Showing posts from September, 2017

Expensively Defensive

We spend a lot of money to maintain our massive military machine, because it's the largest on the planet by a factor of five. We spend $700 billion every year, not because we actually need to; we spend that much the same way a junkie will overspend to maintain an addiction.

We currently spend more on national defense than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom – combined. That should make us pretty safe here at home, but American soil is not where most of that money is being spent.

Across the globe, 156 countries have some kind of US troop presence within their borders. Only 46 don't. The Pentagon maintains more than 700 overseas military sites that we know of.

The Defense Department employs more than 3 million people overall. In 2009, the department's PR section had a staff of 27,000 people and spent $4.7 billion by itself on a wide variety of activities.

In 2010 the US military had 963 generals and admirals receiving an average sal…

Fake News Is Nothing New

"Fake News" has become a popular phrase these days. Our president certainly likes to use it, often paired with another common phrase – "mainstream media". Both are convenient but meaningless labels that misrepresent the business of publishing the news in America. The general contempt that a lot of folks have for news media is certainly nothing new. A century ago, newspapers often engaged in what was called 'yellow journalism' and reporters were held in such low esteem that they were referred to as 'ink-stained wretches'. Newspaper publisher William Hearst was the poster boy of Fake News in those days. Hearst and his editors frequently printed misleading or entirely dishonest stories that promoted Hearst's personal views or demonized people he was at odds with. That's completely different from advocacy journalism, which most news sources practice. Some even acknowledge that reality. I was once the editor of the Haleakala Times, a bi-weekly newsp…