Progressive Calendar 07.03.09
From: David Shove (
Date: Fri, 3 Jul 2009 02:45:29 -0700 (PDT)
                P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   07.03.09

1. Satchel/KFAI       7.03 11am
2. Lordy it's FFUNCH  7.03 11:30am
3. Palestine vigil    7.03 4:15pm
4. Moyers/Chny/crisis 7.03 9pm
5. Rosemary/sale      7.03-05

6. Peace walk         7.04 9am Cambridge MN
7. Northtown vigil    7.04 2pm
8. Jeanine Estime     7.04 3pm

9. Ralph Nader       - Ignoring propethic predictors
10. Chalmers Johnson - How to deal with America's empire of bases
11. Nikolas Kozloff  - Spinning the Honduran coup
12. Andrew Cockburn  - The Wall Street White House
13. ed               - Too good for the rich  (bumpersticker)

--------1 of 13--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: Satchel/KFAI 7.03 11am

Fri.July 3, 11am on CATALYST/KFAI Radio
Hear an interview with author LARRY TYE talking about his new
history-through-biography SATCHEL, about Negro Leagues and Baseball Hall
of Fame pitcher SATCHEL PAIGE. A look at Jim Crow segregation in the South
(and the North and the Midwest) from the 1920s through the life of the
baseball palyer that many think SHOULD have cracked the major leagues,
instead of Jackie Robinson. Tye's previous book RISING FROM THE RAILS was
the history of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first
African-American labor union. He makes histgory come alive!

CATALYST:politics & culture,hosted by LYDIA HOWELL who will also be guest
hosting KFAI's ART MATTERS,Thursdays, 7pm in JULY. KFAI Radio 90.3fm Mpls
106.7fm St.Paul LIVE-STE+REAMING.archived or 2 weeks after broadcaSt on
the CATALYST page at:

--------2 of 13--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: Lordy it's FFUNCH 7.03 11:30am

YES we';re meeting even tho the Big Blank Weekend looms ahead, the weekend
everyone is SomeWhere Else (god knows or cares where). But this Friday a
few of the Stalwart Regulars (no sunshine eaters/talkers they) will
assemble at Day By Day! Not even The Fourth can stop us! Upward! Onward!

Join us.

Ffunch 7.03 11:30am
First Friday Lunch (FFUNCH) for progressives.
Informal political talk and hanging out.

Day By Day Cafe 477 W 7th Av St Paul.
Meet on the far south side.

Day By Day has soups, salads, sandwiches, and dangerous
apple pie; is close to downtown St Paul & on major bus lines

--------3 of 13---------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 7.03 4:15pm

the weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the
intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul.  the Friday demo
starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30.  there are usually extra signs

--------4 of 13--------

From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at]>
Subject: Moyers/Chny/crisis 7.03 9pm

Bill Moyers Journal | Faith and Social Justice

Bill Moyers Journal: "This week, 'Bill Moyers Journal' gets insight from
three leading public thinkers who taught a unique course - 'Christianity
and the U.S. Crisis' - at Union Theological Seminary, the oldest
nondenominational seminary in the country."

--------5 of 13--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Rosemary/sale 7.03-05

People's Bailout: Estate/Moving Sale for Rosemary Williams

July 3, 4 and 5 3138 Clinton Avenue South, Minneapolis. Minneapolis
resident Rosemary Williams, who has lived in the same house for 26
years, is the standard bearer for home foreclosures and has been at
the center of the struggle. NEWS ON HER CASE: Rosemary did not receive
an eviction notice this week. GMAC has temporarily backed off from the
eviction and offered to significantly lower the price to $90,000.00
for which they will sell Rosemary her home (GMAC bought her home at a
sheriff's sale). However, they will not finance the mortgage. They
have given her until July 10 to produce documentation showing she has
secured financing. If she is not able to do so by the 10th, they have
said they will give her additional time to vacate her home. We're glad
that Rosemary has more time in her home and a chance to keep it.
However, there will still be an estate sale. Items include: children^s
clothing, shoes, jewelry, furniture (petal style kitchen table, sofa,
shelves, dressers, grandfather clock), books, electronics, vases, and

Sponsored by: the Minnesota Coalition for a People's Bailout. WAMM is a
member of the Minnesota Coalition for a People's Bailout. FFI and Updates:
Call 612-822-8020 or visit

--------6 of 13--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 7.04 9am Cambridge MN

every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM
Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street

--------7 of 13--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 7.04 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday

--------8 of 13---------

From: farheen [at]
Subject: Jeanine Estime 7.04 3pm

4th of July Green Party Candidate Afternoon fundraiser!

