Friday, September 27, 2013

The Good Negro? Obama's Friends In Low Places (And Still Lecturing US) And Whence Cometh That Kenyan Attack?

Remember the history of Wilson Goode and Philadelphia's community relations organization called MOVE?

I do.

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The "good" Negro is a figure out of the past for many white people. Today's present clime presents another take on this mythical figure.

“Imagine a black man leading a lynch mob and you have a good assessment of Wilson Goode’s behavior.”

On May 13, 1985, the mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, allowed a lynch mob comprised of the police and fire departments to kill eleven black people, including five children. He also allowed them to burn 61 houses to the ground which left more than 200 people homeless. Wilson Goode was that city’s first black mayor but being mayor was not his top priority. More than anything else he wanted to be a good negro and earn a stamp of approval from white people. Therein lies a cautionary tale which we would do well to remember today.

A new documentary, Let the Fire Burn, tells the story of the assault on a home occupied by men, women and children who were members of the group MOVE. The extra judicial murders took place nearly 30 years ago but offer lessons for black people who support and excuse any horror committed by the first black president, Barack Obama.

Let the Fire Burn assembles archival film footage showing the numerous confrontations that took place between MOVE and the police over many years. When an attempt to arrest MOVE members resulted in the death of a police officer in 1978, Delbert Africa was savagely beaten in full view of the public and the media. He and eight others were convicted of murder and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 30 to 100 years. Police surveillance of MOVE never stopped, and the group’s conflicts with their neighbors resulted in the 1985 decision to evict them from a house located at 6221 Osage Avenue.

“Not only the cops on the beat but officials at the highest levels of city government had nothing but contempt for black life.”

No one watching Let the Fire Burn has to be told that the same police officers who beat Delbert Africa in 1978 and who were then permitted to take part in the 1985 eviction were racist to the core. The expressions of hatred are plain enough to see. Not only the cops on the beat but officials at the highest levels of city government had nothing but contempt for black life and their decision to drop a bomb in a residential neighborhood proves it.

Despite the obvious hatred of the white men in the police force, it is Wilson Goode who emerges as the villain in this story. Goode comes off as the hollowest man, dissembling, changing his story and evading questions but ultimately admitting that he approved the horrific plan which killed little children. He waffled between taking responsibility, claiming he didn’t know a bomb would be dropped, to saying that snow on his television gave him the impression that the fire was being extinguished.

The commission findings and the pontification ultimately meant very little. The MOVE members died and their neighbors lost their homes because they were black. Those homes were rebuilt but so shoddily that they were once again abandoned. Wilson Goode knew the rules. He may have been elected with strong support from black voters but he knew he was not supposed to change what has become the natural order of white people being on top and killing black people if they choose to.

Imagine a black man leading a lynch mob and you have a good assessment of Wilson Goode’s behavior. His complicity in killing the MOVE men, women and children didn’t hurt his prospects the way it should have. In 1987 he was re-elected when he ran against Democrat turned Republican Frank Rizzo. That former mayor’s open racism and switch to the Republicans allowed Goode to once again win black votes despite his awful actions.

The disaster on Osage Avenue should have ended the careers of all concerned but white racism and misguided loyalty to the Democratic Party meant that the killers prospered. The district attorney who approved the eviction in 1985 was Ed Rendell. During his testimony at the investigative commission Rendell made no effort to hide his hatred but it didn’t hurt his career prospects. He went on to be elected mayor and then governor of Pennsylvania and he was often mentioned as a vice presidential or even presidential candidate.

“Goode was defended and supported by people who should have wanted nothing to do with him.”

Black people were driven from their homes by bullets and fire in places like Tulsa, Oklahoma and Helena, Arkansas and Ocoee, Florida and in places too numerous to count. Those atrocities are remembered as part of the awful history of America’s apartheid. A white mayor could not have committed cold-blooded murder of black people without facing condemnation but Goode was defended and supported by people who should have wanted nothing to do with him. The desire to see a black face in a high place was strong in 1985 and it is still strong today.

