There ain't no sanity clause
[I'm stickying this post because, as Glenn points out below, opposition to clause 8 of Emperor Paulson's $700 billion* bailout bill is common ground between left and right. The clause has all the issues that retroactive immunity for the telcos did, but without the admixture of national security claims. That clause 8 amounts to a financial dictatorship needs to be part of our message. (And if you want to call your representatives and convey that message, please share at this link.) -- lambert]
For those who came in late, here again -- and I freely admit I've been waiting for the change to rehabilitate Marx and use that headline -- is the infamous Clause 8 of Emperor Paulson's insane three-page bailout enabling act:
Sec. 8. Review.
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.
So, when you read phrases like "unfettered discretion" in our famously free press, it's no exaggeration; Paulson's plan is yet another example of the Bush administration's extremely Constitutional Theory Of We Get To Do Whatever The Fuck We Want. It amounts to a financial dictatorship (and if you can think of another phrase that covers a situation when one guy gets $700 billion and counting, or not, to spend with no checks and balances, I'd be very glad to hear it).
When it comes to a bailout, it's "Now! Now! Now!" But when it comes to accountability, it's "No! No! No!"
Why, I wonder, would that be?
UPDATE Glenn Greenwald:
More interesting are the reasons why these right-wing polemicists have decided they have real doubts about the wisdom of the Paulson plan. In opposing the plan, each of them cited -- with alarm -- the provision which vests full, unfettered and unreviewable discretion in the Treasury Secretary to determine how the $700,000,000,000 is allocated: Levin (plan gives "essentially unlimited power to use $700 billion to make purchases the scope of which is defined very loosely and vaguely"); Gingrich ("We are being reassured that we can trust Secretary Paulson 'because he knows what he is doing'. Congress had better ask a lot of questions before it shifts this much burden to the taxpayer and shifts this much power to a Washington bureaucracy"); Kristol ("There are no provisions for — or even promises of — disclosure, accountability or transparency"); Malkin (Washington is demanding we "fork over $700 billion to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and allow him to dole it out to whomever he chooses in whatever amount he chooses -- without public input or recourse").
Apparently, the same political faction that has cheered on every instance of unchecked, absolute executive power over the last eight years -- which demanded that the President, and he alone, decide which citizens, including Americans, can be spied on, detained, even tortured, and that no oversight or disclosure was needed for any of that -- has suddenly re-discovered their desire for checks on federal government power. The reason? They say it themselves: with the looming prospect of an Obama presidency, they may no longer be in charge of that Government and these "small government conservatives" have thus suddenly re-awoken to the virtues of checks and balances, oversight and other restraints.
Heh. Predictable and predicted. But ideas are good or bad, regardless of who conveys them....
NOTE * But who's counting?