Institutionalized Gangster Government

Someone I've known for a long time who formerly didn't follow current events or politics very closely used to ask me, "Are we still okay?" when particularly disturbing news items would make the headlines. My response until the late 1990s was usually a slightly overconfident, "Sure. This is a great country. We can handle this."

That person hasn't asked me that question for many years. We both know, as do millions of other Americans, that we haven't been okay for some time and that the foundations supporting what has made this country so exceptional for so very long are crumbling.

We stopped being okay over a decade ago. In 1998, the country's president repeatedly lied under oath in front of the American people. As George Will correctly asserted in January 2001: "There is no reasonable doubt that he committed and suborned perjury, tampered with witnesses and otherwise obstructed justice." Additionally, credible allegations surfaced that, as Will noted, made it "reasonable to believe that he was a rapist 15 years before becoming president." The failure of the United States Senate to remove Bill Clinton from office was a landmark defeat for the rule of law. Clinton himself didn't merely survive impeachment; he has since thrived not in spite of it, but arguably because of it.

From that point forward, those whose stated agenda is to undermine this country's essence knew that if they could only achieve sufficient power, they could probably get away with just about anything.

Meanwhile, over at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Democratic Party cronies were already a half-dozen years into executing the first prong of their strategic offensive targeting the ruin of the housing industry, the financial sector, and ultimately the economy. Beginning in 1993, Fan and Fred systematically deceived the bond rating agencies and defrauded investors by seriously exaggerating the quality of the mortgage loans underlying their debt securities. Then, mere months after the Senate failed to carry out its constitutional duty with Mr. Clinton, Fannie Mae announced that it would begin serving as a conduit for loans to unqualified and undeserving borrowers. Fan and Fred, which followed a short time later, facilitated hundreds of billions of dollars in such risky loans.

Thus, in November 2008, assisted by the crisis Fan and Fred primarily created (which conveniently had come to a head just two months earlier), millions of dollars in unaccounted-for campaign contributions (many of them more than likely from foreign sources), an ineffective opponent, and a derelict Fourth Estate, Barack Obama won the presidency.

After only seventeen months in office, the rule of law, where it hasn't been routed, hangs by a mere thread.

One of the earliest assaults came when the administration and its car czars took control of financially insolvent General Motors and Chrysler, and then orchestrated bankruptcy plans that deliberately shortchanged disfavored creditors to the benefit of the companies' unions. Columnist Michael Barone characterized the campaign of intimidation against certain of Chrysler's secured lenders as an "episode of Gangster Government." Barone wrote that it was "likely to be part of a continuing series."

Sadly, Barone has been vindicated in more ways than can be counted. The most visible, and most risible, is the $20 billion BP shakedown.