Having read an advance copy of former Special Inspector General of the TARP Neil Barofsky’s new book, Bailout, I am pretty confident most NC readers would enjoy it. He got to be what I call a designated asshole in his DC incarnation, not that that was the way it had to turn out. For some unfathomable reason, the Bush White House decided it wanted someone who’d take the SIGTARP role seriously in the job. And they chose a Democrat, perhaps figuring that as much as he’d be a thorn in their side, Obama would be hard pressed not to keep him on, and he’d be even more of a problem for them.
Six reasons why the Obama Administration will hate this book:
6. Barofsky’s description of being “Escobarred” by then assistant secretary of the Treasury Herb Allison has the potential to become a classic
5. Barofsky defied White House orders and was subjected to frontal attacks and is alive to talk about it
4. Barofsky makes fun of himself often and recounts his mistakes, so it will be hard to discredit him to those who read the book and aren’t part of the problem
3. Barofsky recounts quite a few fights with self important people in wonderfully sordid detail
2. Barofsky says the Paulson Treasury was less awful to work with than the Geithner Treasury. The Paulson crowd would at least go mano a mano on the issues; the Geithner bunch would resort to every kind of petty trick they could find to undermine SIGTARP and discredit Barofsky
1. Barofsky proves that the Obama Administration didn’t give a damn about protecting taxpayer money or protecting homeowners, only shoveling dough at banks and AIG (the auto companies were treated like unwanted stepchildren). It’s one thing to surmise that, another to deliver the goods
When do we reach the tipping point and people start going to jail?
Or do we ever get there?
In September of 2008 I created a 10 foot long NO BAILOUT sign and held it above the interstate freeway for morning rush hour for 4 days in Portland OR and was called a yahoo in the local press…..
It is painful to watch humanity act so despicable as a species by continuing to buy into ongoing control by the global inherited rich.
So very painful, indeed… spew-inducing, even! I’ve come to the conclusion that “our” species was utterly doomed the moment the destruction of the Library at Alexandria was complete. :(
Is that true? I heard in the independent media, calls to the White House ended up being 100 to 1 against the bailout. I remember a comment I read that day that said something like “I don’t care if I have to work until I’m 80 and have to eat cat food, don’t bail them out! That seemed to reflect the general attitude at the time.
Now, I wonder if that is really true about the calls and will do some research.
Correct, the calls were 99 to 1 against the bailouts. That’s why TARP was voted down the first time.
At some point, the banksters got wind of the #s and told their employees to calls. Then the ratio dropped to 4 to 1 against.
Human beings are smart but not wise. The older I get, the more pessimistic I become.
Fact is, when it comes down to it people want their gravy train to continue. People hated the idea of bailing out the banks until they realized that their parents pensions, their 401k and their own financial situation was at risk without doing so.
Suddenly, a litle graft at the top was ok as long as they were the beneficiaries.
Never ever forget that corruption is ok as long as you benefit from it, that’s the way the average person operates.
AE, you speak stark truth, and the 1% knows their “enemy.” All they had to do was hog-tie those self-indulgent Boomers on the Links in Gated Communities, for the American Stockholm Syndrome to be firmly in place. Do you think Boomers care more about themselves or about their progeny?
More should be talked about where the income and the wealth is in the U.S. The “Boomers” are just starting to pull down SS and Medicare. The tail end born in 64 has another 14 years just to reach age 62.
The Boomers parents are/were the ones pulling down the first tier private, Federal and civil pensions where those have disappeared or been modified for most everyone else.
The government spent 4.5 trillion in social security, medicare taxes that the Boomers paid a large share of and spent it on tax cuts, wars, federal subsidies etc, and the U.S. “government corporate” society. Barofsky is talking about the last few years at the trough of government debt, which is as large or larger than the above.
Any society where the wealth is concentrated down to a few and that concentration is growing doesn’t seem healthy to me. Nor is a society where the medical industry is churning 2.8 trillion of a 14.4 trillion GDP without even providing minimal basic services.
