As of March 2010, Google is no longer supporting FTP publishing of it's Blogger blogs. Therefore I will be consolidating all of my blogs into a single front page format that I will be experimenting with and changing from time to time until I find something I like.
Know Your Enemies Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Alan Greenspan, Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, John Mack, Vikram Pandit, John Thain, Hank Greenberg, Ken Lewis ... and President Barack Obama (sadly) . . . Read more!
Obama is a national tragedy. "He is a symbol of the times. He is not a leader, just a symbol. He projects the change we need. He was our shortcut to correcting our diseased political system, a way to rid it of corruption. He symbolized the change millions so desperately need. People came out in the millions for the first time "hoping" if they could work and organize to put him in office, we would have some representation to defend against the economic elite that have put the overwhelming majority of US politicians on the payroll and brought humanity to a breaking point. ... When Obama became THE MAN in Iowa, he was on the Goldman Sachs pay roll. Goldman financed the psychological operation that is the Obama myth, the Illusion of HOPE - something to keep a suffering nation pacified just a little bit longer. Obama is truly a national tragedy. His failure and inaction has disillusioned millions upon millions of desperate citizens who turned to him as their best chance for justice. ... Hank Paulson and his confidant Tim Geitner, the Goldman Sachs wonder twins, have looted the US treasury. There has been an economic coup in the United States! ... Trillions of our dollars have vanished! You need to understand this! ... We have just witnessed the greatest theft of wealth in history, the greatest transfer of wealth from the working class to the economic elite ever. An organized banking cartel has seized the US treasury and they are making up the "laws" and the rules to this rigged game. . . . Read more!
America's Aryan Nation Includes Self-Appointed "Chosen by God" Senators, Members of "The Family (mark karlin, BuzzFlash,07/11/2009) Since Senator Ensign's unrelenting affair with a woman on one of his staffs married to a man on another of his staffs became public, much attention has been drawn to the Skull and Bones like secret society of self-appointed "Christian Super Men" who are part of the Ubermensch "Family." ... Ensign may eventually face legal charges for financial transactions related to his affair -- as well as sexual harassment charges -- but in his "C Street Family" sanctuary, he is a welcome man. Even Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who believes that doctors who perform abortions should be executed and lesbianism is rampantly "afflicting" grammar school girls, [COMMENT by Lorenzo: Keep in mind that this moron is one of the top 200 political leaders in the United States. We are doomed!] "allegedly" counseled Ensign on how to cover up his prolonged and unrepentant sexual dalliance that was virtually incestuous. Coburn too, is a member and resident of "The Family" home, which is religiously incorporated, near Capitol Hill. ... Of course, Mark Sanford is a regular guest at "The Family" residence and "worship" center when in D.C., seeking guidance on how to be a "King David" (as he recently called himself) who was allowed his sins because he, "The Family" members believe, has been chosen by God, in the name of Christ, to lead the ignorant masses. ... The members and residents at the "C Street Family" home and spiritual warrior center forgive each other all sins, because they believe themselves supermen. They are the Leopold and Loebs of modern evangelical fanaticism, which absolves individuals who believe that they have been absolved by God from responsibility for their behavior. ... In fact, they even consider that they suffer for their sins because they are attacked for simply living the life without limits that God allows them in turn for their "enlightened-divine" leadership of "strength and conviction." ... On her MSNBC program, the brilliant and endlessly insightful Rachel Maddow this week featured skilled journalist Jeff Sharlet, author of "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power," and his revelations were about as frightening as reading "Mein Kampf." ... The jig is up for democracy if any of these men who use religion to allow for being above the moral and actual law becomes president; Bush, after all, thought he was chosen by God, when it was just the ethically defective and arrogant Antonin Scalia who put him in the White House. ... America's always had a streak of charlatan religious hucksters run a mile wide through its history, but men of power who think that they are accountable to no one because God has annointed them to be almighty -- in rule and sin, these are political terrorists to democracy in our midst. ... They are just self-righteous, hubristic, terribly flawed and lacking men with clay feet. ... But so were so many tyrants and enemies of democracy throughout history. ... We endure them in elected office at grave risk to our Constitutional foundations. . . . Read more!
