Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bill Moyer and William Greider Join the call for a New Way Forward

March 27, 2009 For years best-selling author William Greider sounded the alarm about Washington's unholy alliance with Wall Street and the failure of the Federal Reserve and other regulators to take preventive measures to avoid disaster. Now, he offers some suggestions to the question everyone is asking: "What do we do now?"

BILL MOYERS: I read just this morning that there's a nation wide grassroots protest planned for April 11th.

WILLIAM GREIDER: I know some of those kids.

BILL MOYERS: They're young people who want to take on banking reform, and reform the financial systems, as a campaign, an ongoing witness.

WILLIAM GREIDER: I know. They call themselves A New Way Forward.

And you can find them online. But I actually knew a couple of the organizers. I've been talking to them, for some years. And they're full of, you know, just...

Young people are part of my optimism. They're smart kids, want to be engaged in their times, see the injustices of their society. And they don't quite trust the great, big existing organizations. And with some good reason, as you know. And particularly, they're not totally sold on the Democratic Party as the vessel of reform.

WILLIAM GREIDER: I've been very enthusiastic about his opening as President. He did the stimulus package and a number of other things that's fulfilling his promise. On this, he does seem absolutely committed to restoration of the old order. There's no other way to say it. And this- these things Secretary Geithner is saying this week and others have been putting out, all confirm that.

I think that's a huge mistake, financially ... and then somewhere down the road people are going to learn that the investors, so called, are reaping 20 double digit returns on this money with almost no risk at all to themselves. And whether that works or not, people will be outraged. Again, as the returns come in. And I think should be. And outrage right now might just get the Congress to slow down a bit, calm down, we want reform, but we want it done right. And we want it done for the public interest, not for the old order.

WILLIAM GREIDER: President Obama and if the Democratic leaders in Congress follow along, he'll put the Democratic Party on the wrong side of history. At this critical moment. What we ought to be seeking, the goal of reform, and government aid, is creating a new financial and banking system, of many more, thousands more, smaller, more diverse, regionally dispersed banks and investment firms. That's first obligation is to serve the economy and serve society. Not the other way around. What the administration's approach may be doing is consecrating too big to fail, for starters. Which, of course, everybody in government denied was the policy until the moment arrived. And secondly, and this will sound extreme to some people, but I came to it reluctantly. I fear what they're doing, not intentionally, but in their design is setting the crown for a corporate state.

WILLIAM GREIDER: The corporate state is here. And I'd say, let's not argue over that. The fact is, if the Congress goes down the road I see them going down, they will institutionalize the corporate state in a way that will be severely damaging to any possibility of restoring democracy. And I want people to grab their pitch forks, yes, and be unruly. Get in the streets. Be as noisy and as nonviolently provocative as you can be. And stop the politicians from going down that road. And let me add a lot of politicians need that to be able to stand up. Our President needs that to be able to stand up....
.... that's what, I hope for now. That people of every stripe will stand up and say, we love you Mr. President, but you don't have it right yet. And we're going to bang on your door until you get it right.

Our first political challenge is to disturb business as usual in Washington and prevent Congress from taking hasty action to adopt Wall Street's "reform" agenda. Congress is rattled by the exploding popular anger and listening nervously. The people need to speak louder--loud enough for the president to hear.

Alternet: Powerful Banks and Government Handouts to the Rich: It's Time for Protest

Sign the petition please!

This is the lead petition drive for a real solution, along the lines suggested by Paul Krugman. The Obama administration and Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner are going down the wrong path for America and must be stopped.

Go to the petition at and then join the local protest movement in April at

The people's plan:

NATIONALIZE: Insolvent banks that are too big to fail must incur a temporary FDIC intervention - no more blank check taxpayer handouts. (see Paul Krugman on nationalization)

REORGANIZE: Current CEOs and board members must be removed and bonuses wiped out. The financial elite must share in the cost of what they have caused. (see Simon Johnson on reorganizing)

DECENTRALIZE: Banks must be broken up and sold back to the private market with new antitrust rules in place - new banks, managed by new people. Any bank that's "too big to fail" means that it's too big for a free market to function. (see Mike Lux on decentralization)

"You are the ones perceived — understood in a visceral and even transcendent way — as the committers of what is becoming class economic rape. And heed this one word before these people grow weary of forgiving you, and instead decide to bring the “good life” — which you have built on their backs — crashing down on top of your heads: Enough!" (full transcript)

I don't know about you, but I'm way past weary - its time for the pitchforks!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Congressman Jim McGovern on TARP

As of today, H.R. 384 was voted in the House and its now up to the Senate. To follow, see:
TARP Reform and Accountability Act and
Taxpayer Protection Act
at OpenCongress.

Our hero on this is Senator Byron Dorgan [D, ND], who introduced s195:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cash for Trash

OK, I admit that I shamelessly took this post from Alternet's Hey Paul Krugman post, but I couldn't resist.