Jeanine Estime is a wonderful Green Party candidate running for city
council in Minneapolis!  On Saturday 7/4/09 starting at 3:00 in the
afternoon until 6:00 in the afternoon there will be a fundraiser for
Jeanine at the home of Paul Busch and Claire Welter, 1523 Laurel Avenue,
St. Paul, MN 55104.

There will be:
 *   Masseuse (the wonderful Andrea Sullivan)
 *   Violin music (the wonderful Mary)
 *   Great Vegan and Vegetarian food

Come and have a soothing afternoon before the fireworks!

Come and here Jeanine Estime talk about her Green vision for Minneapolis.
Jeanine's main issues are:
 *   Cooperative solutions for the foreclosure crisis
 *   Protecting our civil rights
 *   Enhancing the potential of youth programs

See everyone 7/4/09 at Paul and Claire's house!  Let's turn the twin
cities Green!

Check out Jeanine's website

--------9 of 13--------

Ignoring Propethic Predictors
by Ralph Nader
Thursday, July 2, 2009

I've wondered often why people who go to "town meetings" held by
campaigning politicians rarely ask fundamental questions.

Here is one that should have been asked of presidential candidate Barack
Obama: "If you get to the White House, will you appoint to top positions
Americans who have a track record of making the right decisions in their
respective fields?"

"Of course, I will," Obama would have undoubtedly replied.

Of course, he did not when it came to the collapse of the corrupt Wall
Street casinos and the bailout of these gamblers by the American people.
Obama chose the very Wall Streeters and Wall Street servants who were
involved in, condoned, or profited from the speculative binges that led to
the biggest government bailout scheme in world history. The President's
explanation is that he wants experienced people who know how Wall Street
works. Yeah, right! In reality, he wanted political cover.

Something very important is missing when even people who are part of the
ruling establishment are ignored, marginalized, or ridiculed even though
their detailed, public warnings prove to be all too accurate.

Consider billionaire, Ross Perot. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, Ross, as
everyone calls him, was right on General Motors, right on NAFTA trade, and
right on the federal deficits.

In 1984, he joined the Board of Directors of GM after selling his
successful company, EDS, to the auto giant. He could scarcely believe how
stodgy, bureaucratic, and insensitive GM executives were in running the
company. He tried to shake up the boys at the top to meet the fast-growing
competition from Asia and Europe.

The GM brass couldn't stand Ross "at large" probing up and down the
company, so in 1986 they bought out his shares in return for him leaving
the Board.

Two years later, reflecting on his experience at GM with a reporter from
Fortune, Perot called the "General Motors system a blanket of fog that
keeps people from doing what they know needs to be done."

Warming up, Perot continued: "One day I made a speech to some senior
executives. I said, "Okay, guys, I'm going to give you the whole code on
what's wrong. You don't like your customers. You don't like your dealers.
You don't like the people who make your cars. You don't like your
stockholders. And, to a large extent, you don't like one another. For this
company to win, we're going to have to love our customers. We're going to
have to stop fretting about dealers who make too much money and hope they
make $1 billion a year though us. The guys on the factory floor are the
salt of the earth - not mad-dog, rabid, burn-the-plant-down radicals. And
all this sniping at one another - the financial guys vs. the cars guys -
is terribly destructive.'"

GM didn't listen to Ross. Now, after a long, relentless slide, GM is
bankrupt, abandoning their workers, two thousand of their dealers, and
their customers' grievances. Moreover, GM is into the U.S. taxpayer for
over $70 billion.

Perot devoted much of his 1993 published book Save Your Job, Save Our
Country to NAFTA and trade. Looking back, he was right most of the time.
NAFTA cost more U.S. jobs than it created, generated a huge U.S. trade
deficit with Mexico, and mainly benefited the "36 businessmen who own
Mexico's 39 largest conglomerates or over half of Mexico's Gross National

The border-located maquiladora factories have high worker turnover and
squeeze the laborers in often unsafe conditions for little pay.