Obama Administration Backs Bush (David Corn, Mother Jones, July 2, 2009) When it comes to the Bush White House's decision to withhold from the public Dick Cheney's interview with FBI agents investigating the CIA leak case, the Obama administration says its predecessor did the right thing. And it's fighting hard to do the same. ... in another move that puts the administration on the side of secrecy over openness, Obama's Justice Department filed a memo supporting its ongoing opposition to a lawsuit requesting the release of the Cheney interview. This memo included a declaration from Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, who said that if the Cheney interview is made public it could cause public officials in the future to not cooperate with criminal investigations. ... [COMMENT by Lorenzo: Why should public officials be coaxed into cooperating with an investigation. WTF, I thought these guys were public servants. Shouldn't they be helping criminal investigations rather than acting like shifty criminals themselves?] ... In other words, top government officials may only cooperate with a criminal investigation--that is, submit to questioning without being subpoenaed--if they are promised confidentiality. Now what sort of public servant would a person be if he or she refused to help the FBI during an investigation? ... "Cheney was never promised confidentiality, as Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald confirmed in a letter to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), then Chairman of the House Oversight Committee." That is, Cheney participated in the investigation voluntarily without the cloak of confidentiality. ... By fighting the CREW lawsuit--adopting arguments made by the Bush administration--the Obama administration is demonstrating that even as it encourages greater transparency in government operations, it still is reluctant to yield secrecy that applies to White House actions. For instance, it is still seeking to block the release of White House visitors logs.Cheney, no doubt, is appreciative.. . . Read more!
From Matt Taibbi's "The Great American Bubble Machine" in Rolling Stone Issue 1082-83.
The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. . . . Any attempt to construct a narrative around all the former Goldmanites in influential positions quickly becomes an absurd and pointless exercise, like trying to make a list of everything. What you need to know is the big picture: If America is circling the drain, Goldman Sachs has found a way to be that drain — an extremely unfortunate loophole in the system of Western democratic capitalism, which never foresaw that in a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy. . . . They achieve this using the same playbook over and over again. The formula is relatively simple: Goldman positions itself in the middle of a speculative bubble, selling investments they know are crap. Then they hoover up vast sums from the middle and lower floors of society with the aid of a crippled and corrupt state that allows it to rewrite the rules in exchange for the relative pennies the bank throws at political patronage. Finally, when it all goes bust, leaving millions of ordinary citizens broke and starving, they begin the entire process over again, riding in to rescue us all by lending us back our own money at interest, selling themselves as men above greed, just a bunch of really smart guys keeping the wheels greased. They've been pulling this same stunt over and over since the 1920s — and now they're preparing to do it again, creating what may be the biggest and most audacious bubble yet. . . . It was as if banks like Goldman were wrapping ribbons around watermelons, tossing them out 50-story windows and opening the phones for bids. In this game you were a winner only if you took your money out before the melon hit the pavement. . . . It sounds obvious now, but what the average investor didn't know at the time was that the banks had changed the rules of the game, making the deals look better than they actually were. They did this by setting up what was, in reality, a two-tiered investment system — one for the insiders who knew the real numbers, and another for the lay investor who was invited to chase soaring prices the banks themselves knew were irrational. While Goldman's later pattern would be to capitalize on changes in the regulatory environment, its key innovation in the Internet years was to abandon its own industry's standards of quality control. . . . Goldman's role in the sweeping global disaster that was the housing bubble is not hard to trace. Here again, the basic trick was a decline in underwriting standards, although in this case the standards weren't in IPOs but in mortgages. . . . And what