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Where’s the Accountability in the Department of Interior?

By: fflambeau Monday May 17, 2010 7:19 pm

Not long ago, President Obama demanded accountability from a Rhode Island school district and pretty much endorsed the firing of the whole teaching staff of a school. Why not apply the same standards at the Department of the Interior? Why is accountability good for teachers but not for federal agencies, especially ones overseeing the lucrative oil industry?

If you have forgotten Obama and Arnie Duncan’s call for the scalp of the entire teaching staff at a Rhode Island school, here’s Eric Tucker of the AP to refresh memories:

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. — The mass firings of teachers at a struggling high school here have been a flashpoint in the national debate over education reform, with President Barack Obama weighing in and endorsing the move as an example of holding failing schools accountable.

The firings caught the attention of Obama, who during an education address in March singled out the move as an example of accountability.

"So if a school is struggling, we have to work with the principal and the teachers to find a solution," Obama said. "We’ve got to give them a chance to make meaningful improvements. But if a school continues to fail its students year after year after year, if it doesn’t show any sign of improvement, then there’s got to be a sense of accountability."

Let’s flash forward now and see if Obama has held his own Department of the Interior to his high standards of accountability, with respect to teachers that is.

Recall that Obama himself selected Ken Salazar to be his cabinet head overseeing the environment and that when that choice was made, it was widely criticized by environmentalists who noted Salazar’s pro big business attitude and his endorsement of offshore drilling. Under Salazar, as been repeatedly documented in the media, the Obama Interior Ministry gave hundreds of waivers to oil companies so they would not have to file troublesome environmental impact statements. These waivers were given to companies, like BP, that had major safety violations in the not too far past.

Obama himself on April 2, 2010 assured the nation that oil rigs are safe and that oil leaks occur from refineries, not rigs.

From Democracynow’s report of April 4, 2010:

Obama on April 2: “Oil Rigs Today Generally Don’t Cause Spills”

In the weeks leading up to the oil rig explosion, President Obama claimed that the offshore rigs are safe.

President Obama: "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills. They are technologically very advanced. Even during Katrina, the spills didn’t come from the oil rigs, they came from the refineries onshore."

President Obama speaking on April 2, 18 days before the BP rig exploded. Meanwhile the Huffington Post reports National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration officials warned the Department of Interior last fall that it was dramatically underestimating the frequency of offshore oil spills and was dangerously understating the risk and impacts a major spill would have on coastal residents.

Obama made that completely false and inaccurate statement on the occasion of overturning 27 years of government policy banning offshore drilling. The ban was enforced by Democratic and Republican administration alike. Just 18 days after Obama’s volte face (he had, of course, campaigned against offshore drilling before backing it), we all know what happened.

Now we learn that more than three weeks after the oil disaster began, the Associate Director of Offshore Energy and Minerals Management at the Minerals Management Service within Salazar’s Department of the Interior within the Obama Administration, will retire May 31st. So unlike the teachers, this incompetent gets to retire (and likely retain all of his benefits) on his own schedule and hand out yet more rubber stamp waivers for two more weeks or so.

The above was reported recently by the Huffingtonpost along with this tidbit:

During his tenure at the Gulf regional office in Louisiana for the MMS, Chris Oynes played a central role in an offshore leasing foul-up that cost taxpayers an estimated $10 billion in lost revenue. The Interior Department’s inspector general called the matter "a jaw-dropping example of bureaucratic bungling." Despite that, the agency’s then-director promoted Mr. Oynes in 2007 to associate director for the offshore program.

One can understand this under W. But Obama has been in charge for 16 months now and if he can demand the firing of teachers for not coming through on the job, how about firing the entire staff of MMS AND his Secretary of the Interior too?

Why is it that accountability in the Obama administration seems to apply only to hapless teachers? Not to banking regulators, not to failed economic advisers, not to oil regulators, and not to people who have performed criminal/anti-human rights acts under both the Bush and Obama administrations?

Accountability Mr. President begins with you. One suspects the voters in November are going to hold your administration accountable too!


Why No Presidential Press Conferences?

By: fflambeau Saturday May 15, 2010 8:07 pm

Barack Obama promised as a candidate that he would have the "most open and transparent administration in American history". But I guess "openness and transparency" do not extend to press conferences since the last one Obama held was 10 months ago in July, 2009.

That’s right. Despite huge bailouts of financial institutions and car companies, despite 9.9% unemployment, despite escalation of wars overseas, despite environmental blunders, despite concerns about erosion of constitutional rights, despite huge divisions over immigration policies, Obama hasn’t faced the press in a press conference since last July!

That’s a record, lagging behind even Reagan and Nixon. But maybe it’s because Obama really isn’t very good at answering questions live? Recall that his last presser in July, 2009, centered around the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Gates. Obama made some serious mistakes (especially for someone trained in the law) when he said the Gates case represented racial profiling (it didn’t; a neighbor called the police because she saw two men breaking into Gate’s house) and that the Cambridge police "had acted stupidly." He made those comments without knowing all the facts (a mistake no well-trained lawyer would ever make) and his poll numbers went down as a result of his boneheaded remarks.

How does Obama’s number of press conferences stack up against other prsidents. It turns out that Matthew Dickinson of Middlebury College and some of his colleagues has a chart up and a discussion on this subject.

Bill Clinton held more than 2 press conferences a month, a total of 193 during his two terms in office (2.01 per month). George H.W. Bush held even more, a total of 142 for his four years in office (2.96 per month). George W. Bush held 39 in his first two years of office (the stats only go that far) or 1.62 per month.

We enter new territory with the "open and transparent" Obama administration. Obama has held 5 press conferences in the his first six months in office: AND NONE SINCE THEN.

Professor Dickinson also noticed that Obama was unusually wordy during the pressers he did give:

the one thing that stood out was his ability to filibuster by giving lengthy responses. Particularly at the start of the Q&A, Obama gave elaborate, lengthy answers to questions. I thought this served two useful purposes: it ate up a lot of time, preventing other reporters from getting questions in. And–with luck–it meant that his core message would be more likely to lead the media coverage of the conference.

