The Real Debt Ceiling

Sovereign debt and its corollary, the federal debt ceiling, is arguably an illusion. These operate in a macro context where valuation of wealth and debt are essentially illusions, or at the very least, manageable artifices.

What is not at all manageable, however, is internal debt and wealth inequality. Why? Because in the internal workings of our economy __ and those of most of the developed countries of the world __ ownership and control of wealth are reinforced by rigid and unforgiving legal authority. As is becoming increasingly evident, the laws of this country now serve a very wealthy elite __ a tiny slice of our 318,000,000 people __ at the expense of everyone else.

This is not the 1%.

We’re talking about the .1% and the .01% __ about 30,000 people __ the rich and powerful who actually run the country.

These are the folks you and I never see, because we can’t get within fifty miles of them.

These are the people who operate in a bubble of incomprehension, so detached from the realities of our “ordinary” lives, the basics of survival are about as apparent to them as the emotional life of a Cambodian weaver ant is to you and I.

These are the folks who will repossess your car, foreclose on your home, garnish your pay when you fall behind on your student loan, make it impossible to get an apartment or job for the horrible crime of falling behind on your credit card bills.

They own.

We owe.

Home mortgage debt: $8.17 trillion.

Credit card debt: $3.34 trillion.

College loans: $1.2 trillion.

Auto loans: $955 billion.

Home equity loans: $550 billion.

Total household debt: $13.6 trillion!

The astonishing thing about all of this is that in the wealthiest nation in the world, none of this debt slavery is necessary. There is enough wealth to go around. We could all have the security and basic right to a minimum guaranteed income, a shared sense of community and country which would materialize from sharing our enormous resources and riches.

The ultra-rich could still live in splendor. After all, beyond a certain point, accumulation of money has no impact on the individual life style of a human being, no matter how absurdly rapacious that person is. More money just becomes a pathological numbers game.

How many Bentleys, private jets, wading pools full of caviar, diamond cuff links the size of grapefruits can you own?

I’ve referenced this in a prior blog. But it’s worth reviewing.

To spend the Koch brothers incomprehensible fortune at $10,000 per day, it would take almost 28,000 years __ it would be 29,394 C.E. when you finished your shopping spree.

Spending one million dollars a day, it would take 214 years to go through the monumental wealth of Gates.

The fortune of the Walton family __ owners of Wal-Mart __ totals more that the bottom 42% of Americans. One family has more money than 134,000,000 people.

This is insane.

This is the system we have in place.

This is what the laws of this country have cemented into our national landscape.

Wealth inequality on this level is inhumane and grotesque.

Worst of all __ and the subject of a whole other blog __ the economic infrastructure which locks in this kind of excessive capital aggregation is destroying our planet, and may lead to human extinction. I can’t improve on Naomi Klein’s lucid exposition of this, so I won’t try.

Just taking the narrow view of the social consequences, and the destructive impact wealth inequality has had on our democracy, we need to ask ourselves . . .

Is this sustainable?

One great thing about a rhetorical question is that the answer is so obvious, you don’t have to answer it.

But we certainly need to do something about it . . . before it’s too late.

Other than a handful of legislators __ Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren certainly are talking about it __ and our president who gives lip service to this critical issue, there is no one in public life who is serious about addressing this threat to our existence as a nation.

No one!

Just about everyone in elected office __ to a man, to a woman __ needs to go.

Stuffing them all in a massive launch vehicle for a mission to Mars might be too drastic. But getting them out of office and replacing them with officials who represent the needs and values of every American __ not just the privileged elite __ is not.

Just do it.

__________________________________________________________

“Candidate Contracts: Taking Back Our Democracy” is now available . . .

Amazon (Kindle) . . . amzn.to/1QJRiNZ
Apple (iBook) . . . apple.co/1BXnPcy
Amazon (Paperback) . . . [ TBA ]
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/1GpTTLq
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/1B4DQCp
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/1MGjDnN

Posted in Banking, Corporatism, Democracy, Economics, Environment, Political Analysis, Social Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Buddy, can you spare some change?”

We’re on our own. You and I __ the vast majority of Americans __ have no one else to turn to.