caused the huge spike in oil prices? Take a wild guess. Obviously Goldman had help — there were other players in the physical-commodities market — but the root cause had almost everything to do with the behavior of a few powerful actors determined to turn the once-solid market into a speculative casino. Goldman did it by persuading pension funds and other large institutional investors to invest in oil futures. ... The push transformed oil from a physical commodity, rigidly subject to supply and demand, into something to bet on, like a stock. Between 2003 and 2008, the amount of speculative money in commodities grew from $13 billion to $317 billion, an increase of 2,300 percent. By 2008, a barrel of oil was traded 27 times, on average, before it was actually delivered and consumed. . . . The history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled-dry American empire, reads like a Who's Who of Goldman Sachs graduates. By now, most of us know the major players. As George Bush's last Treasury secretary, former Goldman CEO Henry Paulson was the architect of the bailout, a suspiciously self-serving plan to funnel trillions of Your Dollars to a handful of his old friends on Wall Street. Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton's former Treasury secretary, spent 26 years at Goldman before becoming chairman of Citigroup — which in turn got a $300 billion taxpayer bailout from Paulson. There's John Thain, the asshole chief of Merrill Lynch who bought an $87,000 area rug for his office as his company was imploding; a former Goldman banker, Thain enjoyed a multibillion-dollar handout from Paulson, who used billions in taxpayer funds to help Bank of America rescue Thain's sorry company. And Robert Steel, the former Goldmanite head of Wachovia, scored himself and his fellow executives $225 million in golden-parachute payments as his bank was self-destructing. There's Joshua Bolten, Bush's chief of staff during the bailout, and Mark Patterson, the current Treasury chief of staff, who was a Goldman lobbyist just a year ago, and Ed Liddy, the former Goldman director whom Paulson put in charge of bailed-out insurance giant AIG, which forked over $13 billion to Goldman after Liddy came on board. The heads of the Canadian and Italian national banks are Goldman alums, as is the head of the World Bank, the head of the New York Stock Exchange, the last two heads of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York — which, incidentally, is now in charge of overseeing Goldman. . . . Here, in the biggest bailout in history, is where Goldman Sachs really started to flex its muscle. . . . The collective message of all of this — the AIG bailout, the swift approval for its bank-holding conversion, the TARP funds — is that when it comes to Goldman Sachs, there isn't a free market at all. The government might let other players on the market die, but it simply will not allow Goldman to fail under any circumstances. Its edge in the market has suddenly become an open declaration of supreme privilege. "In the past it was an implicit advantage," says Simon Johnson, an economics professor at MIT and former official at the International Monetary Fund, who compares the bailout to the crony capitalism he has seen in Third World countries. "Now it's more of an explicit advantage." . . . Fast-forward to today. It's early June in Washington, D.C. Barack Obama, a popular young politician whose leading private campaign donor was an investment bank called Goldman Sachs — its employees paid some $981,000 to his campaign — sits in the White House. Having seamlessly navigated the political minefield of the bailout era, Goldman is once again back to its old business, scouting out loopholes in a new government-created market with the aid of a new set of alumni occupying key government jobs. . . . Gone are Hank Paulson and Neel Kashkari; in their place are Treasury chief of staff Mark Patterson and CFTC chief Gary Gensler, both former Goldmanites. (Gensler was the firm's co-head of finance.) And instead of credit derivatives or oil futures or mortgage-backed CDOs, the new game in town, the next bubble, is in carbon credits — a booming trillion- dollar market that barely even exists yet, but will if the Democratic Party that it gave $4,452,585 to in the last election manages to push into existence a groundbreaking new commodities bubble, disguised as an "environmental plan," called cap-and-trade. The new carbon-credit market is a virtual repeat of the commodities-market casino that's been kind to Goldman, except it has one delicious new wrinkle: If the plan goes forward as expected, the rise in prices will be government-mandated. Goldman won't even have to rig the game. It will be rigged in advance. . . . Read more!
