US should have spent half its military budget on healthcare system instead of missiles, ‘ex-economic hitman’ Perkins tells RT


01-05-20 01:06:00,

The Covid-19 pandemic should be a rallying call to change an economic system that spends billions each year on the tools of war but can’t produce a decent healthcare system, bestselling author John Perkins told RT.

Perkins is best known for his book ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,’ in which he describes how American corporate elites plunder other nations to enrich themselves.

The economic system that puts immediate gains above all else, which Perkins calls an “economy of death” may be as lethal to common Americans as to people in Latin America or Eastern Asia, he said in an interview with RT Spanish. One only needs to look at the death toll of the Covid-19 epidemic in the US to see the proof.

Also on
Kings and Queens of Corona: 5 people who are having a great global pandemic

“Our annual military budget is something between $600 billion and $700 billion. But we’ve just spent about $3 trillion to fight coronavirus. If we had spent half of that military budget over the last 10 years creating a better healthcare system in this country, we would all be better off now. The world would be better off,” he said.

The big flaw of the current arrangement is that corporations don’t suffer financially for inflicting long-term damage.

“In a way, it boils down to the driving force behind the ‘death economy,’ which is to maximize the short-term profits regardless of social or environmental costs,” Perkins said.

Also on
Big Ag break-up? Senators target America’s meat monopolies, as virus threatens shortages

Changing the equation would require a shift in public policy that would incentivize investment in projects with long-term public benefits. Unfortunately, the US government’s priorities are pretty far from that goal, judging by the bloated defense budget, the author believes.

“Fifty-four percent of my taxpayer dollars in the discretionary budget in the US go to the military industry. You know, to kill people, basically,” he said. “Imagine if that money or some large portion of that money was instead paid [to improve the lives of people].

 » Lees verder

Who Has Spent The Most Dollars Lobbying Washington In 2019?


27-10-19 09:49:00,

Authored by Karl Evers-Hillstrom via

The pharmaceutical industry is holding on to its title as the top lobbying force in Washington amid pressure from lawmakers at all ends of the ideological spectrum.Drugmakers have spent more than $129 million through September, slightly down from nearly $133 million at this time last year, but still far more than any other industry. 

The larger pharmaceutical/health products industry, which includes medical devices and dietary supplement companies along with drugmakers, spent $228 million through the third quarter of 2019, a record-breaking pace that is up $10 million from this time last year. 

House Democrats recently advanced legislation that allows the federal government to negotiate the price of drugs that lack generic equivalents. The bill passed the House Ways and Means Committee this week without a number of amendments proposed by progressive Democrats who argued the bill isn’t strong enough. 

Senate Republicans have said the Democrats’ bill will not fly in the upper chamber. Although members of both parties in the Senate agree drug prices need to be lowered, they can’t agree on how to do it. 

Some of the biggest increases from the industry came from Akebia Therapeutics (up to $1.5 million from $110,000 this time last year) and Humira manufacturer AbbVie (up to $5.4 million from $4.3 million). The industry’s main trade association, Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, increased its spending by $930,750 to nearly $22.8 million. It is the fourth-highest lobbying spender so far. 

Data via

That spending comes on top of the industry’s many ad campaigns designed to influence lawmakers and the general public. The industry fights threatening legislation in creative ways, including funding prominent but unrelated associations to push pro-industry messages on the airwaves

Air transport is on pace to break its spending record this year, shelling out $79 million up from nearly $72 million this time last year. Powerful industry forces such as Airbus and FedEx are ramping up lobbying spending over President Donald Trump’s trade war.

 » Lees verder

Americans Spent Nearly $150 Billion On Illegal Drugs Last Year


31-08-19 07:28:00,

The U.S. opioid crisis has been making headlines again this week after pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson was fined $572 for fuelling the epidemic in Oklahoma in a historic ruling.

As Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, last year, drug overdoses claimed more than 68,000 American lives and 47,000 of those deaths involved an opioid. Even though heroin, prescription opioids and synthetic opioids like fentanyl are receiving most of the attention, deaths from other drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine are increasing.

A new report from the RAND Corporation has shed light on just how many people use illicit drugs across America as well as how much they pay for them.

Infographic: Americans Spent Nearly $150 Billion On Illegal Drugs In 2016 | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

In 2016 alone, people in the U.S. spent an estimated $146 billion on cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine. Adding RAND’s figures together from 2006 to 2016 would mean total spending on illegal drugs over the course of the decade was nearly $1.5 trillion.

