Chronicling the follies of religion and superstition, the virtues of skepticism, and the wonders of the real (natural) universe as revealed by science. Plus other interesting and educational stuff.
"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.
“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.
Looks like the Republicans are still sour that they weren’t the ones to nab Osama Bin Laden, because they’re grasping at the flimsiest of straws to attack Democrats on national security these days. (That or their corporate overlords are paying them overtime to say the dumbest things.)
The latest: Calling seven billion in potential defense cuts “Armageddon” or “a national security crisis”.
As much as I love Mother Jones it infuriates me that I don’t see major networks calling bullshit on the idiotic statements that senators and Pentagon officials make over necessary defense spending cuts that probably won’t even materialize anyway. Cutting a paltry seven billion dollars from a trillion dollar budget is hardly “the knowing destruction of the US military”, as the distinguished blowhard Jon Kyl hyperbolized. I will give Defense Secretary Panetta a little credit for stating the obvious: “We must come to realize that not every defense program is necessary, not every defense dollar is sacred or well-spent, and more of everything is simply not sustainable”.
Per Mother Jones:In theory, the debt deal will cut discretionary security spending by $7 billion over the next two years. How would those cuts impact the Pentagon? The Pentagon’s base operating budget typically runs between $500 and 600 billion a year. $7 billion is roughly the cost of 3 submarines, or 20 fighter jets, or one-fifth of one KBR contract in Iraq. In other words, chump change. And that’s if the cuts actually come from the DOD. According to the text of the debt bill (PDF), it’s up to Congress to decide what parts of the total security and defense budget—which includes the Veterans Administration, Homeland Security, international affairs, and nuclear weapons—actually take a hit. One thing that won’t take a hit is the funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is specifically preserved in the bill.
The White House and Congressional leaders insist that the debt compromise will slash $350 billion from the Pentagon over the next 10 years. Additionally, if Congress doesn’t cut another $1.2 trillion across the board by December, a “trigger” in the bill is supposed to kick in, reducing the defense budget by another $500 to 600 billion.
But those hard numbers aren’t spelled out in the bill. “The actual amount will be decided by Congress in the future,” Wheeler says. And there’s no guarantee that Congress, particularly Rep. McKeon and his pork-loving Armed Services Committee members, will take any cuts out of the Pentagon’s hide. The bill “is classic Washington Kabuki theater,” Gordon Adams, a political science professor who worked as a security budget expert for the Clinton White House, tells Foreign Policy. “The whole deal is designed to be opaque about the things you really want to know, such as how much defense will be cut.”
There is no amount of spending that can’t be justified by fear.
Not to mention that the defense budget is 50x higher than the next country on the list, China. So we could cut it in HALF (down to about 500 Billion annually) and still have like 25x more military might than them. What could we do with 500 billion dollars per year? All I know is that if we don’t start taking care of the inside of the country (health, infrastucture, education) there will be little left worth defending. Like a ‘78 Ford Pinto with the most expensive and elaborate security system in the world.
Eisenhower. (I wish ten million Americans would send this quote to President Obama.)