Now That We Are Saved

We are saved —so our politicians tell us —from a plunge off the fiscal cliff. In all reports, however, it is mentioned that President Obama settled for a slice of what he claimed to be after, which was to raise taxes on those whose income is more than a $quarter million annually. Instead, the Republican bravehearts kept that rapacious goal at bay and made certain that taxes would only increase for those making more than $400,000 per year. Brilliant!

According to media reports, the only actual spending cuts contemplated were those that would affect luxuries for the average person, such as Social Security benefits or medical care for the elderly or disabled. That’s the spirit, boys!

It’s important that the American media avoid all mention of the Pentagon budget and how each $billion cut there would free enough funds to create a net gain of thousands of jobs. Instead, it’s crucial to take all Pentagon claims without factchecking, and convince the American people that the slightest cut to DOD would slash jobs wholesale and strip body armor off US troops and leave them driving used Ford Festivas into combat. Framing any threat to Pentagon funding as seditious is key.

After all, the Pentagon budgets more than $4 billion each year just for publicity, so you can just print what they send you, write what they say to you, and in fact seek their expertise when it comes to responding to any conflict anywhere on Earth. Don’t talk to those who might research and understand other forms of power, you know, the ones who might know about how the Velvet Revolution happened across the Warsaw Pact, the Colored Revolutions, or Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt. From the fall of the Berlin Wall to deposing Hosni Mubarak, the CIA and Pentagon utterly failed to see any of it coming because that is a different sort of force, so you need to avoid analysts who might disagree with the Pentagon approach and conclusions so you don’t confuse anyone.

Do not repeat not mention that the nuclear arsenal, for instance, provides the US with no usable defensive options and above all avoid any TV, radio, or writing that calculates the projected increases of some $600 billion in upgrading those nukes over the next decade. This is not the time to question the value in threatening the unthinkable and certainly not the time to release the figures on what some say could be saved by starting to mothball these weapons. Ignore any exceptions to this guideline and do not cite any reports that show which nuclear weapons contractors lobby and contribute to which politicians.

Thank you, politicians and mainstream corporate media, for your careful framing of these Big Issues so that we, the dumb apathetic citizenry, can proceed with our credit card shopping in anticipation of the next national holiday.

Don’t we all gain 10 lbs. each MLK Day?

Tom H. Hastings directs PeaceVoice.



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Tom H. Hastings is core faculty in the Conflict Resolution Department at Portland State University and founding director of PeaceVoice

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