Saturday, March 11, 2006

Operation Enduring Shitstorm

Politics forms poems in the mind of the people. Fatal metaphors. KatrinaBush was IraqBush closer in. It registered, despite media efforts to direct public animus to looters. Some now are articulating the links.


Blogger Jon Husband said...

is this some real pushback starting, or do you think it will drift off into the media-driven snowflake globe on the shelf ?

You're close to the ground down there ... what's your sense, Tom ?

3/11/2006 4:56 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

The thing is, what we have learned, are learning, have yet to learn, is how utterly unprepared we are for emergency. The great teaching of Bush is this -- that we are clueless in how we address violence, whether it comes from people we have failed to fathom, or from the non-human, or from our own inability to put together anything like a communal response. This last may translate as, Mr. Bush is at least on a par with the two major crises of his term in office when we're talking about danger and limitless resistance to rational, human relation. Until we are clear about what to do about this - and six years into his maelstrom and a lot of us are only beginning to see it - all we can do is try to learn about necessity and emergency and appropriate critical responses to both. Many are beginning to see that Mr. Bush made both wounds worse - a central core of cheerleader's righteousness coupled with negligence of the basic chores of care and competence is the theme and key link between EyeRackBush and KatBush. Until we come to terms with this image of ourselves driving us over the brink, we haven't really learned a thing.

3/11/2006 7:18 PM  
Blogger Jon Husband said...

it's also always reactive .. except when it's aggression directed at *others*, no ? .. whether it is physical aggression towards foreigners and different others, or or political and socio-economic aggression towrds *others* at home.

Any proactivity and forward planning is only undertaken for the benefit / reinforcement of plutocracy or sustaining the hold on power .. have I got that right ?

3/12/2006 2:00 AM  
Blogger Chuck Pinatubo said...

The outward aggression reminds me of an old saying about neuroses. There are onion neuroses, which burn within, and garlic, which burn without. Both are failed models for coping with problems. The extroverted neurotic projection of the Murkan state has it's nadir in Bushist doctrine, where the soon to be attacked are accused of small scale versions of the same practices the Bushists themselves consider legitimate ways of getting things done. The Democrats do the same, with better management.

The central problem, I think, is the untenable unsustainable nature of oligarchic capitalism. In disaster preparedness, you want redundancy, lots of it, and it's very expensive to maintain. It's more expensive not to have it, which the elite here are constitutionally incapable of recognizing. They're like children, who will take the household fire extinguishers and play with them. After the disaster, they demand there be a water main to the house, but don't want to pay for it's upkeep. They've never held a job that required actual performance. They relied on favors all the way down the line. When disaster strikes, they scream for a bail out. So they have no way of even knowing how one might begin to learn.

What makes it worse are the opportunistic ploys of their rivals, who correctly point out the failures, but accept the same premises that led to them. That lets both sides make it a personality issue, where they excel. They're all big and strong, in social power terms, so they can despatch people who set things back in a semblance of order by brute force. It's similar to bulldozing the house they just burned, after they took the fire extinguishers for their play.

3/12/2006 7:59 AM  
Blogger Jon Husband said...

Bingo !

3/12/2006 12:50 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

My Hungarian grandfather belonged to a volunteer fire dept. for many years. Consider the economies, the redundance, the community bonds, debits, credits of that

3/12/2006 1:27 PM  
Blogger Chuck Pinatubo said...

Tom, the volunteer fire department forms an essential part of my model for a just society. Only the deep pathology, hard core wingnuts despise them and try to ruin them.

3/12/2006 3:54 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

There you go. But, is it the wingnuts that are responsible for the demise of such things? Or are there just a whole lot of changes made possible by "progress" that turn us away from truly valid life forms and it is only later, in our latter-day deracinated lives, that we begin to sense what has been pissed away?

3/12/2006 10:21 PM  
Blogger Juke said...

There has to be at least some element of the threat those quiet heroes pose to the craven.
It's a confusing diagram to make because you have a tremendous, almost system-wide adulation of someone like Mother Theresa, while the same people and institutions that honor her work practice the precise opposite values in their treatment of the local versions of those she helped.
Social Darwinists revere those distant saints. Up close they're made unbearably discomfortable.
Besides once you get community-driven volunteers all hyped-up and adrenalized, the next thing you know you've got those darned militias running around loose.

3/13/2006 12:30 AM  
Blogger Chuck Pinatubo said...

The wingnuts are not wholly responsible, no. Volunteer fire departments can't be sustained where gentrifying or rigid class lines take root. In those cirumstances, the liberal solution is to professionalize it. The job has to be done, after all, and it makes sense to ensure there's a guarantee that it will be. After it becomes something other people take care of, there's little enthusiasm for often dirty, dangerous work.

Juke, I think what's bothersome about it to the selfish and cowardly is classless aspect. The only aristos in fighting fire are the selfless, but selflessness doesn't lead to wealth, which they value as security over community.

3/13/2006 9:16 PM  
Blogger Chuck Pinatubo said...

Add to that, you can't force volunteers and you have to be nice to them. I think it's overly pessimistic to assume fire fighters won't resuce a jerk or will let his house burn. People are kind and want to be kind in trying circumstances, regardless of personality clashes.

3/13/2006 9:19 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Scruggs, you have a link to a fuller outline of yr model?

3/14/2006 7:15 AM  
Blogger Chuck Pinatubo said...

Tom, I've been trying to write one for years. I can't solve the problem of violence in a world where people base their risk assessment on what they can most vividly imagine happening. The best thing I've come up with is adding things known to work, like participatory management and community currencies, to a social democratic hodge podge based on what we have right now.

3/14/2006 7:57 AM  
Blogger Jon Husband said...

take people out of systems that constrain them or force them to behave differently, and they become ... people (most of the time)

3/14/2006 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Sheila Lennon said...

I think it's fascinating that HHS Secy. Michael Leavitt is going around the country telling communities that bird flu is coming and you're on your own. The advice: Stock cans of tuna fish under your bed.

Post-Katrina, The gov't is dismantling the idea that you can expect the federal government to help in future emergencies.

3/15/2006 10:52 AM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Sheila, the notion of government as a 90-lb weakling provider of social safety nets has been with us for a while, no? It got some additional preparation during the 1000 pernts of light bunkum of Bush-1, and the ground has been further churned by Bush-3 in Florida, who is always saying the government helps those who help themselves, (and if there's one thing FL lawyers and lobbyists know how to do...). Bush-2 sees no fiscal difficulties with war, tax cuts, etc., but can cry poor the moment some actual human needs threaten to claim his attention. It is the exact inversion of what people thought their gov's priorities were supposed to be. I'll stock up on tuna fish and calamari if Mr. Leavitt will resign his job and take the rest of the useless Cabinet with him.

3/16/2006 12:56 AM  
Anonymous Sheila said...

Tom, you in Fla. have seen this close-up. We haven't had a serious hurricane in a while, and it doesn't even snow much any more. It took Katrina to hit it home.

We have great memories of a previous governor camping in a Winnebago on the State House Lawn during the blizzard of '78, on TV in a flannel shirt, reassuring people that help was available (and the grownups were in charge).

Stocking tuna fish under your bed seems bizarrely disconnected from the flu, and more like fallout shelters. Don't let your cats out? Should we stockpile guns, too? Who's think the silliest parts of the '50s would be back?

It's way too surreal.

3/17/2006 12:12 AM  

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