This $100-Million Building Looks Exactly Like Star Trek’s Enterprise

NetDragon Websoft

Wow!  Impressive…


A Chinese technology executive made it so…

A Chinese executive who sits on the board of Baidu has constructed an office that pays faithful homage to Star Trek‘s USS Enterprise. The building, which was built by NetDragon Websoft’s 43-year-old founder Liu Dejian, will provide office space for the Chinese game developer. The Wall Street Journal reports the 853-foot-long structure cost 600 million yuan or about $97 million to build.

Construction in the coastal city of Changle in China’s Fujian province reportedly wrapped late last year and began in October 2010. The firm reportedly contacted CBS, the show’s rights holder, to get permission to construct the office. “That was their first time dealing with [an] issue like this and at first they thought that it was a joke,” NetDragon wrote The Wall Street Journal in an email. “They realized somebody in China actually did want to work out a building modeled on the USS Enterprise only after we sent the relevant legal documents.”

The structure looks particularly convincing from the air, as seen here on Google Maps.

Watch This Atlanta TV Station Expose ALEC’s Influence On Local Legislators

This report is definitely an eye-opener.  Many bloggers and reporters knew of ALEC and it’s clandestine operations but this video gets to the heart of the matter.  The question is, who oversees this sort of legislative activity?  I’m sure money is being passed around to every level of legislator and legislative aides to perpetuate ALEC‘s power with state legislators.  


From the May 21 edition of WXIA-TV’s 11 Alive News Tonight:


On the Ropes: Inside ALEC’s Annual Meeting

The ALEC Problem Is Even Worse Than John Oliver Thinks

GOPer Wants Police Chief Who Released Duggar Offense Report To Be Fired


AP Photo / Danny Johnston


Arkansas state Sen. Bart Hester (R) told local TV station KFSM that he believed Springdale Police Chief Kathy O’Kelly compromised the identities of the eldest Duggar’s alleged victims by releasing the police report.

“The law to protect minors’ identities is not a suggestion,” Hester said. “So sad to see the person charged with protecting the community being so reckless and irresponsible. I believe it is unavoidable that the Springdale police chief should be terminated. She has re-victimized these young ladies.”

Tabloid magazine In Touch Weekly on Thursday published the offense report, which it obtained through a public records request. The names of the victims, as well as Josh Duggar’s name, were redacted. The report was destroyed the same day it was published in the magazine by order of Judge Stacey Zimmerman.

Yet Hester suggested that the identities of all sex crimes victims in Springdale were now in danger of becoming public based on the way O’Kelly handled the Duggar offense report. He went as far as suggesting that the police chief could face criminal charges.

“The city of Springdale’s liability seems endless on this,” he told KFSM. “I certainly anticipate criminal charges against Chief O’Kelley.”

Mayor Doug Sprouse told KFSM that O’Kelly, who is set to retire June 30, had determined in consultation with Springdale’s city attorney that the report had to be released in accordance with the law.

The In Touch Weekly report sparked a media firestorm that led Duggar to release a statement admitting that he “acted inexcusably” as a teenager. He also resigned his position as executive director of FRC Action, the Family Research Council’s lobbying arm.

TLC said in a statement Friday that it was “deeply saddened and troubled” by the allegations against Duggar and decided to pull all episodes of “19 Kids and Counting” from the air. The future of the show, which is in its 10th season, remains unclear.

h/t Raw Story

Accepting the Reality That Hillary is Anything But Inevitable

Finally, someone actually addresses this possibility…(ks)


It’s time to say out loud what we all already know. It’s not Hillary. It just isn’t. After the inspired and historic leadership of President Obama, we don’t want his runner up from 2008. After the genuine and authentic article, we don’t want the 3D printed likeness, no matter how realistic it may appear. Whether it’s that she’s too corporate or too conflicted, or it’s just that the Clinton name has been in our face for far too long, it isn’t Hillary. The sooner we accept that, the better chance we have to do something about it before it’s too late.

To us, the GOP is a circus tent with scores of clownish candidates. To the red-meat GOP base, however, they have an incredibly rich and diverse set of hardcore conservative candidates. Their current crop includes women, minorities, business leaders, senators, governors and more. We may correctly know they’re all crazy and unfit to lead, but they think the same of our candidates.

