Reading Section A of the Wall Street Journal for Thursday, August 7th, left me wanting answers...full of thoughts and comments...aghast.agog and wanting to throw it all into one Mulligan's stew of a literary meal.
___ Bank of America is going to pay $17 billion for ripping off people with bogus sub-prime mortgages and securities which were issued by Countrywide Financial Bank and Merrill Lynch and Co., companies which B of A purchased at the height of the depression of 2007. This follows $13 billion which J.P. Morgan paid in fines, $7 billion by CitiBank, and numerous other banks who have admitted to committing fraud and theft and malfeascence on a global scale. Not one bank official will be charged with a crime and the fines are perceived as just the cost of doing business. (It almost reminds one of a mob operation where payoffs and bribes to cops and judges is just a cost for doing their business too) Fearing the beating of an expired equine, how is it possible these "banks" could commit such egregious fraud and do serious damage to the nation's economy, causing millions of Americans to needlessly lose their homes, exacerbate the income gap between the 1% and everyone else, and yet not one person is punished. How can Eric Holder et. al. go to sleep at night with any sense of being part of a "Justice" department? The gang at Justice trotted out the cheerleaders and pom poms trumpeting their latest triumph, a triumph which solidifies once and for all the reality if you are rich enough and steal big enough, you can pass Go, collect your $200 and not ever even need a get out of jail free card. Compare this to the federal prison system where more than 200,000 people are incarcerated, not one of whom can be claimed to have wrecked our economy, stole hundreds of billions of dollars, (hell Maddoff only stole about $20 billion maybe), threw millions of Americans out on the street and saddled our children's generation with debt and the probability of not being able to achieve any where near the economic success of their parents. How does that equate?
___ If you want to know where you stand vis a vis privacy, the N.S.A. (National Security Agency), government spying and constitutional protections, it appears we are all totally screwed. A federal judge, who used to sit on the secret F.I.S.A. (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court, has written letters to a congressional committee opposing reform legislation aimed at curbing the electronic rape which has been going on in this country since 2001. Federal District Judge John Bates, doesn't like a bill by Sen. Patrick Leahy which, among other things, would advocate creating public interest advocates who would represent you and me, in front of the secret court, when the government is asking to give you or me a cyber colorectal exam. Currently, the F.I.S.A. court grants about 99% of the government's requests. (so much for judicial review) The idea that someone ought to be looking out for us to prevent a government fishing expedition into your most personal information seems to offend Judge Bates. He seems to find transparency un-American. He has written at least three letters opposing reforms championed by Leahy, the A.C.L.U., 4th amendment defenders and those concerned about an intelligence community run amok. My question is why he is allowed to write and lobby on this issue at all? The judiciary is supposed to be a check on the executive and legislative branches...it's supposed to be blind taking up neither side in a dispute. It’s supposed to be an impartial arbiter. So, how can it be in anyone's best interest when federal judges want to shape legislation they might later have to review? What's worse, given what Bates has written, how would like to have your case of government spying allegations come before him? How do you think he would rule? Bates went so far as to argue a lawyer representing you and me would create an adversary to fight the government. He doesn't like that concept. What? We want it to be adversarial...we want the government to have to defend its actions...we want someone challenging their assumptions and demanding a show of probable cause...we want it to be hard to get permission to shred the 4th amendment. Apparently Judge Bates finds the concept abhorrent and thinks judges should be writing, and then reviewing, the laws of the land. This is 1984 scary.
___ Currently, the United States is threatening Iran with possible war if it develops, or gets close to developing, a nuclear weapon. Crushing economic sanctions have been justified as a means to convincing them not to continue to push to be a member of the nuclear club. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty which allows it to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. says that is not what they are up to and they will suffer until they knuckle under. The president says military action is possible if the status quo doesn't change. (President Bush got the American people to support a war in Iraq by claiming Saddam was trying to build a bomb and that could not be allowed...even if it was a lie) A new report say Israel stole over 200 lbs. of bomb-grade uranium from a Pennsylvania company in the 60's, from which at least two Hiroshima-sized bombs could be fashioned. We know they did it. We kept it a secret. (from us) Israel has refused to sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and by law the U.S. should be imposing economic sanctions as well as refusing to sell them military equipment and other assistance. We ignore the law for them. We allow them to deny they have nuclear weapons. We turn a blind eye as they modernize them and as they threaten to attack Iran, and drag us into a disastrous war we could not win. This is the same Israel we condemn for killing women and children in Gaza, and then resupply them with the very ammunition and weapons they used to carry out those attacks. This is our ally about whom we conveniently ignore their flaunting of our laws and about whom we know they got their bombs by stealing from us. People then wonder why we are not seen as an honest broker in the Middle East.
___ Women prefer Democrats and their economic plans over Republicans. Women are more concerned about income inequality and the growing gap between the 1% and the rest of us and thus believe Democrats will do more to address this problem than will Republicans. If women vote in decent enough numbers, they could blunt the Republican effort to take over control of the Senate. Men love the GOP...love the gap between the 1% and everyone else or at least aren't troubled by it...love the idea of a pro-business, anti-labor Congress. The midterm elections in November could result in the largest gender gap in any national election. Here's to hoping it's a women's world in November.
___ From the bat-shit crazy department...President Obama's popularity is at an all time low and Americans give him poor marks in his handling of foreign policy. They say it's not "muscular" enough. However, the same polls say these Americans don't think the crisis in Syria, Libya, the South China Sea, Egypt, even the Ukraine are any of our business as a nation and do not support any use of American forces in those arenas. Can you tell me based on these opinions, what course the President should steer internationally which would garner approval from the American public?