Thursday, January 7, 2010

The 10 creepiest events of 2009

I don't know about you, but I thought 2009 was an especially creepy year.

It had been a creepy decade alright.    But our expectations had been raised to an extent that it seemed to have ended on an especially creepy note.   There was Obama, golfing though a terrorist incident.  It reminded people of how George W. Bush had responded to Hurricane Katrina.  Yet by 2005, few informed people had come to expect much in the way of leadership from President Bush.   By the time Obama had spoken out about Crotch-bomber, it was already evident that his "bold plan" was to ensure the country emulated the very kinds of security theater measures that had been hallmarks of the Bush era.  

The following list obviously excludes many disturbing events that happened in places like Burma, Iran, or Zimbabwe in 2009.    But "creepiness" is an attribute I associate with people, leaders, countries, and institutions that we have reason to expect to uphold certain standards.  There should be an element of astonishment about the behavior of the  actor.     Anyway, here it is:

Jotman's Top 10 Creepy Events of 2009
  1. Obama's decision to bail out failing banks with taxpayer money without according taxpayers temporary ownership of the banks; lack of effective new regulations concerning CDS.
  2. Time Magazine's decision to name as "Person of the Year" an economist who had failed to anticipate the housing bubble. It's but the latest example of how media companies help to legitimate a defective system that serves Wall Street at the expense of the public.
  3. Obama's recklessly small and brazenly uncreative stimulus package.
  4. The day it became clear that US health care reform would enrich pharmaceutical companies and bolster the fortunes of the insurance industry at taxpayer's expense
  5. Obama's declaration of support for extra-constitutional "preventative detention" powers (for himself).
  6. When Democrats began excusing Obama for advancing the very same policies they vehemently condemned when George Bush was president.
  7. When the same Republicans who had cheered Bush as he expanded the US deficit began claiming that a deep recession is a fine time for reducing government spending.
  8. China's decision to execute a mentally ill Englishman in the face of protests of the British government and various NGOs.
  9.  Thailand's recent deportation of over 2,000 Hmong refugees to Laos and reports that the Thai Navy tortured Rohingya refugees before towing them out to sea where it abandoned them.
  10. Discovering that the Bush Administration oversight of the EPA left Americans not only breathing toxic air but drinking poisonous water
After a year like that, what could possibly creep us out in 2010?    Just about nothing.  That's the bright side of the situation in which we have dug ourselves.

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