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Military-Industrial Complex & Prices We Pay

Date: 01-15-11
Host: Ian Punnett
Guests: Russ Baker, Eduardo Porter

In the first half, investigative reporter Russ Baker spoke about the odd string of "coincidental" historical anniversaries coming up this week that tie in with President Eisenhower's warning about the military-industrial complex (MIC). The MIC refers to the relationship between government, a nation's armed forces, and the industrial firms that supply their equipment. Fifty years ago, on January 17, 1961, Eisenhower warned about the MIC: "We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes."

Eisenhower sensed the problems inherent in the relationship between military and industry, Baker explained, noting how the enterprise serves those involved and does not make the country any safer. He made connections to several anniversaries, including Martin Luther King Day, and the inaugurations of George W. Bush and John F. Kennedy. According to Baker, JFK saw increasing problems with the MIC apparatus, as it was unaccountable, irresponsible, and incompetent. Baker also referenced the recent mysterious death of former pentagon official John Wheeler, as well as Jared Lee Loughner's alleged shooting spree in Tucson, Arizona.

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During the last two hours, Eduardo Porter, from the NY Times editorial board, revealed the true story behind the prices we pay, and what those prices are actually telling us. Prices are involved in everything we do and drive our decisions, Porter said, pointing out the importance of understanding prices, not just in monetary terms, but as they relate to opportunity as well. "When you buy a five dollar slice of pizza," he explained, "what you are paying is all the things that you could have done with five dollars that you're not doing because you spent them on pizza."

Porter briefly examined the way prices operate on us by looking at wine. For most consumers price is a signal of the quality of wine -- better wine is more expensive. However, according to Porter, blind studies have shown that most people cannot tell the difference between cheap and higher-priced wines. Continuing his point, Porter shared results from a medical study that found a link between price and the effectiveness of a placebo to relieve pain. Porter also commented on the decline in house prices, the commerce of sex, the cost of gas, and how buying coffee is much less about the beverage itself and more about the experience.

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Ian's Web Findings 1/15/11

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A couple of internet stories recently caught the eye of Ian Punnett: one about a new Spanish-language "found footage" horror film called 'Atrocious,' and the other on how the Depression-level decline in housing prices is affecting homeowners...

- Is 'Atrocious' the Next 'Paranormal Activity?'
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