Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We may even learn some compassion for each other

How Universal Health Care Changes Everything - OurFuture.org
In the conservative era, America's hypercompetitive society has been very quick to throw away people who haven't made the cut in some way—people without money, connections, or education; people with disabilities that make them economically less viable; people who come from the wrong racial or religious group or the wrong part of the country. You only deserve what you, personally, are capable of earning. If you're badly equipped to do that, it's your own damned fault. If you can't afford health care, you deserve to die. In no case is it the taxpayers' job to step in and make it right.

Nicely observed. It's precisely this conscience-cleansing and ego-enforcing contempt for frailty, for human fallibility, for the inability of some to fit the narrow norms or meet the high demands of well-paid work, that our nation needs to abandon to become a more civilized place.

The party is the problem

The Republican Shipwreck - Salon

Pop quiz for big business: of the past 16 years, in which eight did you do better?

Big Biz Still For GOP - Slate

A testament to the failure of the profession

Greenspan Says, 'Who Could Have Known?' - CommonDreams

The truth doesn't sound as good on the stump

He's Not Robin Hood - Slate

Ronald Reagan, socialist

A Perverted Idea of Fairness - Credo Action

Monday, October 27, 2008

Where the buck bangs loudest (and least)

Economic Effects of Various Stimulus Provisions - OurFuture.org/Economy.com

It's the old "na-na-na-can't-hear-you" argument

Conservatives, Despite Their Own Message, Pretend Election Isn't Referendum On Conservatism - OurFuture.org

Howard Fineman Joins the Village Freakout - OurFuture.org

For Republicans, the difference between capitalism and socialism is 4.6%

...i.e., a 4.6% higher top marginal tax rate for the richest 2% of the population. The same rate that prevailed during the prosperous '90s. Shocking! The next thing you know, we'll all realize that living in a society that models itself after "The Lord of the Flies," that makes life as burdensome as possible for as many as possible, is a bad idea. Likewise, we'll see that the imperceptible dip in the height of Thurston Howell's horde is no burden at all.

And that's what they're really afraid of.

Like, Socialism - The New Yorker

LATE ADDITIONS: Banking On a Confederacy of Dunces - Credo Action

John McCain Is Barack Obama's New Deal Mandate-Maker - OurFuture.org

Saturday, October 25, 2008

When McCain was sane

Or at least honest. From a 2000 town-hall meeting:

(A shorter answer to this spoiled girl might be, "Because we live in a society." Or how about that long-recognized reality of democracy, summarized nicely by David Bromwich: "that stupendous inequalities of wealth produce an undemocratic inequality of power." On the other hand, she's probably not interested in a serious answer; she's just sulking because her daddy blames taxes for not buying her the really nice Porsche.)

LATE ADDITION: Remembering When McCain Was Accused of Class Warfare - Mother Jones

Isn't it nice when crises come together?

Crises on Many Fronts - The New York Times

There's no recovery from moral bankruptcy

Here's some nice observations from Tim Rutten's LA Times column today:
What Greenspan and the rest of the aiders-and-abettors of Wall Street's greed spree don't want to admit is that there's something wrong in the economy and financial system that new regulations on trading and disclosure won't correct. Long before the financial system melted down, American business' share of the social compact melted completely away. The corrosion didn't begin at the top but at the bottom -- with the renunciation of any corporate loyalty toward working men and women. For nearly as long as Greenspan has hovered in the financial stratosphere, U.S. companies have been encouraged to treat their workers like any other "expense." Wall Street has rewarded -- indeed, lionized -- companies "tough enough" to treat workers like the electric bill. Presto! Layoffs became "cost management."....
Societies in which the few are allowed to fatten themselves without limit on the labor of many are not just; they aren't even particularly productive for very long. Countries -- like companies -- that cling to notions that allow some to pursue their own interests by behaving indecently toward others come to bad ends.

Yes, indeedy.

