Thursday, May 7, 2009

Maine Governor Signs Same-Sex Marriage Bill

The New York Times

Published: May 6, 2009

BOSTON — Gov. John Baldacci of Maine signed a same-sex marriage bill on Wednesday minutes after the Legislature sent it to his desk, saying he had reversed his position because gay couples were entitled to the state Constitution’s equal rights protections.

“It’s not the way I was raised and it’s not the way that I am,”
Mr. Baldacci, a Democrat, said in a telephone interview. “But at the same time I have a responsibility to uphold the Constitution. That’s my job, and you can’t allow discrimination to stand when it’s raised to your level.”

Yet gay couples may not be able to wed in Maine anytime soon. Laws typically go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns, which is usually in late June. But opponents have vowed to pursue a “people’s veto,” or a public referendum, in which Maine voters could overturn the law.

The opponents would be required to collect about 55,000 signatures within 90 days of the Legislature’s adjourning to get a referendum question on the ballot. If they succeeded, the law would be suspended until a vote could be held. Depending on how soon signatures were collected, that would be in November or the following June.

The Rev. Bob Emrich, a leader of the Maine Marriage Alliance, one of the chief opposition groups, said he believed the law would be overturned but not without an intensive campaign.

“It’s not automatic by any means,”
Mr. Emrich said. “The proponents of changing the law and redefining marriage, they are very well funded, they have a great organization, and they’ve been at this a long time.”

Maine is the fifth state to legalize same-sex marriage, and the bill’s enactment comes almost five years after Massachusetts became the first in the nation to do so. The other states are Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont.

The New Hampshire legislature gave final passage on Wednesday to a same-sex marriage bill, but Gov. John Lynch has not said if he will sign it. Mr. Lynch, a centrist Democrat, has said in the past that marriage should be limited to a man and a woman. Once the bill reaches his desk, he will have five days to act on it.

Mr. Baldacci announced his decision in Augusta, Me., about an hour after the State Senate gave final passage to the bill, which codifies marriage as a legally recognized union between two people regardless of sex. Under state law, the governor had 10 days to sign the bill, veto it or let it become law without his signature.

But Mr. Baldacci, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits, said he had spent considerable time researching the legal ramifications of denying gay men and lesbians the right to marry.

Mr. Baldacci earlier supported civil unions for gay couples, which are legally recognized and provide many of the state rights and privileges that marriage does. Civil unions are legal in New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont, but the latter two states are phasing them out after adopting same-sex marriage laws.(Editor's emphasis throughout)

Since Vermont became the first state to allow civil unions in 2000, gay-rights supporters have increasingly said they relegate same-sex couples to a separate and unequal category.

Mr. Baldacci said his past opposition to same-sex marriage stemmed from his Roman Catholic upbringing. Exploring his feelings on the matter — and listening to those of other Maine residents — was, he said, “very emotional, very much a sort of baring of the soul that you’re listening to and going through yourself.”

He described voters as “the ultimate political power in this state,” and said it was important for them to weigh in, too.

“I think they will see the reasoning that I had in regards to the issue,” he said, “but it’s their right to put their stamp on it.”


Tragically, Governor Baldacci not only failed to follow the Natural Law, he violated Traditional (orthodox) Roman Catholic Church teaching. This is particularly unfortunate since he is purportedly a member in good standing.

Catholic social teaching holds that same-sex "marriage" is not only contrary to the natural law, it is destructive of the "common good." The Roman Catholic Church also opposes same-sex unions primarily because they contribute to the destruction of the nuclear family which is created in the Triune image of God (imago Dei). Moreover, Catholic teaching holds that the souls of those who engage in homosexual activity are in mortal danger left unrepented which applies to those who continue such relationships/unions.

According to Catholic teaching there can be no human "right" which is incompatible with the Natural Law including of course homosexual activity, homosexual "marriage" or homosexual "unions". Political figures who claim to be Roman Catholics in good standing engage in rank hypocrisy when they support or otherwise facilitate the passing of same-sex "marriage" legislation. Governor Baldacci should either have resigned (rather than sign the same sex "marriage" bill in Maine) or cease referring to himself as a Roman Catholic in good-standing.

The Roman Catholic Church has the duty to properly discipline wayward members--including excommunication if necessary--especially those who occupy high-profile political positions. The fact that none to date have been so-disciplined severely detracts from the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States and the world.

