A parade of media reports this week name Penny Pritzker as Obama’s prime choice for Secretary of Commerce. No longer will criminal bankers have to lobby the administration – because now they’ll have one of their own in the Cabinet.
We never heard of this guy Barack Obama until 2004. Less than three years before taking the presidency, he was in the Illinois state senate, a swamp of scammers, backhanders, and party machine tools – not a stellar launch pad for the White House. And then, one day, state Sen. Barack Obama was visited by his fairy godmother. Her name is Penny Pritzker.
Penny’s from Heaven?
Pritzger’s net worth is listed in Forbes as $1.8 billion, which is one hell of a heavy magic wand in the world of politics. Her wand would have been heavier, and her net worth higher, except that in 2001, the federal government fined her and her family $460 million for the predatory, deceitful, racist tactics and practices of Superior, the bank-and-loan-shark operation she ran on the South Side of Chicago.
Superior was the first of the deregulated go-go banks to go bust – at the time, the costliest failure ever. US taxpayers lost nearly half a billion dollars. Superior’s depositors lost millions and poor folk in Sen. Obama’s South Side district lost their homes.
Penny did not like paying $460 million. No, not one bit. What she needed was someone to give her Hope and Change. She hoped someone would change the banking regulators so she could get away with this crap.
This article is based on the New York Times bestseller: Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, by Greg Palast with comics by Ted Rall. Available for a donation to Truthout.org.
Pritzker introduced Obama, the neophyte state senator, to the Ladies Who Lunch (that’s really what they call themselves) on Chicago’s Gold Coast. Obama got lunch, gold and better – an introduction to Robert Rubin. Rubin is a former Secretary of the Treasury, former chairman of Goldman Sachs and, when Robert met Barry, co-chairman of Citibank. Even atheists recognized Rubin as the Supreme Deity of Wall Street.
Rubin opened the doors to finance industry vaults for Obama. Extraordinarily for a Democrat, Obama in 2008 raised three times as much from bankers as his Republican opponent.
So what did Citibank’s Rubin get for showering Obama with gold? Obama agreed to take care of Rubin’s poodles, Larry Summers and Tim Geithner. They became Obama’s first cabinet picks: Summers as Economics Czar and Geithner as his czarina, Secretary of the Treasury.
Geithner and Summers were the gents who, under Treasury Secretary Rubin, designed the deregulation of banking. In effect, they had decriminalized the kind of financial flim-flammery that brought the planet to its knees while bringing Rubin, Pritzker and the banksters loads of lucre.
So, in 2008, Summers and Geithner were put back in the saddle – Obama’s horse but Rubin’s saddle.
Rubin received more than $100 million from Citigroup, the gargantuan commercial bank/investment bank/casino created by deregulation. It is worth a mention that Rubin’s centi-million-dollar payoff went unchallenged by Citi’s new owner, the US Treasury, which had put up more than a trillion dollars in loans and guarantees to pull Rubin’s creature out of bankruptcy.
Rubin rocked, but Penny was pissed off.
Pritzker had taken this state senator/community organizer from the ghetto, made him a US Senator, then, as Obama’s campaign finance chairwoman, raised a mind-blowing three-quarters of a billion dollars to make him president.
In return, in 2008, Obama decided to make his patron Penny the Secretary of Commerce. But then, in November 2008, just as Obama was about to submit her nomination to Congress, a bunch of Pritzker’s victims marched on Washington. They were not from her busted bank, but unhappy workers from the lucrative nursing homes that her family owns through a string of complex offshore trusts. Obama slammed the door on Penny pronto.
In the 2012 campaign, Obama, to his credit, kept the door shut on Pritzker, reducing her to hosting an election fundraiser at her Gold Coast digs, which she had to bill as a Goldman Sachs PAC event. This marks possibly the first time anyone has used Goldman Sachs as a PR cover.
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Even tho I know this is how politics currently works I am so disappointed to read this about a President I admire.
I would like to ignore it, or discount it, but Truthout is not a source known for cheap shots, publishing unfounded or conspiracy theory based unsupported info.
The question is, will he keep playing along if there is pressure to act with integrity? Will he risk the ire of the billionaires to do what he said (and I believe firmly he meant!) that he got into office to do-which is work FOR the PEOPLE?
The only way we find out is by applying as much of that pressure as we can muster, keep praying and watch how it goes.
He did say he wanted us to watch what he does and call him on it if he does stuff that is not what he said, not what we elected him to do-and for sure helping these oligarch’s increase and maintain their power is NOT what we worked our butts off to get him elected to do!