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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

www.NationalView.org's Note From a Madman

September 23, 2008


700 Billion Used to Be a Lot of Money

"Although we are potentially providing $700 billion in available money to the Treasury, we don't anticipate that all that money gets spent right away and we don't anticipate that all that money is lost. How we're going to structure that in budget terms still has to be decided. Does that mean I can do everything that I've called for in this campaign right away? Probably not. I think we're going to have to phase it in."
-Senator Barack Obama to NBC's Today show

It's a telling and sad statement, true though it may be. For the past couple of days I've heard the Cable News talking heads complaining that the programs which both Senator Obama and John McCain would institute when one of them become our next president, would have to be curbed, delayed or eliminated due to the current financial crisis and ensuing trillion dollar bailout planned by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.

The thing is, the talking heads and Senator Obama are both right. Ambitious programs aimed at getting our economy going are going to be scuttled, or at least delayed in order to bail out Wall Street because their greed ran-amok. And the bailout is necessary no matter what those Libertarians who say "let the pieces fall where they may" or the Far Left who believe that those at the top are getting their comeuppance.

The reason to bail out Wall Street, from own perspective, is simple: To make sure that those employed by the financial institutions don't lose their jobs. But as a result of this bailout, programs aimed at getting America back to work, such as Obama's public works initiative which would create thousands of jobs while fixing our infrastructure (Even bridges to nowhere in Alaska?) are going to be put on the back burner. The money necessary to finance these projects will be, instead, spent on saving Wall Street and, as some think, avoiding another Great Depression.

Obama's mindset has been to not overreact while McCain's reactive and punitive. McCain, correctly, has described himself as less than an expert the past:

"I am not an expert on Wall Street. I am not an expert on some of this stuff,"
-McCain (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqsHdkFGTo)

Even true Conservatives (not like the NeoCons represented by the likes of Fox News Channel and those who have hijacked the Republican Party since 1980) realize that McCain is off-base with his economic plans to stem this tide:

"Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama,"
-Conservative George Will in today's Washington Post

For his part, Senator Obama had taken a wait-and-see posture hoping the Bush administration, through Secretary Paulson, would come up with a smart and creative means of distributing the initial $700 billion to keep the failed Bush economy afloat. Obama didn't believe that putting a third or fourth plan out there - one whose sole purpose was political - prudent. McCain, on the other hand, came out with his plan which included: A 9-11-type commission to "study" the debacle; and the firing of SEC Chairman and former Republican Congressman Chris Cox.

Cox has been described as McCain's "scapegoat" by such periodicals as Rupert Murdoch's own Wall Street Journal.

Maybe the editors at WSJ didn't receive the memo.

As it turns out, Obama's patience was the right choice. As Secretary Paulson put out a take-it-or-leave-it three-page proposal which allowed for no oversight and, by law, restricted the Congress from questioning his decisions on how the money is to be used, the Democrats through Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut (for one), came out with their own plan - a more transparent plan. As of today, Congressional Democrats and President Bush are haggling out the details. The two sides have agreed to put mortgage help for affected homeowners into the bill but President Bush is balking at allowing judges the power to lower mortgage payments or restricting CEO-types from using their "golden parachutes" and, in effect, stealing portions of the bailout money for their own wants and needs.

Transparency has never been a key part to any Bush policy. And it appears that it won't be so in a McCain-Palin administration. All one has to do is look north to see how Governor Palin is treating scandals as an "executive privilege" today as it relates to "Trooper-Gate."

Although most in the know, including Senator Dodd, think of Paulson as "the right man" for the job, the need for transparency is apparent, especially as it relates to the Bush administration's economic plans.

"The private sector got us into this mess. The government has to get us out of it. We want to do it carefully,"
-House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (DEMOCRAT-MA)

There's more to fixing our financial mess than meets the eyes and needs of the very rich. There's a need to see past wall street to Main Street, as the new saying of this near-Great Depression goes. We can' afford to leave billions of dollars to those who got us into this mess without putting reigns on them. We should require any of these wounded corporate giants' CEO's to offer up their resignation if they wish to participate in this more-than-generous program. They should leave without their golden parachutes and take those in their company's upper echelon with them. A steward, hired by the Federal government and approved by Congress, would then be put in charge of these corporations until they're ready - by our standards - to take control back once again.

Make no mistake, this is punitive and it is necessary. The rich, spoiled children of our financial institutions must be taught a lesson.

We have to take their toys away and make sure they never got to play the same way again.

