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

With Bush, it was mostly big oil. With Obama, it appears to be mostly Goldman Sachs. The faces change, but the corruption doesn’t. Anyway, this article and the previous article by the author (which he links to in this article) are eye-opening and well worth reading.

From FireDogLake:

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.

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Stunning Statistics About the War That Everyone Should Know

From Counterpunch.org:

A hearing in Sen. Claire McCaskill’s Contract Oversightsubcommittee on contracting in Afghanistan has highlighted some important statistics that provide a window into the extent to which the Obama administration has picked up the Bush-era war privatization baton and sprinted with it. Overall, contractors now comprise a whopping 69% of the Department of Defense’s total workforce, “the highest ratio of contractors to military personnel in US history.” That’s not in one war zone—that’s the Pentagon in its entirety.

In Afghanistan, the Obama administration blows the Bush administration out of the privatized water. According to a memo[PDF] released by McCaskill’s staff,

“From June 2009 to September 2009, there was a 40% increase in Defense Department contractors in Afghanistan. During the same period, the number of armed private security contractors working for the Defense Department in Afghanistan doubled, increasing from approximately 5,000 to more than 10,000.”

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Was Democrats’ Health Care Strategy Written In Federal Prison?

From BlackListedNews:

Source: Big Government – Joel B. Pollak

On August 31, I headed to the health care town hall meeting of my congressional representative, Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). I suspected that she planned to stack the meeting with paid organizers, after she vowed on Real Time with Bill Maher to bring “millions” of people into the streets to support the so-called “public option.” So I brought a video camera.


A friend and I took turns filming protesters on both sides of the issue. We caught an organizer from the group Health Care for America Now (HCAN) instructing followers to block dissenting views: “So if they stand up and start asking questions, and you’re in that area, simply stand up, and start chanting… ‘Health care now! Health care now!’”

My experience at Rep. Schakowsky’s town hall meeting that night convinced me to challenge her in the 2010 election. I had already stood up to Rep. Barney Frank at Harvard University, when I asked him about his role in the financial crisis. I could not simply watch thugs drown out the people of my own community back home, and do nothing.

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U.S. Antitrust Investigation of Monsanto

From Cryptogon.com:

Oh sure.

Obama Chooses Monsanto Creature, Tom Vilsack, for Secretary of Agriculture

Obama Chooses Former Monsanto Lobbyist for Food Safety Post

Has anyone tried to calculate how much public money Monsanto winds up with each year due to corrupt, broken and bat shit insane agricultural subsidies?

I’d guess that the answer to that question would be even more ridiculous than believing that the Obama regime would do anything at all to rein in Monsanto.

Via: Washington Post:

For plants designed in a lab a little more than a decade ago, they’ve come a long way: Today, the vast majority of the nation’s two primary crops grow from seeds genetically altered according to Monsanto company patents.

Ninety-three percent of soybeans. Eighty percent of corn.

The seeds represent “probably the most revolutionary event in grain crops over the last 30 years,” said Geno Lowe, a Salisbury, Md., soybean farmer.

But for farmers such as Lowe, prices of the Monsanto-patented seeds have steadily increased, roughly doubling during the past decade, to about $50 for a 50-pound bag of soybean seed, according to seed dealers.

The revolution, and Monsanto’s dominant role in the nation’s agriculture, has not unfolded without complaint. Farmers have decried the price increases, and competitors say the company has ruthlessly stifled competition.

Now Monsanto — like IBM and Google — has drawn scrutiny from U.S. antitrust investigators, who under the Obama administration have looked more skeptically at the actions of dominant firms.

During the Bush administration, the Justice Department did not file a single case under antimonopoly laws regulating a dominant firm. But that stretch seems unlikely to continue.

This year, the Obama Justice Department tossed out the antitrust guidelines of its predecessor because they advocated “extreme hesitancy in the face of potential abuses by monopoly firms.”

“We must change course,” Christine Varney, the Obama administration’s chief antitrust enforcer, said at the time.

