Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Depravity and Dementia

Richard Power gives a good rundown on Depravity in the Village. With links I'm omitting here:

...just think about what it means that Friedman would invoke Cheney as some sort of example of political strength or clarity of strategic thinking.

Such a notion reveals Friedman's depravity, with a chilling finality.


Cheney, the man whose office, according to Patrick Fitzgerald's statement in open court, has "a dark cloud" hanging over it in regard to the betrayal of US secret agent Valerie Plame's identity?

Cheney, the man who cooked the intelligence on Iraq, and is doing so again on Iran?

Cheney, the man whose secret, pre-9/11 energy plans, drawn up with Ken Lay, divvied up the oil fields of Iraq?

Cheney, the man who, according to the sworn 9/11 commission testimony of Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta, sat on his hands as a highjacked plane flew through Beltwayistan's restriced air space? (Was he hoping it was aimed at the Capitol Dome?)

Cheney, the man who threatened Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN) with "dire consequences" if he opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq? (Wellstone died in a small plane crash shortly before the 2004 election, which he was certain to win.)

Cheney, the man who, as a member of Congress, voted against Martin Luther King Day?

Cheney, the man who, as a member of Congress, voted against a resolution to free Nelson Mandela from prison?

Cheney, who shot a fellow hunter in the face and then ducked the police for 24 hours?

Tom Friedman says Obama should dial down his "inner Jimmy Carter" and dial up his "inner Dick Cheney"?

Jimmy Carter wanted to get the US off of its desperate dependence on Middle Eastern oil, Jimmy Carter understood that there would be no peace without human rights.

Jimmy Carter understood the 21st Century a quarter of a century before it dawned.

Tom Friedman doesn't even understand it now.

You should read it all if you can, and follow the links if you don't believe it.

McClellan and Tom Friedman aside, Bob Herbert examines a whole different dimension of depravity today:

...I’ve been visiting some of the people who have been most affected by the subprime mortgage debacle. It’s a largely bewildered, frightened group that includes people like Dorothy Levey, a 79-year-old widow who sits alone inside the small house she has lived in for 41 years, afraid to answer the telephone or the door.

She has every reason to be worried. The monthly note on her house in the city of Markham, just outside Chicago, is approximately 100 percent of her meager monthly income. Broke and behind in her payments, Ms. Levey expects a foreclosure notice to show up any day, followed by a visit from “the sheriff, or whoever they send to tell you to get out of your own home.”

While the media coverage has focused on the high rollers who created the subprime frenzy (“If you can breathe, we’ll give you a loan”), the hapless victims have remained in the shadows, condemned to economic ruin.

After faithfully making mortgage payments for decades, Ms. Levey and her husband, Dan, were persuaded to take out a new loan, ostensibly for debt consolidation, in 2002. It was like plunging into quicksand. Dan was seriously ill at the time and he died two years later.

To this day Ms. Levey does not understand what she and her husband of more than half a century had agreed to. The terms might as well have been written in Sanskrit.

But she kept trying to meet her obligation. She exhausted her savings. She lost her car. She stopped buying clothes and cut back on food. But there was no way to keep up with the payments.

“I had to go to the state and tell them I was hungry,” she said.

I heard the same story again and again — decent people enticed, sometimes fraudulently, into loans they never understood and couldn’t afford...

After Countrywide bought our 30 year fixed rate mortgage about 5 years ago we were immediately deluged with offers for amazingly low but "adjustable" rate mortgages. These offers were and are incessant. They have caused a lot of strife in our marriage, since for a few years I was accused of being all kinds of a fool for not taking advantage of them. By my wife among other professional peers.

No more.

But you still see that sort of blind trust in authority, even among people who have no excuse for not knowing better.

You still get their ridicule if you point out the incredible underlying fallacies behind the positions of Hilbama. Or Paul.

You still get the assertion that it's really okay, that some kinds of quicksand are quicker than others, and this must surely be the slow motion variety.

You still get that blind trust when the people who put the shades on you are telling you exactly what you want to hear.

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