And John McCain is not the parent to do it.

-Noah Greenberg

The Palinistas and the Paparazzi

The Paparazzi love Governor Sarah Palin. they don't care about substance or questions or policy or any of the things which leaders need to articulate in order to be proven great. Nope, they just point and shoot.

Kind of like moose hunting, if you ask me.

Governor Palin took a trip to New York City today with the goal of improving her foreign affairs credentials. Up until last year, Mrs. Palin didn't even own a passport and had never been out of the United States...

Not even to kill something in a foreign land!

The McCain campaign wanted to demonstrate that Palin had the necessary "experience" to deal with world leaders on a one-to-one basis and, to that end, wanted her to take a few photos and tape a few handshakes with those leaders. The only problem came when the reporters - make that "those darn reporters" - wanted to come in as well.

In a true Karl-Rovian exercise fitting for a President (Bush), Madam Photo-Op and her staff refused to allow those who might ask a question or two admittance into the various greeting areas of the United Nations where these made-for-TV events were staged.

One wonders how long it took for the McCain campaign stagers to teach Palin how to "look presidential" before they allowed her to be seen in this venue.

Although the reporters protested their exclusion, with the associated Press leading the way, the Palinistas stood firm. it wasn't until CNN removed their cameras from the premises that they allowed reporters and producers into the venue to sneak a peek.

CNN was being used as for pool video feed, you see, and if they weren't going to be there then no one would get to see Governor Palin strut her stuff.

A "miscommunication,"
"The decision was made for this to be a photo spray with still cameras and video cameras only,"
-Tracey Schmitt, a McCain campaign spokeswoman

Certainly that "decision" had been made to avoid the possibility that Palin might have been asked a question about the leader's nation she was meeting with. All one has to do is go back to the interview with ABC's Charles Gibson to know that the Palinistas were afraid that Palin might e asked a question that she could not answer. After viewing that interview we all know that this was a very real possibility.

Sarah Palin is the daughter of the NeoCon movement - that same NeoCon movement which has put us into the economic situation we are in today. She is merely George Bush in a skirt suit. As if it weren't bad enough that Senator McCain has completely subscribed to the Bush agenda (which we're struggling to survive today) "The Candidate Formerly Known as The Maverick" chose the one person in the nation most like George Bush himself.

And that person is none other than Sarah Palin.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to "Could SSI Fix the Economy?", Chris Tennant writes:

Great commentary, Noah!

This whole bailout scandal is totally outrageous!!! We cannot allow Paulson and his other wall street cronies in the Bush administration get away with this preposterous scheme that has the look and feel of another one of Bush, Cheney, Rove, McCain's, etc. deliberately created crises and the railroading through of a dubious strategy aimed at resolving it. That is, resolving it to the benefit of those who created the crisis!

I find your solution to be a very practical one and have always held that position myself. It is ludicrous that those who do not even need social security do not have to pay in more than 6200/yr. After all, where does the bulk of the rich's wealth come from? Primarily from the American consumer, who, I might add, pays more in taxes, on a relative basis, than do the rich. In fact, many of the moneyed class somehow manage to pay no taxes at all and to even rip others off in the process, as per Enron et al.

Just imagine how much difference it would make to our economy if the rich had to make a proportionate SSI contribution! It would even enable our country to provide health-care coverage comparable to that offered by other developed countries. However, at the rate this whole thing is going, the national coffers will soon be completely emptied and we will no longer have either Medicare or Social Security.

And Denise writes:

I have a thought (actually received this gem through an email I read yesterday). Why not just give each American citizen a couple of a million dollars (for that matter I would be happy with just a million) to start small businesses, buy healthcare, and have some purchasing ability (which we are losing now) etc. instead of bailing out the rich, wealthy wall street elite? People could use the banks such as Credit Unions and other banking institutions that were not a part of this greedy system and we could have a chance at becoming prosperous without incurring the huge debt the Bush Administration is wanting us to take on. This would be less costly, less risky (or equal risk) as bailing out the elite. There is a little over 300 million citizens, so we would also be saving almost 300 million dollars, so I guess we could buy the bad debt this know it alls are going to have us incur. Just a crazy wild dream, but I wish it would come true! Instead I guess we little peons can settle for getting back a mere $600 of the taxes we have already paid.

Oh yeah, I think it is amazing that an Administration that most Americans do not trust, would even suggest that we bail these elite out and have no authority or oversight on whatever the Treasury Secretary decides. Big joke - in their dreams!!!!

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-Noah Greenberg