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

9:13 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

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, ELENA.

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.

BERKOWITZ, HOWARD P.

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, WILLIAM C.

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, BLAIR W.

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.

FUDGE, ANNE.

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, RICHARD (aka "DICK") A.

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.

MURPHY, PHILLIP.

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, MICHAEL D.

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, EDWARD MICHAEL.

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, DUNCAN.

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, RICHARD.

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, STEVEN.

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.

THAIN, JOHN.

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

TYSON, LAURA D’ANDREA.

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.

III. COMBINED LIST OF GOLDIES TIED TO THE OBAMA GOVERNMENT.

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):

ALTMAN, ROGER.

BERKOWITZ, HOWARD P.

BIDEN, JOE.

BRAINARD, LAEL.

BUFFETT, WARREN.

CLINTON, HILLARY.

CRAIG, GREGORY. (revolving door)

DONILON, THOMAS.

DUDLEY, WILLIAM C.

EFFRON, BLAIR W.

ELMENDORF, DOUGLAS.

EMANUEL, RAHM.

FARRELL, DIANA.

FRIEDMAN, STEPHEN.

FROMAN, Michael.

FUDGE, ANNE.

FURMAN, JASON.

GALLOGLY, MARK.

GEITHNER, TIMOTHY.

GENSLER, GARY.

GEPHARDT, RICHARD (aka "DICK") A.

GREENSTONE, MICHAEL (revolving door to Hamilton Project)

HAMILTON PROJECT, THE

HORMATS, ROBERT.

KAGAN, ELENA.

KASHKARI, NEEL.

KORNBLUH, KAREN.

LEW, JACOB (AKA "JACK") J.

LIDDY, EDWARD MICHAEL.

LIPTON, DAVID A.

MINDICH, ERIC

MURPHY, PHILLIP.

NIEDERAUER, DUNCAN.

OBAMA, BARACK H.

ORSZAG, PETER.

PATTERSON, MARK.

PERRY, RICHARD.

RATTNER, STEVE.

REISCHAUER, ROBERT D.

RIVLIN, ALICE.

RUBIN, JAMES.

RUBIN, ROBERT.

SHAFRAN, STEVEN.

SPERLING, GENE.

STORCH, ADAM.

SUMMERS, LARRY.

THAIN, JOHN.

TYSON, LAURA D’ANDREA.

RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING:

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"

ESSENTIAL READING ON THE HAMILTON PROJECT AND ITS TIES TO THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION:

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.

Barack Obama: “Oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills. They are technologically very advanced.”

5:14 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

On April 2, 2010, just 18 days before the BP offshore oil spill began and on the day when Obama reversed 27 years of government policy forbidding offshore drilling, Obama made this statement:

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I want to put 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.

A video clip of Obama making this pitifully incorrect comment upon which his mistaken policy of opening the coasts up to offshore drilling was based, may be seen over at Democracynow. (Please see link above).

"Offshore" Obama’s Bush-like comment was discussed on a recent Democracynow program between the moderators, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez of Democracynow, and their guest, Kieran Suckling, Executive Director of the Center for Biological Diversity. Here’s Suckling’s response to Obama’s boneheaded comment:

KIERAN SUCKLING: Yeah, I mean, I think what the President has said here is actually just very, very critical, because he is repeating, and I suspect without even knowing it, the big lie of offshore oil drilling. For decades, the oil companies and the Minerals Management Services have told us, ‘Oil drilling is safe, it’s fine, that’s not where oil spills come from.’ In fact, that’s the basis of not doing any environmental review is, you simply assert it will never be a problem, therefore, you don’t even have to study it. When it’s true that they don’t leak often, but when they do leak, it’s absolutely catastrophic. It’s very similar to nuclear power plants. They don’t often fail, but when they fail it’s catastrophic. And, therefore, you have to plan for catastrophe. You have to do very intensive environmental analysis, not simply say, ’It’s rare, so we can ignore it.’

AMY GOODMAN: Kieran Suckling, what do think has to happen right now?

KIERAN SUCKLING: Well, first off, I think that the President should announce a complete moratorium on all new offshore oil drilling. This three-week time-out is really too little, too late. And it’s very important to do that now because the president, under the urging of Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, has planned to open up new offshore oil drilling in Alaska, in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and on the Atlantic coast. And that just needs to end. It’s not safe anywhere, anytime.

Secondly, the president should immediately revoke existing oil permits and especially in Alaska. Shell Oil, this July, has- is going to start doing offshore oil drilling in the Chukchi Sea of Alaska. And if you think it’s difficult to clean up oil in the relatively warm, calm Gulf of Mexico, imagine trying to do this with icebergs and sea ice, twenty hours of darkness in the Arctic oceans. It just cannot be done. If this spill had happened in Alaska, its magnitude would have been ten times worse than has happened in the Gulf.

Then, thirdly, the President should start an initiation of an investigation of Ken Salazar and his role in allowing this to happen. Salazar has been a major proponent of the offshore oil drilling industry. He passed legislation as a senator in 2006 to open up the Gulf of Mexico in the first place to offshore oil drilling. He gets campaign contributions by British Petroleum. And then he walks into this agency he is supposed to reform, and instead of reforming it, pushes it to do even more offshore oil drilling. So Ken Salazar is part of the problem here, not the solution. He should not be doing the investigation of MMS. He should be under investigation for helping to cause this crisis.

Instead of putting Salazar under investigation, Obama has essentially put him in charge of Obama’s investigation of the offshore oil catastrophe. Obama’s environmental mistakes go back far earlier with Obama’s selection of Salazar to head the federal agency that should be protecting the environment.

Here is some background information (from Wikipedia which is thoroughly documented) on Ken Salazar showing why Obama never should have chosen him to be our steward of the environment as Obama’s Interior Secretary:

He [Salazar} took office [As a U.S. Senator (Democratic) from Colorado] on January 4, 2005.

Soon after arriving in the Senate, Salazar generated controversy within his party by introducing Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales and sitting by his side during Gonzales’ confirmation hearings.

In 2005, Salazar voted against increasing fuel-efficiency standards (CAFE) for cars and trucks, a vote that the League of Conservation Voters notes is anti-environment.

In the same year, Salazar voted against an amendment to repeal tax breaks for ExxonMobil and other major petroleum companies.[6]

In August 2006, Ken Salazar supported fellow Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman in his primary race against Ned Lamont in Connecticut.

In 2006, Salazar voted to end protections that limit offshore oil drilling in Florida’s Gulf Coast.[7]

In 2007, Salazar was one of only a handful of Democrats to vote against a bill that would require the United States Army Corps of Engineers to consider global warming when planning water projects.[8]

Several prominent environmentalist groups are wary of Salazar, noting his strong ties with the coal and mining industries. Kieran Suckling, executive director of Center for Biological Diversity, which tracks endangered species and habitat issues states "He [Ken Salazar] is a right-of-center Democrat who often favors industry and big agriculture in battles over global warming, fuel efficiency and endangered species."[19]

Salazar was one of several Obama Cabinet appointees confirmed in the Senate by voice vote on January 20, 2009, shortly after Obama’s inauguration. Salazar became the 50th Secretary of the Interior succeeding Dirk Kempthorne,[a Republican] who praised Salazar’s appointment.[22]

On May 9, 2009, Salazar announced the upholding of a Bush-era policy that prevents the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions via the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a policy he pledged to reevaluate when he took office in January. The policy states that, despite the apparent negative impact global warming has on polar bears, an endangered species, greenhouse gasses cannot be regulated with the ESA.

Salazar stated in a conference call announcing the decision that "The single greatest threat to the polar bear is the melting of Arctic Sea ice due to climate change," but the Endangered Species Act "is not the appropriate tool for us to deal with what is a global issue." The decision was met with criticism from environmental groups and praise from energy groups including the American Petroleum Institute...

(emphasis added)

Salazar is Obama’s Brownie.

Barack Obama Top Cash Recipient of BP Oil in 2008

9:14 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

Barack Obama received more campaign money from multinational BP Oil, the company whose rig is now leaking, than any other person in 2008 according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Note that 18 days before the leak began, in what is likely to be the largest such disaster of all time, Obama changed the nation’s off shore drilling policy. Obama reversed 27 years of policy and essentially took up Sarah Palin’s cry of "Drill, Baby, Drill".

The oil well in question, moreover, was drilled (March to September 2009) after Obama took office so it was under the supervision of his administration.

Here from Blacklisted News is part of their story which follows the money trail:

No wonder it took him nearly two weeks before getting on the ball with the Gulf oil spill. He’s the top recipient of British Petroleum donations in the last election cycle. Now watch him demonize them every chance he gets. If he wants to lead by example, he should return their money.

During the 2008 election cycle, individuals and political action committees associated with BP — a Center for Responsive Politics’ "heavy hitter" — contributed half a million dollars to federal candidates. About 40 percent of these donations went to Democrats. The top recipient of BP-related donations during the 2008 cycle was President Barack Obama himself, who collected $71,000.

BP regularly lobbies on Capitol Hill, as well. In 2009, the company spent a massive $16 million to influence legislation. During the first quarter of 2010, it spent $3.53 million on federal lobbying efforts, ranking it second (behind ConocoPhillips) among all oil and gas industry interests.