Not our leaders, not our pundits, not our spokespersons, not so-called “job creators”, not our teachers or ministers. Not the Clintons or Bushes, not the Trumps or Romneys. Certainly not the Kochs or the Murdochs or Bloombergs, Adelsons or Gates. Not the Dimons or the Blankfeins.

Most of them are on the other team, or at very least play for the other team. That other team is one that you and I will never get to join. It is an isolated, insular, impudent, incomprehensibly wealthy club __ a very tiny slice of our 300+ million __ who have so much, want even more, and will never be satisfied until they have it all. We are just more items on their shopping list. Welcome to capitalism run amok! Welcome to a country where everything has a price and there are some who are so possessed by greed, they see human beings as servants, chattel, minions, serfs, and __ if they can get us for free __ slaves.

What’s this got to do with us? History has shown that in every society there is always an elite which sees itself as superior to the swarming mob, a cut above the unwashed masses, members of an aristocratic class, living in its own exclusive world of privilege. It’s just an unpleasant side of human nature. There’s nothing new about snobbery.

Why should we be concerned?

If it’s not obvious, it’s this . . .

They now own and control our elected representatives, including whoever holds the office of President. You doubt this? Look at Obama’s aggressively embracing and promoting the worst, most onerous trade bills in the history of the world, TPP and TPIP. This one master stroke by the ruling oligarchs will enslave nearly half of the world’s population. National borders will mean nothing. Corporations and the oligarchs who own them will exercise absolute imperial rule over wealth, resources __ our lives, and those of our children.

This whole TPP/TPIP issue should be a warning! There’s a message in this treachery we need to remind ourselves of every waking minute:  Even some of those who claim to be “one of us” or “on our side” are owned by that tiny .1% of America who truly have the power __ the ones who are actually running things.

So . . . it’s just us. It’s you and me against them.

My strategy for radical electoral reform, as described in my book Candidate Contracts: Taking Back Our Democracy, is not elitist. Nor does it pander to the elite. It does not crawl to the rich and powerful and beg them to show us some mercy.

As a matter of fact, my plan is the essence of populist activism. For it to be successfully implemented requires participation by average citizens, across the political spectrum.

I will admit, I did send the book gratis to hundreds of thinkers in academia, think tanks, pundit pools, a host of well-known and not so well-known spokespersons for the “liberal establishment”. While many of these prominent individuals are part of __ often lead __ the national conversation on all things germane to the running of our country, most of them are very much a part of the system. But their endorsement of my ideas might give them credibility, or at least draw some attention to a plan which regular citizens need to know about and actively support.

I’m not sure what to expect of these thinker types.

Frankly, I’m not expecting much.

Most of them are busy, and more inimically, tightly locked into their own methodologies for what they peddle as activism. They often neglect to notice that despite their best and allegedly noble efforts, things continue to deteriorate. The only change is that as each day passes, things deteriorate more quickly.

I must say, there sure are an abundance of people commenting on the problems.

But not many solving the problems.

It’s a fundamental distinction, which is often missed.

What if you had a horrible flesh-eating disease?

Medical experts come in and declare: “We have analyzed all of the data and come to the conclusion that you are in big trouble, clearly in horrible pain, the victim of a terrible disease. It is very tragic! Have a nice day.”

Do we need to bring in several more teams of experts to tell you the same thing?

I assume this is more what you’d hope for: “We have analyzed the data on your condition. While your situation is serious, we have come up with a detailed plan involving a host of drugs, some surgical procedures, and a program for rehabilitation. We can cure this and once we are done, you should be able to live a long and fulfilling life.”

The difference should be apparent.

My book is not more whining. It offers a step-by-step, highly detailed plan for challenging the corruption of our current politicos, and for reversing the destruction of representative democracy in America.

Let me just mention this in closing . . .

There are a few highly visible figures who are on our side, demonstrated by their own writings and activism for our team, by their dedication to making a better life for every American. Once the printed books are out, I will be sending copies to Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, Robert Reich, Michael Moore, and several others who are to varying degrees in the national spotlight, and whose support would be valuable.

We’ll see what comes of that.

I can’t force anyone to pay attention. I can only put my ideas out there.

Change doesn’t just magically happen.

People need to believe it’s possible.

Then they need to make room in their hearts and time in their day to make it happen.

__________________________________________________________

“Candidate Contracts: Taking Back Our Democracy” is now available . . .

