Secrets of the Temple

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Digby observes that the American economy is essentially in the hands of the High Priests of the Federal Reserve, who do not answer to anyone, least of all to the great unwashed masses who allegedly aren’t equipped to handle something so important as money.

Considering the fact that America’s banking system has become the Clusterfuck of All Time, it seems to me that the High Priests of the Temple of Bernanke are the ones who can’t handle money.  Or keep track of it.  Or reveal how many trillions of dollars they’ve printed and who they’re handing all those trillions of dollars to.

Congressman Grayson:

The Federal Reserve has refused multiple inquiries from both the House and the Senate to disclose who is receiving trillions of dollars from the central banking system.  The Federal Reserve has redacted the central terms of the no-bid contracts it has issued to Wall Street firms like Blackrock and PIMCO, without disclosure required of the Treasury, and is participating in new and exotic programs like the trillion-dollar TALF to leverage the Treasury’s balance sheet.  With discussions of allocating even more power to the Federal Reserve as the ‘systemic risk regulator’ of the credit markets, more oversight over the central bank’s operations is clearly necessary.

Even more oversight than there already is???

Wow.  I didn’t know it was possible to have even more oversight over that Temple of Secrets and its Branch Temples on Wall Street than we already have.  But I know this much. . .

The High Priests will be very offended.  They’d already ordained themselves as Supreme High Pontiff Systemic Risk Regulators and now some heathen asshole in Congress is suggesting that they should be subject to even more blasphemous oversight.  

As Digby notes, this heresy will also offend the plutocrats “who are about to launch a huge campaign to not only curtail any more domestic spending but cut deeply into ‘entitlements.’  And they will do this without ever even looking at the massive amount of money that’s flowing out of the Fed right now, completely unaccountable to anyone. They will say that the little old ladies must eat cat food, but nobody can breach the temple of the Federal Reserve because it must remain ‘independent.'”

William Greider, the author of Secrets of the Temple and Come Home America, discussed the political implications of the banking crisis with Bill Moyers recently . . .  

I think politics is going to change fairly dramatically.  The Federal Reserve, accompanied by the Treasury Department and by the Congress, has crossed a very dangerous line in their bailout.  They have essentially said, “We will put money on the table, taxpayers’ money on the table, for any financial institution or business that is too big to fail.  And we’ve got a list now of maybe 30, 40, depending on how you count them, that we will be there to save you.  I regard that as profoundly dangerous for the American Republic, because once you cross that line and you have this special club that’s privileged, that has benefits from government that nobody else can get, where do you stop it?

Don’t ask these guys . . .

Timothy Geithner and Ben Bernanke Pictures, Images and Photos

They’re the ones who crossed that dangerous line, they’re the ones who set up that special club for the privileged plutocrats of Wall Street, they’re the ones who turned every American citizen into an ATM machine for CitiGroup and Bank of America and Goldman Sachs.

It’s time to stop being We the ATM Machines.  

It’s time to start being We the People.

William Greider . . .

We have an opening in this crisis for a deep transformation in American politics. I don’t say it happens this year, next year, or it’s going to take a number of years. But we are in the shock of reality. And people get it everywhere and see the blood in the streets. And you tell them how this worked and who did what to whom, and that’s a basis for a new politics.

But it requires people – this is the hard part – to get out of their sort of passive resignation to, “Well, we follow the Democrats” or “we follow the Republicans” or “we let this group or that group tell us how to think” and engage among themselves in a much more serious role as citizens.  And when, as they do that, they have to be willing to punish the political powers, in smart ways or crude ways, however they can, first, to get a place in the debate.  But, secondly, to force the system to change.

I think in the next year, two years, five years, you’re going to see both political parties floundering. What do we believe about all this stuff?   We’ve told folks this, you know, lovely story for 20, 25 years about the magic of the marketplace.  Do we still want to kind of prop that up?  That’s where they are now.  They’re still trying to prop up the marketplace vision and make it work again.

But it’s over.  

More sunset.  More charming. Pictures, Images and Photos

Events will demonstrate that.  If the politicians are not willing to change, then we need to change the politicians.

As Greider explains, we have an opening in this crisis for a deep transformation in American politics. That transformation is not going to be led by blogs that are locked into supporting the Corporate Democratic Party or the Corporate Republican Party.  As those parties lose membership and support, the blogs that keep clapping louder for them will lose membership and support.

Here at Docudharma, we have an opportunity to help make that deep transformation in American politics happen.   We are the among the Americans William Greider is talking to.  We have to be willing to punish the political powers, in smart ways or crude ways, however we can, so we can get a place in the debate, so we can force the system to change.

