Russ Baker on President Obama… & His Pack of Wolves?

“A SWISS BANK, A PRESIDENT, AND THE PERMANENT GOVERNMENT”

 

Here is a recent damning piece by Russ Baker on President Obama, his cozy relationship with Robert Wolf, Chairman and CEO, UBS Group Americas, and a stench and implications that go way beyond this relationship:

Last August, the presidential press corps followed Barack Obama and his family to Martha's Vineyard for their brief vacation. The coverage focused on summery fare—a visit to an ice cream parlor, the books the president had brought along. Nearly everyone mentioned his few rounds of golf, including his swing, and the enthusiasm of onlookers. What caught my eye, though, was the makeup of his foursome. The president was joined by an old friend from Chicago; a young aide; and Robert Wolf, Chairman and CEO, UBS Group Americas. In a decidedly incurious piece, a New York Times reporter made light of Wolf's presence:

"The president has told friends that to truly relax he prefers golfing with young aides...But he departed from that pattern Monday when he invited a top campaign contributor, Robert Wolf, president of UBS Investment Bank, to join him for 18 holes. Call it donor maintenance."

Wolf, however, is hardly—as the Times suggested— just another donor. For one thing, he is a leading figure in an industry that almost brought down the entire financial system—and then was the recipient of astonishing government largesse. UBS, along with other banks, benefited directly from the backdoor bailout of the insurance giant AIG.

But UBS stands alone in one rather formidable respect—it was the defendant in the largest offshore tax evasion case in U.S. history, accused of helping wealthy Americans hide their income in secret offshore accounts. To settle a massive investigation, UBS forked over $780 million to the US treasury. This settlement came shortly before Wolf rounded out Obama’s golfing party. Given this rather problematical situation, why then would the President choose UBS’s Wolf of all people for this honor?

Wolf declined a request for an interview about his relationship with the President, so it was not possible to pose that question to him. This hardly matters, though, for the story goes far beyond Wolf and UBS. It involves Republicans as well as Democrats, the Bush Administration as well as Obama’s. More importantly, behind the trivialized golf outing on Martha’s Vineyard, lie the interests that increasingly set the course for every administration. And that now game the system so well that the rest of us—wherever we live in the world—are kept fighting for the scraps.

To read the rest visit Baker’s site; it’s a noteworthy, thoroughly analyzed, and well written piece, and of course, it is along the same lines as some of our other pieces here…such as ‘Two Sides of the same Coin’.

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Comments

  1. Greetings, Sibel.

    Yes, that’s a very strong story by Russ Baker.

    I wish it were a little stronger. As usual, such stories present implied ceilings in ownership, and those ceilings are presented as the name of a company, in this case a bank. UBS.

    But banks have owners, too. Banks own banks. But the actual owners are people. Why stop at the level of UBS? If these stories would go on up the chain of ownership/control as far as possible, then “figuring out how our world works — actually works” (as Baker said at the end of his article) would not remain an open question.

    As you know, I’ve done that. http://www.EqualPartyUSA.org

    These international banking-government-corporate games (deadly games) are no mystery anymore.

    Luckily, we live in the one country powerful enough to stop our true enemies. But first, we have to take the reins of our country away from the criminals. I really believe we can do it.

    The answers are at my web link above.

  2. In an old interview, one minute Obama is saying “we need to hold these bankers accountable”. Then, he says “actually, guys like Jamie Dimon and (fill in the blank) are really ok businessmen.”

    Assuming he did say that, tell me that he won’t be a one-term President.

    Also, check Chris Hedges latest column at Truth Dig re: Noam Chomsky.

  3. As an update to my comment above:

    I’ve just written and posted a very clear, step-by-step, article titled “Trace To The Top.”

    I don’t mean to insult the intelligence of people who know how to do it already.

    For people who don’t know how to follow the money/ownership/control up the chain and recognize the significance of what they find, the article should be a big help.

    It shows step-by-step, link-by-link, how I followed a particular company of interest through links to other news stories, company websites, and boards of directors, and the way I made the connections and arrived at conclusions. (It’s one way. It’s not the only way.)

    Link on my name above.

    btw, big surprise here, only 2 previous comments, so far.

  4. And, Bradley Birkenfeld tells the New York Daily News, “Some US Pols kept off-shore accounts with UBS.”

  5. I guess I might agree with JamesLaffrey: “Yet where Ferdinand Marcos, the Saudi royal family, and the Shah converge with the son of an American president, in a deal involving large amounts of money, it is not necessary to untangle all the spaghetti strands to sense that something is amiss.” Might be a generalization but then South Africa apartheid supporters come into it…yes something is amiss. Quote for Naomi Klein 🙂 :

    “But such revelations carry an important message: that American presidents, no matter how good their intentions, are inevitably enmeshed in a self-reinforcing web of interests and influences that permits the wealthy to shape our national destiny no matter who controls the government in Washington.”

  6. @Mike. Thank you.

    @everybody. Just to be clear, the quote in Mike’s message is by Russ Baker, in the story linked above by Sibel.

  7. I read the entire article yesterday and then got distracted playing at pogo games. I’m not sure if the distraction was intentional but the water here is boiling and I wonder if we’re done…should we get out the dinner forks or the pitchforks?

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