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Tim Geithner and the Orient Express

The suspects arranged themselves on both sides of the aisle

Neil Barofsky who wrote the recently released book, Bailout, wrote a short review/impression of Sheila Bair’s new book, Bull By The Horns.  Both books cover roughly the same time period, during the financial meltdown and its immediate aftermath.  As Barofsky notes, he and Bair come from different sides of the aisle and have different experiences as public officials.  But they are united in one thing- their opinion of Tim Geithner.  Says Barofsky:

her observations and interactions with the Geithner-led Treasury Department and her thoroughly captured fellow regulators are strikingly similar to mine.

She too was cursed out by Geithner and subjected to many of the same dirty political tricks.  She also bore the brunt of misleading media attacks. She came to the same realization that I did that large chunks of the government were far more interested in preserving the status quo of the big banks than serving the broader interests of the American people.  And she similarly recognized that Treasury’s mortgage modification program was never really designed to fulfill the administration’s promise to help millions of homeowners.  Bair looked at the same bailout landscape that I did and saw the same favoritism toward Wall Street and betrayal of Main Street.

The day Bair’s book was released a journalist friend emailed me that she thought that Bailout and Bull by the Horns share “the same utterly surreal quality” and that I would “like it a lot.”  She’s right.  It’s always nice to find out that you were not the only sane person in the asylum.

So, add this latest book to the pile, including Confidence Men by Ron Suskind, that paints Tim Geithner as the guy who refused to flip the switch or throw the big bankers off the bridge in order to save the rest of us.

Speaking of trains, the theme of Geithner being a complete bastard deserving of some nasty fate reminds me of the Murder on the Orient Express.  In it, the body is discovered to have been the victim of not one suspect but all of them.  Each one of the aggrieved attempts to murder the victim by stabbing, unaware that someone else had gotten there first.  In Geithner’s case, he has managed to survive so far, like just another one of the vampires that the Democrats foolishly invited into the house four years ago.

But with each volume that recounts that tale from a different perspective, the personalities and actions of the players become clearer and the motives easier to understand.  Tim Geithner is the hand of the financiers, sent to the malware president they installed to make sure that their interests were protected even if that meant turning the country into a broken banana republic with decaying infrastructure, a ruined technology and industrial sector and a permanent underclass.  It remains to be seen which suspect will deliver the fatal stab but there’s no shortage of remaining suspects.

This is pretty bad, people.  The Obama administration has been worse than we anticipated.

The attempts of the Obama campaign to scare working class women into supporting him over Romney should be seen in the light of what he has failed to accomplish for them in the last four years, largely through the machinations of Tim Geithner.   Those Democratic loyalists who have been carrying the campaign’s water, spreading a steady stream of attacks on Romney, portraying him as indifferent to their plight, have been remarkably silent about what Obama has done for them.  Four years ago, they might have said that the jury was still out on Obama’s performance and there was still a good possibility that he would be their Democratic champion.  But in October 2012, the mystery is gone.  It is a bitter triumph if the campaign’s mouthpieces have managed to convince blue collar women to ignore their lying eyes and accept a manufactured reality.  The money must be really good and, you know, the health insurance premiums must be paid.

All of the lamenting about what Obama will do in his second term obscures the fact that these bloggers did absolutely nothing to challenge the party when they had a chance to make a difference.  Instead, they allowed the party to use their blogs as a means of disseminating manipulative propaganda while ignoring all of the administration’s collaboration with the banks to make those women’s lives harder.  It’s all crocodile tears and prostitution.

Ultimately, it is Obama who is responsible for appointing Geithner and allowing homeowners and businesses to get used by the banks.  Now that we have a better picture of what went on in 2009-2010 when Obama had a political full house and many executive branch tools at his disposal, it’s impossible to deny that he served the financiers.

If you serve Obama, you are serving the banks, just like Romney will.


And here is Sheila Bair describing what she would have done to Citibank.  If you were a shareholder, it was a fairly terrifying scenario but given how badly Citi was mismanaged ($800 billion?? How is it possible for an entity not a country to rack up that much money in bad assets?), ultimately necessary.  Tim Geithner cut her off at the pass.

23 Responses

  1. Between the major parties, there is no lesser evil in this election. But Glen Ford is right that Obama is the more effective evil and that’s reason enough to NOT vote for him. I still haven’t decided third party or write-in.

  2. Timmy should never have been in charge of anything in a democratic administration. Sheila Bair should have been. Of course with Obama that never could happen. He’s toxic. He’s not going to stop being toxic no matter what he is saying on the campaign trail now. It reminds me of Charlie Brown falling for the football trick one more time. Democrats are willing to believe one more time that Obama will act like a democrat. HA! I am writing in Hillary. I’d vote for the Green Party candidate, but I think Hillary is a more pointed statement.

