It's a day to mourn and help the people of Haiti, whose plight of poverty has been ignored for so long that it takes a devastating earthquake for the wealthier nations to provide it with massive assistance.
But the Third World economy dependent upon onerous financial terms from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund -- terms that benefit the lenders and their products and don't build up the Haitian economy -- won't change after the initial relief is finished. Just as the tsunami victims only received temporary relief, such will be the case in Haiti that suffered for so long as the U.S. and Europe condoned corrupt rulers who were easily bought off.
The heart of individual Americans is great and individuals will provide much in the way of contributions for relief; and the Obama Administration will do much more than Bush would have done to ease the pain. But watch: Haiti will sink back into its pre-devastation morass as media attention shifts to more pressing "news" such as Sarah Palin quitting another job.
Americans, grown fat and prosperous during its Post-World War II years of Empire, produced a new generation of oligarchy, and they bought the major media outlets (particularly television) to ensure their Wall Sreet greed and gilded bonuses as they exported jobs overseas. They needed the media, particularly television, which at least 70% of Americans say they rely on for "news," to create a scapegoat for the declining pay and jobs for the middle and working classes. The new big money of the oligarchy comes from financial manipulation of "paper" -- from gambling, if you will. It also comes from making money off the debt the working and middle class has assumed since they haven't really had an adjusted increase in salaries since the early '90s (you know, the Reagan revolution). And of course, there are the global corporations such as Wal-Mart who sell workers with lower wages or no jobs cheap goods made in China that used to be made by the unemployed workers who buy them from Sam Walton's billionaire heirs.
Into this need for keeping the "masses" from rebelling against the super-rich Americans who are ripping them off steps in Roger Ailes, who began his professional career producing "The Mike Douglas Show." Richard Nixon was a guest on "The Mike Douglas Show" and eventually hired Ailes as his television advisor, and since then the history of television as propaganda has never been the same in America.
Ailes is indeed the "wizard" of merging entertainment, propaganda, and politics into FOX Fraudcasting (news). He's also a clown and a liar.
As I read through a generally fawning profile of Ailes in The New York Times on January 9, many phrases struck me, but there was this one in particular:
Mr. Ailes, the son of a foreman at the Packard Electric plant in Warren, Ohio, described his upbringing with three words: "God, country, family" and said that credo was responsible for the success of Fox News.
There were a couple of serious problems with the Ailes "credo" that exemplifies the FOX Fraudcasting "credo." One is the personal life of Ailes:
Ailes' second marriage was to Norma E. Ailes, who had been a television producer with Mission Media Ministries. The two raised one child, a daughter from Norma Ailes' earlier relationship, Shawn C. Ailes Visco Ferrer (born July 1968), now a television producer.
In July 1997, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Ailes was engaged to Elizabeth Tilson (born December 1960), whom he married on February 14, 1998. Formerly a television executive, she is now a homemaker. They have one son.
It's no coincidence that the head of the most successful propaganda operation in the history of American television is a hypocrite: name a prominent Republican who isn't a hypocrite when it comes to "family."
As for God, there is nothing in Ailes's life to indicate he has any particular "relationship" with God, although he sure is attached to filthy lucre (as in dollars).
I was particularly struck by the expression "God, country, family" because it has so often emerged (with slight variations) among fascist national dictators, including Pinochet in Chile, the Argentinan military who tortured and "disappeared" so many of their countrymen, and Franco. The list goes on and on. The phrase is the refuge of those who want to create an authoritarian and delusional state that provides a sense of order, but doesn't acknowledge rampant hypocrisy and social and economic injustice. It's a phrase used by the ruling classes to keep the economically abused working and middle class in line, and to appeal to the desire for social order.
At the time I was looking at The New York Times article on Ailes, I was also reading a wonderful little personal memoir of a University of Illinois professor and writer about his sabbatical in Portugal, "The Moon, Come to the Earth." At one point, he is in a Portuguese history museum, looking at the wretched legacy of suppression under the 40-year fascist rule of Salazar. The author comes to a section in the museum about Salazar's propaganda machine in the 1930s and the prevailing slogan that was posted through every town: "God, Country, and Family: The Three Pillars of National Education" (p. 73).