Of all the new scrutiny by Justice, the Monsanto investigation might have the highest stakes, dealing as it does with the food supply and one of the nation’s largest agricultural firms. It could also force the Obama administration, already under fire for the government’s expanded role in the economy, to explain how it distinguishes between normal rough-and-tumble competition and abusive monopolistic business practices.

Monsanto says it has done nothing wrong.

“Farmers choose these products because of the value they deliver on farm,” Monsanto said in a statement. “Given the phenomenally broad adoption of these technologies by farmers, such questions are normal and to be expected.”

Unprecedented Intrusion: Government Will Slash Salaries of Executives at Bailed-Out Companies

I think the bonuses these people are getting are insane. However, I don’t think that government has any right to essentially dictate to a private business what size bonus the business can pay its employees. On the other hand, these businesses did take money from the government, and in the case of this particular government, it seems to be a case of making deals with the devil; the devil always wins. Another thing to note: companies which have already paid back their bailout money will not be affected. These include Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. Imagine that.

From CNSNews:

Washington (AP) – The Treasury Department is expected in the next few days to order companies that received huge government bailouts last year to slash the base salaries of their top executives by an average of 90 percent and cut their total compensation in half, according to a person familiar with the matter.
 
The cuts apply to the 25 highest paid executives at the seven companies that received the most assistance, the person said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the decision has not been announced.
 
Smaller companies and those that have repaid the bailout money, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., are not affected.
 
Kenneth Feinberg, the special master at Treasury appointed to handle compensation issues as part of the government’s $700 billion financial bailout package, is making the pay decisions.
 
The seven companies are Bank of America Corp., American International Group Inc., Citigroup Inc., General Motors, GMAC, Chrysler and Chrysler Financial.
 
It was unclear exactly how much the executives would be allowed to make, or how that would be determined. Each case is being handled individually, and no details were available on how the calculations were being made.
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Another Goldman executive named to key government post as its profits skyrocket

This used to be called “putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop,” a sure sign of corruption. Now it’s just the way corporate government is run.

From Salon:

Apparently, the U.S. government didn’t have enough Goldman Sachs executives in key financial and regulatory positions, so the following happened this week:

A Goldman Sachs executive has been named the first chief operating officer of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division.

The market watchdog says Adam Storch, vice president in Goldman Sachs’ Business Intelligence Group, is assuming the new position of managing executive of the SEC division.

The move comes as the SEC revamps its enforcement efforts following the agency’s failure to uncover Bernard Madoff’s massive fraud scheme for nearly two decades despite numerous red flags.

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.”

In October of last year, a Goldman Sachs Vice President, Neel Kashkari, was named by former Goldman CEO and then-Treasury Secretary Hank Pauslon to oversee the$700 billion TARP bailout.  In January of this year, Tim Geithner hired a former Goldman Sachs lobbyist, Mark Patterson, to be his top aide and Chief of Staff.  In March, President Obama nominated Goldman Sachs executive Gary Gensler to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates futures markets, even though (or “because”) Gensler confessed to lax regulation during the Clinton administration over the very derivative instruments that caused the financial crisis.  In April, Goldman hired as its top lobbyist Michael Paese, the top aide to Rep. Barney Frank on the House Financial Services Committee which Frank chairs.

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Brokedown Palace: The Undermining of Property Rights in America

From ZeroHedge:

Zero Hedge recently highlighted the TPG raid on CDOs.  This action puts into focus the alarming trend of the undermining of creditor rights.  When even the Courts are in on the gang bang, what hope do we have?

The battlefield: CDOs, mortgages, corporate debt
The players: hedge funds, management teams, elected officials, lobbyists, unions
The weapons: loopholes, new precedents, bankruptcy court, political pressure

The Chrysler debacle was stink enough, but the trend of collateral tampering is an outright stench today.  Property rights have allowed the U.S. to flourish.  They are bedrock of our economy.  They allow facilitate the spread of credit and economic growth that some other countries cannot match.
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