The national television media have made it pretty clear where they stand on the government shutdown. By reviewing the stories they choose to cover and the stories they repress one can get a feel for the atmosphere inside the executive boardrooms. We are told that the shutdown penalizes the Centers for Disease Control, which has lost critical funding, and then we meet an attractive, tearful young cancer patient who may die as a result. What we are not told is that the ongoing, corrupt relationship between big American corporations and the national news media continues. One can understand this best by reviewing our ongoing, uninterrupted foreign aid to Egypt, which as we all now know, does not go to Egypt at all but rather to corporate America.
In 2011, breathless television correspondents stood among the thousands in Tahrir Square in Cairo reporting that the Arab Spring had finally come to Egypt. Freedom was in the air. At last there would be democracy here. After all, we had driven our own country into its second worst depression in history and killed thousands of people to bring “freedom” to Iraq. (Hopefully, the freedom in Egypt would be a tad better, since the freedom in Iraq resulted in the massacre of Christians and the end to a 2,000-year-old Christian community that traced its heritage to the apostle Thomas.)
One thing the experts all agreed upon. The billions of dollars in foreign aid to Egypt, which had been ongoing since 1979, must surely continue now. The terrible dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, which had begun in 1981, was finally coming to an end. With real democracy in the wind, this was not the time to withdraw.
Wait a minute. If Mubarak was a terrible dictator and freedom was only then coming to Egypt, why had we been giving him billions and billions of dollars to stay in power? Well, he made peace with Israel, and the aid was his payoff. And we’ve got to stay on the right side of history!
Huh? OK. That seems contradictory. I may have some more questions about that one.
So with the freedom to vote, the Egyptians elected Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood as their new president.
One thing the experts all agreed upon. The billions of dollars in foreign aid to Egypt must surely continue. This was democracy. It was why our sons died in the war in Iraq. But soon under Morsi, the people of Egypt began to burn churches and kill the worshipers of the ancient Coptic Christian community. Christians were tortured in a Cairo mosque. These Christians traced their heritage back to the apostle Mark.
In 2013, tens of thousands of Egyptians descended on Tahrir Square once again, this time to protest their own duly elected president. The breathless American television correspondents were back, excitedly reporting on yet another rebirth of freedom. Isn’t it thrilling? And the military people now serving as caretakers of the government were promising new elections. This time they won’t let Morsi participate. He was bad for Christians. Bad for gays.
One thing the experts all agreed upon. The billions of dollars in foreign aid to Egypt must surely continue. Egypt had ousted Mohamed Morsi and had promised new elections.
This ridiculous narrative had finally reached the limits of credulity. Last week the Obama administration said it might suspend the remaining aide, which is a pittance of the total.
What’s going on?
The answer is that most of the money passes to Egypt and then back to American where corporations who get the money use some of it to make contributions to senators and congressmen through their respective lobbies and through related companies that advertise on national television. The money doesn’t really go to Egypt. It goes to your neighbor. It is the old game of redistribution of wealth.
American companies who manufacture tanks and other weapons Egypt has not used in our lifetime. Some goes to “security” consultants in our country but even much of the humanitarian and economic aid comes back to us. For example, one program brings Egyptian teachers and hospital administrators to the USA where they are housed, fed, trained and work on American soil. The universities, hospitals and institutions that get the money and free labor lobby Congress and the White House to keep this valuable “aid to Egypt” going.
The Egyptians masses could rape an American television correspondent, in public, in Tahrir Square, and American foreign aid to Egypt would still continue. And they did. And it does.
So now we are facing a government shutdown. They will surely stop this nonsense – right?
The Obama administration, like Bush before him, determines that foreign aid is “security related” and thus exempted from the shutdown. So close the parks, let the cancer victims die, but please, oh please, do not touch our “foreign aid to Egypt.”