Once Again, Bush is to Blame

Let’s not forget who’s responsible for the mortgage meltdown and the subsequent implosion of our economy, K?

Via Raw Story, this very enlightening news that the Bush administration blocked efforts to enforce laws against predatory lending. We are so shocked:

Federal regulators in the Bush administration blocked attempts by state governments to prevent predatory lending practices that resulted in the financial crisis now stalking the American economy, a new study from the University of North Carolina says.

In 2004, the Office of the Currency Comptroller, an obscure regulatory agency tasked with ensuring the fiscal soundness of America’s banks, invoked an 1863 law to give itself the power to override state laws against predatory lending. The OCC told states they could not enforce predatory-lending laws, and all banks would be subject only to less-strict federal laws.

Now, a research paper (PDF) from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Center for Community Capital shows that those anti-predatory lending laws had actually worked. States that had stricter regulations on issuing mortgages were found to have fewer foreclosures.

[snip]

The study may be the first scientific evidence to back up claims made by many critics that the Bush administration and earlier administrations allowed last year’s financial crisis to happen by not enforcing common-sense regulations on lenders. 

Here endeth the lesson in why Cons should never, ever be allowed to get their grubby hands on the reins of power ever again.

The Case for Diplomacy: Iran Edition

So, Bush spends eight years puffing out his chest and threatening death, mayhem and an ass-whuppin’ if Iran doesn’t do exactly what he tells them to do.  Accomplishment: Iran hid its nuclear facilities, informed the administration that they could go fuck themselves, and went on about their uranium enrichment.

Obama spends eight months in office, has a nice chat with Iran after letting them know that he’s got both carrots and sticks on offer, their choice.  Accomplishment: Iran’s letting the inspectors in, shipping its uranium off to other countries where it can be enriched precisely the way we want it, and agreed to reduce its stockpile by 75%.

I rest my case.

Damned Dirty Liberals Vindicated Yet Again

The essential difference between liberals and Teabaggers is that we damned dirty liberals get bent out of shape over things that actually happened. Case in point:

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette pours through Tom Ridge’s new book and offers the relevant passages where the former Homeland Security chief discusses the Bush administration’s desire to increase the terror threat level for political reasons. Ridge reveals that Attorney General John Ashcroft and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld argued in favor of raising the threat level by noting the correlation it had with Bush’s approval rating:

Osama bin Laden had released a videotape with one more ominous sounding but unspecific threat against the United States. Neither Mr. Ridge nor any of the department’s security experts thought the message warranted any change in the nation’s alert status.

“…at this point there was nothing to indicate a specific threat and no reason to cause undue public alarm,” he writes.

[snip]

Noting the correlation found between increases in the threat level and the president’s approval rating, Mr. Ridge writes, “I wondered, ‘Is this about security or politics?’”

We answered that, Tom: the answer was yes. It’s just that none of you were listening to the damned dirty liberals – you all had some idea that we were just on a Bush bashing spree, and that we couldn’t add 2 and 2 to obtain 4:

God forbid a journalist use simple empiricism–retrospectively matching terror alerts with reports on which they were based–to assess the terror alerts. God forbid a journalist learn that we went to Code Orange because someone claimed terrorists were going to take down the Brooklyn Bridge with a blow torch, and from that learn to be skeptical of terror alerts going forwards. It’s not as if, after all, the election eve alert was a one-off, the only alert in which the hype was later shown to be over-hype. There was a pattern. And normal human beings equipped with the gift of empiricism that apparently gets weeded out at journalism school tend to look at patterns and conclude that if a relationship consistently has happened in the past, then it probably will exist in the future.

I know, I know – it’s too science-y for most of you to understand. Reason, logic, simple math: all of those things are just so hard, right? And why bother thinking when the Administration was happy to feed you answers? You all might’ve overheated your poor noggins.

And, Tom? Before you give yourself too many pats on the back for thinking about resigning and then writing a juicy little tell-all, you might want to consider a little something Steve Benen said:

As for Ridge, I also look forward to seeing his explanation for why he didn’t resign. If, in 2004, he saw first-hand instances of Bushies toying with public fears, manipulating terrorist alerts for political reasons, and said nothing, Ridge is just as responsible as the rest of the former president’s team, if not more so. If he knew this was happening, but stayed on the job and waited five years to tell the truth, Ridge has some explaining to do.

You certainly do. And “The dog ate my resignation letter/exposé” won’t cut it. Those damned dirty liberals are smart enough to see through such brilliant excuses.

Blackwater, the CIA, and Assassination, Oh My

Well, well, well. The plot sickens:

Oh, the Bush Administration, every new revelation another WTF? moment.

The Central Intelligence Agency in 2004 hired outside contractors from the private security contractor Blackwater USA as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda, according to current and former government officials.

Ah, yes, Blackwater — the cherry pit on the shite sundae that is the “War on Terror“, all part no doubt of an all out — and profitable — effort to score some politically convenient points in an election year.

You know, whenever I get irritated with Obama, something like this pops up to remind me that it could’ve been worse. In fact, for eight years, it was. This makes it hard to work up a good, useful head of anger when Obama pulls stupid stunts like backing off the public option.

