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The Biggest Scandal in US History That We’re Still Not Talking About

Pentagon_Money_lost
The above is roughly what 8.5 Trillion dollars would look like… and those are $100 bills.    Take another look and let that sink in for a bit…   I find it absolutely astonishing that the pentagon could lose track of this much money and for there to be no MSM coverage of this scandalous amount of mismanagement and fraud.  Where is the demand for accountability?  Why is the first question to ANY candidate for president not “What would you do about the massive fraud and waste at the Pentagon?”  Where are the hearings, nay indictments, that are warranted when a sum equal to  1/2 of our national debt can be sent to the pentagon to never be accounted for.  More below.

We progressives need to work this scandal into every political conversation we engage in, especially when we talk to conservatives. Cutting government spending and accountability aresupposed to be core GOP values.

Combine “Known” Pentagon waste (like the 1.5 Trillion dollar F35) with missing pentagon money and you have a good chunk of our entire national debt represented.

“What’s that?  Body cameras for all cops will be too expensive?  How bout we find 1/10,000th of the money we sent to the pentagon.”

“Oh really?  There’s 500 million in provable food stamp fraud going to poor people how bout the 8.5 TRILLION the pentagon can’t account for?”

“Oh really?  You think Obama care is going to cost us almost a trillion dollars over 15  years?  How about the 8.5 Trillion that just disappeared into the ether at the pentagon? What’s you’re take on that?”

“Oh really, you’re concerned about deficit spending and the debt?  Fully 1/3 of the national debt it is money we sent the Pentagon and they can’t tell us where it went.  It’s just gone.”

“College for everyone will cost too much? You must be really pissed at the  8.5 Trillion, with a ‘t’, dollars the pentagon’s spent and can’t tell us where it went.”

Bringing up this “open secret” exposes their hypocrisy, and draws attention to the lack of corporate media attention to this HUGE SCANDALOUS level of waste by the Military/Industrial/Media (<-should be new addition to the lexicon) complex ownership of government.  It seems for few hundred million in “be all you can be” ad buys the MSM will keep it’s mouth shut.  We need to press so called journalists to bring this issue front and center.   No candidate should be allowed to talk about government waste or big government with out being asked the follow up “What would you do about the massive 8.5 Trillion dollars the pentagon can’t account for?”

In short; nothing reinforces our position that the money for valuable social and infrastructure programs (that have provable returns on investment) is actually there than this scandal.   We need to harp on this until we get some answers and we need to leverage it more to shut down debate about desperately needed social program spending.       Money visualization grabbed from this site you should check it out HEREhttp://demonocracy.info/…

Here’s an additional point :   8.5 Trillion dollars represents about $70,000 from each of the 123 Million US households. Also of note is this is scandalous because the Pentagon has been required by law to be “audit ready” since 1996, but still has no real accounting systems.

(Source: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/08/19/1413372/-The-Biggest-Scandal-in-US-History-That-We-re-Still-Not-Talking-About)

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The United States: A Society Between Reality and Illusion

What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion?

The United States, locked in the kind of twilight disconnect that grips dying empires, is a country entranced by illusions. It spends its emotional and intellectual energy on the trivial and the absurd. It is captivated by the hollow stagecraft of celebrity culture as the walls crumble. This celebrity culture giddily licenses a dark voyeurism into other people’s humiliation, pain, weakness and betrayal. Day after day, one lurid saga after another, whether it is Michael Jackson, Britney Spears [or Miley Cyrus], enthralls the country … despite bank collapses, wars, mounting poverty or the criminality of its financial class.

The virtues that sustain a nation-state and build community, from honesty to self-sacrifice to transparency to sharing, are ridiculed each night on television as rubes stupid enough to cling to this antiquated behavior are voted off reality shows. Fellow competitors for prize money and a chance for fleeting fame, cheered on by millions of viewers, elect to “disappear” the unwanted. In the final credits of the reality show America’s Next Top Model, a picture of the woman expelled during the episode vanishes from the group portrait on the screen. Those cast aside become, at least to the television audience, nonpersons. Celebrities that can no longer generate publicity, good or bad, vanish. Life, these shows persistently teach, is a brutal world of unadulterated competition and a constant quest for notoriety and attention.

Our culture of flagrant self-exaltation, hardwired in the American character, permits the humiliation of all those who oppose us. We believe, after all, that because we have the capacity to wage war we have a right to wage war. Those who lose deserve to be erased. Those who fail, those who are deemed ugly, ignorant or poor, should be belittled and mocked. Human beings are used and discarded like Styrofoam boxes that held junk food. And the numbers of superfluous human beings are swelling the unemployment offices, the prisons and the soup kitchens.

