Green Means \”Impeach\”


Bailout Madness!

According to this story in The New York Times, Washington was in a state of utter chaos on Thursday ¾ or, as Sean O’Casey would have said, “a state o’ chassis¾ over the proposed bailout, using taxpayer money, of the thieves and frauds of Wall Street. Actually the Times piece reads more like a Monty Python skit (see my post on Michael Palin, below), so full of demented dialogue and comic bits of business was the account (given by an eyewitness and several people briefed later) of the negotiations that went on in the White House, as both Democrats and Republicans tried to make up their minds how best to steal the people’s hard-earned cash. The POTUS, George W. Bush, was actually quoted as saying, “If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down.” Apparently, the “sucker” to which Bush was referring was the American financial system as a whole, not John Q. Citizen… but I suppose that interpretation might also make sense.

Who put a stop to what had originally been planned as the biggest, fastest swindle on record? Was it Barack Obama or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who declared that this act of highway robbery would not stand? Of course not. Exactly as occurred during the failed Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Myers, it was Bush’s own party that balked ¾ to the Democrats’ shame. No less a right-wing bigwig than House GOP Leader John Boehner came out publicly against the bailout, putting forth his own cockamamie plan that involved the use of government-backed insurance to purchase the failed banks’ mortgage-based securities. According to the article, for several days conservative Republicans on the Hill had fretted that a government intervention of such magnitude would serve as “a step down the path to socialism.” (If only…)

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (who, contrary to popular opinion, is unrelated to the late comedian and presidential candidate Pat Paulsen) made a desperate attempt to save his $700 billion bailout plan. His zeal was understandable, since the proposal, which eliminates all possibility of Congressional or judicial oversight, would have made the Secretary, whose lax supervision of the markets helped bring about the mess in the first place, a kind of tsar of the American economy. In the heat of the moment, Paulson in the Roosevelt Room actually got down on one knee before Pelosi, not to propose marriage but to beg her not to “blow it all up” by withdrawing her support for the bailout. To this, Pelosi was reported to have quipped, “I didn’t know you were Catholic.” (I’m not making this stuff up!) Then she added, all too accurately: “It’s not me blowing this up, it’s the Republicans.”

The real comic relief, though, was supplied by John McCain. Big John suddenly decided that he was so indispensable to the process that he suspended his campaign ¾ canceling and then uncanceling his scheduled appearance at Friday’s televised debate with Obama, with the McCain campaign stupidly declaring victory in an ad in the Wall Street Journal before the debate even took place ¾ and speeded to Washington to save the day, like a political superhero. When he got to the Big Meeting in the Cabinet Room, however, he had practically nothing to say, which is not surprising, as he apparently did not bother to read Secretary Paulson’s plan, which is all of three pages long and widely published on the Internet. Obama ¾ the smart imperialist to McCain’s buffoonish one ¾ reportedly “peppered” Paulson with questions without committing himself, and after this seasoning lambasted his opponent at a news conference for kibitzing where he wasn’t wanted. What is truly revolting, however, is what the Times article revealed in passing: that (if the Republican leadership is to be believed) the Democrats cynically tried and failed to “jam through” an agreement on Thursday morning ¾ one that would have cost every man, woman, teenager and toddler in America over $2000 ¾ just to deny McCain the opportunity to participate in the negotiations later on and possibly gain some political capital. 

The Times itself is clearly in favor of the biggest possible bailout as quickly as possible, ostensibly to avert a recession ¾ I thought we were already in one ¾ without taking into account such perils as inflation, or even hyperinflation. (That $700 billion has to come from somewhere, and since no sane politician is going to advocate the raising of that much money in new taxes, the cash would have to be produced by the government simply printing more money, devaluing the dollar yet further.) The prospect of America repeating the history of Germany in the 1920s, when ordinary people had to trundle their wildly inflated wages home in wheelbarrows, has now become by no means an improbable one. By throwing a monkey wrench into the bipartisan deal, Representative Boehner may have committed an inadvertently patriotic act.

By contrast, Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney has come up with an eminently reasonable proposal, one that favors ordinary Americans, not the masters of Wall Street. In her essay, Seize the Time, McKinney proposed the following list of steps (by no means exhaustive) to deal with the crisis:

  1. Enactment of a foreclosure moratorium now before the next phase of ARM interest rate increases take effect;
  2. Elimination of all ARM mortgages and their renegotiation into 30- or 40-year loans;
  3. Establishment of new mortgage lending practices to end predatory and discriminatory practices;
  4. Establishment of criteria and construction goals for affordable housing;
  5. Redefinition of credit and regulation of the credit industry so that discriminatory practices are completely eliminated;
  6. Full funding for initiatives that eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in home ownership;
  7. Recognition of shelter as a right according to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, to which the U.S. is a signatory, so that no one sleeps on U.S. streets;
  8. Full funding of a fund designed to cushion the job loss and provide for retraining of those at the bottom of the income scale as the economy transitions;
  9. Close all tax loopholes and repeal of the Bush tax cuts for the top 1% of income earners;
  10. Fairly tax corporations, denying federal subsidies to those who relocate jobs overseas; repeal NAFTA.

So progressives have a critical choice this year. They will have to decide whether they want to give their vote and support to Cynthia McKinney, a candidate with fresh ideas who is not beholden to the money men (and if McKinney receives just five percent of the total vote on Election Day, the Green Party would then become a major force in U.S. politics), or an intelligent yet empty agent of the corporate state like Barack Obama. If they don’t choose correctly, the “sucker” may indeed “go down.”