Here is how Perot described the scene behind the boasting of Washington,
DC, and corporations about the large increase in trade after NAFTA:

"Most of the goods produced in the maquiladoras are shipped into the U.S.
market. Consequently, most of the so-called trade between the U.S. and
Mexico is not trade as trade is commonly understood. Rather, it is
primarily U.S. companies shipping their own machinery, components, and raw
materials across the border into their Mexican factories and then shipping
their finished or semi-finished goods back over the border into the U.S."
A good deal of the U.S. auto industry went south after NAFTA, leaving
workers and communities stranded in Michigan and other states. Bankrupt
Chrysler is planning to move a modern, award-winning engine plant in
Wisconsin to Mexico after receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer

On Perot's nationally-televised deficit warnings (with charts), what more
need be said? Even he did not envision what would pile up after his
clarion calls. The burden on the next generation and the tax dollars
diverted from our country's needs to pay the interest on these trillions
of dollars of debt were pointed out again and again nearly twenty years
ago by the Texas entrepreneur. He even has a website (
updating the red ink.

In Bush's and Obama's Washington, there is no room for Perot to gain
visibility and recognition.

It is one thing for the Washington politicians to ignore prescient
progressive commentators, like William Grieder, who have been
prophetically right on. It is quite another escape from reality to turn
their backs on leaders within the business establishment itself.

There are many like Perot who must be watching the day's news and saying
"we told you so, but you didn't listen then and you are not listening

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent
book is The Seventeen Traditions.

--------10 of 13--------

How to Deal with America's Empire of Bases
A Modest Proposal for Garrisoned Lands
by Chalmers Johnson
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Common Dreams

The U.S. Empire of Bases - at $102 billion a year already the world's
costliest military enterprise - just got a good deal more expensive. As a
start, on May 27th, we learned that the State Department will build a new
"embassy" in Islamabad, Pakistan, which at $736 million will be the second
priciest ever constructed, only $4 million less, if cost overruns don't
occur, than the Vatican-City-sized one the Bush administration put up in
Baghdad. The State Department was also reportedly planning to buy the
five-star Pearl Continental Hotel (complete with pool) in Peshawar, near
the border with Afghanistan, to use as a consulate and living quarters for
its staff there.

Unfortunately for such plans, on June 9th Pakistani militants rammed a
truck filled with explosives into the hotel, killing 18 occupants,
wounding at least 55, and collapsing one entire wing of the structure.
There has been no news since about whether the State Department is still
going ahead with the purchase.

Whatever the costs turn out to be, they will not be included in our
already bloated military budget, even though none of these structures is
designed to be a true embassy - a place, that is, where local people come
for visas and American officials represent the commercial and diplomatic
interests of their country. Instead these so-called embassies will
actually be walled compounds, akin to medieval fortresses, where American
spies, soldiers, intelligence officials, and diplomats try to keep an eye
on hostile populations in a region at war. One can predict with certainty
that they will house a large contingent of Marines and include roof-top
helicopter pads for quick get-aways.

While it may be comforting for State Department employees working in
dangerous places to know that they have some physical protection, it must
also be obvious to them, as well as the people in the countries where they
serve, that they will now be visibly part of an in-your-face American
imperial presence. We shouldn't be surprised when militants attacking the
U.S. find one of our base-like embassies, however heavily guarded, an
easier target than a large military base.

And what is being done about those military bases anyway - now close to
800 of them dotted across the globe in other people's countries? Even as
Congress and the Obama administration wrangle over the cost of bank
bailouts, a new health plan, pollution controls, and other much needed
domestic expenditures, no one suggests that closing some of these
unpopular, expensive imperial enclaves might be a good way to save some

Instead, they are evidently about to become even more expensive. On June
23rd, we learned that Kyrgyzstan, the former Central Asian Soviet Republic
which, back in February 2009, announced that it was going to kick the U.S.
military out of Manas Air Base (used since 2001 as a staging area for the
Afghan War), has been persuaded to let us stay. But here's the catch: In
return for doing us that favor, the annual rent Washington pays for use of
the base will more than triple from $17.4 million to $60 million, with
millions more to go into promised improvements in airport facilities and
other financial sweeteners. All this because the Obama administration,
having committed itself to a widening war in the region, is convinced it
needs this base to store and trans-ship supplies to Afghanistan.

I suspect this development will not go unnoticed in other countries where
Americans are also unpopular occupiers. For example, the Ecuadorians have
told us to leave Manta Air Base by this November. Of course, they have
their pride to consider, not to speak of the fact that they don't like
American soldiers mucking about in Colombia and Peru. Nonetheless, they
could probably use a spot more money.

