The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Obama’s Department of Justice’s Prime Job Is to Immunize Rich Wrongdoers

Nobody went to jail over the financial crisis. Instead, their companies paid fines. Those fines were usually less than the company made in the crisis, and they did not include repayment of salary and bonuses, so the executives always won.

Now, the DOJ has immunized Mylan over their EpiPen price gouging:

maker of anti-allergy device EpiPen said its subsidiary Mylan Inc. has agreed to a $465 million settlement with the Justice Department and other government agencies stemming from the classification of EpiPen for Medicaid rebates. The terms of the settlement “do not provide for any finding of wrongdoing” by Mylan.

This is deliberate government policy and, yes, it comes from the top, from Obama. Obama and his DOJ engage in what should be considered routine criminal behavior, as far as I’m concerned: Helping criminals get away with their actions is itself criminal and that’s even before we talk about his actions in Libya, and so on.

Scum. Absolute scum. People die when lifesaving drugs are raised to high prices. This is is immunizing negligent homicide.

I want to be real clear, corporate criminals generally do more actual harm than the worst serial killer.

Meanwhile, “liberals” act like Obama’s the greatest president ever, even though he left the US economy far worse for most Americans, was a warmonger, and engaged in the largest immunization of corporate crime in at least 90 years.

He talks pretty but the man is scum. Scum to the bone. He took Bush’s America and regularized most of it and made some parts worse: kicking out more Hispanics, being far worse on whistleblowers, continuing to sign continuations of the AUMF and so on.

That Obama is scum does not mean, for the less bright, or more partisan, that he is not better than certain alternatives. Beelzebub being the lesser evil to Satan doesn’t mean you want to sup with him.


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  1. Lisa

    That was his job, he got the support to do it and the money he will receive on retirement.

    No surprise people (those who actually look at things) knew that even before he was elected…

    Apart from that and a few good things for LGBTI people, especially transgender ones, he has been the perfect neo-liberal, semi neo-con. Beautifully sabotaged the climate change talks and dumped the blame on China…work of genius Squibbed at full scale war on Syria… after a lot of opposition.

    He has earned every one of the very, very many millions he will receive…

  2. Ian Welsh

    The last President whose economic performance was worse than Obama’s (peak to trough, he is responsible for the lack of actual recovery) was Hoover.

  3. V. Arnold

    Criminal’s who steal, are not usually credited with the proceeds of the theft, as “earned”.

  4. Tom W Harris

    Yeah, but Hoover at least had the decency to be dumb enough to believe that what he was doing would help the economy and the people. Obama obviously doesn’t give two shits about the economy or the people.

    And as anyone paying close attention can tell, he enjoys letting us know it.

  5. Hugh

    The $465 million will be taken as a one time charge against profits lowering the company’s taxable income and thus its tax bill. So really, it’s all good. The effective amount the company will be paying will be that much less. Also the settlement is only about Medicaid payments, so the company remains free to price gouge in the rest of the healthcare system.

    The Mylan case is just one of many examples of looting and ass covering settlements we have seen since the 2008 meltdown. It is not even a very big one. In the meltdown, banks and financial institutions were responsible for trillions in losses, but they paid only pennies on the dollar in the subsequent settlements. The numbers sounded big, in the billions, but if you looked at them more closely they were basically smoke and accounting tricks. And if anything was left after that, it could be written off in taxes.

    As Ian points out, the purpose of all these settlements was not punishment or justice. They were Get Out Of Jail Free cards, both for the C-level executives and their institutions, that were incredibly cheap at the price, and that price was itself mostly fictitious.
    This is the essence of the kleptocratic system where the levers of power are used to protect the looters and not their victims. Obama is at the heart of this system and a prime example of what lesser evilism gets you.

  6. John

    Absolutely correct about Obama, but just think, Sara Palin could be up against Hillary after two VP terms. Of course, we would have already had the world war that McCain started in Iran. Beelzebub is ok if Satan is the only other choice. Not great, but ok. For some Syrians, it’s a shit refugee camp in Greece or Aleppo. Enjoy today and be grateful.

  7. Ian Welsh

    I am not convinced McCain would have started a World War. McCain lost the election in part because he buckled to TARP. His original impulse was to lead opposition against it. If he had done so, he would have won the election.

  8. ks


    Re: McCain and the bailout – Yes. It’s amazing how much history either goes down the memory hole or is reshaped to fit the narrative. His original instincts of suspending his campaign and going back to DC to deal with it were right but were derided by the media as “erratic”. What also went down the memory hole is that the firs bailout failed and it wasn’t until Obama went to twist arms that it passed.

  9. Shh


    Awesome. I’ve taken to berating Obama and his coterie of murderers as “scumbags” every time the subject comes up. I get a lot of people looking at my tin hat though, b/c the programming is frighteningly effective.

    I regularly pillory Hillary and that evil scum lord Powers on their Twitter pages as such. Clapper, Kerry, Nuland. The lot of them are the absolute worst that humans can be. Putin is a fucking unicorn by comparison. Just call me a troll, but those few of us with eyes and hearts to see and feel must at least speak up. Silence is complicity after all.