Out of all four drugs in 2016, users spent the most on illicit marijuana – $52 billion.

The market for the illegal green stuff is around the size of the cocaine and methamphetamine markets combined. Heroin has the second highest financial outlay ($43 billon) followed by methamphetamine ($27 billion) and cocaine ($24 billion).

 » Lees verder

We Have Spent $32 Million Per Hour on War Since 2001 | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda


05-05-19 09:17:00,

By Stephanie Savell

This March marked the 16th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

In 2003, President George W. Bush and his advisers based their case for war on the idea that Saddam Hussein, then dictator of Iraq, possessed weapons of mass destruction — weapons that have never been found. Nevertheless, all these years later, Bush’s “Global War on Terror” continues — in Iraq and in many other countries.

It’s a good time to reflect on what this war — the longest in U.S. history — has cost Americans and others around the world.

First, the economic costs: According to estimates by the Costs of War project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the war on terror has cost Americans a staggering $5.6 trillion since 2001, when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan.

$5.6 trillion. This figure includes not just the Pentagon’s war fund, but also future obligations such as social services for an ever-growing number of post-9/11 veterans.

It’s hard for most of us to even begin to grasp such an enormous number.

It means Americans spend $32 million per hour, according to a counter by the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

Put another way: Since 2001, every American taxpayer has spent almost $24,000 on the wars — equal to the average down payment on a house, a new Honda Accord, or a year at a public university.

(Cartoon: Khalil Bendib /

As stupefying as those numbers are, the budgetary costs pale in comparison with the human toll.

As of 2015, when the Costs of War project made its latest tallies, up to 165,000 Iraqi civilians had died as a direct consequence of U.S. war, plus around 8,000 U.S. soldiers and military contractors in Iraq.

Those numbers have only continued to rise. Up to 6,000 civilians were killed by U.S.-led strikes in Iraq and Syria in 2017 –– more civilians than in any previous year, according to the watchdog group AirWars.

In addition to those direct deaths,

 » Lees verder

How The US Spent Billions To Change The Outcome Of Elections Around The World: A Review


09-01-19 08:16:00,

Authored by Danny Haiphong via,

The U.S. military state overthrows democratically-elected governments that it deems to be a threat to corporate interests.

“There is plenty of evidence that the United States is the most depraved and dangerous “meddler” in the affairs of other nations that history has ever known.”

Dan Kovalik is a labor and human rights lawyer, but most of all he is an anti-imperialist and an author of three books. Kovalik’s first two books tackled the specific US war drives against Russia and Iran. His third installment, The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World, addresses the broad scope of US election meddling abroad. The book provides much needed political and ideological life support to an anti-war movement in the U.S that has been rendered nearly invisible to the naked eye.

The Plot to Control the World is as detailed in its critique of U.S. imperialism as it is concise. In just over 160 pages, Kovalik manages to analyze the various ways that the U.S. political and military apparatus interferes in the affairs of nations abroad to achieve global hegemony. He wastes no time in exposing the devastating lie that is American exceptionalism, beginning appropriately with the U.S. imperialist occupations of Haiti and the Philippines at the end of the 19thcentury and beginning of the 20th. The U.S. would murder millions of Filipinos and send both nations into a spiral of violence, instability, and poverty that continues to this day. As Kovalik explains regarding Haiti, “While the specific, claimed justifications for [U.S.] intervention changed over time- e.g., opposing the end of slavery, enforcing the Monroe Doctrine, fighting Communism, fighting drugs, restoring law and order — the fact is that the interventions never stopped and the results for the Haitian people have been invariably disastrous.”

“Kovalik wastes no time in exposing the devastating lie that is American exceptionalism.”

US expansionism has relied upon the ideology of American exceptionalism to silence criticism and weaken anti-war forces in the United States. American exceptionalism claims that the U.S. is a force for good in the world and completely justified in its wars of conquest draped in the cover of spreading “democracy and freedom” around the world.

 » Lees verder

Oil Industry Spent Millions to Defeat Carbon Tax in Washington State


07-12-18 04:41:00,

Racial Justice

White Supremacy Apologists Are Having a Field Day

Environment & Health

Oil Industry Spent Millions to Defeat Carbon Tax in Washington State

Politics & Elections

Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib Expose Congressional Orientation’s Corporate Sponsors


New Trump Immigration Rule Could Devastate Rural Hospitals

Environment & Health

Ryan Zinke Promotes Logging in the Wake of California’s Wildfires

Education & Youth

When Schools Use Child Protective Services as a Weapon Against Parents

Climate change appeared on the ballot in numerous states during the 2018 midterm elections, an indication of the growing concern among average citizens about the catastrophic effects of fossil fuel burning. But the struggle for regulations on emissions was repeatedly blocked by the money machinery of the oil industry. Record amounts of money were spent trying to derail the efforts of activists and labor unions fighting to save the environment. One such instance was over Initiative 1631 in Washington State where the oil industry spent more than $30 million trying to sabotage the struggle for a better world. In this exclusive Truthout interview, Jeff Johnson — who led the fight for the passing of Initiative 1631 — reflects on the lessons activists nationwide can draw for the future from the climate change struggle in Washington State.

