How the Pentagon Will Rescue the Economy

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Looking for employment opportunities that can help our flagging economy? Look no further:

The Pentagon now has some 7,000 aerial drones, compared with fewer than 50 a decade ago….Already the Air Force is training more remote pilots, 350 this year alone, than fighter and bomber pilots combined.

….The pressures on humans will only increase as the military moves from the limited “soda straw” views of today’s sensors to new “Gorgon Stare” technology that can capture live video of an entire city — but that requires 2,000 analysts to process the data feeds from a single drone, compared with 19 analysts per drone today.

There you go. Not only can we employ lots of people to build our new drone army, but we’ll have to employ even more people to keep a close eye on every dangerous patch of ground on the planet. And luckily for us, those dangerous patches seem to be multiplying rapidly. Let’s do a quick back-of the-envelope calculation:

  • We have 7,000 drones today. Seems to be a growth market, so figure 20,000 drones in a few years.
  • Let’s say half of them have this fabulous Gorgon Stare technology. That’s 10,000 drones.
  • At 2,000 analysts per drone, this amounts to 20 million jobs.

Now that’s what I call putting America back to work! Only a non-patriot could object.

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

If you can, please support the reporting you get from Mother Jones—that exists to make a difference, not a profit—with a donation of any amount today. We need more donations than normal to come in from this specific blurb to help close our funding gap before it gets any bigger.

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