And what about the Japanese who, for more than 57 years, have been paying
big bucks to host American bases on their soil? Recently, they reached a
deal with Washington to move some American Marines from bases on Okinawa
to the U.S. territory of Guam. In the process, however, they were forced
to shell out not only for the cost of the Marines' removal, but also to
build new facilities on Guam for their arrival. Is it possible that they
will now take a cue from the government of Kyrgyzstan and just tell the
Americans to get out and pay for it themselves? Or might they at least
stop funding the same American military personnel who regularly rape
Japanese women (at the rate of about two per month) and make life
miserable for whoever lives near the 38 U.S. bases on Okinawa. This is
certainly what the Okinawans have been hoping and praying for ever since
we arrived in 1945.

In fact, I have a suggestion for other countries that are getting a bit
weary of the American military presence on their soil: cash in now, before
it's too late. Either up the ante or tell the Americans to go home. I
encourage this behavior because I'm convinced that the U.S. Empire of
Bases will soon enough bankrupt our country, and so - on the analogy of a
financial bubble or a pyramid scheme - if you're an investor, it's better
to get your money out while you still can.

This is, of course, something that has occurred to the Chinese and other
financiers of the American national debt. Only they're cashing in quietly
and slowly in order not to tank the dollar while they're still holding
onto such a bundle of them. Make no mistake, though: whether we're being
bled rapidly or slowly, we are bleeding; and hanging onto our military
empire and all the bases that go with it will ultimately spell the end of
the United States as we know it.

Count on this, future generations of Americans traveling abroad decades
from now won't find the landscape dotted with near-billion-dollar

Chalmers Johnson is the author of three linked books on the crises of
American imperialism and militarism.  They are Blowback (2000), The
Sorrows of Empire (2004), and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American
Republic (Metropolitan Books, 2006). All are available in paperback from
Metropolitan Books. A retired professor of international relations from
the University of California (Berkeley and San Diego campuses) and the
author of some seventeen books primarily on the politics and economics of
East Asia, Johnson is president of the Japan Policy Research Institute. To
listen to a TomDispatch audio interview with Johnson on the Pentagon's
potential economic death spiral, click here.

--------11 of 13--------

Spinning the Honduran Coup
Latin America Media Battle Continues
July 2, 2009

Read or listen to the mainstream media these days and you get the
impression that Sunday's coup in Honduras was all about a simple
disagreement over the constitutionality of presidential term limits. But
as the coup unfolds it's becoming clear that the authorities want
something more: the restoration of Honduras's conservative political order
and an end to President Manuel Zelaya's independent foreign policy which
had reached out to leftist countries like Cuba and Venezuela.

As part of their effort to consolidate power officials have moved quickly
to restrain the free flow of information, in particular by cracking down
on progressive leaning media. Only TV stations sympathetic to the newly
installed coup regime have been left alone while others have been shut
down. The climate of repression is similar to what we have seen elsewhere
in Latin America in recent years. Specifically, there are eerie parallels
to the April, 2002 coup in Venezuela when the briefly installed right wing
government imposed a media blackout to further its own political ends.

Perhaps somewhat tellingly, the Honduran army cut off local broadcasts of
the Telesur news network which is sponsored by leftist governments
including Venezuela, Uruguay, Argentina and Cuba. Adriana Sivori,
Telesur's correspondent in Tegucigalpa, was in her hotel room speaking on
the telephone to her network when ten soldiers arrived with rifles drawn.
The men unplugged Telesur's editing equipment in an effort to halt the
network's coverage of protests in support of ousted President Manuel

When a soldier lightly slapped Sivori's hand so she would hang up, the
journalist grew alarmed. "They're taking us prisoner at gunpoint," she
remarked. Sivori along with producer Mara Jos Daz and cameraman Larry
Snchez were taken to an immigration office in a military caravan. There,
the authorities beat them and demanded to see their Honduran visas.
Shortly later, the journalists were released. However, the authorities
have warned Telesur journalists to cease transmitting images in support of
Zelaya or face further detention.

What is so important about Telesur in particular? In my latest book,
Revolution! South America and the Rise of the New Left (Palgrave, 2008) I
devote considerable attention to the rise of the new station, itself a
product of South America's stormy political battles and contested media
landscape. First launched in 2005, Telesur represents Venezuela's effort
to counteract the power of the right wing media establishment which played
a role in the short-lived April coup of 2002 against the Chavez
government. Seen as South Ameica's answer to Al Jazeera and CNN, the
station has been spearheaded by Andrs Izarra, up until recently the
station's president. A rising star in the Chavez administration, Izarra
got his start as a journalist at NBC and CNN. Disgusted by right wing
media coverage of the 2002 coup, he started to work for Telesur.

