Accuracy in Media

On CNN on January 16, Lou Dobbs, perhaps the most honest and outspoken major media commentator, told the truth about the Wall Street bailout. “Treasury Secretary Paulson basically used the money to bail out his buddies on Wall Street, and don’t let anybody kid you,” he said.

One day earlier, however, the Senate had voted 52-42 to give Paulson’s successor another $350 billion. That successor is supposed to be another Wall Street insider, Timothy Geithner. He is just as tainted as Paulson.

As President Obama takes office, America has become an international laughingstock―a “Bailout Nation” that continues to slide further and further into debt as bailout after bailout fails to work. Yet, Obama’s prescription is more of the same.

Appropriately perhaps, Geithner’s problems of serial tax avoidance and employment of illegal immigrants have made him a national embarrassment. However, Obama refuses to withdraw his nomination and his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning. 

This is change? Obama, whose Wall Street connections are extremely impressive, obviously believes that his proposal for more federal spending and debt, labeled a fiscal “stimulus,” depends on the willingness of the Chinese Communists to finance his policies.  Geithner is the one with Chinese connections who is supposed to be able to get that done. But what will be the price?  

Even some left-wing “progressives” fear that Geithner doesn’t know anything more about running an economy than he does about his own personal finances, and that his policies are destined to fail. 

This is a reference to the fact that before he can play around with billions of dollars and the fate of our nation as Treasury Secretary, there is the matter of Geithner being a serial tax evader. Senator Jeff Sessions has expressed concern about this.

When it became known that Geithner was reimbursed for taxes he didn’t pay, he then became what ordinary people would call a tax cheat. Our media have been making all kinds of excuses for him.

If you are troubled by the prospect of a tax cheat becoming Treasury Secretary, with jurisdiction over the IRS, Jackie Calmes of the New York Times has explained in a “news” story that Geithner has earned Senate support and will probably win confirmation because of his “qualifications and international respect.”

A variation of this theme has been adopted by Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff. On Sunday’s “Meet the Press” TV program, he declared Geithner “the right guy for this job, which is why he has bipartisan support: Senator [Orrin] Hatch, Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Judd Gregg. He has the right type of qualifications for this challenging moment in time.” These are some of the Senate Republicans who have endorsed Geithner for the post. 

Geithner’s “qualifications” include working for Henry Kissinger, elder statesman of the foreign policy establishment and now an adviser to corporations doing business in China, and serving as President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he played a role in the Wall Street and other bailouts. Kissinger recently made headlines on CNBC by proclaiming Obama the architect of a “New World Order” and praising Obama’s appointments in the financial realm. Everybody knew that he was talking about his student, Geithner.  

Geithner’s “international respect” comes from Kissinger and other global players in such organizations as the Group of Thirty and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), which wield major influence over U.S. economic and foreign policy. Geithner is a member of both groups.

In other words, to take Lou Dobbs’ point even further, Paulson’s “buddies” are Geithner’s “buddies.” It’s not change, but if the media won’t pay any attention to what’s really going on, then most members of the public may never find out.

In this context, it is worth noting that corporate members of the CFR include ABC News, General Electric (parent of NBC News), News Corporation (parent of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal), and Time Warner (parent of CNN and Time). Veteran NBC newsman Tom Brokaw serves on the advisory board of the CFR journal Foreign Affairs. Jim Hoagland, an associate editor, chief foreign correspondent and weekly columnist for the Washington Post, is also on the Foreign Affairs advisory board.

These connections are supposed to help make sure that the controversy over Geithner doesn’t get out of hand. But the American people can have a say in that. The Senate switchboard number is 202-224-3121.

Wall Street, which has backed Obama for years, has a vested interest in his success. Billionaire and Obama backer George Soros, convicted of insider trading in France, supports the Group of Thirty and his Soros Fund Management is a member of the exclusive “President’s Circle” of CFR funders. But the success of Obama’s financial and economic policies seems to depend on the cooperation of the Chinese Communists.

In one of the few stories to capture the essence of what is happening with the Geithner appointment, William Pesek of Bloomberg wrote an article appearing in the China Post under the headline, “China Will Be Happy With Geithner.”

