The American people may be losing their jobs and savings, but on Friday night, November 14, on the eve of the international financial summit, they provided President Bush and other G20 leaders a lavish banquet that included $300-a-bottle wine, Vermont Brie, eggplant fondue, and rack of lamb. Details of the “culinary delights” and “sumptuous feast” provided to the politicians who departed their black limousines were included in wire service stories. They were toasting the demise of America as a global economic and military superpower and planning to loot another trillion dollars from U.S. taxpayers.
Stories about the feast can only cause rising anger in the United States. A C-SPAN moderator on November 16, hosting a discussion of the growing financial crisis and taking calls, himself commented that there was a lot of anger out there. One caller mentioned taking up arms against the government over the looting of the taxpayers.
We have seen the people react this way in the past to proposals for Congressional pay raises and illegal alien amnesty. But the growing anger over the endless series of taxpayer bailouts is getting louder and louder. In response to the stories about the lavish G20 banquet and AIM editor Cliff Kincaid’s on-line columns on the growing financial crisis, AIM received this email:
“I just finished reading the menu that I and the US Taxpayers just bought these idiots and thieves. $300 bottles of wine? Racks of lamb? (Does the image of Nero fiddling while Rome burns come to mind?) What if Bush had announced that the menu was going to reflect the seriousness of the situation? Maybe a great minestrone soup and some good Carlo Rossi red? Show the world that he (Bush) was serious about caring for our money. I realize it doesn’t make a bean’s worth of difference in the whole budget but when do we, as taxpayers, get any respect? Personally I resent more and more everyone associated with my government. And especially the country club Republicans that Bush (I was fooled) and [Treasury Secretary Henry] Paulson represent. I may have to lay off two good guys this coming week. I’m sure they will understand that the President had to keep up the image to all these ‘important’ people and that the King of Saudi Arabia and Chinese President Hu Jintao and assorted other international flotsam enjoyed their largesse.”
Carlo Rossi red is a California wine that goes for about $6.99 a bottle. It apparently wasn’t good enough for the global elite.
In a development that attracted the attention of some media, the U.S. agreed at the conference to the establishment of “supervisory colleges” by March 31, 2009, to monitor “all major cross-border financial institutions.” It is the beginning of a new global regulatory body that could eventually impose and collect a currency transactions tax known as the Tobin Tax, named after the late Yale University economist, James Tobin. Such a tax, which could affect stocks, mutual funds, and pensions, could generate hundreds of billions of dollars a year.
But ignored by most of the media was the fact that buried in the declaration endorsed by Bush and other leaders meeting on November 15 was (Point number 14) support for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, “the development assistance commitments we have made,” and a reaffirmation of “the development principles agreed at the 2002 United Nations Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico, which emphasized country ownership and mobilizing all sources of financing for development.”
The Real Agenda
This language may sound vague or confusing. But to those familiar with the U.N. and its conferences and the Millennium Development Goals, it all makes perfect sense. This is a commitment to devote 0.7 percent of the Gross National Product to official foreign aid, a plan envisaged in President-elect Barack Obama’s Global Poverty Act. It will cost $845 billion, to be recovered in whole or part through a global tax. The phrase “all sources of financing for development” is U.N.-speak for global taxes.
In addition to his Global Poverty Act, which could pass Congress in a lame duck session or after President Obama takes office, the Jubilee Act is also being pushed for the benefit of other nations of the world. It would cancel as much as $75 billion in debt owed by foreign countries. The total of the two measures is $920 billion.
It is no coincidence that one of Obama’s personal representatives to the G20 meeting was former Republican Rep. Jim Leach, a left-winger who not only gave a speech backing Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention but is a long-time collaborator of the World Federalist Movement. This is a group that favors global taxes to finance world government.
Leach is clearly hoping for an appointment from Obama as the new U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, where he could help implement the Millennium Development Goals.
To demonstrate how the media view all of this, Washington Post columnist Sebastian Mallaby on November 13 devoted a column headlined “Supersize the IMF” to the idea that the global financial institution known as the International Monetary Fund should get a massive infusion of American taxpayer dollars as well. He argued that the U.S. and other governments should triple their financial commitments to the IMF.
Mallaby, who doubles as director of the Center for Geoeconomic Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, didn’t put a price tag on this. But it was clear that he believes the more money the better. “A bigger IMF should be on its [the Obama Administration’s] agenda,” he said.
Now that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has admitted that his $700-billion plan didn’t work out as planned, some in the media are acknowledging that they helped stampede the Congress into passing it.