What we see then with Obama is not "openness and transparency" so much as message control. This is pointed out in an excellent article by Yale Professor David Bromwich over at Huffingtonpost, "Will Obama Hold Another Press Conference?" While Obama has decreased formal press conferences which he has little control over, he has increased other means of communications at which he can control the message (and the questioners and their questions). Here’s Professor Bromwich:

The latter story offers a revealing comparative figure, supplied by Professor Martha Joynt Kumar of Towson State University, about President Obama’s alternative methods of exposure to reporters and to the public at large. He has had 47 short exchanges with reporters, compared to 147 for George W. Bush in his first year, and 252 for Bill Clinton. But the figures for arranged interviews go the other way: in his first year Obama gave 161 interviews, compared to 50 for Bush and 53 for Clinton.

Even these statistics fail to convey an adequate impression of the Obama "television blitz" last fall, and his extensive use of the town-hall format. As Travers puts it: "Five Sunday morning political show interviews, breaking down NASCAR and college basketball on ESPN, dropping by David Letterman’s show and appearing in a promo for a new television show featuring comedian George Lopez, it seemed as though the president was on every channel talking about everything under the sun." But did this also somehow weaken the impression of the gravity of his office? It certainly indicated a confused embrace of a multiplicity of roles. Ombudsman, publicist, cheerleader, private friend and cher ami–all are excellent things to be, but you cannot be them all and be the president, too. Or, not in such a way that people will see you as all these things, and also want to see you as their president.

The town-hall format, as everyone knows, lends itself to tight control of both the questions AND the audience. It makes plants possible. Remember the Obama trip to Ohio with Dennis Kucinich when DK was opposing the president’s health care proposals as a sellout to big insurance companies. It just so "happened" that a heckler, recognized by Obama from the platform, urged Kucinich to get behind the president’s program, a call repeated from the microphone by Obama. Now, that is control of message, questioner, and a likely opponent.

Bromwich, as a professor from Yale would, ends his essay with some powerful comments:

At a recent session with reporters, Robert Gibbs was asked about the future of press conferences. He replied with a gambit. You accuse us of overexposure, and now you want press conferences. A crafty evasion and Gibbs pursued it a step by asking for a show of hands: how many reporters really wanted another press conference? But the vote went against him; they did, indeed, want the chance to ask the president questions of their choosing, and with a range of topics open.

The truth may be that for all the burdens and all the embarrassments of an honest press conference, Barack Obama called it quits too soon. The White House press corps is doubtless dull, pusillanimous, self-important and endlessly compromised, but even at its worst, the knowledge it can marshal, over a long sequence of questions, exceeds the information Robert Gibbs is willing to supply. The baffled citizen at a town-hall meeting who begs for the personal concern of the president is no match for the great Helen Thomas. The fact that she does not need him makes all the difference. So does her training in the acquisition and deployment of inconvenient facts. A president who wants to be regarded as both democratic and representative has in one sense no better medium than this.

But I guess that maybe the real reason Obama doesn’t want to face the press in an open exchange is that he might face questions like this:

1) Mr. President, didn’t you on April 2, 2010, 18 days before the BP oil disaster, assure the nation that oil rigs don’t leak, that they’re safe nowadays, and that most spills occur from oil refineries? Wasn’t your reversal of 27 years of government policy banning off shore drilling, a ban endorsed by Democrats and Republicans alike, a real mistake?

2) Why DID you select Ken Salazar as your Secretary of Interior and wasn’t it well known that he was an offshore drilling proponent way back? Why does he still have a job in your administration; in fact, didn’t you ask him to oversee this mess which in large part he created?

3) Mr. President, you seem to be the largest recipient of campaign contributions from both BP and from Goldman Sachs. Some people accuse your administration of coddling both corporations. Could your receipt of millions of dollars in campaign contributions have affected the way your administration has treated both corporations with kid’s gloves?

4) Mr. President, didn’t you promise to close Gitmo? What’s the timetable for that happening now?

5) Mr. President, you and your administration are claiming you have the right to authorize the assassination of U.S. citizens abroad. As a former constitutional law adjunct professor, could you tell us where exactly that power comes from legally and why is it that no American president in the 230 or so years since the country has been founded ever made such a claim before? Do you claim the power to assassinate American citizens living within the United States too?

And so on.


The Middlebury College professor cited above, Matthew Dickinson, runs a fascinating blog that deserves more attention. It’s called "Presidential Power" and is described as a "nonpartisan analysis of presidential politics". Lots of good stuff over there. Here’s more on how the good professor views the role of his blog:

This blog focuses on presidential elections and politics and is oriented primarily toward anyone interested in understanding how we choose presidents and how the presidency works. It grew out of emails I initially distributed to my Middlebury College students at the start of the 2008 (actually 2007) presidential nominating season. My objective was to provide my students with a running commentary on the campaign, but from the perspective of political science. What could political science research tell them about the campaign events that the media couldn’t (or wouldn’t) say? By providing more in-depth analysis rooted in political science research and with a broader historical perspective, I hoped to provide a better understanding of the election. In my commentary I tried to avoid presenting my opinion as fact and instead readily acknowledged when my interpretation was as much conjecture as it was derived from solid research. That remains my goal today.

Obama Breaks Campaign Promise About Spending On AIDS

By: fflambeau Friday May 14, 2010 8:16 pm

Add this to the already long list of broken campaign promises and pledges made by Barack Obama. Democracynow reports that he has broken his campaign promise about spending on AIDS.

From Amy Goodman and Democracynow’s Headline News for May 14, 2010 (you can see the entire show, listen to it on internet radio, or read a transcript here):

8 Arrested in NYC Protesting Obama’s AIDS Policies

Here in New York, protesters from ACT UP, Africa Action, Global Access Project and other groups rallied outside a Democratic fundraiser last night featuring President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Police arrested eight protesters after they chained themselves together and disrupted traffic. The groups accused Obama of reneging on his campaign pledge to spend at least $50 billion by 2013 for the global fight against HIV/AIDS. Since taking office, Obama has shifted funding away from international AIDS programs at a time when the number of people infected with HIV continues to grow by a million a year. The United Nations now estimates there is a global shortfall of about $17 billion for controlling the epidemic.

Jennifer Flynn of Global Access Project: “We are here today to protest in front of this $15,000-per-person dinner hosted by President Obama to the fact that he’s gone—he’s broken his promise to fully fund the fight against global AIDS. In both of his budgets that he’s issued, he has consistently cut funding to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.”

