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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

www.NationalView.org's Note From a Madman

November 17, 2008


"Turned a Corner" as the New "Stay the Course"

"Turned a corner". That's the new phrase being used as The Administration of Diminished Responsibility begins its going out of business sale and as it enters its final moments.

(I don't even see a corner!)

Sounds a bit like "Stay the Course," doesn't it?

Anyone who has been paying attention has noticed that members of the Bush administration have used quick one-liners from day one of their time in office for easy control over the US masses in an attempt at controlling the headlines during that time. We've heard things like "the rising tide will lift all boats, it just hasn't happened yet" and "the fundamentals of the economy are good" and watched as those were the last words at a press conference or used as "the message of the day" during the various talking head cable news shows.

Today, Secretary of the US Treasury Henry Paulson is using "turning a corner" in exactly the same way "stay the course" was used as a reason to keep our troops in harm's way in Iraq. And it's galling.

Paulson and SEC Chairman Ben Bernanke are appearing before Congress as they (Congress) exercise our right to oversight over the $700 billion earmarked for the financial industry. During that time, Paulson said he believes that we've "turned a corner" in our attempt to stop the bleeding the mortgage and housing crisis took to catastrophic proportions under their, and their Bush administration predecessors' watch.

Have we really turned that corner? Certainly the bankers don't feel that way. All one has to do is sneak-a-peek at the various market indicators to see it. Just yesterday Citigroup announced that it was "laying off" some 35,000 of its workers. Add that to already obscene number of Americans jobs lost this year (1.2 million) and those of us who have really been paying attention have to ask the question, "Huh?"

The idea of the $700 billion was to get credit dollars revolve around the nation again. So far, the nearly $300 billion spent to that end hasn't done a thing towards its end. But what's been worse is that those same giant financial corporations have decided that the best way they can "contribute" to fixing the economy is to fire many of their workers.

However, the financial giants aren't firing those who've made the bad decisions they made with our retirement accounts and such - they're firing their middle class workers instead. CEO's will still get their big bonuses as will those directly under them.

And they're going to get those big bucks with our $700 billion.

Why, this is a great country after all... for them!

Paulson and Bernanke are appearing before Congress in an attempt to sway the body not to give $25 billion of their financial friends' dollars to US automakers - the largest employer in the United States. And Paulson is using fear and intimidation as a warning to the Congress as he attempts to keep the money earmarked for his pals in his pals' wallets:

"If we have learned anything throughout this year, we have learned that this financial crisis is unpredictable and difficult to counteract,"

Is the Secretary of the Treasury suggesting that if we used what amounts to 3.5 percent of the allocated $700 billion to save our nation's largest employer that his banking buddies will get so furious that they will make the financial crisis they,  and the Bush administration created worse?

How much worse can it get? Revolutions began under better circumstances!

It's no wonder that Paulson's original bailout plan excluded any kind of Congressional oversight at all. Think back to the original proposal by the Bush Treasury Secretary. Do you remember it ye? Allow me to refresh your memory: The original three-page Bush-backed Banking bill gave Paulson charge over our $700 billion with no oversight nor any Judicial or Congressional review.

The 3.5 percents keeping US auto giants General Motors and Ford in business. This, in turn, will help keep many of their employees in jobs which our economy simply can't afford to lose. The 3.5 percent, if it were truly the difference-maker that Paulson wants us to believe it is, could partially be eased by CEO's and other corporate officers refusing to take their bonuses or returning their ill-gotten bonuses of 2007 which were based on their own faulty and inflated numbers.

In the end, I'd rather not bail out anybody and allow the free market to cleanse itself. But the situation we are in today requires that we save the jobs of the many and the expense of the whole (the entire nation). Directing all of the money towards the financial industry while they lay off their workers and refusing to save our nation's largest employer is just foolish.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to Ford and GM's predicament, Walter Lapham writes:

It seems to me that the Lack of competitiveness is in part the contracts for existing members and retired members.

Now is the perfect time to have the U.S. guarantee the health programs of GM and Ford and Chrysler. This money would be the start of universal health care. Congress should act and take the initiative. This would go a long way to correct the entire auto industry.

And David W. writes:

Rather than just bail out GM, the government should just let its stock keep on dropping. Then at some point use that 25 billion to buy controlling interest in the company. Then it should let the top execs know that their bonus this year is that they get to keep their jobs--cause there'll be no million dollar bonuses for driving the company into the ground. Next GM should be told to get 4-6 lines of hybrid vehicles ready by yesterday. Lastly... everyone in the country who buys a new hybrid vehicle should get a big time tax rebate. But more lastly, everyone who buys a US-made hybrid (you listening GM?) should get a bigger tax rebate. And Finally everyone in the country driving a car 10 years or older who trades it in for a US made hybrid should a really big tax rebate.

We need to get as many old gas guzzlers off the road as possible, and why can't US car manufacturers make and sell them? We've left it up to the big three and what has it gotten us? SUVs and Hummers and NO electric cars, and few hybrids... instead of waiting for the invisible hand of the Free Market to miraculously appear, why not just tell the newly nationalized GM to do it?

In response to the old GOP, Keith A. Dewey writes:

I agree. Wasn’t it nice back when… with a perfect Rob Roy in hand standing on the veranda of the country club (no liberal would be a member but we accepted invites) discussing the merits of unions or strong military, or what ever with facts and logic? Now we have to put up with religious fanatics, ignorant beer swilling cut off shirt trader flag tattooed buffoons. As long as they glorify ignorance and run on religious ideology the Republican Party will always be the minority opposition.

And in response to, "I want the GOP's members to be more like Chris Shays, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe than Tom DeLay, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell," Robert Scardapane writes:

Chris Shays is no more (Yes, I know - that was my point -NG)! He lost in the 2008 election to Jim Himes (D-CT). Collins and Snowe managed to survive the 2008 election. There are darn few GOP moderates. While the nation has moved to the center-left, the GOP continue to move to the right. Take a look at this graphic compiled comparing voting for parties in 2004 versus 2008. In general, most of the nation shifted center-left:


The GOP pundits can repeat the talking point that this is a "center-right" nation as much as they want. But, reality, shows that it is now center-left. McConnell barely won his election. DeLay is history. Boehner is next on the hit list if he doesn't change his ways because people in Ohio are tired of the same old GOP political bunk.

In response to, "So the good news is: It took the Democratic Party 40 years to regain the majority -- to win by more than 50% (Clinton only won thanks to Ross Perot's 3rd party candidacy)," Victoria Brownworth writes:

An important correction: In 1992, Bill Clinton won 370 electoral college votes and won 32 states plus the District of Columbia. George Bush won 168 electoral college votes and 18 states. Ross Perot won NO STATES and NO ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTES. In 1996, Clinton won 379 electoral college votes, 31 states plus the District of Columbia. Bob Dole won 159 electoral college votes and 19 states. (Dole's home state of Kansas was the state that went for Dole instead of Clinton.)

In 2008, Barack Obama won 365 electoral college votes, 29 states and the District of Columbia. John McCain won 162 electoral college votes and 21 states.

Sorry, but Ross Perot in no way gave Bill Clinton the 1992 election and he still holds the Democratic record for most states and electoral college votes won since FDR.

Historical facts matter. I would not want to see someone later take Obama's historic victory away from him, either.

And Madman responds:

One could certainly argue that Ross Perot's inclusion in the '92 election stole votes from Bush(41). Some 1992 polls had the race won by George H. W. Bush when they asked voters about a two-man race.

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-Noah Greenberg