    Less than 1 out of every 20 people I talk to have even a child’s grasp on world affairs and smugly insist it doesn’t matter. Kardashian!

    Fools led by scum. Nothing changes, eh Cicero?

  10. Shh

    Oh, did I leave off the Finance folk? Geithner, Yellen, Blankenfeld, Dimon, Stumpf (Stumpf!) – the list goes on and on and on. Loretta Lynch, her predecessor who’s name I blocked out.

    I notice when I type those names into this browser, none of them are in the auto dictionary! Odd considering how often they’re in the news.

    On a side note, some of the Marin liberal douchebags I used to associate with liked to prattle on about why they voted for Obama – get this – because they wanted a Democrat to make the next Supreme Court choice!

  11. Z

    Meanwhile “liberals” act like Obama’s the greatest president ever, even though he left the US economy far worse for most Americans, was a warmonger and engaged in the largest immunization of corporate crime in at least 90 years.

    With all the media-administered propaganda in this country … and the multitude of idiots that vehemently defend their political party’s politicians … sometimes you feel like it’s a choice between holding on to your moral bearings or your sanity.


  12. reslez

    Obama did nothing for LGBT*. He opposed gay marriage until the day the SC ruled in favor it. He’s scum, pure and simple, and did evil to everyone but the rich. If Americans actually believed in justice he would be mocked everywhere he goes — which would consist of the route from his cell to the exercise yard, because he would be in prison for the rest of his life, which is better than he did to many of his victims.

  13. Former Whistleblower

    A little inside information from someone who used to conduct contract fraud investigations for a federal agency: there is one difference between Bush and Obama in this regard. During the Bush years, his administration would actively interfere with investigations of politically connected companies and contractors. Obama largely put a halt to that–just so long (as you pointed out) as the investigations remained on the civil side and not criminal.

    In the years before I finally gave up and retired in 2014, I felt like our office had been reduced to handing out glorified speeding tickets, even if those tickets sometimes cost the companies involved millions of dollars. Even worse, as long as the companies cooperated (and they always did) they wouldn’t even be disbarred from receiving future government contracts.

  14. Lisa

    reslez: Note I said ” a few good things”…not that many….

  15. Virginia Simson

    Every word you wrote is right on it.

  16. Guest

    As a card carrying gay, I take offense to the idea that Obama has stood up for gay rights. He engaged in plenty of supple gay baiting in 2008 within the black community. He might have been forced to stand out of the way eventaually while at the same time posing as a leader on the issues AFTER the fact. That’s not the same as leadership. As for the trans folks’ issues, I don’t follow those closely enough to say.
    Afaic, any liberal who thinks Obama is good, much less great, is only a liberal in the sense that Obama is a liberal. Which is not at all. They are just partially well intentioned twits whose good intentions are perverted by their smug self satisfaction.
    Also, lynch and holder are primarily responsible for the justice dept which at least is supposed to be independent of the prez. Of course he picked them because they are as compromise legislation as he is, but that is more indiect.
    Also, contra statements above,fines and penalties are NOT deductible for income taxes.

  17. DMC

    Vote Lucifer! Otherwise, SATAN WINS!

  18. Lisa

    And the conformation about Clinton comes out (as if we needed any) …bought and paid for by Wall St, neo-liberal and neo-conservative through and through:

    Lambert at Naked Capitalism sums it up nicely (
    “I believe I’ve mentioned to readers that my vision of the first 100 days of a Clinton administration includes a Grand Bargain, the passage of TPP, and a new war. So you can read the following as confirmation bias, if you will.”

    “Readers will of course be aware that the fiscal views intrinsic to Simpson-Bowles have been the perennial justification for Social Security cuts (“the progressive give-up formula”) and austerity generally. And if you think Democrat orthodoxy on SImpson Bowles has changed, see Robert Rubin today (below). If you buy Simpson-Bowles, you buy Social Security cuts.”

    “On trade (Banco Itau, 2013):
    Hillary Clinton Said Her Dream Is A Hemispheric Common Market, With Open Trade And Open Markets. *”My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, ”

    “On war, Clinton said (Goldman Sachs, 2013):
    Hillary Clinton Said One Of The Problems With A No Fly Zone Would Be The Need To Take Out Syria’s Air Defense, And “You’re Going To Kill A Lot Of Syrians.” ”

    The trouble is the US electorate in one way or another rejects all that and Trump was seen (and Sanders even more so) as the person to (maybe) change it. But, and and this is in some ways more important than his unsurprising misogynist revelations, his caving the religious right gives zero confidence that he’d stand up to the far more powerful neo-liberal, neo-con establishment if he got into power. A classic example of how you cannot select out individual policy positions of candidates, you have to look at the entirety and how they interrelate.

