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Home The Feuilleton of MilSan and MikWag Obama Almost Goes to Hell

Obama Almost Goes to Hell

Obama Almost Goes to Hell


Obama was the most powerful man on earth.  He lived in the White House, commanded a vast army, vacationed in Hawaii, danced with whomever he pleased.


He was a literary man.  Wrote two books all by himself.  He was eloquent and they awarded him a Nobel Prize.


He was a daring man who got things done.  He put the healthcare pill on the table and got a fussy Congress to swallow it.


And he was a good man, who tried to help the poor, cure the sick, rid the world of nukes and crooks.


But a great grief overcame Obama when his efforts to build up the economy and protect the financial sector from future crises were undone by the furious dollars flying business class from Wall Street to Washington.  When he beheld the vast host of lobbyists working behind the scenes to undermine his cause, when he realized that they were stealing his financial reform by bits and pieces, like secretive mice pilfering the crumbs from a pie, he said, “I will do that which no mortal has ever done before; I will do that from which even the immortals might shrink; I will go down into the World of Greed, into the Kingdom of Hades, to Wall Street and I will bring back to the living and to the light my financial bill.”


His descent into Hell was VIP swift.  Down, down, down by a diabolical path went Obama.  He instructed his pilot to fly low over the River Hudson to glimpse the boatman Charon. His motorcade sped past Cerberus Capital Management and came to the Wall that opens upon the World of Greed.  And the silent guardians who keep watch there, the defenders of the Lords of the Greedy were astonished when they saw the President’s approach.  They feared him as much as they feared their Lords.


He passed in silence by SEC officials, walking with their heads on backwards, watching naughty.com, unable to see what is ahead.


Then Obama took the teleprompter and spoke. As he spoke, the silent bankers and the Rulers of the Greedy gathered around him, leaving the Wall unguarded.


Obama said that the cause of his coming was to rescue his reforms.  “I am here,” said Obama, “because I believe that these reforms are, in the end, not only in the best interest of our country, but in the best interest of our financial sector.“


On hearing Obama speak the word interest, the Serpent Greed Herself slithered out of Pandora’s box and curtsied, remembering how in the name of interest she had quenched her thirst and made her followers rich.  She hissed an order to let Obama continue.


The teleprompter continued: “These changes have the added benefits of creating incentives within the [financial] industry…By enacting these reforms, we’ll help ensure that our financial system — and our economy — continues to be the envy of the world.”  The God of Envy bowed, his hungry, raging eyes bending to the ground.


“…reform would bring transparency to many financial markets,” said Obama. “That’s why reform will rein in excess and help ensure that these kinds of transactions take place in the light of the day.”  The God of Excess suddenly sat still, abandoning a saturnalia and drawing up his ears to catch Obama’s words.


“This plan,” said Obama, “would enact the strongest consumer financial protections ever.  This is absolutely necessary…while it’s true that many Americans took on financial obligations they knew … they could not afford, millions of others were, frankly, duped.  They were misled by deceptive terms and conditions, buried deep in the fine print.”  The Goddess of Deception surrounded by the Spirits of Fraud and Trickery, grateful for the acknowledgement of her work, ceased changing color and her sacred animal chameleon turned a limpid pale.


“Americans don’t begrudge anybody for success when that success is earned,” Obama said, “But when we read in the past about enormous bonuses at firms even as they were relying on assistance from taxpayers, it offended our fundamental values.”  Vainglory smiled, Pride smirked, and Avarice rejoiced.  They were tickled by Obama’s words.


And then this man, this most-powerful man on earth, this literary man, this daring and good man ended his speech.  This lawyer–man ended his brief to the denizens of Hades and of the world.  He concluded:


“There has always been a tension between the desire to allow markets to function without interference — and the absolute necessity of rules to prevent markets from falling out of balance…Yes, the debate can be contentious.  It can be heated.  But in the end it serves to make our country stronger.  It has allowed us to adapt and thrive.

I read a report recently that I think fairly illustrates this point.  It's from Time Magazine.  And I quote: "Through the great banking houses of Manhattan last week ran wild-eyed alarm. Big bankers stared at one another in anger and astonishment. A bill just passed would rivet upon their institutions what they considered a monstrous system. Such a system, they felt, would not only rob them of their pride of profession but would reduce all U.S. banking to its lowest level."  That appeared in Time Magazine — in June of 1933.  The system that caused so much concern and consternation?  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation — the FDIC — an institution that has successfully secured the deposits of generations of Americans.

In the end, our system only works — our markets are only free — when there are basic safeguards that prevent abuse, that check excess, that ensure that it is more profitable to play by the rules than to game the system.  And that is what these reforms are designed to achieve: no more, no less. Because that is how we will ensure that our economy works for consumers, that it works for investors that it works for financial institutions — that it works for all of us.

This is the central lesson not only of this crisis but of our history.  It's what I said when I spoke here two years ago.  Ultimately, there is no dividing line between Main Street and Wall Street.  We rise or we fall together as one nation.  So I urge you to join me — to join those who are seeking to pass these commonsense reforms.  And I urge you to do so not only because it is in the interests of your industry, but because it is in the interests of your country.”


In the interest of your country


In the interest of your…


In the interest…..


It echoed down the canyon of Wall Street and died, overpowered by the opening bell of the Stock Market.


As Obama was about to leave Hell, he met the Devil at a crossroads.  The Devil returned to Obama a securitized derivative version of the bill.  It looked dead, as thin and pale as white paper, ripped apart by the lobbyists.


— Sell me your soul, — said Devil to Obama.

Obama refused.

— Sell me your soul and I will give you what you want.

Obama shook his head “no.”

— Look, said Devil, — we are going to throw alot of money against this thing.  We are going to pull all the evil spirits out of Hades to kill your bill.  The Wall will stand and Hades will rejoice.

— No, — responded Obama, — in 1933, Congress passed legislation that established deposit insurance, which saved the country from a run on the banks this time.  This legislation passed by 262 to 19 in the house and no senator voted against it.


The Devil allowed Obama and his bill to leave the Greedy World of Wall Street.  The Devil isn’t worried.  He, Deception, Excess, Envy, Avarice, Pride — all the inhabitants of Wall Street — trust in their ability to corrupt with money. They have been corrupting since the beginning of time.  Why waste time trying to seduce this do-gooder from the White House when there are so many Congressionals who have already struck a Faustian bargain?


“Farewell! and Good Buck!”



[Note to Obama's teleprompter: The Great Hall at Cooper Union is more than 'a few blocks' from Wall Street. If you go by way of the Bowery, which is the shortest route, it’s about 2 miles].


Sources: White House Press Teleprompter Release; [Video 26:03]


Article referenced by Obama in Speech — Banks: Deposits Guaranteed, Time Magazine, June 5, 1933