Amazon (Kindle) . . . amzn.to/1QJRiNZ
Apple (iBook) . . . apple.co/1BXnPcy
Amazon (Paperback) . . . [ TBA ]
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/1GpTTLq
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/1B4DQCp
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/1MGjDnN

Posted in Corporatism, Democracy, Political Analysis, Political Rant | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I love Japan!

For a number of reasons I don’t need to get into here, I don’t own a smart phone.

But two days ago, I regretted not having one with me. Or at least a camera.

I was doing my daily 20 km bike ride. Most of my preferred riding is through pastoral areas, soybean and rice fields, often skirting Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, and sometimes through the heart of town by the 400-year-old castle ruins we have here.

But there was one stretch for that particular day’s ride which took me down a secondary road __ not really a highway and not all that busy, but it is a route regularly used by cars, buses, and heavy trucks.

That’s when I saw him.

I so wish I’d been able to take a photo to post here.

A large delivery truck was pulled to the side of the road. The driver was bent down before some beautiful orchids growing in a garden adjacent to the road.

He did have a smart phone and was taking pictures.

Whatever important items were on their way to wherever important items go, would just have to wait patiently in the bed of his massive truck, because this gentleman spotted some splendid flowers along the route, and wanted to show them to somebody.

His wife . . . his kids . . . his mom or dad . . . his best friend?

Just a common truck driver.

But an uncommon man.

Which is pretty common around here.

Posted in Social Commentary, Spiritual | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Race To A Vanishing Point

The writing is on the wall. BIG writing!

The U.S. has again unleashed forces it cannot control, to obtain some perceived geopolitical advantage, and give itself some edge in the grand game of chess, played on an immense, impersonal macro-cosmic scale __ which ignores individual tragedy, human suffering, destruction of peoples and cultures, wholesale slaughter of innocent civilians __ gradually edging the world toward the ultimate confrontation, the really big one, where we get to see what comes out of the other end of a nuclear confrontation.

We obviously learned nothing from our original meddling in Afghanistan, which produced Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda; our meddling in Iran, which produced the current regime we are still trying to dominate; our meddling and war with Iraq, which now has resulted in ISIS; our meddling and destruction of Libya, which now has the country in shambles and has helped spread chaos and carnage across the Middle East and northern Africa.

We just had to meddle even more, and create the current crisis in Ukraine by toppling the democratically-elected government there, then installing a fierce, racist, ultra-nationalistic “pro-Western” puppet regime which will ultimately put us eyeball-to-eyeball with Russia, a world power armed to the teeth with nuclear missiles.

David Swanson points out in an excellent article that prior to the both World War I and World War II, the public remained clueless as to the onset of war. This despite the fact that all the alarms, signals and flags were in plain sight, huge glaring signs that war was where things were inevitably heading. This despite concerned men and women, keen observers, highly visible pundits and scholars __ though admittedly they were in the minority and fatefully shouted down by the usual crowd of bombastic exceptionalists and grinning fools __ issuing grave and sober warnings, dire and thoughtful forecasts, based on sound and knowledgeable analysis, that the world was marching toward a disaster.

Similarly, the evidence is right before us, big pieces of a straightforward puzzle, which even the most simple-minded dolt could assemble into the frightening picture it is.

The insensitive, reckless, aggressive policies of the U.S. are precipitating World War III.

History has dramatically demonstrated that in the heat of major conflict, cooler heads never prevail. This coming war could and probably will go nuclear.

There is, of course, every reason to be concerned about putting food on the table, seeing our kids off to school, showing up for work, keeping the house and yard looking nice, making our homes comfortable for those we love.

But there’s even more reason for preserving a world where there are things like food, tables, kids, schools, places to work, houses, yards, homes . . . those we love.

Am I just being a pessimist? An alarmist? A paranoid?

That’s what they said about those folks who back before 1914 who were trying to get people to pay attention __ over 17,000,000 people then died in the conflagration of World War I.

That’s what they said about many alarmed but certainly better informed folks in the 1920s and 1930s, who said that the Treaty of Versailles was a prescription for major disaster and could only end in a catastrophic conflict. 72,000,000 dead bodies from the greatest war in human history __ so far __ proved them right.

History repeats itself again and again . . . until it doesn’t.

Until there is no more history.