Patently immoral behaviors, civil arrangements and public policy positions which are incompatible with the Natural Law have been deemed human or civil "rights" in the United States by both the Judiciary and the Legislative branches of government. This is primarily because human "rights" since the Enlightenment are ungrounded by anything other than temporary wants or desires--as currently expressed by those in power. Prior to the Enlightenment, human rights were grounded in the Natural Law. In the absence of the Natural Law human rights are fictitious that is, they are objectively non-existent.

A radical form of Secularism now controls the public square in the United States and much of the West meaning that the Natural Law has been replaced by a kind of tyranny of the temporary majority. Legal positivism in the courts has greatly contributed to this phenomenon of course. As a result, it has become impossible for any serious Roman Catholic person to hold political office in the United States without engaging in obvious hypocrisy.

For more background information see my essay: "What of Traditional Marriage?" HERE...

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

Spitzer says Federal Reserve Controlled by Investment Bankers

By: Dr. J. P. Hubert

Disgraced former New York governor Elliot Spitzer said today on CNBC that the Federal Reserve Board is controlled by CEO's of the major investment banks. While not engaging in patently illegal acts the Fed--according to Spitzer--allowed excessive leveraging and poor oversight regulation due to the fact that the Federal Reserve Board members had an obvious conflict of interest. Spitzer alleges that regulators should have insisted investment banks exercise better judgment e.g. objecting to leverage levels of 30:1. Spitzer stated that excessive CEO compensation and bonus packages are also symptomatic of the incestuous problem at the Fed.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Gay Marriage Advances in Maine

The New York Times
Published: May 5, 2009

AUGUSTA, Me. — Gay-rights advocates moved remarkably close to their goal of making same-sex marriage legal throughout New England on Tuesday, when the Maine House of Representative voted to legalize such unions.

Supporters of same-sex marriage have won victory after victory this spring, with the legislatures of Vermont, New Hampshire and now Maine embracing it. The region is close to offering such marriages full support; Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to let gay couples marry in 2004, and Connecticut began allowing same-sex marriage last fall.

But in Maine and New Hampshire, the governors, both Democrats, will be pivotal in determining whether same-sex marriage proponents succeed in winning over an entire region of the country. Neither Gov. John Baldacci of Maine nor Gov. John Lynch of New Hampshire has made his intentions public. Both men opposed same-sex marriage in the past but have indicated they might be reconsidering.

No governor has yet signed a same-sex marriage bill that was not the result of court ruling. Gov. Jim Douglas, a Republican, vetoed a bill in Vermont last month, and the Legislature then enacted it after an override. And Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, also a Republican, vetoed a similar bill in California in 2005.

Supporters of the measures probably do not have enough support to override a veto in Maine or New Hampshire.

With the movement enjoying momentum from the string of recent victories — including the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision last month that same-sex marriage should be legal there — Mr. Baldacci and Mr. Lynch are facing considerable pressure from advocates and from their own party, which increasingly supports same-sex marriage.

Mr. Lynch will have five days to make a decision after the bill reaches his desk; Mr. Baldacci will have 10.

In California, where the State Supreme Court may rule this week on whether a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional, gay-rights advocates are optimistic even though many expect the ruling to uphold the ban.

The next state to debate same-sex marriage will probably be New York. Gov. David A. Paterson, a Democrat, introduced a marriage bill last month and the State Assembly, which strongly supports it, will probably take it up next week. The bill’s fate in the Senate is less certain.

In Maine, the Democratically controlled House voted 89 to 57 for the bill; the State Senate, also dominated by Democrats, approved the bill last week in a 21-to-14 vote. Mr. Baldacci’s spokesman, David Farmer, said he would not make a final decision before the bill reached his desk. That could be as soon as Wednesday, when the State Senate is expected to formally pass it.

“He absolutely is listening to what people have to say,” Mr. Farmer said. “But at the end of the day, I think it will come down to what he believes is the right thing to do.”

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland will be among the groups lobbying Mr. Baldacci, a Catholic, to veto the bill, as will the Maine Family Policy Council, an affiliate of the Family Research Council in Washington. “We’re going to be on his case,” said Marc R. Mutty, director of public affairs for the diocese.

The House chamber was thick with emotion on Tuesday as many legislators openly wept and revealed personal details. One told her colleagues for the first time that she has a lesbian daughter; another wept as he explained that he, as a white man, would not have been able to marry his wife of 25 years, who is black, if a law had not been changed. Other legislators spoke of sleepless nights debating how to vote.

