Friday, October 31, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 30, The Dark Side: Torture, Detention, Surveillance, Drones & Secrecy in the Bush/Obama Era (Con't)

From thousands of classified documents, the National Security Agency emerges as an electronic omnivore of staggering capabilities, eavesdropping and hacking its way around the world to strip governments and other targets of their secrets, all the while enforcing the utmost secrecy about its own operations. It spies routinely on friends as well as foes, as has become obvious in recent weeks; the agency’s official mission list includes using its surveillance powers to achieve “diplomatic advantage” over such allies as France and Germany and “economic advantage” over Japan and Brazil, among other countries.... [T]he focus on counterterrorism is a misleadingly narrow sales pitch for an agency with an almost unlimited agenda. Its scale and aggressiveness are breathtaking.

The New York Times, November 2, 2013
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 30, The Dark Side: Torture, Detention, Surveillance, Drones & Secrecy in the Bush/Obama Era (Con't)

We’re not going after people – we’re going after their phones, in the hopes that the person on the other end of that missile is the bad guy.

—Anonymous former drone operator, quoted by Jeremy Scahill & Glenn Greenwald (2014)
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 30, The Dark Side: Torture, Detention, Surveillance, Drones & Secrecy in the Bush/Obama Era (Con't)

I went to the Stasi [East Germany's secret police] archive, and I obtained, through their equivalent of a Freedom of Information Act request, a few files, which I got translated. And I looked at them, and, you know, there were handwritten dozens of pages. But in totality, they were not really as robust as like an average Facebook profile, and certainly not anywhere near as revealing as my Google search results. And... they only had files on one-quarter of the population, which took them a lot of work to surveil those one-quarter. Now we’re in a situation where, clearly, the government and institutions have files on everybody.

—Julia Angwin, author of Dragnet Nation
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 30, The Dark Side: Torture, Detention, Surveillance, Drones & Secrecy in the Bush/Obama Era (Con't)

As members of the Senate Intelligence Committee we have been provided with the executive branch's classified interpretation of those provisions and can tell you that we believe there is a significant discrepancy between what most people - including many Members of Congress - think the Patriot Act allows the government to do and what government officials secretly believe the Patriot Act allows them to do.... [B]y far the most important interpretation of what the law means is the official interpretation used by the U.S. government and this interpretation is—stunningly—classified.

—Joint letter by Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen Mark Udall (D-CO) (2011)
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Monday, October 27, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 30, The Dark Side: Torture, Detention, Surveillance, Drones & Secrecy in the Bush/Obama Era (Con't)

I don’t think it’s even fair to call it Bush Lite. It’s Bush. It’s really, really hard to find a difference that’s meaningful and not atmospheric. You see a lot of straining on things trying to make things look repackaged, but they’re really not that different.

— James Jay Carafano, Heritage-foundation security expert

My claim was never that the Obama administration copied or merely tweaked all of the Bush administration policies, but rather... copied most of the Bush counterterrorism program as it stood in January 2009, expanded some of it, and narrowed a bit.... [There are] differences in the rhetorical and justificatory approaches between the two administrations... The continuity of the late Bush and early Obama eras is a qualitative judgment. And that qualitative judgment is informed by the baseline of expectations. President Obama in his 2008 campaign led everyone to believe that he would dramatically change the Bush counterterrorism policies. “Bush’s ‘War’ on Terror Comes to a Sudden End” was the headline in the Washington Post on January 23, 2009, capturing conventional wisdom at the dawn of the new administration. Indeed, people inside the administration believed this as well, and tried hard, especially in the first year, to bring dramatic change on such issues as state secrets, military detention, military commissions, closing GTMO, and more. But dramatic change did not come on these issues. It did not come not because the Obama officials were hypocrites. They were not. Rather, the continuity was driven by a number of factors described in chapter 2 of my book, including the responsibilities and inside information of the presidency, the persistence in outlook of the national security bureaucracy, the alterations to (and legitimation of) Bush administration policies by Congress and courts and related actors, and congressional pushback on Obama initiatives like closing GTMO and civilian trials. We cannot put a number on the extent to which Obama continued Bush – was it 95%?; 85%?; 75%? But very few would have predicted in January 2009 that four years later a secretive Obama administration would be trying the 9/11 conspirators in military commissions; detaining 160 or so people in military detention in GTMO; defending its legal right to do both, and to deny habeas corpus in Afghanistan, in federal court; asserting state secrets doctrine in court on its own authority; pursuing unprecedented prosecutions against government leakers; urging re-authorization (and in some senses expansion) of late Bush-era surveillance policies; and ramping up drone attacks a great deal in a much-expanded global covert war that invite charges of war crimes and related illegalities from U.N. and other international and foreign officials, and NGOs. These are some of the broad-based policy continuities – continuities embedded, importantly, in a presidential war approach to the problem of Islamist terrorism that many hoped Obama would end – that lead most people to think there was large continuity between the Obama and Bush administrations.

