Why are conservative Republican’s speaking the truth about this Wall Street fiasco but our Democratic leadership acts like sheep herding the flock to the wolves? I was outraged when during the recent debate Senator Obama pegged the war in Iraq at costing us 0 billion and complained how THAT had dangerously sapped our national strength, but then went on to mutter his way through support for a TRILLION raid on our national treasure by Wall Street greed mongers. Obama, Pelosi and Reed are about to hand out to Wall Street and Bush and Company the same unfathomable amount of money we just squandered in Iraq? Holy crap, Batman! I thought. We’d better do something.
If this crisis is so profound why have the Dems not floated a single serious alternate proposal? Where are their thinking caps? Are they so in bed with the rich they can’t see the evil in this deal? Don’t they have the stomach to stand up to Wall Street’s threats? Or are they merely being arrogant? (“Can’t give the people options, they will get confused.”) And where are the Trumps, the Gates, and the Walton’s with their billions and billions? Where is all the cash the Wall Street execs and their minions have pilfered? Why isn’t that being offered up to solve this problem?
Here’s a news flash: if Wall Street is REALLY in such dire straits the rich have the money to bail themselves out. I have met the rich and they can give up a house or five or ten, a private jet or two, a yacht here or there, easier than you can afford this. McCain alone could put up the first 0 million and still have million left over. Why aren’t the rich volunteering to “help” Wall Street avert the alleged calamity we are facing? Because they didn’t get rich by paying their fair share or helping others, they got rich by making OTHER people pay.
So just what is going on and what should we do about? Hell, even me sitting here in Traverse City, Michigan can come up with a few options beginning with JUST SAY NO! to this bail-out boondoggle legislation.
The Power of 'No' and the Need to Keep the Pressure on Congress
by Common Dreams (reposted) Tuesday Sep 30th, 2008 7:30 AM
Incredible! This time, when the People spoke, Congress listened.
At least 228 members of the House listened. They voted early this afternoon to reject the Bush Administration's scaremongering, and the cowardly Democratic Congressional leadership's attempt at ducking and covering by attaching some meaningless verbiage to what remains a case of legalized highway robbery. At least for the moment, the bailout scam is killed.
Earlier in the day, the Congressional switchboard was jammed. You could get through, but it took a dedicated finger on the redial button of your phone. Operators at the Capitol say it's been that way for a week now, as Americans across the country have been flooding their Congressional delegations with phone calls (and emails) urging them to vote "No" on the Bush/Paulson Wall Street bailout.
That today was no exception, even after Democratic Party leaders (and both major party presidential candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama) had bought into the plan following their adding of some window-dressing measures designed to make it look more palatable, showed that the public is not being fooled (calls were reportedly running better than 9:1 or more like 999:1 against a bailout, perhaps more like 99:1).
People see clearly that this proposal is a trillion-dollar giveaway to the very people who have been hollowing out and destroying the US economy for over a decade or more by convincing both parties to let them do whatever they want to get rich, free of any kind of significant oversight or regulation.
As Nobelist economist Joseph Stiglitz has written of this outrageous rip-off, there are four problems facing the financial system, and the bailout proposal only addresses one--getting the toxic mortgages off the banks' books and onto taxpayers' hands. Left unsolved is the gaping hole in banks' balance sheets in the form of loans made to people and companies which cannot be repaid, which will mean they still won't start lending money again. Left unaddressed too is the continuing collapse of housing prices, which will inevitably lead to more bank collapses even after the bailout. Finally, Stiglitz says there is the general loss of faith in the financial system--a major crisis which the bailout will also not solve.
Stiglitz doesn't even address a fifth problem which is that this trillion-plus-dollar boondoggle (and when you add in the bailouts of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, Bear Stearns, the multiple mega-bank failures and the pending auto-industry bailout, you're already talking .5 trillion and counting), all of it with borrowed money, the stage is being set for a collapse in the US dollar, with consequences that will reverberate through the economy. Consider: if the dollar collapses, as many experts say is almost inevitable with this kind of huge addition to the national debt, oil prices (which are set in dollars) will soar to compensate, the price of all the other goods that Americans import--more than half of everything we use in daily life thanks to the decimation of American manufacturing--will rise dramatically, and ultimately, in an effort to stem the bleeding, interest rates will have to be raised, thus bringing what's left of the economy to a grinding halt.
