"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead"

"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead"
click pic to reminisce

"What's the Difference"?  

Posted by howard in nyc


There is a documentary film on the origins of the Iraq war, produced by and recently broadcast on MSNBC, called Hubris.  Dubya was asked why he was so certain when he asserted there were so many WMDs in the hands of Sadaam?  His response:  "What's the difference"?  It didn't matter that the proximate cause of the was was a lie; only that it 'might be true' or that it could happen in the future, Dubya went on to explain for us simpletons.  The village had to be destroyed to save it from future destruction.

Speaking of village metaphors, recently Hillary testified before congress, when confronted by administration lies in the wake of the Benghazi disaster, "(w)hat's the difference"?  When good Americans were gunned down as a result of mistakes, or incompetency, or merely as a result of a messy civil war/global war on terror, the fact that high government officials blatantly lied and covered up the facts doesn't matter--we got re-elected.

What's the fucking difference?  We got what we wanted (a big-ass war/a second term).

The past few years have been characterized by the complete disconnect of the ruling class of the USA from any and all accountability to the people they allegedly serve.  So complete, that the fa├žade need not be consistently maintained.  That's hard work, pretending that such things as the rule of law and actually promoting the interests of the little people are still vital to democracy and freedom.  Damn hard work.  So, when you need a break, just exclaim a little bit of truth--What's the difference?

The complete severance of any and all accountability to the will of the masses is one of the major themes of my ranting, and I maintain one of the central themes of the past several years.  I point to a specific pair of events as but one illustration of this fact.

In 2007, a major immigration reform bill, hashed out by true bipartisan cooperation guided by Dubya was progressing to a vote.  There was something for both wings of the corporate one-party system--more cheap labor for the economic machinery (that was even then making funny noises), more brown people to be co-opted for votes.  Win-win for democrats and republicans.

However, because this bill provided 'amnesty' for illegal immigrants, a large segment of the masses, the little people, objected.  And they made their objections known; they called, wrote, and emailed their senators and representatives en masse.  Sure, email made such citizen activism much less inconvenient than actually picking up a telephone or finding a stamp.  But the little people made their wishes heard in such numbers that the bill with broad bipartisan support suddenly was in peril.

Lots of senators and representatives who had planned to vote 'yes' changed their minds.  And the bill was killed before a formal vote could be held.  The people spoke, and the politicians listened.  Pretty damn weird, but you can look it up.  This really happened.

A mere months later, during a horrific financial crisis (judging by what they showed us on the teevee), the wise and powerful leaders of our nation decided that our way of life would come to an end unless the banking system was given an $800,000,000,000.00 handout.  The famous TARP bill was hastily written, and moved to the congress for a vote.

Plenty of Americans saw this bailout for the bullshit that it was.  And they were moved, in huge numbers, to express their opinion to their representatives in congress.  And, again, a damn weird thing happened.  The TARP bill was defeated on the floor of the house.  Similar to the immigration bill a year earlier, the voice of the people stopped a steamroller powered by the political leaders.

Now, the Rest of the Story.  Since what was at stake was not merely the free flow of cheap labor and cheap votes, but actual cold hard cash (and a lot of it), the true constituents of the political leaders stepped in.  Arms were twisted, promises were made, threats were made too, and the $800 billion giveaway returned to the house floor.  Despite hundreds of thousands more phone calls, letters and emails flowed forth from the little people, the pleas were ignored.  The bill passed, the money given away, the politicians reminded that we no longer bother with listening to what the people want.   You just do what we want--and snap to it!

The power of big money--corporations, the most powerful industries (finance, pharmaceutical, oil and other energy, military industrial complex, et al) has long competed with the power of large numbers of citizens/voters.  The relative power has ebbed and flowed over our history.  But the ratio now has a big zero factor in the middle of the equation.  The power and influence of the people has dwindled to zero.  This happened gradually; i do not mean to imply that it happened all of a sudden when TARP passed.  That was just a symptom of the zero condition, where we remain stuck.  The condition that allows the most powerful leaders to sincerely and accurately proclaim, What's the Difference?

There are many reasons that led to this sorry condition. Ultimately the responsibility lies with the people of the USA who allowed this to occur, and allow this to continue; by their apathy, ignorance and assent, overt and implied.

(Sorry, bubba, they, not we.  I am certainly guilty of apathy, ignorance and overt assent to the system at periodic times of my life.  I don't claim 100% innocence.  But none of those descriptive labels characterize me overall through my lifetime, and certainly not at all over the past five years.  Shit, I've marched with the Tea Party and with Occupy Wall Street.  I even wrote polite and respectable emails and letters to Senator Hillary and Representative Nancy, as well as to others.   Desperate times, and all.)

The past five years have shown the relentless continuation of the destruction of our labor market and our domestic manufacturing capacity, of broadening warfare across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, diminution of the civil rights of privacy, protest and keeping/bearing arms,  even of life itself if you are deemed an enemy of the state, of funneling of the wealth away from the shrinking productive/working class toward the wealthy entities, with some crumbs tossed downward to keep the growing underclass passive and quiet.  The entirety of the policies of the Federal Reserve and the rest of government economic interventions, acting in concert to inflate the currency, manipulate the asset markets and steadfastly fuel the enrichment of a very few financial firms and other entities.  I have droned on about the specifics over the years.  I could drone further on the sequester, the restoration of the payroll tax rate, the horror that is the financial morass of Medicare/Medicaid and all the rest of the medical-industrial complex, and the coming austerity being imposed by the president and his minions upon our sheepish nation.

But, What's the Difference?  When Dubya spoke this phrase, I am quite sure roughly 45% of the tiny fraction of the nation that noticed at all nodded in agreement, while roughly 45% disdainfully sneered.  When Hillary uttered the same three words, same result.  Almost no one pays any attention.  Of the few who do, nearly all of them respond in pre-programmed Red vs Blue terms ('oh, I know my side are no angels, but THE OTHER GUYS ARE SO MUCH WORSE, I have to support my side, there is no alternative).

What's the Difference when few are aware, few care, and the rest will vote red or blue regardless?  Why the hell should the politicians heed the will of the people when it costs them nothing to ignore it? 

What's the Difference indeed.


Post a Comment