On his November 16 CNN “Reliable Sources” show, Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post asked his colleague Steven Pearlstein, “Wasn’t there a prevailing drumbeat that this package had to pass?” The reply: “I was, I guess, part of that drumbeat. It did have to pass.” Pearlstein added, “You know, the Congress and the government had to do something to get liquidity moving in the financial system. There’s no playbook for how to do this in a situation like this. People are making it up as they go along. And so we really shouldn’t be surprised that they tried something, it doesn’t work. They try something else, maybe it works. They’re throwing a lot of darts at the wall.”
But since it didn’t work and Paulson changed the plan, Kurtz asked, “Where is the journalistic outrage here?” It’s a good question.
For his part, Pearlstein’s November 16 column, “Toward a New Internationalism,” included no apologies over his central role in what has happened. Instead, he hailed the arrival of a new era in which the United States of America “can no longer expect to dominate the institutions of international finance and will have to share power and influence with rapidly developing countries…”
In other words, America has been cut down to size and the beneficiaries are those who were always jealous of her wealth and power. The result will not only be less U.S economic power but the diminution of American military power. One will inevitably follow the other, especially if more U.S. manufacturing industries go bankrupt.
This isn’t “international capitalism.” It’s the victory of global socialism. The stage is perfectly set for the U.S. presidency to be occupied by a revolutionary Marxist.
HOW THE MEDIA SOLD PAULSON’S PLAN
Now that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has essentially admitted that his Wall Street bailout plan isn’t working, it’s worthwhile to examine the fawning media coverage he received when he pressured President Bush and Congress into approving it. “This former investment banker may be the right man at the right time,” was one of the headlines over a gushing September 29 Newsweek article by Daniel Gross. Among his attributes, we were told, Paulson was an Eagle Scout.
But the Boy Scout motto was “Be prepared” and Paulson seemed not to be prepared for anything.
In a separate Newsweek article in the same issue, Fareed Zakaria said, “In Paulson, America is extremely fortunate to have a man of tremendous intelligence, drive and pragmatism, who will engage in ‘bold and persistent experimentation’ until the job is done.” The article carried the headline “Big Government to the Rescue.”
Making Paulson out to be the boy next door, Newsweek included a series of photos apparently taken from the Paulson family album. There was a photo of Paulson as a “college football star,” a photo of the “nature-loving Paulson” holding a hawk, a photo of Paulson on a kayak, and so on.
But there was a bit of hard news in the piece. Paulson, Gross reported, “had always been a Republican, but more a Rockefeller Republican than a DeLay.” This is another way of saying that this Wall Street banker and former CEO of Goldman Sachs is a liberal. A better description might be Wall Street socialist. He was recruited for the job by White House chief of staff Josh Bolten, who, from 1994 to 1999, was Executive Director for Legal & Government Affairs at Goldman Sachs International in London.
“In many ways, Paulson was the ideal person to deal with this mess,” Gross reported at the time. Paulson was “noted for self-discipline, focus on controlling risk and mastery of detail.” Now he comes across as someone who doesn’t what he’s doing.
Meanwhile, President George W. Bush gave a November 13 speech to the Manhattan Institute, saying that “I’m a market-oriented guy, but not when I’m faced with the prospect of a global meltdown.” He went on to say, “History has shown that the greater threat to economic prosperity is not too little government involvement in the market, it is too much government involvement in the market.”
Does the President realize that he is contradicting himself? His bizarre comments receive little attention because he is considered a lame duck and Paulson is really running the show.
BLOOMBERG NEWS SUES FEDERAL RESERVE
Our “adversary” media have been extremely deferential toward those promoting the looting of the American taxpayers during the ongoing economic and financial crisis. However, Bloomberg News should be congratulated for filing suit against the Federal Reserve in an effort to disclose the securities the central bank is accepting on behalf of American taxpayers as collateral for nearly $2 trillion of loans to banks such as Goldman Sachs.
“The American taxpayer is entitled to know the risks, costs and methodology associated with the unprecedented government bailout of the U.S. financial industry,” said Matthew Winkler, the editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News.
In a letter to Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, Congressman Walter B. Jones, Republican of North Carolina, supported Bloomberg News and declared, “When taxpayer dollars are used to bail out financial institutions, the American people deserve full disclosure on who receives those funds and under what terms. Americans need to know how their hard-earned dollars are being spent.”
On the Senate side, Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, has joined this demand, saying, “…the Federal Reserve has refused to submit to even the most modest level of transparency regarding its actions. This should trouble taxpayers and policymakers alike. It certainly troubles me.” Cornyn seems to be having second thoughts about his vote for Paulson’s bailout.
Cornyn was taken in by Paulson, Bernanke & Company. Rep. Jones, however, voted against the so-called “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008,” saying, “This legislation is a vast expansion of the federal government at the expense of the American taxpayer and the free enterprise system.”
