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Best Southern Corporate Editorial Ever

One cannot always count on words of wisdom from the editorials published by corporate newspaper chains in the Southern United States, or anywhere else.  This one is far from perfect, but remarkably great.  This was published by the Charlottesville Daily Progress on Tuesday and adapted by them from their corporate sister the Richmond Times Dispatch.  Possibly numerous other Media General (Warren Buffet) newspapers printed the same or similar:

"Would cuts in defense spending be a bad thing?

"Gov. Bob McDonnell suggested President Obama hold Congress in session until it hammers out a deal to avert what is known as sequestration — whose effects on Virginia could be profound."

Note that this editorial is about to challenge the claims of the state's Transvaginal Governor who is also trying to get himself nominated for U.S. Veep on the Romney ticket.  Not only that, but a gang of U.S. Senators including the previous Republican presidential nominee John McCain recently stopped in Virginia on a tour of swing states hyping the danger to the U.S. economy of any cuts to the military budget.  This editorial does not name those senators but does handily reject their bogus claims.

"Sequestration is the term applied to automatic budget cuts that will take effect Jan. 2 unless Congress acts now to prevent them. They are the result of last year’s Budget Control Act. That law tasked a special committee with finding $1.2 trillion in budget cuts over the next decade. If it failed, automatic cuts — half of them in defense spending, half in domestic discretionary spending — would kick in. The committee failed."

Of course "defense" is code for military, even while few would pretend that attacking Libya or Syria or continuing in Afghanistan or drone bombing Pakistan or Yemen, etc., is defensive.  The code is well understood and virtually unavoidable in a corporate newspaper.  You'll recall that there was huge public pushback against the Super Congress, that the public told pollsters we favored taxing the rich and cutting the military.  The Super Congress failed to push through a deal to enlarge the military and continue tax cuts on the wealthy.  And rightly so.  But Congress is intent on accomplishing post-2012-election what the Super Congress couldn't do.

"Without action soon, the first of $600 billion in defense spending cuts will start to bite. That could mean the loss of tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of jobs here in the commonwealth — which is the No. 2 recipient of federal defense outlays. That is a frightening prospect indeed."

Note, however, that dollars don't translate simply and predictably into jobs.  When the military had less money several years ago, it also produced more jobs. Also, the $600 billion is "over 10 years," and might as well be called $1200 billion "over 20 years" for all such monkeying with the numbers enlightens us.  It's $60 billion "over one year," but reduced from that in order to put more of the cutting later in the 10-year period. $50 billion or less, cut from $1.2 trillion or so in total military spending can only frighten people who are truly intent on being frightened.  Of course, fear is what allows military spending on this kind of scale to begin with.

"But it is not in itself a sufficient reason to oppose the cuts. National defense is not a jobs program. Many of the very arguments conservative Republicans have made with regard to government spending over the years — about inefficiency, about the displacement of private investment, about gargantuan bureaucracies doling out contracts to the politically connected — might apply just as well to the Pentagon as to any other government agency."

This is a stunning bit of honest sanity.  Reflect on the earthshattering, "debate" crashing, impoliteness of introducing this bit of truth to the public.  Of course it's also the understatement of the year.  Spending on the military produces fewer jobs than spending on education, energy, infrastructure, or even tax cuts for working people, because it is so incredibly wasteful.  How wasteful?  We don't know, since it's the only department that is never audited.  But we know that it routinely misplaces billions -- with a b -- of dollars, something no other department is allowed to do.  We also know that in much of the world spending money on killing in order to generate jobs would be viewed as sociopathic.

"What’s more, the alarms being rung about the hollowing out of the military sound considerably less grim when put in context. For example, ask yourself this: Was the U.S. military on the brink of collapse in 2007? Few people would answer yes. Yet if sequestration occurs, then military spending would revert to — you guessed it — 2007 levels. That doesn’t sound quite so horrible."

