Eliot Spitzer on Fareed Zakaria’s “GPS” Sunday; Will Talk More About AIG and Goldman Sachs

Jerome à Paris offered a diary on Kos tonight called depressed If you don’t know, Jerome is an American expatriate working and living in Paris. I’ve enjoyed his pieces as an American looking at politics from the other side of the pond. If you think Americans over there don’t know what is happening, you’re wrong.  They do, the French do, and so do the Brits and the Germans.  A lot of times, the Europeans are hipper than we are because of our supine media. And Jerome had plenty to say:

What is so depressing is that money is being thrown at banks in the guise of solving the asset problem, when it goes to not solving the liabilities problem (because it’s so much bigger) – and that markets know that it’s not solving anything (they have the liabilities on their books, and guess that others have the same).

What is depressing is that this money – staggering amounts of money – is being wasted when it could be used in ways that actually help the economy (hell, giving a $40,000 check to every living American would be a way smarter use of the same money).

What is so depressing is that the goal still seems to be to save banks when it should be to save the economy.

What is depressing is that people are again being steamrolled into “bailouts” – 5 years after being steamrolled into a war against mushroom clouds by essentially the same people – and the Serious People are still wrong, utterly wrong.

What is depressing is that it’s happening despite a smart Democrat being president.

Frankly, I feel the same way, too.  Obama has got to wake up from what will turn out to be a nightmare.  He’s gone from thinking that there is something wrong in the economy to thinking that this is just a minor hiccup. This is Bushthink. Brother, you wrong. Because not only are the bonuses much larger than $165 million ($218 million), but we are still going to be paying for the Massas of the Universe’s mistakes because Obama wants us to. He’s still supporting Geithner and Geithner’s plan, which on sneak peek has drawn fire from both Dems and Repubs. Why has this highly intelligent individual drunk the Kool Aid?

Leftblogistan is predictably divided over this. Some are hoping that Obama and Geithner are doing this right. Others, like Al Giordano at The Field, believe that this reaction against the bonuses is a witch hunt against Geithner, Summers, and Bernanke. Still others say it’s too early, that there is no real substitute for Geithner if he is forced out, and we should support him regardless. On Blackblogistan, it’s the same. An attack on Geithner, no matter how much of an errand boy to the banks he may seem, is an indirect attack on the brother in the White House, and we should support the brother no matter what. Others are shaking their heads, and whispering that Obama is showing his true colors.

Well, I don’t have to read Frank Rich or Matt Taibbi to know that something is wrong. Which is why I urge folks to tune into Fareed Zakaria’s show, GPS, on CNN tomorrow at 1 p.m. and at 5 p.m. ET, to get the lowdown from Eliot Spitzer in the wake of the former governor’s eye-opening piece in Slate.

Zakaria, in my view, seems to me a bit of an opportunist, so don’t start ascribing to him all the attributes of a progressive. He isn’t. He’s been labeled everything from a conservative to a liberal; I’d say he’s all but neither. If he smells a good story that’s going to sell and give him profile, he’s going to talk about it. Just think of him doing a public service by having Spitzer on, because Spitzer had AIG in his sights even when he was New York’s Attorney General. Check the transcript excerpt HuffPo provided:

ZAKARIA: So, do you think the problems that AIG got into later on stemmed from some of the same practices that you were trying to get at?

SPITZER: They stemmed from an effort at the very to to gin up returns whenever, wherever possible, and to push the boundaries in a way that would garner returns almost regardless of risk. Back then, I told people that AIG is at the center of the web. The financial tentacles of this company stretched to every major investment bank. The web between AIG and Goldman Sachs is something that should be pursued. And as I’ve written…

ZAKARIA: Meaning what? Meaning that a lot of the money that we the taxpayers have given to AIG has ended up being paid to Goldman Sachs.

SPITZER: Precisely.

ZAKARIA: And other companies.

SPITZER: The so-called counterparties to these very sophisticated financial transactions. When AIG initially received $80 billion, the decision that was the consequence of a very brief meeting of the President of the New York Fed, the Secretary of the Treasury, perhaps Chairman Bernanke, and arguably, some reports say, the chairman of Goldman Sachs. Eighty billion dollars, virtually all flowed out to counterparties – $12.9 billion dollars to Goldman Sachs. Why did that happen, what questions were asked, why did we need to pay one hundred cents on the dollar for those transactions if we had to pay anything, what would have happened to the financial system had it not been paid…these are the questions that should be pursued. The bonuses are a real issue. It touches us viscerally. But the real money, the real structural issue is the dynamic relationship between AIG and the counterparties.

I can hope only Barack Obama is watching this show, but I doubt it. I won’t until much later, because I don’t and can’t have cable, and must pick up the video online. It’s just more and more painfully obvious to me, like some of the more left black blogs like Black Agenda Report warned, that Obama allowed himself to be persuaded by the bad money guys, and that he thinks that he is right. You wrong, brother. You dead wrong on this. Let these MFs go. Let them go and help the people who brought you to this dizzying height, and could just as easily tear you down to eye level.

I remember when Obama went to Israel during the campaign and he put a tiny prayer note inside the the Wailing Wall (which was later published). In it, he asked the Deity to show him clearly when he was being proud and arrogant to the detriment of his family–and possibly the nation. I think this is one of those times. These aren’t flies buzzing around you, Mr. President. The Massas of the Universe have no special powers, unless you give those powers to them. When they don’t have any powers, they become as naked as a traipsing emperor for the whole world to see. This is not the way to run a country, Barack Obama, by handing its people to its worst enemies. Not the way.

~ by blksista on March 21, 2009.

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