—Jack Goldsmith, head of the Office of Legal Council, 2003 - 2004 (2012)
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 30, The Dark Side: Torture, Detention, Surveillance, Drones & Secrecy in the Bush/Obama Era (Con't)

To date we have arrested or otherwise dealt with many key commanders of Al Qaeda. All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. And many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: They are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.

—George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, 2003
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 30, The Dark Side: Torture, Detention, Surveillance, Drones & Secrecy in the Bush/Obama Era

We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will. We've got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies, if we're going to be successful. That's the world these folks operate in, and so it's going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective.

—Vice President Dick Cheney, September 16, 2001

Other orders went out for the care of prisoners of war. [George] Washington and his officers set a high standard in their treatment of Hessian captives at Trenton.... [Washington] often reminded his men that they were an army of liberty and freedom, and that the rights of humanity for which they were fighting should extend even to their enemies.

—David Hackett Fischer, Washington's Crossing
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Friday, October 24, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)

That a country that once took whiteness as the foundation of citizenship would elect a black president is a victory. But to view this victory as racism’s defeat is to forget the precise terms on which it was secured, and to ignore the quaking ground beneath Obama’s feet....

But one reason Obama rose so quickly was that African Americans are war-weary. It was not simply the country at large that was tired of the old Baby Boomer debates. Blacks, too, were sick of talking about affirmative action and school busing. There was a broad sense that integration had failed us, and a growing disenchantment with our appointed spokespeople. Obama’s primary triumphs in predominantly white states gave rise to rumors of a new peace, one many blacks were anxious to achieve.... Obama offered black America a convenient narrative that could be meshed with the larger American story....

...[S]ince taking office, Obama has virtually ignored race. Whatever the political intelligence of this calculus, it has broad and deep consequences. The most obvious result is that it prevents Obama from directly addressing America’s racial history, or saying anything meaningful about present issues tinged by race, such as mass incarceration or the drug war.... But the intellectual argument doubles as the counterargument. If the fact of a black president is enough to racialize the wonkish world of health-care reform, what havoc would the Obama touch wreak upon the already racialized world of drug policy?...

...Part of Obama’s genius is a remarkable ability to soothe race consciousness among whites. Any black person who’s worked in the professional world is well acquainted with this trick. But never has it been practiced at such a high level, and never have its limits been so obviously exposed. This need to talk in dulcet tones, to never be angry regardless of the offense, bespeaks a strange and compromised integration indeed, revealing a country so infantile that it can countenance white acceptance of blacks only when they meet an Al Roker standard.

And yet this is the uncertain foundation of Obama’s historic victory—a victory that I, and my community, hold in the highest esteem. Who would truly deny the possibility of a black presidency in all its power and symbolism? Who would rob that little black boy of the right to feel himself affirmed by touching the kinky black hair of his president?...

Ta-Nehisi Coates, "The Fear of a Black President" (2012)
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)

No one thought we would have to take every element of the administration and dedicate it to health care both publicly and privately, which is what we ended up having to do.

—White house aide in Obama administration
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)

[Rhetorically addressing southerners:] Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.... The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task... [W]hat will convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly - done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated - we must place ourselves avowedly with them.

—Abraham Lincoln, "Cooper Union Speech", February, 1960
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)


The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it: `No room! No room!' they cried out when they saw Alice coming. `There's plenty of room!' said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.

`Have some wine,' the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.

Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. `I don't see any wine,' she remarked.

`There isn't any,' said the March Hare.

`Then it wasn't very civil of you to offer it,' said Alice angrily.

`It wasn't very civil of you to sit down without being invited,' said the March Hare.

`I didn't know it was your table,' said Alice; `it's laid for a great many more than three.'

—Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, "A Mad Tea-Party"

Alice felt dreadfully puzzled. The Hatter's remark seemed to have no sort of meaning in it, and yet it was certainly English.

—Ibid.
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Monday, October 20, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)

But the modern right wing, as Daniel Bell has put it, feels dispossessed: America has been largely taken away from them and their kind, though they are determined to try to repossess it and to prevent the final destructive act of subversion. The old American virtues have already been eaten away by cosmopolitans and intellectuals; the old competitive capitalism has been gradually undermined by socialistic and communistic schemers; the old national security and independence have been destroyed by treasonous plots, having as their most powerful agents not merely outsiders and foreigners as of old but major statesmen who are at the very centers of American power. Their predecessors had discovered conspiracies; the modern radical right finds conspiracy to be betrayal from on high.

—Richard Hofstadter, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" (1964)
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)

This is America! How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills? Raise their hand. President Obama, are you listening?... You know, Cuba used to have mansions and a relatively decent economy. They moved from the individual to the collective. Now, they're driving '54 Chevys, maybe the last great car to come out of Detroit.... We're thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July. All you capitalists that want to show up to Lake Michigan, I'm gonna start organizing.

—CNBC Reporter Rick Santelli, February 19, 2009, from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)

The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.

—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, October 29, 2010
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Friday, October 17, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)

It is a measure of the Obama's administration's ineptitude in communication that the public came to see Geithner, Summers & Co. as tools of Wall Street while at the same time the bankers who were saved from oblivion came to hate the administration for vilifying and scapegoating them.

— Alan S. Blinder, After the Music Stopped
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

—Barack Obama, November 4, 2008
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)

Black man given nation's worst job.

Onion headline, November 5, 2008
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow....

The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends....

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

—Barack Obama, March 18, 2008
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Monday, October 13, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party

Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America. The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states. We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we've got some gay friends in the red states. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

—Then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, Democratic Convention, Boston, 2004

[Obama] should take back, in every detail, the speech that made him famous in Boston in 2004, because subsequent events have rendered it either naive or the most grotesque of fantasies.

Charles P. Pierce, 2014
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 28, The Crash of 2008 and the Great Recession (Con't)

...somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

—W. B. Yeats, "The Second Coming"
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 28, The Crash of 2008 and the Great Recession (Con't)

Sadly, the forgetting has already begun. Unrepentant financiers, eager to return to the status quo ante, are whining about excessive regulation. Recalcitrant politicians are bemoaning big government and itching to return to laissez-faire. The public has turned its attention elsewhere.

— Alan S. Blinder, After the Music Stopped
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Friday, October 10, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 28, The Crash of 2008 and the Great Recession (Con't)

WAXMAN: ...[T]his is your statement — “I do have an ideology. My judgment is that free, competitive markets are by far the unrivaled way to organize economies. We’ve tried regulation. None meaningfully worked.” That was your quote. You had the authority to prevent irresponsible lending practices that led to the subprime mortgage crisis. You were advised to do so by many others. And now our whole economy is paying its price. Do you feel that your ideology pushed you to make decisions that you wish you had not made?
GREENSPAN: ...Everyone has [an ideology].... The question is whether it is accurate or not. And what I’m saying to you is, yes, I found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is, but I’ve been very distressed by that fact.... [A] flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works, so to speak.
WAXMAN: In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working?
GREENSPAN: That is — precisely. No, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I had been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.

—Exchange between Representative Henry Waxman (D - CA) and former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, October 23, 2008
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 28, The Crash of 2008 and the Great Recession (Con't)

I'm being called Mr. Bailout. I can't do it again.

— Henry Paulson, September 10 or 11, 2008

The national commitment to the free market lasted one day. It was Monday.

—Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 28, The Crash of 2008 and the Great Recession

In the end, the more pessimistic you were, the more prescient you were.

