Wednesday, December 31, 2008

An era of heartless, revolting dishonesty


By PAT MURPHY

     Bernard Madoff, the New Yorker who fleeced investors of $50 billion with heartless precision, and Vice President Dick Cheney, a principal architect of America’s ruin as an envied world leader and engineer of calculated abuse of power, share the same amoral lack of ethics except for one distinguishing fact.

     Madoff forlornly admits his revolting dishonesty and theft of investments from philanthropists, friends, foundations and celebrities. However, right up to the last days of his dark reign, Cheney not only refuses to admit his deceit, but boasts that kidnapping and torture of terror suspects, wiretapping Americans, ignoring Congress, lying to the public, launching a war on fraudulent grounds, alienating overseas allies, pandering to loony religious agendas and legislating for the wealthy were collectively beneficial to Americans.

     Loyalists of George W. Bush and Cheney will protest. However, a reasonable case can be made that the Bush-Cheney years were golden for corrupt public conduct.

     Touted as one of Wall Street’s “most respected” financiers, Madoff claimed in his business motto an “unblemished record of value, fair-dealing and high ethical standards.” That phony façade led to perhaps the largest fraud in history.

     Likewise, President Bush began his presidency with a lie—that he was a “unifier, not a divider.” No president in modern history has so divided a nation, especially favoring the wealthy and those placing self above principle.

     Without Bush-Cheney orders to government regulators to back off, Wall Street couldn’t have leeched fortunes from hapless investors. In the end, taxpayer bailouts were needed to remedy reckless Bush-Cheney policies.

     Government whistleblowers were silenced while abuses thrived in federal programs. Lawless wiretaps were encouraged. Fraud of private contractors in Iraq was ignored. Agency officials were ordered to not cooperate with Congress.

     Of course, gullible consumers falling for too-good-to-be-true deals greased the Wall Street collapse, and spineless congressional leaders—notably House Speaker Nancy Pelosi  and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid—encouraged Bush-Cheney malfeasance by promising no impeachment for criminal conduct.

     My opinion is that George W. Bush, coming off years of alcoholism and business failures, truly was little more than a willing puppet in search of success for the Machiavellian personality of Vice President Cheney. Bush’s rote revealed a shallow man reciting a rehearsed script.

      The sum of the Bush-Cheney years undeniably meets impeachment requirements of the U.S. Constitution’s Article II Section 4—for “high crimes and other misdemeanors.”

      Is it possible that a nation that cherishes its heritage of law will blithely allow a lawless president and vice president to simply walk away unscathed from their years of criminal conduct?




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