The “rich” Boomers were “corporate” so now they’re pulling down 401K’s and other types of “pension” largesse partly funded in the past by DaddyCorp, AND “survivors” of such “pension” holders may be pulling down Social Security, in addition to their Medicare Advantage/Plus largesse. Many were not wiped out with the last crash. But isn’t DaddyCorp getting ready to “derivatize” those funds into oblivion? These are not people living on Social Security alone.
LOL. Guy makes a comment about “the way the average person operates” and Ms KIA turns it into an anti-boomer rant. How pathetically typical of the third-rate armchair brigade that clusters around this otherwise worthy blog.
Anyone here heard of the Civil Rights Movement? Selective Service? Vietnam? The Anti-War Protests? Maybe we just got tired of whiney little “Next Generation” brats who had it all handed to them on a platter and decided, well F’ it – they weren’t really worth it after all.
Naw, that’s too easy. That’s just the old “blame someone else for your troubles” game that, wouldn’t you know it, is also “the way the average person operates.”
Alright then. Can we have some Above Average posts for a while? I know some of you are up to it. Young or old, doesn’t matter. All you gotta do is think a little before you start beaking off.
When the people of Paris liberated the Bastille on July 14, 1789 they liberated only 8 prisoners before tearing down the most egregious symbol of tyranny in France.
Let us begin to consider. We have Angola, Riker’s Island, Leavenworth, Attica, Pelican Bay, San Quentin and hundreds of other public prisons as well as an entire hosanna of private profit centers based on incarceration of the less fortunate among us.
We don’t need to go to prison. We need to recruit a People’s Army from the ranks of the abused, disenfranchised and maligned decent people who have already been wrongfully incarcerated. Those that our idiotic elitist system deigns to shuffle off because they are either inconvenient to the world class swindlers who run this nation, or else have become hapless pawns in a game of privation for profit played by the likes of the evil, corrupt and immoral men who run Wackenhut or CCA. See: http://tinyurl.com/bqo84ju
Surely we could do better than to liberate a mere 8 prisoners immorally incarcerated on the grounds of racial and class distinctions, merely for being “inconvenient” to the master class.
We could create an army out of the victims that the malevolent masters of America have attempted to throw away because they are inconvenient to the 1%’s profit scams.
The question should not be “when do we reach the tipping point and people start going to jail?”; the question is when do the egregiously harmed who have been maliciously imprisoned, maligned, swindled and defrauded by a self-aggrandizing oligarchy of picayune frauds START BEING LIBERATED FROM PRISONS and rise up in revolt?
The time is now. The model is 1968:
The time is now. The model is 2012:
Spanish Miners fighting off the riot police:
Mexico’s “Yo Soy 132” movement declaring the elections illegitimate:
The Caserole continues in Canada. The Indignados in Spain. The Leftist student in Chile. And Occupy is a DREAM OF A BETTER WORLD THAT CANNOT BE EXTINGUISHED.
Revolution is in the air.
& you know that it’s right …
from #resist by the civilian conservation corps
“when you stand up you stand for all, when you sit down they win. to the streets!” g.singlaub
Join OCCUPY and you will go to jail.
When do we reach the tipping point and people start going to jail?
Or do we ever get there?
When there’s a threat to the capitalist system, we will get there. Until there’s a threat, no we won’t.
The question is, What constitutes a threat? I believe the answer is participatory economics. I don’t believe anything else is capable of generating sufficient threat to elite interests.
Participatory Economics is a better phrase than Political Economics. Since the the economics we now have is 100% political; just the wrong politics.
Like your pseudonym. I believe Asimov answered your question in “Foundation and Empire” (1942). Thank you for the oblique reference that tickled a seemingly increasingly fragile memory.
There is no tipping point. Malcolm Gladwell put that meme out there because he’s a perp.
This meme is effective propaganda. Many of us, including me at some points, were waiting for an impending “tipping point”–where the people are going to say, a la Howard Beale, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more.”
But I don’t think it always works that way. We’ve been slowly lobotomized and controlled so that this “tipping point” awakening won’t happen. The prison state is already here!