Its registered lobbyists include a number of former federal government and high-ranking political campaign officials, including longtime political operative Tony Podesta, former congressional chief of staff Bob Brooks, former congressional legislative director David Pore and vice presidential aide Michael S. Berman, the Center’s research shows.

Tony Podesta, of course, is the brother of former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta…

The Podesta family has important connections with Obama. Recall that John Podesta headed Obama’s transition team. For more on Podesta, see this Washington Post article. John Podesta also was a key adviser to Tom Daschle, whom Obama wanted in his cabinet before Daschle’s failure to pay taxes issue scuttled his appointment. Tony Podesta and his wife, according to a recent article in Huffington Post, have raked in millions in lobbying against change in Washington, D.C.:

But a sourpuss lurks among the journos toasting Podesta in print: Bloomberg’s Al Hunt, who writes that Tony and Heather Podesta "are raking in millions from the insurance and drug industries, tobacco companies and corporate interests fighting changes to labor laws or the overhaul of the student-loan program."

Hunt calls the Podestas "conscientious objectors to the culture of change in Washington" and says they personify the "ingrained money and political culture."

Heather and Tony Podesta’s firms represent clients opposed to just about every part of the Obama change agenda.

But Podesta told Al Hunt that "We have only some small differences with the administration and the Democratic leadership."

Following the money trail, the Podesta lobbying group, with its insider ties to Obama and his administration received $320,000 from BP in both 2008 and again in 2009. Thus far in 2010, BP has given the Podesta Group $80,000, but yeh, it’s only early in May. Remember that the Podesta Group is a virtual pipeline to the Democratic Party and Obama. Would a hard-fisted investigation into BP and it’s cash donations lead directly to Obama’s front door? You bet as the foregoing indicates.

Another important read on the oil spill is an excellent article by Dan Froomkin, formerly of the Washington Post, over at Huffington Post. Froomkin presents information to show that Obama had been informed by NOAA (the agency that oversees oil safety) that pursuing a policy of off shore drilling was very risky:

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration officials last fall warned the Department of Interior, which regulates offshore oil drilling, 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.

…NOAA also wrote that the administration’s "analysis of the risk and impacts of accidental spills and chronic impacts are understated and generally not supported or referenced, using vague terms and phrases such as ‘no substantive degradation is expected’ and ‘some marine mammals could be harmed.’"

Froomkin, moreover, quotes a whistleblower who notes that Obama’s policies (and personnel) are about the same as W’s:

Jeff Ruch, the head of the public-employee whistleblowing group, said that as in many other regulatory agencies, Obama political appointees in the Interior Department’s notoriously troubled Minerals Management Service (MMS) have not taken enough steps to reverse the anti-environmental and anti-science policies of the Bush years.

"For the most part, the Obama team is still the Bush team," Ruch told HuffPost, noting that beyond a thin layer of political appointees, offices like MMS are run by managers who were "promoted during the Bush years — In many instances, promoted for basically violating the law. And from what we can tell, their conduct hasn’t changed."

Furthermore, Ruch said, Obama "sees environmental issues as a political bargaining chip."

So, following BP’s money trail leads us to: Barack Obama. The same guy who 18 days before the accident changed the nation’s drilling policy, ignoring warnings from NOAA about how unsafe it was to do that. As a result, 200,000 barrels of oil continue to gush out of the leak each day.

This leak’s on Obama and his administration.

s

Thank You Bill Moyers!

9:40 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

On Friday, April 30, 2010, Bill Moyers broadcast his final program of the Bill Moyers Journal on PBS. This diary is a thank you for all of the years of insights and the wonderful interviews that Bill Moyers has provided to American citizens.

Moyers was born in 1934, served as a summer intern to then Senator Lyndon Johnson and later became LBJ’s press secretary from 1965 to 1967. His journalistic career began when he served as publisher of the Long Island newspaper, Newsday. He moved it from a conservative to a progressive publication and brought in Pete Hamill, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Saul Bellow as writers. Under Moyers, circulation increased and the publication won 33 major journalism awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes.

Moyers later did commentary work for both CBS news and NBC. But he is best remembered for his affiliation with PBS which began in 1971. On April 25, 2007, Moyers returned to PBS with Bill Moyers Journal (he had done a show under this name earlier for PBS too). The first episode, entitled "Buying the War", had Moyers investigating the what he called the general media’s shortcomings in the runup to the War in Iraq.

His awards, according to Wikipedia include:

Recipient of the 2006 Lifetime Emmy Award, "Bill Moyers has devoted his lifetime to the exploration of the major issues and ideas of our time and our country, giving television viewers an informed perspective on political and societal concerns," according to the official announcement, which also noted that "the scope of and quality of his broadcasts have been honored time and again. It is fitting that the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honor him with our highest honor—the Lifetime Achievement Award."[37] He has received well over thirty Emmys and virtually every other major television journalism prize, including a gold baton from the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, a lifetime Peabody Award, and a George Polk Career Award (his third George Polk Award) for contributions to journalistic integrity and investigative reporting. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, including a doctorate from the American Film Institute.[1]

One of the most insightful interviews that I have seen was Moyer’s interview with both Matt Taibbi and Robert Kuttner on his PBS show of December 18, 2009. To see it, or read the transcript of it, click here.

Here are but a few highlights of Moyers’s comments from that show which indicate that he was less than pleased with Barack Obama’s performance as President:

BILL MOYERS: If you were Republican, wouldn’t you feel right now that it’s going your way? I mean, the Democrats control the White House, they control Congress and the only thing they’ve been able to make happen this year is escalate the war in Afghanistan.

On the health "insurance bill" that eventually emerged under Obama:

BILL MOYERS: Matt, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, a very progressive member of Congress who’s been at this table wanted a public option. He says this health care bill appears to be the legislation that the president wanted in the first place.

On how Congress is corrupted by donations and money:

BILL MOYERS: But members of Congress, they take the same contributions from the same insurance and real estate and drug industry. You look at the list of contributions to members of Congress- they are as saddled by obligations as the President, right?

On Obama not being an agent of change:

BILL MOYERS: But what if by nature, that’s not what he wants to do? What if, by nature, he prefers to head the establishment, than to change it?

And this interchange with Taibbi and Kuttner on how Obama mouthed banking reform but was really in bed with corporate interests:

BILL MOYERS: I was thinking about both of you Sunday night when President Obama was on 60 MINUTES and he said…

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street.

BILL MOYERS: Then on Monday afternoon, he had this photo opportunity in which he scolded the bankers and then they took it politely and graciously, which they could’ve done because the Hill at that very moment was swarming with banking lobbyists making sure that what the President wants doesn’t happen. I mean, what did you think as you watched him on 60 MINUTES or watched that press conference?

MATT TAIBBI: It seemed to me that it was a response to a lot of negative criticism that he’s been getting in the media lately, that they are probably looking at the President’s poll numbers from the last couple of weeks that have been remarkably low. And a lot of that has to do with some perceptions about his ties to Wall Street. And I think they felt a need to come out and make a strong statement against Wall Street, whether they’re actually do anything is, sort of, a different question. But I think that was my impression.

ROBERT KUTTNER: I was appalled. I was just appalled because think of the timing. On Thursday and Friday of last week, the same week when the president finally gives this tough talk on "60 Minutes," a very feeble bill is working its way through the House of Representatives and crucial decisions are being made. And where is the President? I mean, there was an amendment to put some teeth back in the provision on credit default swaps and other kinds of derivatives. And that went down by a handful of votes. And to the extent that the Treasury and the White House was working that bill, at all, they were working the wrong side. There was a there was a provision to exempt foreign exchange derivatives from the teeth in the bill. That–

I’m not sure about you, but I cannot think of another political observer/journalist who is considered part of the mainstream media who has been so prescient, so critical and so insightful of what is happening in American society. The only one who comes close is Amy Goodman of Democracynow but Goodman has always been seen and treated as an outsider. Not so Moyers. Maybe it’s because of that folksy way that he has, maybe it is because he seems to be able to get along with everyone while still preserving his integrity. Somebody should ask him how he has done that for all these years.

Fittingly, Moyer’s last show on PBS, the one that aired this past Friday, had Jim Hightower of Texas as his guest. Here’s a fascinating discussion between the two men (with a transcript from Truthout) on how the tea bagger movement differs from populism:

BILL MOYERS: How does the Tea Party differ from the people you’re talking about? We have two groups of Americans, both angry and defiant, and both calling themselves populists. What don’t they have in common?

JIM HIGHTOWER: Here’s what populism is not. It is not just an incoherent outburst of anger. And certainly it is not anger that is funded and organized by corporate front groups, as the initial Tea Party effort is, and as most of it is still today. Though there is legitimate anger within it, in terms of the people who are there. But what populism is at its essence is a, a just determined focus on helping people be able to get out of the iron grip of the corporate power that is overwhelming our economy, our environment, energy, the media, government. And I guess that’s one big difference between real populism and what the Tea Party thing is, is that real populists understand that government has become a subsidiary of corporations. So you can’t say, let’s get rid of government. You need to be saying let’s take over government.

How about this revealing set of observations from Moyers and Hightower on the Democrats and Obama:

BILL MOYERS: There’s someone we both know said to me just this morning, the Republicans work for Wall Street and the Democrats are afraid to work against them.