C.J. Polychroniou: Jeff, share with me the background of the movement you led in Washington State for climate change and Initiative 1631.

Jeff Johnson: For the record, I am one of seven leaders representing communities of color, the environmental community, tribes and labor that came together to form the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. The Alliance spent three years building a climate justice movement based on principles of equity and giving assistance and voice to those most disproportionately impacted by climate disaster. Initiative 1631 was a product of this work.

I-1631 created a carbon fee of $15 a metric ton on carbon pollution and would have used the resulting $2.3 billion generated over five years to invest in clean energy, clean water and healthy forests – creating tens of thousands of family wage jobs and pulling 20 million tons of CO2 out of the air every year.

I-1631 would have codified a “Just Transition” for our communities in the following ways:

The stories you care about,

 » Lees verder

US Has Spent $5,900,000,000,000 On War Since 2001


15-11-18 09:45:00,

Authored by Jason Ditz via,

A new report from Brown University is aiming to provide a close estimate of the cost of the overall cost to the US government of its myriad post-9/11 wars and assorted global wars on terror. The estimate is that $5.933 trillion has been spent through fiscal year 2019.

This is, of course, vastly higher than official figures, owing to the Pentagon trying to oversimplify the costs into simply overseas contingency operations. It is only when one considers the cost of medical and disability care for soldiers, and future such costs, along with things like the interest on the extra money borrowed for the wars, that the true cost becomes clear.

That sort of vast expenditure is only the costs and obligations of the wars so far, and with little sign of them ending, they are only going to grow. In particular, a generation of wars is going to further add to the medical costs for veterans’ being consistently deployed abroad.

Starting in late 2001, the US has engaged in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere around the world. Many of those wars have become more or less permanent operations, with no consideration of ending them under any circumstances.

Those wishing to read the report can find it here.

 » Lees verder

US government spent over $500m on fake Al-Qaeda propaganda videos that tracked location of viewers | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda

US government spent over $500m on fake Al-Qaeda propaganda videos that tracked location of viewers | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda

12-04-18 01:38:00,

The Pentagon hired a UK-based PR firm to produce and disemminate videos during the Iraq War

A former contractor for a UK-based public relations firm says that the Pentagon paid more than half a billion dollars for the production and dissemination of fake Al-Qaeda videos that portrayed the insurgent group in a negative light.

We’re creating viewer supported news. Become a member! Click Here!

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that the PR firm, Bell Pottinger, worked alongside top US military officials at Camp Victory in Baghdad at the height of the Iraq War. The agency was tasked with crafting TV segments in the style of unbiased Arabic news reports, videos of Al-Qaeda bombings that appeared to be filmed by insurgents, and anti-insurgent commercials – and those who watched the videos could be tracked by US forces.

The report of Bell Pottinger’s involvement in the video hearkens back to more than 10 years ago, when the Washington-based PR firm Lincoln Group was revealed to have produced print news stories and placed them in Iraqi newspapers. According to the Los Angeles Times, who obtained the 2005 documents, the stories were intended to tout the US-led efforts in Iraq and denounce insurgent groups.

Bell Pottinger was first tasked by the interim Iraqi government in 2004 to promote democratic elections. They received $540m between May 2007 and December 2011, but could have earned as much as $120m from the US in 2006.

Lord Tim Bell, a former Bell Pottinger chairman, confirmed the existence of the contract with the Sunday Times. The Pentagon also confirmed that the agency was contracted under the Information Operations Task Force, but insisted that all material distributed was “truthful”.

However, former video editor Martin Wells, who worked on the IOTF contract with Bell Pottinger, said they were given very specific instructions on how to produce the fake Al-Qaeda propaganda films.

“We need to make this style of video and we’ve got to use Al-Qaeda’s footage,” Mr Wells told the Bureau, recalling the instructions he received. “We need it to be 10 minutes long, and it needs to be in this file format,

 » Lees verder