Thanks to Eastern philosophy, I think I'm getting closer to sorting out my conflicted feelings about Barack Obama. I had fallen prey to the Western logical trap of "duality," of thinking in terms of opposing categories, so that to harbor suspicions about Obama's actual bona fides as a progressive or transformative leader placed me squarely in the yahoo camp of Birther Nation, Glenn Beck Crazies and other perplexing subgroups, with their mystifying, usually ungrammatical signs. (Why the hyphen between "Christian" and "Nation," for example?)
September 18, 2009
September 16, 2009
It will be interesting to see how the Kumbaya Kid and the financial section of his cabinet react to the legal hardball currently being played in New York. It's not the White House's style. Obama prefers to defer any sort of punitive measure till the next time that perpetrators do the same illegal things. Maybe the U.S. tortured people during the Bush Administration, but it's pointless to do anything about it now, he argues. One could hear a similar sentiment in his speech on Monday on Wall Street. The next time that investment banks melt the world's financial system down through unchecked, relentless greed, there will be hell to pay by the bank's stockholders and management. This time, however, the same fall guy winds up holding the bag: the American taxpayer. And if Goldman Sachs and others want to pay themselves record bonuses at the end of this year, all made possible by virtually free money from the Federal Reserve, well hell - that's American capitalism, sort of, and in January, 2010, the bonuses paid in December, 2009, will be in the past, where they are immune from scrutiny or prosecution. But Obama suggested that Wall Street bankers demonstrate now that their hearts are in the right place (or that they even have hearts) by putting such bonuses up to stockholder vote, because that may become the law in the future.
“The S.E.C. gets to claim that it is exposing wrongdoing on the part of the Bank of America in a high-profile merger,” he wrote, and “the Bank’s management gets to claim that they have been coerced into an onerous settlement by overzealous regulators.”