Monday, July 14, 2014

Oh So TRUE...(Sob)

THE AMERICAN MAD HOUSE (where the inmates run the asylum)
By Jaime O'Neill

Remember after 9/11/2001, when politicians and commentators talked about how we couldn’t let the terrorists win?

News flash: The terrorists won. Hands down, going away.

Did that attack make us crazy?

Certifiably. Bonkers, whacko, cuckoo, and loony tunes. Since that nightmarish day when the World Trade Center towers crumbled to earth, this country has become an insane asylum.

How crazy are we? Let me count the ways.

1) We established a vast new bureaucracy called The Department of Homeland Security. Total expenditures on Homeland Security from 2001-2011 have totaled an estimated $649 billion. In its first year of existence, we got a color-coded chart meant to tell us how scared we should be. We were also told, rather unhelpfully, that duct tape was one of our best home defense tools against the people who “hated us for our freedoms.”

2) We amped up the spy apparatus to previously unimaginable levels, throwing money at people who began eavesdropping on our phone calls and checking our email messages without much oversight. Massive amounts of information were collected, far beyond anything that could ever be sanely monitored, most of it from Americans who posed no conceivable threat. And, like Topsy, the gathering of information grew. When a whistleblower named Snowden raised an alarm about this, he was seen as the problem by most of politicians and our media.

3) Like a lunatic running amok, we attacked a country that had nothing whatsoever to do with the terrorists who had struck us, but was said to have weapons of mass destruction. In order to begin bombing that nation, we had to pull out the weapons inspectors who had been searching for that weaponry without success. There were no such weapons to be found. Still, more than a decade later, the architects of that “shock and awe” campaign insanely argued that the weapons were there. Reality is not an obstacle to crazy people who build an imaginary world and then move into it.

4) Like lunatics, we fell to fighting among ourselves, and while we’ve been thus preoccupied, the craftiest crooks have been robbing us blind, laughing all the way to their banks, showered with tax breaks, saved from irresponsible investments because they were too big to fail and too connected to put in jail.

5) Driven mad by fear, we armed ourselves to the teeth, and we killed far more of one another on our own ground every month than we lost when the terrorists struck us in 2001. We also spent more on military junk and corporate defense contractors, much of it stuff that had no sane connection with keeping us safe, but lots of connection with making a few people very wealthy.

6) Saudi Arabia, harboring a bunch of oil sheiks who helped fund the 9/11 terrorists, stayed on our best friends list, as did Pakistan, a nation that helped harbor Osama bin Laden, the guy who organized the hit on New York and the Pentagon. The intention of those attacks was to get us to do precisely what we did as we drained military resources, spent a fortune even a rich nation can’t afford, and radicalized untold millions of Muslims throughout the Middle East.

7) Corporations were defined as people, money was transformed into speech, and our political system was adjudicated as being a commodity that could be sold to those who could best afford to buy it. Meanwhile, the gap between haves and have nots widen exponentially.

8) Our roads and bridges continued to crumble, ambassadorships went unfilled as our system of government seized up insanely, and while we were told that racism was largely a thing of the past, it was the hidden driver of much of what was going on, from our prison system, our immigration policies, and the irrational hatred of the man in the White House.

9) Meanwhile, our culture became more nutso each year as we turned ignorance and backwardness into laudatory iconography, from Honey Boo Boo to Duck Dynasty, from the most irresponsible rappers to the most inane pop stars. We mass produced movies for grown ups aimed at the mentality of twelve-year-olds, and our best selling books were mostly crap. We elected the nuttiest politicians we could find, from Michelle Bachmann to Louie Gohmert. We put people on important committees who couldn’t pass 7th grade science, and our media touted the understanding of biology offered by guys who seemed clueless about where babies come from.

10) Insanely, we turned our back on science. From man-made climate change to evolution, we became deniers. 40% of us rejected the fossil record, by far the highest percentage of such rejection of reality to be found anywhere in the industrialized world. And, on both ends of the political spectrum, large numbers of people begin to stop having their kids vaccinated against once-dormant communicable diseases that began, as a consequence, to resurface.

11) Frightened, alienated, lonely, and more than half nuts, we dove into cyberspace, seeking a time out from reality, looking for “friends” on social media, and finding instead the trolls, stalkers, and arguments we’d sought to evade. Meanwhile, face-to-face conversations became an ever more quaint vestige of the past.

Did the terrorists win? What better results could they have imagined?

Did we go crazy? Well, we re-elected the moron who inflamed our fears and invaded the wrong nation, spent ourselves mad, and the intensity of our internal squabbles intensify as we remain crazy after all these years. And, apparently, getting crazier.