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Cynthia McKinney
A Gift for a
Generation:  A U.S.
Financial System of
Our Own
September 25, 2008
Last week, I posted ten points (that were by no means exhaustive) for
Congressional action immediately in the wake of the financial crisis now
gripping our country.  At that time, the Democratic leadership of Congress
was prepared to adjourn the current legislative Session to campaign,
without taking any action at all to put policies in place that protect U.S.
taxpayers and the global community that has accepted U.S. financial
leadership.  Those ten points, to be taken in conjunction with the Power to
the People Committee's platform available on the campaign website at
(http://votetruth08.com/index.php/resources/campaignplatform), are as
follows:

1.    Enactment of a
foreclosure moratorium now
before the next phase of ARM
interest rate increases take
effect;
2.    Elimination of all ARM
mortgages and their
renegotiation into 30- or
40-year loans;
3.    Establishment of new
mortgage lending practices to
end predatory and
discriminatory practices;
4.    Establishment of criteria
and construction goals for
affordable housing;
5.    Redefinition of credit and
regulation of the credit
industry so that discriminatory
practices are completely
eliminated;
6.    Full funding for initiatives
that eliminate racial and ethnic
disparities in home ownership;
7.    Recognition of shelter as
a right according to the United
Nations Declaration of Human
Rights to which the
U.S. is a signatory so that no
one sleeps on U.S. streets;
8.    Full funding of a fund
designed to cushion the job
loss and provide for retraining
of those at the bottom of
the income scale as the
economy transitions;
9.    Close all tax loopholes
and repeal of the Bush tax
cuts for the top 1% of income
earners; and
10.  Fairly tax corporations,
denying federal subsidies to
those who relocate jobs
overseas repeal NAFTA.

In addition to these ten
points, I now add four more:

11.    Appointment of former
Comptroller General David
Walker to fully audit all
recipients of taxpayer cash
infusions, including JP
Morgan, Bear Stearns, Fannie
Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG,
and to monitor their
trading activities into the
future;
12.    Elimination of all
derivatives trading;
13.    Nationalization of the
Federal Reserve and the
establishment of a
federally-owned, public
banking system
that makes credit available for
small businesses,
homeowners, manufacturing
operations, renewable
energy and infrastructure
investments; and
14.    Criminal prosecution of
any activities that violated the
law, including conflicts of
interest that led to the
current crisis.

Ellen Brown, author of "The Web of
Debt" writes at
http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/,
"Such a public bank today could solve
not only the housing crisis but a number
of other pressing problems, including
the infrastructure crisis and the energy
crisis.  Once bankrupt businesses have
been restored to solvency, the usual
practice is to return them to private
hands; but a better plan for Fannie and
Freddie might be to simply keep them
as public institutions."

Too many times politicians
have told us to support the
"free market."  The unfolding
news informs us in a most
costly manner that free
markets don't work. This is a
financial system of their
making.  It's now past time for
the people to have an
economic system of their own.  
A reading of the full text on the
Congressional "Agreement on
Principles" for the proposed
$700 billion bailout reveals the
sham that this so-called
agreement truly is.  Today our
country faces an economic
9/11.  The problem that is
unfolding is truly systemic and
no stop-gap measures that
maintain the current bankrupt
structure will be sufficient to
resolve this crisis of the U.S.
economic engine.

Today is my son's birthday.  
What a gift to the young
people of this country if we
were to present to them a
clean break from the policies
that produced this economic
disaster, the "financial
tsunami" that former
Comptroller General David
Walker warned us of so many
months ago and instead
offered them a U.S. economic
superstructure that truly was
their own.

Power to the People!

"And advanced forms of
biological warfare that can
'target' specific genotypes
may transform biological
warfare from the realm of
terror to a politically useful
tool."
PNAC, Rebuilding America's
Defenses, p. 60

The argument that the two
parties should represent
opposed ideals and policies,
one, perhaps, of the Right and
the other of the Left, is a
foolish idea acceptable only to
doctrinaire and academic
thinkers. Instead, the two
parties should be almost
identical, so that the American
people can "throw the rascals
out" at any election without
leading to any profound or
extensive shifts in policy.
-- Carroll Quigley, Tragedy
and Hope: A History of the
World in our Time (Continued
Next Column) >>>

March 2, 2009

I have played around with this idea for hours now, on whether or not
to write this piece.  But the events of the last few hours, I believe,
mandate that I raise my voice once again.

I have read and re-read President Obama's Joint Congressional Address.  
All of the "acceptable punditry" have spoken and given the President
glowing reviews.  And so, to them and the population that still believes in
them, "All is right with the world."  But for the rest of us, who refuse to
swallow the pill that puts us into the Matrix, a good dose of reality is
strongly called for.

But reality is not what we're getting, not even from one of the national columnists whom
I've met, Maureen Dowd.

I think Maureen Dowd characterized it as "Spock at the Bridge."  Now, being the Trekkie
that I am, that headline grabbed my attention.  I nearly gagged, however, when I got to
the line supposedly from President Obama calling President Bush to proclaim, "'I'm
ending your stupid war.' Mission Relinquished."

