Thursday, May 29, 2014

Turn Over That Rock And See What Crawls Out: #NSA & #AuditPentagon

Two events in truth revelation are dominating the news this week. The news Glenn Greenwald has promised from the Edward Snowden leaks will reveal who (could it be you?) the NSA has been spying upon. That one will happen, because it is citizen journalists like Laura Poitras and Greenwald who have been making NSA revelations happen all along.

The other attempt to turn over a rock and see what's crawling around under it will be a long haul: the call to audit the Pentagon. Never mind that it's supposed to be happening already since all government agencies that exist on the taxpayers' dime are supposed to account for their use of those funds. Never mind that hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake, well over half the budget Congress decides how to spend each year. 

The Burgess-Lee amendment to the whopping $600.7 billion FY15 Pentagon budget bill called for an audit; the amendment passed in the House, but it still must face the U.S. Senate, that billionaire's club of fat cats who take massive campaign donations from Pentagon contractors.

President Obama said in his annual speech at the West Point graduation ceremony for the empire's future warlords, "I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being."

Word to Obama: the exceptionalism is all in the minds of your neoliberal speech writers. Every empire on this planet faltered and declined, mostly due to hubris, and largely due to overspending on wars. There is nothing exceptional about losing the consent of the governed, or about experiencing the karmic backlash from your own bad decisions.

Meanwhile, here's a longitudinal study that turned up some truth: boosting public school funding by 20% (pocket change to the Pentagon) appears to make a dramatic difference in outcomes for students from low income communities. Libby Nelson at reported:
Additional money spent educating a child from a poor family made that child more likely to graduate high school, less likely to fall into poverty as an adult and more likely to complete an additional year of education, public policy researchers from Northwestern University and the University of California-Berkeley found.
The fact that the wealthiest country in the world spends so meagerly on children and education is what makes the U.S. truly exceptional. And not in a good way. 

Our child development index does not even place in the top ten. Japan, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Canada, Switzerland, Norway, the U.K. and Netherlands do, while spending a mere fraction of their national revenue funding a military. How's that for some truth?

1 comment:

Hopie said...

Excellent blog post!