Monday, January 28, 2013

Week of 01/28/2013

Rupert Murdoch’s War Spenders
– by David Matthews 2

Rupert Murdoch has a dangerous spending problem on his hands.

No, I don’t mean him personally.  But certainly the people that work for his flagship cable news channel, Fox News, have this problem.  We are talking about not only their regular “anchors”, but also their “contributors”, those so-called “correspondents” and “consultants” that get in front of the camera to whine about how the White House isn’t doing what they want.  And what compounds this is that they are engaging in this dangerous problem not only with a wanton abandon, but they operate on the belief that they are above any kind of accountability for it.

This problem is two-fold so I hope the conservatives and neo-conservatives are able to follow along with this libertarian, especially since this involves more than a bunch of carefully-selected ten-second sound-clips and bumper-sticker slogans.

First we have the conservative and neo-conservative bloodlust for war.  The rest of the world may have moved past 9/11 and the people behind it are either captured or are dead, but that traumatic event still lives on day-in and day-out in the fascistic fear-mongering minds of the conservatives and neo-conservatives, especially seen and heard on Fox News and conservative talk radio.

Fox News personalities see enemies under every rock and in every crevice and in every shady spot, and they seemingly cannot wait to wage war at the drop of a burqa… or even a sombrero.  It wasn’t that long ago that the Fox News media personalities were ready for the United States to wage war against Mexico, using banners and taglines promoting “The Third War” and “The War With Mexico”.  They were eager to see us send troops to the US-Mexico border, at the very least to enact a Berlin-style wall around the border, if not to enact some perverse and antiquated revenge for The Alamo. 

Of course we don’t hear too much about that “war” until the subject of immigration comes up.

Then we have al Qaeda, the “Cobra” to the Fox News “G.I. Joes”; a ruthless terrorist organization determined to “rule the world” (of course).  Fox News personalities and their friends in the conservative and neo-conservative circles see al Qaeda agents everywhere.  They see al Qaeda flying in pregnant mothers so they can give birth to “Americanized terrorists”.  They call to question the patriotism of any American citizen that doesn’t automatically salute the flag (made in China) or recite the Pledge of Allegiance (created by a self-described “Christian Communist”) like they do or have the supposedly “required” American Flag pin (also made in China) firmly affixed on their lapels.  If you’re not marching to Captain America’s cadence, then you’re supposedly an al Qaeda sympathizer. 

Okay, rampant McCarthyism is one thing.  What’s worse is that Fox News personalities then believe that they can dictate America’s foreign policy based on it.

Following the hypocritical mistakes of the Cold War, Fox News personalities spend time advocating that the United States prop-up and otherwise support abusive autocrats over calls for freedom from the masses for fear that (1) those autocrats are our “needed allies in the War on Terror” and (2) those masses crying for freedom and a more-democratic form of government are really nothing more than dupes of Cobra… I mean al Qaeda… that are just looking to create more Iran-style theocracies.

We actually saw this with the turmoil in Egypt.  The people there demanded an end to the endless “State of Emergency” that had existed for years that gave the Egyptian president unlimited power.  But despite their calls for a more democratic-style of governing, Fox News personalities were telling their viewers to not trust the Egyptian protesters.  That those protesters were just being led by Islamists, and that they want to take out our supposedly “valued ally in the War on Terror” to put in a theocracy that would help out Cobra… I mean al Qaeda… in their global campaign to “rule the world” (of course).

Think about it: we had an opportunity to help mold Egypt into a country similar to the vision we claim to champion with our supposed doctrine of “American Exceptionalism”, but the pervasive fear of Cobra… I mean al Qaeda… demanded that we condemn the protesters and support the abusive autocrat.  So when a new faction took over, should it be any surprise that the new leadership would be Islamic?  We turned our backs on the Egyptians when they needed support in their push for freedom, simply because it didn’t fit in with the Fox News mindset of “with us or against us”, so they ended up with an Islamist leadership to fulfill the Fox News prophecy.  If you ever wanted to know what happened to that circular logic we called the “doctrine of American Exceptionalism”, all you have to do is look at how we mishandled the Arab Spring movement.

And it’s not just Egypt.  We’re seeing the same mindset being employed by Fox News personalities when it comes to Libya and Syria.  Those “calls for freedom” are really supposedly “calls for Islamic theocracies”.  We couldn’t support the overthrow of Libya’s government because they were our “valued ally in the War on Terror”… even though this was the same country and leadership that sponsored terrorism in the 1980’s.  And we are indecisive on Syria because both sides supposedly are being aided by Cobra… I mean al Qaeda… and somehow any action will piss off our precious Israeli allies.  We support the dictator and Iran uses them to attack Israel.  We support the masses and they create an Islamic theocracy that supports Cobra… I mean al Qaeda… and they attack Israel.  Either way we piss off our precious Israeli allies.  (And don’t get me started on that either!  That’s a subject for another time.)

Even ending the wars we’re already fighting are considered nothing short of “surrenders” by the Fox News personalities.  There is no such thing as an “ending” in the Fox News war policy.  They will drag out a whole platoon of former military officers that now make their money sitting in cushy think-tank organizations as so-called “experts” that will proclaim that any kind of troop drawback will be perceived as a “retreat” by Cobra… I mean al Qaeda… and will only encourage them to re-double their efforts.  We could be in those countries for a thousand years and the Fox News war policy will never change.  They will drag out some grizzled war-wacky former officer that will mumble about the continued threat by Cobra… I mean al Qaeda… and how we shouldn’t supposedly “abandon our forces”.

And that brings us to the other insulting shoe that hurled at our collective heads by the Fox News personalities: the cost of this perpetual war policy.

