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For Monday: Take Action NOW to stop the bailout

My reflections and suggestions for action on the bailout, after consulting many friends and colleagues:

More Action Alerts at the bottom. Though, if you want to take action now! Please phone, fax, or e-mail your Congresspeople now and say NO! to the $700 Billion Dollar Bailout.

The bill is posted at our blog: here.

At Ron Paul’s web-site, I found these ways to contact Congresspeople:
peace
www.Congress.org
OR
Capitol Hill Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
peace
I am really concerned with the fact that there is a financial crisis. Though, since it has been building a long time. And, since we need time, research, and input from scholars and the public to think of a solution to it, I think it is imperative to say NO to the current deal. Or, at least SLOW DOWN and wait until next week.

I am even more concerned that today, Monday, September 29th, the elite who control our country may ravage us by having created a fear for the economy, that causes us to lose $700 billion dollars in the blink of an eye. And, in doing so, to create complicated new structures, precedents, and systems in our government and our financial institutions.

Congress, President Bush, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, and the two major party presidential candidates are using our fear to push through a deal that will reward and shelter greedy rich people and CEO’s who made bad decisions and should in the least be asked to suffer a decline in their stock. Our leaders are forcing through a hurried and secret deal that will not help real Americans, and a deal which is such a bandaid fix, it will only make things look good for long enough for us to have another, bland election where either the Democrat or Republican glide into office, without having to answer to the actual state of affairs the two parties created.

Can you stand by while $700 billion dollars gets quickly and unfairly thrown down the drain? You will suffer the consequences sooner or later. And, so will your children and grandchildren. Please, take some action today.

I sent an e-mail to a couple of hundred people who I thought could take my angsty concerns without being overwhelmed, and might have some insights to offer. I was surprised by some of the responses. One person ignored my pleas and sent back a diatribe about conspiracy theories (which I had already admitted some of my fears were related to.) Another person gave me a history lesson, telling me that everything is Nader’s fault because of the 2000 election, and offered no solution whatsoever, except that I should enroll Democrat in order to move the Democratic Party to the left. A few very wise people gave me only more research articles, more thoughts on why it happened and what would be better. Which is lovely, if it wasn’t going to be a done deal by…maybe TODAY!

I do, though, have to thank each and every person for any response to this concern. I am also grateful to the person that called my house at 11pm with his own frustrations about this situation. I am glad that someone sees how big and how important this is.

I am most grateful to my friends, and to the political leaders, who have offered a solution. The gig may be up tomorrow. How do you STOP IT or at least SLOW IT DOWN in order to consider all of the great ideas that scholars, financial analysts, and progressives have to offer? A freight train is coming at us, how do we work together to stop it?

Ron Paul’s web-site offered the suggestion that activist colleagues had shared with me at a Presidential Forum on Thursday night: Contact your Congresspeople.

In New York, you can contact:

Senator Charles Schmumer. Fax at (202) 228-3027
Hillary Clinton. Fax (202) 228-3027
Representative Peter King. Fax (516) 541-6602

Please, let them know that you will vote them out of office if they let this deal go through at this price today. And, consider changing your registration to a third party TODAY! to send them a message.

And, from Ron Pauls, web-site, more ways to look up elected officials, and a suggested statement:

Action Alert

Congress.org
Capitol Hill Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

“Dear Senator/Representative:

You MUST reject the Paulson/Bernanke plan for bailing out and propping up reckless banks at taxpayer expense.  This is madness to ask us, the taxpayers, to cover the liabilities of Wall Street. We are tired of being fleeced.  If you vote to support this plan, I will do everything in my power to remove you from office before you can give away any more of our money to failed businessmen.

Thank you, [Your name]”

A local activist gave me another idea. I think this would be an interesting action. Put up signs on your lawn, your window, around your neighborhood saying NO TO THE BAILOUT! Make local politicians and your neighbors see how serious you are. My colleague suggested ordering the signs. I say, scribble them or print them out NOW and make sure someone sees it before lunch time! Here are her words to me:

We could get those horrible plastic signs made that are all over LI that say: TELL YOUR SENATOR TO BAIL ON THE BAIL OUT! (Or something like that.) OR: The TRUTH about BAIL-OUT: Wall St. Wins, YOU LOSE!
I think you can get dozens of them for not too much money. They could be placed all around, esp in neighborhoods where people are in danger of losing their homes.

