Filed under: Business/Economy, December Volume 1 - 2008, Front Page News, International | Tags: Brad Sherman, G20, Havel, Kucinich, Paul Craig Roberts
By Muhammad Ahmad
Islamic Post Staff Writer
President-elect Barack Obama made a rare pre-inaugural call in November for the support of Congress, when it reconvenes January 6, for a two-year economic stimulus program. The announcement reflects the seriousness of the situation, an “economic crisis of historic proportions,” in the words of the president-elect, and worse than previously believed. President-elect Obama has emphasized that aides, like New York Federal Reserve President, Timothy Geithner, who is now the treasury secretary designate, are to seek the consultation of congress for the passing of the bill so that, following the January 20 inauguration, his team can “hit the ground running” on the long road to repair the economy.
Although the team has been working closely with President Bush to ease the transition, the president-elect opted out of the November 15th G20 summit in Washington, D.C. The summit was expected to “discuss cooperative measures for responding to the global economic meltdown and ways to prevent future crises,” as stated by the AFP. The agenda was set primarily by leaders in the European Union.
Some believe the G20 summit, which included names like Brazil, South Korea and Indonesia, along with the United States and the usual European players, was in a rush to pile on more of the same fiscal policies that lay at the root of the current problem. In an interview with The Associated Press, Vaclav Havel, the former President of Czechoslovakia, emphasized leaders should pay more attention to the lessons of the current crisis before moving forward. “It’s a warning against the idea that we understand the world, that we know how everything works,” said Mr. Havel. “It’s a warning against the pride of economists who think they understand everything and have the whole world… mapped out.”
In the opinion of the former democratic leader of the eastern European nation, who was instrumental in toppling communism, in that country, in the late 1980’s, “the major problem is where modern civilization is going.”
He could be correct.
Western European leaders, headed by France and the United Kingdom, heralded a new world financial and monetary order just before the summit, one which would give more regulatory powers to the International Monetary Fund.
While the EU Observer reported the final conclusions of the Washington summit “came well short of delivering any construction of a new global financial architecture,” the summit did, however, agree to grant more powers to the International Monetary Fund, the global symbol of financial lending bound by “conditionalities,” or preconditional performance targets.
Before the summit, British prime minister, Gordon Brown, spoke of “very large and very radical changes.” According to Mr. Brown, the summit was set to address plans in which the bailouts of financial institutions –$2.3 trillion dollars in the case of the European Union– would simply be preliminary moves to “global action as sweeping as that which gave birth to the United Nations, the World Bank and the IMF in the 1940s.”
Yet, critics state that the bailouts, even as a first step, hardly address the problem. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary to the U.S. Treasury, said, “All it [the bailout] does is take troubled financial assets off the books of the banks and puts them on the books of the United States Treasury, that is [to say], puts them on the taxpayers’ books.”
While governments in Latin America have been criticized severely for nationalizing natural resource industries, that had been primarily in the hands of foreign investors, the European Union now owns majority shares of European banks, and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s purchase of $125 billion in banking assets means that it now owns 55% of the country’s banking assets.
Two of the most well known nationalizations of private entities are the buyout of primary lenders, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as the country’s largest insurance company, American International Group (AIG).
Anthony Perez of the Epoch Times reported, “Despite growing criticism, U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson defended the U.S. bailout plan as ‘necessary.’”
“Government owning a stake in any private U.S. company is objectionable to most Americans—me included,” Secretary Paulson recently said. “Yet, the alternative of leaving businesses and consumers without access to financing is totally unacceptable.”
The EU has also faced an overwhelming amount of backlash from their efforts towards a new order, with EU leaders reportedly risking their political standing for the European bailouts.
Apparently the same goes for U.S. congressmen, whose approval rating was only 18% before the economic crisis, and by some estimates has now fallen to 10%.
“From a capitalistic standpoint,” Representative Dennis Kucinich told Fox News from Capitol Hill, “[the bailout] actually destroys the idea of a free market economy.”
A more palpable solution, said former Assistant Treasury Secretary Roberts, lies with mortgage defaults. “The only way to address the problem is to address it at the homeowner level,” the former assistant secretary to the Treasury said, “What they should have done is what they did in the 1930s during the Great Depression. They created a homeowners loan corporation. They refinanced all the mortgages and they saved the housing sector.”
Part of President-elect Obama’s stimulus package includes help for the millions of Americans who remain in jeopardy of losing their homes.
“We will review the implementation of this Administration’s financial program to ensure that our government’s efforts are achieving their central goal of stabilizing financial markets, while protecting taxpayers, helping homeowners and not unduly rewarding the management of financial firms that are receiving government assistance,” stated the president-elect in his first press conference after winning, by a landslide, on the premise of change.
–Shahida Rasheed and Abdul Hamid A. Aziz contributed to this report.
SPEAKING ON THE ECONOMY, What the critics said about the first bailout, as other rescue attempts ensue:
CONGRESSMAN DENNIS KUCINICH OF OHIO: “We are now facing the perfect financial storm. The elements are the deficit spending for the war … the lack of serious investment in our country and now $700 billion to Wall Street. We are being hollowed out.”
CALIFORNIA CONGRESSMAN, BRAD SHERMAN: “A few members [of Congress]were even told that there would be martial law in America if we voted no. That’s what I call fear mongering, unjustified, proven wrong.”
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY TO THE U.S. TREASURY: “All it [the bailout] does is take troubled financial assets off the books of the banks and puts them on the books of the United States Treasury, that is [to say], puts them on the taxpayers books.”
