Perry Glasser

Posts Tagged ‘military spending’

THE END OF THE AMERICAN CENTURY

In Business, Economics, Economy, EDUCATION, Finance, MILITARY, Personal Finance, Politics, Wall Street on August 12, 2011 at 10:00 am

In the long run, we’ll all be dead – John Maynard Keynes

We owe a debt to the future; we must act in the present; our only compass is the past.

Gather round readers, as Dollar$ kicks back, pours another Woodford (one ice cube, thanks) and contemplates the melancholy long view.  The floor is littered with newspapers making dire comparisons. Is the  economic crisis of 2011 a continuation of the economic crisis of 2008?  ( when Dollar$ began.)  Iin 2008, the same pundits asked, Are we still in the  throes of the Internet Bubble-Bust of 1999?

Terrified of the Military

Fact is, the US economy is in a downward spiral for nearly a generation, a spiral accelerated by Wizards and Buccaneers. The pity is that the causes are well known. The criminal fact is that our Weasel leaders could act, but will not.

We are sticking to the initial mission or Dollar$,  as Noam Chomsky put it in 1967, “It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies.” I don’t always agree with the professor on details, but that sentiment is irrefutable. I was a college boy when I read it The New York Review of Books. It still sounds right.

American Political Concern

Dollar$ asks readers who recite a daily mantra for positivism and munch  mood enhancers rather than look at reality, those who withdraw to the very private, very definite pleasures of gardens, grandchildren, video games, zombie movies, or the happy falsehoods of self-help books and memoirs where harried women travel the world, eat brown rice, and settle down to bliss with a swarthy Brazilian, to consider that pharmacological peace and self-induced blindness is immoral.

Inaction mortgages the future by tolerating the Weasels who borrow money our children can never hope to repay.

THE AMERICAN CENTURY

The American century began with the end of World War I. In Europe, a generation of young men lay dead in trenches on the Eastern and Western fronts, while North America remained unscathed, the only country in the world with the resources and infrastructure to grow to be an economic superpower.

The peace was botched. Twenty-five years later, the war resumed, this time a true world conflagration, different from the first installment of a World War because technology had advanced to enable  civilian populations to be slaughtered.  The dead piled up in London, Dresden, Stalingrad, Hiroshima.

But not in North America.

It’s important to note that in the subsequent peace, Germany and Japan were forbidden to arm themselves.  Consequence? Despite being in ashes, Japan and Germany rose to become the second and third most formidable economic powers in the world.

At the same time, the United States began 70 years of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, a “cold war” that became brush fire avatar wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Israel, and Afghanistan.  The ruling notion of American policy was MAD — Mutual Assured Destruction. We closed missile gaps, launched spy satellites, manufactured warheads, deployed Star Wars defense systems, and set nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers into every ocean of the world.

None of that weaponry has ever been deployed against any foe with similar capabilities. We DID get some Navy Seal snipers to drop some sorry-ass Somali pirates, but we never went as far as kicking the ass of the ports from which  they set sail in rubber boats.  This is like killing mosquitoes with baseball bats–it can be done, but why would you? and why not drain the swamp from which they came?

The Soviet Union collapsed, unable to afford competing with the US military. Its citizen on bread lines, those citizens dissolved that union into a half dozen warring states based on regional and long-standing ethnic identities, now at each other’s throats in Chechnya and the former components of Yugoslavia.

RECENT ADVENTURES

Lacking any real foe, since the fall of the Soviet Union the US has invented a few. Instead of the kind of enlightened leadership that made the lives of people in Germany and Japan trading partners by depriving them of the military parasite, we have pursued policies that have created Islamic fundamentalistsintent on inflicting harm upon us.

They fight with bombs in their underwear, hijacked airplanes, box cutters, and bombs in their shoes. They finance their war effort with oil money from sympathetic states or from the proceeds of poppy fields. As a matter of policy, the US does not firebomb the sources of heroin that poison our youth; as a matter of policy, we support medieval kingdoms like Saudi Arabia; as a matter of policy, we turn a blind eye to Pakistan that harbors enemy leadership in wifi and porno-equipped mansions.

All so the United States can continue to feed the tapeworm on the body politic, the US military.  What’s our purported  justification?

Well, we engage wars to pre-empt the use of weapons of mass destruction, find none, hang Saddam, and then hang around for a decade or more defending no real or imagined American interest.

