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Obama ethics challenge: Tim Geithner

Original post made by Gary, Downtown North, on Jan 21, 2009

Today, BHO held a big press event, where he insisted on ethics beyond reproach. Well, he can start be making the tough choice of removing Tim Geithner from consideration for Teasury. Geithner didn't pay his SS/Medicare tax, as an invidvidual contractor. I, myself, have been an individual contractor for several years, and it was abundantly clear to me that I needed to pay the erstwhile "employer's share" of SS/Medicare taxes. I didn't need an accountant to tell me is clearly pointed out in the tax code. Geithner got caught, trying to avoid paying his fair share, period.

If Obama does not withdraw this appointment, he will be shown as the empty suit that he really is. Alternatively, he can jsut say, "Ah, well, ya know..I gotta get the job done with the best talent I have available to me, in this ah... time of crisis. I can't let ethical issues get in the way."

Comments (27)

Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 21, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Well, Obama is president for a day and Gary is already on the attack. Natuarlly he uses the term "empty suit" to describe OIbama--a pathetic term that he has been using for the last year to describe Obama. No one knows why Gary hates Obama so much--maybe Gary is a hatriot (with a new president, the term hatriot has bveen refedined to mean anyone that blindly hates Obama).
We can look forward to at least 4 years of Gary's sad whinings about Obama, while he blissfully ignores how badly Bush screwed up the country.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 21, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Ah, Marvin, should Obama withdraw Geithner's nomination, on ethical grounds, or not?

Posted by Greg
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 21, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Obama is a practical President. Unlike anyone else he could name, Geithner will easily get approved by congress. Trying to find a replacement will take weeks. Without a strong Treasury Secretary right now (as in starting last month), the stock market will probably drop 20% by the end of the month and the recession will lengthen by another year. I'm sure that Obama would prefer a better person, but any other alternative will be much worse for the country. Anyone who is trying to make political points over this issue at the expense of the country as a whole is extremely selfish.

Besides, Geithner was Federal Reserve Bank President under George Bush. Why weren't his income taxes an issue then?

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Gary is making a good point here. If Bush had tried to nominate someone with a transgression like this into high office, the critics would have had a field day and the likelihood is that he would have been unlikely to get him selected from one of many sources, e.g. name being withdrawn, etc. However, it seems that no one wants to say a bad word against this nominee apart from Gary. That sounds like double standards to me.

And, how is this being seen abroad. If someone in high office has been cheating on taxes it is likely that at least some foreign powers will try to take advantage of that fact at the worst, and make justifiable scorn or ridicule at the least - particularly the foreign press.

Gary, keep on with your criticisms. Someone has to make a stand and get this godlike worship of BO to a more credible level.

Posted by Spade
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 21, 2009 at 6:55 pm

"Gary is making a good point here. If Bush had tried to nominate someone with a transgression like this into high office, the critics would have had a field day"

Nonsense. The critics have been absent for seven years, and Bush had a free ride. His people were crooks and incompetent.

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 21, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Hmmm...a Secretary of Treasury who failed to pay taxes, then paid only the ones he was busted on..and then paid the second set of taxes only when he was busted on THEM...all in honest error.

A Secretary of State with $50,000,000 conflict of interest dollars given to her husband.

And Attorney General who helped B Clinton pardon terrorists from Puerto Rico so his wife could get the Puerto Rican vote in NY for the Senate seat in a state she never lived in..who helped pardon Mark Rich ( look him up, he is a doozy also), who wrote a brief against individuals owning firearms, and who is for limiting free speech with the Orwellian named "Fairness Doctrine". Not to mention revealing that he has no idea what waterboarding is ( though he is against it!) by comparing it to the water torture of the inquisition.

A Secretary of Education who speaks bad grammar.

A CIA director who has never even sat in an Intelligence meeting of the Senate, let alone worked anywhere at any time in Intelligence.

An Economic Advisory team that for some reason can't see how more government spending does not help at all the cause of this economic meltdown..let alone admit what caused the meltdown.

