Archive for the ‘Paul Krugman’ Category

Once You Boil It All Down . . .

Paul Krugman summed it up in three simple sentences:

Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.

There’s a word for this: it’s evil.

And the evidence has begun to filter out that the perpetrators not only knew it was evil, but tried to cover it up!

First, there’s the Zelikow memo objecting to the legal basis used to justify torture that he says was deliberately rounded up and destroyed.

Then there’s Janis Karpinski, who is outspoken in her disdain for high level Bush officials who allowed U.S. Military personnel at Abu Ghraib – whom they now maintain to have been following orders deemed to be legal and justifiable – go to prison, rather than stick up for them at the time the abuses at Abu Ghraib first became public.

In my earlier post on this topic, I suggested that one of Obama’s multiple goals was to maximize the ability to “shake the trees” and bring out whistleblowers in order to build widespread public support for any future prosecutions.

At least one expert, former federal prosecutor Elizabeth De La Vega, agrees – explaining in this piece how appointing a special prosecutor now might cause those with important information about what actually occurred at the highest levels of the Bush administration to clam up.

For the torturers, I’m afraid the genie is out of the bottle, and there’s no way they are going to force it back inside . . . and fortunately for the country, it’s not the torturers’ three wishes the genie is going to grant!

To put it bluntly, with all the evidence that the Bush administration carefully assembled a set of “legal” documents to justify “harsh interrogation techniques,” how can they possibly stick to their story when they were willing to let U.S. soldiers rot in prison to avoid telling it four years ago?

And for Dick Cheney, who remains the leading voice of belligerent defiance regarding Bush torture policies, and who now wants to declassify documents that would save his ass when he was perfectly happy to let them stay classified when they might save the asses of the enlisted men and women who went to prison for performing techniques he now says were “necessary,” the response is both completely reprehensible and completely transparent!

Dick Cheney is a grown man, behaving like a child who would let his own dog be beaten, or even euthanized, for repeatedly “eating his homework!”

Image Credit: Vanity Fair, May, 2008

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Here’s Obama’s New Mantra Against GOP Sniping [Updated]

Barack Obama set the tone perfectly when he responded to GOP criticism of his economic stimulus plan with the simple admonition, “I won!”

Paul Krugman apparently agrees, as he suggests that the response reflects the fact that the majority of Americans who elected Obama are no longer inclined to listen to the same old conservative arguments anymore.

In fact, Krugman considers their desperate attempts to stall Obama’s spending-based plan as a series of disingenuous “bad faith” cheap shots intended to fool the public into regressing into primal instincts cultivated over the last few decades of failed conservative supply side economics that began with Ronald Reagan.

Of course, the next step for Obama, assuming his initial conciliatory gestures toward bipartisanship are met with more whining and obstructionism, is to start beating the drum with polished regularity that November 5, 2008 was a crossroads moment when the country chose bold change and new ideas over stubbornly clinging to the failed ideas of the past.

He should create a clear choice for conservatives: Get on board and help make the new policies a success; or be seen, front and center, as relics of the past who are trying to barricade the door to progress for all of us and stifle the hope of a better future for our children and grandchildren.

The stampede has already started! The GOP can choose to run with the bulls and perhaps help achieve a euphoric, life changing, accomplishment. Or they can choose to stand in the way and be gored by a movement that Barack Obama understands is the reason he’s already won!

[Update] House GOP members vote 100% against the Economic Recovery Plan! Wow! The ship is sinking and these clowns unanimously agree that the best strategy is to keep clinging to the anchor!

Friday at Netroots Nation: Republican Power Grab Changed Everything!

While our Thursday observations were on the light side, Friday brought out the real meat of the convention like good Texas barbeque!

In a series of sessions in the main exhibit hall, the pervasive theme running through nearly every speaker’s contribution was how the Bush administration has perverted the entire American system of government to achieve an agenda that pre-existed Bush’s inauguration, and used tactics that are in stark opposition to the basic principles envisioned by our founders.