McCain 6.0

The Making (and Remaking) of McCain - The New York Times

Sad hoax highlights the ugly side of the right

Taxes are your friend

Why I Love Taxes -- And Why Most Americans Do, Too - CommonDreams

Trading union cards for Master Cards

Union Card or Master Card -- How a Nation of Workers Became a Nation of Debtors - AlterNet

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More evidence that privatizing Social Security is a really stupid idea

Market Downturn Shatters Faith in Stocks - LA Times

The referees were in league with the players

Credit Rating Exec: "We Sold Our Souls to the Devil" - Mother Jones

Report: economic inequality and social mobility are inversely proportional

Rich-Poor Divide Worst Among Rich Countries - IPS News

Building a better b.s. detector

What Is Happening to GOP Electoral Tactics? - Salon

LATE ADDITIONS: After Hardball - The Nation

"Whose Side Are You On, Comrade" - The New Republic

That's the problem--they're blowing all their money on shelter and baby food

You damn kids, stay off my lawn

Bob the Banker Speaks Out - Salon

Vote for Obama, get a $13,000 raise!

Your Salary in 2016 - Washington Monthly

Perhaps this prediction is too optimistic. Still, it's fair to say that an Obama victory, plus the projected Democratic (super)majority in Congress, will mean less financial struggle for the average American. Given the present trajectory of things, even that will be a welcome relief.

If we don't "spread the wealth," the system will not survive

Let's see -- a life that is meager for most of us, but in which a handful of Paris Hiltons have the "freedom" to buy all gold-plated fingernails they want. Wonderful. Seriously, how self-indulgent, self-absorbed, and just plain selfish must one be to think that this is our best alternative as a society? (We're not there yet -- quite -- but it's definitely the direction the last eight years have pointed us.)

The alternatives are not, as some would have us believe, a stifling socialism versus a free-market free-for-all. We are constantly touting the "freedom of opportunity" America offers when we have so much less of it than other advanced nations -- nations whose citizens aren't sidelined by illnesses they can't afford to treat, whose workers have greater job security and benefits, and whose children follow an educational path determined by their drive and ability, not by the size of their parents' bank accounts. These countries have found an intelligent and moral middle ground. Why can't we?

The answer, in large part, is g-r-e-e-d, along with the relentless conservative p.r. campaign that reinforces and endorses it. (Note that, from the 1930s on, this country was making great strides toward decency until Reagan's barbarity promotion program largely halted our progress.)

Incidentally, in my darker moments, I really do suspect that the average conservative's vision of utopia is an America comprised of 12 mega-multi-billionaires (a group in which they inevitably imagine themselves) and 300 million peasants begging them for food and dying on the sidewalk at their feet. The chance to tell people who have no hope of landing a job (or, in this scenario, of living through the day) to get a job/life/heart transplant really gives them a self-righteous thrill.

Maybe the Rich are the Problem - Toronto Star

Spreading the Wealth Around? Why Not? - CommonDreams

LATE ADDITION: Obama the Philosopher - The Nation

Their profit is our bankruptcy, our untreated pain, our early death

Note that this sick fraudfest is at the heart of McCain's health-care "solution." While Obama's plan also relies too much on the private sector, his at least includes a sane, humane, government-funded option.

An Eroding Model for Health Insurance - LA Times

I Vote for Universal Healthcare - The Guardian

LATE ADDITION: Americans See Health Care as a Right - OurFuture.org

Monday, October 20, 2008

Get ready for the pushback

Here Comes the Onslaught - OurFuture.org

LATE ADDITION: Heads They Win, Tails You Lose: For the Beltway Media, Even Democratic Victories Prove the Country is Conservative - The Huffington Post
[W]hen Republicans win, we're told that Democrats need to move to the center, because the country is too conservative for them. When Democrats win, on the other hand, we're told that... Democrats need to move to the center. Their victory must have been some kind of accident -- it couldn't have been because the public actually agreed with what they want to do....
[A] look at the issue terrain at the moment shows a public firmly in the progressive camp. On foreign policy, on economic policy, on social policy, on just about everything, it's the progressive position that is more popular. The median voter in 2008 is pro-choice, supports civil unions for gay Americans (a position that seemed insanely radical only a decade ago), rejects the Bush foreign policy, supported the recent increase in the minimum wage, wants strong environmental protections, favors reasonable restrictions on gun sales, thinks the wealthy and corporations don't pay their fair share of taxes, and wants the government to guarantee universal health coverage. Does that sound conservative to you?