Another friend of mine, Grace, from Massachusetts, suggested working with the group Jobs for Justice to hold nationwide demonstrations on Wednesday. I can’t find the right webpage or link for details now, but here is an article that mentions it: Indypendent. Time for a Taxpayers Revolt.

Here are my friend Grace’s words to try to explain the bailout, the crisis, and what could be done:

Now the bush Administration (with the assistance of the Democratic
Congress which is trying to protect the markets through till November
4th in fear that they will otherwise lose the Presidential election)
plan a decisively public opposed bailout in the space of a week – where
they will hand broad authority to the Treasury to spend more money than
any other initiative in US history to pay off the CEOS and shareholders
of the most predatory and probably outright fraudulent players i US.
history.

I, like many, spent the first few days crafting and arranging for
calling-ins to Congress to improve the bill – all the while suspecting
that the proposal was fundamentally wrong.  Now the economic analyses
are coming out – that at best this is a temporary stabilization of the
markets.  And at the same time, Congress was not acting on hugely
important measures for Main St. – heating oil, food stamps, jobs, labor
protections, etc., (will they now say there is no money for these?)

There are other options: that would cost less and deal with the actual
problem without targeting reward to the worst elements of the financial
industry.  Already using tools from the Depression, the FDIC has taken
over financial institutions and renegotiated sales – that are actually
working and costing less.  Even better would be for the national
government to purchase the actual underwater mortgages – they can do it
with domain powers at real present day prices.  Without inflated
property values, the government could rewrite mortgages that many would
be able to afford.  The losses would be born by the financial players
who fueled this balloon.  Although I think these estimates are low –
initial estimates by those in the field is that it would only cost
25-50 billion to do this.

Instead, the present proposal buys bundled securities – the good and
bad investments that were opaquely bundled together to sell to
investors who reaped immediate profits from the upfront inflated fees
and value of the assets.  These assets are mixed, hard to actually
appraise and potentially misrepresented at the original sales – which
means there are potential illegal acts attached to these asset
bundles.  No wonder Bush wants to make sure these potentially illegal
bundling products are taken over the government.

The target is those assets that are most questionable – the poisoned
fruit of the financial institutions which were most predatory –
probably fraudulent – of the most vulnerable communities in our
country.  Money to those who already benefited from the most ill-gotten
gains.

Why would the Dems in Congress go along with this?  I can only think
that they fear a market crush that would overshadow the election – and
since they don’t think they can get Bush to sign anything else – they
are trying to get this passed and signed.  Never mind that it will
indenture our future, our children’s future and perhaps their
children’s.  (to give you a sense of comparison, McCain and Obama have
been vociferously haggling over McCain’s statement that he will remove
all earmarks from the Congressional budget, McCain claims will make a
huge difference – 18 billion in expenditures).

The proposal is wrong and devastatingly huge but the worst part is the
one week rush job!  The markets have been buckling for months, surely
action is needed but why now is it an urgent crisis?  The overwhelming
public response is “DON’T!”.  There are simply rushing this through in
a flagrant display of the disregard of anything approaching democracy.
The decisive majority of calls flooding Congressional offices oppose
the bailout.  They are ignoring our voices as well as our future, our
right to legal recourse and our financial future.

There is a national call by Jobs with Justice for protests on Wednesday after work – we all
need to organize and participate in one!

Love, Grace

Video of a Presidential Forum in Huntington on Thursday, where the bailout was discussed:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o57xJbMpjY4]

Wanted to share a telling quote from the NY Times today. Nancy Pelosi knows how to turn a situation upside down:

“’All of this was done in a way to insulate Main Street and everyday Americans from the crisis on Wall Street,’” Ms. Pelosi said…

Don’t let her insulate you from Wall Street and DC. This is your government. This is your money. Get serious. Take action. NOW!

Breakthrough Reached in Negotiations on Bailout

…In the final hours of negotiations, Democratic lawmakers, including Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois and Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota, carried pages of the bill by hand, back and forth, from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, where the Democrats were encamped, to Mr. Paulson and other Republicans in the offices of Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House minority leader.

At the same time, a series of phone calls was taking place, including conversations between Ms. Pelosi and President Bush; between Mr. Paulson and the two presidential candidates, Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama; and between the candidates and top lawmakers.

“All of this was done in a way to insulate Main Street and everyday Americans from the crisis on Wall Street,” Ms. Pelosi said at the news conference. “We have to commit it to paper so we can formally agree, but I want to congratulate all of the negotiators for the great work they have done.”…

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