JIM HIGHTOWER: Isn’t that strange? You know, the– it’s odd to me that we’ve got a President who ran from the outside and won. And now is trying to govern from the inside. You can’t do progressive government from the inside. You have to rally those outsiders and make them a force to come inside.

If you want to read a nice tribute to Bill Moyer’s, here an excellent one from Michael Winship who has been associated with Moyers. He also has some good news. Moyers will still be around, will still offer us some of the best insights available:

With this week’s edition, Bill Moyers Journal goes off the air. But we’ll be continuing the conversation via our Web site at PBS.org/moyers. These weekly columns will be continuing for the foreseeable as well.

Thanks again Bill and keep those great comments coming!

Obama Drops Immigration Reform Plans: Breaks Another Promise

6:49 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

The AP reports that President Obama has dropped plans for immigration reform this year. The AP’s Suzanne Gamboa reports:

Immigration reform has become the first of President Barack Obama’s major priorities dropped from the agenda of an election-year Congress facing voter disillusionment. Sounding the death knell was Obama himself.

The president noted that lawmakers may lack the "appetite" to take on immigration while many of them are up for re-election and while another big legislative issue – climate change – is already on their plate.

"I don’t want us to do something just for the sake of politics that doesn’t solve the problem," Obama told reporters Wednesday night aboard Air Force One.

(emphasis added)

By doing so, Obama broke yet another of his campaign promises. From the article above:

Immigration reform was an issue Obama promised Latino groups that he would take up in his first year in office. But several hard realities – a tanked economy, a crowded agenda, election-year politics and lack of political will – led to so much foot-dragging in Congress that, ultimately, Obama decided to set the issue aside.

With that move, the president calculated that an immigration bill would not prove as costly to his party two years from now, when he seeks re-election, than it would today, even though some immigration reformers warned that a delay could so discourage Democratic-leaning Latino voters that they would stay home from the polls in November.

(emphasis added)

I laughed when I read the words above indicating Obama promising to take up the issue in his reelection year. No way that’s going to happen because Obama knows it is such a contentious issue. It’s probably dead until a new president takes office.

Yet another instance of Obama dissing his base, in this case Latino voters. This may also strengthen Arizona’s case in any fight with the feds over its punitive immigration law: there appears to be no federal law that preempts Arizona’s.

An Open Microphone Reveals Obama’s Candid Thinking

7:40 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

So now we know what U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown really thinks about pensioners who vote for Labour and object to Euro immigration policies: they’re old and bigoted.

If Obama left his mike open, here’s what his inner thoughts would be.

On Bill Clinton:

Bubba’s old and bigoted.

On Robert Rubin, former Goldman Sachs chief:

Bob’s cool. He even picked me up in his limo and let me valet park it when he took me to that Hamilton Project speech I gave with him back in 2006. Gave me a $20 dollar tip too, more than I made in 6 months of work in that candy ass community organizer gig.

Of course, I had to clean and buff Bob’s bad-ass Lincoln off after the chicken and peas dinner. But my friend Bob’s the Master of the Universe and I enjoyed wearing his Goldie cap that made me look like his chauffeur.

Heck, Bob’s got such a big heart he even lets me ride Air Force One during my presidency.

On Arnie Duncan:

White boys really can’t jump. And that honkie knows jack shit about public schools which is why I made him my Education Secretary. That and because he can’t block my jump shot.

On Eric Holder:

Not that Eric might think of taking decisive, really legal action against anybody who wields power, but maybe we’d better send him my "Let’s Look Forward Not Backward" memo again.

That way, we’ll know for sure that DOJ continues to tread water on criminal charges against Goldman Sachs.

Better have him start drafting some pardons too. That worked for that fugitive financier, what was his name Michelle? Oh yeah–Marc Rich. Bill Clinton’s a Bubba but he sure knew how to stroke the people with money, didn’t he?

Michelle: There was a whole lot of strokin goin on in Bill’s White House and it wasn’t only financiers.

Obama: Right. Eric’s probably still got his pardon drafts on his computer. Bob might need a pardon or two before the dust settles.

On Bernie Sanders:

He’s always got his shorts in a knot about something. Why does he care so much about average people? Doesn’t he realize that they’re just–so average? They got no money. Doesn’t he realize that if they REALLY wanted to improve their lot in life, all they have to do is go to Columbia or Harvard like I did? Damned socialist!

On Goldman Sachs:

We gotta hire more of those dudes in my administration. Even though frogs aren’t big on hoops, I want Fabulous Fab on my team. He’s almost as arrogant as I am.

On Carl Levin:

Better tell him to lay off on the Goldies. Sure they sold shitty deals but we need their not so shitty campaign contributions.

On Rahm:

He trash talks better than anyone this side of Alan Iverson which is why I made him my Chief of Staff. Funny thing about him, though.

Michelle: What’s that baby?

Obama: He’s uncut.

Michelle: And how do you know that, I might ask? What you two boys been up to? You haven’t gone fag on me?

Obama: Don’t worry baby, you’re still the one. You know what I really think about those DADT pansies.

Noticed Rahm’s status in the showers after the last staff b-ball game.

On Jim Bunning:

Old, bigoted, and can’t throw a screwball anymore. He IS the screwball.

On the White House Press Corps:

Old, bigoted and they can’t write. They really need our White House handouts or they’re lost. With their IQ’s that low, we’d better have Gibsie give them memos with more pics and drawings.

The worst of the lot is that old witch Helen. You’d think she’d have learned to hold her tongue given how long she’s covered the White House. Nixon should have had the IRS audit her ass. But I hear he had that fairy queen, J. Edgar look into her life. She goes so far back she interviewed Lincoln, come to think of it.

Then there’s that critical old fart over at PBS but I hear he’s throwing in the towel soon. Lucky for Moyers that he knows better than to waste his time with the losers in the White House press corps.

On Nick Clegg:

If he’s the new Obama what’s that make me? the next Gordon Brown?

A List of Goldman Sachs People in the Obama Government: Names Attached to the Giant Squid’s Tentacles

1:03 am in Uncategorized by fflambeau

At a time when Congressional hearings are set to call testimony from some Goldman Sachs employees, it is vital to understand how widespread that institution’s ties are to the Obama administration. This diary shows the pervasive influence of Goldman Sachs and Goldman created institutions (like the Hamilton Project embedded in the Brookings Institution), employees and influence peddlers in the Obama administration.

While many of the people listed below formerly worked for Goldman Sachs or its offshoots (like the Hamilton Project, including all three of that project’s first Directors) influence can be exerted not only through people but through money, awards, sponsored scholarship, and creation of an agenda favorable to Goldman Sachs (which is where Brookings and the Hamilton Project come in and have proved especially useful to Goldman Sachs).

It is further of note that although Goldman Sachs has been the center of attention especially since Matt Taibbi’s insightful investigative journalism, that I have not been able to find a comprehensive list of the influence of Goldman Sachs in this administration. Recently in the New York Post, for instance, Michelle Malkin wrote a good article called "All the President’s Goldman Men" but she only listed the usual suspects like Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, Rahm Emanuel, Gary Gensler and Mark Patterson.

But that’s just the tip of the Goldman Sachs iceberg. Here you will find, I believe, the most comprehensive list of people-groups yet available to show how Obama’s administration has really become the Goldman Sachs administration. But I need your help. I suspect there are far more people out there with such ties that I have missed even though I have spent lots of time researching this issue. If you know of other people who should be on this list, please help out and give the details in a comment to this diary.

One further caveat. The Obama administration is not the first administration that Goldman has infiltrated, although it is perhaps the one that has been most completely co-opted from top to bottom. Recall that former Secretary of the Treasury Paulson in the George W. Bush era came from–Goldman Sachs where he was its chief. Recall too that the brilliant, late economist John K. Galbreath has written an entire chapter of a book devoted to the Great Depression and the economic collapse of Wall St. that accompanied it to the role of Goldman Sachs.

Law professor William Black, who participated in actions against individuals in the Savings and Loan collapses decades ago, recently told Bill Moyers recently that:

"The highest return on assets is always a political contribution."

In this spirit we name the first two links between Goldman entities and the Obama administration: they are out of alphabetical order for obvious reasons. All the others are in alphabetical order.

Let’s look at the Goldman Sachs government that we have in place now, that is masked by Barack Obama. Fittingly, we begin with Obama:

OBAMA, BARACK.

Although to my knowledge he has never directly worked for Goldman, he has taken boatloads of their money (an investment repaid many times) and he calls Robert Rubin, the former head of Goldman Sachs "my friend Bob". (See the video clip of then Senator Barack Obama’s address to the Goldman-Rubin funded Hamilton Project in a link below where he uses these words and calls for cuts in entitlements and more NAFTA-type agreements).

Jesse Unruh, the late California politician and political thinker, once called "money the mother’s milk of politics." Certainly, Obama sucked at the teats of Goldman Sachs more than any other politician in recent times. It began for him as little-known Senator from Illinois with a razor- thin resume whose ambitions outshine his accomplishments. Obama’s eloquent, heavily prepped address to the Democratic National Convention caught not only the eyes of the Democratic top brass, but that of the big bankers. As early as the Spring of 2006, Senator Barack Obama was intimately involved with Bob Rubin and Goldman Sachs through his involvement with the Hamilton Project.