Several political observers guessed that Mr. Baldacci, who is barred by term limits from seeking re-election, would sign Maine’s bill and that Mr. Lynch, who might run again, would let New Hampshire’s become law without his signature.

“I could see him letting it pass without his explicit approval,” Dante Scala, an associate professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire, said of Mr. Lynch. “One of his hallmarks has been to put some distance between himself and the legislature.”

After the Senate’s vote last week, Mr. Lynch restated his belief that the state’s two-year-old civil-union law provided sufficient rights and protections to gay couples. But he did not repeat an earlier statement that marriage should be only between a man and a woman.

While the Iowa decision gave supporters of same-sex marriage an important first victory in the nation’s heartland and a few other states are considering legislation this year, New England remains the nucleus of the movement. Gay-rights groups here have been raising money, training volunteers and lobbying voters and lawmakers as part of a campaign called Six by Twelve.

The region’s strong libertarian bent helps explain why the issue has found support. And voters in some New England states cannot initiate constitutional amendments, a strategy for blocking same-sex marriage elsewhere.

Maine does have a “people’s veto” process by which voters can put a question on the ballot. Opponents of the same-sex marriage law will surely try to collect enough signatures — about 55,000 — to suspend it until a public referendum can be held.

A Rhode Island bill is unlikely to be acted on soon; proponents believe its chances will improve in 2011, after Gov. Donald L. Carcieri, a Republican who opposes same-sex marriage, leaves office.

“We are closer than we thought we would be, although not closer than we hoped we would be,” said Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, the group leading the New England campaign. Pointing out that May 17 is the fifth anniversary of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, Ms. Swislow added, “New England is such a small region that people have been able to see it’s good for everyone.”

Washington Acts on Marriages

The Council of the District of Columbia on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states.

The measure now goes to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, who has said he supports it. The committees in the House and Senate that oversee the District of Columbia would then have 30 session days to review the law. If Congress does not act within 30 days, the law will automatically take effect.


The momentum has now increased and the pendulum turned nation-wide in favor of homosexual "marriage." Civil Union's short of "marriage" while providing legal survivorship and other protections to same-sex couples have been seen as inadequate by homosexual activists who purport that the ability to marry is a civil right. By that they mean the right to marry whomever they wish--irrespective of the sex of the partners. This of course is a clear violation of the Natural (moral and biological) Law--as I have written elsewhere. While heterosexual simultaneous pleural marriage (bigamy or polygamy) however is not contrary to the natural law (biologically [and morally for several millennia prior to the ministry of Jesus Christ]), there is no hew and cry for the legalization of polygamy. Why? Presumably because bigamists in the US lack an effective lobby and or too few Americans prefer that arrangement--although many more might be interested in it if given the opportunity the way active homosexuals currently are.

The real question of course is to what extent is the ability to marry a civil right vs: a legally valid union in which the government preferentially (for practical reasons involving procreation, proper child-rearing etc.) favors traditional male/female coupling--theoretically for life--the traditional marriage arrangement?

If marriage is in fact a civil "right", then to remain intellectually consistent, the government must accept any arrangement an individual or group of persons wishes to codify as "marriage." That includes of course, polygamy, human/animal pairings and the like. Again if marriage is a "right" not a societal privilege, one can even question to what extent one person has the "right" to marry their child, sister, brother or even a minor provided the other party is willing. Once same-sex "marriage" is legalized, there is no logical way other than by a form of ad-hoc and completely arbitrary and capricious decision-making, to limit marriage to 2 human adults.

As can be seen here the legalization of same-sex "marriage" creates unresolvable philosophical and political problems which cannot be rectified by alterations in the law. Marriage (from a Natural Law and Christian moral perspective) should be limited to a life-long commitment of one man and one woman. Moreover, the fact that divorce is now available on-demand in the US adds to the difficulty of limiting marriage to heterosexual couples only. Widespread liberalization of state divorce laws in the mid 20th century (to the current on-demand status without requirement of necessary grounds) no doubt prepared the way for the current same-sex "marriage" movement.

The great concern from the perspective of the common good should be that Traditional Marriage (TM) will become inherently weakened as an institution. If virtually any social arrangement among humans is legally to be considered marriage, (the clear direction that current momentum is taking) then what is unique or to be specially valued from a personal or societal standpoint with regard to TM? If males can legally marry males and females-females while both groups are increasingly able to adopt children what is there that is superior about a life-long heterosexual monogamous relationship that anyone should prefer it to any other arrangement including marital or non-marital infidelity? Will not many heterosexual couples simply avoid marriage altogether assuming that the entire concept has become vacuous/meaningless? If the sociological data establish that children benefit from stable heterosexual two parent families--and they do, what are we subjecting our children and grandchildren to while we carry out social experimentation on the institution of Traditional Marriage?

