Why We Fight

Finally got the opportunity to watch, “Why We Fight“, a feature length documentary on the “military-industrial-complex”. This term was coined by the farewell speech of Dwight D Eisenhower, who warned of an over-militarized U.S. foreign policy. A few comments:

  • Very much worth the watch…Netflix it or even Amazon it…but definitely watch it.
  • Much more based on reality than deliberately manufactured trash like “Fahrentheit 911”.
  • Informed view on the fallacies of the modern relationship between the U.S. government and it’s military contractors.
  • Absolute hypocricy on it’s “non-partisanship”–if one listened to the interviews on the special features, you hear repetitively that “there’s not a bunch of people in a dark room, no conspiracy theory, etc…it’s just a society that we want to change, blah blah”…meanwhile, the movie spends about half of its play-time SHOWING Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perl, etc…as intentionally and maliciously perpetuating this military-industrial evil U.S. empire and insanely little blame to anyone on the other side of the aisle (except of course Johnson)–whether it’s Cheney’s fault or not, the director should at least be open about his political slants. The only positive image of a Senator in the whole movie (granted…there aren’t many to pull from…but details) was Robert Byrd whining about lack of debate.
  • NUMBER ONE POINT: Eisenhower originally had “military-industrial-CONGRESSIONAL” complex in his speech (and this I did not know) but decided to leave the “congressional” out so as not to alienate his friends on the hill.
  • Another interesting point…that the military contractors have plants spread out all over the country, so if any weapons system is threatened, there is an upswell of protests to protect American factory jobs. (btw: Something that’s always pissed me off: a supposedly militaristic President tries to find efficiencies by closing down some bases, and he hears bitching from the left that he just doesn’t care about American jobs. What’s a brotha to do?) Now whether this translates into, “If we don’t go to war in Iraq, then a bunch of small towns suffer and bitch,” might be more debateable, but nonetheless it’s a good point.
  • Think tanks, think tanks…apparently all evil starts from think tanks…who knew?

Anyway, number one challenge with the film is that it illustrates only half the problem:..if anything can compare with the inflated Pentagon budget it’s the budget of HHS, and every other department of the Fed, and the various failed pork barrell projects our glorious Congress passes on a yearly basis. In other words, the problem is big Government in general, not simply big military. And on this note, both sides of the aisle have failed us MISERABLY for decades.

Other foreign policy aspects of the film, I’m in disagreement with (big shock), but thankfully the film is tastefully enough done that you can easily agree with the thrust of the argument (at least what I thought was the thrust of the argument):

That the relationship between the US government and it’s military contractors is less than appropriate, the contracting process is a joke, and we the people consistently fail in holding the Senate accountable for its management of the purse strings.

Posted at 10:29 pm by Logipundit

Posted by Johnny @ 07/31/2006 07:57 AM PDT
There’s something to be said for the highly Keynesian nature of the military. Rumsfeld has gotten in way more trouble for wanting to cut a bloated military via base closings, leading to planted questions about humvee armor, than he did for anything else. Newt Gingrich also wrote about the need to cut the military budget, once he was out of office. He had all kinds of military projects back home, however.

Posted by Hemati @ 07/31/2006 04:10 PM PDT
I couldn’t agree more with Butch, although I drank somewhat more of the kool-ade when I watched this movie. Great premise – and I think a somewhat compelling call to action as well. If our government is for, by and of the people; then the people need to stand the f_ck up and be counted.

On another note – read “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” for more. A compelling take on this topic from someone formerly on the inside who contributed greatly (and now remorsefully) to this buildup.

Jasmina Tesanovic, not invited to Vermilion parish

A good friend forwarded this blog, which spurred an angry response from me (below). Angry at the reporter, not the friend. I did a little editing of my original email for mass consumption (some profanity, kids).

Used to be a town
by Jasmina Tesanovic (Link here)

We just missed a twister. We saw its black cloud in the sky, lit by lightning. In Louisiana, some miles after Cameron, a small tornado has toppled trees into the road. Police blocked the highway, workers cleaned the branches away and cool people sat on the porches, watching it all happen. Mostly old people. Why do people stay in disaster sites, living under the volcano? Why do they watch?

We enter the tourist center at the border of Louisiana. We want to go to Holly Beach, we say. Holly Beach isn’t there any more, says the clerk, politely smiling.

But yes, the road to Holly Beach still exists. We see this: tall trees snapped in half, house-trailers blown by the hurricane, landing in the most improbable places, upside down. Dead cars strewn like corpses, rusting anywhere, mangled as if crushed by specialized machines. Wind-shredded American flags. Where beach-houses once stood there are only bare poles. Instead of churches, there are the statues of saints… The trees which survived the storm have weird wind-tattered shapes. New leaves are growing out of their trunks.

Marshlands stretch all around us. My American friend is devastated. He laments loudly: the future belongs to this indestructible marsh-grass.

The houses we see, what’s left of them, have roofs patched with blue plastic, and some, even people living in them: ten months after the storm… why didn’t they rebuild the roofs?

Some empty sites still have street numbers and names: and hand-lettered signs that promise, we will be back…

As for the beach itself, oh well, it has seagulls, brown mud, a lot of fish jumping high in low water in the blazing sun. A massive heat wave is striking the USA.

The graveyards have no fences left, the churches have no windows. These people here are all Catholics, and the state of Louisiana is divided into parishes, not civil counties.

I have seen dead towns before, destroyed by war, not nature. My friend argues. The oil of Louisiana is pumped and produced all over these desolate marshlands as if nothing else matters; fossil fuel is like heroin, selling like crazy since the price is soaring worldwide, and bringing the damage of climate change back to the marshland. The refineries smell of pollution, putrid fish, putrid capitalism.

I am interested in people, not things. But there are not many people around here any more.

The new upright billboards, beside the older broken billboards, urge the local people, who are nowhere around, to sue their old insurers for the homes and possessions they have lost.

The mass grave of a city appears, gated by barbed wire: RITA DUMP SITE. It used to be a town, Cameron… the heaped debris of the dead town is colorful and futuristic… made of all sorts of materials, without shapes, without traces.… What did these objects used to be?

A big house on wheels is blocking the interstate highway. This huge metal mansion simply cannot fit over the narrow bridge. The tide of traffic grinds to a halt. One of these days the world we know will disappear. The rusting wheels and wires and tortured trees and marsh grasses will survive. Unlike the pyramids, this debris will not testify of a lost civilization, but of our lack of one.

My Reponse :

Jasmina Tesanovic and her Bruce Sterling are not invited to Vermilion Parish. What the hell does she know? Nothing. Uses the hurricane devastation as her pass to get on a soapbox and preach about how shitty “our” civilization is. A good rule of thumb is that anyone who comes from a culture that participated in ethnic cleansing in the last generation or so foregoes their right to comment on other people’s culture.

The future belongs to the marsh-grass? The past and present of Cameron parish was and is marsh grass. The city of Cameron her “friend” (cute to put up a straw man…’I didn’t say it, he did’) lamented inhabited 900-1000 people. Most likely her “friend” is her husband Bruce Sterling, who is supposed to be some hotshot Sci-fi writer.

There were 0 casualties of this hurricane. Fifty years ago a similar hurricane hit the same spot, and 400 people died. Remember this parish has about 5000 people living in it, and it is the size of Rhode Island. I think that is a testament to the improvement of “our civilization” if anything. Back then no one blamed “putrid capitalism” for the “climate change” that caused the hurricane. Another exercise in self-flagellation. I know, I know, we should regulate energy use for Americans, like France, so when a heat wave hits thousands can die. Or maybe we should have slaves build pyramids, or perhaps we need ethnic cleansing like they do in Serbia.

The people down there don’t need her or Bruce Sterling’s pity. And the oil companies are going to rebuild the town faster than the government will. There has always been a glorious lack of civilization in Cameron parish. The oil companies brought some semblance of civilization, in the form of paying jobs, to people who are used to roughing it. A few people down there can and do still “rough it”…no electricity or phone, fish all day, etc.

She also doesn’t mention that over half the parish is wildlife sanctuary, but that would mess up her thesis, wouldn’t it?

Anyway thanks for sending this, if only to give me a chance to rebut.

Posted at 04:46 pm by Johnny B

Posted by BP @ 07/30/2006 09:19 PM PDT
Kick her ass seabass!!!

Man uses brain to move cursor

I know a lot of y’all logifans out there wonder what I am doing in graduate school. I am learning, among other things, how figure out this kind of stuff.

Posted at 09:53 am by Johnny B

Word of the day: scabrous

YJ and I got some free movie tickets back in December, good for 2006. Almost 7 months into the year and we still haven’t found a good movie to spend free tickets on. I believe the last movie we saw in the theatre was Wedding Crashers. What’s out there…Superman? Movies like Superman, Matrix III, Star Wars episode I, etc etc. should send a healthy kickback to the Catholic church for presenting so many thinly veiled Jesus references. What else? Nacho LIbre?

Clerks II is coming out this Friday, another movie I am initially excited about before I watch a trailer and get depressed again. Here are te first few reviews from rotten tomatoes… don’t you love it when people get paid to copy each others words, like “scabrous” and watch movies?

Posted at 09:12 pm by Johnny B

Posted by BP @ 07/21/2006 02:34 PM PDT
Best bang for the dollar that I have seen is undoubtedly Pirates of the Caribbean (especially for free). Sad isn’t it? Superman was disappointing; I was simply bored.

Haven’t seen Nacho Libre, but my bet is…bad. Every director that one can depend on to put out a good movie is NOT this year.

Even M Night, who I am a big fan of, is getting scathing, bitterly horrible reviews. I saw it coming from a mile away, though:

The last interview I saw him in, he was just WAY full of himself…I immediately said, “his next movie is going to HAVE to suck”. I heard it was pretentious and M Night has his largest role ever.

Out of the “mainstream” ones that are out, my money is on “Cars” being probably the most enjoyable. I’m a sucker for Pixar movies, though…

Hadacol

This was a little before my time but I remember hearing about “Cousin Dud” from family…y’all might not have heard of or remember Hadacol, ask your parents about it. It sounds even better than Ale-8-one.

Posted at 11:42 pm by Johnny B

Dumb move

I know there are many different views of Israel here at Logipundit, but I think we could agree on one point: It isn’t smart to kidnap their soldiers. I have had some interesting Israel-tourists work in the lab over the years, and I was talking with one yesterday about this…basically it seems the U.S. goes to bat for Israel at the U.N. and in general (aid etc.), but Israel is only out for Israel.

Posted at 07:39 am by Johnny B

Posted by BP @ 07/17/2006 06:59 PM PDT
Definitely not smart to kidnap their soldiers; I love the way the article puts “major escalation” in quotes, and informs us that noone was injured in the attacks in Haifa. So it’s OK for people to attack Israel as long as they suck so bad, they can’t hit their targets.

Israel drops leaflets to let everyone know they need to get out (never a good idea in my opinion–as if Hezbollah is gonna say, “hey this doesn’t apply to us, does it?”), and they’re lashed out at by EU, etc. for overreacting…meanwhile “it’s ONLY two little soldiers that were kidnapped, and at least THEIR missiles didn’t hit anybody…” as if the missiles were just gestures of friendship.

Posted by Johnny @ 07/18/2006 09:46 PM PDT
My Mom would call those, “love taps”.

TR

I came across an anomaly today. Usually I agree with Tom Sowell, much to the dismay of many of my colleagues, but occasionally I disagree, like when he posited that people don’t have the right to knock on doors to try to convert people to Mormonism; the right to property trumps the right to free speech, on a person’s property, goes the argument. Well, for some crazy reasons I disagreed with him there. Here I am more ambivalent. Sowell summarily trashes Teddy Roosevelt for his trust-busting stance. While I certainly don’t like the anti-industry populism rampant in government today, the worst example being the Clinton administration’s attempt to cut Microsoft in half a few years back, I think there were a lot of the stereotypical greedy capitalists back then. Lots of people dying in coal mines, child labor, that kind of thing. My biggest complaint with Sowell, and with many modern conservatives who like to trash TR, is that they fail to acknowledge his pretty substantial achievements, namely the building of the Panama Canal and the brokerage of peace between Japanese and Russians and Germany and France. This was a prescient man, he sent a fleet of battleships near Japan in 1909…you know just some peaceful exercises; oh you better believe the Japanese were our friends then.

Posted at 10:42 pm by Johnny B