Since its launch, Telesur has given CNN en Espaol a run for its money and
now has slick production values. Station Director Aram Aharonian says the
news industry has gone through a dumbing down since the Gulf War.
Journalism, Aharonian remarked to me during our interview in Caracas, had
become instantaneous but also devoid of any investigation, analysis or
debate. Telesur, by contrast, was "rescuing" journalistic ethics by
providing context and opinions about goings-on. While you can expect to
see more critical coverage of the Iraq War on Telesur than most mainstream
U.S. media outlets, Aharonian says Telesur is independent and doesn't have
any particular political axe to grind.

Such assurances aside, the conservative establishment views Telesur as a
threat. When the station announced a content-sharing agreement with Al
Jazeera in 2006, Connie Mack, a right-wing Republican congressman from
Florida, remarked that the decision was designed to create a "global
television network for terrorists". In light of Sivori's recent detention,
one may surmise that the Honduran coup regime agrees with Mack's
hysterical views.

In Latin America, media has become a crucial fault line in the battle
between the pro-U.S. elite and the incipient left "Pink Tide" which has
been sweeping into power. In Honduras, the coup regime has not only gone
after Telesur but also Channel 8, the official broadcaster of the Zelaya
government. The moves prompted Venezuela's official Bolivarian News Agency
as well as Cuba's Granma newspaper to issue formal letters of protest.
Meanwhile a climate of fear and intimidation reigns throughout the
capital, with networks providing scant coverage of political protest.
Soldiers are reportedly guarding local television and radio stations.

In recent years Zelaya had been embroiled in a war with the conservative
private media in the country. Now that the President is gone, these
outlets have rallied in defense of the coup regime. Honduras' two leading
radio networks, Radio America and Radio HRN, have urged Hondurans to
resume their normal routine and not to protest. Even as hundreds of
protesters rallied at the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa to demand
Zelaya's reinstatement, radio and TV stations made little reference to the
demonstrations. Instead of reporting on political goings-on, the Honduran
media outlets played tropical music or aired soap operas and cooking

It's reminiscent of the April, 2002 coup against Chavez when conservative
media station Venevisin refused to cover pro-Chavez demonstrations and
preempted its normal news coverage with a day-long marathon of American
films such as Lorenzo.s Oil, Nell, and Pretty Woman. Venevisin, which
substituted nonstop vitriolic anti-Chavez propaganda for its regular
programming in the days leading up to the coup, was owned by billionaire
media magnate Gustavo Cisneros, himself a leading figure in the Chavez
opposition who reportedly bankrolled the opposition.s takeover of

In Venezuela, conservative coup leaders misjudged the popular mood. Amidst
street protests, Chavez was reinstated in two days. In the wake of the
coup Venevision began to moderate its strident tone and the Venezuelan
President went on the political offensive by spurring the creation of
Telesur as well as other media outlets. If you flip the TV dial today you
can still watch rabidly anti-Chavez stations like Globovisin, though the
playing field has been leveled considerably. In addition to Telesur
Venezuelans can also watch Venezolana de Televisin, a government channel,
as well as state sponsored Vive which provides discussion on Venezuelan
culture and politics. Chavez has his own TV talk show, Al, Presidente, and
there are dozens of pro-government papers including a tabloid called VEA.

The antagonistic media environment in Venezuela is echoed in other
left-leaning countries in South America. Indeed, the newly elected Pink
Tide regimes have taken on the private media with a vengeance: in Ecuador,
President Rafael Correa has proposed that the constitution disallow
bankers from financing media outlets. According to him, Ecuadoran
television is controlled by powerful interests and the Association of
Television Channels is nothing more than a "bankers club". In Bolivia,
indigenous President Evo Morales launched a weekly radio show called The
People Are News. The show airs for two hours each week on the Patria Nueva
(New Fatherland) state network.

If Zelaya returns to power in Honduras, which seems likely, then we could
see the government take on the power of private TV, radio and the like
more significantly, perhaps by emphasizing more state media. It will be
merely the latest chapter in the ongoing information war between the
conservative, globalizing elite and more left-leaning leaders who are
coming to power throughout the region.

