After reading the news about Lewis I. "Scooter" Libby earlier this week, I feel more than ever that some people count more than others in the United States these days. Paris Hilton thought (or still thinks) that she counts more than everyone else, drives around on a suspended driver's license, and gets sentenced to some time in jail. She appeals to the Governor of California to commute her sentence. Arnold Schwartzenegger is shrewd enough to know where he shouldn't interfere, and Paris went to jail. Scooter Libby, one of the true neo-con faithful, knows that he counts more than everyone else. He shields his superiors from further inquiries about why he "outed" Valerie Plame, and is convicted of multiple felonies. He doesn't serve a minute in jail, because our President violates established Federal procedure regarding clemency by commuting (but not overturning) his sentence because "it is not fair". In this country today, Paris's only real crime is that she's just not quite connected enough, despite her media celebrity.
Of course, things have gotten so bad in this country that we can't even agree on basic facts anymore. One need only look at the New York Times op-ed page on Tuesday to see how true this is. On one side, the Times editorial staff is condemning the decision to commute Libby's sentence because he was convicted by a Republican-appointed judge, based on a case put forth by a Republican-appointed Federal prosecutor, stemming from a request by a Republican-controlled Central Intelligence Agency to determine why one of their operatives was politically "outed". Yet, if you look across the page at David Brooks op-ed piece on the subject, one finds a completely parallel universe. This was a liberal/Democrat witch hunt, he says. Scooter Libby really didn't do anything wrong. This was really an attempt to politically engineer the downfall of Karl Rove, Vice President Cheney, and other key operatives in the administration, who were only heeding the call of a "higher truth" anyway. Scooter didn't rat anyone out, so he's really a hero (why is it that so many political heroes these days are also felons? are we really living in the Louisiana of Huey Long?) and deserve to have this farce end before he even set foot in a jail.
I'm not even going to go into what it means to be an economic insider these days. Mrs. Geek and I have been out looking at houses, condos, and townhouses. The prices are astronomical (over $500K for less than 900 square feet of space). That is due, in part, to a bunch of greedy insiders who figured out that there was a lot of money to be made by offering easy mortgage money to people who couldn't really afford to pay the loans if the housing market ever stopped going up, up, and up. Now the interest rates in those mortgages are about to reset, and people are defaulting. That, of course, is of little consequence... because the "real" losers are the folks invested in the Bear Stearns hedge funds that bought the bonds based on those mortgages. They want a bailout. What about me and Mrs. Geek? We are advised against buying a place in a lot of transitional neighborhoods because they may soon be full of empty homes created by sub-prime mortgage defaults. Do we get a bailout too?
on 2007-07-05 at 6:19 a.m.
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