Again, this is simple and obvious but staggeringly new.  It renders ludicrous countless "news" reports that have been published by these papers.

"Even after adjusting for inflation, Pentagon spending is now almost double what it was in 2000. And that leaves out the billions lavished on Homeland Security. And the further billions spent on ongoing military operations abroad, which add more than another hundred billion to the tab."

This too is new and different, pointing out that the "Homeland Security" budget is added on top of the Pentagon's.  But let's not forget State, Energy, CIA, and all the other departments that include military spending, plus the expense of caring for the veterans our wars keep producing.  The total cost of the military is about $1.2 trillion per year, many times what any other nation spends, more than all other nations combined, and more than half of federal discretionary spending.

"True, federal defense outlays are smaller as a share of the federal budget than they have been in many years,"

Oops.  That's not true, not when all military ("defense") expenses are counted.

"and they are smaller as a percentage of gross domestic product than at any time since World War II. But this is not a very useful comparison. It implies that whenever Washington creates a hugely expensive new entitlement program, or whenever the economy booms, Pentagon spending should be jacked up just to keep the proportions steady."

Wow.  This is amazingly decent and dismissive of an entire genre of public "discourse."  The Congressional Budget Office has repeatedly stressed to Congress that military spending is low as a percentage of GDP.  Even though it's high and has been rising each of the past 15 years as a dollar amount adjusted for inflation, as a percentage of the federal discretionary budget, and as a percentage of global military spending, the theory indeed seems to be that if we have more money we should buy more weapons because we can.  This requires a psychiatrist, not an economist.

"The real question is how much the U.S. needs to spend to maintain military dominance. To help answer it, consider a more useful comparison: For every dollar the world spends on military outlays, America accounts for 46 cents. China, a distant second, comes in at about 7 cents."

Hmm.  Is that the real question?  Isn't the real question how the United States can best keep its nation safe?  Isn't it at the very least an open question whether striving to dominate the globe is making us safer or putting us at risk? The answer above to the wrong question is dramatically understated, and yet hugely important and worldview shattering for many potential readers.  I hope they read it.

"Gov. McDonnell is right to worry about the effect of defense spending cuts here in Virginia. Congress should pass legislation to stave off the sequestration meat ax. However, it needs to make judicious cuts to the defense budget. Overseas bases, redundant weapons systems, even force structures should all be on the table. The nation currently borrows 43 cents of every dollar it spends. And there is simply no way to fix that problem without including military cuts as part of the solution."

Wouldn't you know they'd reach the wrong conclusion after so much good rhetoric.  The sequestration meat ax would cut that $1.2 trillion budget by about $50 billion.  It should be cut by much more.  Cutting back to merely three times the size of China would allow us not only to pay off debt but to make college free, eliminate student loans, develop a massive green energy program, and update our infrastructure.  Those are the tradeoffs that should have been mentioned.  The mass murder of non-Americans that is generated by the war momentum that Eisenhower warned us war spending would create might also merit consideration.  Nonetheless, I doubt I shall ever see this good an editorial in my local paper again.

To War or Not to War

  To War or Not to War

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Will Obama wage more wars or won't he? He's already fighting multiple direct and proxy ones. November elections approach. Electoral priorities dictate policy.

 

Cybersecurity Bills Threaten Freedom

  Cybersecurity Bills Threaten Freedom

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Various cybersecurity acts threaten constitutional freedoms.

 

On March 27, HR 4263: SECURE IT Act of 2012 was introduced. Now in committee, no further action was taken.

 

KPFT's The Monitor Takes on Violence

Listen here.

The theme of this week’s show: Guns and Media

  • RootsAction.org and Just Foreign Policy have launched a campaign targeting NBC’s new program, “Stars Earn Stripes,” a reality show co-hosted by retired U.S. General Wesley Clark and co-starring Todd Palin, which the network is advertising during the Olympics. We discuss this with David Swanson
  • Another mass shooting, this time in Wisconsin, has people wondering what can be done about gun violence, the gun lobby and the debate about second amendment protections. We discuss this with Ladd Everitt

More about this week’s guests:

David Swanson

David Swanson holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as communications coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works as Campaign Coordinator for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org

In April 2012, Swanson began working for Veterans For Peace. Swanson hosts Talk Nation Radio.

