Naomi Klein on Obama and Chicago Boys economics

This video is called Naomi Klein: Disaster Capitalism.

From British daily The Guardian:

Beware the Chicago boys

Obama‘s vow of love for free markets gives reason to fear a replay of Bill Clinton’s 1993 U-turn

o Naomi Klein

o Saturday June 14 2008

Barack Obama waited just three days after Hillary Clinton pulled out of the race to declare, on CNBC: “Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market.” Demonstrating that this is no mere spring fling, he has appointed the 37-year-old Jason Furman, one of Wal-Mart‘s most prominent defenders, to head his economic team. On the campaign trail, Obama blasted Clinton for sitting on the Wal-Mart board and pledged: “I won’t shop there.” For Furman, however, Wal-Mart’s critics are the real threat: the “efforts to get Wal-Mart to raise its wages and benefits” are creating “collateral damage” that is “way too enormous and damaging to working people and the economy … for me to sit by idly and sing Kum Ba Ya in the interests of progressive harmony”.

Obama‘s love of markets and his desire for “change” are not inherently incompatible. “The market has gotten out of balance,” he says, and it most certainly has. Many trace this profound imbalance to the ideas of Milton Friedman, who launched a counter-revolution against the New Deal from his perch at the University of Chicago. And here there are more problems, because Obama – who taught law at Chicago for a decade – is embedded in the mindset known as the Chicago School.

Obama chose as his chief economic adviser Austan Goolsbee, a University of Chicago economist on the left side of a spectrum that stops at the centre-right. Goolsbee, unlike his Friedmanite colleagues, sees inequality as a problem. His primary solution, however, is more education – a line you can also get from Alan Greenspan.

See also here.

Obama and ‘free trade’: here.

Obama and public opinion in other countries: here.

What Obama didn’t say on Father’s Day: here.

Michelle Obama: here.

Naomi Klein on hurricanes, McCain, and Obama, here.

US elections: Evangelical flock strays from the Republican fold: here.

McCain and military industry: here.

9 thoughts on “Naomi Klein on Obama and Chicago Boys economics

  1. Voting for Peace, Justice and Barack Obama

    Tom Hayden

    Now that the long primary is over, it becomes urgent for progressives to shift gears to our role between now and November. Millions of dollars will be spent for voter outreach on issues from womens’ rights to workers’ needs to environmental protection. Considerable resources are expected to go to independent campaigning against Iraq and its economic impact. Here is a sketch of the possibilities.

    The role of ‘Progressives for Obama’

    It is clear that we are a network, as Bill Fletcher says, and not an organization. Still, we serve as an effective rallying point for progressives through the November election and, if Obama is elected president, into the early phase of 2009. So what are our tasks?

    1. Providing a forum for discussion among progressives. We are a forum for analysis and discussion with those progressives still skeptical about Obama, the Democratic Party, and/or the whole electoral process. We create space for maintaining differences with Obama – on Iraq, trade, etc. – while persuading skeptics to fully support him as the best option for progressives this year. Making this case is an important priority in what appears to be a very close election. As Obama moves toward the center-right, making the case could become more difficult.

    2. Making the progressive community a factor Obama must keep in mind. Without an independent critical progressive force there will be little to slow the candidate’s rightward direction through November. The worry is that Obama will be able to take the entire left-of-center vote for granted with McCain the Republican nominee.

    Progressives should try to persuade the Obama campaign that they depend on aroused progressive voters in certain states and districts, among other constituencies. [Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Hampshire, even parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania.] In addition, Obama will need to push up his vote in safe Democratic states to ensure a popular majority.

    The most important immediate tool is the anti-war plank being proposed for the Denver convention, supported by 50 members of Congress, saying: withdraw all combat troops, leaving no permanent bases, conduct a diplomatic surge including negotiations with Iran, end the use of torture, and the closure of Guantanamo. [See details below]. There may also be amendments proposed by a fair trade coalition, and others.

    3. Taking the progressive message beyond the progressive base. Soon there will exist independent organizational channels to reach voters around the war, the economy and trade, and global warming. These will be deployed through the internet, phone banking, direct contact at the door and other voter mobilization approaches. Progressives should see this as a unique chance for base-building. There’s no rule that says one has to only build the organization of the Democratic Party. One can work independently at the grassroots, so be sure to retain the lists and contacts to build the progressive infrastructure.

    4. Helping win this election at every level. In addition to electing Obama, progressives should welcome the political surge among African-Americans and young people of all backgrounds as a trend that might change the electorate for years to come. There are progressive pockets all over the country where trend-setting candidates can and should be elected this November. Money, phone banking, internet messaging and door to door work can be targeted to these many progressive pockets.

