party, apocalypse may follow. So, while some citizens may register as independents, or stop voting, or stop donating to the system, the entrenched establishments of both parties will remain safe.

Foreseeing the Biden/Perez scuttling of Sanders/Ellison reform hopes among Dem Inner Party honchos at the recent DNC convention, back in a 2010 item, per the final quoted sentence, is startling but highly depressing in its truth.

Next, with Phil Gramm mentioned by Sanders and by ZeroHedge, one arguably can make the scorn reach the Gramm spouses; per this link.

Frontline, here.

Trump supine to Wall Street should surprise nobody but chumps who listened and believed, and voted accordingly. Chumps now getting the business from the businessman they elected, some perhaps still wearing "Great Again" caps while being incapable of seeing or smelling realities. Indeed, Clinton's sole positive is she might, and might not, have been better on things other than an equivalent supine positioning to Goldman Sachs and cronies. Some note the saying, "Love of money is the root of all evil," as meaning mainstream Repubilcans and Democrats are together rooted in evil. It is a thought not without merit. Honesty for most sentient people, rings honest. Bernie is honest, and is rooted elsewhere than in love of money. Joe Biden seems a different story. Reform beckons. Hard effort and defeat are likely, but how the hell can you stand things without trying?

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