It isn’t like Hillary was the fresh new upstart even in 2008. In fact, she was the renowned name, the unsinkable ship, and the candidate to beat. Even then, with the Clinton machine and virtually unlimited financial support, she was beat. By the fresh faced, raw talent in Barack Obama. Had things on the other way, Obama would have been the too-early-in-2008 candidate-in-waiting ready to hoist the mantle of leadership from the veteran Hillary.

Things didn’t go that way, because then as now, Barack Obama wins because he inspires us. He raises our heart rate and makes us see the best of each other and ourselves. In 2008, we ran to our checkbooks, to events, and to the ballot box, with our heart and souls. Not because we were pushed, but because we wanted to. With Hillary, we are being told to like her. If Obama is the box office hit we love, Hillary is the “critics favorite” we’re being told we should like.

I can’t believe I am actually agreeing with the right wing’s favorite radio gasbag, but he’s right in saying that the media is propping up Hillary because she’s vulnerable. Because we don’t like her, and we don’t want to eat our spinach, no matter how good for us it may be. The liberal left is trying to draft just about anyone else into running. I actually saw an article about Hillary’s “effective” campaign devoid of soaring speeches and inspiring ideas.

That sounds much more like an epitaph of a failed campaign than a prediction of victory. The ivory tower types, in early 2017, analyzing what went wrong and how we ended up with a third Bush in the White House. Sounds implausible, right? Maybe. But the pundits were saying the same thing about Gore and his “efficient and inevitable” campaign vs. George Jr. in 2000. And look what happened.

Hillary’s mistakes are manifold, and continue to compound daily. First, she’s just way too corporate. I fault no one for making $25 million on paid speeches, but it isn’t the best way to sell yourself as the candidate who can champion working class Americans. What’s more, she stayed in our face way too long. She didn’t retreat from the limelight, regroup and re-launch as Hillary2.0. Hillary 2015 isn’t a refreshing new look at a familiar face; it is a tired retread whose freshest idea yet has been the burrito bowl she ate at Chipotle. She could have taken a step back to develop bold new ideas for a big problem like climate change or opportunity inequality. Instead, she sold her speeches to the highest bidder thinking she can just shift from Corporate Clinton to Candidate Clinton anytime she wants.

But the worst thing is, she is actually uninspiring. The Teflon candidate who says the right things, in manufactured, rehearsed lines void of any passion or purpose; churned off the assembly line by the spin masters trying to get her elected. When Americans aren’t inspired, they stay home, no matter how high the stakes. It happened to the GOP in 2008, and it happened to the Democrats in 2010 and 2014.

Except 2016 isn’t a midterm and the GOP base is fired up. They are rabid, foaming at the mouth and racing to do whatever is needed to get one of their own back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. There is no “blue wall” and you don’t win back the White House by being “inevitable.” You win it by giving those soaring speeches full of big ideas that make us jump up out of our seat. Love him or hate him, Barack Obama invokes a strong reaction. So does Ted Cruz. Hillary invokes a tepid sigh of a person you don’t love or hate, but who’s just been at your party way too long.

The prospect of having to vote for someone just because they are the lesser of two evils doesn’t get my heart racing, and it doesn’t get me to the ballot box. The many months between now and next November theoretically give Hillary a chance to reinvent herself as someone with bold ideas and big goals. To do that, she’d have to give up the central conceit of the Clinton legacy…that there is no such thing as “too much Clinton.” And for Mrs. Clinton, that may just be impossible.


Activist Perfectly Exposes CNN’s Racist Double Standard (VIDEO)


It’s not a terribly difficult concept to grasp: White crime is treated verrrrrry differently than black crime by the “liberal” media. But, for some strange reason, (white) people seem shocked and dismayed when activists mention this glaring discrepancy. It’s almost like they don’t want to know about it.

Well, tough noogies because it’s not going away. #BlackLivesMatter has a very long set of legs and shows no signs of slowing down. More importantly, a large part of that movement is changing how the media presents white and black crime. This particular instance of challenging the “liberal” media’s narrative came during an interview with Brian Stelter on CNN as activist Deray McKesson (no stranger to kicking ass on CNN) dissected the news network for the unbalanced depiction of black protests being mostly about violence:

“I wonder, are you saying the press should automatically assume the worst about the officers, about the authorities?, Stelter asked, to which McKesson responded, “I’m saying there should be balance in the way that the critique is spread, and there isn’t.”

