Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fox News War on Vets...

...and their Patriotic Propaganda.

Fox News Patriotic Propaganda

Oh sure....Fox News "acts" like they care about our Vets, but do they really? Fox News is against government and government workers. Fox News always advocates for cutting government spending (rather than taxing the wealthy a little bit more to help pay for our government and defense spending).

Fox News also advocates for those who want to cut Social security (don't Veterans use Social Security?) Fox News advocates for cutting unemployment benefits (don't Vets ever get laid off from jobs?) Fox News advocates for cutting food stamps (don't Veterans ever fall on hard times?)

Fox News waves the American flag all the time, wrapping themselves in patriotism, and "pretends" to care about the Vets, but if one were to examine all the policies that Fox News consistently advocates for, they would realize that Fox News is far more concerned about the military industrial complex, more so than the Vets themselves --- advocating for corporations, not real people.

But we'll have to admit, for years Fox News has done an excellent job with their patriotic propaganda, but they mostly pay tribute to Vets more for appearance's sake. Albeit, they do contribute a lot of time to Veteran's affairs and programs that benefit disabled Vets. In that way, yes, Fox News is very supportive of our troops. (We see their fair share of mom, baseball and apple pie on the Fox News channel and on their website all the time.)

But I also believe Fox News has an underlining reason for this --- a more nefarious reason --- and that's to divide and conquer voters in an attempt to influence public opinion; both as it relates to government spending, and more specifically, our tax code.

Fox News is against federal workers, but just as members of Congress, those who serve in our military are also federal government workers --- although, they are not all Vets.

Not all military personnel are stationed overseas (they'd serve State-side, here at home). And when they are sent overseas, they are not always sent to remote outposts, sometimes they are stationed in places like Europe or Japan --- or even Hawaii. Or if they are sent off to serve in some godforsaken place (such as Guam or Greenland), it's usually only on a temporary tour of duty. But even a short time away from their families, friends and loved ones can be very detrimental.

But then again, not all military personnel get sent to war zones (like Iraq or Afghanistan). And many, when they are sent to these places, are sometimes only stationed in the rear lines (REMFs), and aren't always in harm's way from the enemy, or in any actual combat.

Many of the support personnel aren't even in the military (such as convoy drivers to resupply the troops), who are more like high-paid mercenaries --- but then, maybe that's also because, with America's "all-volunteer Army" (rather than a draft), not enough enlistees (grunts) join the military to fill all these support-type positions (whereas, civilians might also work in the PX, barber shop, commissary, movie theater, bowling alley and corporate-owned fast-food joints on military installations).

Some of those who enlist in the Reserves are also sent into war zones, and many do go into battle. Some serve two or more tours of duty --- sometimes reenlisting because of a bad job market here at home (and/or because of the additional hazardous duty or combat pay and/or reenlistment bonuses they may receive). These are Vets, and God Bless them all.

But in the recent budget deal, the recent hikes to contributions to military pensions, will mostly affect those who serve for 20 years or longer ("lifers", those who spent a career in the military, like my father did before passing away.) Most in the military don't serve for 20 years. But if they do, in conjunction to military retirement pay, they can also collect Social Security (an "entitlement"). And they all deserve every penny. (I'm not a Republican, or a Vet like my father was in the Korean and Vietnam War --- I'm just a military "brat", but I support all our troops.)

Yet Fox News is attempting to separate all military personnel from government workers by depicting them all as "Vets" --- and then complains that "Congress" is cutting their benefits, rather than naming the GOP as the other political party that is also cutting Veterans benefits (the Democrats voted for it as part of their "compromise" to avoid any more government shutdowns from the Tea Party).

I recently saw one Army Veteran complain on Fox News, that instead of cutting military retirement pay, they should cut entitlements (even though Vets also get "entitlements"). The Vet had complained about the $17 trillion in U.S. debt, but not also mentioning that this debt first began under George W. Bush with our two unpaid wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was the very first time, ever, in the history of the U.S. that we didn't raise taxes to fund a war. Bush did just the opposite: he actually lowered taxes, and in such a way that mostly benefited the very wealthy (such as the tax on capital gains).

But because of policies and laws that were already in place before Obama was even first elected in 2008, the economy had crashed and the housing bubble burst --- and Obama was forced to raise the debt even further with the expansion of food stamps and unemployment benefits for the 8.7 million of Americans (and Vets) who had lost their jobs during the Great Recession (and for many more who had their hours and wages reduced). Many of the Republican members of Congress who are now complaining about the debt are the very ones who created the damn debt in the first place! But Fox "News" always leaves out these FACTS.

Fox News has always attempted to "divide and conquer" by trying to show a difference between an "over-paid" government worker, a civilian low-wage "taker" and a "brave" discharged Veteran --- by inferring that everyone in the military is a "Vet".

That Army Vet that Fox News had interviewed recently had been weaned from the herd (the 99%), by using her to make a anecdotal case for cutting "entitlements" (such as Social Security) to "save our Vets". Am I missing something here? Is Fox News using our Vets to score political points? Has the mainstream conservative media been brainwashing our war heroes too?