Until it’s all gone, and there is no longer anyone left to be annoyed by pleas for sanity and prayers for peace.

Then the planet will be governed by a vast, all-embracing quiet, when only the scurrying of cockroaches across a dusty, barren landscape offers evidence of life on Earth.

Posted in Deconstruction, Political Analysis, Political Rant, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Shallow

I love all of the hand-wringing, thoughtful analysis, speculation and prognostication surrounding Obama’s public addresses.

Though the ADHD American public seems to little notice or be bothered by the lack of consistency or coherence to our president’s policies on just about everything, pundits lately seem preoccupied with getting to the bottom of his erratic pronouncements. You know, those policy statements which seem often at odds with the best interests of the country, and even more baffling, at odds with themselves.

I hate to sabotage the good work all of the talking heads and pundits do. Moreover, I understand that they have to keep up the illusion they’re doing something invaluable __ after all, we’re talking job security. But this whole business of trying to find coherence in Obama’s policies is a waste of everyone’s time.

There never has been any consistency or sense to it. What can we expect? When he’s talking to his “base”, he spews progressive platitudes. When he deals with plutocrats, he morphs into the plutocrat he really is. When he pontificates about Mother Earth, now he’s the great shepherd guardian of the environment. When he speaks at West Point, Obama becomes the mighty conquering hero, leader of the exceptionalist empire.

It comes down to this. Obama has no core principles, no political philosophy. Most of the time you can just, as they say, “follow the money”. Of course, in our enlightened times, money is free speech. So sometimes it’s about power and its manipulation. But there’s always a “payoff” down the road __ voter support so he can continue wreaking havoc on what’s left of egalitarianism and transferring the nation’s wealth to his friends in the 1%.

Lately, there’s been all of these noble attempts at analyzing why Obama is so hostile to Russia and Putin. The obvious answer is that he now fully subscribes to the nefarious vision of American hegemony embodied in Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Grand Chessboard.

That may be true. But at the very core of Obama’s Russophobic animosity . . . it’s personal.

He hates Vlad the Impaler for upstaging him, not just aspiring to the higher moral ground __ shrewdly making some modest gains on the international stage __ but by Mr. Putin’s actually achieving it in the eyes of the world. Putin’s ratings soar. Obama’s plummet.

Snowden . . . Syria . . . Ukraine.  There you have it, my puzzled pundits.

Obama now has a big chip on his shoulder and a very wounded ego.

Despite a lot of lying, calculating and ruthless propaganda, posing, strutting, bullying, muscle-flexing, employing all of the exceptionalist weapons of the tallest, baddest bully pulpit on the planet, Obama has and continues to make a total fool of himself. And it’s such a blow to his hyper-inflated ego that Vladimir Putin won’t bow before his childish barbs, Obama simply can’t handle it. Poor wittle boy!

We have seen in his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress, then his speech before the U.N., and just recently his remarks to the G-7 __ using these extremely visible and internationally honored forums __ our President leveling vituperative taunts and personal insults at the leader of a great world power.

Personal insults!

This is our Nobel Peace Prize President.

This is our “don’t do stupid stuff” President.

My eyes were opened to how shallow this man is during a recent interview. I had always been in awe of Obama’s vast talents as an orator, delivering noble and moving sentiments, always putting himself in the best possible light, such that many believe him to be a truly great and noble man, a president who cares about the world, the people, world peace. What a shock it was to see the man in the stark personification of a self-absorbed sociopath who evidently has now lost perspective on his own public persona.

He was asked what it’s like being President of the United States.

The first words out of Obama’s mouth and I quote:  “It’s a fun job.”

Do I have to break this down for you? Let’s just ignore how blatantly arrogant that remark was. The President has vast responsibilities and powers. His decisions affect everyone on our planet. He literally has life-or-death power over millions of people.

And he thinks it’s a fun job.

As if we give a flying fuck whether he’s having fun or not.

Obama has kept up a good front for longer than I would have expected. Many would have buckled under so much constant attention and adoration. But for seven years, he managed to fool a lot of people, even the people who are now suffering under his catastrophic lack of vision and leadership.

Obama may be a sharp guy. But it always seems that in the end, good judgment inevitably snaps under the dogged badgering of closeted narcissism. And now we have it, though it might have taken a little longer this time around.