Fittingly, Senator Obama was chosen by Rubin and the Hamilton Project to give the inaugural address of the Hamilton Project in April, 2006. An excellent, seminal discussion of the Hamilton Project by Dr. Kirk James Murphy, M.D., can be found here. A video clip of then Senator Barack Obama speaking at the inauguration of the Hamilton Project in April, 2006 can be found here and here (with an excellent discussion) and here. Here Obama heaps lavish praise on Robert Rubin ("my friend Bob") and on the Hamilton Project while setting out its (and his subsequent administration’s agenda) of cuts in entitlements, the need for more NAFTA-type free trade pacts and a pro-big corporation government. In 2006 then, Obama was a Goldie and articulating its desires and policies.

Little wonder then, that Goldman and Rubin heavily funded Obama as a Senator (his biggest campaign contributor) and as a presidential candidate. Goldman Sachs employees (and they were not the floor cleaners) contributed $994,795 to Obama’s presidential bid, almost four times the amount they gave to his Republican opponent, according to OpenSecrets. Over Obama’s entire career, Goldman has been his second biggest contributor, according to OpenSecrets, giving him more than $1,051,000. Goldman not only wanted Obama to win, they paid lots of money to insure that their man would occupy the White House. Again, as William Black noted:

"The highest return on assets is always a political contribution."

Goldman’s 30 pieces of silver investment in Obama reaped them billions of dollars in returns as the TARP bailouts and the subsequent news about Goldman Sachs has shown. So although Obama may never have "worked for" Goldman in the traditional sense, he’s one of Robert Rubin’s boys and on Goldman’s books.

University of Minnesota political scientist Prof. Lawrence Jacobs, described the giant squid’s attachment to the Obama administration:

almost everything that the White House has done has been haunted by the personnel and the money of Goldman . . . as well as the suspicion that the White House, particularly early on, was pulling its punches out of deference to Goldman and its war chest.

BIDEN, JOE.

Is it any wonder that between his service as "Senator Credit Card", his efforts to limit busing for desegregation, and his five draft deferments at the height of the Vietnam War that Joe Biden is attached to one of Goldman’s tentacles? Goldman has been a major campaign contributor to Biden and according to OpenSecrets, Biden in 2007 alone took almost $25,000 from the Robert Rubin related Citigroup (Rubin was its head as well as being a former head of Goldman).

And guess who was the keynote speaker at the Hamilton Project 2010 kickoff event a few days ago (April 20th, 2010) Tuesday morning at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel? That’s right: Vice President Joe Biden spoke at Goldman Sachs/Robert Rubin’s Rosemary’s Baby. You can see some pics of Biden at the Hamilton Project event along with who else–Robert Rubin–here.

As described by the Huffington Post:

Biden was speaking at the relaunch of the Hamilton Project, a think tank founded by ultimate Wall Street Democrat Robert Rubin to publicly despair about the deficit and other things bankers worry about the most.

Note too that in his address Biden paid tribute to Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission, something that the Hamilton Project and Robert Rubin (and Goldman) have been pushing for years because it really means cuts in entitlements (again, have a look at Sen. Obama’s 2006 speech at the Hamilton Project where he calls for entitlement cuts).

ALTMAN, ROGER.

Interestingly, the man who introduced Joe Biden at the Hamilton Project’s relaunch (described above) was none other than Roger Altman, who is connected to the Hamilton Project.

Altman may not hold down a desk job in the Obama administration–he’s too big a fish for that just as is Robert Rubin–but he is one of those power brokers with all encompassing contacts within the Democratic Party. Altman is a Hamilton Project member, according to Dan Frumkin’s excellent article in the Huffington Post, as well as having served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under none other than Mr. Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin. He is now now Chairman of Evercore Partners, which the Hamilton Project program described as "the most active investment banking boutique in the world." (and the Obama administration is trying to sell itself as one that is getting tough on big banks and Goldman?).

Like so many of the Goldman people, Altman has a touch of scandal/criminality about him. According to Wikipedia, Altman was forced from his position as Assistant Treasury Secretary because of a records keeping scandal.

Altman is a co-author, along with Robert Rubin, of the Hamilton Project’s "From Recession to Recovery to Renewal: An Economic Strategy to Achieve Broadly Shared Growth." Some of Altman’s ties to the Goldman-Rubin funded Hamilton Project can be seen here.

BRAINARD, LAEL.

Brainard is the United States Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs in the administration of President Barack Obama. She is an associate and protege of Mr. Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin. She has written numerous articles and bookson the joys of outsourcing work overseas.

Brainard also worked at Brookings which has embedded within in Goldman Sachs and Robert Rubin’s Hamilton Project. Goldman was clever in doing this because they hid a conservative thinking, pro business group like a Trojan Horse in what is generally perceived as a liberal think tank.

Like Timothy Geithner, who is her boss, Brainard is a brainy person who had trouble with income tax rules and regulations, thus joining quite a lengthy list of Goldies who ape the law. The Washington Post reported that:

Brainard’s nomination was held up by Republican concerns over allegations that she failed to pay property taxes on time. (What is it with Treasury and tax problems?)

BUFFETT, WARREN.

Speaking of big fish, Warren doesn’t need to work for the US government or for Goldman. But he’s invested billions in Goldman expecting even greater returns. Obama has also admitted in the debates to "pal’in around" with the Sage of Omaha and Buffett is one of Obama’s fundraisers and economic advisers.

For more on Buffett see this written by Michael Winship at Truthout:

On Friday, Susan Pulliam reported on the front page of The Wall Street Journal that, "A Goldman Sachs Group Inc. director tipped off a hedge-fund billionaire about a $5 billion investment in Goldman by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. before a public announcement of the deal at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, a person close to the situation says."

As the Journal notes, the Buffet deal came at a key point in the Wall Street collapse, restoring confidence in the markets and lifting Goldman’s stock from a 40 percent slide to a 45 percent surge. The hedge-fund billionaire in question is Raj Rajaratnam, whose Galleon Group currently is embroiled in one of the biggest insider trading scandals in history: 21, including Rajaratnam, have been charged; 11 already have pled guilty.

(emphasis added)

CLINTON, HILLARY.

Although Barack Obama was the overwhelming favorite of Goldman Sachs to be president in 2008, for he could serve as their Trojan Horse, they were smart enough to hedge their bets, so to speak and back Hillary too. According to the Washington Examiner, Goldman Sachs in 2008 alone gave:

($415,595.63 inflation adjusted), which was itself almost three times as much as Bush received as well.

And of course, it was Hillary’s hubby Bill Clinton who chose ex-Goldman chief Robert Rubin to serve in his White House. Bill, Hillary and Bob Rubin are Washington, D.C. kissing cousins.

CRAIG, GREGORY.

Another example of the revolving door between Goldman Sachs and Obama’s administration. Craig served as Obama’s White House Counsel and after resigning, has taken on a position as Goldman Sach’s chief lawyer in defending against its SEC suit. A former Goldie, Robert Hormats, sits at the top of SEC’s enforcement group too. What a hoot!

Note that Craig is a lawyer and lawyer’s rules of professional responsibility prohibit not only direct conflicts of interest but anything that hints at a conflict of interest.

Here is doubtlessly why Goldman wanted Craig as its top lawyer in the SEC complaint:

Greg Craig, Obama’s first White House counsel, has joined Goldman, we learned this week. He may not have too much pull in the West Wing, which drove him out for hewing too close to Obama’s campaign promises, but as a former insider he will provide valuable intelligence to the world’s largest investment bank.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Is-Goldman-Obamas-Enron-No-its-worse-91613449.html#ixzz0mHKfS3hl

DONILON, THOMAS.

Thomas Donilon is Deputy National Security Adviser to Barack Obama (despite having a career that is mostly involved with domestic politics). Donilon was a lawyer at O’Melveny and Myers and made almost $4 million representing meltdown clients including Penny Pritzker (of Chicago) and Goldman. This from Michelle Malkin’s article RealClearPolitics. More information is available on Donilon over at Whorunsgov.com.

DUDLEY, BILL.

Joined Goldman in 1986; partner and managing director until 2007. Federal Reserve Bank of New York President since January 2009 (replacing none other than Timothy Geithner, his Goldman compadre). This all from the Wall Street Journal.

ELMENDORF, DOUGLAS.

Elmendorf became Obama’s Director of the Congressional Budget Office in January 2009. Elmendorf previously was the Director of the Hamilton Project; it’s third.

Note too that the first 3 Directors of the Hamilton Project ALL serve in the Obama administration. While other journalists/writers have explored the links between Goldman Sachs and Obama, few have looked at the connection between the Hamilton Project and the Obama administration. Note again that the Hamilton Project was funded by Robert Rubin and Goldman Sachs. Note too that the current director of the Hamilton Project, its 4th since its founding in 2006, is Michael Greenstone. How long will it be before Greenstone goes to the Obama administration, making it a perfect 4 for 4 for Directors of the Goldman funded Hamilton Project? To show that there is a revolving door between the Obama Administration and Goldman/Rubin/Hamilton Project, Greenstone served as of Obama’s chief economic advisers.

EMANUEL, RAHM.

Rahm, of course, is Obama’s Chief of Staff, the very first person Obama selected to be in his administration. Rahm has lengthy and fruitful ties to Goldman, and vice versa. Rahm took in about $75,000 from Goldman Sachs as a Congressman and was on a $3,000 a month retainer from Goldman while he worked as Bill Clinton’s chief fund raiser.

