Why the Pentagon Gets So Much Money So Easily

Bracing Views

pent The five-sided puzzle palace on the Potomac is about to be flooded with new money

W.J. Astore

Over at Foreign Policy, there’s a good article on how the Pentagon gets so much money so easily.  Basically, the Pentagon complains about lack of “readiness” for war, and Congress caves.  But as the article’s author, Gordon Adams, notes, most of the boost in spending goes not to training and maintenance and other readiness issues but to expensive new weaponry:

But the big bucks, according to the Pentagon’s own briefing, will go into conventional military equipment. That means more F-35s and F-18s than planned, a new presidential helicopter, Navy surveillance planes and destroyers, Marine helicopters, space launch rockets, tank modifications, another Army multipurpose vehicle, and a joint tactical vehicle the Army, Marines, and Air Force can all use. Basically, the services will soon have shiny new hardware.

With its $160+ billion…

View original post 483 more words

Ajamu Baraka on Campaign to Shut Down US Foreign Military Bases

In Gaza

On January 22, 2018, I had the opportunity to speak with the well-respected, highly-informed, longtime rights activist and writer, Ajamu Baraka.

A human rights defender whose experience spans four decades of domestic and international education and activism, Ajamu Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles. Please see his extended bio on his website.

He was the 2016 Green Party vice presidential candidate, and is a lead organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace. Mr. Baraka is an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report, and also publishes at Black Commentator, Commondreams, Pambazuka, and Dissident Voice.

Related Links


View original post

A lioness of Palestine !


Poetry for Palestine

Fearsome and Awesome

Look at you… My beloved

Look at you

This little fist of yours

Slams before the world

The final word

This little fist of yours

Says it all


The sparkle in your eyes


Burns deep

Renders them to ashes;

Soulless shadows

Void of life

Void of love

Void of heart

Remnants of human beings

They wither away

Before your magnificence

They bow down

Lost… Defeated… Humiliated…

Drenched in shame

Humanity you embody

Dignity you teach

Wonders you inspire

Tall you stand, my sweetheart

Tall you stand

What mother of glory gave birth to you

O great daughter of Palestine

Your Tears

Your Pain

Your sacrifice

A Wake Up call

To a sleepy world

A zombie world

A beaten world

Who forgot what it means to be alive

Lift your fist

Shake your wrist

Move the world

Beloved daughter…

View original post 21 more words

The Doomsday Machine: The Madness of America’s Nuclear Weapons

Bracing Views

41zhRYUMyYLW.J. Astore

I just finished Daniel Ellsberg’s new book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.  Talk about hair-raising!  Ellsberg, of course, is famous for leaking the Pentagon papers, which helped to end the Vietnam war and the presidency of Richard Nixon as well.  But before Ellsberg worked as a senior adviser on the Vietnam war, he helped to formulate U.S. nuclear policy in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  His book is a shattering portrayal of the genocidal nature of U.S. nuclear planning during the Cold War — and that threat of worldwide genocide (or omnicide, a word Ellsberg uses to describe the death of nearly everything from a nuclear exchange that would generate disastrous cooling due to nuclear winter) persists to this day.

Rather than writing a traditional book review, I want to list some memorable facts and lessons I took from the book…

View original post 1,091 more words

Nine Rows of Ribbons!

Trading intellect for ribbons. Land of the Fee and Home of the Slave

Bracing Views

General Robert Neller, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, is in the news since he told Marines to get ready for a big fight.  This doesn’t really alarm me.  A military exists to be ready to fight, and the Marines place a premium on combat readiness.  No — what bothers me is the nine rows of ribbons General Neller is sporting on his uniform.

marine He may need a bigger chest for all those ribbons

And compared to the other services (Army, Navy, and Air Force), the Marines are usually the most reluctant to hand out ribbons freely.

I wrote about this back in 2007: why medals and metrics in the U.S. military mislead. A big offender back then was General David Petraeus, whose uniform was festooned with ribbons and badges of all kinds, most of them of the “been there” rather than “done that” variety.

Petraeus with Broadwell Petraeus: 10 rows…

View original post 155 more words

Reversing desertification with the Sahara Forest Project

Make Wealth History

The Sahara Forest Project has an intriguing premise. Start with things that we have in abundance – deserts, saltwater and CO2, and work with them to produce what we lack – food, fresh water and energy. It’s an idea I’ve read about before and wondered if it would ever come to anything, but this week a press release arrived in my inbox. The first Sahara Forest Project station has just launched in Aqaba, Jordan, and is now producing vegetables in one of the world’s most inhospitable landscapes.

The plan is to tap the desert heat to evaporate seawater, and use the process to maintain a consistent growing temperature inside a seawater-cooled greenhouse. The evaporated seawater then condenses as fresh water to irrigate the crops. There’s also enough water left over to grow desert plants and hedges outside, beginning the processes of restoring soil and reversing desertification.

It would be impossibly…

View original post 200 more words

Gigantic Iceberg Disintegrates as Concern Grows Over Glacier Stability, Sea Level Rise


The stability of a key Antarctic glacier appears to have taken a turn for the worse as a large iceberg that broke off during September has swiftly shattered. Meanwhile, scientists are concerned that the rate of sea level rise could further accelerate in a world forced to rapidly warm by human fossil fuel burning.

(Iceberg drifting away from the Pine Island Glacier rapidly shatters. Image source: European Space Agency.)

This week, a large iceberg that recently calved from West Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier rapidly and unexpectedly disintegrated as it drifted away from the frozen continent. The iceberg, which covers 103 square miles, was predicted to drift out into the Southern Ocean before breaking up. But just a little more than two months after calving in September, the massive chunk of ice is already falling apart.

The break-off and disintegration of this large berg has caused Pine Island Glacier’s ice…

View original post 518 more words