Barack Obama - Caricature
(image by DonkeyHotey)
Greg Palast headlined at his site on August 7th, "How Barack Obama could end the Argentina debt crisis," and opened:
"The 'vulture' financier now threatening to devour Argentina can be stopped dead by a simple note to the courts from Barack Obama. But the president, while officially supporting Argentina, has not done this one thing that could save Buenos Aires from default. Obama could prevent vulture hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer from collecting a single penny from Argentina by invoking the long-established authority granted presidents by the US constitution's 'Separation of Powers' clause. Under the principle known as 'comity', Obama only need inform US federal judge Thomas Griesa that Singer's suit interferes with the president's sole authority to conduct foreign policy. Case dismissed."
Singer is a major funder of the Republican Party. Palast's report attributes this fact to Singer's trying to buy that Party's support in Singer's duel against Argentina:
"Since taking on Argentina, Singer has unlocked his billion-dollar bank account, becoming the biggest donor to New York Republican causes. He is a founder of Restore Our Future, a billionaire boys club, channelling the funds of Bill Koch and other Richie Rich-kid Republicans into a fearsome war-chest dedicated to vicious political attack ads. And Singer recently gave $1m to Karl Rove's Crossroads operation, another political attack machine."
Palast implies that Obama is merely trying to induce Singer to throw his money to the Democratic Party instead of to the Republican Party. Palast says: "There's a price for crossing Singer. And, unlike the president of Argentina, Obama appears unwilling to pay it." Obama is doing this because he's afraid of "crossing Singer"?
But that's just nonsense. Obama isn't afraid that Singer will donate to Obama's political opponents. The Singer money, if that were the case, would supposedly be coming to the Democratic Party at this time when Obama is no longer running for any political office -- Obama's already in his final term of office. Political donations wouldn't be to his benefit anymore.
Furthermore, Singer isn't a Republican only after he became embroiled with Argentina. He has a long and deep history of funding not just the Republican Party but the Heritage Foundation and others of its far-right think tanks. Moreover, on 3 February 2012, Palast himself headlined "Romney's Billionaire Vulture," about "'The Vulture' Singer and why he needs to buy the White House." Oh, so Paul Singer needed Romney to win in order to be able to control the White House? Really? Obama was Singer's enemy? So, why then was Singer the financial angel of Republican Rudolph Giuliani? That's before Obama's Presidency.
In fact, up through the end of 2013, Paul Singer had politically donated $7,909,427, of which 99.6% went to Republicans. And that record goes all the way back to 1990 if you click on "View all campaign finance data for Paul Singer" and download it.
Palast's hypothesis is simply absurd.
Palast's report continues:
"Obama's devastating hesitation is no surprise. It repeats the president's capitulation to Singer the last time they went mano a mano. It was 2009. Singer, through a brilliantly complex financial manoeuvre, took control of Delphi Automotive, the sole supplier of most of the auto parts needed by General Motors and Chrysler. Both auto firms were already in bankruptcy.
Singer and co-investors demanded the US Treasury pay them billions, including $350m ( 200m) in cash immediately, or -- as the Singer consortium threatened -- 'we'll shut you down'. They would cut off GM's parts. Literally.
GM and Chrysler, with no more than a couple of days' worth of parts to hand, would have shut down, permanently forced into liquidation.
Obama's negotiator, Treasury deputy Steven Rattner, called the vulture funds' demand 'extortion' -- a characterisation of Singer repeated last week by Argentina President Cristina FernÃ¡ndez de Kirchner.
But while FernÃ¡ndez declared 'I cannot as president submit the country to such extortion,' Obama submitted within days. Ultimately, the US Treasury quietly paid the Singer consortium a cool $12.9bn in cash and subsidies from the US Treasury's auto bailout fund.