The Global Access Project’s web site adds more detail including this May 10th story entitled, "EXPLOSIVE AIDS IN AFRICA MEMO, MEDIA REPORTS REVEAL OBAMA’S ‘FAILING’ GLOBAL AIDS STRATEGY" (edited):

(New York., NY): President Obama’s strategy to fight AIDS in Africa is at risk of failing, according to advocacy organizations, who pointed today to new developments including leaked official Administration documents instructing major Global AIDS program implementers to stop enrolling sick and dying patients due to program underfunding, as well as recent media reports, including the cover story in the NY Times today, revealing President Obama has broken the promises on AIDS in Africa he made while campaigning, and that his Administration’s response to global AIDS is weakening.

The never-before-published document, a memo dated October 29, 2010, instructs AIDS program implementers in Uganda that they should:

"…expect to have a flat-lined budget for ARV [antiretroviral] treatment procurement that should not be exceeded"
"In filling treatment slots that are made empty through attrition….priority should be given to the sickest patients".

Meanwhile, the New York Times has an excellent editorial, "The Wavering War on AIDS" on its web site today. It notes that the international war on AIDS is faltering:

Donations from the United States and other wealthy countries have leveled off while the number of people infected with H.I.V., the AIDS virus, grows by a million a year. By one informed estimate, only $14 billion will be available of some $27 billion needed this year to fight the disease in the developing world. Fewer than 4 million of the 14 million people infected with the AIDS virus are getting drug treatment — far short of the goal of universal access set by the United States and others.

Donor nations cite the economic crisis and tight budgets as reasons to slow their contributions to the global fight against AIDS. The Obama administration and many donor nations apparently believe that more lives could be saved by fighting other cheaper diseases, such as respiratory illnesses, diarrhea, malaria and measles.

Referring to Uganda, the Times editorial notes:

The results of those decisions can be seen in Uganda and other countries where, as Donald G. McNeil Jr. recently reported in The Times, the campaign against AIDS seems to be falling apart.

Although the number of Ugandans receiving drug treatments jumped from fewer than 10,000 a decade ago to nearly 200,000 today, hundreds of thousands more Ugandans need the drugs and likely can’t get them because clinics now routinely turn new patients away.

That is partly because American funds have been frozen and clinics were told to stop enrolling new patients unless the government has a plan to pay for their treatment. It is also because Uganda has badly skewed its own priorities, such as negotiating to buy a squadron of fighter-bombers from Russia for $300 million.

Yup, fighter bombers over peoples needs including medical treatment!

Hugh, here’s another one for your Obama’s Scandals Sheet.

“I Need a Freakin Job”: President Obama

By: fflambeau Thursday May 13, 2010 8:57 pm

A clever group–inafj.org–has put up a huge billboard in Buffalo to attract President Obama’s attention. It reads:

>Dear Mr. President, I need a freakin job. Period.



They have also come out with a short video clip (that can be viewed on the same link as that above) to promote their billboard and plea. The first minute or so are not exciting but when the music kicks in, you can feel their energy.

If you go to their website, you’ll see this message under INAFJ, "The Movement":

*INAFJ is a grass roots American movement, giving voice to the millions affected by the crazy unemployment numbers. As families suffer, our political leadership seems content with their dysfuctional posturing. …

*stupid is believing the problems we have can be solved by the same people that created them. …

*Sick is the billions of dollars that have been spent on bailing out financial institutions, while their own immeasurable greed was responsible for the collapse of America’s future.

*Tired is hearing career politicians saying one thing while doing another, most having never created a job or felt the burden of creating a payroll.

*Inexcusable is the rape of the US Treasury in plain sight and in daylight.

I have no idea who these people are (they say they have no political affiliation) but their message will certainly resonate with the unemployed, the underemployed, progressives and libertarians alike.

They also have a petition up on Facebook that you can sign here. Almost 8,000 people on Facebook alone have already said they like this idea.

What about Barack Obama? Boy does the president have a tin ear on this issue. Unemployment stands officially at 9.9% (up from the month before) and it would be worse if not for the seasonal-short term work provided by the census. Underemployment is almost at 20% and the rates for minorities (like Black Americans; Latinos) are even higher.

I guess Obama didn’t hear "It’s the economy, stupid!" that Clinton used against pappy Bush. Nor did he see the results.

The truth is, the Obama administration has been clueless on job creation. Instead of pushing money into massive public works projects (as favored by several leading economists) the president came up with a timid economic stimulus plan that Joe Stiglitz and other Nobel Prize winners criticized as being too little, too late.

Next week, voters in Pennsylvania and three other states go to the polls. Two incumbent Democratic Senators (if you count Arlen Spectre as a Democrat that is) could soon find themselves on the bread lines. More will follow in November.

I’m predicting that the Democrats will lose the House in November and that the Republicans will begin impeachment proceedings against Obama early next year.

Maybe then Obama will start to listen?


CNN reports that the man behind the billboard and the message is Jeff Baker and that:

On CNN’s American Morning, the creator of the billboard, Jeff Baker, said he was inspired to help pay for the eye-catching gimmick because he wanted to "refocus the national dialogue" back to "basic job creation."

When the economy went south, Baker and his brother lost their 10-year-old textile business, which employed 25 people. Their family’s woes are reflected throughout the city of Buffalo, which suffers from one of the country’s highest poverty rates, with nearly 30 percent of its population living at or below the poverty line. Buffalo’s unemployment rate is at 8.6 percent, while the national average is 9.7 percent.[…]

Baker is asking for more frank discussion that leads to tangible job creation.

"I would love to sit down and talk about the small-business perspective, a beer-jobs summit with regular knuckleheads like me," he told The Buffalo News.

You can see a video interview on CNN with Baker here.

GREECE: Big Spender on Military Budget

By: fflambeau Thursday May 13, 2010 5:57 am

Greece, one of the smaller countries in the European Union, spends more than any other country in the EU on defense as a percentage of its GDP: 3.3%. By comparison, Germany, the most populous country in the EU spends less than 2% of its GDP on defense, these figures from a television report on Aljazeera broadcast today.

Wikipedia, relying on various sources, supports this:

It must be noted that Greek arms purchasing is among the highest in the world: Greece ranked 3rd in the world in 2004.

At a time when the country is an economic crisis, the Greek government intends to shell out 2.5 billion Euros on 6 naval ships and several submarines for .5 billion Euros each.

Apropos of this, Wikipedia, relying on a BBC report says that:

Regarding the purchase of 30 F-16 and 333 Leopard tanks in 2005, both parties criticized the New Democracy administration for spending money on weapons while doing nothing to relieve the lower classes and said that high military spending "does not correspond to the real needs of the country but is carried out according to NATO planning and to serve weapon manufacturers and the countries that host them".

