Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Friday, October 03, 2008

"B Day" in the House of Representatives

Question of the day... will our allies in the House cave to pressure from the Senate 'Millionaire's Club,' or will they take the time to do this right?

Our future depends on this answer, and we don't have long to wait.

I'm sure most of us weren't terribly surprised when the Senate voted 74-25 vote to bail out Wall Street with only a few superficial changes (supposedly to pacify angry American taxpayers.) The Senate is stuffed with millionaires; most of them painfully out of touch with the struggles of mainstream America.

It frightens me to see that both of our presidential candidates voted in favor. This leads me to believe that nothing will really change after this election - not unless we get this right... and get it right before the election. This is probably our only chance to participate in our government, which is our right as American citizens. Somewhere out there, our forefathers are watching us.

Today the bailout mess falls back on the House of Representatives, where we still have some influence (all members of the House are up for re-election in November.)

From all accounts, corporate lobbyists are working around the clock to switch 13 votes from 'No' to 'Yes.' They have apparently been successful in changing 7: Jim Ramstad (R-MN), John Shadegg (R-AZ), Zach Wamp (R-TN), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and John Lewis (D-GA) will probably now vote in favor of this bill.

Other possible switches include Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), John Yarmouth (D-KY), Brian Bilbray (R-CA), Steve Rothman (D-NJ), Lee Terry (R-NE), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Tim Murphy (R-PA), Jason Altmire (D-PA), and Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). I don't see any changes from my representatives in Indiana; and I'm proud of them for demanding other options.

While some representatives are switching their vote and will now favor the Senate bill, still others may actually change their vote from Yes to No; including Ed Markey (D-MA), Charlie Melancon (D-LA), and Spencer Bachus (R-AL).

Bush's first Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill, called Paulson's plan "crazy" and "lunacy" with potentially "awful" consequences for the world's largest economy. Strong words... from someone who should know. Many of our nation's best economists agree with O'Neill.

Paulson's strongest supporters admit that it will not raise stock prices or boost the economy as we sink further into a recession. Why should we rush through a bailout plan - one that everyone agrees will be ineffective - that gives $700 - $850 billion of our tax dollars to Wall Street?

I found it interesting that Joe Lieberman mentioned on FOX that this government bailout will be "good for John McCain." No mention of what is best for America; best for generations of American citizens who will inherit this debt. But then again... we're talking about Joe Lieberman, so this can't really come as much of a shock.

Our entire financial future - as a nation - is hanging in the balance. Congress should stay in session for as long as necessary to craft a better and cheaper plan; because there are definitely other options. One alternative, called the 'No Bailouts Plan' has already been proposed by Pete DeFazio (D-OR). The DeFazio bill is designed to fix the banking system by providing insolvency relief instead of a bailout.

Another bill currently in the works by Rep. David Scott and Rep. Doggett - with the aid of economist James K. Galbraith - plans to help ordinary people by creating a modern version of the Home Owner's Loan Corporation (HOLC). This will address the mortgage crisis on Mainstreet by taking over mortgages and keeping people in their homes with reasonable serviceable mortgages.

Taking pieces from each of these bills and crafting something that works for all of America is the job facing the House today.

They can fold their tent and walk away, leaving this disastrous government bailout intact; or they can craft something much better. Each of these alternative bills fails to address all of the issues facing our economy. Patched together by a determined and responsible congress, they could form the foundation of a sound and humane solution to financial and economic meltdown facing our entire economy -- not simply Wall Street.

Congress undoubtedly wants to go home so Friday; passing the existing Senate plan would be the easy way out. It is up to us to demand otherwise and stop this $850 billion disaster in its tracks.

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