Buyer's Remorse, Economic Collapse, Oligarchs, and War
Buyer's Remorse, Economic Collapse, Oligarchs, and War
By Cynthia McKinney
First of all, I'd like to announce that I'll be on http://www.wpfw.org radio in the morning at 7:00 on Hodari's show. I'll be on live from Haiti. I hope those of you who can will tune in.
Of late, I'm been approached by four types of voters: one voter type knew about our Power to the People campaign and enthusiastically supported it. They find themselves in the position of not wanting to say, "I told you so" too loudly, but certainly say it among themselves and to each other.
Increasingly, though, there's another type of voter that is contacting me, expressing "Buyer's Remorse" for having supported candidate Barack Obama. These voters can be futher subdivided into three categories: those who voted for Obama, not knowing very much about our Power to the People campaign; those who voted for Obama, knowing a lot about Rosa, me, and the Power to the People campaign, but who chose instead to vote for Obama out of fear of a McCain/Palin White House; and finally, those who knew about our Power to the People campaign and were hostile to it because they were suspicious that our campaign was designed to deny the White House to candidate Obama--the spoiler campaign. Fortunately and hopefully, because of the integrity with which we ran our campaign, those in this latter category are few in terms of their numbers in communication with me.
For me, the number of people contacting me expressing regret for having voted for Obama is a double-edged sword. That is, it indicates that prior to the election, we were not able to seal the deal with a significant number of our natural voters. There are many reasons for that, but being severely underfunded lies at the base of that failing. However, on the other hand, these expressions of "buyer's remorse" indicate that people knowingly allowed themselves to be swept into the voting booth and vote against their values.
I am happy that more and more people are freely expressing their support for the platform of the Power to the People campaign. I am extremely happy that more and more people express their interest in supporting me in another political endeavor, be it another Congressional or White House run. I am particularly pleased that people are willing to explore the possibilities that politics outside the box of two-party conformity can provide. But I have to admit that I am saddened by the fact that so many people fail to understand that in the transaction of a political election, there is no warranty for "buyer's remorse." The crescendo of well-financed political propaganda is all geared toward achieving the desired result on election day and there is no denouement. The desired result is to have as many voters as possible stay within the political confines of either of the two special interest parties because their candidates have already been vetted and have agreed to certain restrictions in the area of public policy. That's why our Power to the People campaign was the only one talking about instituting full employment and a living wage, subsidizing education through college so that students would not have to take out loans to go to college, creating green jobs (like solar panel manufacture) in neighborhoods blighted by abandoned big box buildings, having former Comptroller of the U.S. David Walker perform audits of the companies that got bailout money, nationalizing the Federal Reserve, creating publicly owned neighborhood banks, thereby finally creating an economy that worked for the people instead of the special interests. And shutting down the military-industrial complex's Empire America.
Our agenda provided a clear route to an end to torture, rendition for torture, warrantless wiretapping, spying on U.S. citizen activists, and an end to war. Not just an end to the war on terror, but a clear end to war and occupation. And now that the Obama Administration has used its Justice Department to argue in court in favor of those who ordered torture, and to defend Bush Administration policies of torture, rendition, warrantless wiretapping, and extra-legal treatment of so-called "enemy combatants," most of whom have committed no crime (like six-year Guantanamo Prisoner number 345, Sami El-Hajj, who was on the Dignity with me as I tried to make it to Gaza). On these issues, the Obama Administration is consonant with the Bush Administration. No wonder Bush et al have more to worry about from the "small-d" democrats in Spain than from the "big-D" Democrats in Washington, DC.
And so the beat goes on. Until four years from now at the climax of when the electorate will be beaten, once again, into submission if they dare raise their head to support a candidate from a political party that has not been bought off by the special interests. The people are continually asked to decrease the volume of the discordant notes in their political hearts in order to prevent a worse outcome. But what could be worse than suppressing one's own acknowledgement of the existing political cacophony in order to facilitate the interests of others, especially when the others whose interests are always accommodated are in contradiction to your own interests and the planet's? But every four years, the masters of the political process are able to convince more and more people to do this. And then when people see that what they wanted and even worse, thought they were voting for, is slow in coming, "buyer's remorse" begins to set in. Some will wait an entire four years hoping that the powers that be will eventually get around to supporting the voters' interests. Only in the end to be let down again--but only after they've once again given their most precious asset, their vote, to the special interest political parties who will betray them yet again. It's like a dance, where one of the dance partners always gets her toes stepped on. It's more like a stomping, actually. Others have likened it to a situation of domestic violence, where the abused partner keeps coming back for more.
I am happy to receive these messages because it indicates that we are gaining new supporters. But I am saddened at the same time because it demonstrates how difficult our task really is. It's not just about being right. It's also about winning. And the stakes are so high on this one that we have to win. But in order for our values to win, we will need everyone's help to turn this ship of state around. The enormity of the task of actually taking our country back is becoming clear.
And with what is happening economically, it is likely to be even more difficult. As someone who studied Russian literature and the great Russian authors, like Pushkin, Chechov, Dostoyevsky, and others, I have always paid attention to events taking place in Russia. I watched with interest the creation of a superclass of dual-passport carrying individuals who stripped Russia of its patrimony and became known as the oligarchs. According to the Guardian, Russia's seven original oligarchs came to control 50% of Russia's economy during the 1990s.
I came to realize that the very individuals entrusted with correcting the current economic woes are, in actuality, its very authors in Russia. And so, the question I asked myself was this: "Is the US next in line? And after the debris is cleared, or the dust settles, as they say, will our country also be left with oligarchs, who will own everything?" If so, does that make Barack Obama the U.S. equivalent of Mikhail Gorbachev who put in place the policies that allowed the oligarchs to get their start? In fact, right after the US election that sent President Obama to the White House, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said that Obama should usher in "perestroika" reforms in the U.S.