While the media and Congress were debating a paltry $25 billion for the auto industry, the Federal Reserve was acting like a government unto itself by providing hundreds of billions of dollars to domestic and foreign banks in an unaccountable fashion.
But almost without any notice the Federal Reserve on October 29 provided $120 billion to the central banks of Brazil, Mexico, Korea and Singapore. Where was the debate over that? Where was the coverage of that?
But it gets worse. Before the provision of the $120 billion, the Federal Reserve on September 24 had provided $30 billion to the central banks of Australia, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
Incredibly, this was on top of $247 billion that the Federal Reserve had already provided to the European Central Bank and the central banks of Japan, England, Switzerland, and Canada. In total, Bernanke says the Federal Reserve has extended almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from U.S. taxpayers.
This is separate from Paulson’s $700 Wall Street bailout, which has become a tragic joke because Paulson abruptly changed the nature of the plan after he used some of the money to help his former firm, Goldman Sachs, and other investment banks.
Leaving aside the cost of the bailout and other socialist-style schemes that have been undertaken in the current crisis, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation reports that the total federal burden on U.S. taxpayers is now approaching $54 trillion—a cost of $175,000 per person. The Peterson Foundation seeks to educate the public and the press about the U.S. financial situation. It’s fine to educate people. But what about prosecuting those federal officials who brought the U.S. to the brink of financial collapse?
During an October 13 Fox News Discussion of the mismanaged companies now going bankrupt or seeking federal bailouts, the subject of prosecuting somebody actually came up. Host Jaime Colby asked, “Where are the criminal prosecutions because I think their pictures should be hanging up in the post office?”
Financial analyst Peter Schiff, a guest on the show, went beyond the corporate executives and urged the prosecution of former Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan, the husband of NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell, who told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on October 23 that he had “made a mistake” in his stewardship of the economy. This is after he received an $8.5 million advance on his 2007 memoir, The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World.
Conflict Of Interest
In March, as the mortgage crisis was beginning to build, Mitchell had done a story conveniently ignoring her husband’s role in the unfolding debacle. Greenspan and Mitchell are a Washington “power couple,” which means they have plenty of social contacts who help protect them from criticism or even scrutiny.
This crisis has conflict of interest written all over it, not only in regard to media coverage but the role of current and former Goldman Sachs executives, including Paulson, who sparked the panic and then authorized $10 billion in bailout money to his old firm.
As bad as it is, the situation could get far worse. At the House hearing, Rep. Jim Cooper, a more conservative Democrat from Tennessee, brandished a copy of the official Financial Report of the United States Government, which outlines the $54 trillion fiscal gap identified by the Peterson Foundation, primarily unfunded liabilities, that America faces if the government doesn’t change course.
The bankruptcy of Iceland, now receiving a $2.1 billion two-year loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) “to support an economic recovery program,” has been depicted as something that could never happen to America. Is the U.S. too big to fail? Or is the U.S. going through the same process, albeit on a slower basis?
Will we wake up to discover that America is now a bit player in a “New World Order” dominated by China, rich Arab nations, and international institutions?
In a release from the World Economic Forum, Suzanne Nora Johnson, Senior Director of Goldman Sachs, USA, and a Trustee of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, declared that the November 15 international summit “gives us great opportunities to find solutions and new ways of looking at the world.” Johnson says that, while there has been “protectionist reaction” in the U.S. to sovereign wealth fund investments, as a result of the liquidity crisis there would now be greater openness to such deals. Sovereign Wealth Funds are government financial entities based in China and several Arab/Muslim states.
In this context, the Center for Security Policy and other groups recently held a news conference to draw attention to how the Treasury Department is planning to implement aspects of Islamic banking in the U.S. In a release, the Coalition Against Shariah declared that “It is especially alarming that the Treasury Department is now in a position to impose its submission to Shariah on the various financial institutions which it has bought in recent weeks or otherwise controls. With the nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, its purchase of—at last count—17 banks and the enormous leverage associated with its $700 billion slush-fund, Treasury can be an irresistible force should it actively promote Shariah-Compliant Finance.”
The release notes with alarm that Assistant Treasury Secretary Neel Kashkari, the official charged with administering the bailout “slush fund,” delivered the welcoming remarks at a November 6 Treasury event titled Islamic Finance 101. It seemed designed to attract more Arab/Muslim dollars into the U.S. financial system.
It is apparently the Treasury’s view that America’s only hope is to print more money through the Federal Reserve and attract more foreign money, especially from China and the Arab states.
An alternative would be to return to sound money and cut federal spending and debt.