If talk is cheap, and the preferred use of the bully pulpit is self-congratulation over the greater good of the country __ or even an occasional nod to reality __ then the rumors of this President’s greatness for the history books are grossly exaggerated, and will inevitably blow away like mere belches of hot air.

Just what the already overheating planet needs . . . more hot air.

Posted in Deconstruction, Political Analysis, Social Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mission Control: We Have A Problem

On balance, I see Bernie Sanders’ running for president as a positive thing. I wrote this back in August 2011, voicing my support for his candidacy long before the Bernie Sanders For President bandwagon left the barn last month.

Mr. Sanders has some troubling ideas in terms of foreign policy.

But contrasted with a dynastic rematch between the neocon shrew Hillary and the neocon opportunist Jeb, there is no contest.

Go Bernie!

Nonetheless, I feel required to point out something, which in the exhilaration of his early campaigning, no one has addressed.

What if Bernie wins?

If you think we have dysfunctional government now, just try to imagine what would be the result of such a historical “upset” in the duopoly game plan. The center and center-right Democrats __ there are only a handful of genuinely progressive Democrats __ would team with the center-right and right-right Republicans, their shared control of electoral politics threatened by the anomalous election of a truly progressive president. The only legislation which would pass would be bipartisan anti-progressive veto-proof bills.

Of course, with their long-established common ground __ an agenda of defeating anything which the corporate plutocracy disapproves of __ and even more importantly their newly discovered common objective __ totally destroying the Bernie Sanders presidency itself __ mustering 67 votes in the Senate and 300 votes in the House would be a piece of cake.

Bear in mind that on the off-chance he wins the Democratic nomination, he will only be window-dressing for the Dems, a desperate attempt at pulling in the populist vote, which they lost by abandoning the middle and working classes. Any success at the polls by these turncoats will translate into even more aggressive promotion of the vile corporatist agenda they have pursued for decades now, as the Democratic Party steadily morphed into the left wing of the Republican Party.

The simple point is this:  While a Bernie Sanders presidency would inject some hope into our dismal electoral politics and floundering democracy, his election without a supportive Congress would create gridlock and dysfunction of biblical proportions. President Sanders would be demonized, vilified, emasculated, meaning the prospects for the advancement of a progressive agenda, serving the needs of all Americans, not just the ultra-wealthy, would be set back for decades.

There is an obvious remedy to this predictable mega-gridlock.

Blocs of at minimum 34 senators and 151 representatives with an unyielding commitment to Mr. Sanders’ 12-point plan for restoring the economy MUST be put in place via the 2016 election. Either we replace many of the current corporate toadies holding elected office, or the promise of a Bernie Sanders presidency is doomed to utter failure.

I’ll get right to the point.

I have a plan for accomplishing that and __ if progressive activists can actually get it together __ indeed do much much more.

It’s contained in my new book, over 900 copies of which have already been sent to independent and Green Party candidates, NPOs, and think tanks across the nation.

A quiet revolution is possible.

But it requires making a lot of noise.

“Candidate Contracts: Taking Back Our Democracy” is now available . . .

Amazon (Kindle) . . . amzn.to/1QJRiNZ
Apple (iBook) . . . apple.co/1BXnPcy
Amazon (Paperback) . . . [ TBA ]
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/1GpTTLq
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/1B4DQCp
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/1MGjDnN

Am I promoting my book?

No . . . I’m promoting my ideas.

Posted in Deconstruction, Democracy, Political Analysis | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

“We want our money back!”

We have been ripped off!

We have been lied to, manipulated, and frightened into supporting the largest theft of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars ever __ easily the biggest heist in the history of the entire world.

If you buy a hair drier or a fruit blender at a store, then when you get home and find out it doesn’t work, what do you do?  You go back and get a refund.

It’s broken.

You deserve your money back.

Well . . . it’s the same deal with wasteful government spending.

We paid our taxes in good faith. We trusted our political leaders to do the right things, to put it to good and proper use.

But they lied to us.

And we didn’t just get a defective fruit blender or broken hair drier. We got defective wars, defective military equipment, defective leadership. We got a defective economy where only the rich do well and for the rest of us, it’s broken.  The con artists we elected to office took our money, sometimes under false pretenses, and wasted it. We now have broken bridges, broken roads, broken schools, broken communities, broken homes!