McKibbon goes on:

“So when I see broadcasts, news articles that present the police narrative as true,”McKesson added before being interrupted.

“But it is oftentimes true,” Stelter insisted.

“Is it true?” McKesson asked. “I don’t know if it was true with Mike Brown. Maybe we differ on what true means.”

“You’re talking about anecdotes as opposed to statistics,” Stelter replied. “Are you saying the majority of statement by police officers in the U.S. are not true, public statements, press releases.”

If you look carefully, you’ll notice a rather ugly strawman inserted into that exchange. At no point does McKesson say the police are lying all or even most of the time. He simply says that they should be treated with the same critical eye that minorities get. In other words, the media’s narrative is that minorities are always guilty and cops are always right. Or did you think it was a coincidence that the “liberal” media puts so much effort into finding pictures of the dead black person drinking a beer or flashing a “gang sign” to prove that he “had it coming”? It’s pretty obvious what McKesson was saying but Stelter dutifully tried to stick to his narrative anyway.

Aside from that, it’s pretty funny that Stelter has the nerve to talk about statistics. If we’re talking about statistics, we could take a look at all of the cases in which the police kill someone and see how many of those were ruled as “justified”. Oh wait, we can’t because the police deliberately do not keep comprehensive records of that. Imagine that for a second. The police, who happily keep your criminal record on file for decades in case they need to send you to jail again, don’t seem to be able to keep track of how many people they shoot every year. A cynical person would suggest that maybe the police don’t want to leave a record of the trail of dead bodies they’ve left behind. An even more cynical person would suggest that they don’t want to have a record of how many cops were subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing. Considering how few cops ever wind up in court, much less convicted, I feel pretty confidant in stating that the percentage of cops whose shootings are labeled justified (or only worthy of administrative punishment instead of jail time) approaches 99%.

I don’t know about you, but I find that to be about as likely the KKK allowing the entire lineup of the New York Knicks to become members. Still, Mr. Stetler seems amazed at the idea of suggesting that cops might lie.

Another fun bit of statistics is the fact that the “liberal” media in markets like New York somehow still manage to over-report black crime. And this is precisely the kind of media narrative that McKesson is pushing back against. A perfect example of this double-standard is how both the police and the “liberal” media reacted to the biker shoot-out in Texas:

“What we didn’t see [in Waco, Texas] were any dead bodies,” McKesson said. “Nine people were dead, there were 18 people injured and the media didn’t show any of that spectacle of blood. Right? And not that I want to see bloody bodies, but there was a stark difference.”

“And you also saw the bikers chilling [after the shootout],” he remarked. “They are in gangs. This is organized crime. And they are just like hanging out at the police line after nine people are killed, and they’re now saying they might have recovered 1,000 weapons. That context would not happen if those bodies were dark skinned.”

“What’s interesting about Waco is that there was also this nuance suddenly. Because whiteness gets nuance and blackness doesn’t. So you saw with Waco, ‘These are bikers, this is just like a biker group. It’s a biker shootout.’”

I’ve said this many times before: When a white man commits a crime, he’s an individual. When a black man commits a crime, he magically represents ALL black people, everywhere. That’s why the not-at-all-racist talking heads on Fox demand to know where the leaders of the black community are when blacks riot over police brutality, but don’t say a goddamn thing when white kids riot at a freaking pumpkin festival.


Here’s the video from CNN:


Chuck Norris: I Never Said The Military Was Trying To Take Over Texas


AP Photo/Pat Sullivan


The “Walker, Texas Ranger” star added his name earlier this month to the list of politicians and public figures who expressed concern about an upcoming U.S. military training exercise, dubbed “Jade Helm 15,” that’s expected to take place in Texas and six other states.

“The U.S. government says, ‘It’s just a training exercise.’ But I’m not sure the term ‘just’ has any reference to reality when the government uses it,” Norris wrote in a column on the conspiracy theory website WND.

Writing for the same website on Sunday, Norris accused the media—and ABC News in particular—of misquoting his previous column. He insisted he “never ever said that that seven-state U.S. military operation intended to take over Texas.”