    The mistakes are amazing, all he had to do was stay middle of the road on social issues and bang on about the TPP, stay anti-war and pro US jobs, pick a half decent VP instead of a nutjob religious extremist and he would have won easily.
    But that caving cost him because in many critical to election quarters he lost any credibility and mobilised opposition by his extremist anti-women and anti-LGBTI positions when what he wanted was disaffected Dems (and similar) to stay at home.

    But it does mean an opening for a competent populist (hopefully a left wing one) for 2020 as Clinton will just keep doing the same old things. One way or another the GOP and Dem parties are going to change.. a lot.

  19. nony

    It’s 2016 and you’re just now figuring this all out? Well, I guess it’s better than nothing.

  20. Lisa

    Nony: You mean “conformation about Clinton” I was writing about how appalling Bill Clinton was ages ago and about Obama and don’t let me even start on Bliar.

    When everyone was nodding and agreeing with neo-liberal economics back in the 70s and 80s I was one of the few shouting that it wouldn’t work. Unlike most I have actually studied Smith, Marx, Keynes, Ricardo and all the rest

    Neo-liberalism is a political ideology, nothing to do with economics which is the laughable fig leaf put out, it was always about a certain model of society and returning to the pre Adam Smith rentier domination and creating a whole new class structure.
    Hence things like their opposition to manufacturing, which followed Hitler’s maxim intended for the German occupied counties, that manufacturing meant workers needing to be educated, encouraged workers political organisation and the growth of intellectuals.

  21. Z

    Trump’s nomination was always a reality show gone too far … and he obviously knew it. He did not want to win. He never expected to get the nomination when this campaign began. Who did? The election to him was all about having a podium for his ego. And then he started winning and the crowds started cheering and the Republican establishment starting coming out against him. And Trump likes a fight and a big stage … and he won. And since he won the nomination he has shown little desire to win the Presidential election. He doesn’t want to become president. He’d rather brag about how good of a president he would have been than lose his freedom and take the risk that he would fail. And he’s failed a lot in life … he’s just had the capital to bail himself out.


  22. Memory

    Ah, yes, Hoover. I remember the 5th grade class field trip to Hoover’s Presidential Library & Museum. My teacher was a huge history buff, and I do believe she tried to make us feel proud of that loser of a president. Even as a little girl, I knew she was bullshittin’ about that man’s greatness.

    Obama is to Hoover as ______ is to FDR.

    Nice post, Ian!

  23. Lisa

    Injecting some reality:

    ” There’s never been a candidate like Donald Trump—but after all the outrage and anxiety he has aroused, it looks like the Trump-Clinton electoral map will be almost exactly the same as the Romney-Obama electoral map of 2012. Right now, three weeks out, Trump is leading in all the states Romney won, according to, except for North Carolina; Clinton is leading in all the states Obama won, except maybe for Iowa. Obama won with 332 electoral votes; it looks like Clinton will win with about the same.”

    To overcome this ‘inertia’ a candidate need to have a broad appeal to (a) get those on the other side in the other states to vote for them and/or (b) to convince those who normally vote for the other side not to vote (or vote 3rd party).

    Trump was doing pretty well on that ably helped by the Clinton team, who managed to piss off so many Dem voters it is not funny.

    But, and I keep repeating, his #1 strategic mistake of cosying up to the religious right (RR) which ended that chance. At one stroke he polarised voters and motivated those ‘rather eat my left arm than vote Clinton’ Dems (etc) to vote and worse, from Trump’s point of view, actively seek out and lobby for votes because his policies on women and LGBTI people were so bad, pushing a lot into ‘survival’ mode.

    I mean if you are a US transgender person you are facing legal extinction if Trump gets in, that’s a motivator no matter how bad you think Clinton is. In fact if you are any LGBTI person you are facing the end of marriage equality and a massive wave of legal discrimination.
    As for women, facing the end of generally available and reasonably cheap abortion and probably not far behind it contraception, well it is going to get you up and out there. You add in their supporters, and the millenials who are fiercely pro LGBTI and women.. that’s a lot of people to piss off and motivate to work against you.

    In one fell swoop he alienated huge numbers of people, to gain the votes of those who he’d get anyway (who else were the RR going to vote for?) …not politically bright at all.

    And, for the more ‘thinking’ people, he showed that all his ‘pro US, anti-trade pact, anti-war, etc’ stuff was nonsense. If he caved so fast to the nutjob RR was he going to stand up to the dominant and far more powerful neo-liberal, neo-conservative Establishment when he got into power? Not a chance most would say… So he blew a lot of (all?) credibility with those people that he could have got on his side, or at least be neutral.

    So instead of working to cross divisions, which he did at first, he just went back to them and reinforced them. Same old, same old.

    A clear message for the next right wing populist that comes up, “stay away from the religious right” they are toxic to any chance of winning.

  24. Obama’s simply “being a politician”, that’s all.
    He’s doing what the “big boys” in power order him to do (“Or else!!!”).
    It may be a “Nuremberg Defense” on his part, but “a politician is a politician” and nothing more.

  25. nony

    Tal, I KNOW, they ALL do it , amirt? Gawl, what else is there?

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