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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

www.NationalView.org's Note From a Madman

September 21, 2008


The Parallel

We've all heard it before. We've heard the Bush administration and the mouthpieces they rely upon to get out their word, that since we're in Iraq we must stay in Iraq. It's the "Stay the Course" strategy that has lost us over 4,000 US military personnel and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. They tell us that, no matter what the reason or who's fault it might be (as if we all don't know who's fault it is, President Bush), we must stay in Iraq to complete the job or that nation will come apart at the seams. Colin Powell called it "Pottery Barn Rules": If you break it (Iraq), Mr. President, you bought it."

What then-Secretary of State Powell didn't know back then was that his "Pottery Barn Rules" applied to the Bush economy as well. The US economy - this Bush US economy - has been put in its current position by rampant deregulation, tax breaks for the ultra-rich Bush "base of haves and have mores" and a corporate free-for-all designed with the purpose of creating record profits and keeping those on top, on top.

Certainly now we are in a position where it appears that we have to supplement the very rich investor class with our middle-class tax dollars. We can no longer allow one or two investment banks to go out of business because the current problems affect them all. As a result of that effect, jobs will be lost, along with medical insurance, pension accounts and people's life savings - the savings they need to retire upon.

Now the Bush administration says that they have the answers for the policies which put their economy in this horrific position. They are telling us that there's nothing we can do about what has already been done. This time they're even admitting that "mistakes had been made", although, like the war in Iraq, they don't admit to any of those mistakes themselves. They say that they will fix it, but it will take time. If that doesn't, somehow, sound familiar, it should - it's the same thing that they say about the Iraq war.

And while the Bush economy tanks and our President, finally, gets down to work (giving our tax dollars to Wall Street instead of paying for health care, jobs programs or the things most of us wish those tax dollars would go to) our candidates for President have taken different paths in looking at the problem. Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic Candidate for President , advised his campaign's economic team to allow Treasury Secretary hank Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke the ability to put out their answer to the economic crisis without comparisons to a plan which they might put out. Senator John McCain, the Republican Candidate for President, took a different road: He demanded that the head of the Securities and Exchange Commissions Chairman, Christopher Cox, roll by his feet:

"The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the president and, in my view, has betrayed the public's trust. If I were president today, I would fire him,"

The problem here is that the culture of greed, which has been the primary culture of the Bush administration, has been so since they took office in 2001. Former Rep. Cox has been the chairman only since 2005 and has had little to do with the lack of rules and regulations which McCain wants him fired for.

In fact, McCain's own campaign employs three of the authors and early supporters of the Culture of Greed. They include Charlie Black, Rick Davis and, worst of all, former Senator Phil Gramm (REPUBLICAN-TX).

Gramm, who authored the 262 page bill stuck into another bill which relaxed the rules and allowed the banks to do as they want. Gramm also was instrumental in allowing all types of financial institutions the ability to enter the then-lucrative mortgage industry. Perhaps there is no one more responsible for the collapse than McCain's friend and chief financial advisor Gramm for the current mortgage-investor collapse we have today.

Senator Gramm, as of late, has been kept silent by the McCain campaign for his comments about the American people. He stated that the American people are only perceiving economic problems - that we were experiencing a "mental recession" and that we were a people who were "constantly complaining" - a "nation of whiners".

Perhaps it's different today now that the Bush-McCain "base of haves and have mores" are a part of the "whining".

The attacks on the truth and the other similarities between Iraq and the economy are astounding, and you don't have to look to hard to see it. it's just too bad that McCain can't see it, too.

-Noah Greenberg

And More on McCain's Views on "Regulation"

'I'm always for less regulation.' "
-John McCain

McCain's campaign is crying foul about this particular quote being used by his Democratic opponent, Senator Barack Obama, so I wondered if McCain had a point. After all, this campaign has been riddled with lies and out of context quotes; and McCain, himself, has been chastised in the media this past week for telling so many fibs about Obama (along with running mate Governor Sarah Palin) that I thought I should check it out.

After viewing the question by the Wall Street Journal interviewer to Candidate McCain, and the whole answer, I've come to the conclusion that McCain is ore dangerous than I had previously thought.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: In 1995, when the Republicans won control of both houses of Congress, you proposed a regulatory moratorium, but couldn't get it passed. Would you declare such a moratorium if you were president?

MCCAIN: I'm always for less regulation. But I am aware of the view that there is a need for government oversight. I think we found this in the subprime lending crisis -- that there are people that game the system and if not outright broke the law, they certainly engaged in unethical conduct which made this problem worse. So I do believe that there is role for oversight.
As far as a need for additional regulations are concerned, I think that depends on the legislative agenda and what the Congress does to some degree, but I am a fundamentally a deregulator. I'd like to see a lot of the unnecessary government regulations eliminated, not just a moratorium.
I've thought more on the area of deregulation rather than a moratorium.

MADMAN: The problem here isn't that McCain changes his mind, flip-flopped, had a change of heart, or whatever you want to call it, the problem is that had McCain gotten his way back in 1995, the current situation might have come a lot sooner than today. McCain wanted to get rid of government regulation as soon as the Republicans took control of Congress and, had he had a Republican president to team up with, he might have gotten his wish.

McCain is, today, for regulation of some sort, but still believes in using it in the way which President Bush, his would-be predecessor used it: Sparingly.

When McCain says he's for more "deregulation" today rather than a "moratorium", the only reason he could possibly say that is because he still believes that the greed run-amok policies of the Bush administration are still the way to go.

"How much regulation is too much regulation?" would have been a good follow-up question by the Journal. Too bad it didn't come.

The McClatchy News Organization has taken Senator Obama to task for his use of the McCain quote. But they are dead wrong and all one has to do is read into their own article to see that (http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20080919/pl_mcclatchy/3049920_1). The McCain quotes below, printed by McClatchy say it all:

MCCLATCHY: In 2002, for example, he pushed for tougher corporate-accounting standards after the scandals at Enron and other corporations. "I have long opposed unnecessary regulation of business activity, mindful that the heavy hand of government can discourage innovation. But in the current climate, only a restoration of the system of checks and balances that once protected the American investor, and that has seriously deteriorated over the past 10 years, can restore the confidence that makes financial markets work," McCain said.

MCCLATCHY: In 2006, he called for tighter regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , the two federally chartered, privately run mortgage giants that the government now has taken over. "If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system and the economy as a whole," McCain said.

McClatchy then offered up the WSJ quote (printed above).

McCain is a "close to barn door after the horses are all gone" kind of politician. Sure he's for regulating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac AFTER the problems have already surfaced. And sure he wants to "restore checks and balances" now only AFTER the banking industry hit its lowest mark since The Great Depression.

McCain had his chances to insist upon the regulation - meager as they would be - to control the various greed-oriented policies of the Bush administration. Instead he chose not only to vote with the President over 90 percent of the time but to adopt his (Bush's) own tax schemes for the Bush (now McCain) "base of haves and have mores" as his own.

McCain was against regulation before he was for it; McCain was against the greatest tax break for the fewest Americans in our history before he endorsed it; and McCain was against lobbyists before he hired three Active lobbyists into his campaign.

I can tell you what went wrong AFTER my favorite team loses a close game. I know the winning lottery numbers AFTER they're printed in the morning newspaper. It's easy to be a Monday Morning quarterback when you get to see the field AFTER the game is played.

And it's all john McCain has.

If McCain wins this election, it will be another four years of reactionary politics for show rather than proactive policies for us Regular Joe's. It's proactive thinking that this nation needs and McCain, by his own words, just can't offer that.

-Noah Greenberg

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-Noah Greenberg