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sadly, Israel is no Longer Democratic

By Shulamit Aloni

May 03, 2009 "Haaretz" -- Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin and philosopher Asa Kasher, two respected men around here, published an article entitled: "A just war of a democratic state," (Haaretz, April 24, Hebrew).

A remark about the first part: There are wars that are necessary for self-defense or to fight injustice and evil. But the expression "just" is problematic when speaking of war itself - which involves killing and destruction and leaves women, children and old people homeless, and sometimes even kills them.

Our sages have said: "Don't be overly righteous." And there is absolutely no question that dropping cluster bombs in an area populated by civilians, as we did in the Second Lebanon War, does not testify to great righteousness. The same thing can be said of using phosphorus bombs against a civilian population.

Apparently, according to the Yadlin and Kasher definition of justice, in order to eliminate terrorists it is just to destroy, kill, expel and starve a civilian population that has no connection to the acts of terror and no responsibility for them. Perhaps had they adopted a more decent and less arrogant approach they would have tried to explain the reasons for the fury and intensity that brought about the shocking killing and destruction, and even apologized for the fact that these exceeded any reasonable necessity.

But after all, we are always right; moreover, these things were done by "the most moral army in the world," sent by the "democratic" Jewish state - and here is the meeting point of the two concepts in the title of Yadlin and Kasher's article.

As for the army's morality, it would have been better had they remained silent and thereby been considered wise. This is because the statistics on the destruction and harm to civilians in the Gaza Strip are familiar to everyone, and not divorced from the oh-so-moral behavior of our army in the occupied territories. In the context of this behavior, for example, the army operates with great efficiency against farmers who demonstrate against the theft of their lands, even when the demonstrations are not violent.

The long-term evidence of abuse by soldiers against civilians at the checkpoints - including repeated instances of expectant mothers who are forced to give birth in the middle of the road, surrounded by armed soldiers who laugh wickedly - is no secret either. Day after day, year after year, the most moral army in the world helps to steal lands, uproot trees, steal water, close roads - in the service of the righteous "Jewish and democratic" state and with its support. It's heartbreaking, but the State of Israel is no longer democratic. We are living in an ethnocracy under "Jewish and democratic" rule.

In 1970 it was decided that in Israel religion and nationality are one and the same (that is why we are not listed in the Population Registry as Israelis, but as Jews). In 1992 it was determined in the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty that Israel is a "Jewish state." There is no mention in this law of the promise that appears in the state's formative document, the Declaration of Independence, to the effect that "The State of Israel will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants, irrespective of religion, race or sex." The Knesset ratified the law nonetheless.

And so there is a "Jewish state" and no "equality of rights." Therefore some observers emphasize that the Jewish state is not "a state of all its citizens." Is there really a democracy that is not a state of all its citizens? After all, Jews living today in democratic countries enjoy the full rights of citizenship.

Democracy exists in the State of Israel today only in the formal sense: There are parties and elections and a good judicial system. But there is also an omnipotent army that ignores legal decisions that restrict the theft of land owned and held by people who have been living under occupation for the past 42 years. And since 1992, as we mentioned, we also have the definition "Jewish state," which means an ethnocracy - the rule of an ethnic religious community that strictly determines the ethnic origin of its citizens according to maternal lineage. And as far as other religions are concerned, disrespect for them is already a tradition, since we have learned: "Only you are considered human beings, whereas the gentiles are like donkeys."

From here it is clear that we and our moral army are exempt from concerns for the Palestinians living in Israel, and this is even more true of those living under occupation. On the other hand, it is perfectly all right to steal their land because these are "state lands" that belong to the State of Israel and its Jews.

That is the case even though we have not annexed the West Bank and have not granted citizenship to its inhabitants, who under Jordanian rule were Jordanian citizens. The State of Israel has penned them in, which makes it easy to confiscate their land for the benefit of its settlers.

And important and respected rabbis, who are educating an entire generation, have ruled that the whole country is ours and the Palestinians should share the fate of Amalek, the ancient tribe the Israelites were commanded to eradicate. At a time when a "just war" is taking place, racism is rife and robbery is called "return of property."