Similarly, Aljazeera in its recent broadcast interviewed a member of Greece’s Parliament. He said his country is under severe pressure from nations to cut its budget but the same countries want it to spend more on military purchases.

The United States is the major arms seller to Greece.

According to the Federation of American Scientists (an organization of top scientists formed in 1945 from members of the Manhattan Project with Nobel Prize winners on its board) shows Greece to be a leading purchaser of “U.S. Defense Articles and Services” to the amount of:

$3 billion (from 1997 to 2000) ranking Greece #1 in Europe for those years and #5 worldwide;

$1.4 billion (from 2001 to 2004) ranking Greece #3 in Eur. for those years and #9 worldwide;

$170 million in 2004 ranking Greece #3 in Europe for that year.

Most of these weapons appear to be military planes. Indeed, the Wikipedia article cited above (see the comment following footnote #8) indicates that:

The Greek publication Elevtherotipia reported that former Ambassador Nicholas Burns had taken part in attempting to dissuade Greek officials from purchasing the Eurofighter in favor of a U.S. military aircraft.

So what we see is the U.S. government, through an Ambassador, acting to promote sales of a U.S. plane essentially acting as a salesman and doing the bidding for private arms manufacturers.

Moreover, on December 16, 2009, the Telegraph (U.K.) reported that Greece’s economy was under severe strain due to excessive military spending and that the amount of this spending was hidden from the public:

To make matters worse, there were fresh concerns yesterday about the true scale of Greek military spending, which is kept off the books of the debt agency.

“Greek military accounts seem to be regarded as a state secret,” said Chris Pryce, Fitch’s director of sovereign ratings.

“In every other EU country we can find out how much they spend on defence, but we don’t know for Greece. All we know is that their military spending is very large, around 5pc of GDP,” he said.

Analysts who have probed deeply into Greek accounts have been astonished to discover that parts of the public sector lack double-entry book-keeping, 700 years after it was invented by the Venetians.

Given Greece has misled the bond markets and Brussels in the past over its deficits, analysts suspect that Athens may try to hide problems behind a military veil. Mr Papandreou admits that Greece has lost “every shred of credibility”.

The same report contained some fascinating information relating to possible weapons purchases from Germany companies. It said that the Greek government in September, 2009, had warned ThyssenKrupp [both Thyssen and Krupp were favorites of Hitler; they merged in 2000 as discussed below in note #2] it would not take delivery of 4 of that company’s submarines thus canceling a contract for 520 million Euros and that early in December it also was canceling contracts for maritime aircraft worth 250 million Euros.

So, let’s see what we have here. First, the Greek government buys far too many armaments, so many its defense spending fuels an economic crisis. Then late last year the country threatens to cut 3/4 billion Euros worth of contracts to Germany’s huge war manufacturer, ThyssenKrupp. Greece totters closer to the brink BUT Germany leads the EU in putting together a huge package, worth a reported 150 billion Euros, to prop it up (see note #1 below). But it appears that a large amount of that taxpayer money (coming from assorted European countries) will now go to buying weapons from a private company in Germany. So who is the bailout really helping out? Greece? Germany? or ThyssenKrupp?

And where have we seen these kind of huge bailouts before essentially going to major multinational corporations?

So how about some budget hawks, in the United States, in Greece, and in the EU, standing up and demanding severe cuts in Greece’s military budgets and its arms purchases AND an investigation into why taxpayer monies are going to help out huge armaments manufacturers? Unfortunately, all we seem to be hearing instead is for the need for Greece (and the United States) to cut social programs.

Why is that do you think?


The amount of the EU bailout to Greece is still not clear but on May 12, 2010, the Daily Mail (U.K.) reported this:

Today, Bild [an important German source] said: ‘The EU and the Eurozone want to spend a massive 750billion Euros to save the European currency. Germany alone will have to fork out 123billion Euros for its bankrupt neighbours.

‘There is now not enough money for the planned tax cuts here!

‘Are we really the schmucks of Europe?

It appears that about 150 billion Euros of that package is specifically earmarked for Greece, according to various sources.


ThyssenKrupp is a huge German manufacturer with over 200,000 employees. It is the result of a merger between Thyssen and Krupp in 2000.

Friederick "Fritz" Thyssen was the head of his family’s business and helped to put Hitler into power. He gave huge amounts of money to the Nazis and in November, 1932, according to Wikipedia:

Thyssen and Hjalmar Schacht were the main organisers of a letter to President Paul von Hindenburg urging him to appoint Hitler as Chancellor. Thyssen also persuaded the Association of German Industrialists to donate 3 million Reichsmarks to the Nazi Party for the March, 1933 Reichstag election. As a reward, he was elected a Nazi member of the Reichstag and appointed to the Council of State of Prussia, the largest German state (both purely honorary positions).

Although Thyssen was tried for being a Nazi, he denied it and just paid a fine to get out of his difficulties and emigrated to Argentina.

For its part, the Krupp family and its companies have a history of over 400 years of selling arms. Krupp made most of Hitler’s panzer tanks. Krupp industries during World War II used slaves to make their weapons and bombs.

Hitler himself said this in an address to the Hitler Youth:

"In our eyes, the German boy of the future must be slim and slender, as fast as a greyhound, tough as leather and hard as Krupp steel" („… der deutsche Junge der Zukunft muß schlank und rank sein, flink wie Windhunde, zäh wie Leder und hart wie Kruppstahl.")

Michelle Obama’s Anti-Obesity Plans Revealed

By: fflambeau Tuesday May 11, 2010 8:38 pm

Michelle Obama is leading the charge against childhood obesity. Here we outdo WebMD and present the First Lady’s 3 top ideas for keeping kids in shape!

#1: Punch-a-Progressive Program.

Michelle says this about her Punch-a-Progressive Program:

You know how my hubby stays in shape and keeps that cute bottom and also how Rahm keeps the midriff bulge off: they punch progressives. Not just daily, but two or three times a day. Great for the upper arms too (check mine out!).

#2: Help-a-Banker-Cross-the-Street Program.

We all know that bankers require help these days. And, the bigger they are the more help they need. So, here’s a great workout for your cardiovascular system: help bankers cross the streets. Protect them, pamper them. Remember, the more you coddle them, the more calories you will burn up!