Quote: “NBC is marketing its new show during the Olympics as the next big sport, featuring former Olympic athletes, but the sport is war, with — so they tell us — real bullets, real explosives, and real danger. If NBC is really risking blowing off the head or arm or leg of Sarah Palin’s husband and the other stars, then we’ve regressed to ancient Rome. Bread and circuses are now Big Macs and NBC war-o-tainment shows. I suspect and hope that in fact NBC is not putting these people at risk and nobody is going to die on Stars Earn Stripes (note, link does not take you to the NBC show page). And I am certain that the 95 percent of casualties in U.S. wars who rarely get mentioned on any NBC program, namely the non-Americans, will not be featured. We will not see children and grandparents blown to pieces. We will not see cluster bombs picked up as toys. We may see doors kicked in, but not the screaming terrified families behind them. NBC is sanitizing and normalizing war as a sport. Gone is any concept of war as an emergency, any notion of war time as separate from peace time. We are into permanent war, and war for its own sake.”

—————————————————————————————

Ladd Everitt

Ladd Everitt is the Director of Communications of Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. He has served as the Director of Communications of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence since May 2006.  In this position, he is responsible for developing and managing a wide range of communications activities in support of the organization’s overall mission.

Mr. Everitt has served in a volunteer capacity with the D.C. Crisis Response Team, a group which offers comfort, support and referral services to victims and survivors of homicide in the District of Columbia. From 2002-2007, he served as the volunteer President of the D.C. Chapter of the Million Mom March. Under his direction, the chapter conducted events for victims and survivors of gun violence, published letters and editorials in local and national periodicals, participated in press conferences and demonstrations calling for sensible gun laws, networked with other community groups who are interested in stemming the tide of gun violence, and authored a comprehensive resource book for victims and survivors, which was used by the Metropolitan Police Department.

Ladd relocated to the District of Columbia from New York in September of 1993 to pursue a Masters degree in U.S. Foreign Policy at American University.  After completing his degree, he worked as a Research Associate with the U.S.‑Saudi Arabian Business Council in Washington, DC, and as a Chief of Policy Development for the Air Force Association in Arlington, Virginia.

A statement from Coalition to Stop Gun Violence issued in the wake of the incident in Colorado read in part: “Reports indicate that the shooter, 24-year-old James Holmes wore body armor and was armed with two Glock handguns, a tactical shotgun, and an AR-15 style assault rifle. He also released some type of chemical gas into the theater during the massacre. Twelve fatalities have been reported so far, with approximately 38 moviegoers injured, including 16 critically.  “Sadly, there is nothing novel about this tragedy. It is yet another massacre perpetuated by a homicidal maniac who was given easy access to lethal, military-style firepower.     “The pro-gun movement has told us that bloodbaths like Aurora are the price we must pay to guarantee freedom and individual liberty in the United States. Rational Americans should reject such radical ideology and demand immediate reform of our gun laws.  “The truth is that there is no greater threat to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ than the wanton gun violence that continues to destroy American families and communities. Until our legislators stand up to the extreme leadership of the National Rifle Association and enact laws to assure the thorough screening of gun buyers, tragedies like Aurora will continue to haunt America. It is long past time to put public safety back on the agenda in the U.S. Congress, and in our state legislatures.”

The  Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has also released a statement about the shooting in Wisconsin. You can read it here.

ladd callout

Syria News - Aug 6

Rape survivor assaulted by TSA

At a travel chat forum called FlyerTalk, a member named “brennandunn” has posted a thread detailing his and his wife’s experience at the hands of the TSA in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  READ THE REST HERE.