    Our Timeline

    Here is a tentative list of dates and anti-war events being considered. Stay in touch with for daily updates!

    NOW: Support the antiwar plank proposed for the Democratic convention by Reps. Barbara Lee, Jim McGovern, and Sam Farr. Go to , Nation 6/23.

    JUNE – Decentralized actions at gas stations to drive the message about Iraq, the economy, and the power of Big Oil. Ads and actions against Republican priorities.

    JULY – Roundtables [perhaps like the Dean or MoveOn meetups] to bring attention to Iraq’s devastating impact on the economy, emphasizing costs like veteran’s health care.

    AUGUST – An intense local mass action and education campaign directed towards convention delegates, Democratic and Republican, about the costs of Iraq, from budget crises to torture’s stain on our reputation.

    LATE AUGUST – Forums and mass action at both conventions, including a possible meeting of in Denver.

    SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER – “A Million Doors for Peace” campaign. A national effort to identify voters according to the war/peace/economy/trade issues, with an emphasis on swing states and districts. Activists will be able to download a walk list of voters in their neighborhoods, knock on doors and seek voter pledges to vote against Iraq War. Also likely: phone banking straight from your home to persuadable voters, allies, friends and family in another state.

    There’s more, and we’ll
    keep this list growing.

    Keep On
    Keepin’ On

    Carl Davidson


  2. Posted by: “Compañero”
    Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:38 pm (PDT)

    The wife U.S. Republican John McCain callously left behind

    By Sharon Churcher

    Now that Hillary Clinton has at last formally withdrawn from the
    race for the White House, the eyes of America and the world will
    focus on Barack Obama and his Republican rival Senator John McCain.

    While Obama will surely press his credentials as the embodiment of
    the American dream – a handsome, charismatic young black man who was
    raised on food stamps by a single mother and who represents his
    country’s future – McCain will present himself as a selfless,
    principled war hero whose campaign represents not so much a battle
    for the presidency of the United States, but a crusade to rescue the
    nation’s tarnished reputation.

    [image: Carol McCain]

    *Forgotten woman: But despite all her problems Carol McCain says she
    still adores he ex-husband*

    McCain likes to illustrate his moral fibre by referring to his five
    years as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam. And to demonstrate his
    commitment to family values, the 71-year-old former US Navy pilot
    pays warm tribute to his beautiful blonde wife, Cindy, with whom he
    has four children.

    But there is another Mrs McCain who casts a ghostly shadow over the
    Senator’s presidential campaign. She is seldom seen and rarely
    written about, despite being mother to McCain’s three eldest

    And yet, had events turned out differently, it would be she, rather
    than Cindy, who would be vying to be First Lady. She is McCain’s
    first wife, Carol, who was a famous beauty and a successful swimwear
    model when they married in 1965.

    She was the woman McCain dreamed of during his long incarceration
    and torture in Vietnam’s infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ prison and the
    woman who faithfully stayed at home looking after the children and
    waiting anxiously for news.

    But when McCain returned to America in 1973 to a fanfare of
    publicity and a handshake from Richard Nixon, he discovered his wife
    had been disfigured in a terrible car crash three years earlier. Her
    car had skidded on icy roads into a telegraph pole on Christmas Eve,
    1969. Her pelvis and one arm were shattered by the impact and she
    suffered massive internal injuries.

    When Carol was discharged from hospital after six months of
    life-saving surgery, the prognosis was bleak. In order to save her
    legs, surgeons had been forced to cut away huge sections of
    shattered bone, taking with it her tall, willowy figure. She was
    confined to a wheelchair and was forced to use a catheter.

    Through sheer hard work, Carol learned to walk again. But when John
    McCain came home from Vietnam, she had gained a lot of weight and
    bore little resemblance to her old self.

    Today, she stands at just 5ft4in and still walks awkwardly, with a
    pronounced limp. Her body is held together by screws and metal
    plates and, at 70, her face is worn by wrinkles that speak of
    decades of silent suffering.

    For nearly 30 years, Carol has maintained a dignified silence about
    the accident, McCain and their divorce. But last week at the
    bungalow where she now lives at Virginia Beach, a faded seaside
    resort 200 miles south of Washington, she told The Mail on Sunday
    how McCain divorced her in 1980 and married Cindy, 18 years his
    junior and the heir to an Arizona brewing fortune, just one month

    [image: John and Cindy McCain]

    *Golden couple: John and Cindy McCain at a charity gala in Los

    Carol insists she remains on good terms with her ex-husband, who
    agreed as part of their divorce settlement to pay her medical costs
    for life. ‘I have no bitterness,’ she says. ‘My accident is well
    recorded. I had 23 operations, I am five inches shorter than I used
    to be and I was in hospital for six months. It was just awful, but
    it wasn’t the reason for my divorce.

