Daily Flog: Heads roll on Wall Street, in Texas; houses, jobs whacked across U.S.



Big noose in Texas this month: The hangingest state in the nation is celebrating 10 executions in 30 days.

Tuesday’s lethal injection of Joseph Ray Ries kicked off the bloodfest. Read the Agence France Presse preview.

You’d think that Wall Street’s investment bankers and lawyers could use a shot in the arm. If an injection of $700 billion hasn’t done the trick, and constant needling by the press seems futile, maybe the only thing left to do is invoke the death penalty.

By coincidence, I just happen to be reading Ronan Bennett‘s Havoc, in Its Third Year. Because I haven’t finished it, I’ll let the Washington Post‘s Carolyn See describe it in her 2004 review:

Havoc, in Its Third Year is a novel about a society coming apart. About a growing distance between rich and poor, an intense fear of evils perceived both within and without the land. About a desperate and inept government that slashes taxes for those at the top of the heap while withholding succor from those at the bottom, all the while reinforcing its injustices through fundamentalist interpretations of Christian scripture.

Don’t get nervous! It’s 17th-century Northern England that Ronan Bennett is talking about — just a remote Yorkshire village, where a deadly struggle between Protestants and Catholics is playing out under the guise of Puritan “reform.” Bennett is a novelist as well as a moralist, so he shapes his tale as a grisly murder mystery, while doing his learned best to imagine what it must have been like to live in that faraway place, during those very hard times.

One more glimpse, this one from Ian Thompson in the Spectator (U.K.):

I cannot recall any other living writer who has so convincingly and horrifyingly described the mental atmosphere of fanaticism. Like [Graham] Greene before him, Bennett re-creates a period of ferocious human intolerance; at the same time Havoc is a plea for the virtues of mercy and compassion.

You’d think that George W. Bush, the hangingest governor in U.S. history, should have read it. But we already know that Bush doesn’t read.

And he obviously no longer cares. Returning to the lazy-faire days of its pre-9/11 activities, the Bush administration is focused on shaping its legacy — not to mention the pardons list it’s now compiling. But Americans will remember the Bush regime for its mania to control Iraq and its refusal to control Wall Street.

Deregulation, rather than the Bremer Rules, might have worked well as a policy for the former; deregulation is a disaster when applied to the U.S. economy. Unless you think it’s a good thing that foreclosure filings have risen 71 percent and that more and more people are losing their jobs.

We should have invaded Wall Street instead of Iraq. But it’s the Dow of Bush. Try to stay calm.

By the way, don’t watch this morning’s webcast of another of the Waxman Committee hearings on the meltdown. Usually it’s good entertainment. But today’s hearing, “The Role of Federal Regulators,” stars Alan Greenspan, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, and former Treasury Secretary John Snow. You won’t see their blood on the floor.

Maybe something else will click…


Village Voice: ‘Mayor Mugabe: Bloomberg’s Velvet Coup’ (Tom Robbins)

The Age (Australia): ‘US stocks wilt’

McClatchy: ‘Florida’s GOP lawmakers blamed for early-voting lines’

Register (U.K.): ‘Ohio elections website hacked as vote scuffle gets ugly’

CNN Money: ‘Foreclosure filings spike 71%’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Plans to Aid Borrowers Gain Steam’

BBC: ‘ “US missiles” hit Pakistan school’


Register (U.K.): ‘Greenpeace on fusion: Whatever it is, we’re against it’

Uruknet (Italy): ‘Mutant Seeds for Mesopotamia’

Dwell: ‘Big Trouble in Little Dubai’

BBC: ‘Painfully slow progress in Iraq’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Bernanke Endorses Obama’

Raw Story: ‘ACLU demands info on domestic military deployments’

Register (U.K.): ‘Dutch court convicts teens for stealing pixels’


Washington Post: ‘Job Losses Accelerate, Signaling Deeper Distress’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Poll Shows Opposition to Gay Marriage Ban’

Scotsman (U.K.): ‘We rapped our way to a deal with Sony, our story was fake and accents phony’

N.Y. Times: ‘A.I.G. to Suspend Millions in Executive Payouts’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Goldman to Cut 10% of Jobs as Downsizing Wave Grows’

McClatchy: ‘The Philippines: America’s other war on terrorism’

McClatchy: ‘Financial panic now sweeping through South America’

Dawn (Pakistan): ‘Kabul admits holding talks with Taliban’

IRIN (UN): ‘Attacks drive thousands of Christians out of Mosul’

IRIN (UN): ‘Medical mission denied entry into Gaza’

Register (U.K.): ‘One billion unwanted opinions in real-time: Now SHOUTED at you’