We already imprison the most people in the world and probably more than any other people in the history of the world (if you don’t count slavery–which I would say is related to imprisonment). The U.S. imprisons people based on class and race. If you are brown or poor you are likely to be targeted by the criminal ‘justice’ system run by mostly rich white pricks (although they find plenty of Uncle Toms like Obama, Rice, and Powell to help them).
There is unequal application of the law. The current president snorted and smoked cocaine. He even admits to this felony in his book!* If Obama were from a different class he would have gone to prison and never would have been allowed to be president because he committed a felony. But Obama, like Bush and Clinton and millions of privileged Americans, don’t have to follow the same rules poor black men have to follow.
*Although he probably didn’t write this book so there’s a chance his handlers slipped this confession into the book to control Obama–does it seem consistent with Obama’s character to reveal this sensitive info in his book? No way.
WWM, the “tipping point” will be Regime Change among the .01%.
Since Barofsky initiated over 90 criminal investigations pertaining to that Public-Private Investment Partnership item, you would have to inquire of Eric Holder and Robert Mueller III.
Since Eric Holder is still doing what he did at Covington and Burling, protecting the super corporations, and since Robert Mueller III, the FBI’s director, is the grandnewphew of Richard Bissell (one of three top CIA types fired by President Kennedy shortly before his assassination), and Mueller’s wife appears to be the granddaughter of Charles Cabell (the second of those fired CIA guys), it is probably highly unlikely you’ll receive an adequate answer.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how does this compare to Emile Zola’s J’Accuse? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J'accuse
I’d hate to see Obama turned out of office so that a more competent swindler could be installed at 1600.
Alas, I’m feeling the way forward is the way of the past: http://www.occupybend.org/news.php?1009
Let the aristocrats live on their fat! We want our rights and we don’t care how.
We want our Revolution NOW!
Seems to me that Obama is the more competent swindler.
I’d say the two parties are a** raping us while wearing a concertina wire wrapped condom. The republicans scream you dirty commie bastard while the democrats coo, I really, really love you and want what is best for us.
decide for yourself which is better…
That is a painful image! Good metaphor for how we are getting totally hosed and lied about it–a few roses in the form of EBT and commericals with eagles and flags will make us feel better.
Not really. Look at the campaign donations from the wealthy to Mitt Romney. They know where their bread is buttered.
Follow the money, it tells the tale every time.
AE, especially since this is the End Game, and it seems that the GREEN has already crapped out.
RD, now is the perfect time for Monumental Thrust of a Third Party, a real Putsch for the People. But the Duopoly DivideAndConquer Minstrel Show trumps all. We’re all Louisiana Slaves-by-any-Other-Name now, even if we are not officially speaking from within the heavenly plantation gates of Angola or Parchman. For anyone aspiring to a recognized role in “politics” here are the Louisiana Rules:
First they co-opt and corrupt you. If they cannot corrupt you, they get rid of you. If they cannot get rid of you, they ruin you. If they cannot ruin you, they kill you.
Knowing this, all who “make it” in politics are immediately corrupted. They become flagrant whores for the .01% Master DNA and their .99% Agents, selling out the People for 1% insider profits while in Office or on staff to Officers. Then they become Pimps as lobbyists for the .01%. The highest they can go is to .99% Agency heaven, unless they provide spectacular gain to the .01% and win their abiding favor, at which point they may aspire to have their progeny ascend to .01% Heaven through DNA bonding (“fruitful marriage”).
“Guillotinage” is but a partial cure of this universal malady, history shows.
“..that a more competent swindler..”
Sorry, did I miss something?
Are you the last person left in America still unaware of the 100% neocon administration of President Barack Obama?
Or did you just awaken from some sort of years-long hibernation?
Was just listening to this Mose Allison song about the music industry. The last few verses seem apropos. Van Morrison does a great growling cover of this song on his 80’s album “A Sense of Wonder,” but it’s not on Youtube:
If you only knew all the dealing
That goes on in back of the store.
If you only knew how that one that’s
Got a lot can’t wait to get more.
I wouldn’t want to cramp your style
But if you want to make it all worthwhile.
You have to have your own breakthrough.
If you only knew.
If you only knew what could happen to
A man for telling the truth.
If you only knew all the scruples
That go down in gin and vermouth.