Congresswoman Harman Caught Conspiring with Israeli Spies (MARK MAZZETTI and NEIL A. LEWIS, The New York Times, April 23, 2009) The director of the Central Intelligence Agency concluded in late 2005 that a conversation picked up on a government wiretap was serious enough to require notifying Congressional leaders that Representative Jane Harman, Democrat of California, could become enmeshed in an investigation into Israeli influence in Washington, former government officials said Thursday. . . . One reason Mr. Gonzales intervened, the former officials said, was to protect Ms. Harman because they saw her as a valuable administration ally in urging The New York Times not to publish an article about the National Security Agency’s program of wiretapping without warrants. . . . The accounts provided new details about tension between senior C.I.A. officials and the attorney general over what to make of the wiretapped conversations involving Ms. Harman, which the former government officials said first occurred in spring 2005. . . . In the wiretapped conversation, Ms. Harman was overheard agreeing to a request made by an Israeli intelligence operative that she try to obtain leniency for two pro-Israel lobbyists in exchange for help in securing the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee, former officials said. . . . Former officials said that Mr. Goss had first seen the transcripts of Ms. Harman’s phone conversations in late 2005, when the government was renewing its requests to a special court to wiretap the calls of the Israeli operative, whom they would not identify. Ms. Harman was not the target of the eavesdropping but her conversations were picked up because she spoke with the Israeli agent. . . . Ms. Pelosi has not said who briefed her on the matter but said she was not permitted to share the information with Ms. Harman. Ms. Pelosi chose not to select Ms. Harman to be chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, but she has said her reasons for that decision had nothing to do with the wiretapped call. . . . Ms. Harman had weighed in beginning in 2004 in urging The Times not to publish an article about the secret surveillance program.. . . Read more!
Gen. Taguba: Accountability for torture does not stop at White House dooor (Andrew Kalloch, Harvard Law Record, 4-16-09) Major General Antonio Taguba called for an independent commission to investigate war crimes committed by senior members of the Bush Administration . . . Taguba, who was pressured to resign by the Bush Administration in 2007 following the 2004 leak of his report detailing abuses by U.S. armed forces in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, declared in the preface of the 2008 Physicians for Human Rights publication "Broken Laws, Broken Lives," that, "there is no longer any doubt as to whether the [Bush] administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account." . . . Taguba has been travelling the country seeking to foster dialogue between human rights advocates and the nation's armed forces. According to Taguba, the two groups "share a common denominator based on ethical considerations of democratic principles." Human rights advocates seek to ensure the preservation of democratic ideals and U.S. armed forces are trained to "provide services in a manner that exemplifies America's ideals" and to protect America's value system and its' way of life, not simply to secure its borders at all costs. . . . Just as troops are not immune from prosecution-indeed, they must be held accountable for their actions-so must senior civilian officials be held accountable for policies that systematized and legitimized torture and other abuses of power by U.S. troops in the War on Terror, Taguba stated. If the "torture memos" penned by John Yoo, Alberto Gonzales, and David Addington, among others, were catalysts for the soldiers to engage in criminal acts, as Taguba surmised, these officials need to be held accountable. . . . "Abu Ghraib emerged from a structure developed by senior officials in the Bush White House and by those who thought it was necessary to blindly advance the Bush administration's goals," the General declared. "Abu Ghraib was not just happenstance. It was a morbid consequence of a policy that emanated from the Office of Legal Counsel and the Justice Department." . . . According to Taguba, these failures not only constitute war crimes, but also have emboldened America's enemies abroad, leading to greater numbers of American deaths in Iraq. . . . However, far from being held accountable, senior administration officials have quietly ridden off into the sunset. Indeed, after seventeen high level investigations, army soldiers were signaled out for punishment despite presence of evidence regarding upper level officials' awareness and support. "Over 200 soldiers and officers were punished,unfortunately no civilian officials or contractors have been punished for their involvement," Taguba stated. . . . Taguba singled out John Yoo, who, as a member of the Office of Legal Counsel, co-authored legal memoranda that produced, in Taguba's words, "despicable torture and abuse." Yoo has not expressed remorse for the memos," Taguba insisted. Rather, Yoo has only stated that he would have spent more time had he known the memos would become public. . . . Responding to those who oppose investigation and prosecution of senior officials in the Bush Administration whose "actions were supposedly made in good conscience in effort to secure national security," Taguba answered, "What about those soldiers punished, court-martialed, and reduced in rank?" . . . Ultimately, Taguba concluded, investigation of the Bush Administration is needed if "accountability is not to be just a hollow term." "In my opinion accountability is a condition of employment. Government leaders who chose to accept high level positions of influence ought to hold firm and be accountable." . . . Read more!