    ‘My marriage ended because John McCain didn’t want to be 40, he
    wanted to be 25. You know that happens…it just does.’

    Some of McCain’s acquaintances are less forgiving, however. They
    portray the politician as a self-centred womaniser who effectively
    abandoned his crippled wife to ‘play the field’. They accuse him of
    finally settling on Cindy, a former rodeo beauty queen, for
    financial reasons.

    McCain was then earning little more than £25,000 a year as a naval
    officer, while his new father-in-law, Jim Hensley, was a
    multi-millionaire who had impeccable political connections.

    He first met Carol in the Fifties while he was at the US Naval
    Academy in Annapolis. He was a privileged, but rebellious scion of
    one of America’s most distinguished military dynasties – his father
    and grandfather were both admirals.

    But setting out to have a good time, the young McCain hung out with
    a group of young officers who called themselves the ‘Bad Bunch’.

    His primary interest was women and his conquests ranged from a
    knife-wielding floozy nicknamed ‘Marie, the Flame of Florida’ to a
    tobacco heiress.

    Carol fell into his fast-living world by accident. She escaped a
    poor upbringing in Philadelphia to become a successful model,
    married an Annapolis classmate of McCain’s and had two children –
    Douglas and Andrew – before renewing what one acquaintance calls ‘an
    old flirtation’ with McCain.

    It seems clear she was bowled over by McCain’s attention at a time
    when he was becoming bored with his playboy lifestyle.

    ‘He was 28 and ready to settle down and he loved Carol’s children,’
    recalled another Annapolis graduate, Robert Timberg, who wrote The
    Nightingale’s Song, a bestselling biography of McCain and four other
    graduates of the academy.

    The couple married and McCain adopted Carol’s sons. Their daughter,
    Sidney, was born a year later, but domesticity was clearly beginning
    to bore McCain – the couple were regarded as ‘fixtures on the party
    circuit’ before McCain requested combat duty in Vietnam at the end
    of 1966.

    He was assigned as a bomber pilot on an aircraft carrier in the Gulf
    of Tonkin.

    What follows is the stuff of the McCain legend. He was shot down
    over Hanoi in October 1967 on his 23rd mission over North Vietnam
    and was badly beaten by an angry mob when he was pulled,
    half-drowned from a lake. [image: war hero John McCain]

    *War hero: McCain with Carol as he arrives back in the US in 1973
    after his five years as a PoW in North Vietnam*

    Over the next five-and-a-half years in the notorious Hoa Loa Prison
    he was regularly tortured and mistreated.

    It was in 1969 that Carol went to spend the Christmas holiday – her
    third without McCain – at her parents’ home. After dinner, she left
    to drop off some presents at a friend’s house.

    It wasn’t until some hours later that she was discovered, alone and
    in terrible pain, next to the wreckage of her car. She had been
    hurled through the windscreen.

    After her first series of life-saving operations, Carol was told she
    may never walk again, but when doctors said they would try to get
    word to McCain about her injuries, she refused, insisting: ‘He’s got
    enough problems, I don’t want to tell him.’

    H. Ross Perot, a billionaire Texas businessman, future presidential
    candidate and advocate of prisoners of war, paid for her medical

    When McCain – his hair turned prematurely white and his body reduced
    to little more than a skeleton – was released in March 1973, he told
    reporters he was overjoyed to see Carol again.

    But friends say privately he was ‘appalled’ by the change in her
    appearance. At first, though, he was kind, assuring her: ‘I don’t
    look so good myself. It’s fine.’

    He bought her a bungalow near the sea in Florida and another former
    PoW helped him to build a railing so she could pull herself over the
    dunes to the water.

    ‘I thought, of course, we would live happily ever after,’ says
    Carol. But as a war hero, McCain was moving in ever-more elevated

    Through Ross Perot, he met Ronald Reagan, then Governor of
    California. A sympathetic Nancy Reagan took Carol under her wing.

    But already the McCains’ marriage had begun to fray. ‘John started
    carousing and running around with women,’ said Robert Timberg.

    McCain has acknowledged that he had girlfriends during this time,
    without going into details. Some friends blame his dissatisfaction
    with Carol, but others give some credence to her theory of a
    mid-life crisis.

    He was also fiercely ambitious, but it was clear he would never
    become an admiral like his illustrious father and grandfather and
    his thoughts were turning to politics.

    In 1979 – while still married to Carol – he met Cindy at a cocktail
    party in Hawaii. Over the next six months he pursued her, flying
    around the country to see her. Then he began to push to end his

    Carol and her children were devastated. ‘It was a complete
    surprise,’ says Nancy Reynolds, a former Reagan aide.

