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n2doc

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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
Number of posts: 44,976

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Environmental Scientist

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US Military spending more than next seven countries combined

BY DAN FROOMKIN

Despite a decline in military spending since 2010, U.S. defense expenditures are still 45 percent higher than they were before the 9/11 terror attacks put the country on a seemingly permanent war footing.

And despite massive regional buildups spurred by conflict in the Ukraine and the Middle East, the U.S. spends more on its military than the next seven top-spending countries combined, according to new figures compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

That’s nearly three times as much as China, and more than seven times as much as Russia.



Saudi Arabia is now the fourth-biggest military spender on the globe, which in its case means spending nearly $80 billion last year buying weapons, mostly from the U.S., and most notably including fistfuls of F-15 fighters and top-of-the-line attack helicopters.

As Mark Mazzetti and Helene Cooper reported for The New York Times over the weekend, the new arms race in the Middle East has resulted in a “boom” for American defense contractors.



more
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/04/20/u-s-military-still-spending-45-911-much-next-7-top-spending-countries-combined/

Koch brothers will offer audition to Jeb Bush

By MIKE ALLEN 4/21/15 7:06 AM EDT

Charles and David Koch are considering throwing their massive wealth and sophisticated organization into the Republican presidential primary for the first time, a potentially game-changing boost that could make even a second-tier candidate instantly viable.

In another surprise, a top Koch aide revealed to POLITICO that Jeb Bush will be given a chance to audition for the brothers’ support, despite initial skepticism about him at the top of the Kochs’ growing political behemoth.

Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz debated at the Koch network’s winter seminar in January, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made a separate appearance. Those were the candidates who appeared to have a chance at the Koch blessing, and attendees said Rubio seemed to win that round.

But those four — plus Jeb – will be invited to the Kochs’ summer conference, the aide said. Bush is getting a second look because so many Koch supporters think he looks like a winner. Other candidates, perhaps Rick Perry or Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, may also get invitations.


Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/koch-brothers-will-offer-audition-to-jeb-bush-117177.html

How humiliating for a BUSH to have to grovel in front of mere Koch's!

Tuesday Toon Roundup 5: The Rest


Wisconsin




Florida



TPP





Defense




Teaching


Rights


The Issue


420



Tuesday Toon Roundup 4: Sea of Death











Tuesday Toon Roundup 3: Trashing the Earth Day














Tuesday Toon Roundup 2: Clinton










Tuesday Toon Roundup 1: GOP and CONgress



























Charles P Pierce- Watching Scotty Blow, Cont'd: Governor Of His Own Fugue State

Because it's fking April, and because it's fking 2015, and because I have something of a fking life, I decided to take in the Republican floor exercises up there in New Hampshire through the kind auspices of CSPAN. I was especially interested in the evening show provided by Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin. I had to wait for John Sununu, Sr. to go through an introduction that lasted longer than the Good Friday ritual. (Sununu may still be talking. CSPAN cut away to listen to Walker.) But Walker was worth the wait. We heard about how he's going to ride his Harley to Bike Week in Laconia this year. We heard the bit about buying the shirt at Kohl's. We heard "go big and go bold." We heard about the death threats. And we heard a lot of stunning misdirection about how rosy things are with the Wisconsin economy. (I was especially taken with how he boasted that he had turned his state into a right-to-work paradise, Walker having denied up and down throughout the last campaign that he had any such plans.) And there is no question. Scott Walker is the best Governor of Wisconsin that New Hampshire ever has had.

What we didn't hear, of course, was that, back in America's Dairyland, they may never get out of the death spiral into which Walker has shown the actual state he allegedly actually governs. His new budget is so draconian that even some of the Republicans in his pet legislature are starting to get nervous. And the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, a newspaper of wild ambivalence regarding Walker and his prospective candidacy, dropped a dungbomb on him that demonstrated that, while Scott Walker may have bought a shirt at Kohl's, he isn't qualified to run a cash register there.

Last August, a Wisconsin state agency told two family-planning organizations that they owed a total of $3.5 million because they had overbilled Medicaid programs for prescription drugs and certain services. Last week, the agency — the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health Services — lowered the amount by more than $3.2 million. The two family-planning organizations — NEWCAP Community Health Services and Family Planning Health Services — were told of the change in letters from Alan White, the inspector general. Yet the letters raise more questions than they answer, not the least being how the state could have been off by 93% — and maybe more, given that at least one of the organizations plans to challenge the remaining claims. The Department of Health Services would not make White or anyone else in the department available for interviews this week, and White did not return phone calls. The department would only answer questions via email.

My suspicions that family-planning clinics were deliberately targeted in order to placate those parts of The Base that Walker needs to appease are completely unfounded, I'm sure. And I am the Tsar of all the Russias.

(He will get around to uttering some barefaced non-facts about this situation sooner or later. He's had practice at that.)

more

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a34486/scott-walker-takes-his-show-on-the-road/

Alabama has no money. A lottery might be its last hope.

By Jeff Guo


Alabama might be the next to break down and start a lottery. For years, it has used loans, savings and one-time windfalls to balance its budget. Now it faces an intractable $200-300 million shortfall — a $700 million shortfall if all the borrowed money is thrown into the calculation.

“We knew this day was going to come. We knew this crisis was going to take place, and it’s here,” Gov. Robert Bentley (R ) said in a speech Monday morning.

Bentley has drawn criticism from his own party over his proposal for a $541 million tax increase, largely paid for by increases in the cigarette tax and the auto sales tax. So far, the Republican-controlled legislature has resisted his demands for new revenue. They are asking state agencies to submit plans for budget cuts in the vicinity of 15 to 30 percent.

Democrats in the state have come up with a third solution. A lottery, argues Rep. Craig Ford (D), could put a huge dent in the state’s budget problems — bringing in perhaps $280 million a year. Alabama Democrats have been proposing lottery legislation for years, but this time is different. The situation in Alabama is dire enough that a top Republican has added his name to the bill as well.

more
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2015/04/20/alabama-has-no-money-a-lottery-might-be-its-last-hope/?wprss=rss_politics

Koch-backed law seeks to block GMO labeling

Written by Lisa Neff,

Koch Industries’ favorite congressman recently introduced a bill to restrict the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ability to mandate GMO labeling and block states from requiring labels for genetically engineered food.

Proponents of labeling call the measure introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas the “Deny Americans the Right to Know Act,” aka the “DARK Act.”

Pompeo, a Republican, received more contributions in recent elections from the energy giant Koch Industries than any other congressional member, according to the environmental advocacy group Friends of the Earth.

The lawmaker said he reintroduced the Keep Food Safe and Affordable Act with co-sponsorship from eight Democrats and nine Republicans. The measure contains a new provision to allow food-producers to voluntarily label products as GMO-free through a USDA-accredited certification process.

But Lisa Archer, food and technology program director of Friends of the Earth, called the measure a “chemical and junk food industry dream bill.”

She said the legislation would “set in stone the current, voluntary labeling system that has failed consumers and would replace strong, independent, non-GMO certification with a weak federal program, adding more confusion for consumers who have a right to know what’s in their food.”

more
http://www.wisconsingazette.com/environment/koch-backed-law-seeks-to-block-gmo-labeling.html
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