October 16, 2008

CRASH TALK OCTOBER 16


Alton Maddox, Jr, Black World Today -
Before Stephanie Tubbs-Jones made her transition this summer, there were forty members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. When the initial, unsuccessful vote was made on the bailout plan for Wall Street, 21 members opposed it in late September. This number had been reduced to 8 members when a second vote was held on the same issue on October 3. This meant that Cong. Nancy Pelosi was able to convince 31 of the 39 members to vote against the interests of their constituents who had been fleeced by both Congress and Wall Street. On October 3, only eight members had refused to raise the white flag. The four members from New York surrendered immediately. This is no surprise. Blacks in New York must vote for political selectees who are, in fact, political proxies.

Those who fought Wall Street until the end included Hank Johnson, William Jefferson, John Conyers, Jr., Bennie Thompson, William Lacy Clay, Donald Payne, G.K. Butterfield, Al Green, Sheila Jackson-Lee and Robert C. Scott. They elevated race over politics.

Congressmen Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Elijah Cummings had this rationale for giving in to Pelosi in the second vote. They claimed that Sen. Barack Obama had lobbied for Wall Street. He promised that if they did the right thing and supported Wall Street, he would make amends during his presidency. "Trust him," he said. He admitted that the bailout plan would neither include a moratorium on foreclosures nor stop predatory lending. . .

Obama was asked in Nashville on October 7 to name his treasury secretary. He indirectly referenced Warren Buffet but he failed to give a definite answer. The scuttlebutt, however, is that Obama may continue the regime of Henry "the Hammer" Paulson who already enjoys unreviewable and unbridled discretion to spend the $700 billion like he is a kid in a toy store.

This scuttlebutt may be plausible. Obama has asserted that he will follow the Lincoln paradigm. This means that his presidential administration will include both Democrats and Republicans. The Washington Post, quoting a high-ranking Obama official, asserted that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates may be asked to continue his defense duties in an Obama Administration.

White members of Congress were given financial lulus in return for a "yes" vote on the bailout. No financial incentives were given to members of the CBC for their constituents. They seem unable to understand the concept of quid pro quo. . .

This is alarming since blacks have no access to the credit markets. When Freedom National Bank folded, black depositors were not allowed to recoup their deposits. Politics is meaningless if blacks are unable to engage in political leveraging and bargaining. Instead, blacks are being told to finance their own oppression, so far, through a bailout plan for Wall Street.

Guardian UK -
The US is to lose its power to appoint the president of the World Bank after the UK's development secretary, Douglas Alexander, brokered a deal to throw open the post to candidates from any country. Backed by European governments and developing countries, Alexander overcame resistance from the US and Japan to secure a reform he described last night as "a significant step forward".

Washington has had the right to hand-pick the president of the World Bank since the institution was founded after the second world war, with Europe choosing the managing director of the International Monetary Fund. . .

Developing countries have grown increasingly frustrated at the stranglehold of rich nations on the two Washington-based multilateral bodies, with pressure for change accelerating after the controversial presidency of Paul Wolfowitz, who was forced to step down after a scandal involving his partner's promotion. . .

The bank's development committee yesterday was dominated by concerns that poor countries would fall victim to the global financial crisis. It backed proposals that will give countries from sub-Saharan Africa a third seat on its 25-strong governing board.

U Wire -
Citibank, the consumer and corporate banking arm of financial services giant Citigroup, terminated its loan program for graduate students at Harvard University last week, according to university officials. In 2003, under former President Lawrence H. Summers, Harvard and Citibank inked a deal - now known as CitiAssist - to provide financial aid for many Harvard graduate schools, with both institutions sharing the financial risk. Three years later, Citibank agreed to underwrite all financial responsibility for the loans.

International graduate students are expected to be affected most by the change. CitiAssist allowed foreign students to borrow without a cosigner, while most similar programs require that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident cosign the loan.

Students who are U.S. citizens will be able to find alternative sources of funding more easily, such as the federal government's direct loan program, said university spokesman John D. Longbrake.

The university was notified two days before the program was canceled but obtained a short extension before Citibank permanently stopped accepting applications on Oct. 6, according to financial aid officers at the Harvard School of Public Health.

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