Monday, May 6, 2013

Obama's Sugar Mama

What do James Bond and Barack Obama have in common besides suaveness, subterfuge, stealth, and secrecy? 


While Ian Fleming named his fictional character ironically, she being a mere secretary, Barack wouldn't know irony if it bit him in the tush. (example: his standard "This is not who we are" verbal vs. defacto policies for drone strikes, Gitmo, a record number of whistleblowing prosecutions, a record number of deportations, a record amount of campaign contributions, a slew of unregistered lobbyists in his White House, restriction of Plan B contraceptives only hours after gushing to Planned Parenthood that he'd forever honor the freedom of the uteri of America, etc.)

Another difference is that the fictional Moneypenny is smitten with Bond. In real life, MoneyPenny is smitten with power, and Obama is smitten with MoneyPenny's money.

But speaking of irony -- the socialite parents of Obama's Commerce Secretary-designate and mega compaign bundler Penny Pritzker must have had it in spades, what with hilariously naming their privileged spawn after a one-cent piece. And Penny Sue, no less, after the Mom who died tragically young in 1982, having inexplicably flung herself from a tow truck hauling her broken-down car. Penny's father also died young, of a heart attack at age 39.

The surviving and thriving Penny and her entire multi-generational clan make the dreaded Greater Evil Mitt Romney look like St. Francis of Assisi. Patriarch Abram, who lived to be 100, deliberately modeled his dynasty after the banking Rothschilds. The Pritzkers were stashing their billions in offshore accounts when Mitt was still in diapers, long before it became fashionable to do so.

MoneyPenny was a pioneer in the economy-destroying subprime mortgage industry, an institutional racist who helped evict poor black Chicago families from their homes. The multimillion-dollar fine the Pritzkers paid in restitution for losing millions in Superior Bank depositor accounts was just the cost of doing business. A friendly judge actually barred the victims from suing the Pritzkers, who personally recouped and pocketed part of the FDIC payout after their bank collapsed under the weight of its own greed.

In their heydey, which culminated in the roaring 90s, the Pritzkers leveraged buyouts of such stalwarts as Eastern Airlines, the biggest private hospital chain in Britain, and Royal Caribbean. The medical school at the University of Chicago is named after them, as is the prestigious architecture prize. All told, the number of the extended family's vast holdings was at one point in the 10,000 range. Afterward, the clan began an orgy of self-cannibalization, becoming embroiled in a generation-spanning slew of lawsuits reminiscent of Dicken's Bleak House.

Right up until the time Obama dropped his last vestige of pretend-populism last week and nominated her to his cabinet, MoneyPenny had been serving on Rahm Emanuel's Chicago school board. She rubber-stamped the firing of hundreds of unionized teachers and the closing of more than 50 schools in poor, mainly black neighborhoods. Did I mention that she is a big fan of for-profit charter schools? And why not -- she owns one of them. She also owns creepy credit reporting agency Trans-Union. Don't like mistakes on your credit reports? MoneyPenney blames you for not regularly checking them. So (Penny) Sue Her! Plenty of people have. But no matter. Her family has its own in-house law firm, which does nothing but defend these predators, 24/7.

A few years ago, during Chicago's record heat wave, her Hyatt hotel management team ordered heat lamps turned on striking workers. She has resisted calls to include the hired housekeeping help on the Hyatt board. She's cashed in on every local, state and federal tax loophole on the cooked books. She's successfully and serially protested against the property tax levies on her Chicago estate. 

MoneyPenny had to keep a low profile as Barack's Sugar Mama throughout his first term, when his re-election hopes hinged on differentiating himself from that other vulture capitalist, Mitt Romney. It might not have sat well with the base had he openly canoodled with the feminine version of Mitt. He did give MoneyPenny a secret ride on Air Force One last summer after she'd raised some secretive millions at a closed-press fund-raiser in San Francisco.