We prosecute a war at a cost of billions in Afghanistan to find and bring to justice the leader of the Taliban, find him with the aid of intelligence, kill him by deploying 20 or so brave, well-trained men, and then hang around more defending no real or imagined American interest.

US military expenditures account for 43% of all military spending IN THE WORLD. Do you think we could do with half of that?

We have no bread lines yet, but 10% of Americans are unemployed. Cities in the United Kingdom are burning because idle youth see no opportunities. At home, our policy makers debate how to afford senior citizens who persist on living too long, and how much we must reduce compensating the teachers who train our most important asset, youth.

WHAT NOW?

  • Drop your Prozac.
  • Get pissed off.
  • Organize.
  • Circulate this note.
  • Circulate notes like it.

Change the national dialogue from “entitlements” to  military expenditures.

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SHOOT THE MESSENGER – S&P DOWNGRADES US

In Business, Economics, Economy, Finance, Personal Finance, Politics, Wall Street on August 8, 2011 at 11:00 am

The Weasels and Wizard coalition is taking a hit on the stock market, so bad that the Buccaneers are feeling the pinch. My God, what if bonuses this year at Goldman’s are less than $500,000? Will we have to sell the place in the Hamptons so Junior can pay for Yale?  Doesn’t anyone understand what is at risk here?

Member of the US House

Naturally, the Weasels first response is to point at the Wizards, which is why the Sunday morning talking heads on TV were all about how irresponsible Standard & Poor’s. When you do not like the message, shoot the messenger.

Plenty of analysts out there will tell you what you should or should not do to protect your kid’s college funds or your retirement funds, but since Dollar$ has a clouded Crystal Ball and our Magic 8-Ball is in the shop, we will take the opportunity every Citizen should, which is to send a message to the Weasel crowd to stop covering its own ass and get serious.

Top economist for S&P

Dollar$ points out that foreign adventures are projected to cost us more than $3 trillion  with no hope of ROI, yet if you read the rhetoric spewing out of the mouths of some of our fulminating conservative leadership and talk radio Percocet junkies, the US is being bankrupted by teachers, who insist on decent wages for working with our most important asset, youth, and pesky senior citizens who are living too long.

Crap.

Anyone in the US smarter than a carrot knows it is crap.

Smarter than a Weasel

Any discussion of what we can afford, not afford, and what we need to borrow now to do now but must pay for later that omits military spending is going to get us further in the hole.

We are not buying security. Our security is not now at risk, and arguably never was. We have spent a decade making war on shepherds and goatherds in Iraq, hanged Saddam long ago, though we never found weapons of mass destruction.  In Afghanistan, we are fighting the Taliban, the same organization that defeated and bankrupted the Soviet Union. We found Bin Laden—hiding in plain sight in a porno-filled mansion in Pakistan, a mission accomplished with courage, training, and intelligence. If we are not firebombing the poppy fields that become heroin in the veins of people in Detroit, New York and every other American city, WTF are we doing in Afghanistan? Where is our national interest?

We fight a foe that fights back with bombs in its underwear while we contract Athlete’s Foot in airports.

Where we have tasted victory, we killed our enemy with intelligence and courageous men. Last weekend, we saw the consequences of leaving courageous men in harm’s way after their mission was accomplished.

Iraq is not a poor country—it has huge stocks of oil. Let’s get out of their way. If internal strife among warring tribes and sects will ensue, so be it. There is no evidence that an American military presence can change the enmities of hundreds of years. Would anyone care to try that with Hindu vs. Muslim populations in Asia? Arabs and Israelis? Muslim sects in Syria, Libya, Egypt?

Let’s go home and kiss girls in Times Square.

Military expenditures are the only entitlement that seems to not be on the table, ever. If you give $1 to a senior citizen, the citizen buys $1 worth of goods or services, which gets taxed, raises revenues, and goes out again in social programs and infrastructure that enhances US productivity. If you spend $1 on a helicopter, and that helicopter crashes and burns, not only do we lose brave men and women, we can only build another helicopter, a boon to military suppliers, parasites on the state, wholly worthless to the rest of us. It doesn’t even buy us security.

None of this criticizes brave soldiers doing their duty. What is criminal is that we are sending those brave men and women into harm’s way.