— Alan S. Blinder, After the Music Stopped
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 27, Catastrophic Failure: Enron, Katrina & Politics in the mid-2000s (Con't)

In his testimony, Dr. [Richard] Carmona, [Bush's Surgeon General] said that at first he was so politically na├»ve that he had little idea how inappropriate the administration’s actions were. He eventually consulted six previous surgeons general, Republican and Democratic, and all agreed, he said, that he faced more political interference than they had. On issue after issue, Dr. Carmona said, the administration made decisions about important public health issues based solely on political considerations, not scientific ones. “I was told to stay away from those because we’ve already decided which way we want to go,” Dr. Carmona said. He described attending a meeting of top officials in which the subject of global warming was discussed. The officials concluded that global warming was a liberal cause and dismissed it, he said. “And I said to myself, ‘I realize why I’ve been invited. They want me to discuss the science because they obviously don’t understand the science,’ ” he said. “I was never invited back.”

—Gardner Harris, "Surgeon General Sees 4-Year Term as Compromised", The New York Times, July 7, 2007
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Monday, October 06, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 27, Catastrophic Failure: Enron, Katrina & Politics in the mid-2000s (Con't)

Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs....
Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.
Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends’ houses but never has friends over to yours....
Being poor is coming back to the car with your children in the back seat, clutching that box of Raisin Bran you just bought and trying to think of a way to make the kids understand that the box has to last....
Being poor is hoping your kids don’t have a growth spurt....
Being poor is making lunch for your kid when a cockroach skitters over the bread, and you looking over to see if your kid saw.
Being poor is believing a GED actually makes a goddamned difference....
Being poor is not taking the job because you can’t find someone you trust to watch your kids....
Being poor is needing that 35-cent raise....
Being poor is six dollars short on the utility bill and no way to close the gap.
Being poor is crying when you drop the mac and cheese on the floor.
Being poor is knowing you work as hard as anyone, anywhere.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually stupid.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually lazy....
Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.
Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.
Being poor is seeing how few options you have.
Being poor is running in place.
Being poor is people wondering why you didn’t leave.

—Excerpts from John Scalzi, "Being Poor", September 3, 2005
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 27, Catastrophic Failure: Enron, Katrina & Politics in the mid-2000s (Con't)

TV pictures of starving, dying Americans made the US look like a third world country - or perhaps, arguably, disclosed the third world country that America secretly keeps in its closet.

—Peter Bradshaw
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 27, Catastrophic Failure: Enron, Katrina & Politics in the mid-2000s (Con't)

Wayne Janak, 60, a carpenter and contractor... [is] equally blunt in Welcome to New Orleans, an hourlong documentary produced by the Danish video team, who captured Janak, beer in hand, gloating about hunting humans. Surrounded by a crowd of sunburned white Algiers Point locals at a barbeque held not long after the hurricane, he smiles and tells the camera, "It was great! It was like pheasant season in South Dakota. If it moved, you shot it." A native of Chicago, Janak also boasts of becoming a true Southerner, saying, "I am no longer a Yankee. I earned my wings." A white woman standing next to him adds, "He understands the N-word now." In this neighborhood, she continues, "we take care of our own."

A.C. Thompson, "Katrina's Hidden Race War" (The Nation, 2008)
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Friday, October 03, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 27, Catastrophic Failure: Enron, Katrina & Politics in the mid-2000s (Con't)

I thought that I lived in America until shortly after Katrina and the Crescent City Connection was blocked off from people being able to walk freely on United States soil.

— Karen Carter, Louisiana State Representative (D - New Orleans) (in Spike Lee's documentary, When the Levees Break)
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 27, Catastrophic Failure: Enron, Katrina & Politics in the mid-2000s (Con't)

Katrina was a largely man-made catastrophe triggered by a moderately fast Category 3 hurricane that missed New Orleans. Citizens were denied the level of protection mandated by Congress in the 1965 Flood Control Act.

—Louisiana State University, "Team Louisiana" Final Report, February 12, 2007
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 27, Catastrophic Failure: Enron, Katrina & Politics in the mid-2000s (Con't)

In the summer of 2002... I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush... The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

—Ron Suskind, "Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush" (2004)
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.