Friday, October 16, 2009

In Our Future

Bubbles and Bombs
There are two lame ass apologias for Obama’s miserable record so far. One is that he’s only been in office nine months. The second, supposedly passed on to a journalist by a White House aide, is that “governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult."
The first implies that Obama has been busy cleaning up Bush’s messes and applying fresh policies whose benefits are yet to be felt. The second implies that political division is slowing his efforts. Both excuses conveniently ignore the reality that Obama had done some awful things over these last nine months. Two of them, that will effect us for decades to come, stand out. The first is that he’s signed off on the completion of Wall Street’s takeover of Washington. If you accept the notion that money rules, our government is now run by the bubble manufacturers Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citi Group and their confreres.
The federal outgo for bailouts and war spending are roughly equal to the income from taxes. That means that everything else that Uncle Sam does is financed by borrowing. That borrowing is brokered through the very same financial houses receiving bailouts. In other words, Goldman Sachs et al get money from us for free and then lend it back to us at interest--on their own terms and to the tune of trillions.
Barack Obama received more campaign money from Goldman than any candidate ever. A revealing AP story tells us that the telephone traffic between treasury secretary Timothy Geithner and the top guys at Goldman, JP Morgan Chase and Citi is all but adolescent in its frequency. Geithner is obviously checking with the people really in charge.
The other travesty is that Obama has apparently acquiesced to what conservative bloviator John McLoughlin calls “an orthodoxy of continuous war.” His Pentagon (or is it the Pentagon’s Obama?) is busy opening new military/corporate subsidiaries around the planet. These bases from the Amazon Basin to central Asia are to be garrisoned by both troops and private contractors. In the early days of our empire, it was the military that cleared the way for business, as in 1852 when Admiral Perry’s warships shelled Tokyo to encourage the Japanese to open their economy to U.S. investors. Today, the two are indistinguishable.
There’s more bad news from the Obama administration, such as its decision to reaffirm the Patriot Act and continue Bush’s attacks on civil liberties. But let’s leave it for now.
On July 19, 2008, I posted a blog called Two Scenarios. The first posited that Obama would sincerely attempt to deliver the change he promised. The second worried that he would be yet another servant of business as usual. It looks like we’ve come up snake eyes.