Dennis Loo

 Dennis Loo is an award-winning sociologist, co-editor of Impeach the President: the Case Against Bush and Cheney, Associate Professor of Sociology at Cal Poly Pomona and an honors graduate in Government from Harvard. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. He is a former journalist and his research specialties include polling, public policy-making, social movements, and criminology.He can be reached via his blog:

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.


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?

* * *


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


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.


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.


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.


The Importance of Holding the Bush Regime Accountable - a Talk by Dennis Loo

The following is from a forum entitled "Stopping the Endless Wars and Torture; Resisters Speak Out" that was held on the evening of November 21, in conjunction with World Can't Wait's national conference in Chicago. The powerful event was emceed by Jill McLaughlin and Dennis Loo of World Can't Wait's Steering Committee, and featured talks by Iraq veteran Phil Aliff, IVAW founding member, and Matthis Chiroux, a military resister who refused deployment to Iraq; Jorge Mujica, organizer of huge marches against the attacks on immigrants in Chicago; and Marc Falkoff, editor of "Poems From Guantanamo" and an attorney, representing sixteen Guantanamo detainees. This video is from Dennis Loo's introduction to the event.



Bill Kristol Calls for the Medal of Freedom for Torturers and Spies

by Dennis Loo

I hardly know what to say about this commentary from Bill Kristol, in the current issue of the right-wing Weekly Standard. It's damning on its own without any comment. But then, the premise on which Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, and prominent member of the Project for the New American Century, operates here does deserve comment and deconstruction:

"Bush should consider pardoning--and should at least be vociferously praising--everyone who served in good faith in the war on terror, but whose deeds may now be susceptible to demagogic or politically inspired prosecution by some seeking to score political points. The lawyers can work out if such general or specific preemptive pardons are possible; it may be that the best Bush can or should do is to warn publicly against any such harassment or prosecution. But the idea is this: The CIA agents who waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and the NSA officials who listened in on phone calls from Pakistan, should not have to worry about legal bills or public defamation. In fact, Bush might want to give some of these public servants the Medal of Freedom at the same time he bestows the honor on Generals Petraeus and Odierno. They deserve it."

So waterboarding, which is torture, and NSA spying (on all of us) that the White House was caught red-handed doing in express violation of the 1978 FISA law, are not crimes against humanity or felonies deserving not just of impeachment but criminal prosecution at the Hague and in U.S. courts. No, according to one of the more influential voices from the extreme right and from the ranks of those who are making policy in the U.S., these acts are worthy of the Medal of Freedom.


The Nature of Capital and Bob Herbert’s “Stop Being Stupid”


By Dennis Loo
Today's NYT's has Herbert's latest OpEd, "Stop Being Stupid," in which he points out how extraordinarily stupid the idea - originating with the free market fundamentalists, who Ronald Reagan was drawing his theoretical orientation from - is "that you could radically cut taxes and still maintain critical government services — and fight two wars to boot!"
Herbert scores many good points, but fails to really nail down the source of these stupidities and what it would take to turn the corner on it. He does correctly name some names, such as Alan Greenspan, Rob Rubin and Larry Summers, but not their ideological foundations.
An excerpt, followed by one reader’s letter and my commentary:



On Krugman on the GOP

By Dennis Loo

Paul Krugman's newest essay at the New York Times, "Bigger Than Bush," skewers the GOP for its racist backlash strategy, aka the "Southern Strategy." He, as usual, makes a great deal of sense, but he also has not gone far enough and is bound by the limitations of vision within this two-party system.
Here are the first few lines of his Op-Ed, followed by my commentary:
"As the new Democratic majority prepares to take power, Republicans have become, as Phil Gramm might put it, a party of whiners.
"Some of the whining almost defies belief. Did Alberto Gonzales, the former attorney general, really say, 'I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror'? Did Rush Limbaugh really suggest that the financial crisis was the result of a conspiracy, masterminded by that evil genius Chuck Schumer?


The Water Line: Morality, the Rule of Law, and Leadership

By Dennis Loo

Part one of a three part series
“The water line is rising and all we do is stand there.
The water line is rising and all we do is stand there.
The water line is rising and all we do is stand there.”

-- Sage Francis, The Water Line
When one considers Bush and Cheney’s presidency, the question almost invariably comes up: “Who is to blame for this colossal debacle?” How could Bush and Cheney have been permitted to take office in the first place and remain in office, escaping prosecution and removal through impeachment, when they were repeatedly caught red-handed engaging in acts far in excess of abuse of office: openly flouting the law, pervasive and persistent lies, torture, committing the supreme war crime by invading a country that had not attacked us, treason, feloniously spying on all Americans, uber malfeasance, criminal negligence in the face of Katrina and global warming, and corruption on a staggering scale, with this list only a part of their long, sordid tale?
Most people’s answer to this is: “It’s the American people’s fault.” Americans (apologies to the other Americans of South and Central America) are apathetic or secretly wanted what Bush and Cheney carried out or are just plain ignorant, selfish, materialistic and lazy.


The Water Line: Morality, the Rule of Law, and Leadership II

By Dennis Loo
Part two of a three-part series
Doing What Must be Done
No mass sentiment, no matter how widespread and strongly felt, can find concrete and effective expression unless it is organized, focused and led. People who blame the American people for their apathy and conclude that the public is principally (or wholly) at fault for Bush and Cheney’s reign and our current crises fail to recognize that all societies (and any group of any kind) need leadership.
The adage, “If the people lead, the leaders will follow” misses a critical fact. For the people to lead, that is, for the unusual circumstance to occur of the public by-passing the existing leaders and forcing the existing leaders to abide by the public’s wishes, leaders from among the public’s ranks must step forward as new and substitute leaders leading the rest of the people. To expect otherwise would be like asking an arrow whose point has been broken off to stick to a target.



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.