Republicans have become a party of whiners (Paul Krugman, New York Times, Jan 1, 2009) most of the whining takes the form of claims that the Bush administration's failure was simply a matter of bad luck - either the bad luck of President Bush himself, who just happened to have disasters happen on his watch, or the bad luck of the G.O.P., which just happened to send the wrong man to the White House. . . . The fault, however, lies not in Republicans' stars but in themselves. Forty years ago the G.O.P. decided, in effect, to make itself the party of racial backlash. And everything that has happened in recent years, from the choice of Mr. Bush as the party’s champion, to the Bush administration's pervasive incompetence, to the party's shrinking base, is a consequence of that decision. . . . If the Bush administration became a byword for policy bungles, for government by the unqualified, well, it was just following the advice of leading conservative think tanks: after the 2000 election the Heritage Foundation specifically urged the new team to "make appointments based on loyalty first and expertise second." . . . Where did this hostility to government come from? In 1981 Lee Atwater, the famed Republican political consultant, explained the evolution of the G.O.P.'s "Southern strategy," which originally focused on opposition to the Voting Rights Act but eventually took a more coded form: "You're getting so abstract now you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites." In other words, government is the problem because it takes your money and gives it to Those People. . . . Oh, and the racial element isn't all that abstract, even now: Chip Saltsman, currently a candidate for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, sent committee members a CD including a song titled "Barack the Magic Negro" - and according to some reports, the controversy over his action has actually helped his chances. . . . So the reign of George W. Bush, the first true Southern Republican president since Reconstruction, was the culmination of a long process. And despite the claims of some on the right that Mr. Bush betrayed conservatism, the truth is that he faithfully carried out both his party’s divisive tactics - long before Sarah Palin, Mr. Bush declared that he visited his ranch to "stay in touch with real Americans" — and its governing philosophy. . . . The reality of this strategy's collapse has not, I believe, fully sunk in with some observers. Thus, some commentators warning President-elect Barack Obama against bold action have held up Bill Clinton’s political failures in his first two years as a cautionary tale. . . . Mr. Obama therefore has room to be bold. If Republicans try a 1993-style strategy of attacking him for promoting big government, they'll learn two things: not only has the financial crisis discredited their economic theories, the racial subtext of anti-government rhetoric doesn't play the way it used to. . . . Will the Republicans eventually stage a comeback? Yes, of course. But barring some huge missteps by Mr. Obama, that will not happen until they stop whining and look at what really went wrong. And when they do, they will discover that they need to get in touch with the real “real America,” a country that is more diverse, more tolerant, and more demanding of effective government than is dreamt of in their political philosophy. . . . Read more!