All of this is readily predictable--and indeed a group of over 200 prominent economists has written Congress joining Stiglitz in opposing the bailout plan--but that doesn't matter to the proponents of the bailout in Washington. What they want is to get past Election Day, and the bailout may do that, unless the public gets really aroused.
The tsunami of calls and emails to Congress, and last week's nationwide demonstrations against the bailout suggest that the public is waking up to this looming disaster and to the fact that they are being sold a bill of goods.
But it ain't over yet. We can be sure there will be arm-twisting now to try and get 12 members of Congress to change their votes and win passage in the House (the Senate, where two-thirds of the members aren't facing election for two or four years, will probably pass the bill easily). A continued expression of public outrage and of a promise of retaliation at the ballot box against those who vote for the bailout needs to be expressed.
If you haven't made an effort to call your two senators and your representative to demand that they vote "No" on this bailout, do it now (the number is 202-225-3121 or 202-224-3121), and don't give up when you get a busy signal. That's a sign that you are not alone. Just keep hitting "redial" until you get through. At that point, get the operator, before switching you, to give you direct numbers for your three members of Congress, so you can bypass the main switchboard number after that. If you did call, call again and say you don't want anyone changing their vote to become a bailout backer.
Unlike the 2002 rush to war against Iraq, we've shown that this latest bum's rush can still be stopped. We did stop it.
To make your next call more impactful, make sure you tell each member of your congressional delegation that any yes vote on the bailout means you will vote against them next election. To read about this strategy, go to:
ThrowThemAllOut.com...and then spread the word.
Keep the pressure on!
And don't forget to contact the Obama campaign too. How embarrassing for candidates Obama and McCain, who both got suckered into backing the bailout, which it is now abundantly clear the American people recognize as a ripoff.
PS: Imagine if the same kind of pressure had been brought on Congress back in October 2002 when Bush was scare-mongering Congress into approving a war against Iraq. We'd have 4500 young Americans still alive, 40,000 other young Americans would still have their limbs and other body parts. A million-plus Iraqis would still be alive. And the country would have an extra 0 billion with which to deal with the current economic crisis.
Dave Lindorff is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin's Press, 2006). His work is available at; http://www.thiscantbehappening.net http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/09/29-8
Texas S & L bankruptcy collapse revisited
by blast from the past applies today
Tuesday Sep 30th, 2008 11:20 AM
Just wanted to remind everyone of a similar disaster from corporate criminals that happened during the 80's, the collapse of the Texas Savings and Loan and the taxpayer bailout for lost pensions. There are of course different reasons for the current bank/mortgage failures, though the corporate criminals are performing much like before. The actors in the TX S & L collapse were Micheal Milkin, Ivan Boesky and Charles Hurwitz. Both Milkin and Boesky were indicted, though Hurwitz remained free as CEO of MAXXAM Holding Inc. and went on to raid the pension of Pacific Lumber (PL) employees and engage in clearcut logging of the region's ancient redwoods..
The FDIC was supposed to investigate Hurwitz for his role in the TX S & L collapse yet were discouraged from doing so by Doolittle/Pombo who were the recipients of his lobbyist dollars. After Doolittle/Pombo derailed the FDIC from their investigation, Hurwitz and MAXXAM Inc. boasted record profits while the corporation they took over (PL) recently went bankrupt and were 80 million in debt, though MAXXAM showed profits every year since the PL takeover. This is the sort of future people will have if the current batch of banking/mortgage/securities CEOs are given the green light in the form of taxpayer bailout..
some background on TX S & L;
"The roots of the FDIC's investigation into Hurwitz and Maxxam stretch back to the mid-1980s, when the Texas financier, working with the now-defunct junk-bond firm Drexel Burnham Lambert, engaged in business dealings that involved a Texas savings and loan institution called United Savings.