Nikolas Kozloff is the author of Revolution! South America and the Rise of
the New Left (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2008)  Visit his blog at

--------12 of 13--------

How Goldman Sachs and Citi Run the Show
The Wall Street White House
July 2, 2009

Robert Hormats, Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs, is to be installed as
Under Secretary of Economics, Business, and Agricultural Affairs. This
comes as one more, probably unnecessary reminder of the total control
exercised by Wall Street over the Obama administration's economic and
financial policy.  True, Hormats is "a talker rather than a decider"
according to one former White House official, but he will find plenty of
old friends used to making decisions, almost all of them uniformly
disastrous for the U.S. and global economy.

Among the familiar Wall Street faces that Hormats will encounter in his
new post will that of Deputy Secretary of State Jacob Lew, lately Chief
Financial Officer of Citigroup Alternative Investments Group which lost
$509 million in the first quarter of 2008 alone.  On visits to the White
House he is sure to bump into Michael Froman, who also tore a swath
through the Citi balance sheet at the alternative investments shop (they
specialized in "esoteric" investments such as private highways) but is now
Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economic
Affairs.  If Froman is otherwise engaged, Hormats can interface with
Froman's deputy, David Lipton, who was until recently running Citi's
global country risk management effort.

Citigroup is also well represented at Treasury, in the form of Lewis
Alexander, formerly the bank's chief economist and now Counselor to
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.  Given the role played by all of the
above in bankrupting us all, Alexander's 2007 verdict on the onset of the
mortgage crash, "I think that's not going to spill more broadly into the
economy and so I think we're going to have a normal kind of housing cycle
though the middle of this year," can only have been a recommendation in
the eyes of his current employer.

Alexander's function at Citi may have been merely to endorse the financial
depredations of colleagues with economic blather, rather than exercise
loss-making functions personally.  Not so Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal
Wolin, who has moved over to the number two job at the department from the
Hartford Insurance Company, where he served as president and chief
operating officer of the Property and Casualty Group.  Hartford was one of
the insurance companies that got suckered by the banks into backing their
ruinous investments in real estate and other esoterica, but Wolin's
Treasury has just handed Hartford $3.4 billion of our money in the form of
TARP funds.

Hormats' agricultural responsibilities will of necessity bring him into
frequent contact with the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading
Commission, Gary Gensler - a former Goldman partner.  As Assistant
Secretary of Treasury in the Clinton Adminsitration Gensler played a key
role in greasing the skids for the notorious Commodity Futures
Modernization Act of 2000, which set the stage for the great credit
default swaps scam that underpinned the recent bubble and subsequent
collapse.  News of the appointment did generate threats of obstruction in
the Senate - any one of the senators could have blocked the appointment
had they really wished to do so - but such threats proved predictably
hollow.  Had they been otherwise, Treasury Chief of Staff Mark Patterson
could of course have lent the expertise he gained as Goldman's lobbyist to
overcome the obstacle.

For sheer gall it would be hard to equal the appointment of Gensler, one
of the engineers of this catastrophe, but the administration has managed
it with the selection of Linda Robertson, formerly a key Enron lobbyist
and intimately involved in pushing through the commodity futures act as
chief flack for the Federal Reserve.  Prior to joining the crooked
energy-trading firm, Robertson was an important figure in the Clinton
Treasury Department, latterly serving her friend Larry Summers and before
him Robert Rubin during their terms as Treasury Secretaries.

Such connection to the key enablers of our bankrupt casino helps explain
many of the other hires listed above.  Michael Froman was Chief of Staff
to Robert Rubin at Treasury before following Rubin to his reward at
Citigroup.  Most significantly, it was Froman who first introduced Rubin
to his Harvard classmate Barack Obama.  David Lipton also served in the
Rubin Treasury, as deputy under secretary for international affairs.
Neal Wolin, on the other hand, appears to have more an acolyte of Summers,
who cherished him as Treasury General Counsel from '99 to '01.  Summers
and Robertson were similarly close, and certainly he raised no objection
to her fatal submissions on behalf of her paymasters at Enron.

Recent reports suggest that financial industry lobbying in Washington, at
$104.7 million for the first three months of 2009, is 8% down on last
year.  But that is to be expected - why should Wall Street continue paying
top dollar for a wholly owned subsidiary?

Andrew Cockburn writes about national security and related matters. His
most recent book is Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall and Catastrophic Legacy. He
is the co-producer of American Casino, the feature documentary on the
ongoing financial collapse. He can be reached at amcockburn [at]

--------13 of 13--------

                                is TOO GOOD
                               for the rich


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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