Take cover, she has a purse! by Philip Weber

Recognize this?  To a fashionista it’s a “knuckle-clasp clutch.” To the TSA it’s a potential weapon.

Rights of Demonstrators in Palestine

  Rights of Demonstrators in Palestine

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Last September, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) published an "Informational Pamphlet for Demonstrators in the Occupied Territories."

 

Olympic Security's Dual Motive: Conservative English Officials Ignore Lessons of 2011 Riots

 

By Linn Washington, Jr. 


One year after riots rocked 66 areas across England for five days in some of the worst disturbances in that nation’s history, the issue that initially ignited those disturbances – police abuse – remains an unresolved problem.

Beyond the Two-State Solution

Fast forward to 2048. The world is greatly changed, and in this year China invades France, occupying Paris and a good portion of the nation. The French are massacred, evicted, raped, chased, and terrorized. Towns are destroyed. Every town and village has its name changed to a Chinese name, and its prior existence erased from any history books produced from then forward.

Portions of France not yet under Chinese control shelter refugees by the millions. French citizens captured in their homes are held as "prisoners of war" and freed to become refugees in distant parts of France. China changes the name of its occupied areas from France to Chance. The remaining parts of the country are just referred to by their local (Chinese) names, as if they were part of no nation at all and yet somehow Chinese in the end.

Military Industrial Complex = the top opponent of all that is good & just

www.boilingfrogspost.com

Podcast Show #91: the Military Industrial Complex= the top opponent of all that is good & just

The Boiling Frogs Presents David Swanson

Author and peace activist David Swanson joins us to discuss our nation’s perpetual war status, the latest in the peace activists’ movement, and the disappearance of Anti-Republicans from peace movement since Barack Obama’s presidency. He talks about the need for overcoming Americans’ understanding of the war machine as a jobs engine and militarism as a normal way of life, and for broader understanding of the Military Industrial Complex as the top opponent of all that is good and just, broader-based opposition to not only domestic surveillance drones but also our killer drones abroad, and more!

David Swansonis an activist, blogger and author, and a founder of WarIsACrime.Org. He was press secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, is co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, and a board member of ProgressiveDemocrats of America, the Backbone Campaign, and Voters for Peace.  Mr. Swanson has authored several books including Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union,War Is A Lie, When the World Outlawed War, and The Military Industrial Complex at 50. To learn more about David Swanson visit http://davidswanson.org

Here is our guest David Swanson unplugged!http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2012/08/06/podcast-show-91-the-military-industrial-complex-the-top-opponent-of-all-that-is-good-just/

Sibel Edmonds

Here we go again: TSA shuts down another terminal by Wendy Thomson

There must be something about Newark. Once again there was a shut-down due to the TSA’s realizing, after the fact, that someone had gotten through its vaunted “20 layers of security” without a “proper” screening. More than 100 flights were canceled because of a left-behind suitcase.

Death Squad Atrocities in Syria

  Death Squad Atrocities in Syria

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Since early 2011, Washington waged proxy war on Syria. Daily it continues down and dirty. 

 

Targeting civilians is policy. So are atrocities grave enough to make some despots blush.

 

Targeting Chavez

  Targeting Chavez

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Since taking office in February 1999, Chavez has been Washington's number one Latin American enemy.

 

He worries US officials for good reason. He's a powerful threat. He represents a good example. Venezuela's social democracy shames America's. Bolivarianism works. 

Iran War Weekly - August 5, 2012

Iran War Weekly

August 5, 2012

Hello All – Diplomacy and peace making are just about going, going, … almost gone from Syria’s civil war and the international stand-off over Iran’s nuclear program.  Nuclear negotiators from Iran and the European Union talked briefly (by phone) this week and agreed to get back in touch “later,” “at the end of the month,” etc.  The press release (dissected below) suggests that the US and its allies are content to see if and how sanctions affect Iran’s willingness to change its positions on its right to enrich uranium (not very likely).  Meanwhile, the Obama team sees the short-term importance of sanctions in terms of enhancing its re-election prospects, keeping the EU in line, Israel on the leash, and Mitt Romney off balance.