We are currently celebrating the 61st anniversary of the State of Israel. We fought in the War of Independence out of a great hope that we would build a "model society" here, that we would make peace with our neighbors, work the land and develop the Jewish genius for the benefit of science, culture and the value of man - every man. But when a major general and a philosopher justify - out of a sense of moral superiority - our acts of injustice toward the other in such a way, they cast a very heavy shadow on all those hopes.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Top Senate Democrat: Bankers 'Own' the US Congress

By Glenn Greenwald

May 01, 2009 "" -- Sen. Dick Durbin, on a local Chicago radio station this week, blurted out an obvious truth about Congress that, despite being blindingly obvious, is rarely spoken: "And the banks -- hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created -- are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place." The blunt acknowledgment that the same banks that caused the financial crisis "own" the U.S. Congress -- according to one of that institution's most powerful members -- demonstrates just how extreme this institutional corruption is.

The ownership of the federal government by banks and other large corporations is effectuated in literally countless ways, none more effective than the endless and increasingly sleazy overlap between government and corporate officials. Here is just one random item this week announcing a couple of standard personnel moves:

Former Barney Frank staffer now top Goldman Sachs lobbyist

Goldman Sachs' new top lobbyist was recently the top staffer to Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., on the House Financial Services Committee chaired by Frank. Michael Paese, a registered lobbyist for the Securities Industries and Financial Markets Association since he left Frank's committee in September, will join Goldman as director of government affairs, a role held last year by former Tom Daschle intimate, Mark Patterson, now the chief of staff at the Treasury Department. This is not Paese's first swing through the Wall Street-Congress revolving door: he previously worked at JP Morgan and Mercantile Bankshares, and in between served as senior minority counsel at the Financial Services Committee.

So: Paese went from Chairman Frank's office to be the top lobbyist at Goldman, and shortly before that, Goldman dispatched Paese's predecessor, close Tom Daschle associate Mark Patterson, to be Chief of Staff to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, himself a protege of former Goldman CEO Robert Rubin and a virtually wholly owned subsidiary of the banking industry. That's all part of what Desmond Lachman -- American Enterprise Institute fellow, former chief emerging market strategist at Salomon Smith Barney and top IMF official (no socialist he) -- recently described as "Goldman Sachs's seeming lock on high-level U.S. Treasury jobs."

Meanwhile, the above-linked Huffington Post article which reported on Durbin's comments also notes Sen. Evan Bayh's previously-reported central role on behalf of the bankers in blocking legislation, hated by the banking industry, to allow bankruptcy judges to alter the terms of mortgages so that families can stay in their homes. Bayh is up for re-election in 2010, and here -- according to the indispensable Open Secrets site -- is Bayh's top donor:

Goldman is also the top donor to Bayh over the course of his Congressional career, during which Bayh has received more than $4 million from the finance, insurance and real estate sectors:

In a totally unrelated coincidence -- after the Government, as Matt Taibbi put it, enacted "a bailout program that has now figured three ways to funnel money to Goldman, Sachs"-- this is what happened earlier this month:

Goldman reports $1.8 billion profit

Goldman Sachs reported a much stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit Monday, bouncing back from its worst quarter as a public company. . . .

In reporting its results a day earlier than expected, New York-based Goldman said it earned $1.81 billion, or $3.39 a share, for the quarter ended March 31. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a profit of $1.64 a share.

Goldman shares, which have surged more than 70% during the past month, continued rising late Monday, gaining about 4.7% for the day.

Nobody even tries to hide this any longer. The only way they could make it more blatant is if they hung a huge Goldman Sachs logo on the Capitol dome and then branded it onto the foreheads of leading members of Congress and executive branch officials.

Of course, ownership of the government is not confined to Goldman or even to bankers generally; legislation in virtually every area is written by the lobbyists dispatched by the corporations that demand it, and its passage then ensured by "representatives" whose pockets are stuffed with money from those same corporations. Just as one example, as Jane Hamsher reported about Bayh:

Bayh's little "lobbyist problem" is considered by many to be what tanked his Vice Presidential aspirations. His wife Susan earns about $837,000 a year serving on seven corporate boards, among them Wellpoint, a health insurance company for which Bayh helped secure a $24.7 million dollar grant. She's on the board of ETrade, even as Bayh is on the Senate Finance Committee.

Bayh wants people to believe he's a "moderate" who sits in the "center."

Center of K Street, maybe.