Timothy Carney has explored some of the links between Emanuel and Goldman Sachs:

…one of Barack Obama’s top sources of funds in this past election, Goldman has always had some particularly strong allies within government. Emanuel is one such ally.

An interesting early chapter in the Goldman-Emanuel relationship took place in the setting of Bill Clinton’s campaign for the White House in 1992. Clinton hired Emanuel as his chief fundraiser.

At the same time, however, Emanuel was on the payroll of Goldman Sachs, receiving $3,000 per month from the firm to “introduce us to people,” in the words of one Goldman partner at the time. This is certainly a noteworthy relationship, but it’s one that has almost entirely escaped scrutiny.

Corporations and partnerships are and were at the time prohibited by law from contributing to federal candidates out of the corporate coffers. So, while Rahm tapped Goldman employees personally for six figures in gifts to Clinton’s candidacy—more than any other firm—Goldman, as a company, was helping keep Clinton’s top fundraiser well-fed.

In his four terms in Congress, Emanuel has raised $74,750 from Goldman, making the firm his number four source of funds. Goldman has helped Emanuel. How has Emanuel helped Goldman?

The most obvious answer, as mentioned in this column two weeks ago, is in Emanuel’s lead role in shepherding the “$700 billion” bailout—first proposed by former a Goldman CEO, Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson—through the skeptical House.

Of course, back in the Clinton days, Goldman benefited from NAFTA and the bailout of the Mexican currency, with Emanuel pushing NAFTA through Congress, and Rubin hammering out the peso bailout.

McClatchey newspaper’s Greg Gordon, in his article entitled, "Goldman’s White House Connections Raise Eyebrows" also noted how Rahm and Goldman worked together to make money:

One White House insider who knows something about how Wall Street does business is chief of staff Emanuel, who earned millions of dollars in investment banking after he left the Clinton White House. His work for the Chicago-based financial services firm Wasserstein Perella & Co. intersected with Goldman in at least one deal.

In 1999, Emanuel was a key player representing Unicom Corp., the parent of Commonwealth Edison, in forging its merger with Peco Energy Co. to create utility giant Exelon Corp. Goldman was also advising Unicom.

The White House declined immediate comment on that connection.

So how real is the Obama/Democratic party’s supposed new toughness on big banks when the administration’s point guard was on the Goldman payroll and become a multi-millionaire through big banks and Wall St. deals?

FARRELL, DIANA.

Diana Farrell is Deputy Director of the National Economic Council (since January, 2009) in the administration of President Barack Obama. She formerly worked for two years at Goldman Sachs in New York according to Whorunsgov.com.

In 2003, Farrell was the author of a paper, "Perspective on Outsourcing" in which she argued that sending American jobs overseas might be "as beneficial to the U.S. as to the destination country, probably more so." In a book titled “The Economists’ Voice: Top Economists Take on Today’s Problems,” Farrell wrote a chapter titled “U.S. Offshoring: Small Steps to make it Win-Win.” Her chapter, published in 2008, centered on offshoring.

In the Obama administration, Farrell works with a coven of Goldies including Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, who is her boss.

FRIEDMAN, STEPHEN.

Chairman of Obama’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

According to Wikipedia, Friedman worked for much of his career with Goldman Sachs, holding numerous executive roles. He served as the company’s co-chief operating officer from 1987 to 1990, was the company’s co-chairman from 1990 to 1992, and the sole chairman from 1992 to 1994; he still serves on the company board.

Friedman was another Goldie involved in controversy, as many of the Goldies have been in government service, involving his former employer. His actions, like other affiliated with Goldman, show scant respect for rules, regulations or laws.

Wikipedia notes:

Wikipedia notes:

On May 7, 2009 Friedman resigned as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in response to criticism of his December 2008 purchase of $3 million of stock in Goldman Sachs. Friedman, who remains a member of Goldman Sachs’ board, came into violation of Federal Reserve policy when Goldman was converted to a bank holding company in September 2008, thereby placing it under the regulatory authority of the New York Fed. Friedman requested a waiver from this violation when the conversion occurred, which was granted roughly two and a half months later.

FROHMAN, MICHAEL.

Robert Rubin’s Chief of Staff while Rubin served as Secretary of the Treasury and an Obama “head hunter” according to “Rubin Proteges Change Their Tune as They Join Obama’s Team” in the New York Times.

FURMAN, JASON.

Furman served as the second Director of the Hamilton Project after Peter Orszag’s departure for the Obama administration and he in turn left the Hamilton Project in June 2008 to direct economic policy for the Obama Presidential Campaign.

FUDGE, ANNE.

Obama just appointed Fudge to his budget deficit reduction committee. Fudge has been the pr 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.

GALLOGLY, MARK.

Gallogly sits on the Hamilton Project’s advisory council. He is also, according to Wikipedia, currently a member of President Barack Obama’s President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

GEITHNER, TIMOTHY.

He’s one of the most documented of all people within the Obama administration while serving as Obama’s Secretary of the Treasury. He was named head of the New York Fed by none other George W. Bush, again perhaps underscoring Gore Vidal’s observation that American is run by one corporate party and it has two wings: Republican and Democratic.

While at the head of the New York Fed, Geithner prior to the crisis not only failed to see storm clouds on the horizon, he also in 2008 ordered the bailed out AIG not to disclose its sweetheart payments to big banks including, you guessed it, Goldman Sachs. Geithner also worked with W’s Treasury Secretary Paulson to fashion the TARP agreements whereby billions were handed out to Wall St.

Geithner is a protoge of both Robert Rubin and Larry Summers.

Like other Goldies, Geithner has had trouble with rules, tax regulations and various. Recall that he had trouble at his confirmation hearings over his tax returns. Whorunsgov sums them up:

At the end of the Clinton administration, Geithner moved to the International Monetary Fund, where he was director of policy development. That period led to a blot on his personal record. The IMF, unlike most employers, does not pay the employer match on Social Security and Medicare taxes. Geithner was responsible for paying those taxes himself. He did not to do so until he was audited in 2005, and even then only paid the back taxes for 2003 and 2004. He did not pay the back taxes for 2001 and 2002 until after Obama tapped him to be Treasury secretary at the end of 2008.

Many of Geithner’s actions profited Goldman Sachs directly or indirectly, such as Geithner’s decision to deny Goldman’s competitor the same treatment he gave Goldman. As Time magazine noted:

[Geithner]Would not grant Lehman Brothers the right to become a bank-holding company — a status given to both Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs just days after Lehman filed for bankruptcy

Lehman Brothers collapsed, leaving Goldman Sachs with fewer competitors and a greater market share.

GENSLER, GARY.

Gensler was a Goldman Sachs partner who is Obama’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission head. Gensler is the guy who as a former Treasury official exempted the $58 trillion credit default market from oversight. Those financial instrumentals played a key role in the global economic downturn and led to billions of dollars in profits for banks like Goldman Sachs.

GREENSTONE, MICHAEL.

Greenstone is the 4th Director of the Hamilton Project. Just as attorney Craig went from advising Obama to defending Goldman Sachs against the SEC complaint, Greenstone has used the revolving door to go from went an economic adviser position to Obama to one of the Goldman Sachs outlets, in this case its think tank embedded in the Brookings Institution and funded by Goldman and Robert Rubin. All 3 previous Directors of the Hamilton Project work in the Obama administration.

HAMILTON PROJECT, THE.

The pro-corporatist think group funded by Goldman Sachs and Robert Rubin and cleverly hidden in the Brookings Institution as their Rosemary’s Baby/Trojan Horse. Espouses cutbacks in entitlements, strict budgetary thinking applied to all social programs (but not the defense department); outsourcing of American jobs overseas; more NAFTA-type agreements. Three of the first 4 Directors of the Hamilton Project serve in the Obama Administration. The fourth went from an economic adviser to Obama to the Hamilton Project.

It might also help to recall that the name "Hamilton Project" is significant. Recall that Alexander Hamilton, after whom the institute was named, had as his most famous dictum that "the people are a great beast." Hamilton espoused a powerful state bank and centralized government and presidency.

Note too that Sen. Barack Obama was the inaugural speaker at the Hamilton Project and lavished praise on "my friend Bob [Rubin]" and called for cuts in entitlements (Social Security) and more NAFTA agreements. This is the same guy who lied to the electorate, then, in union states like Ohio and Pennsylvania during the Democratic primaries when he said "NAFTA needs rethinking." He is firmly and totally behind NAFTA and has done no "rethinking" of it while President and with his party in firm control of Congress.

For more information, see the reading listed below on this subject and the Project’s web site.

HORMATS, ROBERT.

The top economics official at Obama’s State Department, Hormats spent the prior 27 years at Goldman Sachs, including as the Vice Chairman of Goldman’s international arm.

Hormat’s appointment to the Obama administration led Glenn Greenwald to this observation:

A Goldman executive as COO of the SEC’s enforcement division. This is all consistent with the observation of Desmond Lachman — previously chief emerging market strategist at Salomon Smith Barney and IMF deputy director — regarding "Goldman Sachs’s seeming lock on high-level U.S. Treasury jobs," which he cited as but one of the many "parallels between U.S. policymaking and what we see in emerging markets."