There were a number of us "Progressive Democrats" who met with Congressman McGovern in December to provide copy & conversation on our "Priorities for the 111th Congress." One does have to try at least. I gave Jim a copy of Paul's book
The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008,
which Jim thanked me for. If Jim read the book, and took it to heart, then maybe in some small way I've contributed to the debate, now raging.

So what's that all about, simply put, you may (or should) ask? Its about who's U.S.Treasury is it anyway? Before you answer, "its ours, the American people," be forewarned. The answer is in Paul's book, that the U.S.Federal Reserve (a private banking conglomerate) assumed control some time ago - its why Goldman Sachs chairman Henry Paulson got the job under that neocon criminal cabal infecting our government for the past 30 years.

The hope of course, for us ever optimistic progressives, is that Barack Obama would make a real difference of authority and control. The verdict is still out on that, but its not looking too good right now. Paul Krugman is on the front line, on "our" side. Against the forces of the Shadow Banking System. Instead of nationalizing the bad debt and privatizing the U.S.Treasury, Paul wants to nationalize the good assets - the banks, and privatize the bad debt, leaving the perpetrators of this financial crisis to flounder under the weight of their sins. Think AIG.

I'm all for leaving the laws of karma to work. But Congress legislated us into this mess to begin with, by lifting all restraints on banking in the first place. Now we expect them to fix it? Really? For more on this, consult Paul Krugman:
Paul Krugman on the "Cash for Trash" Program

Sunday, March 22, 2009

2009 Massachusetts Democratic Party Platform

PDW members participated with other PDA members in the state to compose language for the new party platform. Unlike is previous years, the platform is being scraped and rewritten in its entirety. The March 7th statewide PDA meeting in Worcester initiated the process, where various issues were discussed as possiblities, a plank committee was formed and a decision made to focus on three primary planks. Here are those planks in final form:

Health Care, Not Warfare:

The Democratic Party of Massachusetts supports reduced U.S. military spending, an end to America's wars in the Mideast, and an end to the occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. We advocate that America use an international multilateral approach to resolving conflict and attend to our own domestic agenda, especially on human health and welfare. Our foremost domestic priority is the creation of a comprehensive, single payer, guaranteed health care system, similar to Medicare.
The Democratic Party of Massachusetts calls upon all elected Federal and State officials to make single payer health care a legislative priority. Our goal is to create a health care agency with a single source of funding, administered by a non-profit government agency, and accountable to the public, which pays for all medical services and affirms the primacy of the doctor-patient relationship, the values of physician patient medical decision-making, and medical privacy. This single payer agency is designed to replace the 1500 private health insurance companies that currently do this work, each with its own profit stream, bureaucracy, complicated policies, and process for negotiating with medical providers.
To help fund a comprehensive single payer health care agency, U.S. military spending must be cut by a minimum of 25% by 2010 and funds redirected to the domestic agenda - health care, not warfare.

A Green New Deal:
Two of the urgent crises which confront the world are a grave threat to the environment from human-caused global warming, and a collapsing world financial and economic system. The Massachusetts Democratic Party calls upon our elected officials to affirm the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and to enact environmentally sound national legislation, in keeping with the exemplary Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
* Enact the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, increasing America's domestic energy capacity, including energy efficiency, conservation, progressively tougher CAFE standards, and large scale renewable energy development,
* Enter an international treaty on climate change prior to 2012, that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions a minimum of 80% by 2050, and reduce atmospheric carbon at a maximum of 350 ppm by the end of the century
* Enact a national Renewable portfolio standard) and a national cap & trade system for carbon emissions
* Build out a "smart", highly distributed, and reliable electricity grid

In this process we will create a clean and sustainable energy future, create millions of green collar jobs rebuilding and reinvesting in a new American and Massachusetts economy, and do so in a way that supports full social, environmental and economic justice here and abroad.

Restore the Rule of Law:
The Massachusetts Democratic Party calls for the passage of legislation to require complete transparency at all levels of government - local, state and national - regarding matters of justice, substantive policy, and political process.
We call for passage of legislation to guarantee all citizens the opportunity and power to affect the direction of all public enactments.
We call for legislation upholding and protecting the rights of individuals under the Constitution wherever they have been found to have been weakened, undermined or allowed to become moribund.
We revere the Constitution of the United States and find abhorrent acts contrary to its intent, such as excessive executive privilege leading to "preemptive" war.
We instruct our Congressional delegation to support and work for the appointment of a special prosecutor to hold any person at any level of government to account for:
* willfully violating the laws and the Constitution,
* willfully violating the rights of citizens and the rights guaranteed to foreigners under international treaties,employing or advocating torture,
* waging illegal wars with wanton disregard for the lives and safety of civilians, and
* ignoring, bypassing and/or sabotaging the laws, resolutions and subpoenas issued by the Congress of the United States.