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Talk Nation Radio: Pentagon Professor Says the U.S. Military Overpowers Civilian Rule and Should Be Demilitarized


Gregory D. Foster is Professor of Political Science at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, Washington, D.C., where he previously has served as George C. Marshall Professor and J. Carlton Ward Distinguished Professor and Director of Research. Foster says the United States no longer has civilian control of the military, and that the military should be "demilitarized."

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Talk Nation Radio: Robert Pollin: There Is No Fiscal Crisis


There is no fiscal crisis. There is an unemployment crisis. And there is a solution: tax the banks. The support for this argument is explained by Robert Pollin, the co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst.  His latest book and papers discussed during the program are here: http://backtofullemployment.org

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Talk Nation Radio: Sam Pizzigati: What Serious Progressive Taxes Would Look Like

Sam Pizzigati provides perspective on what serious progressive taxation (and labor organizing and populist activism) would look like via the lessons of his new book "The Rich Don't Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph Over Plutocracy That Created the American Middle Class, 1900-1970."  Pizzigati is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of http://toomuchonline.org

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Embed on your own site with this code:

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Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Neither Grand, Nor a Bargain

Liberal groups have been organizing protests of the looming "grand bargain" (a bargain between two political parties aimed at saving us from the fictional "fiscal cliff" by giving more of our money to the super-rich and the war machine).  But they've been doing so only in Republican Congressional districts and with messages placing all the blame on "the Republicans," thus telegraphing the message that all shall be tolerated if labeled "Democratic." 

We're supposed to be against a bargain, but only against one of the two partners to the bargain.  Any bets on how well that'll work?

The Military Spending Cut Scare

The fearmongering is on.  Here's a typical article, this one from the only daily newspaper in my hometown:

The Socialism of McCain, Graham, Ayotte

From Senator John McCain's website: (slight changes marked)

Washington, D.C.­–U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today announced the launch of their “Preserving America’s Strength” series of town hall-style meetings in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and New Hampshire highlighting the devastating impacts of the looming defense clean energy and infrastructure cuts now scheduled to take place under budget sequestration next year.

Guess What % of Americans Know Military Spending Is Increasing

And keep guessing some more, because pollsters are unlikely to ask that question.

A year and a half ago, a poll found that Americans drastically underestimate how high U.S. military spending is.

This fits with consistent polling showing slim majority support for cutting military spending, but strong support for major military cuts when the people polled are told what the current budget it.

Talk Nation Radio: Students Hunger Strike for a Living Wage

Hunter Link of the University of Virginia's Living Wage Campaign explains why he and other students stopped eating and why workers at UVA can and should be paid a living wage.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.

Producer: David Swanson.

Engineer: Christiane Brown.

Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive.org or AudioPort or Radio4All or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

We the 99% Demand a Totally Different Federal Budget

99% Budget

We can fit our demands on a bumpersticker: "Majority Rule" or "People Over Profits" or "Love Not Greed."  But we don't want to.  Our government is doing everything wrong, and we should be allowed to present the full list of grievances.  We can, however, give the world a thousand words' worth in an image, a pie chart to be exact.  Our federal budget funds the wrong things.  We want it to fund the right things.

Here are pie charts produced by some of us members of the 99%: gallery.

Here's where you can make your own: start.

You'll have to register and log in, which prevents spam.  Then you'll have a chance to fill in the percentage of the federal budget that you'd like devoted to various areas.  This budget tool -- the programming for which was done by Karl Anliot -- will let you know if your total adds up to 100%.  You can do this in 60 seconds, but I recommend giving it some thought and really making this into your vision for future activism.

After you create your own ideal budget pie chart, you can compare it with the actual government budget and with the ideal budgets created by the rest of us.  I suspect the biggest gap is going to be between the government and everybody else.  You can also go back in and edit your budget.  You can link to it.  You can facebook it and tweet it.

Below is an image of my ideal federal budget.  I might still change it, but I'm pretty certain of the basics here.  This is discretionary spending, so Social Security and other mandatory spending are not included.  A trust fund into which we pay, trusting that we will be paid back, should never be placed on the chopping block.  Discretionary spending, as the name suggests, is spending over which Congress has discretion each year.

David's Budget

The inner pie chart is broad categories, and the outer layer subcategories for spending.  The yellow-orange area in the lower right is sustainable policies, including job training, mass transit, pollution control, green energy research, etc.  The blue areas include education and research.  The green slices are elements of friendly foreign relations.  The purple is hostile foreign relations, including the military and wars.  The raspberry colored sections cover basic governance, and the little black slice on the right goes to big agriculture and transportation.

Now here's an actual government budget, specifically a budget proposed by the Obama White House for 2015.  The first thing you'll notice is that the military and wars have swallowed everything else.  The rest of the funding areas are all crammed together in teeny little slices over on the right.

White House Budget
The National Priorities Project has produced a very similar pie chart using 2012 numbers, but the numbers used here come from the White House's proposed 2015 budget, also used in this survey which inspired this budget tool.

As much as I sympathize with cries of "jobs not cuts" I wonder if awareness of the state of our budget would lead us to demand that money be moved, that money be cut in one place and added to all the other sectors.  Of course it could also be added to by taxing billionaires and corporations.  But whatever size the pot, our public funds ought to be distributed fairly, humanely, and sustainably.  Perhaps this online tool can help us develop the vision we need moving forward.

Make your own budget here: start.