Truly, I am trying to imagine even 10% of any of this being accepted under any president with an R after his or her name. And I can't.

Posted by Happy
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 21, 2009 at 8:19 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Geithner's the right guy for the job, and seeing a cabinet that isn't full of industry hacks and "good ol' boy" friends seeking returns on favors is refreshing.

I see Bush as two distinctly different presidents...the frat-boy, disinterested moderate and the over-the-top idealogue. Neither of which should have led this country.

Posted by Count Down
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 21, 2009 at 8:44 pm

BHO - 1,439 days left.

Hrs. Min

Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 21, 2009 at 8:45 pm

Obama is making a HUGE point of being squeaky clean on the ethical issues. How can he leave this guy Geithner in there? Having a tax cheat at the head of Teasury looks very bad, because he would become the boss of the IRS, the agency he cheated on. Nothing like starting off on a hypocritical note.

Posted by NotAnEmptySuit
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 21, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Gary -

I think your analysis of our president is not the most natural, or helpful.

The way I see it, he is not an empty suit. He is an unknown quantity.

He won an election during the reign of identity politics, and won it because of his identity, as defined in the view of voters, primarily through his public cultural heritage.

African Americans voted for him because he is African American, or because he was the Democratic candidate. Those are the two most important characteristics of our president.

He graduated Harvard; participation in that culture allows voters to see him as intelligent and informed, and perhaps competent. He worked as a community organizer, and that culture provides him with "social responsibility" credentials.

He was very careful not to vote in the senate for anything that would alienate any political identity, and thus participates in the culture of including everyone. There is only one way to pass what has become a litmus test for each major political identity in this country now. It is simply to not vote clearly on anything substantial; or if forced to vote clearly on a substantial issue, to vote against it or anything supporting or reaffirming it as soon as possible to muddy the clarity that might reveal actual choice.

People know his political identity only. They don't know who he is or what he actually wants to do. They know he wants to do it in the politically correct way, as seen by the major political identities.

I would suggest that you can predict his choices and actions by the impact they will have on the powerful political identity groups in the US.

He is not an empty suit. He is built on identity politics. Identity politics are inside the suit, and the suit looks good on them.

Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 21, 2009 at 9:12 pm

The bigger story is the lack of supervision that Geitner provided in his role as New York Fed: Web Link

Just remember Bear Sterns, Lehman, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, et al. happened on during his tenure. There's very little being raised about that.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 21, 2009 at 9:33 pm

"They don't know who he is or what he actually wants to do."

Not, I believe I have consistently said that his core belief is that he needs to get elected. He is smart enough to figure how to do that, as you suggest. However, he is empty of core VALUES. This will become abundandtly clear when he is forced to make tough choices, where there is no wiggle room. This Geithner affair is just the beginning of Obama taking a dodge, becasue he doesn't really believe in what he says to the public (in this case ethics reform)...he doesn't not believe what he is saying, either, he just doesn't really know. He is an empty suit.

Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 22, 2009 at 2:24 am

Gary---no Obama should not withdraw the nomination. If it is a maor problme the senate will not confirm him. You will bash Obama regardess of what he does.
I saw in the news that your hero Limbaugh hopes that Obama fails--I am sure you echo that feeling since you are a new hatriot.
Bush is gone. Get over it, Gary.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 22, 2009 at 12:51 pm

"You will bash Obama regardess of what he does."

Now, now, Marvin. Take a breath.

I will only bash Obama when he makes, IMO, domestic mistakes (like this Geithner deal. If we are at war, and he makes mistakes beyond the water's edge related to that war, I will keep quiet (after all, I am not a hatriot). I will criticize him on the foreign front, if it does not negatively affect a war effort. However, I will praise him on either front, if I agree with him. For example I support his notion of major tax cuts, or at least holding the line. If BHO can hold his own left at bay, we might actually create some new jobs in this economy.