It is the cult of self that is killing the United States. This cult has within it the classic traits of psychopaths: superficial charm, grandiosity and self-importance; a need for constant stimulation; a penchant for lying, deception and manipulation; and the incapacity for remorse or guilt. Michael Jackson, from his phony marriages to the portraits of himself dressed as royalty to his insatiable hunger for new toys to his questionable relationships with young boys, had all these qualities. And this is also the ethic promoted by corporations. It is the ethic of unfettered capitalism. It is the misguided belief that personal style and personal advancement, mistaken for individualism, are the same as democratic equality. It is the nationwide celebration of image over substance, of illusion over truth. And it is why investment bankers blink in confusion when questioned about the morality of the billions in profits they made by selling worthless toxic assets to investors.

We have a right, in the cult of the self, to get whatever we desire. We can do anything, even belittle and destroy those around us, including our friends, to make money, to be happy and to become famous. Once fame and wealth are achieved, they become their own justification, their own morality. How one gets there is irrelevant. It is this perverted ethic that gave us investment houses like Goldman Sachs … that willfully trashed the global economy and stole money from tens of millions of small shareholders who had bought stock in these corporations for retirement or college. The heads of these corporations, like the winners on a reality television program who lied and manipulated others to succeed, walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses and compensation. The ethic of Wall Street is the ethic of celebrity. It is fused into one bizarre, perverted belief system and it has banished the possibility of the country returning to a reality-based world or avoiding internal collapse. A society that cannot distinguish reality from illusion dies.

The tantalizing illusions offered by our consumer culture, however, are vanishing for most citizens as we head toward collapse. The ability of the corporate state to pacify the country by extending credit and providing cheap manufactured goods to the masses is gone. The jobs we are shedding are not coming back, as the White House economist Lawrence Summers tacitly acknowledges when he talks of a “jobless recovery.” The belief that democracy lies in the choice between competing brands and the accumulation of vast sums of personal wealth at the expense of others is exposed as a fraud. Freedom can no longer be conflated with the free market. The travails of the poor are rapidly becoming the travails of the middle class, especially as unemployment insurance runs out. And class warfare, once buried under the happy illusion that we were all going to enter an age of prosperity with unfettered capitalism, is returning with a vengeance.

America is sinking under trillions in debt it can never repay and stays afloat by frantically selling about $2 billion in Treasury bonds a day to the Chinese. It saw 2.8 million people lose their homes in 2009 to foreclosure or bank repossessions – nearly 8,000 people a day – and stands idle as they are joined by another 2.4 million people this year. It refuses to prosecute the Bush administration for obvious war crimes, including the use of torture, and sees no reason to dismantle Bush’s secrecy laws or restore habeas corpus. Its infrastructure is crumbling. Deficits are pushing individual states to bankruptcy and forcing the closure of everything from schools to parks. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have squandered trillions of dollars, appear endless. There are 50 million Americans in real poverty and tens of millions of Americans in a category called “near poverty.” One in eight Americans – and one in four children – depend on food stamps to eat. And yet, in the midst of it all, we continue to be a country consumed by happy talk and happy thoughts. We continue to embrace the illusion of inevitable progress, personal success and rising prosperity. Reality is not considered an impediment to desire.

When a culture lives within an illusion it perpetuates a state of permanent infantilism or childishness. As the gap widens between the illusion and reality, as we suddenly grasp that it is our home being foreclosed or our job that is not coming back, we react like children. We scream and yell for a savior, someone who promises us revenge, moral renewal and new glory. It is not a new story. A furious and sustained backlash by a betrayed and angry populace, one unprepared intellectually, emotionally and psychologically for collapse, will sweep aside the Democrats and most of the Republicans and will usher America into a new dark age. It was the economic collapse in Yugoslavia that gave us Slobodan Milosevic. It was the Weimar Republic that vomited up Adolf Hitler. And it was the breakdown in Tsarist Russia that opened the door for Lenin and the Bolsheviks. A cabal of proto-fascist misfits, from Christian demagogues to loudmouth talk show hosts, whom we naïvely dismiss as buffoons, will find a following with promises of revenge and moral renewal. And as in all totalitarian societies, those who do not pay fealty to the illusions imposed by the state become the outcasts, the persecuted.