When I was in London recently for the Malaysia conference, I met a gentleman who completed the answer for me. Economist Michael Hudson and lawyer and author Ellen Brown had confirmed my worst fears, but Mr. David Pidcock really brought them all home for me. And the short answer to the question I put to him is, "Yes, the U.S. economy is being hollowed out with our own money, not for the benefit of the American people, but for the benefit of a few and yes, President Obama has enabled the very characters who have successfully implemented this result elsewhere."
In the next few essays, I will explain as others are doing as well, what is going on in plain speak. The obligation of voters to educate themselves will be far more difficult if there is far less truth in plain speak out there for them to read. I will try my best to combine my research and experiences with the findings of trusted experts and share them with you in plain speak. (I am trying to get better as I've been told that I need to make my plain speak a little plainer. Folks sometimes have to get dictionaries to read and understand me. Sorry about that. I hope this essay is a bit better.)
Finally, David Pidcock, my London friend, reminds us in "Money: A Christian View," that a socially healthy economy achieves the highest possible standard of living for all and achieves the "elimination of insecurity and fear and consequent selfish materialist values, so that the individual human being may be enabled to live with dignity and self-respect."
That's what we're trying to build here, a government that respects and promotes and protects human dignity. That is not being done today, sadly. Over the next few essays I would like to discuss how we get from here to there and how President Obama's economic team is deviating from the "there" that we all want.
The first work I want to take excerpts from is, "Money Facts," 169 questions and answers on money authored by the Subcommittee on Domestic Finance, House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency, 1964.
"6. Does Congress supervise Federal Reserve policymaking?
No. In practice the Federal Reserve is “independent” in its policy making. The Federal Reserve neither requires nor seeks the ap¬proval of any branch of Government for its policies. The System it¬self decides what ends its policies are aimed at and then takes what¬ever action it sees fit to reach those ends.
"7. What problems are raised by an 'independent' Federal Reserve?
There are two major problems. One is the problem of political responsibility for the country’s economic policies. The other is the problem of final control over the Government’s actions in the economic sphere.
"8. What is the problem of political responsibility?
Since the Federal Reserve is independent it is not accountable to anyone for the economic policies it chooses to pursue. But this runs counter to normally accepted democratic principles. The President and Congress are responsible to the people on election – day for their past economic decisions. But the Federal Reserve is responsible neither to the people directly nor indirectly through the people's elected representatives. Yet the Federal Reserve exercises great power in controlling the money-creating activities of the commercial banks.
"9. Why is final control of economic policy a problem?
Because with an 'independent' Federal Reserve, Congress and the President can be moving in one direction while the Federal Reserve is moving in the other. ‘The result is sometimes no policy at all. At other times, it leads to the Federal Reserve’s neutralising the President’s economic policies. This very possibility caused President Johnson to request the Federal Reserve in his 1964 Annual Economic Report to Congress not to nullify his efforts to reduce unemployment and raise incomes. Should the President have to ask any Government agency to go along with his policy as approved by Congress? Obviously not.
"10.Who really directs Federal Reserve operations?
Day-to-day operations in each of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks are supervised by nine directors - six of them selected directly by privately owned commercial banks. The most important monetary decisions for the system as a whole are made by the Open Market Committee, which is composed of 12 members.
"11. Do private bank interests influence Federal Reserve policy?
Yes. Of the 12 members of the Open Market Committee—the Com¬mittee which actually controls credit policy—5 are presidents of regional banks. These presidents are elected by the individual regional banks’ nine-man board of directors with its preponderance of private commercial bank representatives. Further, all 12 of the regional bank presidents participate in the Open Market Committee’s discussions, though only 5 can vote. The 'discussion' Open Market Committee, then, has 19 members—12 regional bank presidents and the 7 members of the Federal Reserve Board
"12. Does it matter what amount of money is supplied the economy?
Yes, indeed. The money supply helps determine the general level of interest rates paid for the use of money, employment, prices, and economic growth. Many economists believe the money supply is the most important determinant of these variables.
"13. Who determines the money supply?
The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve System.
"156. What is the main problem of the Federal Reserve System today?
In a word, Federal Reserve independence. Congress and the People are faced with the issue: how can we bring money management under genuine public control in order to co-ordinate monetary with other public policies? The original intent of the Federal Reserve Act was to insure such control : that intent is still valid. Our Government must squarely face the challenge of recapturing the tiller of its money system.
"165. Who favors Federal Reserve independence?
The private banks who control the System, together with some allies—notably, Wall Street newspapers and other members of the financial community."
Author's Bio: Cynthia Ann McKinney (born March 17, 1955) is a former United States Representative and the 2008 Green Party nominee for President of the United States. McKinney served as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993–2003 and 2005–2007, first representing Georgia's 11th Congressional District and then Georgia's 4th Congressional District. She is the first African-American woman to have represented Georgia in the House. In the 1992 election, McKinney was elected in the newly re-created 11th District, and was re-elected in 1994. When her district was redrawn and renumbered due to the Supreme Court of the United States ruling in Miller v. Johnson, McKinney was easily elected from the new 4th District in the 1996 election, and was re-elected twice without substantive opposition. McKinney was defeated by Denise Majette in the 2002 Democratic primary, in part due to Republican crossover voting in Georgia's open primary election, which permits anyone from any party to vote in any party primary, and in part due to her "controversial profile, which included a suggestion that [George W.] Bush knew in advance of the September 11 attacks." (from wikipedia)
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