The President appeared on television last night in front of a view of an open doorway in the White House. He was there to warn Americans that we face a long period of recession and financial difficulty in which we will not be able to borrow money or send our kids to college. He said our retirement funds will be losing value and our futures will be dark and gloomy - unless we jump on board with his Wall Street rescue package.
His initial proposal was that we simply hurry up and give over $700 billion with no questions asked. After some bipartisan hesitation, he became more flexible, but we're supposed to ignore the fact that his first version unconstitutionally gave him Godlike power over America's taxpayers and most powerful investment banks without oversight or recourse.
His next proposal conceded CEO accountability, oversight and other compromises, but he still needs passage of the package really, really quick. He also told us he's still a believer in free market Darwinism, but he needs us to sign off on this fast! Congress is sharply divided but constituents are clearly against it, flooding Congressional calls centers and literally taking to the streets in protest.
No, Bush did not take any responsibility for steering us into this pickle in the first place. Indeed, this power and money grab is eerily reminiscent of the misguided invasion of Iraq. He convinced the American people to trust him on a few fundamental points: Iraq had WMD and was determined to attack America, and the resultant clean-up would be quick, easy and inexpensive. Bush bullied past the official UN weapons inspectors report or Saddam's imminent surrender and rammed the war through the complicit House and Senate.
Bush scared us then, telling us Saddam meant to put biological death germs into warheads and launch them from mobile murder factories. He told us we faced grave, immediate danger. It took years to unravel Bush's misinformation, but we know today everything he said was categorically false and we today as a people struggle to extricate ourselves from the Iraqi quagmire, militarily and financially.
With all credibility blown, Bush comes to us again with his hand out, shirking responsibility for his stewardship of our financial markets and condescendingly explaining the "problem" to us as if it was a natural disaster that just blew in from Kansas.
Bush needed to humbly admit his part if he wanted any credibility last night. With this kind of pathological arrogance, DC-watchers cannot deny the suspicious nature of Bush's claims, particularly the nightmare scenario painted for America's middle class.
But if our assets are accounted for, it's only the profits, bonuses and jobs of the financial industry that are threatened.
As Bush explained, we need these businesses to administer loans to us. If they go belly up, it will be harder for us all to get credit. But the government-run Fed loans these entities billions all day (and in the case of bail outs, simply hands them money).
Why shouldn't the government just loan money directly to the people? Because that would be socialism - up until recently, a dirty, filthy word. Even though the problem is all based in ill-advised individual mortgages, Bush still sees sprinkling cash onto the middlemen as the solution, having learned nothing from this raging crisis.
Another solution making the rounds is using the bad securitized debts as collateral for government provided lines of credit which teetering firms can use to regain liquidity. Then, the assets can be carefully examined by both borrower and lender to untangle the slop and tabulate value and liabilities.
As someone who doesn't push around paper for a living, I could care less if these firms tank. I'd welcome reverting back to more of a manufacturing and service economy because the three generations of suits passing around the same money has finally found the end of the middleman profiteering, overfishing the pond. Our dollar is worth less, our goods made less valuable and we're paying extra for "speculation" in our energy and commodity costs.
This is all a last-ditch effort for Bush-friendly corporations to take one last payday before the next administration begins real reform. Especially if this is going to be the end of the line for war profiteers, crony contracts and good old boy glad-handing, it's Bush's one last push to enrich fatcats before he is rideen out on a rail.
The coordination between the McCain campaign and the Bush White House is plain out there. Last night Bush used the term "people from all backgrounds" to mislead viewers, trying to make it sound like he means "everyone" through sly word parsing. The McCain campaign was recently exposed using the exact same expression in an ad to insinuate Obama's tax increases would affect many, though saying "people from all backgrounds" technically could mean very few people.
This is the Karl Rove fingerprint, converging at once the Office of the President (and Vice President), the McCain campaign, the Fox media empire, the neocon caucus in Congress, the talk radio personalities, powerful mega-church pastors and a menagerie of corporate execs, lobbyists and "special interest" operatives sympathetic to those raiding taxpayers and their as-yet unborn children and grandchildren for the last eight years.
Along with the Sarah Palin media sideshow, it's an amazing blend of reality-TV, non-reality-based politics, media manipulation, diseased ethics and non-stop gimmicks, stunts and threats designed to scare you and then offer you hope. This is right in line with the teachings of the original master of mass manipulation, Edward Bernays, who, in private, said people are simply stupid.