The party of working plutocrats

The Real Plumbers of Ohio - The New York Times

They only serve the market

The Idiots Who Rule America - TruthDig

McCain's socialist-baiting is offensive -- to socialists

Socialists: Obama No Socialist - Chicago Tribune

‘Spreading the Wealth’ as Both Accusation and Prescription - The New York Times

Not that there's anything wrong with that: "Socialist" Is Not an Epithet - The Nation

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Why is the GOP losing? Because their self-serving, counterfactual, insanely bad ideas have screwed up the country, perhaps? Nahhhh

GOP Terrified of American Voters - Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Powell endorses Obama

Not only is the general right on McCain, he also appears to be the last Republican living who understands that, as a fundamental right, "freedom of religion" applies to everyone, not simply to Christians (or the mythical "Judeo-Christians"), to theists, or to whoever happens to be in the majority this week.
I'm also troubled by, not what Sen. McCain says, but what members of the party say, and it is permitted to be said such things as: "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is: he is not a Muslim. He's a Christian. He's always been a Christian.
But the really right answer is: What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is: No, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she can be President?
Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion: he's a Muslim, and he might be associated with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

A Devastating Blow to John McCain - Salon

Colin Powell Condemns the Ugliness of the Republican Party - Salon

And of course let's not forget the Sunday gasbags:
Unease in the Conservative Commentariat - The New York Times

LATE ADDITION: Powell’s Endorsement Puts Spotlight on His Legacy - The New York Times

Saturday, October 18, 2008

This misdirected blame is just misdirection

Poor Homeowners, Good Loans - The New York Times

How Wall Street's Scam Artists Turned Home Mortgages Into Economic WMDs - AlterNet

Fortunately, the next round of crap is even more amusingly ludicrous

The Right's Final Attack: Obama is a Black Muslim, Anti-Christian Socialist Plotting with an Evil Jewish Billionaire - Mother Jones

For the Administration, freedom of religion trumps freedom from discrimination

Bush Aides Say Religious Hiring Doesn’t Bar Aid - The New York Times

Insufficent military spending is not one of our problems

The Coming Military Spending Surge - The American Prospect

O Joe, deliver us from failure

McCain's Search for Salvation - The New Republic

White House memos OK'd torture

CIA Tactics Endorsed In Secret Memos - Washington Post

Haven't you people done enough harm already?

The End of Libertarianism - Slate

Guided by an Invisible Hand - New Statesman

Like many other economists, Greenspan misunderstood humans

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair

Financial Boom, Financial Bust: What Happened? - LA Times

Taking Hard New Look at a Greenspan Legacy - The New York Times

What Went Wrong - Washington Post

See? It's the psychology, stupid: We Forgot Everything Keynes Taught Us - Washington Post

A little levity

Some laughs before the final push....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Addressing the side of the crisis that Republicans always ignore

Dr. Paulson's Magic Potion - The Nation

Note to McCain: NOTHING TRICKLES DOWN (not that you actually want it to)

McCain Is Not Bush? - The Failed Economics of Reagan, Bush and McCain - The Huffington Post

The Nation's Eric Alterman also offers us this historical review:
The supply-side experience taught conservatives they could create their own reality. They never admitted that their fly-by-night doctrine had anything to do with the deficits it created and continued to pummel liberals as fiscally irresponsible. Even after David Stockman revealed to William Greider that the entire exercise had been a hoax designed to cut taxes on the wealthy and spending for the poor and the middle class, the charade continued uninterrupted. (The Reagan administration even concocted a separate lie--that story about the president taking Stockman to "the woodshed" when the first lie was discovered--and that worked just as well.)

We should all cry for 45 minutes -- at the least

Unacceptable GOP Mailing Projects Racist Stereotypes on Obama - AlterNet/Think Progress

The new flavor of finance

The Case for Plain Vanilla - The American Prospect

The old gray smears, they ain't what they used to be

Waiting for the Barbarians - The Nation

Old Time Religion - The Nation

The man who wrote the playbook: The Lee Atwater Story: Meet the Man Responsible for Karl Rove and the GOP's Hate-Driven Politics - AlterNet

You're wrong, Joe

In an interesting follow-up interview today, ABC's Diane Sawyer asks Joe Wurzelbacher -- a.k.a., "Joe the Plumber" -- about his response to last night's debate and his thoughts on the tax issue he raised with Obama. In his remarks, Wurzelbacher repeated a common conservative trope, that it's "wrong" to tax higher-earners at higher rates "for being more successful."