    ‘They never displayed any difficulties between themselves. I know
    the Reagans were quite shocked because they loved and respected both
    Carol and John.’

    Another friend added: ‘Carol didn’t fight him. She felt her
    infirmity made her an impediment to him. She justified his actions
    because of all he had gone through. She used to say, “He just wants
    to make up for lost time.”‘

    Indeed, to many in their circle the saddest part of the break-up was
    Carol’s decision to resign herself to losing a man she says she
    still adores.

    Friends confirm she has remained friends with McCain and backed him
    in all his campaigns. ‘He was very generous to her in the divorce
    but of course he could afford to be, since he was marrying Cindy,’
    one observed.

    McCain transferred the Florida beach house to Carol and gave her the
    right to live in their jointly-owned townhouse in the Washington
    suburb of Alexandria. He also agreed to pay her alimony and child

    A former neighbour says she subsequently sold up in Florida and
    Washington and moved in 2003 to Virginia Beach. He said: ‘My
    impression was that she found the new place easier to manage as she
    still has some difficulties walking.’

    Meanwhile McCain moved to Arizona with his new bride immediately
    after their 1980 marriage. There, his new father-in-law gave him a
    job and introduced him to local businessmen and political
    powerbrokers who would smooth his passage to Washington via the
    House of Representatives and Senate.

    And yet despite his popularity as a politician, there are those who
    won’t forget his treatment of his first wife.

    Ted Sampley, who fought with US Special Forces in Vietnam and is now
    a leading campaigner for veterans’ rights, said: ‘I have been
    following John McCain’s career for nearly 20 years. I know him
    personally. There is something wrong with this guy and let me tell
    you what it is – deceit.

    ‘When he came home and saw that Carol was not the beauty he left
    behind, he started running around on her almost right away.
    Everybody around him knew it.

    ‘Eventually he met Cindy and she was young and beautiful and very
    wealthy. At that point McCain just dumped Carol for something he
    thought was better.

    ‘This is a guy who makes such a big deal about his character. He has
    no character. He is a fake. If there was any character in that first
    marriage, it all belonged to Carol.’

    One old friend of the McCains said: ‘Carol always insists she is not
    bitter, but I think that’s a defence mechanism. She also feels
    deeply in his debt because in return for her agreement to a divorce,
    he promised to pay for her medical care for the rest of her life.’

    Carol remained resolutely loyal as McCain’s political star rose. She
    says she agreed to talk to The Mail on Sunday only because she
    wanted to publicise her support for the man who abandoned her.

    Indeed, the old Mercedes that she uses to run errands displays both
    a disabled badge and a sticker encouraging people to vote for her
    ex-husband. ‘He’s a good guy,’ she assured us. ‘We are still good
    friends. He is the best man for president.’

    But Ross Perot, who paid her medical bills all those years ago, now
    believes that both Carol McCain and the American people have been
    taken in by a man who is unusually slick and cruel – even by the
    standards of modern politics.

    ‘McCain is the classic opportunist. He’s always reaching for
    attention and glory,’ he said.

    ‘After he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over
    for a poster girl with big money from Arizona. And the rest is

    – Additional reporting by Paul Henderson in Virginia Beach and
    William Lowther in Washington


  3. Dear Supporter,

    Gas prices are hitting all-time highs. Our country is in the midst of a recession thanks in part to our crippling dependence on oil, so what’s John McCain’s plan? Will he hold the corporate leaders of the energy industry accountable when he addresses them today in Houston? Probably not, considering they are some of his biggest fund-raisers.

    The Center for Responsive Politics finds that McCain has accepted over $1 million from the oil and gas industry. Many of McCain’s top advisers have lobbied for big oil, which is why he now acts in their best interests, opposing environmental legislation and alternative energy plans. And that’s exactly why we want everyone to know The REAL McCain.

    Watch the video:

    McCain is desperate to distance himself from President Bush. But according to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, McCain has received millions in donations from the same oil, coal, nuclear, chemical, utility, and auto companies that helped the Bush administration create its energy plan-a plan that has raised gasoline to $4 a gallon.

    Here’s what you can do: Send this e-mail to ten of your friends, family members, and colleagues. Tell them to send it on to ten people they know. And don’t forget to Digg it! Spread the word that McCain is taking major contributions from wealthy oil executives like Bob Mosbacher, just one of the special interest leaders he’ll be addressing in Houston.

    Make sure everyone gets to know The REAL McCain, subscribe to Brave New Films today.

    Robert Greenwald
    and the Brave New Team


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