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Military Industrial Complex
By Ann Wright
Yesterday, August 24, 2011, sirens wailed for citizens to come to the main gate of the Naval Base in Kang Jeong Village on Jeju Island, South Korea where the Korean Navy wants to continue construction of a naval base for 18 ships and a 2 submarines in an area that will destroy a pristine shoreline and endanger marine life. Local villagers and activists from the mainland of South Korea have struggled for five years to prevent the construction of the base.
Sirens signal an emergency-the mayor and four activists are arrested
Journalists from ThisCantBeHappening! took on the Philadelphia Inquirer, the nation’s third oldest surviving daily, this morning, conducting a leafletting “happening” in front of the paper’s soon-to-be-sold headquarters building on Broad Street.
A one-page flyer, written in old English and featuring a replica of the masthead of Benjamin Franklin’s original one-page broadsheet, the Pennsylvania Gazette, accused the oft re-sold and steadily downsized and gutted Inquirer of abandoning its Fourth Estate role in favor of entertainment and profits.
The Military Industrial Complex at 50 is adding speakers and participants.
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Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy. Mr. Naiman edits the Just Foreign Policy daily news summary and writes on U.S. foreign policy at Huffington Post. Naiman has worked as a policy analyst and researcher at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. He has masters degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Illinois and has studied and worked in the Middle East.
Dave Norris is the Mayor of Charlottesville. He was the Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Blue Ridge until June 2011. Norris has been employed as Executive Director of PACEM, the Associate Director of Madison House, the Interim Director of PHAR (the Public Housing Association of Residents, and the former Chairman of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.
From the Public Record
By Chris Rodda
When the average American thinks of military spending on religion, they probably think only of the money spent on chaplains and chapels. And, yes, the Department of Defense (DoD) does spend a hell of a lot of money on these basic religious accommodations to provide our troops with the opportunity to exercise their religion while serving our country. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the DoD’s funding of religion.
Also paid for with taxpayer dollars are a plethora of events, programs, and schemes that violate not only the Constitution, but, in many cases, the regulations on federal government contractors, specifically the regulation prohibiting federal government contractors receiving over $10,000 in contracts a year from discriminating based on religion in their hiring practices.
By Bruce E Levine
The majority of Americans oppose the U.S. government’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and believe that defense spending is the area that must be cut to reduce the federal deficit. However, many of us feel powerless to stop the ever-increasing bombings, invasions, and occupations of nations which pose no threat to us. Most of us have acquiesced to the “military-industrial complex” (a term coined by Dwight Eisenhower, who devoted his farewell address in 1961 to its “grave implications”). Having worked with abused people for more than 25 years, it does not surprise me to see that when we as individuals or as a society eat crap for too long, we become psychologically too weak to take action.
RIP: America's Anti-War Movement - by Stephen Lendman
On August 8, the libertarian Reason Foundation (RF) asked about the absence of anti-war sentiment in America, saying:
"The Obama administration is on pace to have more American soldiers killed in" Iraq and Afghanistan than Bush did in his first term.
David Swanson, author of War is a Lie, discusses “The Military Industrial Complex at 50” national conference in Charlottesville, VA from September 16-18; the paltry defense spending cuts decried by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as a “doomsday mechanism” that will endanger national security; how Swanson helped turn former Congressman Bill Delahunt against the wars; and Paul Krugman’s half-serious plan to boost the economy by preparing for an alien invasion.
MP3 here. (12:54)
David Swanson is Co-Founder of WarIsACrime.org (formerly After Downing Street), creator of ProsecuteBushCheney.org, Washington Director of Democrats.com and a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, the Backbone Campaign, Voters for Peace and the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution. He was the press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and worked three years as communications coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
Leon Panetta, who holds the position that we used to more usefully call "Secretary of War," makes a weak case. Panetta considers $350 billion over 10 years, or $35 billion per year, to be serious cuts to the national security budget. But consider the budger from which that is to be cut. It includes, each year, about $545 billion for the "base" military budget, at least $200 billion extra each year for wars (Panetta uses Afghanistan and Libya as reasons not to cut spending, and Congress has never yet appropriated a dime for Libya), $71 billion for "Homeland" security, $19 billion for nuclear weapons, $8 billion for a miscellaneous Pentagon slush fund, $53 billion (that we know of) for spying and secret operations agencies, $129 billion for veterans, $18 billion for military "aid" and other foreign affairs, $68 billion for pensions, $185 billion for debt interest, and additional major budgets for the State Department and U.S.A.I.D. (Panetta has also cited the State Dept. as a concern.)
