Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Let the Thing Be Pressed

Let the Thing Be Pressed

by Marc Ash,
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Still no end in sight to the corruption in Washington. While the Democrats now control both houses of Congress and the White House, the raging wildfire of corruption continues unabated.

A.I.G. bailed out to the tune of 165 billion taxpayer dollars and proceeds to pay executives what is now approaching 300 million in bonuses? The White House and Congress are "outraged, but can't do anything"?

Meanwhile, legislation that could have prevented millions of foreclosures barely passed the House after being watered down to the point of ineffectiveness and now languishes in the Senate, awaiting recrafting that will insure it saves no homeowner.

At the heart of the problem lies a government of large corporations, by large corporations and for large corporations. To illustrate the point, Senate Democrats are redrafting the foreclosure legislation in negotiations with the very financial institutions the bill is intended to rein in. Absent the support - read, "approval" - of the banks, the legislation will not pass.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner put in a phone call to Edward M. Liddy, the government-appointed chairman of A.I.G., to "berate" him and "pressure" him. However, regardless of what is now a nearly 80 percent ownership stake in A.I.G. by the US government, the government says there is simply nothing more it can do. "We are a country of law," said White House economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers. "There are contracts. The government cannot just abrogate contracts."

While Mr. Summers wants us to remember that we are a nation of laws when it comes to paying huge bonuses to A.I.G. executives, who will apply the law to former Bush administration officials who approved torture? If law dictates payment of bonuses, what law addresses money laundering? And is that law less important than the one that insures payment of bonuses?

What could be more corrupt than asking banks that have been bailed out by the American taxpayer - expressly to address their loses from mortgage failures - if they approve of a foreclosure bill that would in turn bailout the taxpayer/homeowners themselves?

No American institution is more at fault than Congress. The Obama White House really looks like it wants to do the right thing. However, Congress always seems to unable to close the deal. While the Constitution gives Congress vast power to rein in corruption, those powers are no greater than the will of Congress members to use them. If Congress members will not act, there is no constitutional remedy for abdication.

If Congress insists on consulting with and entering into agreements with and seeking the approval of the very entities that are bleeding the nation dry, then it is their Congress, not ours.

Nothing could be more disheartening for those who watched article after article of the most anti-American legislation the country has ever seen sail through the Congress during the Bush years. From funding for illegal war to evisceration of constitutional rights, if it was bad for America it became law in the Bush years. The Republicans rarely had enough votes to make a filibuster impossible. It didn't matter, because the Democrats had no stomach for opposition. Now, suddenly, the Democrats need 60 votes to pass anything. The corporate press calls it "clearing the procedural threshold." It is, in reality, the filibuster threshold.

Instead of kowtowing to the Wall Street financiers, bring them before Congress, under oath, to account. Instead of crafting legislation that protects mortgage companies while they foreclose on the very taxpayers who have bailed them out, writing and passing legislation provides the same social safety net for homeowners that their tax dollars are providing for the mortgage companies.

In the final days of the American Civil War, Union Major General Philip H. Sheridan, reporting on the running battle against Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia, telegraphed General Ulysses S. Grant saying, "If the thing be pressed I think Lee will surrender." Grant, in turn, passed the message to Lincoln.

Lincoln responded, "Let the thing be pressed."


You can send comments to Truthout Executive Director Marc Ash at:

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Eric Zuesse: U.S. Empire: Biden And Kerry Gave Orders To Ukraine’s President

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at Strategic Culture On May 19th, an implicit international political warning was issued, but it wasn’t issued between countries; it was issued between allied versus opposed factions within each of two countries: U.S. and Ukraine. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Budget Cockups In The Time Of Coronavirus: Reporting Errors And Australia’s JobKeeper Scheme

Hell has, in its raging fires, ringside seats for those who like their spreadsheets. The seating, already peopled by those from human resources, white collar criminals and accountants, becomes toastier for those who make errors with those spreadsheets. ... More>>

The Dig - COVID-19: Just Recovery

The COVID-19 crisis is compelling us to kick-start investment in a regenerative and zero-carbon future. We were bold enough to act quickly to stop the virus - can we now chart a course for a just recovery? More>>

The Conversation: Are New Zealand's New COVID-19 Laws And Powers Really A Step Towards A Police State?

Reaction to the New Zealand government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant lockdown has ranged from high praise to criticism that its actions were illegal and its management chaotic. More>>

Keith Rankin: Universal Versus Targeted Assistance, A Muddled Dichotomy

The Commentariat There is a regular commentariat who appear on places such as 'The Panel' on Radio New Zealand (4pm on weekdays), and on panels on television shows such as Newshub Nation (TV3, weekends) and Q+A (TV1, Mondays). Generally, these panellists ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Welcome Deaths: Coronavirus And The Open Plan Office

For anybody familiar with that gruesome manifestation of the modern work place, namely the open plan office, the advent of coronavirus might be something of a relief. The prospects for infection in such spaces is simply too great. You are at risk from ... More>>

Caitlin Johnstone: Do You Consent To The New Cold War?

The world's worst Putin puppet is escalating tensions with Russia even further, with the Trump administration looking at withdrawal from more nuclear treaties in the near future. In addition to planning on withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Why Thinking Makes It So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

The “gate” suffix has been wearing thin since the break-in scandal that gave it its birth. Since Watergate, virtually anything dubious and suggestive, and much more besides, is suffixed. Which brings us to the issue of President Donald Trump’s ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Ethics (and Some Of The Economics) Of Lifting The Lockdown

As New Zealand passes the half-way mark towards moving out of Level Four lockdown, the trade-offs involved in life-after-lockdown are starting to come into view. All very well for National’s finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith to claim that “The number one priority we have is to get out of the lockdown as soon as we can”…Yet as PM Jacinda Ardern pointed out a few days ago, any crude trade-off between public health and economic well-being would be a false choice... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Brutal Choices: Anders Tegnell And Sweden’s Herd Immunity Goal

If the title of epidemiological czar were to be created, its first occupant would have to be Sweden’s Anders Tegnell. He has held sway in the face of sceptics and concern that his “herd immunity” approach to COVID-19 is a dangerous, and breathtakingly ... More>>


  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog