"It’s so easy to be wicked without knowing it, isn’t it?" – L. M. Montgomery
"It’s so easy to be wicked without knowing it, isn’t it?" – L. M. Montgomery
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Reuters reports: "When President Barack Obama cited cost as a reason to bring troops home from Afghanistan, he referred to a $1 trillion price tag for America’s wars.
"Staggering as it is, that figure grossly underestimates the total cost of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the U.S. Treasury and ignores more imposing costs yet to come, according to a study released on Wednesday.
"The final bill will run at least $3.7 trillion and could reach as high as $4.4 trillion, according to the research project ‘Costs of War’ by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies." See the study at http://costsofwar.org
CATHERINE LUTZ, Catherine_Lutz at brown.edu, http://costsofwar.org
Lutz is the project manager for the "Costs of War" study and a department chair at Brown University. She is also the author of numerous books on the U.S. military including "Breaking Ranks" and the "American 20th Century." Among the study’s findings:
* "While we know how many U.S. soldiers have died in the wars (just over 6000), what is startling is what we don’t know about the levels of injury and illness in those who have returned from the wars. New disability claims continue to pour into the VA, with 550,000 just through last fall. Many deaths and injuries among U.S. contractors have not been identified. …
* "At least 137,000 civilians have died and more will die in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan as a result of the fighting at the hands of all parties to the conflict. The armed conflict in Pakistan, which the U.S. helps the Pakistani military fight by funding, equipping and training them, has taken as many lives as the conflict in neighboring Afghanistan. Putting together the conservative numbers of war dead, in uniform and out, brings the total to 225,000. Millions of people have been displaced indefinitely and are living in grossly inadequate conditions. The current number of war refugees and displaced persons — 7,800,000 — is equivalent to all of the people of Connecticut and Kentucky fleeing their homes. …
* "The human and economic costs of these wars will continue for decades, some costs not peaking until mid-century. Many of the wars’ costs are invisible to Americans, buried in a variety of budgets, and so have not been counted or assessed. For example, while most people think the Pentagon war appropriations are equivalent to the wars’ budgetary costs, the true numbers are twice that, and the full economic cost of the wars much larger yet. Conservatively estimated, the war bills already paid and obligated to be paid are $3.2 trillion in constant dollars. A more reasonable estimate puts the number at nearly $4 trillion."
From: the Institute for Public Accuracy
A Wall Street Journal editorial obscured the fact that a Duke University study strongly suggested methane from a natural gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, contaminated water supplies.
"New technology can bring tremendous benefits to consumers, but it also can present new challenges. Mobile apps offered on cell phones and other portable devices such as tablets and music players can perform a range of consumer services such as locating the nearest retail stores, managing shopping lists, tracking family budgets, and allowing consumers to read news articles, play interactive games, and connect with family and friends. The FTC is making a concerted effort to ensure that consumers have the information they need about mobile apps, and is offering new information on OnGuardOnline.gov, the federal government’s website to help you be safe, secure and responsible on the Internet."
A new study sheds light on why non-veterans like Cheney and Limbaugh are such avid militarists
Salon http://www.salon.com/ …
By David Sirota
David Sirota is a best-selling author of the new book "Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now."…
June 29, 2011
Since at least the Iraq War if not earlier, chickenhawkery has been a hallmark of American politics. From the 101st Fighting Keyboarders to the professional Draft-Dodging Neoconservatives to the Self-Labeled "Liberal Hawks" who disproportionately populate Washington green rooms, our nation’s scowling legion of chickenhawks has sculpted a new archetype — that of the chest-thumping pundit/politician who aggressively demands others fight and die in wars, but who himself either refuses to enlist or fled the battlefield when his country called….
For years, chickenhawkery’s roots in this culture of unshared sacrifice have been a matter of theory — albeit a logical, well-grounded theory. But now, thanks to a comprehensive new study, we have concrete data underscoring the hypothesis. It suggests that many Americans’ aggressively pro-war ideology may fundamentally rely on their being physically shielded/disconnected from the human cost of war.
To document this connection, Columbia’s Robert Erikson and UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT BERKELEY’S LAURA STOKER went back to the Vietnam War — the last time Americans faced wartime conscription. The researchers analyzed data from the Jennings-Niemi Political Socialization Study of college-bound high schoolers and subsequent interviews of those same high-schoolers from 1965 onward. In the process, they discovered that men holding low draft lottery numbers (and therefore more at risk of being drafted into combat) "became more anti-war, more liberal, and more Democratic in their voting compared to those whose high numbers protected them from the draft." Importantly, for these men "lottery number was a stronger influence on their political outlook than their late-childhood party identification." That influence transcended previous party affiliation and made a permanent impact on their politics into adulthood.
"Men with vulnerable numbers show evidence of totally rethinking their partisanship in response to the threat of the draft," the researchers report. "Republicans in the group abandoned their party with unusual frequency, while even Democrats moved toward the independent category with slightly greater frequency than others."
By contrast, "for men with safe lottery numbers, the continuity of party identification" — and militarist ideology — "was relatively unaffected by the draft."…
Wall Street scandals. Fights over taxes. Racial resentments. A Lakers-Celtics championship. The Karate Kid topping the box-office charts. Bon Jovi touring the country. These words could describe our current moment—or the vaunted iconography of three decades past.
In this wide-ranging and wickedly entertaining book, New York Times bestselling journalist David Sirota takes readers on a rollicking DeLorean ride back in time to reveal how so many of our present-day conflicts are rooted in the larger-than-life pop culture of the 1980s—from the “Greed is good” ethos of Gordon Gekko (and Bernie Madoff) to the “Make my day” foreign policy of Ronald Reagan (and George W. Bush) to the “transcendence” of Cliff Huxtable (and Barack Obama).
Today’s mindless militarism and hypernarcissism, Sirota argues, first became the norm when an ’80s generation weaned on Rambo one-liners and “Just Do It” exhortations embraced a new religion—with comic books, cartoons, sneaker commercials, videogames, and even children’s toys serving as the key instruments of cultural indoctrination. Meanwhile, in productions such as Back to the Future, Family Ties, and The Big Chill, a campaign was launched to reimagine the 1950s as America’s lost golden age and vilify the 1960s as the source of all our troubles. That 1980s revisionism, Sirota shows, still rages today, with Barack Obama cast as the 60s hippie being assailed by Alex P. Keaton–esque Republicans who long for a return to Eisenhower-era conservatism.
“The past is never dead,” William Faulkner wrote. “It’s not even past.” The 1980s—even more so. With the native dexterity only a child of the Atari Age could possess, David Sirota twists and turns this multicolored Rubik’s Cube of a decade, exposing it as a warning for our own troubled present—and possible future.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumer confidence among Floridians declined for the fourth time in five months — falling to 66 in June — as the U.S. economy continues to sputter, according to a new University of Florida survey.