I wouldn’t want to steer you wrong
But if you want to sing your own song.
Your gonna have to lose a few.
If you only knew.
More Mose from “Everybody’s Cryin’ Mercy:”
“I don’t believe the things I’m seein’
I’ve been wonderin’ ’bout some things I’ve heard
Everybody’s crying mercy
When they don’t know the meaning of the word
A bad enough situation
Is sure enough getting worse
Everybody’s crying justice
Just as soon as there’s business first”
They should put the last line over the doors at DOJ and SCOTUS.
Here’s Bonnie and Junior Wells covering:
Ahhh! Thanks for the reminders of just how great Mose Allison was. A sage for the ages.
JM, “Well I’m sittin’ over here on Parchman Farm.”
I believe, if you check, Mose Allison is still alive at 84 and still creating cutting edge lyrics and music.
The book adds nothing to the analysis or the debate other than to point out the obvious: TARP was a troubled asset RELIEF program as pitched to Congress and was used by the Bush/Paulson Treasury Department to bail out the banks on very favorable terms, making the housing crisis an almost forgotten step child in the financial rescue. The mortgage modification programs under TARP started by Bush/Paulson and continued by Obama/Geithner had trouble getting off the ground and ultimately only touched the surface of the problem because the programs’ design was compromised by having to cater to a then very loud and frenzied objection to any programmatic help at all from a then rising tea party chorus over the “moral hazard” of helping delinquent homeowners (‘don’t help those people with MY money!’) and then the programs, such as they were, were slow to be implemented because the banks didn’t have special servicing departments of a size fit to the scope of the problem, even if the Government was footing most of the bill. Those servicing departments had to be supersized and that took time, particularly so as to avoid fraud in the modifications that might have characterized many of the originations. Anyway…Neil gets none of that boring practical stuff. He’s just looking to generate some headlines for himself which, based on Yves early returns, he will succeed in doing. But don’t be fooled: this is the book one writes before launching a political campaign: more noise than light.
TARP was most definitely a Bush/Paulson/Obama/Reid/Pelosi/Frank production (“for future reference”). It would never have passed without Democratic votes, since the “crazy right,” bless their hearts, were vehemently against it. In particular, TARP would never have passed without Obama’s support, since he was at that time the President presumptive, and in fact he whipped the CBC for it.
TARP is a thoroughly bipartisan affair. It is in no sense whatever a “Bush/Paulsen” program.
Indeed. Cronyism and the role of money are fully bi-partisan. I wonder why we even bother with the party distinctions—they are nil. Once a Texas populist in the 1990’s was asked if he thought forming a third party was a good idea. He said yes but lets try having two parties first. I think it was Jim Hightower who said that.
It is interesting that many people are never happy with exposes or critiques–they all want solutions! Its a very interesting cultural tendency in the U.S. that people will dismiss exposure of folly, crime or corruption by saying well he/she does not have solutions! Its fascinating. Recognizing the problem is a necessary first step yet many will shut down and dismiss processing reaility as there is no nice ready solutions–typically consisting of tweaking existing institutions or some fantasy concocted by an “expert”. That solving problems and pathologies is not an neat or easy process and this unpleasant fact probably contributes to status quo bias. How many times have people tried to shut down your insights with the ol–so what is your solution? I think this line of thinking got us where we are today!
CR, as Bill Black avers, FIRST a White Collar Criminologist as Regulator must investigate and report the crimes to the Department of Justice, THEN the Law must do its proper work.
But what if the AG, the very “head” of Justice is a co-conspirator keeping justice far away, like Cerberus at the Gates of Hell? This is our situation.
That’s why Cassandra was ignored: she didn’t have a solution.
I’m Barack Obama, and I approved this weasel-ass Dem hack ankle-biting of one of the last remaining men of integrity in the sordid Beltway pismire.
Aw, go on, CiC! Say what you really feel!
Obama deserves the consequences of his omissions. He utterly failed to help homeowners while he fraudulently helped the fraudsters. The timing of this publication is good. Obama will try to avoid being exposed for either an utter incompetent or a bank colluder. Romney will take heed. It should be good medicine all around.