Senator Feinstein is a Major War Profiteer (Peter Byrne, January 24, 2007) Dianne Feinstein—the ninth wealthiest member of congress—has been beset by monumental ethical conflicts of interest. As a member of the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee (MILCON) from 2001 to the end of 2005, Senator Feinstein voted for appropriations worth billions of dollars to her husband’s firms. . . . From 1997 through the end of 2005, Feinstein’s husband Richard C. Blum was a majority shareholder in both URS Corp. and Perini Corp. She lobbied Pentagon officials in public hearings to support defense projects that she favored, some of which already were, or subsequently became, URS or Perini contracts. From 2001 to 2005, URS earned $792 million from military construction and environmental cleanup projects approved by MILCON; Perini earned $759 million from such projects. . . . In 2000, Perini earned a mere $7 million from federal contracts. After 9/11, Perini was transformed into a major defense contractor. In 2004, the company earned $444 million for military construction work in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as for improving airfields for the US Air Force in Europe and building base infrastructures for the US Navy around the globe. In a remarkable financial recovery, Perini shot from near penury in 1997 to logging gross revenues of $1.7 billion in 2005. . . . It is estimated that Perini now holds at least $2.5 billion worth of contracts tied to the worldwide expansion of the US military. Its largest Department of Defense contracts are "indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity" or "bundled" contracts carrying guaranteed profit margins. . . . Feinstein's husband has profited in other ways by his powerful political connections. In March 2002, then-Governor Gray Davis appointed Blum to a twelve-year term as a regent of the University of California, where he used his position as Regent to award millions of dollars in construction contracts to URS and Perini. At the time, he was the principal owner of URS and had substantial interests in Perini. In 2005, Blum divested himself of Perini stock for a considerable profit. He then resigned from the URS board of directors and divested his investment firm of about $220 million in URS stock.1
Cheney, Gonzales Indicted By South Texas Grand Jury (AP, November 18, 2008) A South Texas grand jury has indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on charges related to the alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County's federal detention centers.
The indictment criticizes Cheney's investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and "at least misdemeanor assaults" on detainees by working through the prison companies.
Gonzales is accused of using his position while in office to stop an investigation into abuses at the federal detention centers. . . . Read more!
Goodbye and Good Riddance (Paul Waldman, prospect.org, November 11, 2008) Just over two years into George W. Bush’s presidency, The American Prospect featured Bush on its cover under the headline, "The Most Dangerous President Ever." At the time, some probably thought it a bit over the top. But nearly six years later, it's worth taking a moment to reflect on the multifaceted burden that will soon be lifted from our collective shoulders. . . . In just a few weeks, George W. Bush will no longer be our president. So though our long national ordeal isn't quite over, it's never too early to say goodbye. . . . Goodbye, we can say at last, to the most powerful man in the world being such a ridiculous buffoon, incapable of stringing together two coherent sentences. Goodbye to cringing with dread every time our president steps onto the world stage, sure he'll say or do something to embarrass us all. Goodbye to being represented by a man who embodies everything our enemies want the people of the world to believe about America -- that we are ignorant, cruel, and only care about foreign countries when we decide to stomp on them. Goodbye to his giggle, and his shoulder shake, and his nicknames. Goodbye to a president who talks to us like we're a nation of fourth-graders. . . . And goodbye, of course, to Dick Cheney. Goodbye to the man whose naked contempt for democracy contorted his face to a permanent sneer, who spent his days in his undisclosed location with his man-sized safe. And while we're at it, goodbye to Cheney's consigliore David Addington, as malevolent a force as has ever left his trail of slime across our federal institutions. . . . Goodbye, indeed, to the entire band of liars and crooks and thieves who have so sullied the federal government that belongs to us all. We can even say goodbye to those who have already gone, to Rummy and Scooter, to Fredo and Rove, tornados of misery left in their wake. . . . Goodbye to the rotating cast of butchers manning the White House's legal abattoir, where the Constitution has been sliced and bled and gutted since September 11. Goodbye to the "unitary executive" theory and its claims that the president can do whatever he wants -- even snatch an American citizen off the street and lock him up for life without charge, without legal representation, and without trial. Goodbye to the promiscuous use of "signing statements" (1,100 at last count) to declare that the law is whatever the president says it is, and that he'll enforce only those laws he likes. Goodbye to an executive branch that treats lawfully issued subpoenas like suggestions that can be ignored. Goodbye to thinking of John Ashcroft as the liberal attorney general. Goodbye