Mapping The Accountability Gap

« July 2009 »

Memo to Michael Scheuer, Dubya, and Citigroup: HERE'S WHAT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED.

We do not, as I may have mentioned from time to time, live in either a just or a sane world. It's not that we don't know what a just and sane world should be, it's just that we fall down when it comes to the execution. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the Accountability Gap. The Gap is the difference between the consequences that SHOULD befall someone in a sane and just world, and the consequences that actually befall them. So let's map out the Accountability Gap, shall we, on a very special SPASTIC TOPIC MONKEY FRIDAY:

Our first case? Michael Scheuer. In a clip you've probably seen by now, Scheuer went on the Glenn Beck show and declared this:"...the only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States. Because it's going to take a grassroots, bottom-up pressure, because these politicians prize their office, prize the praise of the media and the Europeans. Only -- it's an absurd situation. Again, only Osama can execute an attack which will force Americans to demand that their government protect them effectively, consistently, and with as much violence as necessary."

What should have happened, in a sane and just world? Well, a lot of people got yelled at, vilified, and/or fired for suggesting that America's less-than-perfect foreign policy record contributed to the environment that led to the 9/11 attacks. To this very day, that attitude is derisively called "Blame America First". If that's so, then Scheuer is the first proud member of the Blame America Pre-Emptively crowd, and Beck is the second. The way I see it, suggesting that Americans need to die in vast numbers to show us we're not being violent enough toward Muslims is, oh, about fifty times worse than saying they don't just hate us for our freedoms. Ergo, Michael Scheuer should be fired from his current job, and the next 49 jobs he holds in the future.

What has happened? Nothing. The usual people yelled, the other usual people didn't care. Michael Scheuer continues to be paid, and paid well, for hoping Osama Bin Laden succeeds.

Case #2, George W. Bush. Now, I know compiling an Accountability Gap for the entire Bush presidency is an impossible task, but we can focus on one specific incident. After Saddam Hussein was captured and executed, George W. Bush kept Hussein's pistol as a souvenir. Why did he do this? Because George W. Bush is a tiny, insipid, fake cowboy with more insecurities than you can shake a forest of sticks at, and who sends thousands of soldiers to die so that he can show off his tiny, limp pistol on his mantelpiece. And now that pistol is apparently going to be part of his Presidential library, as one of 25 items representing 25 Bush accomplishments.

What should happen, in a sane and just world? President Obama should announce that he is willing to shelve his (nonexistent) plans to confiscate Americans' guns... once he's confiscated this one gun from Dubya. The gun will then be donated to a proper museum where proper historians can display it in its proper context. Barring that, they should require that the gun be displayed alongside a plaque, declaring it the single most dangerous weapon we could find in Saddam's possession.

What will happen? Nothing. The gun will go on display, and millions of dumbass visitors to the dumbass shrine of the dumbass president will regale each other with tales of how George W. Bush, wearing nothing but a padded-crotch flight suit, singlehandedly flew in to Baghdad and wrested the gun from Saddam's hands.

Case #3, Citigroup. You know how I gave that advice a while back that proved somewhat popular? The one about not giving money to assholes? Yeah, well, that still stands. Congress passed reasonably strict new credit card legislation that, among other things, drastically limited banks' ability to suddenly raise credit card rates, without warning or reason. That's good. Of course, those rules haven't actually gone into effect yet, so guess what Citibank is doing? Yes, they've been suddenly raising credit card rates without warning or reason!

What should happen, in a sane and just world? What should have happened months ago. Put Citigroup into receivership, break that fucker up, and turn it into ten or twelve smaller regional banks strictly regulated so that they can make money honestly. Also, the executives in charge of credit card rules should all get wedgies and be hung for a day, by their underwear, from the top of Citigroup's tallest office building.

What will happen? Nothing. Most importantly, Congress and Obama will not learn the important lesson about not giving money to assholes, and continue to pass weak regulations with long lead times so that the fuckers can keep fucking us while we all relax, thinking they've been ordered to stop.

Because that's the thing about the Accountability Gap. Someone always pays. For Bush to get his gun, we all paid a trillion dollars, plus the lives and limbs of tens of thousands of soldiers and hundreds of thousands of foreigners. For Citigroup to get its rate hike, thousands of ordinary Americans will pay usurious rates to an essentially bankrupt financial institution. And every time Michael Scheuer gets paid to say something stupid, we all pay with a little more of our collective sanity.