“The U.S. simply isn’t in a position to demand this or that from China,” he reported. “Treasury officials no longer have the leverage they once did as Wall Street plunges and the U.S. needs Asia’s money to stabilize its financial system…Geithner will take the reins as China struggles to bolster growth and the U.S. is desperate to keep the biggest holder of Treasuries from dumping dollars.”

An article in the new Foreign Affairs by Roger Altman, a U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary under Clinton, is quite blunt, noting that the financial crisis has enabled China to “achieve a stronger relative global position” and that the communist regime now has “the opportunity to solidify its strategic advantages.” In other words, we seem to be at their mercy.

From the Obama perspective, the only way out is to go further into debt and beg for more money, mainly from the Chinese but also from the oil-rich Arabs.

Geithner, who speaks Chinese and lived in China, seems to be the perfect man for this job. In fact, he is probably better for the job than Paulson, who traveled to China 70 times and even had personal investments in the country. His former firm, Goldman Sachs, is the exclusive agent for certain Chinese securities transactions.

Whether the U.S. should be subservient to China in Kissinger’s “New World Order” is something that is not even being debated. It is just assumed as a fact of life. The options of reducing spending and debt and rebuilding the strength of the U.S. dollar are rarely considered. Except for some House conservatives, who have introduced the Economic Recovery and Middle-Class Tax Relief Act, the Republican Party in the Congress is either in disarray or rooting for a version of the Obama approach. 

The urgent need, according to advocates of sound money, is to avoid spending policies which threaten to put the U.S. in a position, like Iceland, of having to grovel before global institutions like the International Monetary Fund for emergency loans to stay financially afloat. We can say it won’t happen here, but how many thought we would reach the point where a U.S. President has assumed office with a questionable origin and background and an even more questionable ideology. Our media failed to vet the President they have now anointed.

Considering our economic decline, the only factor that still maintains our superpower status is our first-rate military. But major cuts in the U.S. defense establishment may not only be advocated as the “price” for more federal spending in other areas, but may ultimately be demanded by the Chinese in exchange for communist “help” in stabilizing our economy. Perhaps the Chinese will be satisfied this time with Taiwan on a plate. Or perhaps the Chinese will refuse to play ball. The head of China’s new sovereign wealth fund says he doesn’t have much confidence in the U.S. financial sector. 

Whatever the future holds, it will be important to maintain the character and integrity of the U.S. Armed Forces. Since Obama’s policies are supposed to include forcing U.S. troops to wear U.N. “blue helmets” and putting open and active homosexuals in the ranks, the result could be a major exodus from the Armed Forces and the possible return of the military draft.

In this continuing crisis, it will be up to conservative talk radio, alternative media and the blogosphere to provide the facts about and demand action to reverse America’s decline. For example, the American people have a right to know that some of the same institutions getting bailouts are major funders of the Group of Thirty and the CFR. These include American International Group (AIG), Goldman Sachs, and Citi. It would seem there is a conflict of interest somewhere. But our media pretend not to notice.

AIG is perhaps the most interesting. This insurance giant was bailed out with taxpayer dollars after Paulson let Lehman Brothers go under. Geithner was a key player in the AIG bailout. His former boss, Henry Kissinger, was chairman of AIG’s International Advisory Board. Other members of the board represent Chinese and Arab financial interests.

But there was another reason that AIG had to be saved. The New York Times reported in a controversial September 27, 2008, article by Gretchen Morgenson that AIG’s collapse could have cost Paulson’s old firm, Goldman Sachs, as much as $20 billion. 

AIG’s taxpayer bailout has now reached $150 billion. We are supposed to be reassured, however, by the fact that Geithner’s New York Federal Reserve on January 16 named three trustees to oversee the U.S. government’s nearly 80 percent equity stake in the insurer. One of those trustees is Jill Considine, who has been a member of the Group of Thirty as well as the CFR.

This is what passes for accountability and oversight in government. It is precisely what got us into this terrible mess in the first place.

Will someone wake up the media?

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