(Another bit of irony: one of MoneyPenny's nieces, Liesel Pritzker, was a child actress who had a role in the Harrison Ford blockbuster Air Force One. She also starred in A Little Princess. Liesel later sued MoneyPenny and her uncles and her cousins and her aunts for looting her trust fund. The Pritzkers make the Dynasty and Dallas TV soap opera famiglias look like The Waltons. The wholesome TV Waltons, not the real Waltons, whom they actually do kind of resemble)

Mitt ultimately lost because his operatives, unlike Barack's, failed to confiscate cell phones at fundraisers. One disgruntled bartender took aim in Boca, and the 47% takers/makers speech went down in history. The plutocratic cell phones at the Obama pay-to-play soirees were all safely stashed in garbage bags for the duration. No more Clinging to Guns and Religion moments for Obama! He bit the bullet to live another term as placeholder for the interests of the oligarchy.

From all indications, an honest to goodness 21st century robber baroness will be confirmed as our Commerce Secretary and end up having nominal jurisdiction over such entities as NOAA. Which is ironically fitting, given that we're long overdue for both climate and financial cataclysms, occurring solely because of the negligence and corruption and greed and deregulatory frenzies of the powers that be.

We don't need a MoneyPenny. We need a HennyPenny. Because in actuality, the sky is falling.


Denis Neville said...

Serving-up our children on a platter…

Matt Farmer, a parent of children in the Chicago public schools, “cross-examines” Penny Pritzker, the billionaire member of the Chicago Board of Education:

According to Pritzker, Chicago public school students only need enough skills in reading, mathematics, and science to be productive members of the workforce. There was no arts teacher a high school that Pritzker voted to close.

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Pritzker’s children attend the University of Chicago Lab School. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sends his children there too. Obama’s kids went to there also. The Chicago Lab School has a rich and diverse curriculum. Children there get the arts and physical education there every day. It has seven art teachers. It has a beautiful library. Pritzker is raising money to make it even grander and more beautiful.

Farmer asks the absent Pritzker, “Do you know that 160 public schools in Chicago don’t have a library?”

Penny Pritzker, MoneyPenny to Obama…

“Friend of fatherless!
Fountain of happiness!
Lord of the swill-bucket! Oh, how my soul is on
Fire when I gaze at thy
Calm and commanding eye.
Like the sun in the sky,
Comrade Napoleon!”
- George Orwell, Animal Farm

Zee said...

"The surviving and thriving Penny and her...clan make the dreaded Greater Evil Mitt Romney look like St. Francis of Assisi...The Pritzkers were stashing their billions in offshore accounts when Mitt was still in diapers, long before it became fashionable to do so."

@Karen, you have me rolling on the floor laughing my keister off, even as Denis has me crying!

After the demonization that the Rom-inator endured for sins both real and imagined, I didn't think that anyone could be worse than Mittens, particularly an Obama appointee.

Guess I'll have to look in on another Progressive blogsite with which I am familiar to see how the Obamabots there are rationalizing his latest betrayal of his promise to “fundamentally transform[...] the United States of America,” which, I'm sure, they thought was going to be for the better.

I'm sure that “Remember the Supremes!” will be the tired old battle cry. If, of course, any mention of “Moneypenny” is made at all.

@Denis, the YouTube video that you provided regarding Pritzker's view of the objective of public education is disgusting. The notion that the public is owed only such “skills in reading, mathematics, and science to be productive members of the workforce” is beneath contempt.

This woman is ten stories beneath Ebeneezer Scrooge on the totem pole of humanity (before his epiphany, of course). She, I think, will never experience an epiphany.

As I have said before, I am entirely a product of public education, as was my father before me (mostly). Though many of you out there have at least a few bones to pick with my sociopolitical outlook—and certainly would have had with my father's perspective — I think that we both turned out reasonably well, as educated, thoughtful and, yes, creative (in our own way) individuals.

Apart from the occasional “hassling” that a small, skinny nerd with thick glasses inevitably encounters, I remember my public education almost entirely fondly. Although it was a bit variable, most teachers seemed concerned about, or interested in me.

If I shunned “the arts” in school, it was entirely of my own volition; the opportunity was there for me if I wanted it, and others that I knew took advantage of that opportunity.

