Posts Tagged ‘Bush’

Time for a Truth Commission

April 12, 2010

by Roger Koppl

London’s The Times reports on evidence suggesting “George W. Bush ‘knew Guantánamo prisoners were innocent.’”  (HT: Radley Balko)  Supposedly, Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld were all in on it.  “The accusations were made by Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Colin Powell, the former Republican Secretary of State, in a signed declaration to support a lawsuit filed by a Guantánamo detainee.”

According to The Times, “He [Wilkerson] said that many [persons] were turned over by Afghans and Pakistanis for up to $5,000.”  The problem with these payments is clear.  Paying persons serious money to turn in supposed terrorists creates a powerful incentive to invent false charges so that you can get the money.  In that part of the world, $5,000 is very serious money indeed.  It is hard to avoid the conclusion that many persons swept up in that operation were innocent persons who were sold out to fatten a wallet.

Karl Rove has said that waterboarding is not torture.  (Go to about 3:07.)  He has also said that “harsh interrogation” produced lots of good actionable intelligence (2:25).  That’s not a credible remark in my book.

In the US, our government has rendered, sequestered, and tortured.  Our government has flouted the rule of law and suspended habeas corpus.  It has made war on a nation that was not a threat to us in any way.  It has spied on us without the legal nicety of a specific warrant.  It has, in other words, grown tyrannical.  Isn’t it time for a truth commission?  It is too much to hope for a real criminal trial of our highest officials, but is it really too much to ask for the truth?  Patrick Leahy called for a truth commission in February 2009.  It’s time.

Politics in One Lesson

October 4, 2009

by Roger Koppl

It is better to signal goodness than to do good.

That’s it.  That’s the lesson.  (Thanks to Steve Horwitz for the title of this post.)  Democratic politics is mostly about signals not substance.  The lesson is simple, but somehow hard to learn. Read the rest of this entry »

Big Players and the Rule of Law

May 3, 2009

by Roger Koppl

Greg Mankiw quotes a recent WSJ article:

“Like many others I made the mistake of buying what I believed was ‘value,’” Mr. Gwin says, adding that investors who bought at the time believed the loans were worth more than their market price. “We did not contemplate having our first liens invalidated by a sitting president,” he adds.

Mankiw is worried that Obama may be “trying to achieve a ‘fair’ outcome as he judges it, regardless of preexisting rules and agreements . . . . in which case politics may start to trump the rule of law.” Read the rest of this entry »

Science and Truthiness

March 12, 2009

by Roger Koppl

President Obama seems to be setting himself up as the scientific President.  He has a Nobel Prize winning physicist for his Secretary of Energy.  Monday he reversed the ban on stem-cell research and issued an interesting memo meant, presumably, to restore scientific integrity to the Executive Branch of the federal government.

Obama’s attitude toward science is a vast improvement over the Bush attitude that, in Stephen Colbert’s brilliant satire, “truthiness” trumps science.  I think the celebration of “science” has its risks, however.  Obama gets it right, I think, when his memo says, “If scientific and technological information is developed and used by the Federal Government, it should ordinarily be made available to the public.”  And he is right to say, in effect, that we don’t get to pick our facts.  Right.  But I fear the tyranny of experts, especially when their funding comes from one source, the federal government. Read the rest of this entry »

Biiiiig Surprise!!!

December 20, 2008

by Sandy Ikeda

In another about-face, the Bush administration says Congress needs to free up the second half of the $700 billion federal bailout. And now that automakers are getting a share, the floodgates are almost certain to open for other nonfinancial industries that want government help.

You can read the rest of the story here.

The insurance industry and state and local governments are said to be next, and we haven’t heard the last from the housing industry.  How much longer does this line have to grow before it strangles the economy?

Hayek Explains Bush on the Auto Bailout

December 19, 2008

by Mario Rizzo

Today from George Bush’s remarks announcing to use of TARP funds to bailout the auto industry —  until they ask Obama for more later next year:    

… [M]y administration worked with Congress on a bill to provide automakers with loans to stave off bankruptcy while they develop plans for viability. This legislation earned bipartisan support from majorities in both houses of Congress.

Unfortunately, despite extensive debate and agreement that we should prevent disorderly bankruptcies in the American auto industry, Congress was unable to get a bill to my desk before adjourning this year.

This means the only way to avoid a collapse of the U.S. auto industry is for the executive branch to step in. The American people want the auto companies to succeed, and so do I. So today, I’m announcing that the federal government will grant loans to auto companies under conditions similar to those Congress considered last week. Read the rest of this entry »

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