Hard to believe, but yet another corporate malefactor turns out to be a hollow shell, devoid of assets and accountability, and this time half of a town got obliterated because of it. With every emerging detail, the derailment and explosion of an unmanned (!) train in Lac Megantic, Quebec turns out to be the same old plot with new characters. A larger concern with assets to protect “spins off” its shoddiest and riskiest parts, and any attendant liabilities, and leaves it alone to flame out, usually not so literally, but still leaving everyone but the con artists at the top holding the conveniently empty bag just the same.
I used to really like the Fourth of July; what’s not to love about barbecues, drinking earlier than usual, and later, colorful news stories of rednecks blowing themselves up? As a kid, I considered it a special privilege to put the flag out on this and other patriotic holidays, so once I had my own place I immediately got a flag and standard for it. (Admittedly, this was at least in part because I had a prominent second floor balcony in a trendy neighborhood, and I thought, not entirely incorrectly, that such a patriotic display might boost my then-thriving hooker business, but never mind that….)
Probably the most infuriating, if entirely predictable, outcome of the Supreme Court’s fusillade of 5-4’s this week was the MSM’s dewy-eyed credulity that accompanied it. Now, I’m not implying that say, Adam Liptak of the NYT is a clueless ninth grader, but his reporting would have been considerably more respectable if he were. Pretending to parse the hastily concocted legal reasoning du jour behind decisions that were already made twenty years ago by the Court’s right wing not only makes boring reading, but it insults the intelligence of anyone capable of tying one’s own shoes.
This was a big week for Watergate geeks like myself; with anniversaries falling like rain, from the initial break-in and arrests on Monday to today, for which we remember the notorious White House tape so damning that 18 1/2 minutes of it came up conveniently missing. Now, considering what was on the rest of the tapes, that little “stretch” of magnetic gossamer must have been quite something.
Lying has certainly come a long way in the new century. Those of us us born in the 1900?s can still remember a time when being caught publicly lying could bring down a President (Nixon), or at the very least, get one impeached (Clinton). In those sepia-toned days, lying was a content-neutral affront; Barry Goldwater was just as justifiably incensed at being lied to by Nixon as Al Gore was at being lied to by Clinton, despite the rather gigantic difference between the significance of their respective lies.
But something odd happened when George W. Bush entered office.
While it’s certainly no surprise to find that the government has turned to yet another corrupt monopoly to carry out its dirty work against ordinary citizens, I seriously question the quality of their co-conspirator, Verizon. If we are going to have a lawless corporate behemoth shoveling our personal data, or rather, in the parlance du jour, “meta” data, into the insatiable maw of the new police state, wouldn’t it be nicer if the company were also capable of performing its core function adequately?
It’s quite a week when the entire MSM suddenly gets sufficient oxygen into its hairspray-addled brain to be shocked, shocked, I tell you, at the fact that the Obama administration has been, well, behaving like Loyal Bushies on meth for the last four years. Mainly, because team Obama was just a tiny bit nicer about how they icily disdained several parts of the Bill of Rights, not least that first one, the punitive prosecutions could continue. the wiretapping comfortably privatized, and the illegality and cronyism of the Bush era would be magically transformed into cuddly bipartisan consensus.
Trouble is, that sort of thing only works until it doesn’t.
To any outside observer, the Republican Party of 2013 would appear to be toast. They’ve lost the popular vote in five of the last Presidential elections, won nearly 2 million less votes in the House, are failing to gain younger voters with the same alacrity as they are driving away minorities of every sort, not least that “minority” that happens to be, well, half of us, women. And each night, countless cane-shaking Fox watchers have a date with the Grim Reaper.
On the rather surreal occasion of the opening of something solemnly called the George W. Bush “Library,” I was inexorably drawn not to my personal Bush Library of 92 infuriating volumes, but the somewhat smaller 60 or so in the Nixon section. As I listened to snippets of Village homilies and President Obama predictably joshing chummily about the “clubhouse,” I was reminded of Jonathan Schell’s masterful recounting of the Watergate era, The Time of Illusion.
It’s funny, in the least funny of ways, how a week that began in unspeakable tragedy unfolded into one filled with so much absurdity and journalistic malpractice, along with a truly bizarre string of unrelated events, that the actual news was often so frankly guffaw-inducing that The Onion would have a hard time topping it.