Well, Joe, you're wrong on both counts. High earners aren't being taxed more "for being successful;" nor, more generally, it is wrong to charge a higher rate. Indeed, this kind of progressive taxation is eminently just, for two reasons. First is that these folks have benefited more from the American system. You can't on the one hand praise America as the "land of opportunity" and on the other hand say -- however hard you may have worked for your success -- that you did it all yourself. The system obviously contributed. Otherwise why single out America? (Incidentally, people have been achieving great wealth here at tax rates far higher than exist today, or at the fractionally higher rates for a few that Obama proposes.)

The second reason it's just is that the wealthy use more of the system's "goods" that the rest of us: the businesses that generate the money make more use of the public infrastructure (roads, sewer, water), police and fire protection, the public schools to train workers, and the court system to enforce contracts (the vast majority of civil court activity is business to business), among other public resources. I don't think Joe and those who agree with him necessarily want a free (or reduced-rate) ride -- but that's what they'd be getting if they didn't pay their fair share in full.

A side note: if you include local taxes, sales taxes, payroll taxes, etc., the overall tax system is actually quite flat -- perhaps unfairly so.

Is Joe the Plumber the Same as Joe Six-pack? - The New Republic

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Why did the answer have to come from London?

Could it be...ideology?
Gordon Does Good - The New York Times

Let's also give the K-man a hearty round of applause for his well-deserved Nobel. I think I've got a couple of those in the cupboard somewhere....

He's not an Arab! He's a decent family man!

Being an Arab is No Slur - The Progressive

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The virtual parliament's misrule

Anti-Democratic Nature of US Capitalism is Being Exposed - Irish Times

The Free Market Preachers Have Long Practised State Welfare for the Rich - The Guardian

Striking a new balance between market and government

Reversal of Fortune - Vanity Fair

More on Palin's wingnut "pals"

Meet Sarah Palin's Radical Right-Wing Pals - Salon

And here's an interesting observation from today's Frank Rich column in the NYT:
No less disconcerting was a still-unexplained passage of Palin’s convention speech: Her use of an unattributed quote praising small-town America (as opposed to, say, Chicago and its community organizers) from Westbrook Pegler, the mid-century Hearst columnist famous for his anti-Semitism, racism and violent rhetorical excess. After an assassin tried to kill F.D.R. at a Florida rally and murdered Chicago’s mayor instead in 1933, Pegler wrote that it was “regrettable that Giuseppe Zangara shot the wrong man.” In the ’60s, Pegler had a wish for Bobby Kennedy: “Some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow falls.”

This is the writer who found his way into a speech by a potential vice president at a national political convention. It’s astonishing there’s been no demand for a public accounting from the McCain campaign. Imagine if Obama had quoted a Black Panther or Louis Farrakhan — or William Ayers — in Denver.

Of course I don't condone this. But I understand it. Yes, I do

Richard Fuld Punched in Face in Lehman Brothers Gym - The Telegraph

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Voting has consequences

The Mask Slips - The New York Times
[T]here are two things I find remarkable about the G.O.P., and especially its more conservative wing, which is now about all there is.
The first is how wrong conservative Republicans have been on so many profoundly important matters for so many years. The second is how the G.O.P. has nevertheless been able to persuade so many voters of modest means that its wrongheaded, favor-the-rich, country-be-damned approach was not only good for working Americans, but was the patriotic way to go.

Exactly. Voting Republican is like choosing the world's worst surgeon just to spite the good ones, what with their fancy medical degrees and competence and all. Not to mention some of them have Arab-sounding names -- and you know what that means. Hell, one of 'em was even born in Hawaii, which is right next to Iraq*. You probably didn't know that. Think about it.
*if you draw a straight line through the Earth

Heck, if you could reach all the way back there, you'd do the operation yourself. You're a Self-Made Man (sorry, parents)! You don't need other people! You sure as hell don't need those terrorist-loving, taxpayer-supported commie paramedics taking away your freedoms!

Just be sure you question everybody's patriotism as they fix you up. And refuse that socialist Medicare coverage! Too bad your private insurance dropped you 10 years ago for the sprain you got flipping Clinton the bird.