Michelle’s hot tip of the day:

My "Help-A-Banker-Cross-the-Street Program" has been endorsed by none other than Robert Rubin. He especially urges you to help bankers from Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. They’re easy to spot: they’re truly losers and many of them can be identified by their golden parachutes or because they are sporting job id’s from my husband’s administration.

#3: Cut Entitlements Program.

Here’s a program that’s great for your wrist muscles and for you lower arms. Get out there and cut every entitlement designed to help average Americans that you see. Social security, medicare, medicaid–these are not the kind of programs that Princeton and Harvard Law School grads rely on anyway. Barack’s hero Ronald Reagan didn’t much like them either.

But if you cut these wasteful entitlements and squeeze the life out of them, you’ll not only cut the fat out of our budget but out of your obese body and the body politic. We can then spend the saved dollars where they are really needed: the Defense Department budget (one of my other programs is to assist servicemen and servicewomen); bailing out major corporations; and helping Blue Dogs get reelected.

You should see the wonders this program has done for Alice Rivlin and Anne Fudge since my hubby put them on his deficit reduction commission. They’re earning more money too!

RentEconomist Jonathan Gruber’s Ties to Goldman Sachs/Hamilton Project/Obama

By: fflambeau Monday May 10, 2010 9:17 pm

We’ve all heard in recent days about a prominent gay basher hiring a male prostitute from RentBoy, ostensibly to "carry his bags" but in reality to give him "the long stroke" on a steamy European holiday.

In my far less titillating research on the Hamilton Project (see work listed below), I have come across some interesting ties between MIT economist Jonathan Gruber and the Hamilton Project. Gruber–it turns out–carries bags for the Obama administration and the Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin-funded Hamilton Project. Gruber is a RentEconomist ready and seemingly willing to take any economic position (pardon the RentBoy inspired pun) you might want, for money that is, lots of it as Emptwheel has shown.

Readers here at FDL are doubtless aware of Gruber because of the fine work done by Emptywheel and Jane H. on health care.

Emptywheel wrote this in January, 2010:

MIT health economist Jonathan Gruber has been the go-to source that all the health care bill apologists point to to defend otherwise dubious arguments. But he has consistently failed to disclose that he has had a sole-source contract with the Department of Health and Human Services since June 19, 2009 to consult on the “President’s health reform proposal.”

He is one source for the claim that the excise tax will result in raises for workers (though his underlying study is in-apt to the excise tax question). He is the basis for the argument that the Senate bill reduces families’ risk–even if it remains totally unaffordable.

Emptywheel went on to point out that while Gruber was providing intellectual support for Obama’s health care proposals, he was simultaneously taking in lots of money from Obama’s HHS Department. Money to the tune of $392,600. It’s all there in her seminal diary, "Jonathan Gruber Failed to Disclose His $392,600 Contracts with HHS."

But while I have been doing research recently on the links between the Obama government and Robert Rubin and Goldman Sachs and the think tank they founded, The Hamilton Project, I have found that there are Obama-Gruber-Rubin/Goldman Sachs/Hamilton Project connections going back to 2006.

A search of the Hamilton Project’s own web site reveals 21 connections spread over three pages: connections between the MIT-based economist and the Hamilton Project. That includes papers given at the project, books and events attended.

Perhaps the most important of these was at the launch of the Hamilton project back on April 5, 2006. Who attended the launch? Well, Robert Rubin, ex-head of Goldman Sachs was there, of course, because he and Goldman provided the bucks for the Hamilton Project. It’s a neo-liberal think tank cleverly hidden like a Trojan Horse within the Brookings Institution, which is generally seen by the press as "liberal".

Who else was there? Yes, RentEconomist Gruber was there; in fact he was a panel presenter. Who else?

None other than a young Senator from Illinois by the name of Barack Obama. RentSenator Obama gave a speech (you can see a video of it here as well as full information on the launch) at the Hamilton Project in which he thanked "my friend, Bob" [Rubin], and launched into a defense of NAFTA and the need for more NAFTAs as well as a need for cuts in entitlements (like social security). So is it any wonder that Obama has appointed to his budget cutting commission two people (Alice Rivlin and Anne Fudge) who espouse the same Hamilton project/Robert Rubin line and who have ties to the Hamilton Project/Brookings?

"He who pays gets to call the tune" applies not only to RentBoys. In this case, Robert Rubin-Goldman Sachs are paying and calling the tune. Rubin also made opening remarks at the launch.

Who else was in attendance for the Hamilton Project’s launch in addition to Obama, Robert Rubin and RentEconomist Gruber? A virtual Who’s Who of Goldman Sachs people, all budget hawks when it comes to entitlements. The moderator of the panel discussions at the launch was none other than Peter Orszag, the first Director of the Hamilton Project now in the Obama Administration as his Budget Director. Another panelist was RentEconomist, Austan Goolsbee, then an economist with the University of Chicago, now on Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Other people at the launch of significance included Strobe Talbott and Roger Altman. Both have huge connections in the Democratic party and with the Obama administration. Also, there, the Hamilton Project’s second Director, Jason Furman who would later serve as a chief economic adviser to Obama in his presidential campaign.

Let’s return to RentEconomist Gruber. His presentation was in a panel with Goolsbee’s; the panel topic was "Innovative Policy Ideas." There is a link to his speech here and you can read the entire transcript of his talk here.

Here’s a sampling of "Gruber’s ideas". I put that in quotes because he himself in his paper admits the ideas are those pushed by Peter Orszag. Significantly, they also are those of Barack Obama’s, the Hamilton project’s, Robert Rubin’s and of course, Obama’s deficit reduction committee:

"I’m going to be talking today about a proposal that I have developed with Peter Orszag and Bill Gale. They really deserve most of the credit. …What is the problem? Americans are leaving work earlier but living longer. Social Security was not designed to be a full income replacement. It never was. It is under, as we know, enormous financing pressure. Employer-provided pensions are disappearing. And most importantly, probably, the enormous rise in health care costs for the elderly are going to continue and place Medicare in jeopardy."

One of the RentEconomist’s "fixes" to this "social security problem" (actually social security at present doesn’t have an economic problem and if it did, it could be easily fixed by raising the limit of the social security tax on earnings to include all earnings but that would hit people like Robert Rubin hard) is essentially to privitize social security. Hence, Gruber wants each person to have a private annuity partly supported by the government. Note that there is a high probability that such a policy would create even more wealth for Rubin and Goldman Sachs who doubtless would have their fingers in the creation and administration of such annuities.