Why write things like this now that it is clear that the Obama Administration is
continuing the Bush policies for missile strikes inside Pakistan; torture; rendition for
torture; public release of Bush Administration e-mails; illegal wiretaps; status of
prisoners at the U.S. base in Bagram, Afghanistan; and workplace immigration raids?

For the record, President Obama is also pursuing Bush policies on Iran and Israel.  As
recently as yesterday, President Obama's Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff,
Admiral Mike Mullen, responded when asked whether Iran was capable of building an
atom bomb.  Admiral Mullen replied, "We think they do, quite frankly."

Dowd concludes her "Spock" piece by imbuing the President with "a Vulcan-like logic
and detachment."  But I think the detachment of "acceptable" political punditry from the
real world is what is totally lamentable.  In the process, they render themselves
irrelevant.

So, it's clear.  I'm about to step into marshy soil here, by noting that I found 19
questionable Obama policies or statements in his Joint Congressional speech
delivered three days before his announcement that upon the end of the U.S. combat
mission in Iraq, up to 50,000 U.S. troops could remain through 2011, after the "pullout."

And while various "mint" operations are peddling Obama "Change" coins for purchase,
complete with a certificate of authenticity, I wade further into the muck by noting that the
President continues the giveaway of our hard-earned coins to an economic team intent
on keeping mismanagement structures in place, serving economic ends that do not
constitute the common good.  I would refer readers to the many statements that I
issued during the final days of our Power to the People Green Party Presidential
campaign about re-creating an economic system truly and finally owned by the people,
operating in our interest.  It is possible to do that.  All it requires is enough political will.

But what forces me out into the open marshland of "non-mainstream" political punditry
has to do with the latest Obama "pullout:"  the decision to withdraw from the April 2009
Geneva United Nations World Conference Against Racism, dubbed Durban II.

We heard the same palaver in 2001 from the same forces inside our country, basically
that a discussion of Zionism, in the context of such a Conference, would be
anti-Semitic; therefore all the world's dispossessed and marginalized people must
continue to suffer and sacrifice while muting their grievances so that no discussion of
Israel would take place on the world stage in this context.

Well, in 2001, upon hearing this line of reasoning, I went to then-Congressional Black
Caucus (CBC) Chairwoman, Eddie Bernice Johnson, and asked if I could be appointed
as the CBC Task Force Chair on Durban.  The non-participation argument was also a
handy "peg on the track" with the potential of derailing many conversations, including a
real discussion about the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the issue of reparations.  
Respectful of the excellent preparatory work that had been done, I wanted to avoid that
outcome.

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson made the appointment and I led a delegation
of 5 Members of Congress to Durban.

The current Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Barbara Lee, was a
member of my delegation to Durban.  From my position on the International Relations
Committee, we successfully argued for U.S. participation in that Conference at a
Hearing designed to quash our effort.  We not only met with then-United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, we also presented her with the
untold story of COINTELPRO and the remaining unsolved deaths of its Black Panther
Party member victims, commissioned by me and written by Kathleen Cleaver and Paul
Wolf.  

Our CBC Chairwoman made a beautiful statement of why it was imperative that the
United States join with our Native American and Latino brothers and sisters and with
oppressed peoples all over the planet and not only make our statement of solidarity,
but also institute policies at the Congress that recognized their needs.  It is incorrect to
say that the United States was not present at Durban.  We were there and only when
the duties of Congress pressed us to return to Washington, DC did the Bush
Administration make a big deal about anti-Semitism and then staged its phony walk
out.  The United States delegation of Congressional Black Caucus Members was there
to support the phenomenal work of U.S. activists and the African and Caribbean
delegations, in particular.  I think everyone in Durban was moved by the plight of the
Dalits in India and understood better the surging political power of Afro-Latinos.

Durban was a clear victory for the world's marginalized peoples, including those of us
who reside inside the United States.  But, when the Congressional Delegation returned
to the U.S., there was no time for celebration because the tragedy of September 11,
2001 unfolded.

What has happened in the interim has devastated the very people that Durban was
designed to address, unfortunately, much of it due to U.S. policy.  Now is not the time
for the United States to shrink from this call.

In order to prevail in Durban, I had to go toe to toe with the Anti-Defamation League and
Members of Congress Tom Lantos and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who, among many other
Members of Congress, vociferously denounced Durban.  This was something that I did
because I felt it was the right thing to do.  Given Israel's recent actions in Gaza that have
brought upon it the world's opprobrium, I can imagine that this is the last point in time
that Israel might want to revisit Durban.  Israel has said that it will not attend the
Conference in Geneva.

Early last year, a government official announced Canada's decision to not attend
Durban II after deeming the Conference to be anti-Israel.  Shortly afterwards, France
followed suit with French President Nicolas Sarkozy stating that the "excesses of 2001"
transformed the Conference "into an intolerable platform against the State of Israel."  I
would note also that France must be particularly loath to discuss racism now with what
is happening in Guadeloupe and Martinique as I write this piece.  And remembering
that Paris, itself, was literally on fire just a few years ago.