On the flip side, it makes it easier to get mad at him for not opening investigations into all of the Bush administration’s fuckery…

Viva la Differance

Compare and contrast time, my darlings.

Back when Bush was a burden, we had to watch supposed lawyers fuck the law up the back passage without lubricant, and his supposed lawyers are still trying to do so today:

David Shuster and Harper’s Scott Horton break down John Yoo’s poorly written op-ed at the Wall Street Journal, defending his part in allowing the Bush administration to spy on millions of Americans under the guise of keeping us safe from terrorists.

From The Anonymous Liberal–John Yoo: Still Lying:

In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, John Yoo has an op-ed defending himself from the malpractice charges set forth in the recent Inspecter General’s report. As with the opinions themselves, the op-ed is deeply disingenuous and misstates the law repeatedly.

Not surprisingly, Yoo begins the op-ed with a collosal straw man. He points out how important it is to intercept al Qaeda communications and writes: “Evidently, none of the inspectors general of the five leading national security agencies would approve.” Of course, the issue is not whether intercepting communications is a good idea, but whether the program violated the law. Yoo was not a policy maker. He was a lawyer. His job was to state what the law was, not what it should be.

Now contrast Bush’s assclowns with Obama’s lawyers:

Last week, Assistant Attorney General David Kris and Department of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee to talk about Military Commissions. David Kris got into a little bit of a discussion with Sen. John McCain because McCain was shocked to learn that the Constitution may operate in ways that apply to non citizens. In his defense, McCain is not a lawyer, but I didn’t think this was a novel concept. Yet, Kris had to patiently explain the fundamentals:

Ranking member Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) questioned Assistant Attorney General David Kris about his remarks on the appropriateness of administering the Miranda warning to terrorist suspects captured abroad. “It is the administration’s view that there is a serious risk that courts would hold that admission of involuntary statements of the accused in military commission proceedings is unconstitutional,” Kris said in his opening statement.

“Does that infer that these individuals have constitutional rights?” McCain asked Kris.

“Ah, yes,” Kris answered.

“What are those constitutional rights of people who are not citizens of the United States of America, who were captured on a battlefield committing acts of war against the United States?” McCain asked.

“Our analysis, Senator, is that the due process clause applies to military commissions and imposes a constitutional floor on the procedures that the government sets on such commissions …” Kris said.

“So you are saying that these people who are at Guantanamo, who were part of 9/11, who committed acts of war against the United States, have constitutional rights under the Constitution of the United States of America?” McCain asked.

“Within the framework I just described, the answer is yes, the due process clause guarantees and imposes some requirements on the conduct of (military) commissions,” Kris said.

If you click the above link, you can watch Department of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson wipe the floor with Joe Lieberman, who “respectfully disagrees” that terrorists can and should be tried in the same civilian courts that have been trying and convicting terrorists by the truckload for a good many years now. ‘Tis a thing of beauty.

I think we can all concur with the following sentiment:

I am gratified to see that New York Times thinks Messrs Kris and Johnson have provided good legal counsel to the Committee. From the Times editorial page:

After years of watching government lawyers undermine the rule of law, it has been especially gratifying to see President Obama’s lawyers urging senators to do even more to create a system that will fairly try prisoners and no longer shame Americans.

I know that Obama’s not perfect. I know that there’s vast room for improvement on several aspects of his national security policy. But the improvement over the last administration is remarkable. And I can’t even begin to tell you how relieved I am that we didn’t elect that mega-fucktard John “Do Terrorists Really Truly Have Rights?” McCain.

You made a good choice this time, America. Keep up the excellent work.

Shocking News: Bush Regime Lied and Broke the Law

If you’re astonished by this, you just slept through the last eight years. The rest of us were patiently waiting to see just how much worse the Bush regime was – we knew a fair bit about their nefariousness, but we knew there was much, much more.

And now there’s an inspectors general report covering five intelligence agencies, digging deep into the activities of that regime.

That thumping sound you hear is about ten thousand shoes dropping.

Astonishing fact #1: Bush’s illegal warrantless wiretapping program didn’t protect as advertised.

Astonishing fact #2: Bush attorney-shopped until Gonzo certified his illegal activity as legal for him. Bonus fun: Gonzo “called Goldsmith to inform him that the President, in issuing the Authorization, had made an interpretation of law concerning his authorities and that DOJ should not act in contradiction of the President’s determinations.” I guess being a Con president lets you declare yourself a lawyer without all that pesky law school stuff, eh?

Astonishing fact #3: There was a fuck of a lot more illegal surveillance going on – without Congress’ knowledge – than we’d previously discovered.

Astonishing fact #4: Oh, yeah, and the whole surveillance program was founded on lies.

That’s just a small selection, of course. Plenty more fuckery where that comes from.

But there’s always some bonus fuckery. This bit’s great to have on hand when Cons swoon over the President shaking hands with foreign leaders they don’t like: US Government Covered Up War Crimes Committed by CIA’s Warlord.

And your extra-bonus fuckery:

The latest:

The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday.

If you wonder why Cheney was so eager to hide his antics, well, it’s possibly something to do with assassination squads.

But remember, kiddies: Obama’s the real threat to American democracy. The Cons keep telling he’s the next Hitler, and hey, who could possibly be more convincing than the group of assclowns that worshipped Bush for eight solid years, right?