It bears repeating that the above views are also those of Barack Obama, the Hamilton project, Robert Rubin and, of course, Obama’s deficit reduction committee. He’s stacked that committee just as he stacked health care reform by taking single payer/the public option off the table. See the last article in the readings below for evidence that Obama has packed his commission with "social security looters".

With RentEconomist Gruber we see the circle coming full. Robert Rubin and Goldman set up a think tank that really is a Trojan Horse for their neo-liberal ideas: more free trade pacts, outsourcing jobs, cutting entitlements and cutting restrictions on financial/banking services.

Presto, we have the Hamilton Project.

It then invites nominally independent "experts", RentExperts like Gruber who are paid to come and give speeches and deliver papers that support the party line. They also bring on ambitious politicians (like Obama and later Joe Biden) to beat the drum. All the while, money and influence are flowing from a hidden source: Rubin and Goldman Sachs. They also bring on board journalists (like from ABC news) to spread the word. They float ideas that will make more money for themselves. In short, what we see here is the influence of money and power that completely subvert democratic institutions. Note that Obama has essentially outsourced to his independently appointed deficit reduction committee a task that should be Congress’s.

Gruber’s RentEconomist work with the Hamilton project didn’t, of course, end with the project’s launch. Other Gruber appearances include as an expert panelist at a Hamilton Project event on July 17, 2007, “Who’s Got the Cure?” presided over by Robert Rubin. Gruber later wrote a chapter in a Brookings Institution book with a similar name, “Who Has the Cure? Hamilton Project Ideas on Health Care” (2008). Importantly, the book was edited by Jason Furman (second Director of the Hamilton Project who worked in Obama’s team). It has another chapter by Jeanne M. Lambrew. Lambrew serves as Obama’s Director, HHS Office of Reform and is a close associate of Tom Daschle (they together wrote a book on health care reform). Daschle, it should be recalled, was Obama’s original pick to head HHS before it turned out he dodged and fudged on his tax returns.

Gruber’s other RentEconomist work (covering three pages of a search at the Hamilton’s Project’s own web site) can be looked at by the reader following the links above.

What is important here is that an enormously wealthy group of people headed by Robert Rubin have created an institution (the Hamilton Project) that appears to be independent and even progressive. It in turn brings in hired economic guns like RentEconomist Gruber who are willing to promote the purposes of that essentially undemocratic institution. For a price that is. So too with Obama himself. He’s a RentPolitician.

From them emanate a "call for reform" whether it be in health care, or in deficit reduction or financial reform. But behind it all there is a guiding hand hidden from the public. At least the RentBoy that our story began with was upfront. He acknowledged (through the RentBoy web site) that he would provide just about any service, for a price. Unfortunately, we have RentEconomists, RentExperts, and yes, RentPoliticians, who take the money and perform just about anything too at their master’s command.

They’re just not as up front about it!


Please see an earlier diary written here that contains an extensive list of the connections between the Obama government and Robert Rubin/Goldman Sachs/the Hamilton Project.

"An Updated List of Goldman Sachs Ties to the Obama Administration Including Elena Kagan"

It also has a list of readings recommended (with links) at its end that cover subjects in this diary.

A revealing, important article written by Matthew Skomarovsky shows, as its title indicates that "Obama Packs Debt Commission With Social Security Looters". Read it here.

An Updated List of Goldman Sachs Ties to the Obama Government Including Elena Kagan

By: fflambeau Saturday May 8, 2010 9:13 pm

I. Introduction.

This essay shows the pervasive influence of Goldman Sachs and its units (like the Goldman-Robert Rubin-funded Hamilton Project embedded in the Brookings Institution) in the Obama government. These names are in addition to those compiled on an older such list and published here at FDL. In the future, I will combine the names here and those on the earlier article but I urge readers to look at the earlier list too (links below). Combined, this is the largest and most comprehensive list of such ties yet published.

For readability and clarity, I have NOT included many of the details and links that are found in the earlier article so as to make this one less repetitive and easier to read. So, if you want more documentation, please look at my earlier diary here at Firedoglake called "A List of Goldman Sachs People in the Obama Government: Names Attached To The Giant Squid’s Tentacles" published on April 27, 2010.

Note too that I have intentionally used the words, "Obama government" rather than "Obama administration" because some of these connections are not technically within his administration. These would include ambassadorial appointments and Supreme Court appointments (like that anticipated for Elena Kagan). This also includes lobbyists like Dick Gephardt who has multiple connections/input to Obama and to Goldman Sachs and the Hamilton Project.

In a similar vein, I use a broader definition than just Goldman Sachs (GS) because GS has funded, along with its ex-leader Robert Rubin, a right-leaning think tank called the Hamilton Project and embedded it within the Brookings Institution. Some of its activities thus also spill over into Brookings Institution projects which doubtlessly was one of the clever reasons Rubin and GS did this, along with providing their essentially neo-con/neo-liberal think tank with camouflage. This has worked beautifully for GS and Rubin as most writers–even critical ones like Matt Taibbi–seem unaware of the important doings of the Hamilton Project. The Hamilton Project has 32 people sitting on its Advisory Council and many have ties to Goldman Sachs, Rubin and the Obama government. Of the first four Directors of the Hamilton Project, three work in the Obama administration. Meanwhile, the most recent Director of the Hamilton Project came from academia and from a position as economic adviser to the Obama administration to Hamilton in the sort of "revolving door" that Washington is famous for.

The Hamilton Project (named after Alexander Hamilton whose most famous dictum was "The People are a Great Beast") is essentially pushing for cuts in entitlements (like social security), outsourcing American jobs, and for more NAFTA-type agreements. This is essentially the game plan for the Obama administration, not surprising since Barack Obama was the inaugural speaker at the Hamilton Project (and Joe Biden spoke there just weeks ago).

NOTE: This diary and its predecessor are the result of a lot of painstaking work. I am sure there are other Goldies out there in the Obama administration who I have missed. If so, PLEASE let me know by dropping their name in a comment below.

II. Additional Names of Goldies serving with Obama.

Enough background information, let’s reveal the Goldies with connections/jobs within the Obama government (or with "revolving door" status). For your convenience, I’ve listed the new names to the list separately and in the first section, led off by Elena Kagan because the buzz is that she is Obama’s pick to the Supreme Court.

NEW GOLDIES REVEALED (with respect to prior article):


Kagan was appointed by Obama to serve as the Solicitor General. The Solicitor General, often called the 10th Supreme Court Justice, is the person who argues the U.S. government side of cases before the court. Buzz has it that she is also Obama’s next pick to the Supreme Court, perhaps as early as this Monday.

