Examine the influence of the 'sacred trinity' on U.S. military spending — now

Sitting before Congress — and a dozen stalwarts of opposing political ideologies — is the opportunity to question the economic and moral wisdom of what author Andrew Bacevich calls the Washington rules — a “sacred trinity: an abiding conviction that the minimum essentials of international peace and order require the United States to maintain a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projection, and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism.”

These Washington rules — America shall protect and, more importantly, project American values because they are derived from American exceptionalism — require great military expense born by you and me, the taxpayers. That expense now faces a congressionally mandated deficit reduction process.

Come the day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 23, six Democrats and six Republicans must identify at least $1.5 trillion in cuts in federal spending over the next decade. If they do, then Congress must vote yea or nay by Dec. 23. If they do not, the Budget Control Act triggers automatic cuts totaling $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, slashing, among others, military spending. (Note that some folks are trying to detrigger the trigger.)

The so-called super committee, formally known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, exists because Congress demonstrated neither the political will nor moral courage to tackle deficit reduction in a rational, non-confrontational, non-ideological way. None of its members has the stomach to cut military spending; the political cost would be, they think, unbearably high.
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Nota Bene #121: Birds of an Ancient Feather

“Television is an invention whereby you can be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn’t have in your house.” Who said it? The answer is at the end of this post. Now on to the links! Continue reading

Nota Bene #115: RIP No. 32

“If you’re really pro-life, do me a favor—don’t lock arms and block medical clinics. If you’re so pro-life, lock arms and block cemeteries.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #112: GOOOLLLLLLLL

“Freedom of any kind is the worst for creativity.” Who said it? Continue reading

A Memorial Day tribute

Today is the day we honor the men and women who died in our nation’s wars. I’d like to honor three very different World War II vets today by telling you my recollections of them.

I don’t remember Mr. Roberts’ first name, and only learned it at his funeral while I was in college. I don’t recall how I met him – it was probably because he and my dad shared an interest in woodworking, and Dad took me up two doors to meet him one day. I was fascinated by this man who built simple but beautiful wood jelly-bean dispensers, and I spent hours watching him turn wood for his dispensers on the lathe in the back of his garage. Mrs. Roberts used to let me pick strawberries from their strawberry patch when they were ripe, and that’s probably why no house has ever felt like a home without a strawberry patch. Continue reading

Nota Bene #109: You Can't Tuna Fish

“It’s absolutely stunning to me, the contempt in which the network holds the audience. The idea that these people have standards is laughable.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #105: The Illustrated Dick

“When all you are becomes defined as the amount of information traceable to you, what are we then? What have we become, in a world where there is no separation, no door, no filter beyond which we can say, ‘No. This is my personal space. Not yours. Here I am alone with my thoughts and free of any outside influence or control. This, you cannot have.’ I don’t know, but I don’t want to find out.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #102: Dancing Limbaughs

“What they really want to see is, they want you to chop your fucking arm off, hold up your arm, wave it around spewing blood, and believe me, if you did that, the crowd would go fucking ballistic. You only get four good shows like that, though. Four good shows, and then you’re just a torso and a head, trying to get one of your band mates to give you one last hurrah and chop your head off. Which they probably wouldn’t do, which would really be hell.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #100: Il Planetario di Figaro

Wow, 100 issues of Nota Bene! Props to Russ for helping me for a while with this nifty little S&R feature. Never mind all that now, let’s get on with this issue. “What splendid buildings our architects would be able to execute if only they could finally be less obedient to gravity!” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #99: Heed the Peace Gnome

“You just pick up a chord, go twang, and you’ve got music.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #94: Bear Vs. Ninja

“Overture, curtain, lights Continue reading

Nota Bene #90: Monkey Business

“One reads such links, and what can one say but— Continue reading

Quotabull: "We shouldn't have to give employers complete control over our private life so they can save a few dollars on medical care."

You get used to listening to that Alvin and the Chipmunks voice.

— New York state Gov. David Paterson, who is legally blind, on the special tape recorder he uses to listen to long articles or books played “at speeds so fast, it is difficult for others to comprehend”; April 21.

We shouldn’t have to give employers complete control over our private life so they can save a few dollars on medical care.

— Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, which advocates for employee privacy, on a report that Whirlpool Inc. “suspended 39 workers who signed insurance paperwork claiming they don’t use tobacco and then were seen smoking or chewing tobacco on company property”; April 23.
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