Saturday, May 04, 2013

Washington, DC Needs Women... But Not Women Like Penny Pritzker


This week, EMILY'S List launched a program, Madam President, to elect a woman president. The idea is GREAT. America is overdue and really needs a woman president. EMILY'S List, though, is the wrong organization to lead the effort, not much better than if the GOP launched the effort to push Michele Bachmann, Virginia Foxx or Kelly Ayotte. We've seen many times before that EMILY'S List's modus operandi is to viciously and baselessly attack progressive men with sterling records on women's issues, in order to push forward their own hackish candidates-- like Nikki Tinker-- who happen to be females, regardless of the damage those candidates' conservative agendas are likely to cause. What America needs is a strong, progressive woman president.

That's also what America needs in the House, the Senate, in state legislatures, in the Cabinet and across government. I was surprised-- though why I don't know-- to read this morning that although women are 51% of the nation, they make up just 8% of House Republicans. (It’s 30 percent on the Democratic side, which isn't something to be that proud of either.) And only 20% of the current senators are women. Obama's nominated 15 of his 16 Cabinet members-- and just 4 are women, Kathleen Sibelius, Janet Napolitano, Sally Jewell and now Penny Pritzker.

And that fact that she's a woman shouldn't make Pritzker any more palatable for a progressive. That's really scraping the bottom on the barrel and I'd love to see the Republican obstructionists in the Senate do soemthing worthwhile with their filibuster regime for a change. Pritzker is a real Greg Palast nightmare. "You made fun of me," he wrote, "when I suggested that President Barack Obama would nominate a confessed bank scammer, a loan-sharking mortgage predator, to his cabinet. But thar she blows! Today, Obama has named Penny Pritzker Secretary of Commerce. As the President says, It's a milestone: the first female fraudster to hold that post. No longer will criminal bankers have to lobby the administration-- because now they'll have one of their own in the Cabinet. Obama goes way back with Pritzker in Chicago Democratic politics.
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.

Superior was the first of the deregulated go-go banks to go bust-- at the time, the costliest failure ever. US taxpayers lost nearly half a billion dollars. Superior's depositors lost millions and poor folk in Sen. Obama's South Side district lost their homes.

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.

...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.

The Pritzker family made its billions mostly from Hyatt Hotels and Hyatt nursing homes. Penny, on the Hyatt board of directors, is an infamously combative anti-union apostle. UNITE HERE, the union that represents Hyatt workers, has called for an international boycott of Hyatt hotels. In 2012, UNITE HERE and its parent, the AFL-CIO, were crucial to Obama's winning Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. So, in this last campaign, Obama had to keep his billionairess heiress on the down-low.

Obama appeared to keep the door shut on Pritzker throughout the 2012 campaign, reducing her to hosting an election fundraiser at her Gold Coast digs, which she had to bill as a Goldman Sachs PAC event. This marks possibly the first time and last time anyone used Goldman Sachs as a PR cover.

But today, with the unions' money and votes already pocketed and counted, Obama can give working folks The Finger and give Penny her pound of flesh: the Commerce post.

The New York Times says that, "At Commerce, Ms. Pritzker could provide the president with a new way to reach out to the business community." The last time Pritzker reached out to the business community was to sell them sub-prime mortgage securities, worthless bags of financial feces manufactured by Superior Bank.

By giving Penny, the Piggy Banker, Commerce, we have to change Obama's rating to sub-prime. I do note that some woman's organizations are applauding the appointment of the first female to the Commerce post.  But I prefer to honor the victims of the Chicago femme fatale. Most of Penny's victims, busted bank borrowers and underpaid health care workers, are women, too. But, unlike those wounded and destroyed by Pritzker, she worked hard for her money: it was not easy inheriting her first billion from her daddy.
Obama mislead the public when he introduced this sack of crap to the public. “Penny is one of our country’s most distinguished business leaders. She’s got more than 25 years of management experience in industries including real estate, finance and hospitality. She’s built companies from the ground up.” He left out the part about her being vehemently anti-union, both on the Chicago School Board and on the board of Hyatt. And he neglected to mention that FDIC action against her bank and her role in pioneering the re-packaging of subprime loans.

We want more women in government-- but not women like Michele Bachmann and not women like Penny Pritzker. And, by the way, when will ordinary working women-- rather than multimillionairesses and billionairesses-- get some representation. They sure need some-- on every level. But, of course, EMILY'S List has no interest in working class women either.

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At 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Must watch, Howie, as local public school activist and attorney Matt Farmer defines hypocrisy, and her name is Penny.

At 2:30 PM, Anonymous me said...

America is overdue and really needs a woman president.

Fuck that. We're long (long!!) overdue for a GOOD president.

I really don't give a damn what he/she/it has between their legs. Or what color they are either. I just want a president who's honest and competent, who will work for the betterment of the ENTIRE country. Someone I can respect, for a change.

(Speaking of needs, we also need some gender-neutral singular pronouns. But that's a different issue.)

At 2:37 PM, Anonymous me said...

women ... make up just 8% of House Republicans

You're not counting the female republicans who CALL themselves Democrats in order to get elected. Senator Feinstein comes to mind.

See what I mean? That's exactly why I won't vote for "a woman". That is not a reliable indicator of who would be any good. Hillary Clinton, for instance - does anyone seriously think that someone who sat on the Board of Walmart would be significantly better than Obama?

I want a halfway decent president for a change, dammit. Male or female, black or white or purple, matters to me not in the slightest.

At 3:41 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

See? I told you so. For a Harvard professor of constitutional law, he really does make a better Chicago economics professor, and monetarism really is the only thing he believes in.

Guess who financially backs the Chicago School monetarists. She's a true believer who practiced at Superior what they've preached since Irving Fisher first started selling his economic snake oil.


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