In other words, we're talking about subtracting $35 billion from well over a trillion. That's a cut of less than 3.5 percent.
China spends about $114 billion per year on its military. No other nation spends anything remotely close to that. Let's generously assume there are enough hidden costs in China's budget to double it to $228 billion. And let's assume that we must spend twice as much as they do, because . . . well, just because we're we and they're they. Now we're at $456 billion. How do we get from there to Panetta describing a U.S. security budget of $965 billion as the lowest we can safely go, and a budget of $950 billion as "doomsday"? Is the danger here really and truly to the people of this country? Or is it the threat to the profits of the weapons makers that has Panetta panicking? Does that motivation also explain the Pentagon's desire to cut benefits to troops rather than weaponry?
To pay by check, indicate clearly that it is for this conference and exactly what you are registering for, and send, tax-deductible, to
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P.O. Box 2012
Charlottesville, VA 22902
China just launched a refitted Ukrainian aircraft carrier from the 1990s on its first test run -- and that’s what the only projected "great power" enemy of the U.S. has to offer for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, the U.S. Navy has 11 aircraft carrier task forces to cruise the seven seas and plans to keep that many through 2045. Like so much else, when it comes to the American military, all comparisons are ludicrous. In any normal sense, the United States stands alone in military terms. Its expenditures make up almost 50% of global military spending; it dominates the global arms market; and it has countless more bases, pilotless drones, military bands, and almost anything else military you’d care to mention than does any other power.
In other words, comparisons can’t be made. The minute you try, you’re off the charts. And yet, in purely practical terms, when you take a shot at measuring what the overwhelming investment of American treasure in the military, the U.S. intelligence community, the Department of Homeland Security, and the rest of our national security establishment has actually bought us, you come up with a series of wars and conflicts headed nowhere and a series of post-9/11 terror attacks generally so inept it hardly mattered whether they were foiled or not.
Still, when it comes to cutting the U.S. national security budget, none of this seems to matter. The Pentagon “cuts” presently being discussed in Washington are largely in projected future growth, not in real funds (which continue to rise) -- and even then, the Pentagon and its many boosters in Washington are already crying bloody murder. Give some credit for all this to the giant weapons makers and to the military itself: both have so carefully tied military-related jobs into so many state economies that few congressional representatives could afford to vote for the sorts of real cutbacks that would bring perhaps the most profligate institution on the planet to heel and yet still leave the country as the globe’s military giant. You want, for instance, to cut back on that absolutely crucial Navy acrobatic flying team, the Blue Angels. (What would we all do without dramatic military flyovers at our major and minor sporting events?) Count on it, hotel keepers in Florida will be on the phone immediately! Add in the veneration of American soldiers and you have a fatal brew when it comes to serious budget cutting.
How Safe Are You?
What Almost $8 Trillion in National Security Spending Bought You
By Chris Hellman
The killing of Osama Bin Laden did not put cuts in national security spending on the table, but the debt-ceiling debate finally did. And mild as those projected cuts might have been, last week newly minted Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was already digging in his heels and decrying the modest potential cost-cutting plans as a "doomsday mechanism” for the military. Pentagon allies on Capitol Hill were similarly raising the alarm as they moved forward with this year’s even larger military budget.
By David Swanson with Shepherd Johnson
The U.S. military is a permanent and pervasive presence in Virginia. Were the state of Virginia to ban participation in wars of aggression, weapons sales to brutal dictatorships, and the manufacture of aggressive and illegal weapons, the Military Industrial Complex would be obliged to help itself to many billions of public dollars just to cover the cost of moving operations to the other 49 states or abroad.
The Pentagon and all of its surrounding weapons corporation headquarters are in Virginia. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff lives in Quarters Six at Fort Myer in Arlington. The Army and Air Force chiefs of staff live on "Generals Row," also in Fort Myer.
Norfolk is home to the world's largest naval base. NATO is there too. And through this month, so is the United States Joint Forces Command.
The Pentagon lost contact with the Falcon HTV-2 as it attempted to conduct a hypersonic test flight over the Pacific Ocean.
After successfully launching from Vandenberg Air Force base in California, the HTV-2 separated from the Minotaur IV rocket at a sub-orbital altitude and began its return to Earth.
Two blocks from my house in a nondescript little building on the edge of our residential neighborhood is an office with a small sign reading "DVBIC of Charlottesville" which turns out to mean "Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center."
Now, I'm in favor of caring for people with brain injuries. Heck, I wish we had universal comprehensive health coverage like other countries do. But it disturbs me how difficult it is in this country to get any distance away from the military. It's almost certainly closer to you than your relatives' homes.
The deal worked out to allow a rise in the debt ceiling gives us our first real chance in more than a decade to make significant cuts to our country’s out-of-control war budget, but we are going to have to fight for them. The war industry is already deploying their favorite kind of stealth weapon on Capitol Hill to protect their profits: money and influence.
The Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 is part of a program that would deliver a military strike anywhere in the world in less than an hour.
A Minotaur IV is launched at Vandenberg Air Force Base. A similar rocket will carry the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2. (Senior Airman Andrew Satran/U.S. Air Force / April 22, 2010)
September 2011 - One morning in June 2001, three months before the 9/11 attacks on the United States, I happened to be interviewing a senior official from the British Secret Intelligence Service, M.I.6. His current focus was the war on drugs, not international terrorism, but he shared a piece of information that united the two subjects.
A short time earlier, the official told me, the U.S. National Security Agency had intercepted a call between two satellite-telephone users in Afghanistan—the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. They had been discussing the Taliban’s ban on growing opium poppies, imposed the previous summer—a remarkably effective edict that had shrunk production in areas they controlled almost to zero.
A Conference on Moving Money from the Military to Human Needs -- http://micat50cville.org
Reserve your spot to attend this conference now! The fees increase after September 1st: Register.
Over 20 speakers will lead the discussion, planning, and organizing. Speakers will include retired Army Colonel Ann Wright, author Bruce Levine, retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and former Pentagon desk officer Karen Kwiatkowski, author Robert Jensen, international affairs analyst Helena Cobban, retired CIA officer Ray McGovern, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space Bruce Gagnon, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee Shahid Buttar, author and West Point graduate Paul Chappell, and many more. See additional speakers and agenda.
In Charlottesville, as around the country, increasingly the best place to look for a job is in the military-weapons-logistics-spying-reconstruction industry. There were 161 military contractors in Charlottesville taking in $919,914,918 through 2,737 contracts from the federal government between 2000 to 2010. And the trend is ever upward, the budget "crisis" notwithstanding.
This flood of money creates jobs less efficiently than investment in most other industries or even tax cuts. We are putting over half of every dollar of federal income tax and borrowing into the military. We could cut this by 85% and still be the top-spending nation in the world militarily. Meanwhile we are failing to invest in infrastructure, green energy, education, housing, jobs, and care for our young, old, and ill. The current trend will ruin us economically, as well as in terms of civil liberties, representative government, environmental destruction, social cohesion, hostile blowback, and weapons proliferation. Reining in the MIC has become a matter of survival.
We can and must turn this around!
Reserve your spot to attend this conference now! The fees increase after September 1st: Register.
The low registration fees (just $30 or $15 for students) are made possible by sponsorships and donations from those who are able.
Offer a guestroom in your Charlottesville home for one of our speakers or another participant from out of town.
Coming from out of town?
WHEN: September 16-18, 2011
- Friday, September 16, 2011, at the Haven, 112 W Market Street, Charlottesville, Va. Map.
- Saturday and Sunday, September 17 and 18, 2011, at The Dickinson Fine and Performing Arts Center at Piedmont Virginia Community College, 501 County Road 338, Charlottesville, Va. 22902-7589. Map.
WASHINGTON – The senior Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee says the biggest reason the United States is seeing its credit downgraded is that it spends too much money being "the military policemen of the world."
Rep. Barney Frank tells CBS's "The Early Show" that reining in defense spending is "going to be my mantra" for the next few months.
The liberal Massachusetts Democrat says $200 billion could be saved "without in any way endangering our security" by dialing back U.S. military involvement in the world, including operations in Western Europe. Frank says the military establishment has always had this "great momentum" in politics, but says the credit reversal "could change our thinking." Frank calls the military a logical target "if we're looking for something that breaks the mold" on spending.