In my previous two blogs, here and here, I railed against the enormous waste of taxpayer money on defense-industry profiteering, boondoggles, and the pursuit of unnecessary and fraudulent wars.

By my calculations, since 1992, over 24 years of bloated defense budgets resulting from bad foreign policy decisions, psychopathic delusions of world domination, two major wars, paranoid obsession with security which has trashed the Constitution and is well on its way to making America a police state, and pork barrel squandering of hard-earned taxpayer dollars, I came up with a total of $4.52 trillion entirely wasted.

$4.52 trillion, folks!

Look at this and try not to faint or have your head explode . . .

All this time, we regular Americans __ the ones that don’t belong to country clubs __ could have used this money. If we had had this $4.52 trillion, we wouldn’t be so far in debt, we wouldn’t be struggling from paycheck to paycheck. We wouldn’t have so many foreclosures and bankruptcies. We would have put this money to good use: Improving our homes and communities, properly feeding and clothing our kids, modernizing our schools.

Yes, we’ve been had. Big time!

And there it is in black-and-white __ with some green and purple thrown in for cheer.

Americans got a defective product. We were cheated and conned.

Now the bill has come due.

$4,524,000,000,000!

This comes to $14,186 for every man, woman and child in America.

Or it means refunding $25,416 to each and every living person who filed a tax return in the last twenty-four years.

Either way you look at it, this money is due and payable . . . IMMEDIATELY!

And don’t tell us the check is in the mail. We want to see some green!

Just load up all those MRAPs and other military trucks roaming around everywhere these days with some cash and start going house-to-house.

For the NSA clowns that are reading this blog and unconstitutionally spying on me, please do me a huge favor and pass along the above invoice to President Obama and Secretary of the Treasury, Jack Lew.  Please mark it ‘Urgent’.  We expect to see some prompt action.

Write on the envelope . . .

You’ve had OUR MONEY long enough.
People are getting real IMPATIENT.
You stole it. Now give it back!

If this refund is not in the hands of every deserving American citizen very soon, I suspect a lot of people are going to get real testy.  I don’t know how many pitchforks there are, but I do know there are over 300,000,000 guns floating around.

Just sayin’.

Yes, we want our country back.

Of course, we want our democracy back.

But for starters . . .

We want our money back!

Posted in Economics, Nihilism, Political Rant, Social Commentary, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Bulging Waste Line

I am not anti-government.

What follows is not an argument for reducing government.

It is evidence that we need . . .

Good government.

Smart government.

Honest government.

Visionary government.

Representative government.

The following is hardly an exhaustive list. But let me just offer some examples and some numbers on vast, incomprehensible, mind-numbing, breathtaking, destructive, possibly suicidal waste by government misadventures and boondoggles over the past few decades.

I am focusing on defense squandering and pursuit of unnecessary war.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, pictured at the top of this article, has been judged by many knowledgeable military analysts as the largest boondoggle in the history of the world. It is plagued with design flaws and technical problems. So far it has cost nearly $400 billion and total outlays to bring it into full production and implementation are projected to exceed $1.5 trillion.

The Department of Defense spent $40 billion between 2001 and 2014 on a missile defense program called Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System. It has been a complete flop.

Another missile defense fiasco called X-Band Radar, a floating sea-based system, wasted $10 billion of taxpayer money. This was a project of the Missile Defense Agency, which still gets funded $8-10 billion annually, despite producing practically nothing of value.

At the end of 2014, Congress allocated funds for programs the Pentagon didn’t even want:

  • $1.46 billion for fifteen EA-18G Growler electronic warfare planes
  • $1 billion to begin work on an additional San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship
  • $479 million for four additional F-35 fighter jets (bringing the total number funded to 38)
  • $341 million to modernize twelve Apache helicopters and nine Black Hawk helicopters
  • $200 million for an additional Joint High Speed Vessel ship
  • $155 million for twelve additional MQ-9 Reaper drones
  • $154 million for an additional P-8A Poseidon Navy surveillance aircraft
  • $120 million for M1 Abrams tank upgrades
  • $150 million for medium and heavy tactical vehicles

Let’s up the ante a bit. Look at this chart.

The U.S. has spent $1.5 trillion so far fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Mind you, both of these wars were completely unnecessary. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And the Taliban offered to turn over to us Osama bin Laden, who was on a dialysis machine in Kandahar, if we didn’t bomb them. So we bombed them!