I, like Limbaugh, hope he fails on the domestic front, if his goal is to turn this country into a socialist camp. Any rational person should agree with that.

Back to Geithner: Is this what you acolytes really approve of? If so, I can't see how you guys can continue to claim that BHO is leading an ethical administration.

Posted by R Wray
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 22, 2009 at 1:55 pm

I'll criticize Obama on the foreign front. Closing Gitmo is a mistake. The detainees don't belong in this country; neither should we turn them loose somewhere else to regroup and attack us again. If we don't have a place like Gitmo, the only rational choice that we have on the battlefield is to immediately shoot them even though we loose intell from not being able to question them.
Geithner is either a tax dodger or ignorant; either way he doesn't deserve the post.

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 22, 2009 at 3:22 pm

As usual, Marvin, you are letting others define your reality. Try listening for yourself to all of what Rush said..he said ( and I agree 100%) that if Obama wants to turn our country socialist, I hope he fails. If he wants to implement Reagan-esque policies, I hope he succeeds.

Simple. In other words, Rush wants what we all want, a good economy and good security.

As for Gitmo..I am LMAO..typical foolish PC error. Close Gitmo, even in the face of the facts that 1/2 of those already released have been re-caught trying ( and sometimes succeeding) to kill us, Iraqis and Afganis. So, what will the result be? Send them back to their own countries where they will either be tortured and killed, or bring them here and continue to have non-stop propoganda about how we are doing non-existent torture and atrocities, as well as attracting their buddies to our land to try to terrorize us into releasing them.

And of course as they are released 1/2 of them will be "caught" back on the field again.

I had to laugh at RWay's comments because my first thought when I read the news is that we were just going to have to shoot them ( in self-defense of course) instead of capturing them when we catch them on the field. Avoid the whole problem.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 22, 2009 at 3:33 pm

R Wray,

I will stay quiet about Gitmo. However, I would challenge your statement that the only rational thing to do is to immediately shoot them on the battlefield... why not send them up the line, waterboard them, get the intel, then shoot them, while still on the battlefield? No need for places like Gitmo at that point. War is war....

Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 22, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Perspective/Gary--you guys sing the same tune constantly. You are the new hatriots--acolytes of rush Limbaugh and worshipers at the feet of Bush /Cheney.
You hate Obama--you wish him to fail and you do not care about the country.
Your time has past and that is why the republicans got clobbered at the polls.
Get a life--guys.

Posted by R Wray
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 23, 2009 at 9:25 am

Gary, If you try to "arrest" them, the lawyers with the troops up the line would get their hands on them. Then your options would be very limited.
Marvin, Comparing various countries, the 2009 Index of Economic Freedom lists the US as No. 6 and France as No.64. Obama's economic model appears to be something like France; why should a freedom lover want him to succeed?

Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 23, 2009 at 12:36 pm

"why not send them up the line, waterboard them, get the intel, then shoot them"

So, Gary, you think the North Vietnamese should have shot John McCain after they tortured him into confessing this war crimes.

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 23, 2009 at 1:17 pm

R Wray, I completely agree. I am opposed to anything which continues to erode our freedoms and turn us into France, with fines and jail for "hate speech" ( no freedom of speech in their constitution), no right to bear arms, the worst economy in the EU with the highest debt ratio and highest tax burden on its youth, and afraid of its own minority population because if they get mad, they take to the streets and burn thousands of cars and riot...and this admin is clearly doing all it can to head in that direction.

NO thanks, I love America and all it has been, warts and all. Even in the face of its errors, it has always moved forward in fits and starts toward life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness ( economic freedom) for every one of its citizens. It bred a true liberal in me, and I don't want to see it go backwards and hand my children less freedom and security than I had.

For those of you who think that makes me a hatriot, I don't care. I will support Obama if he heads toward freedom, and oppose him if he heads away. I feel nothing about him as a person because he, himself, is a virtual unknown with virtually no history. So, how can I hate him OR love him ( since I don't do either on the basis of skin color, youth, gender, where someone went to school etc).

Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 23, 2009 at 2:47 pm

"So, Gary, you think the North Vietnamese should have shot John McCain after they tortured him into confessing this war crimes."


If the North Vietnamese (NV) Supreme Court (LOL) had determined that the Hanoi Hilton was not permissible, due to international human rights concerns, then what else could the NV commanders in the field do with captured prisoners, if they had significant intel? I mean, why just shoot them straight out? Just waterboard them, get the intel, then shoot them. Of course, the NV interrogators were not so much about real intel...they wanted propaganda, so the slow torture stuff worked fine for them, espcially with the cover they had from Jane Fonda and the usual leftist hacks in America (some of whom still accuse McCain of committing war crimes, since he "admitted" it under torture).

If the Hanoi Hilton (and similar NV prisons) was shut down, like Gitmo is about to be, John McCain would have been dead within a few weeks or days of his parachute landing in the lake.

GWB was so successful in protecting this country from further attacks, after 9-11, that American citizens began to accept that calm as the norm...and some of them began to want to revert to the legalistic view of terrorism (Clinton), instead of the war view (GWB). The jihadists only understand war...and that is the only way they will be defeated, despite all the pollyanish sugar cookie complaints to the contrary.

Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 23, 2009 at 3:45 pm

C'mon, Gary. Everybody knows George W Bush couldn't protect a lion from a lamb. The worst attack on the US mainland since 1814 happened during his inept watch, while he was reading a children's book.

My original question stands tall above your sea of verbiage: what if John McCain had been given your tender ministrations: torture, confess, shoot? Like, who would have put Sarah Palin out there for the voting minority to ga-ga over?

Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 23, 2009 at 6:47 pm


Sarah Palin stands tall above BHO, the empty suit who has captured your imaginations. I can only hope that BHO grows up enough to actaully take a stand on substantial matters. Thus far, he has failed on the Geithner matter. The problem with empty suits is that they like their owns words, but have no hair on their chest, when it comes to backing up those words. Putin is currently taking BHO's measure, and he has a smile on his face.

Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 23, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Garyu--you continue to amuse--Palin stands tall above Obama? The women who could not tell what magazines or papers she reads, did not know what the Bush doctrine was, had no knowledge of foreign affairs, abused the power of her office, went on $150,000 shopping sprees, lied constantly about Obama and who is now on a whining tour complaining about what people say about her--that Palin?
Thus far, Obama has done great--he has not failed anything. You seem to really be hooked on the ëmpty suit""expression--it is your favorite--you must actually believe that if you repeat it long enough someone will believe you.
When did you talk top Putin?> I did not know that he took your calls?
You are a sad hatriot who has been brainwashed by our most noted drug addict/whiner, Rush Limbaugh. Get a life, Gary.

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 24, 2009 at 8:21 am

Gary, you are right. What the Marvins of the world still haven't figured out is that they are being manipulated into believing what their propogandists want them to believe.

Marvin, I recommend reading 1984 by Orwell so that maybe you can start to see that everything you just stated is false and the the kind of false that is hard to see through since there is just a grain of truth to every part.

"That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies;
That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright;
But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight."

Lord Alfred Tennyson.

"One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that lie has only 9 lives"

Mark Twain

"Our motto must be to lie in order to conquer"
Benito Mussolini

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 24, 2009 at 8:30 am

Marvin: "Thus far, Obama has done great--he has not failed anything."

Again, I refer you to the post just above this.

Then, try actually reading about who he has appointed and what they plan to do. He hasn't failed if his goal is to make announcements which continue to slide the DOW downward and unemployment upward, continue to keep credit frozen, and appoint people to Secretary positions who have 50 million dollars of conflict of interest, haven't paid taxes, can't speak good English, know nothing about the agency they are supposed to direct, and are determined to rid us of a few pesky Constitutional rights and have pardoned horrendous people, ...but hey, it is all in how you deconstruct failure!! I am sure there are nuances involved too complicated for our simple brains...

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