Military Industrial Stupidity Complex

COMMENTARY | NATIONAL PRIORITIES | THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM.

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This picture and quote is from Sploid Magazine

“We’re not preparing to fight the aliens. This isn’t a scene from Independence Day 2. It’s just a throwback photo of 25—yes, twenty five—Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk black stealth fighter jets celebrating its 25th anniversary back in 2006. What a beautifully intimidating celebration of power it was.

According to The Aviationist, the jets flew over Heritage Park at Holloman Air Force Base. Code One Magazine recently put up the photo taken by Denny Lombard for Lockheed Martin on its Facebook page.”

Then I wondered…

How much this display of airpower cost? Exactly what does a stealth bomber go for these days? So I turned to everyone’s favorite information resource, Wikipedia. Wikipedia reveals the cost of the Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk to be a cool $112 million dollars average cost, not including weapons payload or fuel costs…

Role Stealth attack aircraft[1]
National origin United States
Manufacturer Lockheed Corporation
First flight 18 June 1981
Introduction October 1983[1]
Retired 22 April 2008[2]
Primary user United States Air Force
Number built 64 (5 YF-117As, 59 F-117As)
Unit cost US$42.6 million (flyaway cost)
US$111.2 million (average cost)[3]
Developed from Lockheed Have Blue

[3] Aronstein and Piccirillo 1997, p. 267.

From the same Wikipedia article we see this nice picture of some OTHER F-117A Nighthawks on the ground in 1983 give or take…

F-117A aircraft from the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing at Langley AFB, Virginia, prior to being deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield.

What you are seeing is an average of $27 billion dollars flying overhead. Another $27 billion or so sitting on the ground, and let’s just overlook research and development costs (I could probably find it, but it would certainly be VERY expensive and not necessary for you to get my point.)

Gets your patriotism fires burning, doesn’t it?

Now let’s merge this with another news article and see if your patriotism is still stoked…

From the Atlantic Magazine 2014 – Here’s Exactly How Much the Government Would Have to Spend to Make Public College Tuition-Free:

“A mere $62.6 billion dollars!
According to new 
Department of Education data, that’s how much tuition public colleges collected from undergraduates in 2012 across the entire United States. And I’m not being facetious with the word mere, either. The New America Foundation says that the federal government spent a whole $69 billion in 2013 on its hodgepodge of financial aid programs, such as Pell Grants for low-income students, tax breaks, work study funding. And that doesn’t even include loans. 

If we were we scrapping our current system and starting from scratch, Washington could make public college tuition free with the money it sets aside its scattershot attempts to make college affordable today.”

Update—Friday Jan. 3, 3:45 PM: Just to clarify, because some readers have asked, making tuition free in 2012 would have required $62.6 billion on top of what state and local governments already spend subsidizing public colleges, as well as some of the federal spending that doesn’t go towards financial aid. Again, you can find a detailed breakdown of how our colleges are funded in theDepartment of Education’s data.

For anybody interested in reading more about the idea of making public college tuition free, and the vast array of economic considerations that would entail, here’s a lengthy piece I wrote last year.

Update—Friday Jan. 3, 4:31 PM: One more update to answer another good question I’ve received. Technically, you could say the additional cost of making college tuition free would be even cheaper than $62.6 billion. How come? Because most Pell Grant money is already spent at public colleges. In 2011 – 2012, state school students received $21.8 billion in grants. So, if you subtract that from the total needed to completely eliminate tuition, it the sum would be closer to $40 billion. (Apologies for not teasing that point out earlier. I’d noted it in a previous article and didn’t think to repeat it.)

So what have we learned?

For the cost of 50 stealth bombers, we could send every American who wanted it to college for no expense to the student! Imagine what we could do with the rest of the military industrial complex’s expense budget…Remember, these bombers aren’t the only thing the military produces.

Still feeling patriotic or just kind of dirty…

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America, Fucked Yeah!

America, fucked yeah copy

What exactly ARE our national priorities?

Can anyone tell me? No, seriously. What DO we stand for today, because I am no longer sure.

We don’t feed the hungry or house the homeless. Shit we make them faster than ever these days. Now, entire cities can be rendered bankrupt in the blink of an eye. (See: Detroit, San Bernadino, Vallejo, hell just look the rest of the list yourself, try not to cry.) The hungry and homeless live in shanty towns or die on the street and we just take pictures of them.

We don’t cure disease (last disease we cured was polio and people are still catching it because we can’t stop waging war long enough to see it actually eradicated). Meanwhile we are only making diseases stronger in our factory farms so every meat meal you eat gives you the chance to experience antibiotic-resistant bacteria, first hand. Your next hamburger could be your last. Hope it was a good one.

Our government doesn’t lead, it harangues the poor and disenfranchised when it isn’t looking completely dysfunctional all by itself with conversations debating the wisdom of birth control for women and whether corporations should be allowed to pay for it, trans-vaginal ultrasound to embarrass women into NOT having abortions they won’t get but were supposed to legally have access to since Roe vs Wade, nor will the government be helpful if they are raising the children of their rapists, who will be, of course, looking for parental rights.

We can’t decide what education should look like, only that it should cost as much as possible and be as ineffective as it is expensive. Our police are now functioning as Judges dispensing justice from the barrels of their guns, or armored personnel carriers or coming soon to a city near you, aerial drones.

police-drone

We don’t allow people to retire in dignity for lives well lived, we allow pensions and soon we will be spending Social Security and Medicare (after we privatize them for flavor) to be gathered up by large corporations and gambled away enriching banks while they bankrupt the rest of the world. Don’t worry, though because we will bail out those pesky banks for still being “too big to fail” and socialize their losses while they capitalize their gains. I guess after a few more cycles of boom and bust with the remainder of our society in ruins we will actually consider putting those bastards behind bars and letting greedy banks go the way of the dinosaur, rendered down for their vital assets and turned back into a public service that helps people rather than impoverishes them. Banks in our modern society act more like bulimics than a financial asset. They eat all of the nations money and puke out the chewed remains of the people who trusted them.

So I ask you again, what does this country stand for these days because, I am not seeing much freedom (you are free to be analyzed, illegally wiretapped and edutained by corporate sponsored newscasters, blonde, perky and not too bright), justice (if you count the Supreme Court which has members who are both homophobic and in the pocket of the corporate powers who run this nation or the judges who put kids in prison for profit keeping corporate prisons full, or perhaps the inability of our justice system to protect citizens who happen to enjoy iced tea and skittles or using mass transit on national holidays).

And we still can’t get a decent set of wages if you aren’t a corporate executive. Wage stagnation, debt consolidation, and government subsidization allows corporations to pay people little or nothing while they work two jobs and still find themselves in need of food stamps, while corporations pocket MAD money from the privatization of the EBT service. Not to mention we still can’t get laws to provide protection from random NRA-mandated acts of violence.

I see a lot of the American Way, though. Exporting jobs, storing cash in foreign banks, utilizing child labor in Third World nations, (watching those underpaid people dying in poorly maintained factories for pennies a day so we can pay less for our clothing) avoiding corporate taxes AND managing to get corporate subsidies while spending as much as they want on the government officials who rotate between being Congressmen or Lobbyist depending on where they are in their cycle of governmental malfeasance.

So I ask you again, what exactly are our national priorities because I hate to tell you it looks a lot like greed, exploitation and good old-fashion buggery to me.

Oh wait. I have a video that sums it up nicely…

America Fuck Yeah, the Deluxe Edition

A parting shot from Tom Tomorrow

Gun Love - Tom Tomorrow