Imagine how this will play out. The SEC has lodged a complaint against Goldman Sachs. Goldman’s former Vice President in charge of Business Intelligence sits in the SEC’s enforcement division while Obama’s former top lawyer, White House Counsel Gregory Craig, has gone to defend Goldman Sachs!

KASHKARI, NEEL.

Former Vice President of Goldman Sachs in San Francisco where he where he led Goldman’s Information Technology Security Investment Banking practice. Kashkari served under Treasury Secretary Paulson and was kept on by Obama after his inauguration for a limited period to work on TARP oversight.

KORNBLUH, KAREN.

Sometimes called "Obama’s brain", she serves as Obama’s Ambassador to the OECD. Kornbluh was Deputy Chief of Staff to Mr. Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin.

LEW, JACOB (AKA "JACK") J.

Lew is the United States Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources. According to Wikipedia, Lew sits on the Brookings-Rubin funded Hamilton Project Advisory Board. He also served with Robert Rubin in Bill Clinton’s cabinet as Director of OMB.

Like many affiliates of the Hamilton Project, along with Barack Obama, Lew believes that fiscal discipline needs to be applied to Social Security (not much talk about runaway costs in the military budget). According to the New York Times, Lew has testified that:

“Fiscal discipline is essential to protect Social Security and strengthen Medicare, so that both will be there in the years ahead. Reducing the accumulated federal debt will help us to protect these important programs.” (Congressional testimony in March 2000.)

Also like Robert Rubin, Lew has worked with Citicorp. The New York Times reported (same link as above) that:

As executive vice president of New York University, he tangled with a union representing graduate students who help teach courses.

LIPTON, DAVID A.

According to Paul Krugman, Lipton is at now at Obama’s National Economic Council and the National Security Council. Lipton worked with Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner, again according to Krugman, on the US response to the Asian financial crisis of the 1990′s. MergeFoundations reports that Lipton worked closely with Robert Rubin:

[he] advised and assisted Secretary Rubin on many key aspects of international economic policy.

MINDICH, ERIC.

Eric Mindich, while not officially serving in the Obama administration, is a strong Obama supporter with extensive ties to the President, according to a Ben Smith/Politico article. Mindich is a hedge fund manager and sits on the Advisory Council of the Hamilton Project and has worked at Goldman Sachs. In fact, he was the youngest ever partner with Goldman Sachs at the age of 27.

According to Wikipedia:

Prior to forming Eton Park in 2004, Mindich spent 15 years at Goldman Sachs in two main roles: leading the firm’s equities risk arbitrage business and managing the firm’s equities division. He joined the firm in 1988 in the equities arbitrage department and ran that department from 1992 until 2000.[1] In 1994, at age 27, he became the youngest partner ever in the history of Goldman Sachs.[1] In 2000, he became co-chief operating officer of the equities division and in 2002 became co-head of the equities division and a member of the Goldman Sachs Management Committee. In 2003, Mindich joined the Executive Office as senior strategy officer and chair of the Firmwide Strategy Committee.

Another website, Operational Due Diligence at Checkfundmanager, indicates the following about Mindich:

In March of 2009, Eton Park’s [hedge fund founded by him] assets under management were estimated to be around $13 billion.

An article from April of 2009 lists Mr. Mindich among the “inner circle” of economic advisors to Lawrence H. Summers, who is the current chief economic adviser to President Barack Obama. Mr. Mindich is also listed in another article as being a top level Democrat fundraiser.

…Eric Mindich, founder of Eton Park fund, reportedly supports Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy (2007).

…A February 2005 article rattles off a number of impressive credentials for Eric Mindich, including launching the largest hedge fund in history, graduating summa cum laude from Harvard, becoming the youngest ever partner at Goldman Sachs, and being endorsed by former Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin.

ORSZAG, PETER.

Obama’s Budget Director was the founding director of the Hamilton Project, funded by Goldman Sachs and Robert Rubin. Furthermore, Wikipedia indicates that Robert Rubin, Goldman’s ex-head, was one of Orszag’s mentors.

A BBC article notes Orsag’s commitment to Hamilton Project ideals like cutting the budget (mostly by cutting entitlements) and his ties to Goldman Sachs:

Mr Obama has signalled his determination to keep the budget deficit in check by appointing Peter Orszag, the head of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

It is the OMB, rather than the Treasury, that allocates government spending and estimates the size of future budget deficits.

His appointment could help ease the new president’s relations with Congress.

Peter Orszag is well-known as a fiscal conservative, who is concerned to keep spending and tax cuts in check.

He was one of the first directors of the Hamilton Project, a Brookings think tank initiative backed by Robert Rubin…

The BBC failed to point out that Goldman Sachs also contributed to funding the Hamilton Project, and he was not "one of the first directors of the Hamilton Project" he was its first Director.

PATTERSON, MARK.

former lobbyist for Goldman Sachs who serves under Timothy Geithner as his top deputy and overseer of TARP bailout funds, $10 billion of which went to Goldman.

RATTNER, STEVE.

Ratner is the shady billionaire financier who Obama appointed as his “car czar” and who resigned after it was revealed that his company, the Quadrangle Group, was apparently involved in “pay to play” for a billion dollars or so of New York State pension funds, and was under possible indictment by the New York AG and the SEC, also sits on the Advisory Council of the Goldman funded Hamilton Project.

Rattner is yet another Goldie-Hamilton Project person in trouble with the law. He was the main financial supporter of Harold Ford’s aborted New York Senate run and speculation was that Rattner wanted a Senator to help protect him.

REISCHAUER, ROBERT D.

He was a member of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission from 2000-2009 and was its vice chair from 2001-2008. He too sits on the Hamilton Project’s advisory board.

From this excellent discussion at "Meet Robert Rubin" here’s more information on Reischauer and his extensive links to Robert Rubin:

Robert Reischauer, another policy insider who penned a memo in 2009 with fellow Brookings Institution elites calling for Obama to take "action to stem the growth of Social Security and Medicare," were recently nominated by Obama to be Social Security Trustees. (The Blahous pick he apparently owed to Senator Mitch McConnell.)

Reischauer has close ties to economic wrecking ball Robert Rubin—the Goldman Sachs chairman who became Clinton Treasury Secretary and pushed through radical deregulatory banking laws, then went to Citigroup to score $120 million for driving his company into the ground. Rubin and Reischauer knew each other at both the Harvard Corporation and the Clinton White House, where Reischauer was director of CBO. Reischauer is on the advisory board of Rubin’s Hamilton Project, and the two most recent CBO directors have come straight from Hamilton.

NOTE: since writing this, it appears the above (and the quote below on Alice Rivkin) comes word for word from an Alternet article by Matthew Skomarovsky found here.

RIVLIN, ALICE.

Obama just named in March Alice Rivlin to his so called deficit reduction commission. Have a look at her background and you’ll see why and that Obama has stacked that commission with people who want cuts in entitlements.

Again, an excellent summary of her Goldman-Brookings (read Hamilton Project) Obama connections:

One of Reischauer’s co-signers of the Brookings memo, Alice Rivlin, is another fox Obama has put in charge of the Social Security henhouse. Former Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve under Greenspan at the peak of the tech bubble, and also a Hamilton Project board member, Rivlin will likely make another great Wall Street ally on the commission. In 2004 Rivlin co-authored (with Obama’s current Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, among others) a 138-page Brookings report titled "Restoring Fiscal Sanity" advocating $47 billion in entitlement cuts, including an "increase in the retirement age under Social Security" and "more accurate inflation adjustments to Social Security benefits."

Wikipedia also says of her:

She is currently on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange.

Wikipedia also notes that she has extensive Brookings Institution connections (within which the Hamilton Project is now embedded) including from 1957–66, 1969–75, 1983–93, and 1999 to the present.

Rivlin is a frequent speaker at the Hamilton Project as shown by this page at the Hamilton Project’s web site; you can see videos of her talks and the subjects of her papers here.

RUBIN, JAMES.

Son of Robert Rubin (see next entry). Served as a headhunter for Obama per the New York Times article, "Rubin Proteges Change Their Tune as They Join Obama’s Team".

RUBIN, ROBERT.

Mr. Goldman Sachs and co-funder, along with Goldman, of the Hamilton Project. Served as the 70th U.S. Sect. of the Treasury under Bill Clinton and spent 26 years at Goldman Sachs becoming its Co-Chairman from 1990-1992. He also served as Chairman of Citigroup. Along with Goldman Sachs, Rubin funded the Hamilton Project embedded in the Brookings Institution. In other words, he embedded within what is perceived as a liberal think tank a Trojan Horse that espouses cutbacks in entitlements (but not Defense budgets), more NAFTA like agreements, outsourcing of jobs overseas and strict budget consciousness applied to health care. Rubin used the same tactic with Barack Obama: choosing an essentially ambitious yet cautious conservative and turning him into a Trojan Horse for his causes and those of Goldman’s/the Hamilton Project’s. Rubin is the de facto President of the United States and he and the Hamilton Project tell Obama and his administration what to do. Obama gets to ride on Air Force One.

According to a recent Politico article:

Behind the scenes, Rubin still wields enormous influence in Barack Obama’s Washington, chatting regularly with a legion of former employees who dominate the ranks of the young administration’s policy team. He speaks regularly to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who once worked for Rubin at Treasury.

SPERLING, GENE.

