When I wrote about the bailout bill this morning two things happened. First, I was focused on the staggering, mind-numbing numbers. And second, even though intuition told me there would be something about this plan as insidious as the Patriot Act, I didn’t imagine it to be quite as bold and brazen as it was.
Fortunately, others did. It’s stunning in its audacity and simplicity.
In essence, the bailout as proposed represents the largest transfer of Congressional power to the executive branch in United States History, as well as the shift of public funds into corporate hands. Worse yet, there’s this:
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.
Read that a couple of times. Let it sink in. The Treasury Secretary has been elevated above the rule of law. In essence, we are being asked to fork up 700 billion dollars to give to the Treasury Secretary with no accountability and no recourse. Imagine that. Then go read all of Larisa Alexandrovna’s article on Huffington Post.
If ever the words “fierce urgency of now” had any meaning, they must have meaning here. They must. Alexandrovna is absolutely right when she calls for us all to stand against this in unison, regardless of party:
You are no longer Republicans, Democrats, or any shade of voter. You do not live in a swing state or a solid colored state. You are simply this: an American. That is the only side that matters. So call your members of Congress and demand, no, declare that unless they do their duty to the Constitution and to us, we will move to the streets – not because we want to, but because our founding fathers demanded this duty of each and every citizen in the face of such a domestic enemy. Demand – as is your right – that this bill be voted against and demand – as is your right – that the people plotting this treachery be held to account. We are either a nation of laws or we are no longer a democracy. Pick a side, because there won’t be another time, another moment, another chance to be a patriot.
She’s right. There is no crisis more urgent, more in need of our attention, than this. Because if we, the people, do not stop this end run around the rule of law and balance of powers, we will live in the dictatorship we deserve.
This is the bookend to the Patriot Act, make no mistake. It’s time to say no.
- Mortgage Bailout: Questions Without Answers
- Market Meltdown: Thoughts on Shadows, Secrets, and Shells