President Barack Obama touted his debt ceiling deal Tuesday, saying, “We can’t balance the budget on the backs of the very people who have borne the biggest brunt of this recession.” Yet that is what he and his coterie of Wall Street advisers have done.
In the affairs of nations, Alexander Hamilton wrote in January 1790, “loans in times of public danger, especially from foreign war, are found an indispensable resource.” It was his first report as secretary of the treasury to the new Congress of the United States. The country had borrowed to fight the Revolutionary War, and Hamilton proposed a system of public debt to pay those loans.
The history of the U.S. national debt is inexorably tied to its many wars. The resolution this week of the so-called debt ceiling crisis is no different. Not only did a compliant Congress agree to fund President George W. Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with emergency appropriations; it did so with borrowed money, raising the debt ceiling 10 times since 2001 without quibbling.
So how did the Pentagon fare in the current budget battle? It looks like it did fine. Not to be confused with the soldiers and veterans who have fought these wars.
“This year is the 50th anniversary of [Dwight] Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex speech,” William Hartung of the Center for International Policy told me while the Senate assembled to vote on the debt ceiling bill. Speaking of the late general turned Republican U.S. president, Hartung said: “He talked about the need for a balanced economy, for a healthy population. Essentially, he’s to the left of Barack Obama on these issues.”
The Pentagon’s New Power Elite
By Nick Turse, Tom Dispatch
Somewhere on this planet an American commando is carrying out a mission. Now, say that 70 times and you’re done... for the day. Without the knowledge of the American public, a secret force within the U.S. military is undertaking operations in a majority of the world’s countries. This new Pentagon power elite is waging a global war whose size and scope has never been revealed, until now.
After a U.S. Navy SEAL put a bullet in Osama bin Laden’s chest and another in his head, one of the most secretive black-ops units in the American military suddenly found its mission in the public spotlight. It was atypical. While it’s well known that U.S. Special Operations forces are deployed in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and it’s increasingly apparent that such units operate in murkier conflict zones like Yemen and Somalia, the full extent of their worldwide war has remained deeply in the shadows.
Last year, Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post reported that U.S. Special Operations forces were deployed in 75 countries, up from 60 at the end of the Bush presidency. By the end of this year, U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told me, that number will likely reach 120. “We do a lot of traveling -- a lot more than Afghanistan or Iraq,” he said recently. This global presence -- in about 60% of the world’s nations and far larger than previously acknowledged -- provides striking new evidence of a rising clandestine Pentagon power elite waging a secret war in all corners of the world.
In this age of austerity, all the politicians are talking about the need for spending cuts. But when it comes to shared burdens and slashed budgets, don’t expect the Pentagon to start holding bake sales, despite what you may have heard about reductions to its obscenely bloated funding.
By John Grant
When the human waste of politics gets to piling up so deep you want to run screaming into the night, a good remedy is to fall back to the powerful historical minds and immerse yourself in some great writing. I ran into this dilemma last Sunday, after a morning of reading The New York Times about the continuing blackmail antics of Rep. John Boehner and Senator Mitch McConnell and their merry band of Teabag Republican cutthroats.
By Dave Lindorff
My wife Joyce and I were renting a car for the week this morning at a Hertz office just outside Philadelphia. There was a line of people either waiting to pick up a vehicle, or to return one.
The harried clerk behind the counter -- the only guy in the office -- was fielding calls while trying to serve the first guy in line, who was trying to rent a car for a vacation trip with his wife to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. No sooner would the poor clerk sit down at the computer to start typing in the information from the man’s driver’s license than the phone would ring -- a phone that was located on a desk in a cubicle behind him, requiring him to get up and run around to the back cubicle.
The man at the counter, and others in the line, sighed audibly.
Now over a decade with two wars of choice and added to the previous decades of ignored issues and not fully funding the Veterans Administration, thus saving monies instead of increased costs to catchup with the needs, as to the results of our wars. Easier to lay blame on the agency rather then the country, the 99% who don't serve it, who collectively don't look in the mirror at their total lack of Sacrifice as they wave those flags!
Last night, 30 July 2011, the Congressional House (T)'s did exactly what many thought they would and now the Congressional Senate (T)'s, going into their oft used filibuster, follow the Houses lead, and their Supporters Cheer, a day after this: