Military Keynesianism

Keynesianism, an economic theory developed by the British economist John Maynard Keynes during the 1930s. In an attempt to pull countries out of the great depression Keynes advocated for increased government expenditure and lower taxes to stimulate demand.

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In my brain this seems like a poor return on investment #justsaying

 

What is the purpose of the US military… I mean most organizations have a role to play…

  1. Is it a defense force for the continental United States and a protector of the off-shore assets of the US? (if so one could argue it is massively over-funded)
  2.  Is it the worlds policeman, protecting the weak against tyranny and oppression? Since there is no real mandate for this… it could likely be construed as a self imposed vocation…even if this was true… why would you want this thankless job?
  3. Is in the business end of a hawkish foreign policy cosh meant to bludgeon dissenters and intimidate nation states into towing the line…
  4. Is it a creator of jobs and wealth? Both through the personal that serve in his ranks AND perhaps (more importantly) in the myriads of industries that support the military through manufacturing and logistics etc.
  5.  Or, maybe, I suppose it could be all of the above?

Recently the US Army told congress, ‘We DON’T want anymore tanks… seriously… we don’t know what do with with them… in fact the ones that you’re making for us are coming off the assembly line and getting parked in a warehouse and covered with tarps’. Okay… I’m paraphrasing, but this was the gist of an otherwise overly wordy statement.

You would think that congress would listen to its military leaders and maybe cut down on the manufacture of tanks. Only Congress allocated an additional 120 million dollars to upgrade the ubiquitous M1… saying the tank fleet represented an important strategic element to the nations defense. Much to the chagrin of the military generals who want to use that money for something more useful (you know… because tank battles are so 1944).

But tanks get built in congregational districts that employ… (actually a tiny minority) of the voters there. If you cut back on tanks, you might cut back on jobs in those districts and potentially that congressman or woman is out of a job next election. Wait… so you’re using tax payers money to build something no one wants so that you prop up a noncompetitive industry and keep your job? Isn’t that unethical? Well in the very least it smacks of some serious socialism. You know the supposed kryptonite of free market capitalism (the thing you’re supposed to be into).

Also, if the M1 Tank represents such an important strategic element… how come it gets sold to pretty much ANYONE with capacity to buy them… You know like countries with… questionable human rights concerns, like Egypt (co-invader of your ally Israel during the Yom Kippur) who have bought 1005 M1’s. And everyone’s favorite bone saw aficionado  Saudi Arabia who have bought 373… plus a whole bunch of other higher end stuff. Giving your tech away seems super un-strategic to me.

In any event. The industrial military complex is so enmeshed into the economy of the United States you can’t just rip it out without seriously injuring the patient. That… and in an insightful ideological coup anyone who criticises the military or indeed military spending is labelled unpatriotic… which obviously makes any reasoned or logical debate very difficult. (especially for some in public office)

While I’m picking on the United States government this likely true for most countries where an inordinate amount of money is spent on the ‘defence’ of that country… where it could likely could be better spent on stuff that actually benefits the majority of the citizenry. Because I’m a libertarian, for me that would mean paying less taxes. But for other people that could mean schools, libraries and health care. But thats a different debate for another time.

Killing people in other countries only ever benefits a tiny minority, but yet is rarely an issue that taxpayers take umbrage with…

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Jackassery

Spent my afternoon in the ER with the walking wounded. Some sports injuries. An allergic reaction to a bee-sting, a crazy old guy who kept bellowing on about wanting his gout-injection (for which he’d clearly been waiting too long for) and some guy who made his injured girlfriend stand while he sat.

I thought I’d broken my foot. And I kinda have. Well I have an avulsion fracture. Which is when a ligament rips a piece of bone off your foot. Usually when you twist it. In any event, I won’t get into the gory details… because they’re kinda embarrassing. I lied and told the nurse in Triage that I’d kicked a door trying to unstick it… which he thought was incredibly humorous and chortled to himself while he took my details.

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Managed to limp/hop back to my house from incident… but by the time I got there I was really hobbled by the pain and my foot had swollen up significantly and I could hardly walk. After icing it for an hour I decided something didn’t feel right and got the wife to drive me to the hospital.

I’ve broken my other foot before (in a grappling competition shooting in for a takedown), that time the bone was sticking out through the top of my foot and there was less ambiguity to whether it was actually broken or not. Three days in hospital and some pins fixed that up more or less okay.

Anyways, they don’t cast you up for an avulsion fracture. They just bandaged me up and offered me a moon-boot which I declined since I have one already I can use if I need it. The nurse asked me if the bandage was too tight to which I glibly remarked if I my toes started to redden and smell like almonds I would relieve the pressure. The doctor arched her eyebrow at me, why would it smell like almonds she asks me.

I glance her up and down, I guess she might be too young to appreciate quotes from Austin Powers…  She goes on to tell me that she ‘kinda likes the smell of almonds’. Medical professionals these days… certainly not the caliber of the gnarly old meat-technician (orthopaedic surgeon) who worked on me last time.

In any event, I’m back on crutches and have been booked off work until the 27th… which is hilarious… that I can afford to take time off I mean.

Libertarian joke

While walking home one evening I came upon a man standing at the edge of a bridge, about to jump. “Wait!” I yelled, and ran over to see what was the matter.

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“It’s this country,” he lamented. “It’s falling into ruin and there’s nothing I can do about it. I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.”

“Cheer up,” I said. “We’re all in this together. Say, are you a liberal or a conservative?”

“I’m a libertarian,” he said.

“Me too!” I exclaimed. “See, you’re not alone. Are you a free-market libertarian or a libertarian socialist?”

“Free-market libertarian,” he said.

“Same here!” I said. “Paleo-libertarian or neo-libertarian?”

“Paleo-libertarian,” he said.

“Hey, so am I! Chicago or Austrian school of economics?”

“Austrian,” he said.

“Me too! Hayekian or Rothbardian?”

“Rothbardian,” he said.

“Same as me! Consequentialist or deontological?”

“Consequentialist,” he said.

“Die, statist!” I yelled, and pushed him off the bridge.

Heffalumps don’t surf

Somewhere… in the hundred acre wood… after a frantic search the platoon find Eeyore hung up in a tree, mutilated, his tail is missing. Piglet is out for blood.

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“Fuck it Pooh. Lets do the whole fucking village!”

*Cue Adagio for strings*

As an interesting aside, this was the Russian propaganda poster that was distributed after the My Lai massacre…

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 “For services in My Lai!”

I tend to reserve judgement on these sorts of things. Because… well… no one really ever occupies the high ground of morality for very long. And… since my people (ze Germans) fairly recently staked out some substantial real estate on the atrocity circuit I always feel a bit weird throwing my moralizing around. That whole generational awkwardness thing.

It does piss me off that no-one was ever prosecuted for this war crime though.

I saw the sign…

♪𝅘𝅥 and it opened up my mind…  ♪♫

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Hmm. I’m trying not to read too much into this sign… but its hard. For some reason it reminds me of that Randall Munroe…. eh… Monroe? (I’m going to have to look it up) Munroe comic.

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I have a complicated relationship with these six panels. I realize you can’t (really) do a deep dive on free speech with a medium like this… and some days I think thats okay. Other days this comic irritates me, especially when its bandied about like an excuse for bad behavior. It likely depends (like most things in my life) on my caloric intake at that particular moment and my state of caffeinated-ness… both of which, if maxed out, make me much more genteel and accommodating.

In any event. I too want to exist.