"Troopergate" report: Palin abused her powers

Alaska Inquiry Concludes Palin Abused Powers - The New York Times

Friday, October 10, 2008

A modest proposal

I'm well aware of the dangers and of the sordid history of imposing any kind of "test" as a qualification to vote. At the same time, it is absolutely unacceptable that the votes of these people count as much as the votes of those who actually know things. So here is my proposal: everyone who votes takes a current-affairs quiz. The votes of those who pass it count double. It's the only sane solution.

Parenthetically--don't these people have Google? Are they so lazy, intellectually or physically, that they can't look this stuff up? Of course, factual knowledge isn't really the issue here. For most of these goons, "Arab" and "terrorist" are just more socially acceptable ways of saying the "n" word.

Even McCain can't control these idiots

I don't know if the bad press was getting to him or if he was overcome by an unaccustomed bout of conscience, but McCain did finally make an effort today to calm his rabid, wildly misinformed followers. Of course, this comes after an extensive effort by the McCain camp to lather them up and misinform them. The irony is, it didn't work. The attack dogs have tasted blood, and the trainer has lost control.

McCain Booed After Trying to Calm Anti-Obama Crowd - The Examiner

Significantly, my sense of alarm and disgust is shared by many on the GOP side:
Republican Frank Schaeffer:
John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as "not one of us," I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.
Stop! Think! Your rallies are beginning to look, sound, feel and smell like lynch mobs.
John McCain, you're walking a perilous line. If you do not stand up for all that is good in America and declare that Senator Obama is a patriot, fit for office, and denounce your hate-filled supporters when they scream out "Terrorist" or "Kill him," history will hold you responsible for all that follows.
John McCain and Sarah Palin, you are playing with fire, and you know it. You are unleashing the monster of American hatred and prejudice, to the peril of all of us. You are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.
Change the atmosphere of your campaign. Talk about the issues at hand. Make your case. But stop stirring up the lunatic fringe of haters, or risk suffering the judgment of history and the loathing of the American people - forever.
We will hold you responsible.
Andrew Sullivan:
McCain and Palin have decided to stoke this rage, to foment it, to encourage paranoid notions that somehow Obama is a "secret" terrorist or Islamist or foreigner. These are base emotions in both sense of the word.
But they are also very very dangerous. This is a moment of maximal physical danger for the young Democratic nominee. And McCain is playing with fire. If he really wants to put country first, he will attack Obama on his policies - not on these inflammatory, personal, creepy grounds. This is getting close to the atmosphere stoked by the Israeli far right before the assassination of Rabin.
For God's sake, McCain, stop it. For once in this campaign, put your country first.

Bipartisan Concern About the Dangers of McPalin’s Hate-Mongering - AlterNet/Firedoglake

On the up side, this could be a vicious strategy's death rattle

The GOP Goes Back to Its Ugly Roots - Salon

Thursday, October 9, 2008

We're mad. They're a mob. There's a difference

You know how I keep harping on the claim that liberals are just more decent people than conservatives? You're probably tempted to argue that such a claim is simplistic, painting a large and diverse group of people with too broad and partisan a brush. Which is an eminently reasonable response--for which reason I'm eminently tempted to agree with it, and to withdraw my overstatement. But then certain...things...happen, and I can't help but believe that Democrats would never act this way. It's as if we libs are the grown ups of the polity, and conservatives are the self-centered, emotionally volatile, low-information teens -- not to overgeneralize.

LATE ADDITION: Dan Balz’s Corrupted Journalistic “Balance” - Salon

People don’t panic in the sunshine. They panic in the dark

The Rationality of Panic - The New Yorker

Sure, we can trust 'em

Exclusive: Inside Account of U.S. Eavesdropping on Americans - ABC News

LATE ADDITION: Citizen Terrorists Deleted - The New York Times

"Business ethics:" still an oxymoron

AIG Fiddles While Wall Street Burns - LA Times

For Insensitivity, Wachovia Refuses to be Outdone - LA Times

Fixing the Financial Mess Would Be Easier if We Weren't Dealing with the World's Worst Scumbags - AlterNet

Don't forget the Court

How McCain Could Tilt the Supreme Court - Salon

Who are the undecided voters?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

So close to garbage, so far from language

Verbage - The New Yorker

Disposing of a toxic ideology

9/11 Was Big. This Is Bigger - Washington Post

End of an Error - The New Republic
The Depression--as my colleague John B. Judis put it in The Paradox of American Democracy--"destroyed in one stroke the edifice of wisdom and invincibility that businessmen had erected for themselves."

