Monday, December 29, 2008

Bangs and Whimpers

Which one of those poets was it that gave us the lines
This is the way the world ends.
Not with a bang, but a whimper.
It used to be more important to know a poem or two. Anyway, the verse seems to address the conclusion of the Bush administration, although I believe there are BOTH bangs and whimpers taking place.
First, the bangs. Israel is providing more than a few as we speak, responding to bombing from Hamas as only they (and perhaps we) know how. It seems the current missile attack will be followed by the usual ground attack, all of it aimed at "peace". Will the Israelis pull out in order to allow the region a period to cool off and settle things with diplomacy? Yes, when the damage done is enough that diplomacy no longer matters. Things can change quickly, but as of today it appears that President Obama's first international task will be getting the Israelis to withdraw. Good luck.
The stock market went BANG on its way down. Usually you can't get economists to agree on the time of day, but now they're all saying things could get much worse before improving. At some point, a brave guy will start buying stocks as a precursor to recovery, but that hasn't happened yet, either.
A little BANG echo was in the revealing that a mutual fund bigshot, Mr. Madoff (pronounced "Made off") had actually run a crooked Ponzi scheme - initial investors are rewarded with false high returns funded by later investors - lasting almost the length of the Bush administration. Our investment watchdogs, the SEC, were nowhere near learning of the scheme. Madoff turned himself in. Damage? A little north of $50 billion.
As for whimpers. Mrs. Bush and Secretary Rice provided twin whines that the Bush days will be better appreciated in future years. Since one's signed on for life and the other one for the full eight years, you could hardly expect anything different from those two, escecially with FOX News leading the softball assault on the First Lady.
But it's not just the judgment of History that's the concern of other whimperers. Morton Kondracke, one of the newpaper pundit elite, says that the Obama administration should abandon all efforts to investigate criminal charges against Bush officials. It would hurt the morale of the CIA and other spooks, he says, who then might be reluctant to undertake a "dirty job" assignment from their CO. It's hard to believe Kondracke makes this argument with a straight face, but there it is. And here I had thought we had settled the "government of laws and not men" argment a long time ago, if not in Jefferson's day, then certainly in Nixon's. I guess being able to write what he did is what defines a guy as part of the pundit elite.


Anonymous Jake said...

How about the following "Bangs", just to name a few?

1- Shotgun of Dick Cheney
2- 700 BN bailout with no strings
3- Spitzer
4- Illinois Gov.

8:54 AM  

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