Agree well said
Obama himself has never challenged the kind of rapacious capitalism he is desperate to associate with his opponent
Neil Barofsky, the Democrat Taking Digs at Obama
“Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama says” above has the goods on you. Not only a plant, a really lame one. Not surprising you misrepresent the book, since the party hacks are gonna have trouble laying a glove on it.
I agree. Neil was well-intentioned, by his own standards, but it’s clear from the nature of the questions that he kept asking Treasury that he didn’t understand the underlying banking and mortgage businesses. He also didn’t understand TARP, its emergency nature, and its limited scope. Then he got hacked off because Geithner didn’t respond to his ignorant questions. A bad thing all around. I agree that not enough was done after the TARP to re-regulate and work through the problems. What a mess, and now Barofsky is crowing about it in his book. The arguments to justifiably refute him are complex enough that the man in the street won’t understand it anyway.
Yes, Rs and Ds voted for it, both. But long obscured in the rhetoric is that it was proposed by an R administration as one thing (to buy bad mortgages off bank balance sheets and then modify them to benefit homeowners modeled on a Great Depression program that was quite effective) and then used another way (to buttress bank balance sheets by purchasing equity). Frankly, given the scope of the mortgage meltdown, $700 billion wouldn’t have bought all that much relief and at then market prices it would have proven that many of the banks were bust. So, all in all, the first design (buy mortgages) was flawed because it was undersized. The second approach help avoid the collapse of the banking system, for sure, but it left the public with a very bad aftertaste for good reason: the Bush/Paulson guys (who put the first $225 billion to work in the second week of October before the election) gave the TARP money away: no limits on comp/bonsuses, no changes in senior management or the Board of Directors, only nominal dilution of existing shareholders and a mere 5 percent dividend (which Buffett proved to be a giveaway when he took 10 percent the next week from Goldman for his capital). so, lots of responsiblity on both sides of the aisle, but the way TARP was twisted in its use from how it was sold to a reluctant Congress was a Bush Administration production all the way.
Obama took the heat as the Bushies beat a hasty retreat.
Which reminds me of a very important maxim: be careful what you wish for:
Welcome to the White House! The mess we made of the financial system, that’s now your problem. Thanks for coming.
Do not disagree that the “Bushies” made a quick exit. However, lest we forget how paid good money for Mr. Obama to be in the White House:
Goldman Sachs $1,013,091
Microsoft Corp $852,167
Google Inc $814,540
JPMorgan Chase & Co $808,799
Citigroup Inc $736,771
Time Warner $624,618
UBS AG $532,674
IBM Corp $532,372
General Electric $529,855
Morgan Stanley $512,232
Yep, Obama and Romney are Siamese Twins: Trojan Horse with two Heads.
Take out the banks (except Wells) and add in the white shoe firms that defend them and U.C., and that would look like the 2012 Obama bundlers.
EMT, don’t forget AIG “Insurer” bailout to fill the coffers of Goldman Sachs and other Global Big Boyz @ 100%! And did LIEBORfixing squeeze more cream from the Cash Cow of Global Monopoly Finance at this event horizon?
Follow the charts, the money, the DNA. Bring RICO, Interpol.
meet the new boss, same as the old boss
Always saw Barofsky as a good guy. Wasn’t he the fellow who detailed how the bailouts were into the trillions? No matter – a truthteller at any rate. Nice lead for a book review there Yves, but where are the sidebar ads for advanced purchase of Bailout – we all want to join your book club.
s, true, they missed the unique opportunity squared, but it’s not too late, IF BY REQUEST–such as the one you lodge here. Without such a request for convenience in buying Barofsky’s book, NC might be held guilt of “mixed motives” for Yves’ piece on the book.
The links to Powell’s and Amazon usually are in the sidebar, but maybe Barofsky would like to have the Publisher’s link in place there as well (with “NC reader” discount to match what might appear at the other sites?). Sticky wicket.
