Friday, September 19, 2008

Coalition of Independent Americans: CIA

"Three things that are never seen are a blade's edge, the wind and love."
-Old Irish Saying

Today’s San Jose Mercury News features an op-ed entitled A winning third-party strategy should target U.S. House that identifies targeting all 535 members of Congress as “the perfect battleground to take back our country.” Author Lee H. Brandenburg suggests that instead of hitching our “hope” for change on career politicians from the two “Dead Old Parties”, we must instead wage trench warfare in district-by-district fights for the House of Representatives. The author envisions a new kind of Congress— a Coalition of Independent Americans, or "CIA." He writes:

“Candidates for the House only have to compete in their districts, rather than statewide like senators or nationwide like presidential contenders. This local-level constituency can allow independent candidates the chance to win. Many voters are sick and tired of voting for Tweedle-dee, the Democrat, or Tweedle-dumb, the Republican. Passionate, dedicated independents could take out the do-nothing politicians from the two major parties. And if enough of them do so, they just might help get something done in Washington.”

Sounds great? Once Brandenburg offers the criteria for the proposed CIA members, the
picture begins to look more like business as usual:

“These candidates will be chosen based on accomplishments in the private sector. Prior political experience will not be a consideration for selection. Prospective candidates will not be required to pass an ideological test. Instead, they will only have to pledge that if elected they will remain truly independent; that means they will fight for real reform once they arrive in Washington.”

The question now becomes “how is the candidate being chosen based on accomplishments in the private sector any different than what we have now?” Corporations are already running the show and own the politicians, and most local candidates bring corporate executive experience to the table. For example, with “private sector” local candidates comes “private friendships” with those in high places. Now, on the other hand, if the author’s candidacy criteria were expanded to include nurses or fire fighters or plumbers or waitresses and just about anyone from a non-legal background, things could get interesting…

But as Ralph Nader discusses in the youtube video (above), there are 535 member of Congress that service 1500 corporations with virtually no accountability who all are “working” for us. We pay them to screw us, and then complain about it as we vote for them every four years. Enough. Brandenburg does offer this hopeful vision:

“Our very first act as a people was beating the mighty British Empire. Now it's time for another revolution. Luckily, thanks to our Constitution, it won't require guns or cannons. It can happen at the ballot box.”

From the Nader/Gonzalez 2008 website:

In a letter to Congress on July 23, 2008, Ralph Nader warned that the federal government's bank insurance fund may be insufficient to handle the developing crisis in the banking industry. The day after Ralph sent out his warning, he was ridiculed in Congress.

One member, Spencer Bachus, at a Congressional hearing, mentioned Ralph's letter and said point blank "Our banks are well capitalized, our deposit insurance fund is sound. There's absolutely no factual basis for saying that there's not money there to pay."
Fast forward to September 17, 2008, today, less than two months after Ralph sent his letter.

And now we have an Associated Press story, featured prominently right now on the Drudge Report, with the headline "Federal bank insurance fund dwindling."
Here's the opening sentence from the AP report today:

"Banks are not the only ones struggling in the growing financial crisis. The fund established to insure their deposits is also feeling the pinch, and the taxpayer may be the lender of last resort."

The reality is that the Democrats and Republicans have screwed up royally.

They have screwed up because they are under the thumb of the big corporations.
The big corporations said -- weak regulation, weak law and order for corporations.
And the Democrats and Republicans delivered for their corporate paymasters.
The rest of us -- taxpayers and workers alike -- will now suffer the consequences -- through either increased taxes, lost jobs -- or both.
For his entire career, Ralph Nader has been sounding the alarm about the dangers of deregulation, about the dangers of a hands off approach to corporate power.

Time to listen up. Reassert the public will. And get behind the one Presidential candidacy that has the track record and will power to set things straight.


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