Putting Lipstick on a Pig

The plain-text truth of the matter is that since Eisenhower warned against the “military-industrial complex,” the defense industry has been one big “Jobs for America” program. There are two ways to look at our “military-industrial complex.” The first is as a powerful tool to protect the country. The second is as a resource-sapping beast with an insatiable appetite for money and tremendous political influence. More specifically, as the proverbial 800-pound gorilla that sleeps, craps, and sits wherever it damn well pleases.

Defense is America’s brand now, and no one bats an eye as long as they profit from the whole process. That is the way you get your yes-men who fail to think for themselves and question anything. As a consequence Americans now pay taxes via a national debt totalling about 8.3 trillion dollars. The annual interest on the national debt is equal to what we spent on defense just three years ago. Corruption, the practice of skimming money and proceeds from any and all fiscal governmental goings-on, is rampant. Why it goes unaddressed is in and of itself the topic for multiple volumes, but the bitter fact remains that it goes unaddressed, and therefore isn’t stopped.

There needs to be a civilian independent and fiscally disinterested public body whose entire mission in life is to provide direct, authoritative external third party oversight of the military, to ensure fiscal frugality and effectiveness. This is the whole “checks and balances” thing, and right now our whole system is not in balance, due to the fact that the 2 top people that run our country are elbow-deep in money coming from both oil and defense. That represents a textbook conflict-of-interest, and is a situation that needs to be changed.

Nationally, we’re going to have to make a choice, whether we’re going to accept Bushonomics or start choking back on the federal purse strings. This means reverting to John F. Kennedy and his famous “ask not” concept.

Bert Walker

Praise the Lord and Pass the Petition

Some of your readers may make the mistake of mixing up the concepts of “religion” — which is essentially an organized approach to spirituality — and “spirituality” itself, which is the message, often but not always presented to us though religion or religious organizations. Many religious teachers do not openly espouse any given religion, but note the commonality in the spiritual messages of each organized religion.

The U.S. Constitution is one of the most spiritual documents ever written. It declares that we have rights that are not decreed by governments but are essential to us because we are human beings. That document says that churches or organized religions should not be a part of government, perhaps because the very act of setting up an organized religion creates an “us vs. them” mentality. Such dualities are not part of any modern religion and should not be part of religion, but are. While this duality was part of the Old Testament, it is not a part of the New Testament. Many Jewish people are very open to other faiths, although they espouse their own, by choice of tradition. Most Muslims are driven by the spirituality of peace, not the hate of the fundamentalists who kill even fellow Muslims with whom they have minor differences.

Let us remember that hate is a terrible perversion of love; sometimes the opposite of love. All spiritualities teach love, not hate. Some sects of some religions have perverted the teaching of their faiths to preach hate, not love, making a perversions of their basic faiths. Let us remember the message of that great spiritual document, the U.S. Constitution, that we are beloved creatures, by simply being people. That applies to all people, as we are all people of God, however we call Him.

Jim H. White

Hydrogen’s Dirty Secret

You are missing the point. The only way America can transition from fossil fuel to hydrogen is if people can convince politicians in Washington that such a change won’t harm the energy market. Subsidies will be necessary in the beginning which means accepting a temporary compromise.

The most difficult part of the transition away from fossil fuels will be changing the energy infrastructure. Who will produce the hydrogen? Who will refine it? Who will distribute it and who will transport it? Can this all be done efficiently and at a profit? As these questions are being solved by Exxon and BP, smaller research companies will find it easier to attract investors into the clean hydrogen fold. Once a cost-effective system for producing hydrogen from water is developed and marketed, it will simply be a matter of time before common sense prevails. Be patient. Washington has a way of resisting change, despite “the people” who demand it.

Jeanne Ashworth

Violent Media is Good for Kids

I agree! I am a teacher and father of two. Having a safe outlet for my anger like games and movies makes a lot more sense than suppressing my emotions.

I can’t lash out at my students (I work at a behavioral healthcare school), but I can shoot a few Nazi’s when I get home, or smash the quarterback in a football game, or slash some zombies in RE4.

People have led violent lives since Cain killed Abel. I’d rather my kids were killing imaginary creatures in a game, than hitting each other!

Joe Campbell
Grand Island, NE

Withdrawal Symptoms

Galbraith is so “yesterday.” Does he think we have learned nothing since Vietnam? The North Vietnamese won in the end — not by defeating the U.S. military which lost no substantive engagement from Tet to the IA Dran valley, but by taking advantage of their natural allies, all those phony academics, journalists and clerics who hate America. Got terrorists in Iraq cities? Don’t assault — blockade and starve them. Let women and children drop off slowly and individually. “Innocents” in the city, if there are any, will tire of hunger and their oppressors, and aid us in crushing them. Of course it’s medieval, but it works. All those Saudis, Syrians and Yemenis will wind up eating their holy books. Innocent people will die as they do in all wars, or as they do walking the streets of New York after dark, but far fewer than if the Taliban or Saddam were still in power. After we leave Iraq, it’s up to the Iraqis to determine whether to establish a stable society or sink into total chaos. They will get what they deserve in the end. “You can lead a horse to water…”

G. T. Bedway
Winchester, VA