And if the arts didn't interest me, well, I enjoyed my English, history and civics classes as much as I did mathematics and science, though French was a bit of a bore. All of these taught me critical thinking skills, and gave me the writing skills to present and defend my viewpoints. And it didn't hurt to be able to write in a scientific career, either.

Every child deserves that same opportunity. I just don't know how to make it happen. Only one thing seems clear to me, that educational funding must be equalized at least within a state, and further leveled via the Federal government.

And schools that are not currently so must be made safe havens for students who want to learn.

In order to accomplish the latter, I think that only so many “second-chances” should be offered to disruptive or bullying students. After that, they should be shipped off to special schools with teachers and an administration who are specially trained to deal with “problem students,” and let the parents figure out how to get them to those schools. Maybe this “threat” would get parents of problem students involved early, before some of the problems developed.

Beyond that, well, I just don't know.

I'm open to suggestions.

But to hell with Penny Pritzker.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

No need for the plutocracy to in any way support the quaint belief that children in the public schools should receive a broad "liberal education" --- let alone something that might be labeled "enrichment". No, as far as the self-styled "masters of the universe" are concerned, the broad populace need only receive enough education to be good worker bees, to be good consumers, and, in general, to be socialized into adequate obedience to the contemporary unfair status quo. (The 99% will still be allowed to dissipate any dissatisfaction via griping, and encouraged to periodically select from two largely meaningless "choices" in a voting booth).

No need for the public schools to receive proper or even adequate support, when the one-percenters can send their own children to the University of Chicago Lab School, as @Denis Neville points out, or to another for-profit alternative --- expanding and planning massive further expansion! --- recently profiled in the New York Times:

And no need for me at this particular moment to continue my critique (especially when some other obligations call), for @Karen in her post, and @Denis and @Zee in the comments have all said it very well.

Zee said...

Ah ha! Just as I thought.

Only the barest of references to the appointment of MoneyPenny on an Obamabot blog regarding concerns about the previous financial dealings of Penny Pritzker!

And then, a single link to a softball NYT article about the appointment, ending with this:

'For now, Democrats are wary. Through a spokesman, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said Ms. Pritzker “has the support in the Senate to be confirmed, and we should do so with haste.” He added that “playing politics” with her nomination would be “mindless, knee-jerk” obstructionism by Republicans.

Still, Ms. Pritzker brings “a lot of baggage” to her confirmation fight, said Mr. Buchanan, the political science professor.

The president “must really feel obligated to her, because it’s not like he doesn’t have enough on his plate as it is of the buzz saw variety,” he said. “On the other hand, she is a talented woman and she’s done some good work, so I’m guessing he thinks he can weather this whether she is confirmed or not.”'
(My bold emphasis.)

Gotta love the loyalty!

Denis Neville said...

Preparing the future worker bees of America…

What Penny Pritzker wants for her children, Penny Pritzker did not think were a priority for Chicago Public School students. For them, the purpose of education has less to do with creating broad opportunities for creative and intellectual development, but more to do with developing productive members of today’s workforce. Children need only skills in math, in reading, and in science so that they can be productive global worker bees.

What she and all the others of her ilk give to their own children, they would withhold from everybody else’s children.

“To save man from the morass of propaganda is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction. The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society.”- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Will said...

I believe it's that time again for good old Uncle George Carlin to tell us the truth about the lie that is The American Dream. (You know every one of us has to post this video here periodically, especially for newer visitors to Sardonicky. Today's my turn. Yay!)

James F Traynor said...

Yeah, Carlin says it all in that video. And there's a great article by Packer in the 4/29 issue of the New Yorker (Depression literature, old and new) that might explain the proles' subservience to it all.

But I think there's a real explosion coming. Sooner or later. When the proles have woken up to the fact that they have nothing left to lose and that they can shut down the country, we will see some action. Pritzker ,et al, are just too stupid to see that.

Zee said...

