Tag Archive for Pentagon

Defense Spending vs. Arts Spending

Defense_f35_cupcake-6-960In the section of Ka-ching devoted to the NEA and federal arts spending, I compare the cost of a single F-22 stealth fighter (circa $150 million) to the NEA’s annual budget to make the point that the cost of an F-22 is the NEA budget. In the epilogue, written about two years later, I discuss the F-35 boondoggle, which replaced the F-22 boondoggle. Now, in late 2013, as the Pentagon, not unsurprisingly, weathers the sequestration storm to come out on top with a $32 billion increase for 2014, Mother Jones offers a series of graphics that illustrates why guns beat butter every time. As the article points out, “The F-35 program has 1,400 suppliers in 46 states. Lockheed Martin gave money to 425 members of Congress in 2012 and has spent $159 million on lobbying since 2000.”

Even John Conyers, Jr., he of “jazz is hereby designated as a rare and valuable national American treasure” repute, got a little piece of Lockheed Martin treasure in 2012, a mere $1,000. But, on a more encouraging note, the biggest contributor to Conyers’ campaign committee in 2013 is the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, to the tune of $10,000: the labor to Lockheed Martin’s management.

Addendum: In 2014, Conyers briefly found himself off the ballot for the August 5 primary, thanks to his Democratic challenger, Rev. Horace Sheffield III of the New Destiny Christian Fellowship Church (yes, the pastor of a Black church is attempting to unseat Conyers), who charged that some of Conyers’ petition circulators weren’t registered to vote, which in fact is a requirement for this work, but it’s a rule not writ in stone, apparently. When the Conyers camp sued, charging that the requirement prevents people from expressing support for candidates, thereby violating freedom of speech and political association, in late May a U.S. District judge restored Conyers to the ballot, and Michigan is not pursuing the matter further.

Meanwhile, Rev. Horace Sheffield III has been dissing Conyers up, down and sideways:

“He has diminished capacity. Everyone knows that and people talk about it all over town. … The fact of the matter is, he’s lost quite a few steps. The congressman is not all there,” Sheffield said on the Frank Beckman show on WJR Thursday morning. He’s not backing down from those statements.

“I just think that he’s tired, and I think that the people who know him know that sometimes he’s not even sure where he is. If he doesn’t know where he is, he can’t help us go where we need to be,” Sheffield tells FOX 2’s Amy Lange.

Talk about lèse-majesté, not to mention arrant ageism! Never mind the charges against the good pastor for misdemeanor domestic violence against his estranged wife; simply opposing Conyers is a moral felony.

Addendum to the F-35 boondoggle: The latest mishap, as reported on July 4, 2014—how perfect is that?—in The New York Times:

The Defense Department has grounded its fleet of F-35 fighter jets after an incident in which one of them caught fire as it was preparing to take off at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, the Pentagon said. The grounding is the latest in a long string of delays that has plagued the Air Force’s newest, and most advanced, fighter aircraft, and comes just days before the plane was to make its international debut at an air show in Britain.

The article ends with the wry observation, “The planes . . . have run into delays amid criticism of the costs, which can vary wildly.”