Sunday, December 14, 2008
Masters of the Collapsing Universe Edition
Savvy like a dumb stump:
Two Cheers for Rod Blagojevich
By FRANK RICH
Published: December 13, 2008
ROD BLAGOJEVICH is the perfect holiday treat for a country fighting off depression. He gift-wraps the ugliness of corruption in the mirthful garb of farce. From a safe distance outside Illinois, it’s hard not to laugh at the “culture of Chicago,” where even the president-elect’s Senate seat is just another commodity to be bought and sold.
But the entertainment is escapist only up to a point. What went down in the Land of Lincoln is just the reductio ad absurdum of an American era where both entitlement and corruption have been the calling cards of power. Blagojevich’s alleged crimes pale next to the larger scandals of Washington and Wall Street. Yet those who promoted and condoned the twin national catastrophes of reckless war in Iraq and reckless gambling in our markets have largely escaped the accountability that now seems to await the Chicago punk nabbed by the United States attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald.
The Republican partisans cheering Fitzgerald’s prosecution of a Democrat have forgotten his other red-letter case in this decade, his conviction of Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney’s chief of staff. Libby was far bigger prey. He was part of the White House Iraq Group, the task force of propagandists that sold an entire war to America on false pretenses. Because Libby was caught lying to a grand jury and federal prosecutors as well as to the public, he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. But President Bush commuted the sentence before he served a day.
Fitzgerald was not pleased. “It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals,” he said at the time.
Not in the Bush era, man. [ continued/in full: Sunday NYTimes ]
Report Spotlights Iraq Rebuilding Blunders
By JAMES GLANZ and T. CHRISTIAN MILLER
An unpublished federal history of the U.S.-led reconstruction of Iraq depicts the effort as crippled by poor planning, waste and deception, leading to a $100 billion failure
Savvy like a dumb stump:
Lawyer Seen as Bold Enough to Cheat the Best of Investors
By ALISON LEIGH COWAN, CHARLES V. BAGLI and WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM
Authorities say that Marc S. Dreier, one of New York’s most accomplished lawyers, brazenly swindled the city’s savviest investors, in a fraud estimated at $380 million.