If you are a Vet, Fox News DOES NOT support you, but they do a very good job of appearing as if they do --- by promoting noble programs such as Wounded Warrior; but then Fox News will turn around and hurt Vets in many other ways. Fox News uses people like you (a Vet) to try and divide people like me (a civilian) in their "divide and conquer" strategy (but aren't Vets composed of both Republicans and Democrats, men and women, black and white, Christians and Muslims, etc?)

Fox News (and other conservative media outlets) and the GOP leaders separates two demographics of people (because, united, those two groups stand); and by dividing the two groups, it makes one group politically weaker and the GOP can politically defeat them. Next, the GOP goes after the other group (the first "conquering" group, who is also now a weaker group) and then defeats them. Then the GOP goes on to divide and conquer another demographical, political, religious or ideological group that is not on their side of the issues (the pro-corporate, pro-ultra-rich, anti-government and the low-to-no tax people). They are the anti-47% group --- the Mitt Romneys of this country.

The Republicans (and their media outlets and "think tanks", backed by their large corporate sponsors) will both cause, then exploit, ignorance --- manipulating the less informed and less educated --- and they will also use lies and fear to convince people to vote for their pro-wealthy and pro-corporate political party, even if it means getting these people (including Vets) to vote against their own best interests; because the GOP has no shame, they will use Veterans to obtain and hold power just like they would any other group. And wasn't it the GOP who sent the most recent Vets to Iraq based on lies that primarily benefited their corporate war profiteers? 4,489 Americans dead and another 32,021 wounded for corporate profits to protect "freedom" (an often misused word).

The GOP is not even beyond using the children either, using their scare tactics to manipulate the masses.

Republican propaganda

The GOP has used this "divide and conquer" strategy for decades (whereas, the Democrats have been all-inclusive with their "big tent"). For example, the GOP will also use religious and moral beliefs (e.g. abortion, gay marriage, etc.) to divide people in this way (known as "wedge issues"); or they will appeal to patriotic values (our Vets, the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, freedoms, etc) to divide us.

* Editor's Note: If you have lost any of your freedoms since Obama first took office in January of 2009 --- excluding the mandate to buy healthcare insurance (because then, Social Security could also be considered a lost freedom) --- then please list them as a comment at the end of this post. ~ Thanks!

As I mentioned before, "conflicting moral issues don't necessarily have to conflict with our social and public values". The defining issue of our time shouldn't be a war of black vs. white, gay vs. straight, middle-class vs. poor, young vs. old, Christian vs. other, employed vs. unemployed, civilian vs. Veteran, or conservative vs. liberal --- it's about all of us in the same fight together --- the working-class (the 95% who are earning less than $113,700 a year) vs. the ruling class (the top 0.01%).

The current budget debate about cuts (cost-of-living-adjustments and retirement contributions) for military personnel is just the first step. The next step might be junking the entire military pension system altogether --- just like they are going after State and City workers' pensions, as well as those who belong to labor unions. That's why we all have to stick together...

First they came...

From the Daily Kos (A Democratic website) - "How Washington plans to screw our military veterans"

The existing Uniformed Military Personnel Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) operates in much the same way as a 401(k) plan, which is the largest scam ever perpetrated in the history of finance. Money is taken out of your meager military pay and then invested in mutual-type funds. They work just like a 401(k) plan, in that you can take the money out before you retire, borrow against it, or play around in high-risk securities with it.

One of the funds invests in government securities and is managed by the Plan's trustees. Those funds will not ever lose money, so long as there is never a default. But, you guessed right, the rest of the funds are invested in Wall Street securities. Those funds are managed by Larry Fink's BlackRock, a spin-off of Steven Schwartzman's Blackstone Group. Management fees are, of course, paid to BlackRock.

Under the current deal, it does not matter what your rank or billet is. If you serve your 20 years, you get your pension for life. You put your life on the line, you get this promise in return for you and your family. It's that simple.

But under the new plan, how much the Pentagon contributes to your market-sensitive 401(k) plan will depend on your rank and billet. How much would you guess that top brass will be deemed "essential to force shaping" while the enlisted grunts get the shaft?

Fox News' definition of a "Vet" could also mean a REMF officer who spent a year in Saigon during the Vietnam War, rose to the rank of General to work at the Pentagon, then retired from the military to go work as a lobbyist for a big defense contractor (slash tax dodger) such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing, United Technologies or General Dynamics --- to suck in billions of dollars in defense spending (and enriching their CEOs) --- only to have billions end up as waste, fraud and abuse (rather than paying a decent pension to our enlisted military personnel.)

Fox News --- owned and controlled by the Australian multi-billionaire Rupert Murdoch --- as a corporation and media cable TV news station, don't give a damn about Vets getting blown up by road-side bombs in Afghanistan (Although, individual employees within the company might care). But the owners, stockholders and CEOs of Fox News and their sister company the Wall Street Journal, are mostly concerned about the stock prices of the defense contractors, and not the well-being or the futures of our Vets. Do you really believe they care about "the little people"? Mitt Romney was speaking out loud about the 47% as though they didn't even exist, all while one of them was serving him drinks and taping him at that fundraiser.