“However, I did in fact mention that Jade Helm 15 is likely more than a military exercise,” Norris wrote. “I do believe, in addition to the largest domestic military training, it is also a display of power (near the southern border) intended for deterrence of enemies like ISIS and other terrorists, who the FBI have already said are present in all 50 states.”

Norris still faulted the federal government for the spread of conspiracy theories about the exercise, arguing that communication with the governors of the states where the training is expected to take place could’ve precluded the rumors of a military takeover in the Lone Star State.

“I will reiterate again that the White House and the Pentagon could have easily avoided any controversy about Jade Helm 15 if its primary Washington leaders would have called for a confidential informative meeting with the respected governors of the seven states in which it is being held this summer,” he wrote. “They also would have been very wise not to place on Jade Helm’s official operation map that Texas and Utah were ‘hostile states.’ When will they learn? Don’t mess with Texas!”


10 things you need to know today: May 25, 2015

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)


1.A Beautiful Mind mathematician John Nash killed in crash
Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John F. Nash Jr., who inspired the Oscar-winning film A Beautiful Mind, died in a car crash over the weekend. He was 86. His wife, Alicia, also was killed. She was 82. They died after being ejected from a taxi when the driver lost control and slammed into a guard rail and another car. Nash revolutionized the field of game theory, and shared a 1994 Nobel in economics. The film he inspired traced his descent into mental illness, and his recovery.

Source: The Washington Post

2.71 protesters arrested after Cleveland officer’s acquittal
Cleveland police arrested 71 people during protests over the acquittal of a white police officer, Michael Brelo, in the 2012 killing of two unarmed black people, authorities said Sunday. Officers “gave people the space and a safe environment” to protest peacefully on Saturday, and only intervened when some demonstrators got violent, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said. In the 2012 case, police opened fire on the victims’ car after mistaking a car’s backfiring for gunshots. Brelo climbed onto the car’s hood and fired 15 times.

Source: Fox News, The Guardian

3.3 die in flooding caused by record rains in Texas and Oklahoma
Weekend flooding killed at least three people and left another eight missing in Oklahoma and Texas. The flooding damaged or destroyed at least 400 homes, and displaced more than 1,000 people. The Blanco River outside Austin in Hays County, Texas, rose to just over 40 feet — nearly six feet higher than the previous record. Runoff in some areas was peaking Monday. “Now is not the time to try to return to your homes,” San Marcos Fire Marshal Ken Bell said Sunday.

Source: NBC News, CNN

4.Malaysia discovers migrant camps and graves
Malaysian authorities plan on Monday to exhume bodies found in 139 graves believed to hold human trafficking victims near the Thai border, national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said Monday. It is not clear how many bodies are in each grave. The graves were found in 28 illegal camps traffickers appeared to have used. The discoveries came as the Southeast Asian nations struggle to deal with a humanitarian crisis as thousands of migrants flee Bangladesh and Myanmar in overcrowded boats.

Source: CNN

5.Israeli ex-premier Ehud Olmert sentenced to eight months in jail
Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced to eight months in prison on Monday on corruption charges. Olmert, who served as prime minister from 2006 to 2009, was convicted in March of taking envelopes stuffed with cash from American businessman Morris Talansky, a political supporter, from 1997 to 2005. Last year, Olmert was sentenced to six years for accepting bribes. He denies wrongdoing in both cases, and will remain free pending appeals.

Source: The New York Times, BBC News

6.Defense Secretary Carter says Iraqis lack ‘will to fight’ ISIS
Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Sunday said that Iraqi troops lost the city of Ramadi to the Islamic State because they lacked the “will to fight.”Last weekend, ISIS captured Ramadi as Iraqi troops fled and left behind weapons provided by the U.S. Days later, ISIS overran the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra as well. “They were not outnumbered,” Carter said in an interview that aired Sunday. “In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force. And yet, they failed to fight.”

Source: The Associated Press, The Washington Post

7.Pressure cooker found in ‘suspicious’ car near Capitol
A bomb squad detonated a pressure cooker that was found in a car near the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., on Sunday. A Capitol Police spokeswoman said officers found the pressure cooker and smelled gasoline in a “suspicious” unoccupied car found on a street on the National Mall. The vehicle’s owner was arrested for operating a vehicle after revocation. Pressure cookers have been used to make bombs, including the ones used in the deadly April 2013 Boston Marathon attack.

