Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Narcoleptic Public Consciousness of America

Wikipedia defines Consciousness as a type of mental state, a way of perceiving, particularly the perception of a relationship between self and other. It has been described as a point of view, an I, or what Thomas Nagel called the existence of "something that it is like" to be something.

It defines Narcolepsy as a neurological condition most characterized by Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS), in which a person experiences extreme tiredness, possibly culminating in falling asleep during the day at inappropriate times, such as at work or school.

So the narcoleptic public consciousness of America is that oft repeated habit of the American public of falling asleep at extremely appropriate times. And now is one of those times.

Remember Dennis Kucinich's speech at the Democratic National Convention which cried "Wake Up America".

In spite of those stark reminders of malfeasance on the part of the Bush Administration, when the current President and The Fed asked Congress to rush through a $700 billion Wall Street bailout, the request was met with only minimal resistance. In fact, both President-elect Obama and his then election campaign opponent, Senator John McCain were advocates of the plan.

Surprise, Surprise. T
here was no plan.

In fact there has been virtually no accountability on how the TARP funds have been distributed or how they have been spent.

Now today Josh Marshall of TPM Is reporting that The Fed has very quietly "initiated a program to purchase half a trillion dollars worth of mortgage debt that is purportedly clogging up the credit markets" and has "contracted with four financial services firms to manage the money." And apparently while much of the media is entranced by the Roland Burris media circus, TPM is the only outlet raising questions about this plan and keeping the Fed's activities on their radar.

Josh Marshall reports:
" Under normal circumstances the fees generated by managing that much money could be huge.

Equally important, having these firms manage this money creates huge potential conflicts of interest and opportunities for self-dealing.

All of which makes it really important that we know how these four companies were chosen, how they're being paid and just how the decision-making is taking place.

So with all that in mind, last week, we went to the Fed and started asking questions. A Fed representative insisted that there'd been a formal and open bidding process. He refused to divulge any information about the value of the contracts of the successful bids. But he did tentatively agree to release the original RFP (Request for Proposals). But now they seem to have changed their minds and have stopped returning our calls.

Now, here's the key. This isn't some remote issue of good government transparency. This is about gargantuan sums of money used in a way that makes possible all sorts of rotten insider deals. And the Fed won't release even the most cursory information on how this is being done. That's a big deal.

I can't tell which is a bigger scandal -- that fact that the Fed is shifting gears and stonewalling us or that we seem to be the only ones even asking the question."

Josh, the biggest scandal is that, in light of all that the public knows about the rampant corruption in Washington and the corporate sector, your team seems to be the only one keeping and eye on The Fed.

The American public should be demanding answers on where all of the money is going and where it's all coming from. They should be flooding their Congressperson's inbox and tying up the Congressional switchboard. Instead, it seems that after the election much of the public is drifting off again.

Related posts and other articles:

Get Over The Shock ... Stop Them Now
- Sept, 2008

The Bailout Profiteers
by Naomi Klein

Oversight Board Raises Questions About Treasury Bailout

In Reverse, Now Fed Won't Release Key Doc on Asset Buying Program
- TPMuckraker.

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