After United Savings went belly-up in 1988, costing taxpayers .6 billion, the FDIC and other federal regulatory agencies started trying to figure out who should be held responsible.
While various federal agencies were poring over Hurwitz's affairs as a result of his involvement in that S&L collapse, he was counter-punching in federal court, where he filed a 1997 lawsuit against the FDIC for what amounts to bullying.
In these entwined legal battles, Hurwitz has won on most counts. Although he paid one fine of 6,000, the federal bank agencies dropped their investigations, and Hurwitz went into the appellate court Tuesday as the victim - while the FDIC had to argue that the Texas judge who sided with Hurwitz had erred in finding the federal agency a bully.
"The district court's opinion was inaccurate and unfair," FDIC lawyers argued in their brief, saying that it looked into Hurwitz's role in the S&L collapse after it had learned "that enormous financial loss (had) resulted from (Hurwitz's) wrongful acts."
article found @; http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2007/Hurwitz-FDIC-Fine8aug07.htm
A Donor Who Had Big Allies
By Richard A. Serrano and Stephen Braun
The Los Angeles Times
Sunday 08 January 2006
"DeLay and two others helped put the brakes on a federal probe of a businessman. Evidence was published in the Congressional Record.
Washington - In a case that echoes the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal, two Northern California Republican congressmen used their official positions to try to stop a federal investigation of a wealthy Texas businessman who provided them with political contributions.
Reps. John T. Doolittle and Richard W. Pombo joined forces with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas to oppose an investigation by federal banking regulators into the affairs of Houston millionaire Charles Hurwitz, documents recently obtained by The Times show. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was seeking 0 million from Hurwitz for his role in the collapse of a Texas savings and loan that cost taxpayers .6 billion.
The investigation was ultimately dropped.
The effort to help Hurwitz began in 1999 when DeLay wrote a letter to the chairman of the FDIC denouncing the investigation of Hurwitz as a "form of harassment and deceit on the part of government employees." When the FDIC persisted, Doolittle and Pombo - both considered proteges of DeLay - used their power as members of the House Resources Committee to subpoena the agency's confidential records on the case, including details of the evidence FDIC investigators had compiled on Hurwitz.
Then, in 2001, the two congressmen inserted many of the sensitive documents into the Congressional Record, making them public and accessible to Hurwitz's lawyers, a move that FDIC officials said damaged the government's ability to pursue the banker.
The FDIC's chief spokesman characterized what Doolittle and Pombo did as "a seamy abuse of the legislative process." But soon afterward, in 2002, the FDIC dropped its case against Hurwitz, who had owned a controlling interest in the United Savings Assn. of Texas. United Savings' failure was one of the worst of the S&L debacles in the 1980s."
article found @; http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/010806Y.shtml
The fear factor of the Wall Street losses of 777 (is God Allah sending U.S. a message with this special number?) points off the Dow may serve to push for a bailout plan by any means neccesary, though if people stay strong and resist the urge to cave in the to bailouts proposed by the GW bush regime something good may come out of this all. Let's not forget that people have overcome greater obstacles and there are enough locally owned credit unions that can absorb the brunt of the losses and replace the ineffective corporate chain banks and mortage/securities firms on Wall Street that are begging for billions in bailouts..
The recent losses on Wall Street may simply be threats from the banking corporations that make up the "or else..." portion of GW's warning claim that we'll need to sponsor these corporate CEOs with our tax dollars or face economic tragedy..
What was that about those missing WMDs in Iraq (or else...)? Links between Saddam and Bin Laden (based upon confessions gained from torture of senior al Queda operative Al Libby, another "or else" from GW). There was once a story about a little boy who cried "Wolf!", and after many false alarms the little boy lost his credibility with the villagers. Even if the "wolf" is at our doorstep in the form of economic collapse, the villagers have lost their trust in "little boy George W." after so many other false alarms, and the negative results of falling for those false alarms.
"Hey ya'll, how 'bout follerin' me into this deep swampy quagmire and looking for WMDs!"
Let's not get caught in GW's quicksand again!!