Archive for the ‘Schneiderman’ Category

I wasn’t going to blog today, because I’m trying to get out of town to take my kid back to college and have a ton of stuff to do. But after reading Matt Stoller’s starkly accurate analysis of just what is going on with the Obama administration, I feel compelled to comment.

It’s the best commentary I’ve seen on what is happening economically and politically in this country since 2008. Stoller nails it:

“When you look closely at the most significant areas of government, it becomes clear that the President and his Administration are enormously powerful actors who get a lot done. Handing over our national wealth to the banks and to China is not  nothing. These people are reorganizing the economy and the political system so that there are no constraints on the oligarchical interests that fund and pay them. That is their goal.”

He discusses it in the context of Eric Schneiderman, the NY Attorney General who is bucking the latest give-away to the banks, a “settlement” over robo-signing and other criminal foreclosure and mortgage practices. Stoller lauds Schneiderman for standing up for what he believes — that the banks engaged in criminal fraud on a wide-spread scale and should be prosecuted — despite the very real personal risks attendant upon that position. He excoriates the administration, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and other actors in this farce, saying:

“Right now, the ‘settlement’ talks are the equivalent of law enforcement negotiating with a serial killer over whether he’ll get a parking ticket, even as he continually sprays bullets into the neighborhood. Even having these ‘settlement’ talks when the actual crimes haven’t been investigated or a complaint hasn’t been registered should be example enough that this process is rigged as badly as Dodd-Frank.”

Like many, for the first year or so of the Obama administration, I believed that he was a decent guy who would do things for the people who put him into power. That’s where I went wrong: I didn’t realize that it wasn’t the people who elected him, but the powerful financial elite who funded his campaign that he would ultimately choose to be accountable to. And make no mistake, it’s a choice. Obama could have chosen to do the right thing despite the political costs to himself, but he hasn’t. Stoller writes:

Yeah, Obama got money from Wall Street. But Obama is choosing to pursue a policy of foreclosures and bank bailouts not because of any grand corporate scheme. He just wants to. He thinks it’s the right thing to do, and he’s doing it. If you don’t think it’s the right thing to do, then you shouldn’t be disappointed in him any more than you might have been disappointed in Bush. Obama is not trying to do the opposite of what he’s doing, he’s not repeatedly suckered by Republicans, and he isn’t naive or stupid.”

So like Obama and Schneiderman, we all have choices whether to act according to what we believe, to act with integrity, or not. We can continue to delude ourselves about what is really going on in Washington DC and New York and all over the country in regard to the financial elite’s complete ownership of the political and economic system. We can make excuses and continue to enable this system that is running the economy and the people in this country off an economic cliff. Or, we can do what we can to change the system, even if it’s just making a different choice in the voting booth in 2012. As Stoller puts it:

“Paying ugly costs for standing up is routine, unfortunately, in modern America. And the least powerful among us face far worse consequences than the politicians who are embarassed. But integrity exists, and Schneiderman is showing that free will can be exercised in it’s service. This fact is true of many people, not just Schneiderman; Bill McKibbin, Jane Hamsher, Dan Choi and others just got arrested in front of the White House to register dissent. So the next time someone tells you that you hae no choice but to support one of the two branches of the banking party, just remember, you also have free will. And the only person who can take that away from you, is you.”

Thank you, Matt. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MatthewStoller