January 2, 2012 by Russ Baker
Is it just me or does anyone else find it poignant how isolated the president is? Has very few friends, and fewer all the time?
Is it just me or is anyone else curious about the only real outsider in his shrinking circle of friends? Robert Wolf?
From the New York Times article titled “Obama Gains Reputation as Distant in Washington”:
Mr. Obama, in general, does not go out of his way to play the glad-handing, ego-stroking presidential role. ….more often than not, he keeps Congress and official Washington at arm’s length, spending his down time with a small — and shrinking — inner circle of aides and old friends.
…His social life runs toward evenings playing Taboo with old friends and their families, Wii video games with his wife and daughters or basketball with Robert Wolf, a banker and the rare new best friend Mr. Obama has acquired since entering politics…..
Speaking of Taboo, the Times resolutely insists on never going beyond a brief mention of Mr. Wolf—never bothering to consider what it means that a powerful banker, and one from an especially problematical bank, should be one of the only people who Obama will spend time with.
Who is Robert Wolf? Well, we’ve written about him a few times. Here, when Obama took him on vacation, and here, when we wondered if Obama would whisk him off to an intimate golf foursome for the third year in a row (Yup). Now, its not just golf, but basketball. Oh, and serving as one of Obama’s official economic advisers.
Wolf, it should be noted, helped Obama become president, corralled big bucks for his campaign in 2008, and is doing it again.
Oh—and he runs the US branch of a pretty dirty bank (and that’s saying a lot), which encouraged massive tax evasion by the richest Americans.
Here are some of the tricks UBS used to hide assets of extremely rich Americans from the IRS (and may have cost US coffers $100 billion), as described by an angry Sen. Carl Levin:
Tax Haven Bank Secrecy Tricks
• Code Names for Clients
• Pay Phones, not Business Phones
• Foreign Area Codes
• Undeclared Accounts
• Encrypted Computers
• Transfer Companies to Cover Tracks
• Foreign Shell Companies
• Fake Charitable Trusts
• Straw Man Settlors
• Captive Trustees
• Anonymous Wire Transfers
• Disguised Business Trips
• Counter-Surveillance Training
• Foreign Credit Cards
• Hold Mail
• Shred Files
UBS paid $780 million to avoid prosecution. Do the math on a $780 million payment on a $100 billion crime.
One wonders what Wolf tells his fellow banker friends about Obama and what he will do in a second term. “Obama will create greater economic equality””? “Obama will get money out of politics”? “Obama will finally give the 99 percent a say in our democracy”? “Obama will clamp down on corporate and wealthy tax cheats”?
Wolf is a banker, part of the “permanent government,” the “one percent,” the corruption of democracy. It is poetic justice to learn that he makes his home in a New York City suburb called “Purchase.”
It is “friendships” like this that allow the federal government to ignore their own Federal Reserve economists when they urge that taxpayer money bail out taxpayers, not zillionaire bankers.
Ok. We’ve mentioned Wolf, UBS and Obama enough. Now, ask yourself. Are you satisfied with a corporate media that doesn’t bother to investigate outfits like UBS and the exact nature of its relationship with a president who not so long ago was promising “Change we can believe in?”
Or do we deserve better? If you agree we deserve better information and more vigorous digging from our media, please CLICK HERE and help create journalism that answers to…us.