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The Fed, AIG, Congress, Third Party Candidates and the Debt

by : William Hughes
Saturday September 20, 2008 - 20:10

“We seek an...investigation and audit of ‘The Fed.’” - Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr (1)

On Sept. 16, 2008, Ben S. Bernanke, the Chair of the Federal Reserve, aka “The Fed,” along with the Treasury Secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., made a trip to Capitol Hill. Why? It was a courtesy call to brief the hapless politicos of the U.S. Congress, such as Senate Majority leader Harry Ried (D-NV) and House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). “The Fed” had agreed, on its own whim, to loan American International Group, (AIG), $85 billion! It was, at that moment, the largest financial intervention in our nation’s history. Absorb this salient point: Congressional leaders found out about it, “only after” the deal was done! They had no say in the massive bailout. Yet, it was $85 billion of the taxpayers’ money!

Under the Constitution, all revenue measures are required to originate in the House of Representatives. What specific law, pray tell, authorized a private entity, “The Fed,” to create a debt of $85 billion, payable by the American taxpayers, to bailout AIG, an insurance company? Is there any limit at all on how much indebtedness this unelected clique, at “The Fed,” can impose on the public? In writing about “The Fed,” author William Greider said: “[They decide] who shall prosper and who shall fail.” (2) Well, isn’t about time that this shadowy outfit, this ultra Temple of Banking Secrets, is strictly regulated by the Congress and/or disbanded?

Background: The rescue of AIG comes on the heels of the government’s takeover of mortgage behemoths Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and then, the bailout of Bear Stearns—a Wall Street investment/banking firm. All are “private”—not public—institutions. Lehman Brothers, another Wall Street titan, was forced into bankruptcy as a result of the credit crash. Meanwhile, the brokerage house of Merrill Lynch was the subject of “a salvage sale.” Query: Does anybody on Capitol Hill know for sure what the potential liability is to the taxpayers for any and all of these particular transactions covertly orchestrated by “The Fed?”

Sadly, this is the same reckless M.O. that the Congress followed with respect to the Iraq War. In Oct., 2002, it wrongly granted to President George W. Bush, Jr., the authorization to use military force against Iraq on certain conditions. It did so despite the fact that the Constitution explicitly grants to the Congress alone, “the power to declare war.” Now, over five years later, the illegal and immoral conflict, and occupation, will cost taxpayers an estimated $3.5 trillion dollars, while the death toll of U.S. troops, currently at 4,168, continues to mount. When it became clear that Bush’s pretext for going to war with Iraq was based on lies—935 of them to be exact—the mostly spineless Congress chose not to bring him to account, via an impeachment proceeding. (3)

The reaction of the presidential nominees from the Democrat and Republican Parties to this ugly financial crisis is telling. Both Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain have opted for taking a “bipartisan” approach. Obama, also, has taken large contributions from both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. This means neither man will be rocking the boat. This isn’t the case, thankfully, from four of the “Third Party” candidates running for the presidency in 2008.

On September 10, 2008, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), a true maverick, convened a press conference, in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club. Its purpose was to show that “60 percent of the American people are dissatisfied with their presidential choices...This could be the year that the Third-Party option brings in a big chunk of the vote,” explained Rep. Paul. Participating in the event were Ralph Nader, Independent Party; Cynthia McKinney, Green Party; and Chuck Baldwin, Constitution Party. Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party, couldn’t make the press conference, but he did sign on to the important “Statement of Principles.” (1)

In that historic document, the Third Party candidates, on the issue of the “The Fed,” said: “We seek a thorough investigation, evaluation and audit of the Federal Reserve System and its ‘cozy’ relationship with the banking, corporate and other financial institutions. The ‘arbitrary power’ to create money and credit out of thin air ‘behind closed doors’ for the benefit of commercial interests ‘must be ended.’ There should be no taxpayer bailouts of corporations and no corporate subsidies. Corporations should be aggressively prosecuted for their crimes and frauds.” (1)

These same gutsy Third Party candidates also took on the DemRepublicrats’ standard bearers, with respect to the failed foreign policy of the Bush-Cheney Gang. They declared: “The Iraq War must end quickly as possible with the removal of all of our soldiers from the region. We must initiate the removal of our soldiers from around the world...and cease the war propaganda, threats of blockade and ‘plans for attacks’ on Iran.” Rep. Paul emphasized, as did each of the Third Party candidates: “Pretending that ‘a true difference’ exists between the two major candidates is a charade of great proportions...The truth is that our two-party system offers no real choice...” (1)