Prior to advising Timothy Geithner on bailouts, Sperling was paid the paltry sum of $887,727 by Goldman Sachs for one year of consulting work. Sperling, another acolyte of Robert Rubin’s raked in even more that year, according to William Grieder at the Nation:

[he was paid in addition] $480,051 as a director of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, plus $250,000 for his quarterly briefings to two hedge funds, plus the speaking gigs [$158,000] (including an appearance before the Stanford Group in Houston subsequently charged with running a Ponzi scheme). Meantime, his day job at the Council on Foreign Relations paid $116,653. A busy, busy wonk.

STORCH, ADAM.

Storch worked for Goldman Sachs for 5 years reaching the position of Vice President in the Business Intelligence Group. He is Obama’s Managing Executive of the Security and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement.

SUMMERS, LARRY.

It didn’t take Larry Summers long to land a big time job after he crashed and burned as Harvard’s President. He sits at Obama’s right hand as Obama’s chief economic adviser and head of the National Economic Counsel. Summers’s boss at Goldman was non other than Robert Rubin, former co-Chairman of Goldman and also former head of Citicorp.

Summers has reaped nearly $2.8 million in speaking fees to banks and institutions he is now supposed to be helping to regulate and oversee.

Goldman Sachs paid him $135,000 for a single speech he gave in April, 2008, a very good investment repaid many times to Goldman.

>CONCLUSION.

Although a lot of work and research was put into this list, I am sure I missed many people. But it gives the most comprehensive look ever published at how extensive the Goldman Sachs ties are in the Obama administration and the revolving door between the two (See attorney Craig’s description above).

It also shines light on a subject that has virtually received no mainstream media attention: the importance of the Hamilton Project (funded by Robert Rubin and Goldman Sachs) as the policy voice for their pro-corporate interests. While Matt Taibbi has dissected Goldman, no journalist has looked at the Hamilton Project (Taibbi misses it too) despite the fact that all three of its first directors serve now in the Obama administration. Its current director, its fourth, worked as an economic adviser to Obama Administration and at MIT. It formulate the pro-big business that Goldman wants and spreads it through academia and the Obama administration.

Robert Rubin and Goldman Sachs cleverly disguished their Rosemary’s baby, the Hamilton Project, within the essentially liberal Brookings Institution. Lots of journalists (including the BBC) have been misled by this, thinking that if it comes out of Brookings, it must be liberal or even progressive. Discussing Peter Orszag, the BBC made this blunder:

He was one of the first directors of the Hamilton Project, a Brookings think tank initiative backed by Robert Rubin which aimed to combine fiscal responsibility with progressive politics.

(emphasis added)

Not so! The clear message from the Hamilton Project is this:

1) entitlements must be cut, including Social Security;
2) more jobs must be outsourced overseas;
3) more NAFTA-type agreements must be drafted and entered into;
4) strict budgetary policies must be applied to entitlements and especially health care "reform" (whereas the defense department is skirted).

One only has to look at the Hamilton Project, at Obama’s speech to that group in April, 2006, and the numerous articles and books that they have peddled to see that their outlook is overwhelmingly corporatist and pro-big business. It is, then, ant-iprogressive not liberal and certainly not progressive.

RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING:

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. "Meet Robert Rubin" at MyOpera/Personal Finance Blog

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

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

ESSENTIAL READING ON THE HAMILTON PROJECT AND ITS TIES TO THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION:

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 Progessives", April 5, 2006.

With The Obama Administration Infested with Goldman Sachs People, How Real is the Obama/Democratic Attack on Big Banks?

9:30 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

The Obama administration is infested with people with ties to Goldman Sachs. Goldman was Obama’s biggest campaign contributor ($994,795) in 2008 and before that as a candidate to the Senate. Rahm took in $80,000 from Goldman Sachs as a Congressman and was on a $3,000 a month retainer from Goldman while he worked as Bill Clinton’s chief fund raiser. So how real is the Obama/Democratic party’s supposed new toughness on big banks?

Michelle Malkin in an excellent article at the New York Post writes that Obama’s administration is so infested with Goldies that:

The White House can no more disown Government Sachs than Obama can disown Chicago politics.

Malkin rightly questions the timing of Obama administration’s supposed new toughness on Goldman Sachs (just months before the November elections). It’s clear that not only the Obama administration but the Gordon Brown government in the U.K. realize that average citizens overwhelmingly are disgusted with big, predatory banks and their practices and that both Brown and now Obama want to steal some of that fire to use it in upcoming elections. The Democrats are even trying to raise money off of their new found toughness as Malkin documents:

Obama is headed to Wall Street tomorrow to demand "financial regulatory reform" — just as the US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed civil suit against Goldman Sachs for mortgage-related fraud.

Question the timing? Darn tootin’.

As the New York Post reported Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee immediately bought sponsored Internet ads on Google that direct Web surfers who type in "Goldman Sachs SEC" to Obama’s fund-raising site.

Malkin also lists some of the top people in the Obama administration with deep ties to Goldman Sachs. They include:

*Gary Gensler, a Goldman Sachs partner who is Obama’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission head. Gensler is the guy who as a former Treasury official exempted the $58 trillion credit default market from oversight. Those financial instrumentals played a key role in the global economic downturn and led to billions of dollars in profits for banks like Goldman Sachs.

*Rahm Emanuel (see above), Mr. Sleeze personified who made millions as an investment banker.

*Mark Patterson, former lobbyist for Goldman Sachs who serves under Timothy Geithner as his top deputy and overseer of TARP bailout funds, $10 billion of which went to Goldman.

*Larry Summers, Obama’s chief economic adviser and head of the National Economic Counsel. Summers’s boss at Goldman was non other than Robert Rubin, former co-Chairman of Goldman and also former head of Citicorp (and I believe, the real POTUS while Obama is merely his spokesman). Summers has reaped nearly $2.8 million in speaking fees to banks and institutions he is now supposed to be regulating. Goldman Sachs paid him $135,000 for a single speech he gave in April, 2008, a very good investment repaid many times to Goldman.

*Timothy Geithner is also a Robert Rubin protoge. Geithner, of course, headed the New York Fed prior to the crisis and not only saw no storm clouds on the horizon, he also in 2008 ordered the bailed out AIG not to disclose its sweetheart payments to big banks including, you guessed it, Goldman Sachs.

But as good as Malkin’s article is, she doesn’t provide the full details of what has been called "Government Sachs". As of June, 2009, for instance, Goldman had more than 30 ex-government officials working as registered lobbyists including former Democratic House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) to represent its interests on issues related to TARP, according to Mother Jones.

Here are some other key Goldies in the Obama administration (you readers can help me fill out this list by providing names of others):

*Stephen Friedman, Chairman of Obama’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. According to Wikipedia, Friedman worked for much of his career with Goldman Sachs, holding numerous executive roles. He served as the company’s co-chief operating officer from 1987 to 1990, was the company’s co-chairman from 1990 to 1992, and the sole chairman from 1992 to 1994; he still serves on the company board.

Friedman was involved in controversy, as many of the Goldies have been in government service, involving his former employer. Wikipedia notes:

On May 7, 2009 Friedman resigned as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in response to criticism of his December 2008 purchase of $3 million of stock in Goldman Sachs.Friedman, who remains a member of Goldman Sachs’ board, came into violation of Federal Reserve policy when Goldman was converted to a bank holding company in September 2008, thereby placing it under the regulatory authority of the New York Fed. Friedman requested a waiver from this violation when the conversion occurred, which was granted roughly two and a half months later.

*Neel Kashkari, former Vice President of Goldman Sachs in San Francisco where he where he led Goldman’s Information Technology Security Investment Banking practice. Kashkari served under Treasury Secretary Paulson and was kept on by Obama after his inauguration for a limited period to work on TARP oversight.

*Diana Farrell, Diana Farrell is a Deputy Director of the National Economic Council in the administration of President Barack Obama. She formerly worked for Goldman Sachs in New York.

*Karen Kornbluh, sometimes called "Obama’s brain" is Obama’s Ambassador to the OECD. Kornbluh was Deputy Chief of Staff to Mr. Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin.

*Adam Storch, who worked for Goldman Sachs for 5 years reaching the position of Vice President in the Business Intelligence Group , is Obama’s Managing Executive of the Security and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement.

*Robert Hormats, the top economics official at Obama’s State Department, who spent the prior 27 years at Goldman Sachs, including as the Vice Chairman of Goldman’s international arm.

*Gene Sperling, prior to advising Timothy Geithner on bailouts, Sperling was paid the paltry sum of $887,727 by Goldman Sachs for one year of consulting work. Sperling, another acolyte of Robert Rubin’s raked in even more that year, according to William Grieder at the Nation:

[he was paid in addition] $480,051 as a director of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, plus $250,000 for his quarterly briefings to two hedge funds, plus the speaking gigs [$158,000] (including an appearance before the Stanford Group in Houston subsequently charged with running a Ponzi scheme). Meantime, his day job at the Council on Foreign Relations paid $116,653. A busy, busy wonk.

*Peter Orszag, Obama’s Budget Director was the founding director of the Hamilton Project, funded by Goldman Sachs and Robert Rubin. Wikipedia indicates that Robert Rubin, Goldman’s ex-head, was one of Orszag’s mentors.

