Saturday, January 02, 2016

The problem is we'll keep letting it happen

Rick Perlstein takes us on a brief tour of Rahm Emmanuel's worst sins and they are many. It's difficult to pick a favorite but I always enjoy the bits that are almost too super-villainous to be real.
The city also rolled out a new “smart card” system for customers to pay transit fares, a product of the San Diego-based defense contractor Cubic. The system, known as Ventra, worked about as well as Lucille Ball on a factory production line: some people would get on the bus for free, while others would be charged several times. The cards were supposed to double as debit cards for Chicago’s “unbanked” poor. But buried deep within the thousand-page contract with Cubic were nice little Easter eggs, like the seven-dollar fee for customers who didn’t use the card for eighteen months, and another five dollars tacked on for each dormant month after that.

The damage done by amoral power brokers like Rahm is always obvious to everyone once they finally receive their comeuppance.  But somehow that never helps us to undo that damage or even learn to change the course that allowed it to happen.

Perlstein concludes,
Now the sins of Emanuel are finally catching up with him. Lucky for him, however, the compounding police-shooting scandal has erased from the news a peccadillo from this past November: the mayor’s press team was eavesdropping and recording reporters while they interviewed aldermen critical of the mayor. A spokesman responded to the press by saying that their only intent was also “to make sure reporters have what you need, which is exactly what you have here.” That made no sense. But then so much of the legend of Rahm Emanuel’s brilliant career makes little sense. The bigger question, perhaps, is what this says about a political party and the political press that bought the legend in the first place.
Even as we're finally tiring of this person in particular, there's never a shortage of "smart guys" willing to hand out favors to wealthy benefactors and punish poor people more or less for existing in the first place just waiting to become the next celebrated realist grown up who gets things done. In modern American politics there is no higher calling.

The only way to change that is to do something about these people while we have a chance to... you know.. quit electing them to stuff. But Hillary has a double digit lead so...

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