    • The weird thing about Sheila Bair is that she had an excellent reputation before the Obama administration took over. She ran the fricking FDIC and was probably the most powerful woman in the administration next to Hillary Clinton and yet she was more of a liberal than Obama even though she is a Republican from Kansas. It just goes to show you that the truth has a strong liberal bias and that what Paul Krugman says about Obama is true- he’s a moderate Republican circa 1992. Wrap your head around that. Bair was a Dole protégée and she was more liberal than Obama.

      • I didn’t know she was a republican. I never really thought about it. Now that is the kind of moderate republican woman I would be very comfortable supporting for political office.

        • Yeah, totally weird. It’s hard to believe the Bush administration would appoint someone with a conscience who actually knew what she was doing. They broke the mold when they created Sheila Bair.

        • There used to be Republicans like that in Michigan. They were called
          “Milliken Republicans” after one-time Governor Milliken, who was kind of their informal leader.

      • Back in my youth, a liberal Republican was not an oxymoron. Kind of commonplace, in fact.

    • Do different states have different rules on Write In votes? Do some states actually count up the numbers of Write In votes and assign those actual numbers to the person being Written In?

      • Good question. Some years ago the SC ruled that because write-ins are not mentioned in the Constitution, write-in votes do not have to be counted. In my area, Gloucester Co had ballot space for write-ins and Camden Co, I was told by a savvy Camden Co voter, did not. Get a local ruling but don’t neglect to find out if the votes are actually counted AND published. Either Neveda or Utah, can’t remember which, just litigated a case in which a judge ruled that the ballot line choice of None of the Above should remain on the ballot. I’d love that choice.

        • If I do the diligence, I will have the information to help make a choice . . .write-in or not. If I don’t do the diligence, then I will be voting some third party choice which “will” get counted as my default thing-to-do.

      • You know, i am not sure and you make a good point. It it is not counted what good is a write in vote? I will find out.

  3. I’m doing the Hillary write in too. My only 3rd party choice is Libertarian and I just can’t bring myself to that point.

    • I’m with you KB. I’m still not sure either, I’m tempted to vote for a NOTA write in.

      I feel like some of the libertarian influx to the Democratic party created this weird no-policy wasteland calling themselves “progressives” but that was a cover for not really supporting programs to help anyone. It is like they want to be SEEN as cool but not stand for anything in particular. I suppose that is why they still support Obama.

      • Exactly. Around here, the marijuana issue has somehow legitimized libertarians.

        Also, a growing tendency toward fatalism. Which I think (while tempting) is disruptive to progress.

  4. You know, the movie The Orient Express, in which Ingrid Bergman gave one of the funniest characterizations I’ve ever seen, who knew she was brilliant at sly comedy, is a perfect metaphor for what happened to America. Just a succession of stabs culminating in death. The savage irony that Homeland Security would be another stab. Certainly others have commented that our downfall would be from within.

    There’s a whole TV industry devoted to propagandizing the police, the CIA, special ops, etc. I couldn’t watch 24 but it had an audience. Why, you might think the whole security state apparatus was wonderful, make you fell safe and snuggly.

    • I never watched 24. I think it would have pissed me off.

      • Just the snippets used for ads pissed me off. I wonder if the extent of bully posturing can be an indication of impotence masking? The world is collapsing into the chaos of overtly aggressive political and economic predation and American entertainment goes Galt. The barbarians are inside the gates. And that reminds me, history describes the “barbarians” quite differently than common usage.

    • In Murder on the Orient Express, the aggreived friends and family members of the bad guy’s victim collaborated in the murder. They didn’t just happen to all stab him the same night.

      Democrats should have collaborated to get rid of Obama. A few voices in the wilderness were not enough.

  5. I gather Hullabaloo is still considered an “A list” blog. They say they will have a new comments program “soon”. If so, those who have not been secretly stealth banned might try commenting there under the name “guest” from many different places with many different comments
    all containing links to this and some other pertinent posts about Obama. If hundreds or thousands of seemingly unrelated people do that, they may overwhelm or slip past Digby’s pre-censorship of comments. I feel confident Digby-Atkins will try to have the same “ghosting” feature and other features to carry on the same stealthy deceptive never-admitted-to prior-censorship and stealth-banning and stealth-erasure policies on behalf of Obama. Perhaps
    enough hundreds of people writing comments linking to this and other such posts with links might get a few to Digby’s veal-calf readers.

    • What’s the point of commenting there? Her readers are indoctrinated.

      • True. Some sites are tribal encampments.

      • Well . . . I was one of her readers. Monster from the Id was one of her readers, as was Sarah B. and others among the “stealth-banned”.
        Some others may be ready to “sneak out” if someone opens a “hole in the fence”. The experiment would take very little effort. I’d do it myself if I weren’t still stealth-banned.

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