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Imperial Hubris

A Review of The Pentagon Labyrinth

By Werther

Electric Politics, March 6, 2011 12:33 PM

http://www.electricpolitics.com/2011/03/imperial_hubris.html

* Werther is the pen name of a Northern Virginia-based defense analyst.

In a recent radio interview, the British historian Timothy Garton Ash stated that his overall impression of the United States was one of dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit, such as in the Silicon Valley. But Washington, D.C., he said, reminded him of Moscow in the former Soviet Union.

In the context of the interview, he probably intended that as a criticism of the U.S. capital as being stagnant, status quo, and wedded to obsolete theories. But in a more pointed way he may not have consciously meant, it is equally true that Washington is remarkably like late-Brezhnev era Moscow in the sense of being very visibly the capital of a garrison state. With its billboard adverts for fighter aircraft in local Metro stations, radio spots recruiting for “the National Clandestine Service,” its ubiquitous Jersey Wall checkpoints, and its electronic freeway signs admonishing motorists to report suspicious activity (whatever that may be), the District of Columbia quite accurately simulates the paranoid atmosphere of a cold war era capital of Eastern Europe, say, East Berlin or Bucharest, albeit at two orders of magnitude greater cost.

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President Obama has done nothing to secure our borders. More illegals are being deported under his watch, but that is the result of higher security efforts imposed after 9-11, like E-verify. Read this alarming story about thousands of poor, unskilled people from India surging across the Mexican border into Texas. Hundreds have been caught, then were released and promptly disappeared into the USA, even though they had no ID and came from a region near Pakistan. Don’t think most Republicans really want to stop the cheap labor flow either. Border security was one of the first things the GOP cost cutters slashed.

Obama has failed to even try to boost the minimum wage, despite campaign promises. Minimum wage is 50% lower than in the 1960s, which means that millions of full-time working Americans don’t earn enough to live in their own efficiency apartment, much less pay for an “insured” car, health care, or a family. If you want to help the working poor, reduce welfare, discourage illegal immigration, and improve service throughout the private sector, you should support boosting the minimum wage to a livable $10 an hour. Ignore constant corporate propaganda that boosting the minimum wage increases unemployment, which has been disproved by every legitimate study. Anyone who has worked for minimum wage knows they are the most essential workers. It’s not like MacDonald’s has a couple of extra workers loitering around in the back who would be laid off if they were forced to raise wages to a livable level. Here is my old SRA article on mass immigration from July 25, 2007 that remains relevant:

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As I have been saying the solutions are there to bring our country back to strength.  One of them is reforming the tax code into a national sales tax called here Value Added Tax. Major economists have all told the government how fair this is, and how much more the government would bring in. The issue, no one at the political level wants to lead on this one. As always, lack of leadership.

Don

Does The U.S. Really Have A Fiscal Crisis?

By Simon Johnson, The Baseline Scenario, 24 February 2011

http://baselinescenario.com/2011/02/24/does-the-u-s-really-have-a-fiscal-crisis/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BaselineScenario+%28The+Baseline+Scenario%29

The United States faces some serious medium-term fiscal issues, but by any standard measure it does not face an immediate fiscal crisis. Overindebted countries typically have a hard time financing themselves when the world becomes riskier – yet turmoil in the Middle East is pushing down the interest rates on US government debt. We are still seen as a safe haven.

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Why should the American public sacrifice when these worthless crooks get away with murder? I support what the leaders in governors of Wisconsin and N. Jersey are doing, but there job is even harder, harder for any leader with moral courage to start fixing our problems when greedy bastards get away with crimes as bad as Wall Street firms involvement in mortgage scandals a few years ago that took the nation and globe into a nose drive. I just don’t understand why most of our political leaders are so self serving in the face of all the major issues we face today. Now, don’t even mention having again to face our addictiion to oil??

Don

Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?

Financial crooks brought down the world’s economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them

Matt Taibbi. Rolling Stone,

16 February 2011

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-isnt-wall-street-in-jail-20110216?print=true

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The following introduction and essay are by two of my close friends and mentors, Franklin “Chuck” Spinney and Pierre Sprey. It talks about how we are not innovating, and continue to pour money down a black hole.

Don

President Obama says that restoring America’s competitiveness is one of his top priorities. Yet under his watch, deindustrialization, financialization, and globalization continue without interruption. Many advocates of defense spending argue that spinoffs from the Pentagon’s R&D and high tech engineering practices are keys to reinvigorating America’s manufacturing economy. For whatever reasons, Mr. Obama shows no intention of reining in defense spending by anything more than a cosmetic amount, even though the defense budget is higher now that at any time since the end of WWII (after removing the cumulative effect of 60 years of inflation), and despite the fact that the United States is spending about as much on defense as the rest of the world combined. Let us hope Obama has not bought into the bogus arguments that spending more on defense will be good for restoring competitiveness in the manufacturing sector of the American economy.

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Yes their regimes are repressive. But, the real reason the people are demonstrating and beginning to revolt is unfortunately, a flavor to come. They are doing so because their populations have far outstripped resources, especially in Egypt. The government there, to keep the people quiet gave jobs to the educated, and free grain to the masses. But, then never address family planning. It, like us, wants to live in fantasy world of unlimited, but irresponsible population growth will be maintain by technology. Well that dream is coming to an end.

This is the problem with the other nations as well, instead of facing reality, they keep dreaming.

My prediction is this will only get worse when fuel prices go up so far to keep food deliveries from happening. Another case of leaders ignoring the problem instead of having the moral courage to address it (unlike China). Of course, our nation’s leaders and elite continue to live in the 1700 and 1800s where the never ending frontier and resources allowed everyone to avoid hard issues and solutions, and just keep grabbing more. As a result of this poor leadership, we are all going to suffer. The population is now reading 7 billion, and unless our nation begins to address it, at current consumption rates, there is going to be a lot of upheaval.

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Bill Hartung’s new book, Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex, reveals information that redefines the term “Military-Industrial Complex.” His C-SPAN Book TV interview with Pierre Sprey, and Pierre’s 50+ years of experience as a close and perceptive observer of the “MIC,” reveals even more. Some of it is horrifying; some of it is disgusting. See a podcast of the Hartung-Sprey conversation at the C-SPAN Book TV web site at http://www.booktv.org/Program/12175/After+Words+William+Hartung+Prophets+of+War+hosted+by+Pierre+Sprey.aspx Look for “Watch This Program” on the right. Book Notes describes the broadcast as follows: In “Prophets of War,” William Hartung presents the history of the largest military contractor in U.S. history, Lockheed Martin. Mr. Hartung argues that with 25 billion dollars annually in Defense Department contracts, Lockheed Martin’s reach into American life is extensive and largely unknown, including creation of satellites used to spy on the phone calls of American citizens. He discusses the company’s size, scope and influence with Pierre Sprey, father of the A-10 and F-16 military aircraft.

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