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Ethics panel clears 7 on earmarks - The House ethics committee ruled Friday that seven lawmakers who steered hundreds of millions of dollars in largely no-bid contracts to clients of a lobbying firm had not violated any rules or laws by also collecting large campaign donations from those contractors.

Ethics panel clears 7 on earmarks -

In a 305-page report, the ethics committee declared that lawmakers are free to raise campaign money from the very companies they are benefiting so long as the deciding factors in granting those "earmarks" are "criteria independent" of the contributions. The report served as a blunt rejection of ethics watchdogs and a different group of congressional investigators, who have contended that in some instances the connection between donations and earmarks was so close that it had to be inappropriate. Cultural, Economic and Workforce Structures Help Reinforce U.S. With total US military spending now approaching ¾ of a trillion dollars per year - about as much as the rest of the world's countries combined - cutting military spending is becoming an issue of concern for the peace movement and beyond, especially as the president has proposed a three-year freeze on domestic discretionary spending.

Cultural, Economic and Workforce Structures Help Reinforce U.S.

As much as one might work to reduce military and defense-related spending, there are powerful cultural influences embedded in our society which make if difficult to shift spending to underfunded domestic needs. High among these influences is the symbiotic interconnection between sports and the armed forces. Many major sports events start with such military displays as a precision flyover of jet fighters, the unfurling of a huge U.S. flag by members of the military services, the flag presentation by a military service color guard, or the singing of the National Anthem by individual or collective service members.

HuffingtonPost. Calculating Life for a Dying Empire. $2000 per dead child!

Calculating Life for a Dying Empire

That's the amount of compensation offered by the Pentagon for the "collateral damage" which it has caused in Afghanistan. As the war escalates and more innocent victims of Washington's aggressive actions accumulate in number, the US military calculates what it will take to placate grieving Afghan parents. Eight years into a war deemed "necessary" by both Republican and Democratic Administrations, the death and destruction visited upon Afghan civilians seems reducible to neat and cheap compensation packages. And, yet, the real physical and psychological damage inflicted by the war-makers remains strangely abstract and without comprehension of the very real unintended consequences. The anger of Afghan families in the earliest days of US military intervention undoubtedly persists and may even fuel the continuing insurgency.