Dylan Ratigan to Barack Obama: Fire Timothy Geithner

October 20, 2011 | By | 15 Replies More

This is part of a mass emailing I received from Dylan Ratigan today:

In my last piece, I talked about how Tim Geithner’s job over the past five years has been to (a) print money, (b) give it to rich friends, and (c) deny everyone else legal and financial rights. This shows up everywhere, from the 0% you get on your savings account versus the insider information the rich get, to your lack of access to the Fed discount window. It’s a symptom of bought government, which I try to expose on our show every day. . . . I find it laughable to hear President Obama’s spokesperson talking about how his campaign represents the 99%. For starters He’d have to fire Geithner, to prove he’s not the leader of a bought government. After all, it is Geithner who took a system indirectly rigged to profit the 1% at the expense of everyone else, and institutionalized and formalized it during a crisis.

The article Ratigan wrote at Huffpo reads like a long detailed indictment of Wall Street, but the word “indictment,” when used in the context of Wall Street, is always and only metaphorical, as Ratigan points out:

It’s not the scandals that matter, or rather, it’s that the scandals are the new norm that matters. The larger context here, what the Occupiers are protesting, is that Tim Geithner formalized a financial elite and gave them special rights they had not previously had, notably a government guarantee for their investing, rights which ordinary people don’t get. You can see this in bank borrowing spreads; large banks get a subsidy of $34 billion of dollars a year, simply because investors think their bonds are backed by the US government. This is now written into law – Dodd-Frank requires regulators to draw up a list of systemically significant firms. These are pretty explicitly firms that are too big to fail. Behind these investing advantages are legal advantages. No elite bankers have been prosecuted for the financial crisis, or the foreclosure crisis. NONE.

For Barack Obama to regain some of my trust, yes, he should immediately fire Tim Geithner and replace him with someone who will make Wall Street scream. And then Obama should do everything in his power to see that the big banks Ratigan describes as being on the “systemically significant firms” list are thoroughly investigated by funding hundreds of financially sophisticated investigators.  To top it off, Obama should do everything in his power to effect thorough annual audits of the Federal Reserve. If he will do all of this, I’ll start listening to Obama once again, though it will still be with considerable apprehension.

And for all of you tried and true “Democrats” out there who still believe that Barack Obama is a President that is on your side, it’s time for all of you to closely consider the damage this President has done to our country (by judging him the way you would judge him had he been a Republican) and to start spending some time on the streets with the Occupy protesters.



Category: Corporatocracy, Corruption, Fraud, Protests and Actions

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (15)

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  1. desertflower says:

    That’s nice, Erich. And the President would get that nominee past the confirmation process, how?

  2. desertflower says:

    You may also want to consider some facts in your argument.I hear lawyers LOVE facts.

  3. desertflower says:

    I came back to see if you had responded to what I wrote, and to apologize. Not for what I wrote, so much…but for the snark that you didn’t deserve.You certainly have a right to your opinion, I happen to think that yours is wrong and short sighted, but you didn’t deserve the attitude. My apologies. The passion got the best of me. That said, I hope you read/comment on what I included here…and also consider this POV.

  4. desertflower says:

    “Got to start somewhere.” Wow.Seriously?Great idea. Let us just conveniently lay everything at the feet of someone who was a TEENAGER when the beginnings of this cluster**** all started! Great idea!Where in earth were all of you these past years?Where was the outrage? Don’t misunderstand, I’m glad that people are finally waking from their ignorant, fat,sassy slumber and have begun paying attention. But as this didn’t happen overnight..it has been in the making for over 30 years, primarily started by the great St. Ronnie, and carried on all the remaining years from then…including Clinton and both Bushes.I hope that you can take the time to read this. I think that you might find it enlightening. http://politicalcorrection.org/factcheck/201110140001
    You seem to dismiss any moves by this administration, especially the President, for not dealing with this problem exactly the way you may want him to, therefore he has done nothing at all, in your eyes.That’s ludicrous. Somewhere in your scheme of things, reality has to play a part. I would like to hear, EXACTLY, how you would propose that he get ANYTHING of (what you would consider) value, done in this toxic political climate? You haven’t even mentioned the influence of the otherworldly ruling of Citizen’s United and how much this ruling plays a part to buy power/influence in government.Is he supposed to fix that by himself, too?
    Should he yell at the clouds? (Like McCain is so great at doing?)Should he wave the wand and bring the ponies in that shit glitter on command?
    I’ll try to find the story I just read last night about the person he has chosen for a post at the FDIC..someone that is staunchly against TBTF banks.Is that the lambasting that you wish for?
    This corruption that you lay at his feet, is personal for me. I have gone up against the behemoths and won.It took me 3 years, of nearly full time research,writing,calling, talking to lawyers,letters to my Atty General,Treasury Dept,etc. Lost sleep,depression,lost hours at work, and a family life that was tense to say the least.I have read more about financial issues, housing issues, state laws, federal laws, etc. in over 3 years time than anyone should ever have to. Hell, I should have a GD law degree by now!But knowledge is power,and hearing “No” was not an option I was willing to hear.I had to teach myself, and learn enough to know when the idiots I had to deal with on a daily basis were blowing smoke.The creme de la creme was the guy from Chase that had the audacity to tell me that “I hadn’t suffered enough”. Those were his exact words.I will never forget them.
    So for such an educated, and I imagine, intelligent person to have such a “surface” reaction to events that were begun in earnest over 30 years ago,ignoring the effects of past Presidents,and the appointees that held to a mantra to deregulate, Citizen’s United,Gramm/Leach/Bliley…(which made TBTF possible)not to mention an entire crazy train of utterly obstructionist Republicans, most of whom were swept into office because liberals were too pissed to take the time to vote because they were mad at the President for no pony,and then want to blame him when things went wrong…yeah, I have an issue with that.I have a big issue with that.So please tell me again how this President “sold you out”? Because from where I sit, I could say the same damn thing about all the PL that sat home and put us in this situation we find ourselves in now.That “Little Temper Tantrum” gave us this political hellhole.In my estimation,you are doing your readers a disservice by not having this discussion “in total”. You certainly can be disappointed in aspects of this man’s Presidency if you choose…but you can’t have an honest discussion about this if you refuse to include the history leading up to this point.As a consumer lawyer, that would be akin to having a client come to you without all the paperwork that LEAD to the issues you were trying to resolve!
    So rather than slam the man for not doing it exactly how you wanted, wouldn’t it make more sense to allow him the kind of Congress that would enable him to do his job for the people of this country?There’s a novel idea!
    “Great minds discuss ideas,average minds discuss events,small minds discuss people.” Eleanor Roosevelt
    I see now.

    • Erich Vieth says:


      I’m not going to reciprocate with your venom and ad hominem attacks. I’ve written dozens of posts commenting on my disappointment with Barack Obama. He put his stamp of approval on bill for Wall Street “reform” that allows bigger banks than ever and fails to get at the root causes of the economic collapse, all the while courting Wall Street for contributions. He signs health care “reform” that is a bailout for for-profit insurance companies, while shoving single-payer under the table. He promised that he would take a back seat to no one on net neutrality, and then appoints an FCC commissioner who gives away net neutrality on wireless. He promised to bring Afghanistan to a quick end, then ramps it up. He continues and, in fact, exacerbates Bush policies regarding domestic spying and prosecution of whistle-blowers. He assassinates an American citizen, and continues a widespread and indiscriminate attack on foreigners using drones. He fails to speak out at the injustice done to Bradley Birkenfeld, the UBS whistle-blower who sought to expose tens of thousands of wealthy American tax cheats. He caves on the budget deal with Republicans. And he repeatedly fails to use the bully pulpit to address the root rot of American politics. And you are railing at me?

      What would you like me to do? Declare Obama to be a saint? I’m not nit-picking at him. I’m outraged that he has betrayed many of his fundamental campaign promises, apparently because he’d like to get a second term where he will do more of the same. Hell, yes, he’s got it tough, but at least go down with a fight. And don’t sign any more illusory 2,000 page “reform” packages. He should speak truth to power. And thanks to Citizens United, this might be his (or any non-Republican’s) last chance to use that bully pulpit.

      One other thing. You seem to think that no crimes were committed. I’d beg to differ:

      There was “rampant” mortgage fraud in the loan application process according to the FBI as far back as 2004. (Click here to see one of many stories of the FBI warning of mortgage fraud) There was “rampant” mortgage fraud in the loan application process according to the FBI as far back as 2004. (Click here to see one of many stories of the FBI warning of mortgage fraud.) There was real estate document malfeasance when the original Promissory Notes and loan documents were “lost.” The Promissory Notes were required to create tens of thousands of mortgage-backed securities (MBS). No “note,” no security. No security means the special IRS tax status for the MBS were improperly obtained. Because there were no documents, the rating agencies fraudulently made up triple “A” ratings for the securities. When the whole mess blew up, big banks hired foreclosure mill law firms to create forged documents. That phony paperwork was and is being used to wrongfully remove homeowners from their property. That is foreclosure fraud.

      Of course, this fraud won’t get prosecuted for this reason.

      Nice try, citing the article that the #Occupy crisis is excluding African-Americans. I don’t buy that at all. The #Occupy protests are for the benefit of all Americans who want their vote to count.

  5. desertflower says:

    You didn’t even mention what the Republicans did to Elizabeth Warren, or Richard Cordray that has been nominated to head the Consumer Protection Agency (OR the fact that was ever set up.The day that the President said he wanted Professor Warren for setting up the agency she envisioned for so many, was a wonderful day.)Republican HATE her, and everything she strives to achieve for Americans…Cordray is a great, handpicked choice of Warren’s….they are holding HIM hostage until all the teeth are out of the financial regulations that have been put on place…by PBO/111th Congress.This is what I mean when I say that you don’t include all info in your opinions.The thought that this man has done NOTHING,is complete, utter bullshit.Bullshit.

  6. desertflower says:

    Well, I can see this is going nowhere fast.We’ll have to agree to TOTALLY disagree. That wasn’t venom,by the way. That was sheer frustration with the thought that a conversation would include any speck of reality related to conditions, past and present.That never came to be.
    I hope that this mere mortal does SOMETHING, ANYTHING in the near future that will make you happy and proud. Because the possible alternative to this “utter disappointment” would be devastating.
    Hope you find what you’re looking for.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      desertflower: You aren’t interested in being civil, so quit pretending.

      Good luck with all of that talk about hope and change, because that’s all you’re going get until we get the money out of politics. And those currently in power, executive, legislative and judicial are determined that the money will stay in politics. The Fourth Estate doesn’t give a rat’s ass, in fact TV stations benefit from the campaign ads. There is no way to get the job done other than taking it to the streets and ridiculing the corrupt ways of America’s keepers.

  7. desertflower says:

    Please don’t be condescending when speaking about mortgage fraud to me. I told you that I understand perfectly well what’s been going on here.I read and studied up on all that until my eyes bled.2004.Umm…5years BEFORE the big disappointment took office.
    Money in politics is a HUGE problem. You won’t get an argument from me. They are bought and paid for.For now, the question is: what bought and paid for politician has more of my best interests at heart?Certainly not any Koch funded one.Or a Dick Armey funded one.Or an ALEC signing one.
    The Occupy piece I sent you was to merely highlight the fact that this particular writer had their own questions regarding the movement…as an AA.That is all.
    Again, for you to focus on particular issues and not reflect on what got us to this point,is just ridiculous.You seem more interested in getting your own pet issues addressed without looking at the big picture of what HAS been done. I’m not saying that things shouldn’t be better,I’m saying that you seem to take a “glass half empty” approach. I think that’s wrong.I guess I just take a more pragmatic approach.Just me, but it keeps me sane.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Please carefully read your first few comments, and please tell me who has been condescending here.

      For me, the question is not whether Obama is less bad than other candidates, as far as standing up to the large corporations that have largely bought the political process that SHOULD be responsive only to human being citizens. He is less bad (i.e., better). For me , the issue is whether any of the viable candidates has any meaningful incentive to rid Washington DC of private money. Based on everything I’ve seen and heard, all of them will keep the status quo; all of them will keep playing the game, and the money stakes continue to increase.

      Ergo. in my opinion, we’ve got to think outside of the box. We’ve got to put immense pressure on our politicians. We need to ridicule the current electoral system and all of those who play along with it, no matter how much they protest. It’s time to see action, not more hand-wringing and empty promises. It’s time to take to the streets.

      Good for you, that you saw the problem back in 2004. I didn’t know that this was some sort of contest.

  8. desertflower says:

    As long as Citizen’s United still stands,the answer,sadly, is it can’t happen. I don’t care WHO the President is.I told you that I was in agreement with you on the money in politics.Once that genie is out of the bottle, I think it’s hard to shove back in.Maybe a more liberal Supreme Ct could help the problem.It’s toxic now…and sucking the life blood from the voices of the people.
    No contest. You’re the one that brought that up.I hadn’t known about that in 2004. My point simply was that Mr Bush was President then…and for 4 years AFTER that.He didn’t care to help the situation. No surprise as he was telling everyone that would listen to go buy a house.
    Mr Krugman, on the other hand, is looking into President Obama’s new housing plans. Here is the info that he is considering.
    We don’t need to have a pissing contest here…this is YOUR blog, and you are entitled to your opinion. As am I.

  9. desertflower says:

    Just thought I would share. He speaks for me.

  10. Erich Vieth says:

    “It has come to this, then: In the all-consuming desire to do something, nearly anything, to promote job creation, Mr. Obama seems willing to gut one of the most significant investor protections of our time. If the anti-Sarbanes Oxley proposal succeeds, it is the Americans – and Canadians – who invest in U.S. stocks who will lose.”


    And from Matt Taibbi:

    “Barack Obama is apparently expressing willingness to junk big chunks of Sarbanes-Oxley in exchange for support for his jobs program. Business leaders are balking at creating new jobs unless Obama makes compliance with S-O voluntary for all firms valued at under $1 billion. Here’s how to translate this move: companies are saying they can’t attract investment unless they can hide their financials from investors. So the CEOs and gazillionaires on Obama’s Jobs Council want the politically-vulnerable president to give them license to cook the books in exchange for support for his jobs program.”


  11. Erich Vieth says:

    Robert Reich writes the following at Business Insider:

    “Next week President Obama travels to Wall Street where he’ll demand – in light of the Street’s continuing antics since the bailout, as well as its role in watering-down the Volcker rule – that the Glass-Steagall Act be resurrected and big banks be broken up. I’m kidding. But it would be a smart move — politically and economically.”

    Read more: http://robertreich.org/post/11930107240#ixzz1bv9AalUb

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