Black Americans have sold their souls just to see people who look like them commit the acts of evil which were previously reserved for white people. The penultimate example of this phenomenon is Barack Obama, the president of the United States. His ascension was the death of black politics, common sense and morality.

Read it all here.

As Donald Langevoort, an expert on compliance issues at Georgetown University School of Law, told The New York Times on Friday, "JPMorgan is by no means unique. None of these big banks really want compliance people causing traders and investment bankers to second-guess themselves too much because that gets in the way of making money. No one will say this, but it's more effective to run the risk of noncompliance and pay a few fines, which is just a cost of doing business."

The quote from the expert above has no surprise value anymore. Everybody knows that the banks will not regulate themselves and will fight to the death anyone (or institution) who dares to think that they should be regulated (or re-regulated). But they will politely acquiesce in taking "congratulations" for not doing it (and hefty bonuses, thank you!).


Obama's Friends in Low Places

By Robert Scheer (about the author)     Permalink

(Jamie Dimon's Gotten Pretty Far On Political Connections and Public Largesse - Ed.)

That Barack Obama is such a kidder. No matter how awkward the moment, he's got just the right quip to purchase some wiggle room. Remember when his old Chicago banking buddy Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, first ran into that bit of trouble over his bank's "London Whale" derivative scam? That scheme has already lost $6 billion with close to $1 billion more piled on by the SEC in fines last week after JPMorgan admitted it broke the law.

Well of course, being Obama, when the scandal first broke last year, the president picked a women's daytime talk show, ABC's "The View," to deal with the scams of his leading Wall Street backer. "JPMorgan is one of the best-managed banks there is," he told the "View" audience. "Jamie Dimon, the head of it, is one of the smartest bankers we got, and they still lost $2 billion and counting."

Yes, counting; that $2 billion is now likely to end up around $16 billion given the future legal fees and possible payouts allotted to countering the myriad lawsuits connected with this admission of illegal activity. That's aside from the mortgage fraud, Libor rate rigging and energy manipulation cases still confronting the beleaguered bank. Thursday, on the same day that Dimon's bank got slapped with the SEC fine, federal regulators revealed that JPMorgan had agreed to pay $389 million in penalties and refunds to compensate for a credit card identity theft protection scam after $309 million already paid out in that case.

It should be remembered that this same Dimon, who appeared before a Senate committee wearing presidential cufflinks, once worked with Sanford Weill in engineering the reversal of the Glass-Steagall law to make Citigroup, a previously illegal merger of investment and commercial banks, possible. But despite his record as a leader in the radical deregulation of banking that caused all of the trouble, Obama turned to Dimon for direction on fixing the economy.

If you still require to be disabused of Obama's pretend populism, consider his decision to select William M. Daley, JPMorgan's representative in Washington, to be his White House chief of staff. It gave Dimon the key White House connection to accompany the passkey he already had at Treasury with his pal Timothy Geithner as secretary.

It was a real cozy arrangement; Dimon was still a governor of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, where he had served during Geithner's presidency overseeing the banking meltdown. Geithner had been instrumental in arranging Fed financing for JPMorgan's acquisition of troubled Bear Stearns through a $55 billion loan and later an additional $25 billion in TARP funds.

Once appointed Treasury secretary, Geithner made himself very accessible to Dimon. As an Associated Press investigation reported, Dimon had numerous personal meetings and phone calls with Geithner while the White House was calibrating its response to the Wall Street crisis.

Why are we not surprised that Obama has done nothing to break up the too-big-to-fail banks, the biggest now being Dimon's? Don't be fooled by the occasional fines; the banks have used the interest-free money to grow ever larger and more unaccountable in their behavior.

Even the recent SEC settlement, while mentioning the despicable behavior of JPMorgan's chief executive, fails to utter Dimon's name, and as Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who did much to unravel this scam, noted, "the whole issue of misinforming investors and the public is conspicuously absent from the SEC findings and settlement."

