Senator Elizabeth Warren educates Daniel P. Stipano, Deputy Chief Counsel, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Richard Ashton, Deputy General Counsel, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. They look surprised that they should actually be looking out to help out victims of the banks and not helping the banks to hide evidence of law-breaking by those banks that conducted illegal foreclosures. Thank goodness we have Senator Warren on the job.
At Salon.com, Matt Stoller questions the liberal hero-worship of Bill Clinton:
Back in June, Clinton angered Democrats nationwide by calling for an extension of the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthy. He also spoke glowingly of Mitt Romney’s “sterling business career,” getting in the way of an effective line of attack by the Obama campaign. And in terms of deregulation, Bill Clinton was one of the patron saints of the crisis: pushing through the final repeal of the Glass- Act, which legalized the heretofore illegal merger of Citigroup; signing the Commodities Future Modernization Act, which fully deregulated derivatives; and reappointing bubble blower Alan Greenspan to the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve.
English teacher David McCullough, Jr. sharply challenged the new graduates of Wellesley Massachusetts High School by telling them that they were not special, because they were substantially like numerous other “special” students out there. He repeatedly warned the audience members that to become special, they would need to earn it.
Many of McCullough’s ideas walk the line between offensive and inspiring–they will offend some people because his message is a stinging indictment of the status quo. He delivered a message that we can’t become special by continuing to watch our TVs, or even by clicking on our keyboards. There is no substitute for self-critical thought, hard work in the real world, and a pure heart.
I admire McCullough for having the guts to say the things he said up at the podium. Watching him reminds me that excellent teachers are real heroes in a world filled with fake heroes. It makes me a bit sad that I didn’t have the opportunity to be one of McCullough’s students back in high school. Listening to his message mostly makes me proud that there is someone out there who can teach so much in twelve minutes.
Shame on America for prosecuting Former CIA officer John Kiriakou. But America’s actions are understandable because Kiriakou embarrasses America by saying true things like this:
- On Iraq: “The answer to why we’re still in Iraq to this day has almost everything to do with the failures of leadership in 2003 and 2004 and, in some cases, the ascendance of rank deception—deliberate distortions of the facts on the ground.”
- On FBI waste: After raiding a Taliban “embassy” in Pakistan in early 2002, Kiriakou’s colleague “found something interesting and provocative. A file of telephone bills from the Taliban embassy revealed dozens of calls to the United States . . . For ten days leading up to September 11, 2001, the Taliban made 168 calls to America. Then the calls stopped. The file, amazingly, was in English . . . The calls ended on September 10, 2001, and started up again six days later, on September 16.” Years after sending the phone records to the FBI, Kiriakou followed-up and his FBI contact “replied that it was like a scene out of that Indiana Jones movie. The files were still in those [original] boxes, in an FBI storage facility in Maryland . . . What a waste.”
- On CIA’s deception about waterboarding: “Now we know that Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded eighty-three times in a single month, raising questions about how much useful information he actually supplied. . . it was a valuable lesson in how the CIA uses the arts of deception even among its own.” (Previously, the CIA told Kiriakou that Zubaydah was waterboarded only once and cracked, which fiction Kiriakou repeated in a television interview because his own agency lied to him.)
- On Torture: “But even if torture works, it cannot be tolerated – not in one case or a thousand or a million. If their efficacy becomes the measure of abhorrent acts, all sorts of unspeakable crimes somehow become acceptable. . . . There are things we should not do, even in the name of national security.”
Rep. Dennis Kucinich recently lost his race to return as a Congressional representative of Ohio. The blame for his loss sits largely at the door of the cowardly news media, which would rather make a cartoon of Kucinich than give serious heed to his well-formulated arguments.
At Salon.com, Glenn Greenwald also laments the way the establishment media has treated Dennis Kucinich. Greenwald argues that the media blithely painted him as wacky because of Kucinich’s friendship with Shirley McLaine (who believes in reincarnation). The media loves to report that (according to McLaine) Kucinich once “claimed to have an encounter with a UFO.”
For these “sins,” the establishment media advises that we are not to take any of Kucinich’s political positions seriously. Greenwald dismantles this insanity in two stages. First, he compares the alleged beliefs of Kucinich with the purported beliefs of most politicians, which the news media gives a free ride:
[Are any of Kucinich’s beliefs] any more strange than the litany of beliefs which the world’s major religions require? Is Barack Obama “wacky” because he claims to believe that Jesus turned water into wine, rose from the dead and will soon welcome him to heaven? Is Chuck Schumer bizarre because he seems to believe that there’s some big fatherly figure sitting in the sky who spewed fire and brimstone at those who broke the laws he sent down on some stones and now hovers over him judging his every move? Is Harry Reid a weirdo because he apparently venerates as divine the “visions” of a man who had dozens of wives, including some already married to other men? Neither the Prospect nor the Post would ever dare mock as “wacky” the belief in invisible judgmental father-figures in the sky or that rendition of life-after-death gospel because those belief systems have been deemed acceptable by establishment circles.
Step two of the analysis is to step back to see the political views of Kucinich that have been ridiculed by the mainstream media:
[More . . . ]
The Walkley Awards are the Australian equivalent of the Pulitzers: that nation’s most prestigious award for excellence in journalism. Last night, the Walkley Foundation awarded its highest distinction — for “Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism” — to WikiLeaks, whose leader, Julian Assange, is an Australian citizen. The panel cited the group’s “courageous and controversial commitment to the finest traditions of journalism: justice through transparency,” and hailed it for having “applied new technology to penetrate the inner workings of government to reveal an avalanche of inconvenient truths in a global publishing coup.” As I’ve noted before, WikiLeaks easily produced more newsworthy scoops over the last year than every other media outlet combined, and the Foundation observed: “so many eagerly took advantage of the secret cables to create more scoops in a year than most journalists could imagine in a lifetime.” In sum: “by designing and constructing a means to encourage whistleblowers, WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief Julian Assange took a brave, determined and independent stand for freedom of speech and transparency that has empowered people all over the world.” What makes this award so notable is that the United States — for exactly the same reasons the Foundation cited in honoring WikiLeaks’ journalism achievements — has spent the last year trying to criminalize and destroy the group . . . It is telling indeed that the U.S. — with the backing of its subservient allied governments — has devoted itself to the destruction of the world’s most effective journalistic outlet.