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Guns or Butter

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Today is Thanksgiving, a day to celebrate and to be thankful for all
that we have been given; but it is not a memory wipe. It is a year which
finds me living in my fourth state in a year but I am in a good place, I
now have a home. We are a good people, badly led and badly misled. We
live in a beautiful and bounteous land in which millions upon millions
of our own citizens can no longer earn enough to survive in it and yet,
that is not considered a national crisis.

It has been 365 days which have seen no improvement in employment or in
wages only a continued manipulation of the numbers. A year which has
seen Barack Obama re-selected for a second term of office, but only
because the alternative was so heinous as to be unthinkable. This is
America's twelfth thanksgiving at war, tens of thousands of our service
people will spend this holiday overseas protecting Europe from a Soviet
Union which no longer exists. Protecting corporate interests in
Colombia, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates and
dozens of other countries, protecting America from the blow back we
ourselves cause.

The United States of America has decided to build 183 F- 22 Raptor
fighter planes at a projected cost of $66.7 billion. Originally, the
plan was to build 750 of these state of the art aircraft which was
scaled back to 381 copies in 2006 and now down to 183 aircraft. The air
force warned that cutting back the number of aircraft produced increased
the per unit cost. I suppose that is so, only, there aren't any
potential adversaries which would demand its capabilities, nor can the
plane be exported like the B-2 bomber, it is a 21st century dreadnaught.

Meanwhile, funding continues of the F35 Joint Strike fighter which is
expected to be the workhorse of the fighter command. Despite a down
economy, despite twenty millions of Americans out of work Congress
continued to allocate nearly half a billion dollars until 2010 for a
second source engine program for this aircraft. How many times have you
been down at the old used car lot and asked the salesman, "She's a nice
Ford pick up truck alright, but what if I need a new engine and Ford
can't supply one? Is there another engine available, from another
manufacturer, off the shelf?"

Initial cost estimates of the F-35 Joint Strike fighter began at $89
million per copy in 2006 escalating to $207.6 million per copy in 2011.
When the R&D is included the cost rise to $304.15 million for the 32
aircraft delivered. The Air Force estimates over the programs lifetime
to cost the American tax payer to be over one trillion dollars. The old
expression goes, "a camel is a horse designed by a committee" and the
F-35 is an aircraft designed by a Pentagon committee. It does
everything, for everybody and costs be damned, this is Buck Rogers
stuff.

The F-35A is the lightest version of the air craft designed the Air
Force, but its smaller wing design means less fuel economy for this
Hummer of the sky.

The F-35B is the Marine version designed for vertical take off and
landings like a Harrier, but it sacrifices a third of its range to do
its one slick trick.

The F- 35 C is the Navy variant of this flying leopard skinned Ferrari
fighter plane. The F-35 C has a larger wing with foldable tips for low
speed flight as well as a stronger landing gear and of course, a tail
hook, for carrier landings.

In December of 1992, US President George H. W. Bush signed the North
American Free Trade Act. In 1994, his successor Bill Clinton signed the
treaty into law. Clearly, the deindustrialization of the United States
is a bi partisan issue. Factories known as Maquiladoras along the
Mexican border have expanded by 15 percent forcing US workers to compete
with workers wages below the US minimum wage.

In 2010 alone, the US goods trade deficit with NAFTA countries expanded
by 36.4% over 2009. US foreign investment in NAFTA countries was $357.7
billion in 2009 up nearly 9 percent from a year before. Over the past
decade American meat processors have routinely advertised job openings
in Mexican newspapers.

61 Percent of net material exports to Mexico are products which will be
assembled and or finished only to be returned to the US market.
According to an Economic Institute's policy study, nearly half a million
well paid manufacturing jobs have disappeared to Mexico since 2006.
Despite the devastating effects on American workers and on American
families BOTH major political parties encourage, promote and support
these trade policies.