This second TruthDig article about Obama's appointment of MoneyPenny prompts me to ask a question that will doubtless get me in trouble, but ask it I will:

Just what was it about a fourth-year, back-bench Senator of no real distinction that prompted so many Progressives to vote for the guy, and then to stick with him into a second term, even when his true colors became clear? A guy who--as was pointed out by Conservatives and establishment Democrats alike--had never managed as much as a lemonade stand, nor had ever published an article in a scholarly law journal.

In 2008, John McCain was no prize, and Sarah Palin was an absolute horror story, but Obama was such a...well...a "nobody?"

Did anyone other than the opposition ask at the time just where his funding came from in 2008? We kept hearing about his genius in using the web to get money from the grassroots, but it really sounds like it was Chicago's "Penny Pritzkers" from the start, even for his 2004 Senate race.

How did this come about?

CitiZen said...


It's infatuation. Obama has a cross-sex appeal to both males and females and he knows how to work his stuff.

Remember Chris Matthews' tingle up his leg? And who can miss Obama courting women all the time? He's got It.

Denis Neville said...

Zee asks “How did this come about?”

“The world is a raft sailing through space with, potentially, plenty of provisions for everybody; the idea that we must all cooperate and see to it that everyone does his fair share of the work and gets his fair share of the provisions seems so blatantly obvious that one would say that no one could possibly fail to accept it unless he had some corrupt motive for clinging to the present system.” – George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier

Ignorance and the erosion of historical memory make such deceptions possible and plausible.

“We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.” - C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

Nobody read Ken Silverstein’s “Barack Obama Inc. Birth of a Washington Machine,”

“For Barack Obama…mounting a successful career, especially one that may include a run for the presidency, cannot even be attempted without the kind of compromising and horse trading that may, in fact, render him impotent…How quickly Obama’s senatorship has been woven into the web of institutionalized influence-trading that afflicts official Washington. He quickly established a political machine funded and run by a standard Beltway group of lobbyists, P.R. consultants, and hangers-on. Obama’s top contributors are corporate law and lobbying firms, Wall Street financial houses (Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase), and big Chicago interests. Obama immediately established a leadership PAC, a vehicle through which a member of Congress can contribute to other politicians’ campaigns—and one that political reform groups generally view as a slush fund through which congressional leaders can evade campaign-finance rules while raising their own political profiles…In the unstinting and unanimous adulation of Barack Obama today…[there is]the obvious: that big donors would not be helping out Obama if they didn’t see him as a ‘player.’ ‘What’s the dollar value of a starry-eyed idealist?’”

Obama’s faux populism was all hat, no cattle (despite the smell of bullshit). Cheap talk, while conducting business as usual. Team Obama knew that people were stupid enough to fall for it.

Liberals used to be the canaries in the American mineshaft of modern democracy. Today they are no more than useful idiots. One can imagine George Orwell visiting that mineshaft today as he did 75 years ago at Wigan Pier. Substitute liberal Democrat for socialist to understand Obama’s failure with those ordinary citizens who under normal circumstances should benefit from the Democratic Party.

Describing a gathering of leftists, George Orwell said, “every person there…bore the worst stigmata of sniffish middle-class superiority. If a real working man, a miner dirty from the pit, for instance, had suddenly walked into their midst, they would have been embarrassed, angry and disgusted; some, I should think, would have fled holding their noses….The ordinary decent person, who is in sympathy with the essential aims of Socialism, is given the impression that there is no room for his kind in any Socialist party that means business.”

Fear-mongering replaced "hope" as an Obama's re-election strategy, and like most fear-based campaigns it was effective. Two ways in which people are controlled. First, frighten people. Second, demoralize them. An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern. They don't want people to be educated, healthy and confident because they would get out of control.

The result? A political constituency that slavishly and unconditionally supported Obama and the Democratic Party was inevitably ignored by Obama and the Democratic Party. Not once, but twice.

One used to think that Obama could not possibly fail, unless he had some corrupt motive for clinging to the present system.

Denis Neville said...

Millions of people keep falling through the gaping hole that has turned us into the United States of Inequality.

