Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Apology Not Accepted

I’m sorry, Madame, but this (from Talking Points Memo) just isn’t going to cut it:
University of California-Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi on Monday apologized to students for last week’s pepper-spraying incident, where a campus police officer at point-blank range sprayed down a group of sitting protesters.

“I feel horrible for what happened on Friday, Katehi told a rally of students. “If you think you don’t want to be students in a university like we had Friday, I’m just telling you, I don’t want to be the chancellor of the university we had on Friday.”
Well, since you WERE the chancellor of the university on Friday, you really should do the honorable thing and GTFO. But sadly, no:
Katehi has been under growing pressure to resign, but so far she’s staying put. “The university needs me,” she told ABC’s Good Morning America Monday morning. In an interview with NPR affiliate KQED, Katehi said the university police were not supposed to use force. She said, “as a human being,” she was “horrified” by the pepper-spraying images. And in front of students later on Monday, the chancellor admitted she must work to earn back the students’ trust.

“I know you may not believe anything that I’m telling you today, and you don’t have to,” Katehi said. “It is my responsibility to earn your trust.”

The crowd chanted “Shame on you” and “resign” at Katehi after she finished her remarks, AggieTV reported.
Let me put this as bluntly as I can, Ms. Katehi, so that even a dimwitted academic such as yourself can understand it: apology not accepted. You are the “leader” of a university that employs brutish thugs who have no inhibition against pepper-spraying students for engaging in non-violent protest. The same students, incidentally, who pay thousands of dollars a year for the “privilege” of attending your morally decrepit institution—many of whom have no doubt put themselves in hock with massive amounts of student loans in order to pay your salary, among other frivolous expenses.

Being in charge isn’t all about getting the big office, all the perks and the high salary. You’re also the one who gets to take the fall when things go wrong. When your employees fuck up so massively and deliberately, YOU should be the FIRST one to go. That’s called accountability, something which we have far too little of in this country these days.

In fairness, you’re obviously not the only one. The entire management team of every Wall Street firm that was complicit in crashing the economy back in 2008 should have been similarly removed from their positions and then vigorously prosecuted for their actions. The entire defense and foreign policy team of the Bush administration that was complicit in launching the Iraq War and engaging in torture and rendition should be on the dock at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The current occupant of the White House, who utterly failed to prosecute the criminals on Wall Street and in the Bush administration and in fact has committed his own set of heinous war crimes in Afghanistan and with his drone missile campaign, should also at a minimum do the honorable thing and resign.

Does all of that seem far too extreme? If so, it is only because you have become inured to the idea that accountability is only something that happens to little people and not the movers and shakers of our society. When President Hopey-Changey said almost immediately upon inauguration that we need to “look forward,” he was signaling that he was not going to hold those responsible for wrecking the economy and lying us into war accountable for their actions. Upon hearing those words, any right-thinking person should have immediately begun demanding Obama’s impeachment for dereliction of duty.

Much as rhetorical con men like Obama like to try to complicate these issues, it really is very simple. Either you innately recognize that giving $700 billion in taxpayer bailouts to financial criminals; or launching a war against a country that did not attack our own and posed no military threat to us; or operating an unaccountable concentration camp on foreign soil; or torturing defenseless prisoners; or wantonly assassinating American citizens without trial; or bombing innocent villagers with drone missiles; or not reporting to law enforcement a sexual predator preying on children in your midst; or tear-gassing, billy-clubbing and pepper spraying non-violent protesters seeking economic justice is morally wrong, or you do not. And if you do not, you are the enemy and should be considered as such regardless of position, education level, social standing or political affiliation.

Your apology is not accepted, Ms. Katehi. And I suspect that this is only the beginning.


  1. ....YOU ARE THE ENEMY and should be considered as such regardless of position, education level, social standing or political affiliation.

    .....and isn't that the crux of the problem right now.. I would also add that in this PUNITIVE society the random acts of incarceration are generally used against citizens who are powerless and that corporations, the head of corporations and the 'unseen' are exempt.... and is now so blatant and visible it becomes far more the symptom of a rotting disease at the heart of society. The now widely seen and public hubris of the top of the power pyramid is not acceptable. Shining a light into the darkness has come about partly through technology and real evidence of the actions of the police supporting the corporations and THINGS over people and partly because life is getting much harder for the average person.

    We live in interesting times.

  2. Good one Bill, we have this exact same problem in Ireland. The people in power in politics and business will not accept responsibility for their f**k ups.

  3. Bill, excellent series of posts the last several days. I like the way you connect the personal to moral and the economic.

  4. The higher the office, and the greater the crimes or screw-ups, the LESS likely the person is to resign. They may say "I take full responsibility," but don't follow through. They lack a sense of honor and shame.

  5. Your blog really needs more readers and commenters, it reminds me of The Economic Collapse blog but less long winded.

  6. @SDBoneyard - thanks for that. Compliment are always appreciated! :)

  7. @VyseLegend - I actually get many more comments on the Llamedos and Silent Country Peak Oil discussion boards (linked at right). I'm a long time member of those communities, which arose out of the ashes of the old Life After the Oil Crash forum.

  8. The problem as i see it Bill is lack of PERSONAL accountability for their actions, maybe anonymous needs to post more addresses so those in "power seats" would feel consequences.