One of the key but little discussed factors in these Free Trade
agreements are the legal status they give to international corporations.
Once implemented, corporations have the legal status to sue your
government on an equal footing. The government which you went to the
polls and elected have given away your rights to fill their own pockets.
Under the provisions of the Colombian Free Trade agreement, tariffs on
heavy equipment imported into Colombia from the US will be eliminated.
Rather than Free Trade it is more like price fixing, by giving American
corporations a 15% pricing advantage over Asian manufacturers.

Colombia is currently running a ten billion dollars in trade debt while
the Mexican trade deficit is over eleven billion dollars, despite
exporting 1.3 million barrels of oil per day.

"US business firms enjoy greater flexibility than their counterparts in
Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, to lay
off surplus workers, and to develop new products. At the same time, they
face higher barriers to enter their rivals' home markets than foreign
firms face entering US markets." -- CIA World Fact Book

From the US State Department budget FY 2013;

Aid for Afghanistan: $4.6 billion

Iraq: $4.8 billion

Pakistan: $2.4 billion

Provides $8.2 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations to support the
extraordinary and temporary costs of civilian led programs and missions
in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

$5.1 billion in military assistance to ongoing partnerships world wide:

$3.1 Billion for Israel

$1.3 Billion for Egypt

$300 million for Jordan

"Improving governance, creating economic opportunity, supporting civil
society is vital to solidifying our military gains and advancing our
political and diplomatic goals."-Secretary Clinton, June 2011

All Grant Aid, All Types, All Programs 1996 -- 2012

Colombia - $ 6,868,981,338

Mexico - $ 2,105,107,741

"In 2010 and 2011, the federal budget deficit reached nearly 9% of GDP;
total government revenues from taxes and other sources are lower, as a
percentage of GDP, than that of most other developed countries. The wars
in Iraq and Afghanistan required major shifts in national resources
from civilian to military purposes and contributed to the growth of the
US budget deficit and public debt." -- CIA World Fact Book

Twenty percent of all children in this country live in poverty; sixteen
percent of all seniors live in poverty. Forty nine million American
struggle to put food on their tables and fifty percent of all Americans
will live in poverty at some point in their lives.

Our public schools are being shuttered, as our roads and bridges crumble
and yet our government tells us we must make even more budget cuts
still to come. Cuts which will put more Americans in jeopardy, closing
more schools, leaving more Americans without, but do you understand what
the government saying? These so called Free Trade deals cut the revenue
coming into the treasury; they benefit the few at the expense of the
many. Likewise, tax cuts which have been promoted as generating jobs,
and they have been successful, they do generate jobs. Locked arm in arm
with the trade deals they generate tens of thousands of jobs, in places
such as China and Mexico and Colombia.

They generate jobs anywhere corporations can achieve a co-equal status
with government. Anywhere workers can be silenced with a truncheon a
club or a gun. Anywhere health care includes suicide nets to keep
workers from throwing themselves out open windows. Anywhere they can be
made to work for less than a living wage.

These policies create cheap goods which are far from inexpensive. They
create unemployment and poverty here at home. They create the need for
trillion dollar Air Force programs and carrier fleets to protect the
private corporate empires. These polices require our service people to
be stationed all over the world, not to promote peace, but to protect
pipelines and private assets. Our government does this in our name.
"Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to
the top 20% of households. Since 1996, dividends and capital gains have
grown faster than wages or any other category of after-tax income." --
CIA World Fact Book

Today is Thanksgiving, a day to celebrate and to be thankful for all that we have been given; but it is not a memory wipe.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired
signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not
fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not
spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the
genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way
of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is
humanity hanging on a cross of iron." -- Dwight Eisenhower

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the
growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the
democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of
government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private
power." -- Franklin Roosevelt

"Fascism is capitalism plus murder." -- Upton Sinclair

 

I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that I (more...)
 

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Happy Thanksgiving!... by Jill Herendeen on Thursday, Nov 22, 2012 at 10:16:06 PM
one of them,... by David Glenn Cox on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 7:38:27 AM
2 more, my wife and I. Great country! Another cann... by James Hadstate on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 6:45:47 PM