Correct Me If I’m Wrong

Karen Templer

Karen Templer
San Francisco-ish, California,
Past and present Salon staffer


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SEPTEMBER 21, 2008 5:28PM

Dear Speaker Pelosi —

Rate: 7 Flag

Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House


Hello. My name is Karen Templer and I'm a constituent of yours, and more important, a citizen of the United States of America.

I'm writing in the hope of receiving some assurance that, as a person charged with leading one arm of the legislative branch of what is still believed to be a democratic nation, you have no intention of ever signing anything that includes the following language, as does the Legislative Proposal from the Secretary of the Treasury reported by the Wall Street Journal and other news agencies:

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.

It is bad enough that we have a president who has demonstrated his belief that he is (along with his administration in general) above the law. Now one of his appointees is asking for absolute power over $700 billion dollars of taxpayer money and expects his decisions with regard to those funds to be not subject to law or review?

Anyone who signed such a document would have shirked their duties to the American people in a most profound and unprecedented way.

I don't understand how the language got into the proposal in the first place, but I sincerely hope you -- and any Congressional delegate who takes seriously his or her responsibility to the American public at whose discretion they do still serve -- will make it immediately clear that you will not be handing over such control to anyone, but will instead honor and hold inviolable the structure of our government, with its built-in checks and balances.

Given that there's no earthly reason to believe that an above-the-law clause is necessary in order to accomplish the goals of the bailout, the only imaginable response might be that we're at risk of losing Wall Street and our economy without it. I say if, in fact, you and others have been presented a stark choice between our economy and our democracy, you have no choice but to uphold democracy. That is what you are elected -- and have sworn -- to do.

Karen Templer


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I've sent this via email to Pelosi. Feel free to copy any part of it you like, but PLEASE contact your representatives as well as the Congressional leadership about this.
Sorry -- Pelosi address for those not in her district:
I will contact. But, if you read Glenn Greenwald, we are pretty far gone, Dems as well. Extremely scary times.
This looks well said, although I haven't done the research yet to appreciate the context. If it checks out, I'll try to post a similar letter. Thanks for writing this in any case.

Maybe they're worried that if it goes up for review, Wall Street won't take decisions made as definitive for way too long. I can sort of understand that, but I think the notion of no review goes too far.

A compromise might be to make it a crime of treason to do anything not in the best interest of average Americans.
Lea, do you have a link by chance?
Wow, Karen. That really does check out. I'll write some letters.

By the way, the other shocking part was this text, which the part you highlight is commenting on:

Sec. 10. Increase in Statutory Limit on the Public Debt.
Subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu thereof $11,315,000,000,000.

According to this URL,
The previous text is:
The face amount of obligations ... may not be more than $8,184,000,000,000, outstanding at one time, ...

If they're talking about a $700 billion increase, why does the debt limit need to move to $11.3 trillion from $8.5 trillion. Am I missing something here? Is this related to the war and trying to piggyback in while the public is in a "do it" mood? Or is Cornell's copy of the US Code just out of date because the limit is getting adjusted so often these days?

But to your original point, making not only a $700 billion purchase but a $2.8 trillion shift in the debt limit without any opportunity to review seems a bit troubling.
It's a well-written letter. I'm afraid it's a little late for Pelosi to take seriously her pledge to uphold our constitution. That ship sailed a long time ago. Our best hope where she's concerned is that she'll be voted out of office.
Rick, I know. Had they been calling this administration on its lawlessness all along, a proposal like this one would never have been written. But I can't just sit idly by on this.

Lea, thanks for the URL.

And Kent, the current ceiling is $10 billionish. The math is right; it's the logic that's at fault.
Having now looked at that post of Glenn's, I want to reiterate my thanks for the pointer. That was exactly my initial reaction to this whole thing, and I'm grateful to have it all spelled out like that.
Well, insults will get you nowhere, but I assure you I am no fan of Nancy Pelosi. I'd like to see the whole lot of them voted out.

But in the meantime, Senate Dems are pushing back pretty hard. Thankfully.