The UK, which has been under severe racial tests with Asians rebelling openly in the
streets since Durban 2001, and the Netherlands have both threatened to withdraw their
support for the Conference if a "negative spiral" of events takes place.  Interestingly,
these remarks came at the same time as the release of a European Commission
Against Racism and Intolerance report which found that the tone of Dutch political and
public debate on immigrant integration, racism, and other issues relevant to ethnic
minorities, had experienced a "dramatic deterioration."

So, we shouldn't be surprised that the racism stress test is revealing cracks and
fissures in human relations.  But the United States and President Obama should not
shield them or this country from these stresses.  This Conference gives us the
opportunity to get the issues out in the open and to deal with them.  That's the way to
put them to an end.  The world might have changed because of events occurring in
September 2001, but it wasn't because the United Nations successfully convened the
World Conference Against Racism.

And now that I am as completely in the middle of the marsh as I was as completely in
the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea when my boat was rammed by the
Israelis, let me make an observation about one aspect of marshes.  I have witnessed
the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets on the Savannah, Georgia marshland.  And
the most beautiful rainbows.  Being away from the glass and concrete can give one a
better perspective.

I observed last year that I thought U.S. voters went to the polls in large numbers to try
and regain a bit of dignity lost during the eight years of outright banditry played out in
our names, with our resources, against our interests.  But I was reminded at the
recently adjourned Transpartisan Alliance convention in Colorado that dignity will not
come without first an acknowledgment of the truth:  with truth we can have justice; and
with justice we can have peace; and it is only with peace that we can truly have dignity.  
Something as easy as a vote, alone, is not going to be enough to wrest us from this
mess that has been wrought.

This morning, I sent the following message to the White House:

'Mr. President, it was with great disappointment that I read of your decision to pull out of
Durban II.  Even the Bush Administration, under pressure from the Congressional
Black Caucus, provided some funding for the United Nations effort and sent staff to
support the Congressional delegation that attended the Conference.  I was there.  I
was head of the Congressional Black Caucus Task Force that negotiated
Congressional and Administration engagement on this issue.  There is still time for the
U.S. to participate.  Your decision is not irrevocable.  I would encourage you to please
reconsider this decision and not only attend the Conference, but also provide funding to
ensure its success."

I implore the Members of the Congressional Black Caucus to spearhead the
participation of the United States in the United Nation's World Conference Against
Racism:  to boldly go where we have gone before.  Dr. King reminded us that "the
ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and
convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."  On this
issue, President Obama has shown us his measure.  I hope that the Congressional
Black Caucus and the Progressive Caucus and the Democratic Caucus can show us,
oh, so much more.
{Continued from Left
Column)

Instead, the two parties
should be almost
identical, so that the
American people can
"throw the rascals out"
at any election without
leading to any
profound or extensive
shifts in policy.
-- Carroll Quigley,
Tragedy and Hope: A
History of the World in
our Time

Ellen Brown, author of "The Web of
Debt" writes at
http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/,
"Such a public bank today could solve
not only the housing crisis but a number
of other pressing problems, including
the infrastructure crisis and the energy
crisis.  Once bankrupt businesses have
been restored to solvency, the usual
practice is to return them to private
hands; but a better plan for Fannie and
Freddie might be to simply keep them
as public institutions."

Too many times
politicians have told us to
support the "free
market."  The unfolding
news informs us in a
most costly manner that
free markets don't work.
This is a financial system
of their making.  It's now
past time for the people
to have an economic
system of their own.  A
reading of the full text on
the Congressional
"Agreement on
Principles" for the
proposed $700 billion
bailout reveals the sham
that this so-called
agreement truly is.  
Today our country faces
an economic 9/11.  The
problem that is unfolding
is truly systemic and no
stop-gap measures that
maintain the current
bankrupt structure will be
sufficient to resolve this
crisis of the U.S.
economic engine.

Today is my son's
birthday.  What a gift to
the young people of
this country if we were
to present to them a
clean break from the
policies that produced
this economic disaster,
the "financial tsunami"
that former Comptroller
General David Walker
warned us of so many
months ago and
instead offered them a
U.S. economic
superstructure that
truly was their own.

Power to the People!

"And advanced forms
of biological warfare
that can 'target'
specific genotypes
may transform
biological warfare from
the realm of terror to a
politically useful tool."
PNAC, Rebuilding
America's Defenses, p.
60

The argument that the
two parties should
represent opposed
ideals and policies,
one, perhaps, of the
Right and the other of
the Left, is a foolish
idea acceptable only to
doctrinaire and
academic thinkers.
Instead, the two parties
should be almost
identical, so that the
American people can
"throw the rascals out"
at any election without
leading to any
profound or extensive
shifts in policy.
-- Carroll Quigley,
Tragedy and Hope: A
History of the World in
our Time