“What we see as the glory of Rome is really just the rubble of the rich, built on the backs of poor farmers and laborers, traces of whom have all but vanished. It’s as though Rome’s 99 percent never existed.” - Tim De Chant,

Since government can't help us, let’s militarize our cities:

“If the government is not going to do it, or individuals aren't going to do it, why can't the police provide leadership or partner up with the community and say, "Hey, here's a plan. This is what we want to do to help." Because the status quo of traditional policing, it ain't just gonna work. It's not gonna work.” - Mike Cutone, Massachusetts state trooper, CBS 60 Minutes, Counterinsurgency Cops

Why isn't the government going to do it?

Richard Eskow, “Remember, Counterinsurgency Cops argues that these tactics - tactics which are so beneficial to the CEOs of Fix the Debt - are useful in part because "government is not going to do it."

“And who is a Board member of the Peterson Foundation, a relationship which was not disclosed during the broadcast of Counterinsurgency Cops (or on any other 60 Minutes broadcast)?

“None other than Lesley Stahl.”

"A more repulsive picture can hardly be imagined. A mob, a moneyed class, and an aristocracy almost equally worthless, hating each other, and hated by the rest of the world…

“When in any country the small-farmer class is being squeezed off the land; when its labourers are slaves or serfs; when huge tracts are kept waste to minister to pleasure; when the shibboleth of art is on every man's lips, but ideas of true beauty in very few men's souls; when the business-sharper is the greatest man in the city, and lords it even in the law courts; when class-magistrates, bidding for high office, deal out justice according to the rank of the criminal; when exchanges are turned into great gambling-houses, and senators and men of title are the chief gamblers; when, in short, 'corruption is universal, when there is increasing audacity, increasing greed, increasing fraud, increasing impurity, and these are fed by increasing indulgence and ostentation; when a considerable number of trials in the courts of law bring out the fact that the country in general is now regarded as a prey, upon which any number of vultures, scenting it from afar, may safely light and securely gorge themselves; when the foul tribe is amply replenished by its congeners at home, and foreign invaders find any number of men, bearing good names, ready to assist them in robberies far more cruel and sweeping than those of the footpad or burglar'--when such is the tone of society, and such the idols before which it bends, a nation must be fast going down hill.” - A.H. Beesley, The Gracchi Marius and Sulla,

A nation of idiots and their useful idiots.

Pearl said...

If someone makes a deal with the devil or other powerful agents by
offering themselves to the highest bidder without involving sexual favors, can it be called prostitution? And how do we define sexual favors?

Is there a form of political prostitution possible?

James F Traynor said...

I don't know about the people out there, but I voted for the guy twice and didn't believe him either time - the second time a lot less than the first. Why?

Well, the first time I figured he'd do something about the financial world, reinstitute banking regulations and empower the regulatory agencies to actually do their job. Why did I think he'd do this? Because it was fairly obvious, even to those in the business, that they'd really fucked up. And, since the Republican party had led the charge and as a political party couldn't admit how it had screwed up, it would be easy for the Democrats to do it. And they didn't.

The second time? Well, shit, just think of what the Republicans would have done with a Romney presidency, not to mention the bullying sociopath himself. No, the second time I voted for Obama was to buy time, in the desperate hope that the Democrats would reform. And it's become obvious that they won't. We're in real, real trouble.

Zee said...


Thanks for the quote from the 2006 Harper's article. I wasn't able to access the entire article as I'm not a subscriber, but I think that I got the gist from the quote you provided.

It seems there was plenty of evidence as to Obama's true character back in 2006 for those who cared to open their eyes and look.

However, after eight years of Dubya, the Democrats must have been more than willing to overlook the man's obvious flaws as a presidential candidate, not to mention his total lack of real accomplishment.

"you see what you want to see, and you hear what you want to hear. Dig?"

Rock Man, in The Point

Zee said...



Not that Republicans don't share that same fundamental character flaw, as witness the outrageous election of Mark Sanford to the lower house of Congress in South Carolina, by "folks" who claim to vote for "family values."