Dennis Loo

What Matters Now? The Bush/Cheney Legacy

By Dennis Loo

Ex-Treasury Secretary Paul O"Neill, one of many disaffected former Bush White House officials, recounts Vice-President Dick Cheney saying in a 2002 White House meeting: "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." [1]


The Bush/Cheney years prove that the rule of law and truth don't matter.


This has assumed many different expressions: losing elections and getting the most votes don't matter, torture doesn't matter, committing war crimes as policy and getting caught don't matter, separation of powers doesn't matter, attacking countries that have not attacked you first doesn't matter, international law, Nuremberg, the Geneva Convention, and the UN Charter don't matter, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights don't matter, being repeatedly caught red-handed lying and committing felonies don't matter, having the Democrats holding the majority in Congress doesn't matter, science, evolution, and global warming don't matter, being an American in the face of a Category 4 hurricane doesn't matter, running up unbelievable deficits, carrying out policies that show themselves to be disasters doesn't matter, being more unpopular for a longer time than any White House in at least polling history doesn't matter "the list goes on and on. In fact, just listing the items in this manner could go on for 10,000 words or more without any elaboration attempted.

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The "Electoral Remedy"

by Dennis Loo, published at Counterpunch on October 31, 2008 under the title: "What to do with Bush and Cheney?"

It's been eight years - almost to the day - that Bush and Cheney lost the election but seized the White House anyway.

It's been four years - almost to the day - that Bush and Cheney lost the election again, but took the White House anyway.

Now we are on the verge of yet another election, the third in a row dubbed by many "the most important in our lifetime." Bush and Cheney aren't on the ballot, but those who would carry on their policies are. And once again the Democratic Party, the loyal opposition, puts forth their alternative.

What has not been broached in this election contest? What has most conspicuously been avoided?

* * *


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Out of the Woodwork: Today’s Torquemadas

By Dennis Loo

“Our aim is to put you in hell so you will tell the truth. These are the orders we have from our superiors, to turn your lives into hell.”
 
— US soldier to Abu Ghraib detainee[i]
 
Coming out of the woodwork … as if from the woodcut of waterboarding in the Spanish Inquisition, stepping out, into our lives, assuming three dimensional features, taking on flesh tones, inhaling and exhaling… figures who declare with serious faces that … torture …. works.
 
They tell us:
 
We will extract confessions from you.
 
We know that you know what we want.
 
We will tell you what we know about you and your co-conspirators and what we know that you know.
 
We will tell you again and again and again and again until you tell us what we have told you so that we may know the truth.[ii]
 
We will pour jugs of water onto your face till you choke and struggle against your binds, to purify you.
 
We will tell you that if you don’t talk that you will surely die.
 
We will put you in coffin-sized boxes for hours.
 
We will throw you against the walls. Repeatedly.
 
We will strip you naked and sic dogs upon you.
 
We will deny you sleep for days upon days.
 
We will tell you that we will not ever stop until you have made your peace with us and confess freely and fully.
 
We will slap you and beat you until you tell us what we want.
 
We are, you must know, a merciful people, a kind people, a just, and a moral people.
 
There are no more merciful, more kind, more just, more moral people than us.
 
We are so just and moral that we can do these things to you and not be sullied by it.
 
We remain moral and righteous as we beat you because our intentions are so pure.[iii]
 
We are protecting Americans’ lives and if we have to suffocate you or beat you to death, we do so in the name of the American people, whose lives are more precious than your pitiful lying life.
 
Our morality and justice is so great – Lord Be Praised - that you envy us this righteous life that we live, which is why you hate us so.
 
But we are stronger and mightier than you.
 
For we have God on our side.
 
And you, you have nothing but superstition.

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A Reply to the New York Times on Obama's Victory

by Dennis Loo

The day after Obama's victory, the New York Times ran the following editorial. After their essay is my response. 

"The Next President" by the New York Times Editors


11/5/08


This is one of those moments in history when it is worth pausing to reflect on the basic facts. An American with the name Barack Hussein Obama, the son of a white woman and a black man he barely knew, raised by his grandparents far outside the stream of American power and wealth, has been elected the 44th president of the United States.


Showing extraordinary focus and quiet certainty, Mr. Obama swept away one political presumption after another to defeat first Hillary Clinton, who wanted to be president so badly that she lost her bearings, and then John McCain, who forsook his principles for a campaign built on anger and fear. His triumph was decisive and sweeping, because he saw what is wrong with this country: the utter failure of government to protect its citizens. He offered a government that does not try to solve every problem but will do those things beyond the power of individual citizens: to regulate the economy fairly, keep the air clean and the food safe, ensure that the sick have access to health care, and educate children to compete in a globalized world.

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Nancy Pelosi: Governing from the Middle

By Dennis Loo

Relief that at last the evil warlocks will be gone can be felt everywhere.

The day after the election Nancy Pelosi declared, while basking in the glow of the GOP getting drubbed in the elections, exactly the same trend that swept the Democrats back into the majority in the 2006 mid-term elections, that a "new President must govern from the middle."

The GOP's defeat happened despite Congress' approval ratings being even lower than the White House's. It happened because of the deep and wide revulsion towards the Bush Regime's policies. But the American people's political sophistication isn't yet high enough. The belief and hope that voting for a candidate who sounds like he's going to bring a change - and that that is all it's going to take - exists broadly among the people. Obama's campaign skillfully appropriated phrases from the movement and Obama speaks repeatedly of this cause being something that requires people's participation. But what he means by this is very different from what most people think.

Pelosi said what she said not because she's an idiot, like Palin, but because she's dishonest. Her comments are the equivalent of an army soundly defeating the other side and then having the victorious general say: "No hard feelings. You and I are still going to rule in tandem and with equal regard for each other's views." Apparently, "change" isn't supposed to mean a change from the "bipartisan" debacle that got us to this point.

The election results were meant by the voters to be understood as precisely the opposite of Pelosi's claim.

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Against Lawrence Summers

By Dennis Loo 

Former Harvard President, eventually forced out for a number of reasons, including his extraordinary abrasiveness, arrogance, and blatant sexism, Larry Summers is being widely reported as having the inside track for appointment as Obama's Treasury Secretary.

 

In the following article by John Wilson we hear such gems from Summers as this memo that he signed while vice-president and chief economist at the World Bank in 1991: "I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that."

 

And then there's this:

 

"Back in April 2008, Summers was predicting that 'There is a reasonable chance that from a financial market, Wall Street perspective, the worst has passed.' That doesn't sound like a smart economic prognosticator.

 

"Just a few months ago, Summers declared: 'Alan Greenspan had a tremendous record as Fed chairman.'

 

"And in April 2008, Summers proclaimed, 'Any honest Democrat will admit that we are now all Friedmanites.'"

 

I don't know about you, but this is change I can believe in! Install as Treasury Secretary a guy who thinks that the free market cures all ills, the same ideology that has created the terrible crisis we are suffering from in the country and world. Capital idea!

 

So much more, see the Wilson article at OpEd News.

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About

World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.