Frank Rich nails it - then hits his thumb

Writing about the "The tsunami of populist rage coursing through America" that has surprised even President Obama with its ferocity, Rich notes:

In reality, Daschle’s tax shortfall, an apparently honest mistake, was only a red flag for the larger syndrome that much of Washington still doesn’t get. It was the source, not the amount, of his unreported income that did him in. The car and driver advertised his post-Senate immersion in the greedy bipartisan culture of entitlement and crony capitalism that both helped create our economic meltdown (on Wall Street) and failed to police it (in Washington). Daschle might well have been the best choice to lead health-care reform. But his honorable public record was instantly vaporized by tales of his cozy, lucrative relationships with the very companies he’d have to adjudicate as health czar.

Few articulate this ethical morass better than Obama, who has repeatedly vowed to “close the revolving door” between business and government and end our “two sets of standards, one for powerful people and one for ordinary folks.” But his tough new restrictions on lobbyists (already compromised by inexplicable exceptions) and porous plan for salary caps on bailed-out bankers are only a down payment on this promise, even if they are strictly enforced.

The new president who vowed to change Washington’s culture will have to fight much harder to keep from being co-opted by it instead. There are simply too many major players in the Obama team who are either alumni of the financial bubble’s insiders’ club or of the somnambulant governmental establishment that presided over the catastrophe.

After mentioning a number of other Obama officials who are establishment insiders, Rich completely blows it by declaring the one positive development is that Obama as selected a "welcome outlier" as chairman of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board - Paul Volcker.



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What specifically are Volcker's corporate connections?

We know his "advisory" economic panel is made up of corporate lobbyists, free traitors and special interests. 2 token union people and the SEIU, well, I'm not sure how union that union really is.

What kills me is they do not even get what the Populist rage wants.

Uh, it usually amounts to when the phone calls to D.C. are ringing to the point they shut down their network and glob their fax machine.

I'm pretty sure I ripped into Volcker here a few weeks ago

when I discussed that the "Trilateral conspiracy" of controlled disintegration must - if you want to avoid the conspiracy theorizing - be understood as radical deregulation of the nation-state's crucial Keynesian functions of controlling monetary rates, interest rates, and exchange rates, which were intended to provide a stable environment for industrial capitalism.

The Wikipedia entry on Volcker includes about all that I know of him:

After leaving the Federal Reserve in 1987, he became chairman of the prominent New York investment banking firm, J. Rothschild, Wolfensohn & Co., a corporate advisory and investment firm in New York, run by James D. Wolfensohn, who was later to become president of the World Bank.


As of October 2006, he is the current Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the influential Washington-based financial advisory body, the Group of Thirty, and is a member of the Trilateral Commission. He has had a long association with the Rockefeller family, not only with his positions at Chase Bank and the Trilateral Commission, but also through membership of the Trust Committee of Rockefeller Group, Inc. (RGI), which he joined in 1987. That entity managed, at one time, the Rockefeller Center on behalf of the numerous members of the Rockefeller clan. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International House in Manhattan, NY. He was a founding member of the Trilateral Commission.

William Engdahl does a great job of exploring the sordid tale of Volcker, Rockefeller, the Trilaterals, and others, in the context of advancing their (what it amounts to) neo-liberal agenda, in The Financial Tsunami: The Financial Foundations of the American Century:

Federal Reserve monetary policy has been typically misrepresented as a series of ad hoc pragmatic responses to recurring crises in post-war banking and finance. The reality is that it has faithfully followed a coherent hidden thread of policy that was first laid out in 1973 by the spokesman then for America’s most powerful establishment family. 

The policy was outlined in a little-noted book titled, ominously enough, “The Second American Revolution.” It was written by John D. Rockefeller III, scion of the powerful Standard Oil and Chase Manhattan Bank empire, and, along with his three brothers—David, Nelson and Laurance—architect of the world arrangement after 1945 known as the American Century. 

In his book, Rockefeller declared the establishment’s determination to roll back concessions grudgingly granted by the wealthy and powerful during the Great Depression. Rockefeller issued the call in 1973, long before Jimmy Carter or Margaret Thatcher came to office to implement it. He called for a “deliberate, consistent, long-term policy to decentralize and privatize many government functions…to diffuse power throughout the society.” [10] The latter was a witting deception as his intent was not to diffuse power, but just the opposite—to concentrate that economic and banking power into the hands of a tight-knit elite.

Privatization of essential and socially useful government functions that had been established often with great social agitation and political pressure during the difficult crises of the 1930’s, was the Rockefeller agenda. In brief, it was the removal of Depression era government regulations on all aspects of economic and social life in America. 

Above all, deregulation of Wall Street and financial markets was the goal, along with a radical reduction in the equalizing of wealth, as seen by Rockefeller and friends, inherent in such programs as Social Security. The George W. Bush “tax cuts for the wealthy” were just a continuation of a three decade agenda of the powerful establishment circles.   


I think Frank Rich completely misses the mark

and his post is simply trying to "corral" the ever growing Populist outrage. Control it, discount it and claim it exists over non-issue issues when that's not what the outrage is about.

Seriously. What people are extremely pissed about is policy. It's the big shit.

Cable TV and so on want to rail on taxes, Palin's wardrobe, executive pay and so on...

but that's not the real outrage. the real outrage is giving $700 billion dollars to the same bastards who collapsed the financial system....

while letting them continue with their predatory loans, refusal to stop foreclosures and refinance to realistic terms, outrageous credit card fees, terms, even trying to lower people's credit score for shopping at Wal-mart, bars...

they are royally pissed at special favors like giving ACORN a butt load of money with so many investigations of fraud, waste. They are sick of seeing illegal immigrants get services their taxpayer dollars pay for....while they go broke and wages are undermined. They are sick of bad trade deals, token phrases which try to imply something will be done, but then of course nothing is being done...

They are completely sick of having their jobs offshore outsourced to hear about how that's "good for America" or "right economic policy". Obviously it is not good economic policy because the U.S. is now tumbling down a cliff...

they are truly sick of hearing rhetoric and other theoretical bullshit that doesn't add up in common sense or statistical reality.

And it's true, there is almost a subscript in economic theory that talks about local economies suffering while trade "comes to equilibrium" ....well, obvious those small regional economies that will "suffer" are adding up to not only a world of hurt but also the cause the entire United States economy to suffer, in other words, these "theorists" have some seriously bad math and are not estimating correctly what happens...

but tout out their religion they will, regardless of the statistical facts!

People are pissed off at the same stuff we're writing about on EP.

It's not Daschle's tax issue, it was Daschle's strong connection to health insurance industry, profiteers of health, that was the outrage.

It's the concept that Geithner can't figure out Turbo Tax when he's going to be in charge of $700 billion dollars and also architected the original debacle.

It's not Palin's wardrobe or McCain's's that those bastards were sitting there telling people in Michigan that magically more bad trade deals, more outsourcing, more insourcing would "help them"!

They are sitting there touting corporate based policies, proven to not work and that is where the Populist outrage lies...

Hell, you cannot go to Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and say "NAFTA is good" without being plain tarred and feathered at this point.

And damn straight rust belt...and still the rust belt is just getting lip service, rhetoric, no action on what really needs to be done.