Wars cost money.  Every war that we wage costs money, even if we don’t fire a single shot.  As a matter of historical fact, war has been the single-largest expense on the American economy.  This is the very reason why America’s Constitutional authors made sure that the House of Representatives has both the power to declare war and the responsibility of setting up the budget.  And, traditionally, our elected grifters and shysters found a way to finance our wars.

So… pop quiz: how did we pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Here’s the answer they don’t want you to know: we didn’t. 

Not only were the cost of these wars tacked onto the ever-growing federal debt, but we weren’t even allowed to know how much they cost for seven years.  Out of sight, out of mind.  How much those wars cost the United States was considered a matter of “national security” and kept out of public discussion until Barack Obama became President and he decided to take it out of the closet. 

And then, all of a sudden, the Fox News personalities declared Obama to be at fault for that debt, as if he personally spent all of that money just days into his presidential tenure!

Added to that is this sudden concern about the debt from the very conservatives and neo-conservatives that said absolutely nothing about either the cost of war or that it was kept out of sight and out of mind for seven years when their people were in charge of Washington!  “Oh, wait, how did those trillions of dollars in red ink end up on the federal books?  We didn’t see these things before Obama took office, so it must be his fault!”

When Obama took office, the conservatives and neo-conservatives changed tactics and suddenly became “aware” of how much money was being spent on everything.  The same party that pushed for a blank check for war and for Homeland Security and for any other “war” they wanted waged now wants to micro-manage every dime, nickel, penny, and half-penny raised and spent.  “Austerity” is their new battle-cry, and their three-part solution to everything is tax cuts, tax cuts, and more tax cuts for anyone that can afford a K-Street lobbyist.

Now I’d like to believe their theory that tax cuts produce economic growth, but we have over ten years of experience that says otherwise; especially since “profits-at-all-cost” has become the end-all-be-all for the business world instead of sustainability.  So the correlation between tax cuts and economic growth is nothing more than a political myth already busted by reality.

Put deficit whining and tax cut-fetishists together and you have a bunch of fiscal slash-and-burn tapeworms, looking for any program to scavenge that doesn’t hurt them or their friends.  That’s bad enough to deal with. 

But then add that to the perpetual war policy championed by the Fox News media personalities of war anywhere, everywhere, for any reason and at any cost, and what do you have?

Well let’s get brutally honest here… what we have are a bunch of blood-lusting hypocritical war-spenders that are looking for the next fight to get their “fix” and feel entitled to spend any amount of taxpayer money to feel “strong” while criticizing any other kind of spending as being “wasteful”.

This is the human equivalent of slowly cutting off any kind of household money for food, utilities, mortgage, and clothes and instead spending every penny one has on shotguns, ammunition, and guard dogs.  Then, on top of that, assert one’s right to walk up and down the neighborhood with a shotgun and guard dog at all times of the day and night in the name of “Neighborhood Watch”, and picking fights with anyone that thinks that this person shouldn’t be the “best neighbor ever”.

This is the mindset that drove Italy under Benito Mussolini into ruin.  This is the mindset that broke the old Soviet Union.  This is the very mindset that has driven North Korea into a nihilistic policy of perpetual antagonism at the expense of their own people.  This is the mindset that we see on Fox News and hear on talk radio day-in and day-out and try to sell us as the American way of life.  Perpetual war at all costs.  War at any time, any place, for any reason, against any one, and at any expense.  A never-ending series of bloodshed and ego-driven posturing as we financially hemorrhage ourselves into oblivion.

And keep in mind that the champions of this perpetual and all-consuming war policy have absolutely nothing to lose in the campaign.  The war-wacky former officers won’t be the ones fighting the various wars that come from this war-spending policy.  They’ll be sitting in their cushy think-tank offices dreaming up new enemies to fight and the excuses needed to fight them.  They don’t have to worry about figuring out how to pay for these new battlefronts and for all of the other battles they drag us into that we cannot back out of for fear it would “give the wrong message to our enemies”.

Likewise, the media personalities in Fox News and conservative talk radio risk absolutely nothing in their push for all-war all-the-time.  They’re not the ones that wage the war, and they don’t have to deal with the political or financial consequences of that war.  They can shovel out pure propaganda, foster an evangelical extremist mindset of “with us or against us”, and, best of all for them, generate fear and terror among the masses… which keeps the masses not only docile, but also addicted to the ones feeding them the steady diet of fear and terror.  And as long as they are focusing on the supposedly “wasteful” spending programs of their political opponents down to the last dime, nickel, penny, and half-penny, they don’t have to explain how they will pay for their own personal pork programs… namely war.

This is what makes the war-spenders dangerous.  They risk nothing but stand to gain everything they could ever want.  Money, power, control, and the undying adulation of being seen as the smartest people in the room.

We’ve been tricked before by the war-spenders.  The Spanish-American War was probably the best example of this.  Our predecessors in the late 19th Century were manipulated by a media mogul hungry for blood money for his newspaper conglomerate.  But unlike our predecessors from over a century before, today’s war-spenders are oozing with rampant hypocrisy, complaining about money and deficit spending while at the same time demanding we put their pet wars on universal credit.

I don’t see Mister Murdoch and the other owners of the various conservative media services stepping forward to fund these wars of their choosing.  They would much rather have their media proxies blame the current White House occupant for the rampant spending of his predecessor and scream bloody murder over any discussion of finding ways to pay for the wars they themselves want waged.

The media personalities whine about “moochers” and “takers” addicted to government programs, and yet they champion and push for a government-run war policy that takes more than just money.  At the very least they should obligated to answer the question they love to ask others: how will you pay for your folly?  If they cannot answer that question and live up to their own standards of fiscal responsibility, then Murdoch’s war-spenders need to be removed from the discussion.