Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Faux News

I am constantly amazed by the hypocrisy of all of these hard Right Wingnuts reincarnating themselves as Free Market Libertarians.

From Larry Kudlow, to Michelle Caruso Cabrera, Glenn Beck and all of the hypocritical, wingnut demagogues in-between, these newly minted Libertarians have all put their (very) recent past
behind them to jump on the burgeoning Tea Party bandwagon. Beck, Limbaugh, and the various CNBC propagandists (Kernen, Caruso-Cabrera, Kneale, Kudlow etc.) prove daily that there is nothing quite as rabid as a man (or woman) seeking to protect his own pocketbook regardless of who else may be affected. Granted we should not be surprised in the least to see these newly converted Libertarians wanting to put distance between themselves and their profligate Supply Side past, but their 180 degree about face on spending policy is enough to induce whiplash and takes hypocrisy to all new levels.

To review, the central tenets of the Tea Party are:
1) Fiscal conservatism/Reduced Deficits
2) Return to hard money (gold standard)
- Abolishing the Federal Reserve
3) Smaller government/less regulation
4) International Isolationism
- Downsize U.S. military commitments
5) Dismantling and/or Privatization of Social Programs (e.g. Social Security)
6) Anti-immigration

Some of these are good ideas, which should have never been discarded, that I won't deny. What is galling however, is the fact that the very people who now embrace these newfound ideals are the ones who have been undermining them for the past 30 years.

Take fiscal conservatism as the primary example. It's all well and good to talk about fiscal conservatism when the "other party" is in power. The reality is that up until Obama was elected, these newly minted Libertarians were all ardent "Supply-Siders". For all of the past 30 years, starting with Reagan, the key Supply Side mantra has been "Deficits Don't Matter" (a direct quote from Dick Cheney), and as such they spent accordingly. The Supply Siders have always been closely or directly aligned with the Neo Conservatives (Neo Cons) who advocated for a strong American presence on the International stage - a "Pax Americana", if you will. The Neo Cons were the behind-the-scenes architects of the failed Iraq "Strategy" and the egregious over-commitment of U.S. military resources worldwide. It was an asinine policy that went into overdrive during the Bush Administration leading to two simultaneous wars AND a massive tax cut for the ultra-wealthy. That unsustainable tax cut alone increased the national debt by $2.5 trillion !, yet even as I write this is Congress debating whether or not it should be extended! That's like being bankrupt and debating whether or not to take the annual trip to Club Med. The cost of the two failed wars meanwhile, now exceeds $1 trillion in direct costs. Of course this does not count the coming costs from the downstream fallout as these failed nations turn the entire Middle East into a terrorist safe haven and jeopardize the world oil supply. The bottom line is that as long as the ultra-wealthy and Military Industrial Complex are the primary beneficiaries, then the Right Wingnuts really have had no problem with unlimited Federal Government spending.

Clearly, the Neo Con agenda, supported by most conservatives over the past 30 years is at extreme odds with the Libertarian Tea Party agenda, especially with respect to overseas military commitments and fiscal and monetary conservatism. After all, without the unprecedented fiscal and monetary expansion of the past 30 years, the accompanying military buildup would have never been possible. Ironically, it was another venerated conservative, Milton Friedman who was a key proponent for the U.S. severing the last remaining ties to the gold standard in the early 1970s. That closing of the gold exchange window is what set off the past 30+ years of monetary hyper-expansion culminating in this nascent Deflationary Depression. To a hardcore Libertarian advocating any form of currency other than a gold standard is purely heretical, as indicated by this diatribe against Friedman dating back to 1971. In this battle of ideologies, the Tea Party has the benefit of fiscal sanity and reality working for it, so one can reasonably expect the Neo Con thought dealers to be relegated to the historical dust heap of self-important morons masquerading as intellectuals.

Just as likely, the Neo Cons will merely join their conservative brethren as new born Libertarians. After all, it would not be the first time the Neo Cons reinvented themselves. The fascinating book "They Knew they were Right"Neo Cons starting all the way back in the 1930s when they were Trotskyite Communists (yes, you read that right). Not only that, they opposed U.S. involvement in World War II because it was an "Imperialist War" (whatever that means). You can't make this shit up - somehow the "intellectual" founders of the Neo Con movement migrated from the Far Left to the Far Right over the span of several decades, basically reinventing themselves along the way. Talk about pseudo-intellectualism reduced to basically a meaningless parlour game. The U.S. faces off daily against Taliban fanatics who live in caves, shit in buckets and risk their lives daily for their "cause". Meanwhile, the U.S. side is led by shape shifting thought dealers who change their ideologies like a teen girl changes her hair style.

Objectivity is as dead as a door nail
Before you get the idea that I am some sort of Left Wing Liberal nihilist, I don't regard watching CNN and BBC in one ear and Fox News in the other as some form of moderation. I get it that objective journalism is dead on all sides, which is why traditional media is in a death spiral. As the content of newspapers, television news becomes more degraded and biased, viewership becomes polarized and sectarian, with limited outreach. That in turn feeds back into content cuts leading to more hyperbolic propagandists and even less traditional research and journalism. It now literally takes about only about 5 minutes to read the Wall Street Journal once you skip past the three Opinion/Editorial sections, the Letters to the Editor and the Lifestyle section - basically you are left with about 3 pages of hardcore business content, including the front page.

My overall point is that you can't solve a problem unless you objectively face a problem. Yet, with the overall low quality thought dealership we get from all sides, conveniently reinventing history every four years, and pushing simple answers to complex issues, the U.S. is a LONG WAY from ever finding its way out of this mess.

And lest you think this is a politically motivated diatribe, I do not underestimate the Tea Party movement in the least. They will undoubtedly be the dominant political force for the next decade, if not longer. And either Sarah Palin will be the next President or it will be a demagogue just like her, that is a foregone conclusion.