Also, you mention Yves’ “book club.” Why not? Surely she can compete with Oprah Winfrey, and at a whole new level.
i would agree on #2 yves. just by looking at Timmy-boy, and then listening to him in interviews and testimony, he sounds like a petty weasel. Someone who has no balls to your face, so he passively aggressively attacks you in other ways. He also reminds me of a person who is not an eloquent fast on your feet thinker who would have control of his emotions. Like when someone questions something he’s done, he starts to get mad. Then he backs down. This is someone who lacks some self control.
ep3, and to think: Timmy is The Chinese Gateway! What level of “Chinese” language can he speak/hear plainly, when he can barely speak English, and seems awfully inept in “communications?”
“I’d hate to see Obama turned out of office ….. We want our Revolution NOW!”
Yves, they wanted a “SIEGTARP” not a “SIGTARP.”
my impression is bush and mitt are already in the 1 percent and comfortable in their skins
obama comes across as someone wanting admission and trying to please the membership committee within some limits so long as he can still sell it to his base
thanks to jesse we have this
The degree of corruption in America can be measured by the fact the two Presidential candidates are Obama and Romney. Stick this on your bathroom mirror!
A solution to hear Jesse ventura and some renegade researchers tell it is to stop water flouridation. Apparently it has a narcotizing effect. Majority of U.S. people have flouridated water and up to 50% of young people have too much. The EU does not have flouridated water. Maybe thats why they protest and get up in arms and the U.S. we sit around. Yes, sounds nuts but who the hell knows–its a big differentiator between U.S. and western europe. U.S. Lots of flouride, Europe none. U.S very little social action and protest, western europe a lot of social action and situational awareness. Yes call it crazy but one day long after I assume my duties in hell this will be obvious. Hell its obvious to european scientists and to Jesse ventura:).
‘Barofsky’s description of being “Escobarred” ‘
What does that mean, exactly? Is it a reference to being cut down in a hail of gunfire?
Barofsky was busting drug rings in Columbia before he did his DC gig. That’s why he was so hard to intimidate. He was lucky to come out of that alive. He went down there with some frequency.
Pepe Escobar was the drug kingpin, and he’d use a combination of threats and bribes (both extreme) to neutralize opponents.
Pablo was tracked down with the help of the Army’s Delta Force using cell phone tracking. Triangulation, that difficult process so little used on 9-11 ?
Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden is your book.
Barofsky is probably referring to a political Escobar-ing, won’t know until I read the book.
Ah, that makes sense. Thanks all.
Here is some pretty kewl fraud for a Friday.
Notorious “Foreclosure Mill” Harmon Law (David J. Stern of the North)owns Commonwealth Auctions. Take a look at the auction “bids” submitted by Fannie Mae and HUD on June 8, 2012. Shortly after this was printed, the Commonwealth Auction website was taken offline..for approximately one week. It’s fine now. The fraud is all patched up.
Harmon Law Commonwealth Auctions Foreclosure Fraud Factory 6-8-2012
FNMA and HUD making “bids” of around 150 bucks! Whooops!
Paging John O’Brien…there is a spill in aisle one.
Yves: Correction re “Escobarred”. The drug lord – Pablo Escobar. The really good free lance reporter/reporter for Asia Times – Pepe Escobar
i will be voting for the guy who basically tells me he doesnt give a shit about me….the guy we have now makes me more angrier when he lies to my face
There are a few lonely bloggers voicing a forlorn hope that Obama is not the inevitable nominee for 2012. One such is blogger Riverdaughter at the blog The Confluence.
How many disgruntled D voters would be needed to tell their friendly neighborhood Democrats that they will not vote for a PrezVice ticket with Obama anywhere on it? How big a critical massload full of such messages from how many traditionally-D voters would push the D party over the Tipping Point of No Return beyond which the Decision to Replace Obama is made and acted on? Is the experiment worth performing? Quite possibly!
What if the Nominee swapped in for the swapped-out Obama were to be . . . Hillary Clinton? And what if she were to win Election 2012? Would the shame and humiliation to Obama cancel out his joy in the millions of dollars of after-the-act bribes he will collect when out of office? Would his forcible removal from the ticket in favor of Clinton, followed by a Clinton victory; be as ground glass and battery acid rubbed into his eyes for ever and for ever?
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