#173 The Interstate Came Falling Down

Like the London Bridge, the Minneapolis bridge--the one that crossed the Mississippi River--came down this week. At last count, seven people died, hundreds were injured, and five are still unaccounted for. For all we know, dozens more could be among the lost in this catastrophe. Of course, as a nation we're still pretending that the king isn't naked, brainless, and being led by a pack of greedy gangsters who would make the Mob seem benign. We're waging a "War on Terror" using all the terrorist tactics that the world's most powerful military can provide. We're squandering our nation's wealth building roads, bridges, hospitals, and oil wells in a country that only wants to knock down these structures as fast as we can build them. In the meantime, the United State's infrastructure is rotting and falling down on our heads. If this isn't a picture of a nation in the last throes off decline, I need to read more history to find a single example of a great culture that hasn't failed its citizens following exactly this same path..

After September 11, 2001, the Bushies and the clowns who posed as the front line managers of our pitiful excuse for a national defense all claimed that "nobody" could have predicted that terrorists could use our airlines as weapons against us. Never mind that there were at least two best seller novels that predicted almost exactly the scenario that occurred. These politicians and military leaders (as if there is a difference?) provided us with a huge collection of excuses for failing the nation in such a spectacular manner and demonstrated a collective sense of pride and arrogance in their failure. Any real soldier or leader would have gutted himself for neglecting his duties so miserably. These criminals gave themselves a pat on the back and a huge pay raise for their failures. I guess they are following the corporate model well established in US companies; the worse you do, the bigger your reward.

We're reliving the incompetence of 9/11 in Minnesota this August. Our Republican gubernator and his congressional henchmen are all claiming that nothing could have prevented this disaster and that no one could have predicted the collapse of the I35W bridge. Of course, in making this argument they have to contend with the US DOT's 2005 evaluation of the bridge that deemed the bridge "structurally deficient." They have to wave off the low 50 out of 120 points safety rating of this bridge. They have to ignore the fact that this bridge which was designed for a max capacity of 30,000 vehicles a day has been carrying five times as much traffic as it was designed to carry for a decade. In fact, there is an incredible collection of warning signs that the politicians and media have to ignore for this profession of ignorance to look like something other than the gross negligence, incompetence, and corruption that it really is. Just like 9/11.

This level of incompetence and corruption ought to be interpreted as treason. A rational society would not just be pointing fingers at the perpetrators of these murders, we'd be deciding what kind of execution they'd be enjoying.

I never thought I'd be envying the Chinese for their government, but when one of their politicians botched the management of shipping lead to the US concealed in children's toys, he was executed for his failure and the reflected dishonor on his country. Being stood against a wall by a firing squad isn't as honorable as offing himself might have been, but it was far better than going on to more power and even greater debauchery, in the way of George W. Bush, Carl Rove, Pawlenty, and that collection of characterless white men and women.

August  2007

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