TSA: Who, us? People love us! by Philip Weber

TSA Deputy Administrator John Halinksi was called to Congress to testify before the Subcommittee on Transportation of the Committee on Homeland Security. 

READ THE REST HERE.

Day of Infamy at General Assembly

  Day of Infamy at General Assembly

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On August 3, The General Assembly ignored rule of law principles. Member states are sworn to uphold them. 

 

World Bank Opposes Palestinian Sovereignty

  World Bank Opposes Palestinian Sovereignty 

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Washington controls the World Bank. Current president Jim Yong Kim formerly was Dartmouth College president.

 

The World Bank and IMF were established to integrate developing nations into the Global North-dominated world economy. 

Brave Young Afghan Peace Workers Denied Visas to Speak in U.S., Please Write/Call

Many of you remember the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers (AYPV), a remarkable group of young people in Afghanistan who are working to create a peaceful future, through the teachings of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and others.  You may have been on, or heard of, the monthly Global Conference Calls for Peace, which has connected thousands of like-minded youth and activists around the world to discuss a vision of a world without war.  Guests of the Conference call have included Noam Chomsky.  Now two of the youth,Abdulhai and Ali, both 15, have been invited to speak to young peace activists and others in the US.

America a Democracy? Really?

By Dave Lindorff

This article was originally written forPressTV

We Americans are taught it in school. The propaganda put out by Voice of America repeats the idea ad nauseum around the globe. Politicians refer to it in every campaign speech with the same fervor that they claim to be running for office in response to God’s call: America is a model of democracy for the whole world.

But what kind of democracy is it really that we have here? 

Bazooka Economics

  Bazooka Economics

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Did he or didn't he? ECB president Mario Draghi promised "whatever it takes." Great expectations arose. August 2 was D-Day. 

 

Fizzle followed sizzle. Bazooka plans stalled. More on Draghi's pronouncement below and what it means.

Mad Dog Leaders Threaten Humanity

  Mad Dog Leaders Threaten Humanity

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

A common thread defines Obama and Netanyahu. Their agenda threatens humanity. Both head modern-day Spartas.

 

Israel is very much involved in Washington's war on Syria. At issue is destroying another independent state, murdering thousands, planning more wars, and threatening the entire region and beyond.

Tenth Anniversary of John Yoo/Alberto Gonzales Torture Memos

Click to download image: share it on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
I’ve got to confess… when I connected to World Can’t Wait in 2006, some prisoners at Guantanamo had been tortured for four years. I had other things on my mind and, probably more important, people to blame for the crimes of our government.

The blame game was easy, and disguised responsibility for the evil being done in my name. But it didn’t close Guantanamo. Or release survivors of that hellhole. 

Iraq: Britain's War Against Truth

http://dissidentvoice.org/2012/08/iraq-britains-war-against-truth/#more-45399

   Iraq: Britain’s War Against Truth

I think most people who have dealt with me think I am a pretty straight sort of guy, and I am.

— Tony Blair, November 2007

In the last several days, the shreds of Britain’s threadbare claim to democracy have been ripped away.

The refusal by the current Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government to disclose documents integral to the decision to join the US in invading, occupying, destroying and dismantling the entire civil authority and infrastructure of the very State of Iraq, follows their Labour predecessors, the invasion’s co-architects.

The Iraq Inquiry findings under Sir John Chilcot’s Chairmanship will now be delayed for over another year.

Voter ID Laws Expose GOP Vote Fraud Scheme

 

By Linn Washington


Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, the same conservative Republican who recently cut 70,000 from receiving their meager welfare payments in order to cut government costs, is ready to spend millions of bucks to implement a voter suppression scheme that evidence indicates is a blatant partisan measure designed to help Mitt Romney gain a presidential election victory.

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