John Dean (left above) led off a discussion of the role of the president under the law by pointing out that the Republicans had a longstanding plan, dating back to the aftermath of the Nixon years, to seize every opportunity to move toward “monarchical” executive power.

Cass Sunstein (center above), introduced as a “short-lister” for a Supreme Court nomination under an Obama presidency, reminded us that the court is in need of “straightening the keel” back toward the left, and that the best way to keep it straight is to govern with the advice of a “team of rivals.”

Michael Waldman (right above) discussed the politicization of the justice department, with a drummed up focus on voter fraud that enabled him to uncork the quote of the day:

Firing US Attorneys for not prosecuting voter fraud is like firing park rangers for not finding Sasquatch!

This was followed in the next session, most appropriately, by a discussion with Don Siegelman (right, with Sam Seder), in which he laid out the circumstances of his false imprisonment on charges manufactured by associates of Karl Rove, and announced a new website, matching the unanimous crowd sentiment, ContemptforRove.com.

After lunch, Paul Krugman discussed how the mainstream media largely enabled the Republican strategies described earlier in the day, pointing out that columnists fall into two categories: the partisan conservative and the carefully even-handed (meaning they feel an obligation to criticize and praise the Bush administration in equal measure.)

In his most intriguing comment of the day, Krugman predicted both an Obama win in November, and the return of “the confrontational media” (such as we saw during the Clinton administration) “within about three months.” Since Krugman has been routinely “confrontational” to the Obama campaign throughout the primaries, I was dying to hear his view on whether he would feel compelled to provide balance by defending a new Obama administration against unreasonable attacks.

Hillary Uses Karl Rove Tactic by Accusing Obama of Karl Rove Tactic!

Will Edwards Endorse the “Forces of Status Quo?”

One of the more dramatic moments of the early primary season occurred during the Democratic debate in New Hampshire when John Edwards came to Barack Obama’s defense with the following rebuke to Hillary Clinton:

Every time he speaks out for change, every time I fight for change, the forces of status quo are going to attack — every single time.

Although Edwards was critical of Obama on other occasions, there was nothing approaching the sharpness and passion of this statement toward Clinton, and I kind of expected Edwards to come around to endorsing Obama after he dropped out of the race.

However, amid reports that Edwards is involved in intense negotiations with both of the remaining candidates, including a recent dinner with Clinton at his home in North Carolina, I am beginning to suspect that he will end up deciding that his most important priority is his fight for career change, and that he will end up endorsing what he already labeled as “the forces of status quo!”

It’s just a feeling and I hope I’m wrong, but Edwards’ recent cancelled meeting with Obama doesn’t bode well. Neither does the fact that Paul Krugman, one of Edwards’ most vocal supporters, who has also turned into one of Obama’s most vicious attackers, has now expanded outward to attacking Obama’s supporters!

His latest, ironically titled “Hate Springs Eternal,” lashes out at supporters of Obama, as he somehow manages to blame all of them for unfair treatment of the Clintons, although his only actual example is MSNBC’s David Schuster. Here’s one of his most “venomous” paragraphs:

I won’t try for fake evenhandedness here: most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody. I’m not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality. We’ve already had that from the Bush administration — remember Operation Flight Suit? We really don’t want to go there again.

Fortunately, his conclusion unwittingly puts his goal for the piece in perspective:

Racism, misogyny and character assassination are all ways of distracting voters from the issues, and people who care about the issues have a shared interest in making the politics of hatred unacceptable.

So why the hateful character assassination toward Obama supporters and the Obama campaign?

Unfortunately, my fear is that this is a distraction from the issue of Edwards’ earlier alignment with Obama on the need for change in Washington. By “demonizing” the Obama campaign, Krugman can provide cover for Edwards to tout Clinton’s close affiliation with “blue collar working Americans” as a reason to give her his endorsement.

As I said, I hope I’m wrong about Edwards. I hope he really stands by the things he said during his campaign.

But if I’m right, I surely hope it’s enough to knock Russ Feingold off the fence toward Obama before the Wisconsin primary!