An interesting observation from Georges Simenon in his novel, Maigret and the Dosser:
Maigret had known that from the start it would be a lengthy, difficult business, because Van Houtte was not intelligent. Invariably, it was stupid people that gave him the most trouble, because they stubbornly refused to answer, and have no hesitation about denying what they have asserted an hour before, without worrying when their contradictions are pointed out.
Often, with an intelligent suspect, one merely has to disclose a flaw in his line of argument, in his system, and before long everything collapses.
This strikes me as being so true. The subject behind Maigret’s (Simenon’s) observation was a criminal investigation, but doesn’t the same observation apply equally to the modern Republican Party in the United States, especially as has been taken over by the likes of Karl Rove and the ultra-right epitomized by the Tea Party.
We all remember the massive political and financial failures of the Bush Administration which were gradually resolved by the Obama Administration, but who remembers what punishments were handed out for the gross incompetence and criminal activities of the politicians and bankers who caused the crisis?
Oh yes, most of those who we now know are the most dangerous people in the United States—the individuals who, through greed and incompetence could easily destroy the American Experiment—were actually rewarded with an obscene influx of American taxpayer’s dollars to make their business positions solid again and they are still tossing their greed around in ways that threaten all our futures.
Which bankster went to prison for destructive and illegal activities?
Several years back there was a big earthquake in the Los Angeles area and one of the bridges on the Santa Monica Freeway (Rt. 10) collapsed. Back then Wilshire Boulevard (or one of the other boulevards like Pico or Olympic) was probably the best alternate route but traffic must have been a real mess (I had left L. A. so I could only commiserate from New Jersey).
As the story goes, a well-known local construction company took the bid to rebuild the bridge. They not only finished the work before the deadline but they actually received a contractual bonus for getting it done weeks earlier than imagined. I was very impressed.
But then one of my periodic fears crushes my elation like a three-hour tour: I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to rebuild that overpass. Is there a book that tells me how to go about it? Where’s the Professor when you need him?