Meanwhile, the only citizen protests relating to this mass robbery are driven by anger at the government for treating bankers too harshly and unfairly -- one of the most classic manifestations of what Taibbi, in a separate piece, so aptly calls the "peasant mentality":

After all, the reason the winger crowd can't find a way to be coherently angry right now is because this country has no healthy avenues for genuine populist outrage. It never has. The setup always goes the other way: when the excesses of business interests and their political proteges in Washington leave the regular guy broke and screwed, the response is always for the lower and middle classes to split down the middle and find reasons to get pissed off not at their greedy bosses but at each other. That's why even people like [Glenn] Beck's audience, who I'd wager are mostly lower-income people, can't imagine themselves protesting against the Wall Street barons who in actuality are the ones who fucked them over. . . .

Actual rich people can't ever be the target. It's a classic peasant mentality: going into fits of groveling and bowing whenever the master's carriage rides by, then fuming against the Turks in Crimea or the Jews in the Pale or whoever after spending fifteen hard hours in the fields. You know you're a peasant when you worship the very people who are right now, this minute, conning you and taking your shit. Whatever the master does, you're on board. When you get frisky, he sticks a big cross in the middle of your village, and you spend the rest of your life praying to it with big googly eyes. Or he puts out newspapers full of innuendo about this or that faraway group and you immediately salute and rush off to join the hate squad. A good peasant is loyal, simpleminded, and full of misdirected anger. And that's what we've got now, a lot of misdirected anger searching around for a non-target to mis-punish . . . can't be mad at AIG, can't be mad at Citi or Goldman Sachs. The real villains have to be the anti-AIG protesters! After all, those people earned those bonuses! If ever there was a textbook case of peasant thinking, it's struggling middle-class Americans burned up in defense of taxpayer-funded bonuses to millionaires. It's really weird stuff.

One might think it would be a big news story for the second most-powerful member of the U.S. Senate to baldly state that the Congress is "owned" by the bankers who spawned the financial crisis and continue to dictate the government's actions. But it won't be. The leading members of the media work for the very corporations that benefit most from this process. Establishment journalists are integral and well-rewarded members of the same system and thus cannot and will not see it as inherently corrupt (instead, as Newsweek's Evan Thomas said, their role, as "members of the ruling class," is to "prop up the existing order," "protect traditional institutions" and "safeguard the status quo").

That Congress is fully owned and controlled by a tiny sliver of narrow, oligarchical, deeply corrupted interests is simultaneously so obvious yet so demonized (only Unserious Shrill Fringe radicals, such as the IMF's former chief economist, use that sort of language) that even Durbin's explicit admission will be largely ignored. Even that extreme of a confession (Durbin elaborated on it with Ed Schultz last night) hardly causes a ripple.

Editor's NOTE:

It is indeed surprising that Senator Durbin would be so candid with respect to the control that the banking industry has over US economic policy. He neglected to indicate however that President Obama is also heavily influenced by the dictates of the banking lobby--especially since his Treasury Secretary Timothy Guithner (former head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank and protege of Robert Rubin) is known to have an incestuous relationship with the leading investment banks. Guithner was also intimately involved with the Henry Paulson/George W. Bush initial bank bailout scheme which last fall was hurriedly passed under the guise of providing a vehicle by which the federal government would buy-up toxic bank assets with the goal of returning the large investment banks to healthy profitability. As everyone now knows, despite a second bank bailout, no toxic assets have yet been properly accounted for, valued or purchased. Instead the bailout recipient banks have taken federal money and utilized it to purchase other banks and pay unwarranted corporate bonuses while failing to increase lending to consumers.

Senator Durbin indicated that the needed re-regulation of the banking industry is being met with tremendous resistance by the banking lobby and the members of Congress whom it controls. Moreover, it appears that the banking industry has effectively eliminated the possibility that judges could reduce home-owner mortgages to levels which they might still be capable of paying. To date, Americans who need relief are being abandoned while those who caused the present crisis are allowed to escape punishment for their immoral deeds. They will benefit financially as long as the government continues to make them whole at public expense. The entire situation is extremely immoral and is destructive of the common good.

Unless and until a Resolution Trust Type (RCT) vehicle is developed by which the toxic assets can be appropriately valued and disposed of--the current banking crisis will continue. If a Glass-Steagall type act is not part of significant re-regulation of the banking industry, the excesses (over-leveraging and continuation of inherently immoral derivative vehicles such as CDO's, CDS's, MBS's etc.) will continue in the future. To date, it appears that none of the desperately needed changes are in the offing.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert