Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Senate passes $700B rescue; House votes lured

Senate passes $700B rescue; House votes lured


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After one spectacular failure, the $700 billion financial industry bailout found a second life Wednesday, winning lopsided passage in the Senate and gaining ground in the House, where Republicans opposition softened.

Senators loaded the economic rescue bill with tax breaks and other sweeteners before passing it by a wide margin, 74-25, a month before the presidential and congressional elections.

In the House, leaders were working feverishly to convert enough opponents of the bill to push it through by Friday, just days after lawmakers there stunningly rejected an earlier version and sent markets plunging around the globe.

The measure didn't cause the same uproar in the Senate, where both parties' presidential candidates, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, made rare appearances to cast "aye" votes, as did Obama's running mate, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware.

In the final vote, 39 Democrats, 34 Republicans and independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut voted "yes." Nine Democrats, 15 Republicans and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont voted "no."

President Bush issued a statement praising the Senate's move. With the revisions, Bush said, "I believe members of both parties in the House can support this legislation. The American people expect and our economy demands that the House pass this good bill this week and send it to my desk."

The rescue package lets the government spend billions of dollars to buy bad mortgage-related securities and other devalued assets held by troubled financial institutions. If successful, advocates say, that would allow frozen credit to begin flowing again and prevent a deep recession.

Even as the Senate voted, House leaders were hunting for the 12 votes they would need to turn around Monday's 228-205 defeat. They were especially targeting the 133 Republicans who voted "no."

Their opposition appeared to be easing after the Senate added $110 billion in tax breaks for businesses and the middle class, plus a provision to raise, from $100,000 to $250,000, the cap on federal deposit insurance.

They were also cheering a decision Tuesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission to ease rules that force companies to devalue assets on their balance sheets to reflect the price they can get on the market.

There were worries, though, that the tax breaks would cause some conservative-leaning "Blue Dog" Democrats who voted for the rescue Monday to abandon it. The bill doesn't designate a way to pay for many of the tax cuts, and Blue Dogs typically oppose any measure that swells the deficit.

"I'm concerned about that," said Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the majority leader.

Raising the deposit insurance limit — along with the SEC's accounting change — helped House Republicans claim credit for some substantive changes. And with constituent feedback changing dramatically since Monday's shocking House defeat and the corresponding market plunge, lawmakers' comfort level with the package increased markedly.

Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., who voted "no" on Monday, said he was leaning toward switching, and Rep. Steve LaTourette,R-Ohio, said he was "getting there." Several others were weighing a flip, said Republican officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the lawmakers had not yet announced how they would vote.

Leaders in both parties, as well as private economic chiefs everywhere, said Congress must quickly approve some version of the bailout measure to start loans flowing and stave off a potential national economic disaster.

"This is what we need to do right now to prevent the possibility of a crisis turning into a catastrophe," Obama said on the Senate floor. In Missouri, before flying to Washington to vote, McCain said, "If we fail to act, the gears of our economy will grind to a halt."

Critics on the right and left assailed the rescue plan, which has been panned by their constituents as a giveaway for Wall Street, and has little obvious direct benefit for ordinary Americans.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., a leading conservative, said the step was "leading us into the pit of socialism."

Sanders, a self-described socialist, said the rescue was fundamentally unfair.

"The masters of the universe, those brilliant Wall Street insiders who have made more money than the average American can even dream of, have brought our financial system to the brink of collapse," Sanders said, and are demanding that the middle class "pick up the pieces that they broke."

Still, proponents argued that the financial sector's woes were already being felt by ordinary people in the form of unaffordable credit and underperforming retirement savings and without the bailout would soon translate into even more economic pain for working Americans, including more job losses.

"There will be no balloons or bunting or parades," when the rescue becomes law, said Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., the Banking Committee chairman. But lawmakers will have "the knowledge that at one of our nation's moments of maximum economic peril, we acted — not for the benefit of a particular few, but for all Americans."

Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., said the intense, at times contentious, 11-day round of bipartisan talks to craft the bailout — which followed dire warnings of impending economic meltdown from Bush's economic chiefs to congressional leaders — was an "extraordinary experience."

"This is the way government's supposed to work, folks, and it did," Gregg said.

The Senate specializes in high-stakes legislating by enticement, and the long list of sweeteners it added was designed to attract votes from various constituencies.

In addition to extending several tax breaks popular with businesses, the bill would keep the alternative minimum tax from hitting 20 million middle-income Americans and provide $8 billion in tax relief for those hit by natural disasters in the Midwest, Texas and Louisiana.

Tax cuts new and old are favorites for most House Republicans. Help for rural schools was aimed mainly at lawmakers in the West, while disaster aid was a top priority for lawmakers from across the Midwest and South.

Another addition, to extend the deductibility of state and local taxes for people in states without income taxes, helps Florida and Texas, among others.

Increasing the deposit insurance cap was a bid to reassure individuals and small businesses that their money would be safe if their banks collapsed. It was particularly geared toward small banks that fear customers will pull their money and park it in larger institutions seen as less likely to fold.

The FDIC would be allowed to borrow unlimited money from the Treasury Department through the end of next year as a way to cover the increased insurance limit. If used, it would be the first time the agency has tapped Treasury for a loan since the early 1990s.

The rescue bill hitched a ride on a popular measure that gives people with mental illness better health insurance coverage. Before passing it, senators voted by an identical 74-25 margin to attach the massive bailout and the tax breaks.

Common Man News 10/2008

News for the common man because the elite already know!


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Call the Senate Today Stop Bush's "No Banker Left Behind Act"

Call the Senate Today

Stop Bush's "No Banker Left Behind Act"

Having suffered a stunning defeat of their "Grand Theft Bailout" Bill on Monday, the Bush Administration, the banks and Wall Street are now coming back for their second try. They are used to directing the affairs of the country regardless of the will of the people. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote tonight, Wednesday evening, in favor of a nearly identical version. This is intended to force the House of Representatives to do the same when they return tomorrow, Thursday.

You can call the Capitol Switchboard at 800-473-6711 or 202-224-3121 to ask to be transferred to the offices of the Senators from your state.

Bush's "No Banker Left Behind Act" was defeated because of overwhelming public opposition. But now the politicians have come up with an easy answer. In an unprecedented step, Congress is virtually shutting down its incoming constituent email. They are installing the digital version of riot police, protecting the politicians from an enraged population that demands to be heard. Congress has acknowledged that it is receiving millions of emails from the people of the United States, all opposing this theft of $700 billion to be handed to the richest bankers. People who try to send emails are likely to receive error messages and their emails will not go through during "peak hours." Congress claims that this is a response to the overwhelming emails to keep their server from crashing; however, their server did not crash during the time they were receiving the most emails and they quietly instituted this program late Tuesday afternoon.

The U.S. Senate - this country's version of the House of Lords - is returning to do the work of the White House in league with the biggest bankers. Known as "millionaires club" because of the elite status of its members, the U.S. Senate is playing the same role that the King's House of Lords played in earlier times in British history, a political barrier created to protect the aristocracy from the wrath of the people.

The ANSWER Coalition is urging all of its members and supporters to call Congress, to email them at "off peak" hours, and to come directly to the U.S. Capitol on Thursday morning at 10 am so our voices can be heard at the People's Demonstration/Speakout. Congress can run but they can't hide from the wrath of the people. We won't let them.

Thursday's demonstration will take place at 10 am on the South side of the Capitol at Independence Ave. and New Jersey Avenues SE. For more information, see below or go to

You can call the Capitol Switchboard at 800-473-6711 or 202-224-3121 to ask to be transferred to the offices of the Senators from your state.

Demonstration at
the Capitol Building

Thursday, October 2
at 10:00 am
Independence & New Jersey Ave. SE
South Side of the U.S. Capitol

Washington, D.C.

Initiated by, supported by the ANSWER Coalition and ImpeachBush

Click this link to join the endorsers' list.

Click this link to download a flyer for the protest

Your support is urgently needed to organize activities and distribute literature to make sure the people's victory not be overturned. Click this link to make a donation.

The website has attracted extensive support throughout the country. Over 170,000 letters were sent through the website to Congress within the last week. Click this link to send your letter to Congress.

We demand:

* An immediate moratorium on foreclosures, evictions and rent hikes.
* Extend unemployment benefits at full pay for everyone without a job.
* Open the books of the banks for public inspection
* Criminal prosecution of banking, finance, insurance and all other executives whose companies have benefited from the foreclosure crisis.
* An end to the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, which cost $430 million per day.
* Hurricane and flood victims must receive full assistance and have the right to return to their homes.
* Creation and funding of jobs programs throughout the country to eliminate unemployment.

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition

National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 213-251-1025
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
Chicago: 773-463-0311


Pro-War Group Offering Cash For Frats To Demonstrate At VP Debate

Pro-War Group Offering Cash For Frats To Demonstrate At VP Debate

Go To Original

In hopes of organizing a robust demonstration for the vice presidential debate this Thursday in St. Louis, the pro-Iraq War (and ostensibly pro-McCain) organization, Vets for Freedom, is resorting to offering local college fraternities hundreds of dollars if their members come and hold signs.