The decline of American empire began long ago before the current economic meltdown or the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It began before the first Gulf War or Ronald Reagan. It began when we shifted, in the words of Harvard historian Charles Maier, from an “empire of production” to an “empire of consumption.” By the end of the Vietnam War, when the costs of the war ate away at Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and domestic oil production began its steady, inexorable decline, we saw our country transformed from one that primarily produced to one that primarily consumed. We started borrowing to maintain a level of consumption as well as an empire we could no longer afford. We began to use force, especially in the Middle East, to feed our insatiable thirst for cheap oil. We substituted the illusion of growth and prosperity for real growth and prosperity. The bill is now due. America’s most dangerous enemies are not Islamic radicals but those who sold us the perverted ideology of free-market capitalism and globalization. They have dynamited the very foundations of our society. In the 17th century these speculators would have been hung. Today they run the government and consume billions in taxpayer subsidies.

As the pressure mounts, as the despair and desperation reach into larger and larger segments of the populace, the mechanisms of corporate and government control are being bolstered to prevent civil unrest and instability. The emergence of the corporate state always means the emergence of the security state. This is why the Bush White House pushed through the Patriot Act (and its renewal), the suspension of habeas corpus, the practice of “extraordinary rendition,” warrantless wiretapping on American citizens and the refusal to ensure free and fair elections with verifiable ballot-counting. The motive behind these measures is not to fight terrorism or to bolster national security. It is to seize and maintain internal control. It is about controlling us.

And yet, even in the face of catastrophe, mass culture continues to assure us that if we close our eyes, if we visualize what we want, if we have faith in ourselves, if we tell God that we believe in miracles, if we tap into our inner strength, if we grasp that we are truly exceptional, if we focus on happiness, our lives will be harmonious and complete. This cultural retreat into illusion, whether peddled by positive psychologists, by Hollywood or by Christian preachers, is magical thinking. It turns worthless mortgages and debt into wealth. It turns the destruction of our manufacturing base into an opportunity for growth. It turns alienation and anxiety into a cheerful conformity. It turns a nation that wages illegal wars and administers offshore penal colonies where it openly practices torture into the greatest democracy on earth. And it keeps us from fighting back.

Resistance movements will have to look now at the long night of slavery, the decades of oppression in the Soviet Union and the curse of fascism for models. The goal will no longer be the possibility of reforming the system but of protecting truth, civility and culture from mass contamination. It will require the kind of schizophrenic lifestyle that characterizes all totalitarian societies. Our private and public demeanors will often have to stand in stark contrast. Acts of defiance will often be subtle and nuanced. They will be carried out not for short term gain but the assertion of our integrity. Rebellion will have an ultimate if not easily definable purpose. The more we retreat from the culture at large the more room we will have to carve out lives of meaning, the more we will be able to wall off the flood of illusions disseminated by mass culture and the more we will retain sanity in an insane world. The goal will become the ability to endure.

 

Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times, is the author of several books including the best sellers War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

(Source: March Against Corruption)

The Four Horsemen

The Four Horsemen is an independent feature documentary which lifts the lid on how the world really works.

As we will never return to ‘business as usual’ 23 international thinkers, government advisors and Wall Street money-men break their silence and explain how to establish a moral and just society.

The Four Horsemen is free from mainstream media propaganda — the film doesn’t bash bankers, criticise politicians or get involved in conspiracy theories. It ignites the debate about how to usher a new economic paradigm into the world which would dramatically improve the quality of life for billions.

“It’s Inside Job with bells on, and a frequently compelling thesis thanks to Ashcroft’s crack team of talking heads — economists, whistleblowers and Noam Chomsky, all talking with candour and clarity.” – Total Film

“Four Horsemen is a breathtakingly composed jeremiad against the folly of Neo-classical economics and the threats it represents to all we should hold dear.”
– Harold Crooks, The Corporation (Co-Director) Surviving Progress (Co-Director/Co-Writer)

(Source: Youtube)

9/11 – A Conspiracy Theory

A concise 5 minute version “Conspiracy Theory” about the 9/11 attacks on American Soil. Fact after fact 9/11 undoubtedly leaves a lot of questions unanswered and seems to plunge farther and farther into a truth so horrifying that some people seemingly prefer to live under the soft lie, as opposed to dealing with the hard truth.

Whenever discussing “terrorist” attacks on the USA it is always good to remember Benjamin Franklin who once said something in the likes of “Those who sacrifice freedom for safety, deserve neither.” Whether the attacks were fabricated or not.

Eisenhower Speech on the Societal Costs of Military Industrial Complex

An excerpt of a 1961 speech by President Eisenhower cautioning the people on the toil that the investment in military industrial complex takes on every field of human life, resources, freedom and livelihood. The relation between his words and the status quo of the world today is as wise as it is accurate.

“The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist, we must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.”  – Dwight D. Eisenhower