Forget Sarah Palin! Choose Michael for Vice President!

Yes, indeed, Sarah Palin, John McCain’s pick for V.P., is certainly babealicious! (One thing we know about McCain is that he has a keen eye for the ladies, as his first wife, who was an invalid when he cheated on her post-Vietnam, discovered long ago.) But what about slightly more pressing qualifications for Vice President, like intelligence, talent and knowledge of the world? We think McCain missed his big opportunity here. We believe that Big John chose the wrong Palin. He should have picked Michael Palin!

 

Michael Palin, Comedian, TV Writer, Filmmaker, World Traveler

Michael Palin, Comedian, TV Writer, Filmmaker, World Traveler

 

 

Everybody, of course, remembers Michael Edward Palin, CBE, as perhaps the funniest member of that wonderful group of zanies, Monty Python’s Flying Circus. But he is much more than that! As the creator of an acclaimed series of travel documentaries, Oxford graduate Palin is truly a man of the world. Whereas Sarah Palin, like our current Fearless Leader, probably couldn’t find the Himalayas on a globe, this man has actually been there and made a mini-series about his experiences. Thus, he would have been uniquely qualified to bring both wit and gravitas to the GOP ticket – qualities that the Republicans need desperately. There’s also the sex-appeal factor: once voted the best-looking Python, Palin has had rapturous female fans literally faint in his arms. So Michael’s allure for female voters would have been at least as strong as working mother Sarah Palin’s could ever hope to be. Of course, there’s the awkward fact that Michael would have been constitutionally ineligible for the job, having gotten himself born in England, in some godforsaken place called Ranmoor in Yorkshire (wherever that is). But since when has either establishment party let a technicality like the Constitution get in its way? After all, not a single American war since 1945, including our current misadventure in Iraq, has been legally sanctioned by a formal Congressional Declaration of War, as Article One of the US Constitution requires. Compared to that violation, choosing a non-American as Vice President would be, as the Brits themselves say, “small beer.”

Also, in choosing the young, unfledged Governor of Alaska as his running mate, John McCain has proven yet again that he’s just another lying bastard politician. After swearing up and down that he would choose the smartest and best-experienced person for the job, to whom does he turn? A first-term Governor of a state incredibly remote from the centers of power. A woman whose most impressive pre-Gubernatorial experience (moose-hunting aside) is having served as mayor of a town so tiny it makes Cicely — the fictional small town of the TV series Northern Exposure — look like Chicago by comparison. A politician who actually asked, in a TV interview, “…what is it exactly that the VP does every day?” and then had to hear her interviewer patiently explain, “It’s a pretty big job, Madame Governor… You’d be surprised by how big the veep job is these days!”  Since McCain, if elected, would be three years older than even Ronald Reagan was when he was elected, one would think that the problem of selecting the best person to stand “a heartbeat away” from the most powerful office in the world would be somewhat more pressing for him than the average candidate. But today no consideration – none – trumps the Machiavellian demands of power politics.  

The big lesson of this electoral season, in fact, is that you can’t believe a word that comes out of any establishment candidate’s mouth. Consider the following:

  • Obama, after countering accusations of lack of experience with the unarguable claim that good judgment, such as voting against the Iraq War, trumps mere experience ever time, selects as his running mate the old war hawk (and hack) Smilin’ Joe Biden, who not only voted for the war, but served as chairman of a committee, in the run-up to the war, that held a “sham hearing,” refusing to call for testimony from dissenting voices like that of former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, and all but rubber-stamping Bush’s mad decision. (This crime is compounded by the fact that, as mentioned above, going to war was not even Bush’s decision to make, but Congress’.)
  • Hillary Rotten Clinton, after her unprecedented betrayal of her party in the primaries – when she bluntly declared that her “friend,” the Republican’s presumptive nominee, was more qualified to be president than her primary opponent – has now totally reversed herself, claiming that not only is Obama fully qualified to be president, but that McCain (who is still her “friend”) has become the “twin” of the utterly incompetent George W. Bush.
  • McCain and the Republicans, after fifteen years of vilifying Hillary Clinton as the devil’s spawn, for all the wrong reasons, now shed crocodile tears of sympathy over her supposedly heartless treatment at the hands of the Democrats. (The last time I checked she was beaten fair and square, probably because of her support for the war, though I guess we’re not supposed to mention that.) They are so sad about this, in fact, that they want to make it up to the women of America by nominating their own “strong feminist candidate” as V.P. – a smiling cipher whose political judgment is even more dubious than Clinton’s. The craven, lying mainstream media is already calling Governor Palin a “maverick,” though she’s more of a standard-issue Repug than even her running mate: both “pro-life” and pro-death penalty – what the Lord giveth, the State taketh away – and, of course, pro-Iraq War and anti-Iran, she even supports drilling in ANWR.

But who is the worst, most pathetic liar of all, worse than Clinton, Obama or even McCain? The American Voter, who constantly lies to himself/herself, in the crazy belief that all these professional liars will suddenly start telling the truth once they get into office.

Meanwhile, there is a presidential candidate who has consistently told the truth: Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party. She was right about the Iraq War. She was right in her suspicions that Bush was warned about 9/11. She is right about universal healthcare. She is right about the government’s shameful treatment of Katrina victims. The definition of insanity is to make the same choice over and over again and expect a different result. This year, choose sanity. Vote Green!