Getting back to AIG. It’s a “private” insurance conglomerate, one of the largest in the world. IT’S NOT A BANK! (4) It was once headed by the controversial Maurice Greenberg. He’s supposedly a crony of Henry Kissinger, who he retained as a consultant, via Kissinger Associates. (5)

Who are the key players? Well, Benjamin Shalom Bernanke is a well connected ex-college professor of economics. “Spiegel” magazine, (March 26, 2008), thought that after he became “The Fed” chair, he was “crazy” for continuing to pump “easy credit into the system.” What about Paulson? He was a CEO, on Wall Street, with Goldman, Sachs, beginning in 1974. Earlier, he was at the Pentagon and the White House, too, under the Nixon-Agnew regime. Paulson is reportedly worth over $700 million! (4) (6)

Some experts have seen this economic/money debacle coming from miles away. Charles R. Morris, in his tome, “The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers and the Great Credit Crash,” put it this way: “Credit is the air that financial markets breathe, and when the air is poisoned, there’s no place to hide.” In the riveting book, “Greenspan’s Bubbles: The Age of Ignorance at the Federal Reserve,” the authors William A. Fleckenstein and Frederick Sheehan, accused Alan Greenspan’s “bizarre monetary policies” of creating one “bubble” after another. They said it was like he was tossing “gasoline on a fire.” The grossly inept Greenspan was in charge of “The Fed” from 1987 to 2006. (7)

On Sept. 19, 2008, the Security and Exchange Commission, (SEC), ordered a temporary ban on the practice of “short selling,” aka as, “Hedge Funding,” or “Hedge Bets.” They are a financial device utilized for “betting” in the derivative market. They have been labeled by one critic as “high stake bookmaking.” Despite the concerns, Greenspan not only went along with their use, but he “promoted” them as a way to improve “risk management.” (4)

When reflecting on the present Banking/Credit related meltdown, I couldn’t help but think of “Old Hickory,” Andrew Jackson. He must be turning over in his grave down at “The Hermitage,” just outside of Nashville, TN. He was president of the U.S. from 1829-1837. Jackson hated the idea of a Federal Central Bank almost as much as did the sight of British Red Coats. (8) I can only imagine President Jackson’s reaction if he could get his hands on that slippery Greenspan. He would surely give him a good caning as punishment for royally screwing up our finances.

At press time, “The Fed” and the Treasury Department were preparing a Mother of All Bailout schemes directed towards rescuing the toxic debts from Wall Street’s and banks’ balance sheets. The cost could exceed $1 trillion dollars! On this proposal, unlike others in the recent past, they are requesting specific congressional approval. Weasels in the Congress are promising to pass the suggested legislation quickly, just like they did the USA Patriot Act, without any robust or meaningful debate. (9)

Finally, author Greider, in an interview with journalist Bill Moyers, on NPR, on July 18, 2008, had a lot to say about “The Fed,” the Congress, and the ongoing financial crisis. He thinks: “We have an opening [now] for a deep transformation in American politics...We are in the ‘shock’ of reality. And, people get it everywhere...In the next few years, you’re going to see both political parties floundering...But [change] will require people...to get out of their sort of ‘passive resignation’...and be willing to punish the political powers...[in order] to get a place in the debate...and to force the ‘changing values’ of the system.”

Notes:

1. From “A Statement of Principles,” authored by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZEd... 2. “Secrets of the Temple” by William Greider. 3. http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/ 4. http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/i... 5. http://911review.org/Sept11Wiki/Gre... 6. http://www.slate.com/id/2143018/ 7. http://www.americanchronicle.com/ar... and http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/... 8. “The LIfe of Andrew Jackson: Old Hickory” by Burke Davis. 9. “Bailout,” Baltimore Sun, Sept. 20, 2008.

©2008, William Hughes, All Rights Reserved.

William Hughes’ videos can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user.... His latest book, “Saying ‘No’ to the War Party,” is available on Amazon. Email Contact: liamhughes@comcast.net.



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