In critical theory, it's called "reification" -- getting people to think of an invented, abstract idea as a fact of nature. The intended consequence of reification is to make opposition to the idea -- laissez-faire economics, let's say -- appear as ridiculous and futile as opposing the laws of thermodynamics or the effects of gravity. The act of revealing the idea as an idea, and not as an inevitability -- that is, revealing it as changeable -- is called "demystification." I think it's fair to say that, over the past few weeks, laissez-faire has been pretty well demystified.

Who are these America-haters that the Palins are pallin' around with?

The Palins' Un-American Activities - Salon

Work was not enough

A Fool’s Paradise - The New York Times

An "association" that actually matters

Keating Economics: John McCain & The Making of a Financial Crisis

Positively affecting the impacts

Monday, October 6, 2008

Economists fail

The McCain plan would do for health care what deregulation has done for banking

Health Care Destruction - The New York Times

John McCain's 'Underwear Gnome' Health Care Plan Will Leave You Feeling Naked - AlterNet

And I'm quite sick of hearing, by the way, the McPalin campaign's B.S. about Obama's so-called "government-run" health plan. The closest Obama's plan comes to "socialized medicine" or government "control" is a Medicare-like option in which government would act as the insurance company. The primary difference between this plan and traditional private insurance is that the public plan won't be motivated to turn away sick people and deny valid claims to maximize profit. Undoubtedly this is why the McCainiacs object--Obama's plan has an actual shot at helping people. And helping people is the last thing Republicans want government to do.

LATE ADDITION: Obama Versus McCain: "Fundamental Difference" on Health Care - The Nation

Past is prologue

Bread Line During the Louisville Flood, Kentucky, 1937

"Putting Country Me First:" the birth and death of the fictional Mr. Straight Talk

Extremely hard-hitting piece--a must-read.

Make-Believe Maverick - Rolling Stone

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Complete sentences, incomplete thoughts

She Still Knows Nothing - Slate

Biden Teaches Palin the Meaning of "Maverick" - The Nation

Not to belabor the point...

The Omen In My Mail - Washington Post

...but again I'm forced to point out that, while our team's angry whackos may want to whip out some crystals and purify your "aura," conservative whackos want to whip out a .44 Magnum and blow your brains out. It's hard not to conclude that one of the things that separate liberals and conservatives is that liberals are just more decent human beings.

Before the debate

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures

The most partisan of reasons

Vindication for Fired U.S. Attorney - LA Times

Look at it this way: business got what it wanted

Wrecking, Wrecking, Wrecked - The Huffington Post

A plainly inferior plan

Wash Post's Pearlstein: Anyone Opposing the Bailout is Ignorant - Salon

Hey, Rick, don't forget the objections of bailout critic/ignoramus Joseph Stiglitz. I understand he also won a certain prize.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

When freedom's just another word for someone else's pain

The Communist Manifesto Hits 160 - Barbara's Blog

Meet the real middle

The Misrepresented Middle Class - The American Prospect

Find, prosecute, imprison

Bring Wall Street Crooks to Justice - Credo Action

As part of the prosecutorial effort, investigators may want to pose these questions, raised by the NYT's David Cay Johnston:
--Why was the CEO of Goldman Sachs in the room when government officials decided to bailout the insurer AIG, especially since Goldman has about $20 billion, half of its shareholder equity, at risk on AIG? Keep in mind that Treasury Secretary Paulson is the immediate former CEO of Goldman.
--Why was Lehman Brothers, a Goldman competitor, the only Wall Street firm in trouble so far left to collapse on its own? The Wall Street Journal reports today that it was the collapse of Lehman (which because of its structure may not have been an attractive firm for purchase) that "triggered cash crunch around the globe."

Hmmm. Hmmmmm.

And while Johnston and Salon's Glenn Greenwald rightly celebrate the emergence of ACTUAL DEMOCRACY in Monday's rejection of the bailout bill, it's worth noting that an almost identical rescue package will likely pass the House on Friday.