In an email obtained by the Huffington Post, Vets for Freedom field staffer Laura Meyer offered a fraternity at St. Louis University a "sizable donation" - plus free lunch - if it could use their pledges to demonstrate outside the VP debate.

"I was emailing you today," wrote Meyer, "because I am trying to find people who would be willing to hold up signs for a few hours in the afternoon this Thursday outside the VP debate site. It's only for a few hours and you can gain a lot from it.... first off, lunch for any guys who agree to volunteer will be on me. Secondly, they will get lots of media attention! My organization did a similar thing in Mississippi last week and a ton of them were on TV. Meaning, the guys could wear their [REDACTED] gear while holding up our signs and get attention for their frat. Also, they will get to hang out with a bunch of really cool Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.

"Lastly, and here's the kicker.... if you guys can get us at least 20 volunteers for those few hours, my organization will make a sizable donation to your fraternity. If you use pledges you could look at it as 'free money and free publicity'. If this sounds like something you may be willing to help us out with, please let me know ASAP!"

Reached by phone, Meyer said the total amount of cash the frat could earn was between $200 and $250 for organizing 20-plus members. She also noted that the program was a success in generating publicity during last Friday's presidential debate.

Judy Mayka, a spokesperson for the national chapter, said that the practice of paying for demonstrators had been going on without their knowledge and would subsequently end.

"Obviously this was not a direction from national and we have contacted the Missouri staffers and volunteers and told them it is not appropriate in our policy," she said. "And those who choose to attend the vice presidential debate should not be compensated."

As for the payments made for volunteers during the Mississippi presidential debate, Mayka added: "We will be looking into that."

The practice of paying volunteers is perfectly legal, and having scores of rowdy pro-war supporters cheering on the backdrop of TV sets can be an effective way for Vets for Freedom to disseminate its message.

But keep in mind, some of the people demonstrating outside the VP debate had a choice to make: take the money from Vets for Freedom or subject themselves to a night of hazing and binge drinking. On Thursday, we will see how many chose the former.

Taxation and the Printing Presses: Recipe for a Monetary Crisis and $5,000 gold

Taxation and the Printing Presses: Recipe for a Monetary Crisis and $5,000 gold

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There's been much said about the fact Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has been a devoted student of the Great Depression. In many ways, understanding the causes and dynamics of what caused the depression of the 1930s has been his life's work.

In 2002, Bernanke gave a speech titled, "Deflation: Making Sure ‘It’ Doesn’t Happen Here" (You can read the full text here.)

In that speech, you'll find some really amazing clues as to just how dangerous his approach to defending against deflation is, which is to just PRINT MONEY...

"Like gold, U.S. Dollars have value only to the extent that they are strictly limited in supply.

"But the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. Dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.

"By increasing the number of U.S. Dollars in circulation, or even by credibly threatening to do so, the U.S. government can also reduce the value of a Dollar in terms of goods and services, which is equivalent to raising the prices in Dollars of those goods and services.

"We conclude that, under a paper-money system, a determined government can always generate higher spending and hence positive inflation." (I've bolded for emphasis)

If this doesn't click for you please allow me to explain what he's really saying.

Bottom line: The U.S. government can tax the Dollars right out of your wallet. The government can do it at will... and there isn’t a thing you or I can do about it (other than convert those Dollars into something else before they get devalued, which is why I have been literally begging you and others to put physical gold in your IRA, 401K and in your investment portfolio with Finest Known 1-866-697-GOLD (4653) ext. 1406.

The thing you have to always keep in mind is that inflation is an insidious hidden tax. Whenever the U.S. government prints Dollars from thin air, it lessens the value of the Dollars in your bank account and that's what this entire $700 Billion Bail Out is all about. For that matter, that's what the Trillions of Dollars we're printing to subsidize foreign nations, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's all funny money with no backing just being printed.

Literally the value of the U.S. Dollar is being drained. The monetary growth rate is normally 3-4% a year. We're now growing money at a rate of 25% in a single year, not counting off the books spending like the war.

Imagine if you could print money and pay for your living expenses at will. This is why the value of the U.S. Dollar has been collapsing these past years. This $700 billion (really $1.3 Trillion) bail out will essentially devalue the Dollar by another 25% to 30% over the next 2 years -- if were lucky. The danger, of course, is that we need more than one bail out and investors worldwide would see the reckless printing of money and start dumping Dollars. The risk of this is a monetary collapse similar to what has occurred many times in South America, Africa and Eastern Europe and the Dollar literally collapses in a panic. In that kind of environment, $5,000 gold might well be a low target.