*Jason Furman served as the second Director of the Hamilton Project after Peter Orszag’s departure for the Obama administration and he in turn left the Hamilton Project in June 2008 to direct economic policy for the Obama Presidential Campaign.

*Douglas Elmendorf replaced Furman as Director of the Hamilton Project and he in turn became Obama’s Director of the Congressional Budget Office in January 2009.

Note that the first 3 Directors of the Hamilton Project ALL serve in the Obama administration–while other journalists/writers have explored the links between Goldman Sachs and Obama, few have looked at this connection. Note again that the Hamilton Project was funded by Robert Rubin and Goldman Sachs. Note too that the current director of the Hamilton Project, its 4th since its founding in 2006, is Michael Greenstone. How long will it be before Greenstone goes to the Obama administration, making it a perfect 4 for 4 for Directors of the Goldman funded Hamilton Project?

*Barack Obama. Obama really owes his career to Goldman Sachs which was not only his biggest financial contributor when he ran for the presidency but also his biggest contributor when he ran for the Senate. Obama was essentially bought out by Goldman Sachs former head Robert Rubin as early as 2006. You can witness then Senator Obama paying lavish tribute to "my friend Bob [Rubin]" when the Rubin-Goldman Sachs sponsored Hamilton Project opened its doors as an embedded neoliberal think tank within the Brookings Institution. A video clip of Obama’s speech along with an excellent discussion of his ties to Goldman Sachs can be found at this FDL diary.

There is considerable evidence (including the above video clip of Obama himself speaking) to indicate that Rubin-Goldman Sachs hand selected Obama as a kind of spokesman for its unpopular causes and funded him as both a Senatorial and presidential candidate. See, for instance, Paul Street’s brilliant "Obama, As Predicted" essay. And David Sirota’s article on the founding of the Hamilton Project here. Another helpful FDL diary on Obama and the Hamilton Project (and links to Goldman) can be found here.

Obama, then, was a kind of "stealth candidate" or Trojan Horse, if you will: posing as a liberal-progressive, but in reality ready to advance Goldman’s financial and commercial interests which are anything but progressive. For more on Obama’s ties to the Hamilton Project and Robert Rubin/Goldman Sachs see this diary.

With all of these connections between Goldman Sachs and the Obama administration, including Obama himself, is there any doubt that the civil suit (note: the Obama administration has failed to bring a criminal case against the Goldman despite the urgings of Cong. Marcia Kaptur and 17 other Congresspeople) is anything but window dressing before the November election designed to fool the American people once again into thinking that Obama is some kind of populist-progressive?

Once again, Michelle Malkin gets it right in her revealing article, "All the President’s Goldman Men":

As Obama harangues Wall Street to clean up its house, all the president’s Goldman Sachs men have their feet on the coffee table at his.

NOTES:

1. If you know of other Goldies in the Obama adminstration, I would very much apreciate it if you would please provide their names/positions in your comments. Thanks in advance since I’m trying to compile a list! I have not found a complete/thorough one anywhere.

2. Michael Moore reports the following Congressman as behind Cong. Kaptur’s request for a criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs:

The following House Democrats have signed on to Kaptur’s letter: Jim McDermott (Wash.), Diane Watson (Calif.), Chris Carney (Pa.), Raul Grijalva (Ariz.), Keith Ellison (Minn.), John Lewis (Ga.), Charlie Melancon (La.), Tom Perriello (Va.), Betty Sutton (Ohio), Jay Inslee (Wash.), Pete Stark (Calif.), Mike Honda (Calif.), John Salazar (Colo.), Niki Tsongas (Mass.), Alan Grayson (Fla.), David Loebsack (Iowa) and Bob Filner (Calif.).

3. Since this diary was written, McClatchy Newspapers has an excellent article up written by Greg Gordon called "Goldman’s White House Connections Raise Eyebrows". It is the lead story over at the Huffingtonpost.

Gordon writes this on Rahm Emanuel and his lucrative work that included cooperating with Goldman Sachs on one multimillion dollar deal:

One White House insider who knows something about how Wall Street does business is chief of staff Emanuel, who earned millions of dollars in investment banking after he left the Clinton White House. His work for the Chicago-based financial services firm Wasserstein Perella & Co. intersected with Goldman in at least one deal.

In 1999, Emanuel was a key player representing Unicom Corp., the parent of Commonwealth Edison, in forging its merger with Peco Energy Co. to create utility giant Exelon Corp. Goldman was also advising Unicom.

The White House declined immediate comment on that connection.

The same article reports repeated and continuous contact between the head of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, and Obama and key figures in his administration:

According to White House visitor logs, Blankfein was among the business leaders who attended an Obama speech on Feb. 13, 2009, and he also joined more than a dozen bank CEOs in a meeting with Obama on March 27, 2009.

Blankfein also was supposed be among the CEOs who met with Obama in December, but he and two others phoned in from New York, blaming inclement weather.

He and his wife, Laura, were listed on the logs among 438 presidential guests at the Kennedy Center Honors the previous week.

The logs also indicate that Blankfein met twice in 2009, on Feb. 4 and Sept. 30, with Summers, who was undersecretary of the Treasury Department during the Clinton administration when it was headed by Robert Rubin, a former Goldman CEO.

University of Minnesota political scientist Lawrence Jacobs in the same article described the incestuous relationship between Goldman Sachs and the Obama administration:

"almost everything that the White House has done has been haunted by the personnel and the money of Goldman . . . as well as the suspicion that the White House, particularly early on, was pulling its punches out of deference to Goldman and its war chest.

The McClatchy newspaper article is well worth reading in its entirety even though it does not begin to mention all of the people from Goldman Sachs embedded in Obama’s administration.

New York Times Beats Drum for Social Security “Reform” (Meaning Cuts, Age Increases)

1:00 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

It’s already happened, sooner than I thought but as predicted. One of the mainstays of the status quo is calling for "social security reform". The New York Times in a front page article says social security "reform" is the "next big issue" and that Social Security is "the likeliest source of the sort of large savings needed to bring projected annual deficits to sustainable levels". The article, "Next Big Issue? Social Security Pops Up Again" was written by Jackie Calmes. Her article raises issues of journalistic ethics and the misuse of anonymous sources.

Shamefully, this New York Times article, for example, gives an anonymous source for listing three economists who it claims are "the best minds and prolific authors on Social Security" without exploring their background or telling us that all three have ties to institutions (like the Hamilton Project and Goldman Sachs) seeking entitlement cuts. This is stacking the deck just like the Obama administration stacked the deck against single payer and the public option by freezing out proponents of those ideas. This is also a complete misuse by Jackie Calmes and the New York Times of the reasons for an "anonymous source": what’s to hide in the naming of some economists, please, other than the fact that this reporter was essentially told by someone what to write and didn’t look into the subject at all?

Had Jackie Calmes done any research on this topic at all she would have found out that an attack on entitlements was also high on the wish list of the Hamilton Project (again, to which all 3 or her economists have links). Recall that the Hamilton Project is the "think tank" sponsored by Goldman Sachs and ex-Goldman Sachs chief, Robert Rubin, and cleverly embedded in the Brookings Institution. In April, 2006, a young, Democratic senator spoke at the inauguration of the Hamilton Project. Barack Obama lavished praise on "my friend Bob" (Rubin) and said the U.S. needs more NAFTA-type agreements and needs to cut entitlements (like social security). Read the rest of this entry →

The Last Democratic Hurrah?

8:28 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

The House has passed ObamaCare with applause and clapping. But it will be the last Democratic hurrah for decades. The bill dooms the party come November and will dog them for many elections thereafter.

The final House vote was 219 to 212 so Obama brought in the Stupak 7 with his pledge to sign an Executive Order pledging no federal funds would be used for elective abortion. That a Democratic President would sign such an order is in itself an abomination, that a Democratic president who campaigned on womens rights is, well, an Obama abomination. See KarenM’s diary, running simultaneously here at FDL, on his campaign promises. That is shocking but expected given the dismal failures and lies of this presidency.

But while the party is celebrating now, come November they will be crying and pleading for support from anyone and everybody. A mandated sellout to the insurance industry just isn’t going to hack it with the American people and it will become more and more apparent over time that this is not real reform but propping up a sick, for profit, insurance industry. The reliable, nonprofit, nonpartisan website www.pollster.com shows Obama getting failing marks on health care reform: 52.1% disapprove of Obama’s job performance on health care, only 40.7% approve. This will only get worse once the people find out what’s in the bill. As one pundit told the New York Times:

“But once people discover that their Medicare taxes are going up, that there are deeper cuts in Medicare Advantage, that there are court challenges to many provisions, and that the process of getting it passed created a portrait of corruption, it won’t sit well.”

It hasn’t sat well so far and we still don’t know all the details of this murky bill. The Democrats slavish capitulation to the antiabortion group led by Stupak doesn’t portend well.

Like everything Obama has done so far, this is make-believe reform that is really designed to make people believe that change has arrived. But it hasn’t. The change will be for the worse. Obama’s already pulled the same deceptive stunt on us with the wars, the bailouts, unemployment, the "closing" of Gitmo and just about everything else. Social security "reform" will be next.

But Obama’s gig and that of his Democrats will be up in November. Impeachment proceedings against Obama in the new Republican dominated House will likely start early next year coupled with widespread investigations of the administration.

Pay back time is coming soon for the Democrats so you’d better celebrate today.