Every post on Docudharma affirms that our voices matter, that we deserve to be heard, that we will be heard. Every time a new voice is heard here, every time they are welcomed and encouraged, we grow stronger.   We are the leaders we’ve been waiting for.   So make every essay count.  Shake the windows and rattle the walls of Washington.  Move that Overton Window.  Then move it again.  And keep on moving it.  

17 comments

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  1. Do you hear it yet, high priests and politicians?

    You will.

    It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls . . .

  2. consumer driven capitalism and free market principles are a legitimate way to organize and sustain an economy. Because it is essential to maintaining the myth of the American dream. The two are inexplicably wedded. To critique either is to undermine the little fairy tale that we are all operating on a level playing field with equality of opportunity and equality of access to resources.

    America was once a viable model of democracy. Who knows maybe even that was a myth. But feels to me like we’re in a free fall collective coma.

  3. I can’t imagine an institution that more accurately represents modern American reality than the Fed.  It carries out public policy, in the name of the United States, but does so in a manner subject to no meaningful democratic controls or oversight, and is in fact not only a private institution, but one controlled by the very profit-seeking financial institutions it purportedly exists to regulate.  There was a time when this made the Fed rather the “odd duck” in American life, but in these times when “freedom” has come to be represented not by democracy but by capitalism, when profitability has trounced liberty and equality as social goals, all our institutions of public life will increasingly resemble the Fed in both their behavior and their governance.  

    • dmc on May 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    be pretty bad for the existing political structure. The Federal Reserve has the first claim on our tax dollars, and they will make good on the promises that they’ve made to the money people before there anything else. If those promises start to get called in a major way, that will mean higher taxes and/or reduced spending in other areas. Out here in California, we’ve seen that even faced with an imminent financial crisis, the voters are not going along with the higher taxes part. That leaves reduced spending, and that means more suffering. If the suffering becomes visceral enough, it becomes a political situation.

  4. http://news.goldseek.com/GoldS

    There are seven clauses in the Constitution that deal with the subject of money:

      * Article I, Section 8, Clause 2. The Congress shall have Power…To borrow Money on the credit of the United States.

       * Article I, Section 8, Clause 5. The Congress shall have Power…To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures.

       * Article I, Section 8, Clause 6. The Congress shall have Power…To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States.

      * Article I, Section 9, Clause 1. The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

       * Article I, Section 9, Clause 7. No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.

       * Article I, Section 10, Clause 1. No State shall…coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debt.

      * Amendment VII. In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved… [2]

    Woodrow Wilson, in 1913, had no right to give away the control of the nations money. The founding fathers understood by giving the control of money and credit to the banks we would be forever in debt to these institutions.

    http://www.silverbearcafe.com/

    Pursuant to the Constitution, congress later enacted the Coinage Act of April 2, 1792(1) which forever set and immutably fixed the standard dollar as a weight of silver equal to 371.25 grains (0.7734 troy ounce or 24.0565 grams) or 1.292929 dollars of silver to the ounce.

    Why did our founding fathers set these laws in our Constitution? Because they understood how money, incharge of the banks, would be inflated away to worthless. They could have easily gone with paper currency … many countries had before but always finish the same way. By seeting the monetary standard to silver and then gold, the worlds oldest currency, they would not subject the colonists to the ravages of inflation.

  5. this:

    …the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009, which demands a GAO audit of the Fed, and a full report to Congress sometime next year. And it’s gaining steam. It already has 175 co-sponsors in the House, and now a major Democrat, Rep. Alan Grayson

    Not a big fan of Ron Paul on most issues, but he’s right on the money with this one.  So far about 30 Dems have signed on, and more coming every day.

    Bernie Sanders has introduced a similar bill in the Senate.  Total cosponsors as of yet: 0.

    Shocking, I know.

    • jamess on May 23, 2009 at 3:34 am

    Keeping tabs on the bailout

    By Elizabeth Warren — April 12, 2009

    Elizabeth Warren: There’s a major problem and a minor problem. The minor problem is documentation.

    […]

    Elizabeth Warren: The major problem is that Treasury has not articulated its goals. And without that, we can’t have a robust debate about whether they’re headed in the right direction; instead, we’re stuck with this more technical argument about the implementation of the [Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility] or the details of the Capital Acquisition Program. And that misses the central question of, should we be subsidizing failing banks or liquidating them?

    When we acquire capital, should we exercise more control over the institutions that take the money or less control? Those are the central policy issues that the American public has a right to participate in.

    (emphasis added)

    http://www.boston.com/bostongl

    Congressional Oversight Panel

    April Oversight Report — April 7, 2009

    Executive Summary (pdf)

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