After the SEC condemnation of JPMorgan's "egregious breakdowns in controls" and conclusion that "senior management broke a cardinal rule of corporate management" to honestly inform the board of directors, top senior manager Dimon made all the right noises. JPMorgan announced that $4 billion and a staff of 5,000 employees would be devoted to compliance with the law.

This was just the sort of commitment Dimon made in 2006 when he hired Stephen M. Cutler, who had been head of the SEC Division of Enforcement, to be JPMorgan's general counsel. Once a committed regulator who urged corporations "to create a culture of compliance," Cutler clearly drank the Kool-Aid at JPMorgan, for he was in charge of legal and compliance activities worldwide at the time of the London Whale fiasco. So much for trusting corporate compliance.

As Donald Langevoort, an expert on compliance issues at Georgetown University School of Law, told The New York Times on Friday, "JPMorgan is by no means unique. None of these big banks really want compliance people causing traders and investment bankers to second-guess themselves too much because that gets in the way of making money. No one will say this, but it's more effective to run the risk of noncompliance and pay a few fines, which is just a cost of doing business."

Exactly the reason that too-big-to-fail banks can't be trusted to do the right thing and why Obama shouldn't have been guided by Dimon in the first place.

(Robert Scheer is editor in chief of the progressive Internet site Truthdig. He has built a reputation for strong social and political writing over his 30 years as a journalist. He conducted the famous Playboy magazine interview in which Jimmy Carter (more...))

Heck fire. Even I almost believe we are god's chosen chillen after that latest round of speechifying. It lays the morally skeptical back several hundred miles on the tolerance spectrum.

Obama and the Usual American 'DAM' Exceptionalism – Delusion, Arrogance and Mendacity

By Finian Cunningham

September 25, 2013

President Barack Obama addressed the opening of the 68th General Assembly of the United Nations with his usual oratorical formula. Admittedly, the man is a good speaker with flawless technical delivery. But by now this has become a tiresome act of grandiloquence and lofty idealism with no substance. What makes the bottom fall out of the Obama act is the cloying disconnect in his words with harsh reality. It is like listening to a conman whose initially charming words begin to grate on your sense of reason, truth and forbearance as he fumbles in your pockets.

This is the Commander-in-Chief who has vowed to launch unilateral military strikes against Syria without a mandate from the UN Security Council, in contravention of the UN Charter and international law. In other words, he is willing and self-justified to commit the crime of aggression and possibly plunge a volatile region into a conflagration. And yet this reckless politician has the brass neck to stand in front of the world’s nations in New York to lecture on the founding principles of the UN.

Obama made the usual preposterous claims about the beneficence of American leadership in the world, denying that it had any imperialist ambitions. To listen to him, one would think that the US is the world’s largest charitable organization, bringing human rights, democracy and freedom to the oppressed. No wonder Americans can be so confused about the state of the real world when they espouse such arrant nonsense and vain notions of exceptionalism, as Russian President Vladimir Putin discreetly pointed out earlier this month in a column for the New York Times.

Unbowed by that reality check, Obama persisted with the conceited American belief in its supposed virtuous exceptionalism as he addressed the UN General Assembly.

What amazes is that his performance received a resounding applause and not one delegate walked out of the assembly. Perhaps this was due to normal human politeness shared by most nations to listen to others even when they don’t agree. American exceptionalism has in the past seen its own delegates storming out of the assembly whenever their ears cannot bear the sound of some other world leader who has a differing, critical point of view.

And there was plenty to find disagreeable about Obama’s speech to the UN this week. With regard to US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, he glibly claimed with a congratulatory tone “those wars are at an end”. It is a deeply troubling measure of arrogance that an American leader can stand in front of the world and talk tritely about wars coming to an end whenever over one million people have been killed in those American aggressions, which were based on flagrant lies and baseless pretexts.

Yet in Obama’s view of the world, we can move swiftly on, and somehow believe that what America is proposing to do in Syria is a completely different prospect, where it has learnt from past mistakes. In Syria, Obama claimed, the US would be using its military might to protect citizens from a tyrant. He denied that US motives were about regime change and vowed that America sought to help the people of Syria choose their own government.

This is what Obama, and American presidents do best, excel in rhetoric over reality. Bereft from his speech was an acknowledgement of the fact that Washington has been harboring plans for regime change in Syria since at least 2001, as disclosed by former US General Wesley Clark. Bereft from Obama’s fine words were details of American weapons and logistics being funneled into Syria for the past two years to drive a campaign of terrorism to destabilize a sovereign government.

Provocatively, the American president reiterated unfounded allegations that the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad was guilty of massacring its citizens and in particular in the use of chemical weapons on 21 August. Obama mendaciously claimed that the recent UN chemical weapons report, led by Ake Sellstrom, proved his allegations. The UN report does nothing of the sort, and a range of evidence elsewhere contends much more convincingly that the perpetrators of the chemical attacks were the Western-backed mercenaries.

Again this attitude of apparent certitude and sanctimony by the US president testifies to the arrogant belief of American exceptionalism. Evidently, American presidents presume to know everything and the rest of the world must accept their viewpoint, even though that viewpoint has on countless occasions been shown to be barefaced deception. Never chastened or shamed, American leaders feel entitled to just keep regurgitating the same self-important rhetoric.

On Iran, Obama, again glibly, acknowledged that the US had engaged in a coup against a democratically elected government (in 1953) and then quickly went on to say that since the founding of the Islamic Republic in 1979 that Iranians have viewed America as an enemy. The rhetorical inference was that Iranians have “an attitude problem” in their view of America, not a humble admission of guilt from criminal interference in the affairs of Iran by the US.

Obama did allude to a possible dialogue to resolve the nuclear issue, especially in the light of Iran’s election of President Hassan Rouhani. But he repeated the tired calumny of the US seeking to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons, even though all American intelligence agencies have consistently said that Iran does not have or is near obtaining such a weapon, and in spite of the fact that Iranian leaders – most recently Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamanei – have decreed such armaments to be immoral and unwanted.

There was not a word or hint from Obama that the decades-old economic sanctions that Washington and its Western allies have imposed on Iran were in any way immoral or illegal and must be rescinded. As usual, Obama assumed that such draconian impediments to a country’s humane development were America’s God-given right to impose. Indeed, as Obama lectured, it was up to Iran to show signs of sincerity and transparency if it wanted avail of a successful dialogue with the US.

On other matters, there was more cant rhetoric about how the US was supporting the creation of “a Palestinian sovereign state” predicated on a “secure Israel”. In other words, as long as the US-backed Israeli regime continues waging war on neighboring states and stealing other people’s land – and thus always feeling insecure as a result of such criminality – then the Palestinians can forget about their rights.

All in all, Obama’s performance at the UN was another triumph of arrogance and delusion in the face of outrageous American lawlessness – a lawlessness that has become chronic and incorrigible, infused with even more exceptionalism. The ultimate exception is that the US leaders obviously view their country as above and beyond the law . . .

Obama had the cheek to call US predatory relations with other countries as “engagement with the world” and he warned that international relations would deteriorate if the US were to become less engaged.

It may come as something of a shock to such people, but somebody needs to tell Obama and the Washington elite that that is exactly what the world wants and needs for the sake of peace and balanced development – for the US to disengage from imperialist warmongering. And instead to engage much more in its own internal affairs, like rolling back record levels of poverty, unemployment, hunger, homelessness and social decay. Now that would be a welcome American exception.

And it's easy to see how Paul Craig Roberts has almost gone off the deep end after listening to Obama's address to the world on American goodness (er, exceptionialism).

I like PCR for a lot of reasons. He's basically a decent guy who admitted that if he'd known what the NeoCons were going to do with his proposals for taxes as assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan, he's have never advocated them. He thinks they are fruitcakes at best and murderous scoundrels at worst. Also that he's connected to everyone who knows the inside story on what's really happening. Almost everywhere.