Filed under: July Volume II - 2008, National, Politics | Tags: Impeachment, Kucinich
By Mubeen Khaleel, Islamic Post Staff Writer
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who has been presenting articles of impeachment for U.S. President George W. Bush, left off his presidential bid in January to run for re-election to Congress. He is shown here (center with wife, Elizabeth) on an interfaith mission to Syria.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) stated in an official press release last month, after presenting 35 articles of impeachment to Congress, “Now it is incumbent for the Judiciary Committee to review the evidence. If it fails to hold any hearings on the resolution within the next thirty days, given the gravity of the charges and the moment, I will once again bring a similar privileged resolution of Impeachment to the House. We must not only create a historical record of the misconduct of the Bush Administration but we must make sure that, any future Administration is forewarned about the Constitutionally prescribed limits of executive authority and exercise of power contravening the Constitution,” he concluded.
Fulfilling his promise, Kucinich brought a single impeachment article entitled, “Deceiving Congress with Fabricated Threats of Iraqi WMDs to Fraudulently Obtain Support for an Authorization of the Use of Military Force Against Iraq,” earlier this month.
In the July 10 presentation, Kucinich listed 10 direct quotes by President George W. Bush to Congress to substantiate the war effort. The congressman alleged that while contradictory information was in the possession of the White House, various cabinet members also made similar claims a total of 34 times.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich then quoted from a variety of government agencies and fact-finding committees who had presented facts demonstrating that Iraq was not a threat.
“In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent.” –Senator Jay Rockefeller
Kucinich’s efforts were scaled down by Congress, however, with the House voting 238-180 to send the matter back to the House Judiciary Committee. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, sees an impeachment proceeding as divisive to congressional Democrats who are seeking re-election, hence it was ruled that the Committee may discuss abuse of power by the president or the White House, but they may not actually vote to impeach.
Congressman Kucinich recently warned his colleagues about becoming a debating club.
Committee Chairman John Conyers of Michigan, however, views the hearings –which were set for July 25– as an important step. “Over the last seven plus years, there have been numerous credible allegations of serious misconduct by officials in the Bush administration,” Conyers said, “At the same time, the administration has adopted what many would describe as a radical view of its own powers and authorities. As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I believe it is imperative that we pursue a comprehensive review commensurate to this constitutionally dangerous combination of circumstances. Next Friday’s hearings [those of July 25]will be an important part of that ongoing effort.”
After the June 9 four- hour introduction to the congressional body of a reeling 35 Articles of Impeachment, Ohio Congressman approved the referral of 35 Articles of Impeachment to committee, “The sheer volume of the Articles required a referral to provide Members with an opportunity for review,” Dennis Kucinich said.
He presented his next impeachment article after the 30-day period expired. He promises to continue pursuing the matter until the issue is taken seriously.
Kucinich’s government website quoted the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Jay Rockefeller, as having commented sometime after the introduction: “In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.”
The index of the impeachment article titles are as follows:
(1) Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq, (2) Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of Aggression, (3) Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Manufacture a False Case for War, (4) Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Posed an Imminent Threat to the United States, (5) Illegally Misspending Funds to Secretly Begin a War of Aggression, (6) Invading Iraq in Violation of the Requirements of HJRes114, (7) Invading Iraq Absent a Declaration of War, (8) Invading Iraq, A Sovereign Nation, in Violation of the UN Charter, (9) Failing to Provide Troops With Body Armor and Vehicle Armor, (10) Falsifying Accounts of U.S. Troop Deaths and Injuries for Political Purposes, (11) Establishment of Permanent U.S. Military Bases in Iraq, (12) Initiating a War Against Iraq for Control of That Nation’s Natural Resources, (13) Creating a Secret Task Force to Develop Energy and Military Policies With Respect to Iraq and Other Countries, (14) Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency, (15) Providing Immunity from Prosecution for Criminal Contractors in Iraq, (16) Reckless Misspending and Waste of U.S. Tax Dollars in Connection With Iraq and U.S. Contractors, (17) Illegal Detention: Detaining Indefinitely And Without Charge Persons Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Captives, (18) Torture: Secretly Authorizing, and Encouraging the Use of Torture Against Captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Other Places, as a Matter of Official Policy, (19) Rendition: Kidnapping People and Taking Them Against Their Will to “Black Sites” Located in Other Nations, Including Nations Known to Practice Torture, (20) Imprisoning Children, (21) Misleading Congress and the American People About Threats from Iran, and Supporting Terrorist Organizations Within Iran, With the Goal of Overthrowing the Iranian Government, (22) Creating Secret Laws, (23) Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, (24) Spying on American Citizens, Without a Court-Ordered Warrant, in Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment, (25) Directing Telecommunications Companies to Create an Illegal and Unconstitutional Database of the Private Telephone Numbers and Emails of American Citizens, (26) Announcing the Intent to Violate Laws with Signing Statements, (27) Failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas and Instructing Former Employees Not to Comply, (28) Tampering with Free and Fair Elections, Corruption of the Administration of Justice, (29) Conspiracy to Violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965, (30) Misleading Congress and the American People in an Attempt to Destroy Medicare, (31) Katrina: Failure to Plan for the Predicted Disaster of Hurricane Katrina, Failure to Respond to a Civil Emergency, (32) Misleading Congress and the American People, Systematically Undermining Efforts to Address Global Climate Change, (33) Repeatedly Ignored and Failed to Respond to High Level Intelligence Warnings of Planned Terrorist Attacks in the U.S., Prior to 911, (34) Obstruction of the Investigation into the Attacks of September 11, 2001, and (35) Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders.