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 Post subject: Institutionalized bribery in one image
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:26 am 
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Military expenditure in the world-
Image

And nobody can do anything about it, it will only grow because politicians are in the pockets of the military-industrial complex and it is the biggest social welfare giveaway in the USA holding hundreds of thousands of jobs in many states.

It also fuels the perpetual state of war and finding more wars.


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 Post subject: Re: Institutionalized bribery in one image
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:06 am 
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The figures are nothing short of staggering. You could also compare it to the GDPs or national budgets of other nations - or the US' for that matter - and get equally impressive imagery. That is a society steered towards War, no doubt about it. I doubt the industry's interests are a trivial matter either (or negotiable for that matter).

Might as well, since half the NATO countries seem to have given up their national defence into the US' open arms (race).

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 Post subject: Re: Institutionalized bribery in one image
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:12 am 
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I would not go so far as to say that this money is entirely going to war. If you were to look at the amount of that money actually spent on military hardware, it's probably quite a small percentage. Cost of wages will be the largest part and this goes hand in hand with the previously suggested idea of the military as state funded jobs.

The US military is well known for ploughing money into a lot of external projects some of which do yield very useful inventions as biproducts but they also put their money into some things that only the US military would. They are for example the biggest satellite launch customer in the world in terms of payload, largely because their satellites are so massive. This in turn requires them to use the expensive Delta 4 heavy lift to put them in orbit and the Delta 4 has pretty much a monopoly on putting big satellites into orbit, hence it being so expensive. It's this kind of thing that adds up and there are vested interests involved in doing this.

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 Post subject: Re: Institutionalized bribery in one image
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:02 am 
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edh wrote:
Cost of wages will be the largest part and this goes hand in hand with the previously suggested idea of the military as state funded jobs.

It's also the reason China is looking better than it should: Their massive army is paid at 3rd world salaries. If you adjust the pay of Chinese soldiers and military personnel to Western standards, they'll probably end up spending more than the countries below them combined.


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 Post subject: Re: Institutionalized bribery in one image
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:45 pm 
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tim851 wrote:
It's also the reason China is looking better than it should: Their massive army is paid at 3rd world salaries. If you adjust the pay of Chinese soldiers and military personnel to Western standards, they'll probably end up spending more than the countries below them combined.

That massive army is pretty much staying at home though. They don't swarm all over the place.

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 Post subject: Re: Institutionalized bribery in one image
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:12 pm 
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There's a reason why countries like Finland call their forces the Defence Forces. And just to stay on the general level, which is what this picture is about (sans the idea posed by the original poster), that money is used by an organisation that exists for War. The USA's global political, economic and geographical position being what they are, one can only draw certain conclusions from there.

I personally enjoy lots of military inventions: my winter coat is an M65 copy with the detachable lining (USA), I always carry a Swiss army knife (Switzerland), I use GPS to find my way around town (USA)... I don't object to any of these or have any issues with them being essentially products of War - but that does not change the fact that this is exactly what they are.

If you want to talk satellites, the European positioning system is still a mess because it wasn't produced for and by the War Machine, so it's mired in bureaucracy instead of getting rammed through.

I'm not here to argue for or against the view of there being a "military-industrial complex", but those figures alone make you think.

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 Post subject: Re: Institutionalized bribery in one image
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:28 pm 
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Das_Saunamies wrote:
There's a reason why countries like Finland call their forces the Defence Forces.

Finland is however one of a small number of European nations which still has compulsory conscription. It is debatable whether there is any real tactical advantage in having such troop numbers available in the modern world but it is good that non-military work is included in this. Is it instead a way of tackling unemployment and maybe putting people in a position to work for the national interest outweighs the cost? Any data on whether it makes army leavers more employable?

I do however see that Jehovah's witnesses are exempt from conscription in Finland. This is a shame as it lays down a special case for one group.

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 Post subject: Re: Institutionalized bribery in one image
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:03 am 
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We've got a huge area to cover with a very small number of people (compare to Japan/JSDF or Israel/IDF). Our closest ally has all but dismantled their forces (I think they're supposed to be able to defend the country for a week?) and there's a big, unpredictable, war-waging neighbour on the other front (Chechnya, Georgia, military-political pressure towards ex-USSR states). The doctrine of needing pretty much every single body is sound.

It does hardly anything for employment figures, during or after service - it's nothing special as everyone does it, and the training hardly prepares you for actual jobs. Some of us even fall behind in the job market due to the delay and difficulty the service period imposes on studies. The best you can scrape out of it is a driving license that the state sponsors should you become a driver. The national interest is hardly served beyond the military application(s).

I'm sure there's actual research data beyond my experience and opinion, but I'd say you can just look at the unemployment figures and go form there. As you said the conscription includes everyone, even though some are exempt and some choose a non-military training (civilian service, which can actually land you a job and thus working experience).

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 Post subject: Re: Institutionalized bribery in one image
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:14 am 
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edh wrote:
I would not go so far as to say that this money is entirely going to war.

Yeah, it's also going to imperialism and terrorism. The USA has a ridiculously bloated global network of military bases.

edh wrote:
If you were to look at the amount of that money actually spent on military hardware, it's probably quite a small percentage. Cost of wages will be the largest part ...

The 2010 military budget is on Wikipedia:
41.4% of the budget went to "operations and maintenance", that is war, imperialism and terrorism (includes both hardware and wages)
22.6% went to "military personnel", that is wages
20.5% went to "procurement", that is military hardware

Since the US military isn't a for-profit organization, most expenses (all expenses except some share of the payments made to private contractors or for commodities bought on the markets) will end up as wages one way or another. I don't think you were going for some kind of Marxist argument so what was your point?

edh wrote:
the Delta 4 has pretty much a monopoly on putting big satellites into orbit, hence it being so expensive. It's this kind of thing that adds up and there are vested interests involved in doing this.

The other big rockets claim to be roughly as capable. Maybe those are empty claims. But since we don't have security clearances, unless there is public information somewhere about the mass and orbit of the biggest Delta payloads, any claims about the Delta's capabilities are just as empty.

edh wrote:
I do however see that Jehovah's witnesses are exempt from conscription in Finland. This is a shame as it lays down a special case for one group.

I for one am not bothered by a former ally of Nazi Germany giving special dispensation to a group that was so horribly persecuted by the Nazis precisely because they were pacifists.


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 Post subject: Re: Institutionalized bribery in one image
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:20 am 
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Das_Saunamies wrote:
We've got a huge area to cover with a very small number of people (compare to Japan/JSDF or Israel/IDF). Our closest ally has all but dismantled their forces (I think they're supposed to be able to defend the country for a week?) and there's a big, unpredictable, war-waging neighbour on the other front (Chechnya, Georgia, military-political pressure towards ex-USSR states).

True, you are next door to Russia but then the risk of reprisal from other nations is much greater than it is in the cases of Chechnya and Georgia. Although Finland keeps a non-aligned status on some fronts, it does have a partnership with NATO even though it is not a member. It is also an EU member and aggression against an EU member state would be regrettable for Russia. They simply wouldn't try it in the modern age. I'm not totally against conscription or totally for it, it's just a dying trend amongst EU countries with even France and Germany having formally dropped it relatively recently.

Das_Saunamies wrote:
It does hardly anything for employment figures, during or after service - it's nothing special as everyone does it

So less people in the job market so lower unemployment than if you did not have conscription. Indeed, when British troops began being demobilised at the end of WW2 they were very careful about how many people they let back onto the job market at once. Demobilising all troops at once would have created chaos so in 1945 only those who had previously worked in key industries were released, then many more in 1946 but some remained conscripted until 1948. This was all for economic reasons.

It is arguable that army service can help some people longer term by giving them a puprose and a duty to fulfill. It teaches teamwork and that hard work is worthwhile, plus it stops people being couch potatoes.

HFat wrote:
Yeah, it's also going to imperialism and terrorism.

Citation please?

edh wrote:
I don't think you were going for some kind of Marxist argument so what was your point?

My point was that for those on the political right in the US military expenditure is seen as a good thing. It has the result of putting many people in jobs and piling a lot of money into the US economy, this is a side effect but one that also comes off as good with some sectors of voters, in particular the working classes in areas where there is not much to do except join the military. You put someone in a job, they're more likely to vote for you for life. In the UK we have a similar thing with the public sector which votes en masse for the Labour party as they are the party which creates public sector jobs.

edh wrote:
The other big rockets claim to be roughly as capable. Maybe those are empty claims. But since we don't have security clearances, unless there is public information somewhere about the mass and orbit of the biggest Delta payloads, any claims about the Delta's capabilities are just as empty.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison ... ch_systems

Here you'll see that the Delta IV heavy lift can put over 50% higher weight into geostationary orbit than the heaviest Ariane 5. It's not that the Ariane 5 is bad, far from it, it's very good, it's just that there is a limited market for putting things that big and heavy into orbit and the US military is one of the few customers for things that big. As such all but one launch has been for the US government. They don't need to make satellites that big I'm sure, it's just that that's what they do.

As we're on to launch vehicles perhaps I should mention the James Webb Space Telescope which will replace Hubble in a few years. James Webb was the second NASA administrator and oversaw the Appollo program. Oh the irony that the JWST will be launched on an Arianne 5.

edh wrote:
I for one am not bothered by a former ally of Nazi Germany giving special dispensation to a group that was so horribly persecuted by the Nazis precisely because they were pacifists.

Hmm, contraversial. Finland was allied with Germany but then declared war on them in 1944 so you could think of them as being enemies just as well as you could allies. Finland is notable in being the only democracy to have allied itself with Germany but this was really more against the USSR than for a like of the Nazi's. The UK declared war on Finland because of their alliance with Hitler, being the only time in history that a democracy has declared war on another democracy.

If you're going to look at WW2 and any guilt that a country might have then there are plenty of others as well, Ireland for example, or some of the arabic states. The istuation is complicated for many states where it is not so simple as a battle of 2 sides.

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 Post subject: Re: Institutionalized bribery in one image
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:47 am 
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edh wrote:
Das_Saunamies wrote:
It does hardly anything for employment figures, during or after service - it's nothing special as everyone does it

So less people in the job market so lower unemployment than if you did not have conscription. Indeed, when British troops began being demobilised at the end of WW2 they were very careful about how many people they let back onto the job market at once. Demobilising all troops at once would have created chaos so in 1945 only those who had previously worked in key industries were released, then many more in 1946 but some remained conscripted until 1948. This was all for economic reasons.

It is arguable that army service can help some people longer term by giving them a puprose and a duty to fulfill. It teaches teamwork and that hard work is worthwhile, plus it stops people being couch potatoes.

If you had seen the kind of service it is, you wouldn't compare it to active militaries (actual Armies). The ones who get conscripted would otherwise be in education or training, both being free in this country and even partially paid for with government money. It does not stop people being who they are or make the statistics that much nicer (6 months typical service time won't even make it into annual statistics, will it).

Looking at Finland, I can't say the service would have done us any great favours. The effect is temporary at best.

PS. I personally think we're "safe" too, but the scenario exists and we do prepare for it. It's just the geopolitical position we are in.

PPS. No regrets about the alliance with Germany. It was that or get conquered.

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 Post subject: Re: Institutionalized bribery in one image
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:41 am 
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The super high healthcare system here in the US is another case in point of institutionalized shakedown:

http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/20/bitter-pill-why-medical-bills-are-killing-us/

Here is the author Steven Brill on The Daily Show:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-february-21-2013/steven-brill

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 Post subject: Re: Institutionalized bribery in one image
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:46 am 
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Im gonna add this to the discussion, I think is making sense:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HP7L8bw5QF4


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 Post subject: Re: Institutionalized bribery in one image
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:18 am 
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NeilBlanchard wrote:
The super high healthcare system here in the US is another case in point of institutionalized shakedown

Applying the word "system" is debatable. :wink:

Amazingly the US government spends a greater percentage of money on healthcare than any other major developed country, despite only footing 45% of the bill!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_car ... omparisons

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 Post subject: Re: Institutionalized bribery in one image
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:21 am 
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54% of every US tax dollar goes to military funding of some kind.

there are no words to describe how disgusting that fact is.

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 Post subject: Re: Institutionalized bribery in one image
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:46 pm 
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Das_Saunamies wrote:
PPS. No regrets about the alliance with Germany. It was that or get conquered.

I'm not sure why you should harbor regrets about events you had no part in.
But do you seriously reason that willfully joining a war against the Soviet Union and the British Empire only to be defeated somehow protected Finland? Denialists must have worked hard on that one.

If the war hadn't been lost, you'd have an argument. People could credibly argue "if the Soviet Union hadn't been destroyed, Finland would have been invaded". But the Soviet Union wasn't destroyed and somehow the Russians found better things to do than conquer Finland once its pro-Nazi government had ceased being a threat.
Attacking British shipping was a real smart move by the way. Way to defend one's country! Even the fascist dictator Franco (who owed his position to the Luftwaffe and had a score to settle with Moscow as well) wasn't so reckless as to let the Nazis attack Gibraltar from Spanish soil. Hitler begged and promised but it seems some right-wingers actually mean it when they talk about putting their country first.


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