Thursday, January 15, 2009
"Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying." -- Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
"They got the guns, but we got the numbers." -- The Doors
[Graphic via Vanity Fair.]
Perhaps you have heard about Oscar Grant, the New Year's partier who was shot -- while zip-tied and face-down on a Bart platform -- by a transit cop, touching off a series of riots in Oakland. As you might expect, these "riots" had initiated as peaceful protests, and even in the early overestimations of their severity, don't remotely approach real riots in the past.
As the Grant case has been covered in detail by the Bay Area media right from the start, I've paid pretty close attention to the whole story, and it sure as hell appears that, at the very least, both the transit cop and BART exacerbated the situation by acting in bad faith. BART confiscated one witness' video of the shooting at the scene, apparently thinking it had the only copy, until another video was leaked to a news station, thus foiling what would almost certainly have turned into an attempt at institutional opacity. Meanwhile, the cop resigned rather than talk to internal affairs. For the past seven or so years, we have immersed the country in the rank waters of how innocent people have nothing to hide -- well, there ya go.
Columnist Jon Carroll, who lives in Oakland, puts all this in perspective, while rightly contrasting the causes and severity of riots in other countries. It's simple for us sensible people to agree that trashing nail salons and such is a rash response to a sad situation, but it's also unfortunately true that sometimes that is what it takes for officials to take at least one appendage from the vicinity of their exposed asses and actually do their jobs.
All of which brings me to Captain Fuckup and his inevitable attempt to whitewash his miserable reign of error. I don't even want to think about how much time, how many words I've expended in various fora and blogs over the past ten(!) years, since this clown foisted himself on an unsuspecting nation. I assume most rational people have long tempered their assessments and opinions of him lest they attract the Secret Service. Such is the catastrophic damage Bush and his claque of merry bastards have wrought upon the nation and the world; such is his and their arrogant refusal even to acknowledge the fundamentals of it all, much less own what they've done.
Bare minimum, the man does not deserve another good day, or another good night's sleep for the rest of his life. Ancient curses were always more creative; may he and his be cursed with awareness and misfortune for the next ten generations, something along that line. Or, you know, a comical set of tragic mishaps involving daisy cutters and willy pete. Some people are incredibly lucky that karma does not exist, at least for them.
Bush didn't merely fiddle while the world burned; fiddling, after all, requires opposable thumbs, some measurable level of actual dexterity. This was simply an endless bumble, an incoherent, artless monkeyfuck of a tenure. And he's proud of it, every damned bit of it, a sociopathic level of indifference.
And why not? He and Cheney probably did just fine throughout all this. Did they lose a loved one in the wars they started, in the hurricane they ignored? Have their stock portfolios plunged the way everyone else's did; do you really think their pension funds took nearly as much of a haircut as yours has? Of course not. They, and the corrupt rentier faux-capitalists who purchase access to them, made out just fine, selling short on the margin, letting someone else carry the costs, in finance and in life.
And people just want to "move on", whatever the hell that means. We're not moving on from shit, bunky -- Iraq is stabilizing to the extent that Iran can co-opt it; Afghanistan is ugly and likely to get much uglier; the economy is a series of storms and rising waters, not lifting all boats so much as surrounding most houses. But at least the thieves got their no-questions-asked golden parachutes.
And no one riots about any of those things, they just trudge on, perhaps wishfully thinking that "things" will be "different" "now", without bothering to define those terms consistently. I can't imagine too many people, outside of hardcore political wonks, will actually watch Fredo's little goodbye speech; I certainly don't have any stomach for the emetic properties of such a thing. Nobody with half a brain has given a shit about anything he's had to say for years now. But one would think it'd be game for more open and impassioned repudiation somewhere along the line.
Not that they'd sit up and take notice, much less care. They don't unless they're compelled to, and no one's really compelling them.