These days there seems to be a trend for political heavyweights to seem to materialize out of thin air. I mean, Bill Clinton was no one we knew about, then suddenly he was the Democratic candidate for our lands highest office. Similarly, Barack Obama went from a no one in the Illinois State Senate, to the Illinois Senate – neat trick when you are from Chicago – to the Oval Office almost overnight.
In President Obama’s case now there is another example of this, his new tap for Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker. (Who?)
Well, let’s take a little look, shall we?
First, we will go to the U.S. News and World Report website where Danielle Kurtzleben has been explaining just why Penny is so qualified.
Danielle first quotes the President;
“Penny is one of our country’s most distinguished business leaders,” Obama said on Thursday, speaking from the Rose Garden. “She knows that what we can do is to give every business and ever worker the best possible chance to succeed by making America a magnet for good jobs.”
After which she delineates some of Penny’s qualifications. This one caught my eye.
“Pritzker is a longtime Obama fundraiser, so she helped him get into the Oval Office in the first place. But she has also taken on a high-ranking economic post already, as a member of the president’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, a group of economic and business leaders which was created during the economic crisis to help come up with ways to boost the economy. Because of her closeness to the president, Pritzker could find it easy to work with him and carry out his agenda.”
Agenda, these days that word often time carries a negative connotation. But was it meant that way?
If we travel all the way down to the final paragraph of the article we find;
“Though she may lighten the president’s load, Pritzker comes with her own baggage. She may cause friction between the administration and labor; AFL-CIO last year joined in a boycott of Hyatt Hotels, citing mistreatment of workers. Furthermore, Pritzker was on the board of Superior Bank, a Chicago-based bank that issued subprime loans before the financial crisis. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported in 2008, Pritzker maintained a “leadership role” at the bank even after she stepped down as chairwoman in 1994. As of 2008, the Sun-Times counted at least 1,400 customers who were still owed money after the bank’s failure.”
Hmm? Greg Palast in his book Billionaires and Ballot Bandits explained it for us before the re-election, and as if to nudge me (and everyone else on the mailing list) sent out a reminder of that fact yesterday, 05/02.2013. This email is also the front page of his website at the moment so you can read along with me.
The following is taken from the Chapter, “Penny’s from Heaven?” you’ll find in my bestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits:
We never heard of this guy Barack Obama until 2004. Less than three years before taking the presidency, he was in the Illinois state senate, a swamp of scammers, backhanders, and party machine tools – not a stellar launch pad for the White House. And then, one day, state Sen. Barack Obama was visited by his fairy godmother. Her name is Penny Pritzker.
Pritzker’s net worth is listed in Forbes as $1.8 billion, which is one hell of a heavy magic wand in the world of politics. Her wand would have been heavier, and her net worth higher, except that in 2001, the federal government fined her and her family $460 million for the predatory, deceitful, racist tactics and practices of Superior, the bank-and-loan-shark operation she ran on the South Side of Chicago.
Penny did not like paying $460 million. No, not one bit. What she needed was someone to give her Hope and Change. She hoped someone would change the banking regulators and the Commerce Department so she could get away with this crap.
Pritzker introduced Obama, the neophyte state senator, to the Ladies Who Lunch (that’s really what they call themselves) on Chicago’s Gold Coast. Obama got lunch, gold and better – an introduction to Robert Rubin. Rubin is a former Secretary of the Treasury, former chairman of Goldman Sachs and former co-chairman of Citibank. Even atheists recognized Rubin as the Supreme Deity of Wall Street.
Rubin opened the doors to finance industry vaults for Obama. Extraordinarily for a Democrat, Obama in 2008 raised three times as much from bankers as his Republican opponent.
So what did Citibank’s Rubin get for showering Obama with gold? Obama agreed to take care of Rubin’s poodles, Larry Summers and Tim Geithner. They became Obama’s first cabinet picks: Summers as Economics Czar and Geithner as his czarina, Secretary of the Treasury.
Geithner and Summers were the gents who, under Treasury Secretary Rubin, designed the deregulation of banking. In effect, they had decriminalized the kind of financial flim-flammery that brought the planet to its knees while bringing Rubin, Pritzker and the banksters loads of lucre.
Well this is very enlightening, but it gets better. Greg goes on to tell us what, odds are, no one else will be pointing out;
In return, in 2008, Obama decided to make his patron Penny the Secretary of Commerce. But then, in November 2008, just as Obama was about to submit her nomination to Congress, a bunch of Pritzker’s victims marched on Washington. They were not from her busted bank, but unhappy workers from the lucrative nursing homes that her family owns through a string of complex offshore trusts. Obama slammed the door on Penny pronto.
So, it seems that Penny had to wait until the re-election was over to get her payoff, and we all know that patience is a virtue.