Washington’s Tyranny

By Paul Craig Roberts

September 25, 2013

The war criminal barack obama has declared his “outrage” over the 62 deaths associated with the takeover of a Nairobi, Kenya, shopping mall by al-Shabaab fighters. But the attack on the shopping mall was obama’s fault. Al Shabaab spokesmen said that the attack on the Nairobi mall was a retaliatory response to the Kenyan troops sent to fight against them in Somalia. The Kenyan troops, of course, were sent to Somalia as a result of pressure from Washington.

Just as the outbreak of violence in Mali resulted from the fighters that obama used against Gaddafi moving into Mali, Washington’s violence against Somalia has resulted in the terrorist attack on the Nairobi mall.

This fact again raises the never asked question: What is the real agenda of Washington’s “war on terror”? The western presstitutes never ask this question, nor do western legislative bodies.

Washington has offered a variety of justifications for its twelve years of wars. One is that Washington is rooting out terrorism in order to protect Americans from 9/11 type events. Another is that “dictators” must be overthrown and replaced with “freedom and democracy.” Still another is false claims of the possession of “weapons of mass destruction” (Iraq) and the use of “weapons of mass destruction” (Syria).

None of Washington’s claims can withstand the barest scrutiny. None of the governments that Washington has overthrown and seeks to overthrow are terrorist states. Indeed, some are not even Islamist governments. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had a secular government, as does Assad’s Syria.

Washington’s explanations for murdering Pakistanis and Yemenis with drones are even more nebulous. Moreover, using military means to kill citizens of countries with which the US is not at war lacks all legality.

When obama gets on the moral high horse about deaths in Syria or Nairobi, his hypocrisy is astounding. A person would think obama would be ashamed. The Egyptian military, which is financed with $2 billion annually from Washington, has just overthrown the first elected president in Egypt’s history, banned the political party that Egyptians elected to power, and confiscated the political party’s assets, money, and buildings.

The Washington sponsored Egyptian military shot down in the streets many more Egyptians protesting the overthrow of their government by a military coup than died in the Nairobi mall. But we hear nothing from Washington or obama about the need to support democracy in Egypt.

When the British Parliament voted down providing cover for obama’s criminal attack on Syria, Parliament created space for Russia’s President Putin to resolve the Syrian situation by obtaining Syrian President Assad’s agreement to join the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and to turn over all Syrian chemical weapons to an international body.

The war monger obama regime was outraged that Washington’s military attack on Syria had been blocked. Washington and the Israel Lobby went into full scale demonization of President Putin for orchestrating peace instead of war. The obama regime is trying to block the agreement by insisting on incorporating into the UN resolution an opportunity for attacking Syria if Washington is not convinced that all chemical weapons are turned over.

The entire world knows that Washington will again lie through its teeth, assert that all the weapons were not turned over and use the wedge that Washington is attempting to force into the UN resolution to start another war. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has publicly stated that Washington is trying to blackmail Russia into accepting the potential for military intervention in Syria as part of the agreement.

Until the 21st century, Washington carried out its relentless nefarious activities against other peoples and countries under cover and out of sight. In the 21st century the criminal bush and obama regimes have brazenly demonstrated their disregard for US law, international law, and human rights.

Hubris and arrogance have run away with the “superpower.” The US stands reviled by the world. At the UN summit on September 23, the president of Brazil denounced the obama regime for its “breach of international law” revealed by the spy scandal. Bolivian President Evo Morales is filing a lawsuit against the obama regime for “crimes against humanity.”

When the world looks at Washington, it cannot differentiate Washington from the dictatorships that Washington attributes to other countries. The Washington regime has declared that it is above both law and Constitution and possesses the power to detain citizens indefinitely and to murder them without due process of law. These powers comprise the necessary and sufficient conditions for dictatorship.

Who will liberate Americans from Washington’s tyranny, overthrow the executive branch dictatorship, and bring freedom and democracy to America?

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.

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