In a kingdom by the sea...
It seems very long ago and far away now -- buried behind a year-wide wall of economic collapse, bailouts, death panels, pants-on-fire teabaggers and underpants-on-fire terrorists -- when, if you wanted a job helping drive the Change Trolley in Hopeville, USA you fucking well better not’ve said or written ANYTHING that might, possibly:
1. Embarrass the new bossRemember? (All quotes from this NYT from November 13, 2008 unless otherwise cited)
2. Have left an electronic trail.
For a Washington Job, Be Prepared to Tell AllUpon reading the
By JACKIE CALMES
WASHINGTON — Want a top job in the Obama administration? Only pack rats need apply, preferably those not packing controversy.
A seven-page questionnaire being sent by the office of President-elect Barack Obama to those seeking cabinet and other high-ranking posts may be the most extensive — some say invasive — application ever.
The questionnaire includes 63 requests for personal and professional records, some covering applicants’ spouses and grown children as well, that are forcing job-seekers to rummage from basements to attics, in shoe boxes, diaries and computer archives to document both their achievements and missteps.
Only the smallest details are excluded; traffic tickets carrying fines of less than $50 need not be reported, the application says. Applicants are asked whether they or anyone in their family owns a gun. They must include any e-mail that might embarrass the president-elect, along with any blog posts and links to their Facebook pages.
The application also asks applicants to “please list all aliases or ‘handles’ you have used to communicate on the Internet.”
of Administration positions.
So I manned-up and faced the fact that I was never gonna be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Titties and Beer, no matter how spectacularly well qualified I might be. After all, if Barack Obama was going to change the way Washington worked, we Liberals were going to have to allow him to radically raise the standards of behavior, even if it cost us personally:
...Because even with all the good will in the world, when you have run an entire campaign centered on cleaning out the Augean Stables of Washington D.C., even the appearance of impropriety could blow a hole below your Administration's water line at a time when the GOP is going to be using every, little bump and glitch to try to destroy you.
But Mr. Obama has elevated the vetting even beyond what might have been expected, especially when it comes to applicants’ family members, in a reflection of his campaign rhetoric against lobbying and the back-scratching, self-serving ways of Washington.
“President-elect Obama made a commitment to change the way Washington does business, and the vetting process exemplifies that,” said Stephanie Cutter, chief spokeswoman for the Obama transition office.
So, y’know, gotta avoid that:
...Especially with regards to the fever-sick pesthole of corruption, greed and failure that is the American financial industry:
Just in case the previous 62 questions do not ferret out any potential controversy, the 63rd is all-encompassing: “Please provide any other information, including information about other members of your family, that could suggest a conflict of interest or be a possible source of embarrassment to you, your family, or the president-elect.”
The answer could duplicate the response to Question 8: “Briefly describe the most controversial matters you have been involved with during the course of your career.”
...And, of course, super-duper especially in the case of anyone who had been, say, playing email footsie with one of those bloated, gangster-capitalist failures who were gorging themselves on jillions of dollars in taxpayer money.
Jobs with the mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have served as lucrative incubators for Democratic and Republican administration officials. But those affiliations have become potentially toxic since the government seized both companies after years of financial irregularities that have stoked the economic crisis.
Because, that would be a fucking catastrophe…
Not surprisingly, then, Question 18 of the Obama application asks whether “you, your spouse or any member of your immediate family” have been affiliated with Fannie, Freddie, American International Group, Washington Mutual and any other institution getting a government bailout.Uh-oh...
From today's Huffington Post:
NY Fed, AIG Emails Spark New, Bipartisan Criticism Of GeithnerWhich, as far as I can tell, can only mean one of two things: Either Geithner has got to go, or I get to play this --
A batch of internal emails showing that the New York Fed, at the time led by current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, urged AIG to conceal certain terms of the company's bailout from the public is fueling a new round of anger from lawmakers.
The House Oversight Committee has set its sights on Geithner and has invited him to testify on the AIG scandal in the coming weeks, the Associated Press reports. But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that Geithner, who he said "was not involved" in the emails, still has President Obama's full confidence.
The emails show that after the government agreed to pay banks 100 cents on the dollar for their contracts with AIG -- despite the insurer's efforts at the time to negotiate the amount down -- New York Fed officials encouraged AIG to withhold references to the payments in regulatory filings.
Chief among Geithner's detractors, The Business Insider's Henry Blodget wrote that Geithner mismanaged the financial crisis by directing "the most appalling corporate bailout in U.S. history," consistently yielding to Wall Street first and failing to extract from companies key gains for taxpayers -- like increased lending. And for these errors, even if he worked with the best intentions, Secretary Geithner "must go," says Blodget:
Geithner must go not just because of the emails showing that his New York Fed ordered AIG to keep details of the bailout secret, but because of many other decisions and policies he has championed in the past two years.
These decisions and policies have consistently put the interests of Wall Street ahead of the interests of the taxpayer, and they have undermined the public's confidence in the government at a time when the country needs it the most.
-- at my Assistant Secretary of Labor swearing-in ceremony.
You're goddamn right,
That's the only reason
I learned writin' for
Gimme that paper...bet yer ass I will sign...
Cause I need a beer,
An' it's titty-squeezin time