At any rate, she’s already in the Obama government as Solicitor General. She also has ties to Goldman Sachs. From 2005 to 2008, according to USA Today and other sources, Kagan served as a member of the Research Advisory Council of the Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute. Matt Kelley of USA Today wrote in his article, "Possible Supreme Court Pick Had Ties to Goldman Sachs" that Kagan received $10,000 from Goldman Sachs for her services in 2008, per federal disclosure forms. But since she was doing the same thing in 2005, 2006, and 2006, it would appear that she pulled in $40,000 from Goldman Sachs for what appears to be sitting in on one day sessions looking at big issues affecting the global economy. $40,000 grand for so little time is a nice gig if you can get it (and she likely got expenses too) for so little time. It’s not a huge amount but it is enough to affect a player’s mind.

Here are some questions that Senators on the Judiciary Committee might want to ask of Kagan:

1) Can you produce all the paperwork/receipts related to your ties to Goldman Sachs?

2) Did you report the GS payments as income on your income tax returns (lots of people in the Obama administration (like Timothy Geithner) or wanting to be (like Tom Daschle) seem to have trouble filling out proper IRS forms.

3) Will you recuse yourself in any cases brought before you at the Supreme Court (if confirmed) that have any connection, no matter how remote, to Goldman Sachs or its entities?

4) As Solicitor General of the United States, have you handled (defined largely) any cases relating to Goldman Sachs or its entities?
Have you given advice on any such cases?

5) Have you had any dealings with The Hamilton Project? This includes speeches given there, conferences attended, papers published etc.


Here is a murky connection (but an important one) between Obama and Goldman Sachs. Berkowitz serves as the Chairman, Board of Directors of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINAP). It is an important Washington think tank that gives input to Obama. It was established by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in 1985, according to Wikipedia. People affiliated with WINAP are a virtual Who’s Who of foreign policy including Henry Kissinger, Warren Christopher, Lawrence Eagleburger, and Richard Perle.

Berkowitz also is Managing Director of BlackRock and sits on the Advisory Council of the Goldman Sachs funded Hamilton Project.

BlackRock is a global investmentment management firm with over $3.35 trillion under management. There is a virtual revolving door of hiring and acquisitions between BlackRock and Goldman Sachs as reported here.


Dudley, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York web site:

became the 10th president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on January 27, 2009. In that capacity, he serves as the vice chairman and a permanent member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the group responsible for formulating the nation’s monetary policy.

Mr. Dudley was a partner and managing director at Goldman, Sachs & Company and was the firm’s chief U.S. economist for a decade. Earlier in his career at Goldman Sachs, he had a variety of roles including a stint when he was responsible for the firm’s foreign exchange forecasts. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs in 1986, he was a vice president at the former Morgan Guaranty Trust Company. Mr. Dudley was an economist at the Federal Reserve Board from 1981 to 1983.

Dudley seems to have Geithner’s old job, passed from one Goldie to the next.


Effron is a money man. As a bundler for the 2008 Obama campaign, he raised more than $100,000. According to this web site he also was a "Mega Donor" to Obama in 2008, giving more than $28,500 though committees supporting Obama. His wife is also a major contributor, giving tens of thousands of dollars.

Effron is a founding partner of Centerview Partners LLC. Their web site indicates he has executed over $400 billion in transactions.

Effron is also on the Advisory Council of the Goldman Sachs/Robert Rubin funded Hamilton Project.

FROMAN, Michael.

Froman (born August 20, 1962) is deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, a position to be held jointly at the National Security Council and the National Economic Council. His responsibilities will include serving as the White House liaison to the G7, G8 and G20 summits of economic powers.[

He's on my prior list but his name was misspelled there (as Frohman). Froman's days with Obama go back to Harvard Law School. Froman appears to be the original link between Robert Rubin/Goldman Sachs and Obama.

From Wikipedia:

>Froman received a bachelor's degree in Public and International Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University in 1985, a doctorate in International Relations from Oxford University and a law degree from Harvard Law School where he was a classmate of Barack Obama[2][3], and also an associate of Obama’s on the Harvard Law Review.[4]

After Harvard, Froman had lost touch with Barack Obama until Froman heard of Obama’s Senate run. Froman volunteered at that point to help, began raising funds for the candidate, and introduced the candidate to Robert Rubin, whom Froman had followed from the Treasury Department to Citigroup [Froman served as Rubin's Chief of Staff] after the Clinton administration.[4] Before moving to the Obama administration, Froman most recently was a managing director of Citigroup’s Citi Alternative Investments Institutional Clients Group, where he was head of infrastructure and sustainable development [5]. He also served on 12-member advisory board of the Obama campaign’s transition team.[1]

this source provides new information indicating Frohman, who was Mr. Goldman Sach’s former Chief of Staff, as an "informal adviser" to Obama. They spell his name as Froman, Michael.


Obama just appointed Fudge to his budget deficit reduction committee (whose real goal, like that of the Hamilton Project, is to cut entitlements). Fudge has been the public relations craftsman for some of America’s largest corporations. She sits, according to the Washington Post, as a Trustee of the Brookings Institution within which the Hamilton Project is embedded.


Gephardt is one of the movers and shakers in the Democratic party and served as the Democratic Majority Leader of the House from 1989 to 1995. While he doesn’t have an "official position" in the Obama administration his name was floated as a possible VP to Obama in 2008. Like so many ex-politicians, Gephardt has set up a consulting firm that has its fingers in just about every pie in the Obama government. Gephardt, for instance, advised the Obama administration, according to the New York Times, that universal health coverage could not pass in 2009 and urged Obama to "defer that goal." That’s what the people Gephardt takes money from wanted and that’s also what Obama did.

Here’s more from The New York Times:

One old friend links Mr. Gephardt’s assessment to his lucrative new career as a lobbyist. “He’s advising a lot of big corporations,” said Tom Buffenbarger, president of the machinists’ union.

Wikipedia says that:

Dick Gephardt started Gephardt Group in January 2005 and is currently its President and CEO. Gephardt Group is a multi-disciplined consulting firm focused on helping clients improve Labor Relations, develop Political and Public Policy Strategies and enhance Business Results by gaining access to new markets or partners.[15]

According to Wikipedia:

is also an active consultant for Goldman Sachs.

Gephardt also sits on the Advisory Council of the Hamilton Project funded by Robert Rubin and Goldman Sachs.