And Fox News (via their multi-millionaire talking heads) will say anything at all to get the Vets and their supporters (which are both conservatives AND liberals) to vote against their own best interests (like keeping their wages low and cutting their pensions) just to save the owner of Fox News (and the rest in the top 0.01%) money in their tax obligations --- because for them, money mostly matters, not the lives, livelihoods or the well-being of American Vets, because multi-national corporations are never patriotic at all.

Fox News' Sean Hannity agreed with Rush Limbaugh, that Pope Francis was preaching "pure Marxism", even though the Pope was only advocating for a more fair and equitable deal for our Vets and everybody else --- because like other Fox News hosts (e.g. Bill O'Reilly, Neil Cavuto, etc.), Sean Hannity is also a multi-millionaire. And like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity also lives in a huge beach-front mansion on the Atlantic Ocean--- and none of these media pundits (or their bosses) wants to see their taxes go up, not even a wee bit --- not even to save the Vet's Social Security and pension plans.

What makes me really, really angry is when members of Congress (or other morons) claim that they are Vets (or "war heroes") when in fact, they have never served at all in any branch of the Armed Forces. But then, Fox News comes in to a close 2nd Place when they use Veterans to divide us --- or when act like they really care about Vets, when the policies of Fox News clearly shows that they advocate mostly for just the opposite --- the opposite of what would better benefit the Vets.

So Fox News' war on Social Security, the minimum wage, worker's rights, women's rights, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, food stamps, unemployment benefits, the poor, and the working-class is also a war on Vets.

Vets have lifetime healthcare benefits, no matter how poor or wealthy they are. Civilians, however, need either Medicaid or some other affordable healthcare plan (aka Obamacare). But if low-income and unemployed civilians (both Republicans and Democrats) support our Vets, shouldn't we also expect our Vets to support the poor, the working-poor and their families? I imagine our troops serve, protect and defend the rich as well as the poor.

If so, then please STOP watching and believing what Fox News is telling you --- they are only advocating for the top 0.01% --- themselves, the owners of Fox News and all their multi-millionaire taking heads. They don't need healthcare insurance --- they can buy their own damn hospital.

Fox News (who advocates for the super rich and large corporations) only hates Obamacare because starting this year, their capital gains will be taxed a 3.8% surtax to pay for expanding Medicaid for the working-poor, the lower-middle-class and the abject poor --- the poor people that the rich people helped to make so poor with lousy wages.

The Vets (and all in the military and their families) are just as much a part of the 99% as the civilians are --- we are all patriotic Americans who support our troops; but Fox News wants you to believe that the Democrats, liberals and progressives ("the far left") are all un-American atheists (divide and conquer) --- when the real war should be between the top 1% and the bottom 99% --- and a war between Fox News and the Vets.

On second thought --- after some reflection --- what disgusts me far more than those who claim to be Vets (when they're not), or conservative media outlets (like Fox News) who claim they support our Vets (when they advocate for policies that actually hurts them), are Veterans in Congress, draft dodgers in Congress and members of Congress (like Darrell Issa) who are in the top 1 percent and say they support our Vets, when their actions speak far louder than the words that have the "freedom" to say (thanks to our Vets) when all they have been really doing is backing legislation that hurts the Vets.

And finally, no, there has not been a real war on Christmas (it was a false flag war invented by Fox News) --- and Santa is neither white nor black (because he never existed) --- but for the sake of your young children, Santa can be either white or black (or whatever ethnicity their parents prefer). So in case you haven't noticed, Fox News also uses holy days and children's fables to divide us.

And yes, Fox News also uses the multi-billionaire Koch brothers' Tea Party sheeple too, including those who wave the Confederate flag and believe in no government (or taxes) at all. Fox News finds them to be the easiest to keep "dumbed down" and thus, the easiest to influence. (If these sheeple and their leaders weren't so damn dangerous to this country, I could almost pity them).

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all in the U.S. Armed Forces

Full Disclosure: Every single member of my immediate family has served in the U.S. Military (excluding myself, who was rejected in 1973 at the age of 18, because I got a hernia from working in a factory while still in high school.)


  1. "They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America's Wars—The Untold Story" by Ann Jones

    Jones shines a much-needed light on the dead, wounded, mutilated, brain-damaged, drug-addicted, suicidal, and homicidal casualties of our distant wars --- taking us on a stunning journey from the devastating moment an American soldier is first wounded in rural Afghanistan to his return home. An indispensable account of the travails of US veterans when they return home.

    (Article) "Battle Wounds: American Soldiers’ Painful Journey Home"

  2. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) announced that she will be introducing legislation to roll back provisions in the pending budget deal that would cut military retirement benefits by reducing cost-of-living adjustments. Shaheen, who is up for re-election in 2014, said that the plan would be paid for by closing "select corporate tax loopholes" --- even though Republicans refuse doing so in the budget agreement.