notes Nov22

November 23, 2008 § Leave a comment

Reading PaulStreet’scritical view of Obama. Barak Oboma

Basically that we all project hope on a smart fellow who looks progressive but is really mainstream financial.

Key issues will be what he does about

  • war
  • wealth
  • taxes
  • race
  • opportunity.

and what alternatives consistent with the capacity to govern. That is, to prevent wisdespread violence?


3:11 from alxander cockburn .

Two years without a single leak and suddenly, last week, Obama’s operation was like a sieve. That’s what happens when you pick up the phone and call one of the Clintons. Or, to put it another way, that’s what happens when someone claims you, the president elect, picked up the phone and called Mrs Clinton to ask whether she’d like to be secretary of state.

Out the window goes the sense of purposeful strides towards a new-look Administration. In comes a dreadful feeling that somehow we’ve slipped a dimension in the space-time continuum and are heading back into the Clinton era. A couple of more weeks and the Republicans will be calling for a special prosecutor.

and, same source,


On Thursday, November 20, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson presented, even by his own lamentably low standards, an amazingly deceptive speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. In its false  framing of Washington’s financial giveaway to Wall Street it rivaled some of the outstanding fables created by the Master Imagineer himself, for whom the library is named.

What time frame are we talking about here? Evidently one in which Mr. Paulson will have left the administration, sticking his successor with the losses and, presumably, the blame.

This is the problem with much of the story. those who played the game actually achieved what they wanted: wealth. They were playing for short term gains against the future.

Everything is story line driven by interest and we are awash in abstraction.

Here’s how it works. A bank’s marketing department seeks to drum up customers for debt. A borrower will go into a bank and sign a promissory note, and the bank then creates a checking account in the amount that is stipulated. The note calls for a specific rate of interest to be paid – a rate much higher than that which the bank can borrow from the Federal Reserve or in the money market in general. One benchmark global rate to bankers is the London Interbank Borrowing Overnight Rate (LIBOR), and the other is the Federal Reserve’s discount rate to banks. (Japanese banks also provided loans to large financial institutions at under 1% per year, spurring the international “carry trade,” borrowing cheap in yen and then converting the funds into other currencies and lending at a higher rate.)

None of this involves saving. It involves credit creation in which banks have a legal monopoly, with funding monetized by the U.S, Japanese and other major foreign central banks. This free credit creation is at the root of the problem, not the natural growth of savings.

Paul Street writes

Whether or not Obama could or would conduct a recognizably half progressive presidency (leading "another New Deal") if he reaches the White House is not something I would have the audacity to try to foretell. What I will dare to suggest, based on Obama’s record and on the deeper history, st: structure, and culture of U.S. politics, is that an Obama administration would be likely to move in a relatively conservative direction unless and until it was pushed to the left from below by an aroused and organized populace.

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