Obama appointed Murphy to serve as his Ambassador to Germany. In the 1990′s, Murphy, who worked for decades with Goldman Sachs, served as GS’s head of its German offices. From 1997-1999, Murphy served as President of Goldman Sachs, Asia (during the Asian economic crisis). In all, according to Wikipedia, Murphy spent 23 years at Goldman Sachs including as a Senior Director of the firm in 2003 before retiring from GS in 2006.


Granoff is a money man, and contributed lots of bucks as a "mega donor" to the Obama campaign. At least $28,500 according to Public Citizen.

Granoff is President, CEO and Founder of Pomona Capital, a venture capital group.

Granoff is also one of the 19 members of the Goldman Sachs-Robert Rubin funded Hamilton Project.


Liddy was, until recently, the CEO of AIG which, during the Obama administration, was essentially taken over by the government. He served in high positions at Goldman Sachs including : Board Member (Chairman, 1990-94; Director, 2003-2008). He was picked to the Goldman board by none other than Hank Paulson, former head of Goldman Sachs who was Bush’s Treasury Secretary who with Obama’s Treasury Secretary (Geithner) fashioned TARP.

Wikipedia reports:

Liddy garnered national headlines in October 2008 for defending a controversial $440,000 AIG retreat for top-performing insurance salesmen at the luxury St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, California. The retreat, which was held shortly after the U.S. government rescued AIG from insolvency with $84 billion in loans, included $200,000 for rooms, $150,000 for meals and $23,000 for the spa. In testimony before the U.S. House Oversight Committee, Liddy stated that such retreats "are standard practice in our industry."[11] During the U.S. presidential debate on October 7, 2008, Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama mentioned the retreat and said, "The Treasury should demand that money back and those executives should be fired."[12]

But that’s not what happened. Instead, Barack Obama as President kept Mr. Liddy on while AIG was essentially in receivership under the Obama administration.

How about this for a conflict of interest, again as reported by Wikipedia:

Liddy owns 27,129 shares in Goldman Sachs, at the time worth just over $3 million.[18] In April 2009 members of Congress called for Liddy to sell these shares, as they create a conflict of interest due to Goldman Sachs’ receipt of bailout money.[19] About two-thirds of Liddy’s holding is restricted and cannot be sold until May 31.[18]

Liddy announced on May 21, 2009 that he would resign as AIG Chairman and CEO when replacements were found, suggesting that the two roles be split.[20] Liddy was not paid for his time at AIG.[21] On August 3, 2009, Robert Benmosche was named President and CEO of AIG.[7]


Niederauer is CEO of the New York Stock Exchange. While a private entity, it is heavily regulated by the government and has close government ties. Niederauer, for instance, is a frequent speaker at Federal Reserve events:

New York Stock Exchange Euronext CEO Duncan L. Niederauer delivered the keynote address today at the fourth annual global summit on financial literacy hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Visa Inc.

He has an extensive Goldman Sachs background:

He joined NYSE Group following a 22-year career at Goldman Sachs. He served as a Managing Director of Goldman Sachs since 1997 and was responsible for U.S. cash equities operations, including Institutional and Member Firm Client Group sales and client services for … both the New York Stock Exchange and NYSE Arca. Mr. Niederauer was previously a Partner at The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (United States) ("GS") where he held many positions.


Perry is an Obama supporter, adviser and fund raiser. He worked for Goldman Sachs and is on the Goldman Sachs’funded, Hamilton Project’s Advisory Council. He is also CEO of Perry Capital, a hedge fund. Perry owns the full floor penthouse at 1 Sutton Place in NYC and according to the Washington Examiner is one of 15 " fat cat Wall St. Banker" friends of Obama. These are the same "fat cats" that Obama sometimes flails out at in the press to pretend he’s a populist!


Shafran served as an advisor/aide to Timothy Geithner especially on TARP. All of the advisers on that appear in a very murky fashion. And Shafran, like a lot of other TARP advisers, has extensive ties to Goldman as a executive for years. He’s especially shadowy, however. Here’s a link about him from CBS News.


John Thain has served as an adviser to Timothy Geithner. Thain was President and Chief Operating Officer of Goldman Sachs from 1999 to 2003.


An economic adviser to President Obama. Tyson is a Hamilton Project Advisory Council Member. The Hamilton Project as noted above was founded by Bob Rubin and Goldman Sachs and has close links to Obama personally.


This lists compiles the names above and those in the prior diary on this. For more detail on names not annotated in this diary, see the earlier diary linked here):







CRAIG, GREGORY. (revolving door)








FROMAN, Michael.







GREENSTONE, MICHAEL (revolving door to Hamilton Project)




























1. Greg Gordon (McClatchy Newspapers), "Goldman’s White House Connections Raise Eyebrows" April 21, 2010.

2. Fflambeau, "With the Obama Administration Infested With Goldman Sachs People, How Real is the Obama/Democratic Attack on Big Banks" FDL Diary, April 21, 2010.

3. "More Investigations of Goldman Sachs, A Double-Edge Swords for Obama and Democrats"

4. Paul Street’s article showing that Obama held corporatist ideas long before elected and his indebtedness to the interests of big business.

5. Matthew Skomarovsky, "Obama Packs Debt Commission with Social Security Looters", March 28, 2010 at Alternet.

6. Fflambeau, "A List of Goldman Sachs People in the Obama Administration: Names Attached to the Giant Squid’s Tentacles"


1. Kirk James Murphy, M.D. "The Hamilton Project: Same Corporatist Whine In New DLC Vessels." THE seminal article on the Hamilton Project which also features a video clip of then Senator Barack Obama talking about "my friend, Bob [Rubin]" and espousing cuts in entitlements and the "need" for more free trade pacts like NAFTA.

2. Fflambeau, "Obama’s ‘Smoking Gun’: His Hamilton Project Speech Shows His Links to Goldman, Entitlement Cuts, Part 1.

3. Fflambeau, "Obama’s ‘Smoking Gun’: His Hamilton Project Speech Shows His Links to Goldman, Entitlement Cuts, Part 2".

4. Another source for Obama’s Hamilton Project speech of April 2006. Contains video clip.

5. James Kirk Murphy, M.D., "Remember the Hamilton Project?" Dr. Murph’s latest look at the Hamilton Project.

6. David Sirota, "Wall Street Democrats Unveil Plan to Undermine Progressives", April 5, 2006.