to the culture of incompetence, where rebuilding a country we destroyed could be turned over to a bunch of clueless 20-somethings with no qualifications save an internship at the Heritage Foundation and an opposition to abortion. Goodbye to the "Brownie, you're doin' a heckuva job" philosophy, where vital agencies are turned over to incompetent boobs to rot and decay. Goodbye to handing out the Medal of Freedom as an award for engineering one of the greatest screw-ups of our time. Goodbye to an administration that welcomed gluttonous war profiteering, that was only too happy to outsource every government function it could to well-connected contractors who would do a worse job for more money. . . . Goodbye to the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war. Goodbye to the lust for sending off other people's sons and daughters to fight and kill and die just to show your daddy you're a real man. Goodbye to playing dress-up in flight suits, goodbye to strutting and posing and desperate sexual insecurity as a driver of American foreign policy. Goodbye to the neocons, so sinister and deluded they beg us all to become fevered conspiracy theorists. Goodbye to Guantanamo and its kangaroo courts. Goodbye to the use of torture as official U.S. government policy, and goodbye to the immoral ghouls who think you can rename it "enhanced interrogation techniques" and render it any less monstrous. . . . Goodbye to the accusation that if you disagree with what the president wants to do, you don't "support the troops." . . . Goodbye to stocking government agencies with people who are opposed to the very missions those agencies are charged with carrying out. Goodbye to putting industry lobbyists in charge of the agencies that are supposed to regulate those very industries. Goodbye to madly giving away public lands to private interests. Goodbye to a Food and Drug Administration that acts like a wholly owned subsidiary of the pharmaceutical industry, except when it acts like a wholly owned subsidiary of the fundamentalist puritans who believe that sex is dirty and birth control will turn girls into sluts. Goodbye to the "global gag rule," which prohibits any entity receiving American funds from even telling women where they can get an abortion if they need it. . . . Goodbye to vetoing health insurance for poor children but rushing back to Washington to sign a bill to keep alive a woman whose cerebral cortex had liquefied. Goodbye to the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research. . . . Goodbye to the philosophy that says that if we give tax cuts to the rich and keep the government from any oversight of the economy, prosperity will eventually trickle down. Goodbye to the thirst for privatizing Social Security and to the belief that the success of a social safety-net program is what makes it a threat and should mark it for destruction. Goodbye to the war on unions and to a National Labor Relations Board devoted to crushing them. Goodbye to the principle of loyalty above all else, that nominates Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court and puts Alberto Gonzales in charge of the Justice Department. And goodbye to that Justice Department, the one where U.S. attorneys keep their jobs only if they are willing to undertake bogus investigations of Democrats timed to hit the papers just before Election Day. Goodbye to a Justice Department where graduates of Pat Robertson's law school roam the halls by the dozens, where "justice" is a joke. . . . Goodbye to James Dobson and a host of radical clerics picking up the phone and hearing someone in the White House on the other end. Goodbye to the most consequential decisions being made on the basis of one man's "gut," a gut that proved so wrong so often. Goodbye to the contempt for evidence, to the scorn for intellect and book learnin', to the relentless war on science itself as a means of understanding the world. . . . Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye to it all. . . . This presidency is finally over. We can say goodbye to an administration whose misdeeds have piled so high that the size of the mountain no longer shocks us. In our lifetimes, we will see administrations of varying degrees of competence and integrity, some we'll agree with and some we won't. But we will probably never see another quite like the one now finally reaching its end, so mind-boggling a parade of incompetence and malice, dishonesty, and immorality. So at last -- at long, long last -- we can say goodbye. AND GOOD RIDDANCE!. . . Read more!
An End to 14 Years of Monsters (Paul Krugman, The New York Times, November 5, 2008)
Last night wasn't just a victory for tolerance; it wasn't just a mandate for progressive change; it was also, I hope, the end of the monster years.
What I mean by that is that for the past 14 years America's political life has been largely dominated by, well, monsters. Monsters like Tom DeLay, who suggested that the shootings at Columbine happened because schools teach students the theory of evolution. Monsters like Karl Rove, who declared that liberals wanted to offer "therapy and understanding" to terrorists. Monsters like Dick Cheney, who saw 9/11 as an opportunity to start torturing people.
And in our national discourse, we pretended that these monsters were reasonable, respectable people. To point out that the monsters were, in fact, monsters, was "shrill."
Four years ago it seemed as if the monsters would dominate American politics for a long time to come. But for now, at least, they’ve been banished to the wilderness. . . . Read more!