Source: The Associated Press

8.Obama marks what he calls first Memorial Day since end of Afghan war
President Obama is heading to Arlington National Cemetery on Mondayto mark Memorial Day. Obama said the annual holiday honoring America’s war dead was especially meaningful this year because it is “the first Memorial Day since our war ended in Afghanistan.” Observances began a day early on Sunday, when thousands of motorcycle riders participated in the annual Rolling Thunder rally in Washington, D.C., to call attention to prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action.

Source: Voice of America , The Guardian

9. Montoya wins his second Indy 500
Juan Pablo Montoya won the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. The Colombian race driver appeared to be out of the running early in the race, when another driver clipped the right rear wing of Montoya’s car, sending him to the pits in 30th place. He fought his way back, holding off Will Power and Scott Dixon in the final five laps to win his second Indy 500 in only his third appearance in the storied race. His first win was in 2000, when he was a rookie.

Source: CBS Sports

10.Comic actress Anne Meara dies at 85
Actress Anne Meara, the Emmy- and Tony-nominated mother of actor-director Ben Stiller, has died at age 85. Meara and her husband, Jerry Stiller, “were married for 61 years and worked together almost as long,” the family said in a statement. In the 1960s and ’70s, they appeared as the comedy team Stiller & Meara on The Ed Sullivan Show 36 times. Meara appeared in numerous films and television shows — including a recurring role on The King of Queens sitcom.

Josh Duggar Records Destroyed By Arkansas Police At Judge’s Request – UPDATED


Josh Duggar, star of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” admitted to sexually abusing underage girls in the early 2000s. (Photo: Danny Johnston) | ASSOCIATED PRESS


Police in Arkansas have destroyed records detailing the investigation into sexual abuse allegations against TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” star Josh Duggar.

“The judge ordered us yesterday to expunge that record,” Springdale Police spokesman Scott Lewis told The Associated Press on Friday. “As far as the Springdale Police Department is concerned this report doesn’t exist.”

Lewis also told the AP that these types of records are usually kept indefinitely.

A 2006 police report, which was obtained by In Touch before its destruction, indicates that family patriarch Jim Bob Duggar knew as early as 2002 that Josh Duggar — who was 14 at the time — was accused of sexually abusing an underage girl. The teen was ultimately accused of inappropriately touching five underage girls, some of whom were his sisters, between 2002 and 2003.

Police did not find out about the allegations until 2006, when they were tipped off to a letter discussing the incidents, the AP reports. A family friend had lent another person a book, and the letter was stuck inside.

The police report obtained by In Touch indicates Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar told police in 2006 that they had disciplined their son themselves.

The couple allegedly said that they sent Josh Duggar to a “Christian program” that “consisted of physical hard work and counseling.” Michelle Duggar later admitted that they actually just sent him to live with a family friend to help with a home remodeling business, according to In Touch.

Both Josh Duggar, now 27, and his parents acknowledged the incidents and publicly apologized in Facebook posts on Thursday.

TLC pulled all airings of “19 Kids and Counting” from its lineup the day after Duggar admitted the allegations were true.

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee voiced his support for the judge’s decision to destroy the records in a Facebook post Friday. “There was no consideration of the fact that the victims wanted this to be left in the past and ultimately a judge had the information on file destroyed — not to protect Josh, but the innocent victims,” Huckabee wrote.

The Duggar family has “a long and active history of political advocacy for social conservative causes,” CNN noted. Josh Duggar resigned from his position at the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group and lobbying organization, on Thursday. According to the AP, Duggar was previously “a public face” of the group.


Days After Waco Shooting, Texas Senate Passes Open Carry Bill


AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez


The bill passed 20-11 after an hours-long debate over the addition of an amendment that would prevent police officers from checking for proper licensing of people openly carrying handguns, the site reported.

The amendment passed and reportedly received support from Democrats who said it would prevent racial profiling and conservatives who said it would protect Fourth Amendment rights.

Small changes to the bill will need House approval before being sent to Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) who has said he will approve any open carry legislation that crosses his desk, the site reported.

The passage of the open carry bill comes after a mass shooting Sunday, at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, left nine dead and more than a dozen wounded.

Abbott addressed the fatal shooting and the open carry legislation on Monday, according to theTexas Tribune.

“Well, the shootout occurred when we don’t have open carry,” Abbott said. “So obviously the current laws didn’t stop anything like that.”


The U.S. military is a national security threat

The U.S. military is a national security threat

(Credit: AP/Hasan Jamali)


America’s armed forces are a massive drain on resources that could otherwise strengthen the country

The American military budget is massive.

At $610 billion, it dwarfs the combined military budgets of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, the UK, India and Germany (see chart below). Put another way, one third of all military spending the world comes from the United States. The problem is, however, that the American military budget may be crowding out other crucial investments.

As the era of American hegemony winds down, it’s more important than ever for America to be able to demonstrate soft power. That means first, an American model that works, for other countries to emulate. But further, it means a highly educated population, long-term investment in infrastructure, adequate healthcare, an society based, above all else, on opportunity. However, it’s likely that the military budget precludes these important services.

The most important cost of our bloated military budget is investment in other important government functions. As the chart below from CBO shows, defense spending has historically consumed more than half of the entire U.S. government discretionary budget (spending on veterans eats up mandatory spending as well). In 2014, discretionary defense spending was double Medicaid spending, and about equal to Medicare spending.

Given that the U.S. is already a relatively low-spending country, the military only further diminishes our meager  safety net.

The chart below shows that not only does the U.S. spend comparatively less of its GDP on government than other developed countries, military spending (the white/grey bar) takes up far more of it. That means America spends less on general public services, environmental protection and education than otherwise. But these services are key to America’s ability to remain a global leader. Further, it means that American women are more likely to die in childbirth than women in China and our infrastructure pulls down global competitiveness. America spends far less than other rich countries on foreign aid, and dedicatesonly 1 billion dollars, a sliver of its budget to international affairs. In 2011, the Brookings Institution worried, “the United States is following an unfortunate path that other big countries, such as the former Soviet Union, have already taken in history, wasting too many resources and too much national wealth on military expansion, wars, and foreign interference.”

The effect of our outsized budget is felt in other ways. Surplus goods are often sent to local police offices, who end up with grenade launchers, weaponized aircraft and “tank-like armoured vehicles.” Concomitantly, police killings have increased (according to the best data available) and the police have begun to seem like an occupying force. This has a profound effect on trust in civic institutions and the police. As trust in police officers decreases, they find it harder to do their job and the community grows even more skeptical. There’s also the likely possibility that the availability of military force makes it more likely, by making non-military means less attractive.

The current conception of national security is far too limited. As violent deaths from war and terrorism decline, the greater threat to Americans is their failing infrastructure, costly healthcare system and incoherent environmental policy. The Obama White House has warned on numerous occasions that climate change and shoddy infrastructure are a deep threat to American national security. In 2007 a report by numerous high-ranking military leadersfound, “Global climate change presents a serious national security threat which could impact Americans at home, impact United States military operations and heighten global tensions.” The Pentagon has been worried that climate change is a national security threat since even earlier, releasing a report in 2003 discussing the implications of global warming. The Department of Homeland Security has consistently warned that aging infrastructure is a national security risk. Worryingly, however, the United States has devoted increasingly less money to infrastructure, and in the future, this will only grow worse. Josh Bivens of EPI finds that every proposed budget in 2013 except the Progressive Caucus budget, would dramatically decrease public investment as a share of GDP.

In addition, our ability to lead by example is threatened by poverty, homeless and rampant inequality. A recent survey found that internally, the view that America’s economy is the leading one has declined dramatically.

The American model looks increasingly unappealing to emerging economies, who have seen the American middle class become less vibrant and more straddled with debt. The New York Times recently reported that the American middle class was no longer the world’s richest.  Matt Bruenig notes thatfurther down the income distribution, America does even worse: the poorest 5th of Americans have less disposable income than those in 14 other countries. Finally, without a highly educated population and an innovative economy, America will no longer be able to exert the soft-power necessary as our hard-power advantage declines. Even Americans are increasingly skeptical of the American model, with a 2012 survey finding that 63% believe the American economic model is broken.

Our bloated defense budget is taking away money that could go to more important things. As I’ve noted, just two years funding for the massive, $1.5 trillion F-35 fighter jet could fund free community college for all students for a decade. Americans need to realize that today, the larger threat they face is their own fear leading them to underinvest in vital services. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously warned, “the only thing we have to fear is… fear itself.”