Analysts are predicting that when all of the ancillary expenses are added in, including the interest on the money we borrowed to fight these two bogus wars, the combined total cost will be $4-6 trillion.

Now to add insult to injury, I’ll take this a step further.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992, Americans were promised a peace dividend. With the Cold War competition over, we could now reduce the defense budget and devote more of our tax dollars to those domestic items which would make life for everyone in the country better __ schools and libraries, parks, community and infrastructure investment, better education, recreational facilities, maybe child care services, improved health care.

The peace dividend never happened. For 16 of the 24 subsequent years, military spending increased. In fact over two-and-a-half decades, the U.S. spent over $2.5 trillion beyond the level of military spending in 1992.

$2.5 trillion!

Instead of us getting a peace dividend, defense allocations went up __ way up __ adding enormously to the national debt and cutting short all of those wonderful things that were supposed to happen since we were entering a new, more peaceful phase of our history.

Interestingly, the more we spent on military, the more conflict and war there was.

You have to wonder if this was a mere coincidence.

Now with the military budget more than twice what it was in 2000 __ and this is just the official military budget which doesn’t include a mind-boggling assortment of black budget allocations and defense spending tucked away in other departments __ we live in a more dangerous world than ever, with whole countries destroyed, jihadists, like ISIS, the Nusra Front, al Qaeda, neo-Nazis rampaging from one end of the planet to the other, and a whole multitude of crises brewing in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Africa, the South China Sea.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. is being called the Empire of Chaos in many parts of the world. Recently, in an international survey by WIN and Gallup, America easily won the #1 spot as “the greatest threat to peace” on the planet.  China and Pakistan were a distant second and third.  Yaaay!  Go America!

We are without any doubt militarily the most powerful nation on Earth, arguably the most powerful nation in history.

We already spend almost as much on defense as the rest of the world combined!

With all of this military might, we have lost every single conflict __ except one which could have been won by a high school soccer team __ since World War II.

The obvious question is . . .

What drives this extraordinary squandering of taxpayer dollars?

Actually . . . that’s easy.

The defense industry in its relentless pursuit of profits building a lot of junk that doesn’t work; the misguided neocon agenda of Congress and the White House commending the purchase of a lot of weapons we don’t need; the hunger to be the preeminent power in the world; the paranoid preoccupation of the security agencies with the potential for terrorist attacks from both within and from outside our borders; our bombing-is-the-only-solution foreign policy which creates far more enemies than it destroys; our sociopathic infatuation with American exceptionalism which creates resentment internationally and makes us the easy-choice target for aggression; the dubious distinction of being the biggest exporter on the planet of weapons and military hardware, which may bring in a lot of profits for the military-industrial complex, but perpetuates chaos and carnage, endless threats and conflict . . . all combine to destroy any sense of proportion, perspective, and fiscal responsibility.

The verdict . . .

America’s obsession with the military is bankrupting us.

It will probably destroy us.

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War! . . . What is it good for? . . . Profits!

War . . . war . . . war.

So many wars.

So little time.

Who remembers the great song released in 1970 by Edwin Starr, called “War“?:

War, huh, yeah.
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing.
Uh-huh. War, huh, yeah …

Absolutely nothing?

While the lyrics were great and an inspiration to the anti-war movement, which was railing against the Vietnam War at the time, unfortunately war is good for something.

Profits!

The U.S. is the biggest exporter of weapons in the world.

One great thing about all of this killing hardware, much of which will ultimately be turned around and used against us by terrorists or former-friends now-enemies:  We can proudly point to the label on each and every weapon, one which isn’t seen very often these days on much of anything else . . .

MADE IN AMERICA!

My heart swells with such patriotic pride on this Memorial Day weekend to know that we’re applying so much American ingenuity and hard work to keeping our corporate defense contractors and their CEOs rolling in the dough.

Gosh . . . I’m getting all teary-eyed!


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Plausible Deniability

We should be hopeful . . . but cautious.

The latest diplomatic initiative by the U.S. in what appears to be the beginning of a welcome and very necessary rapprochement with Russia, requires withholding quick judgment and maintaining a judicious eye.

We’ve seen this before. Granted, it would be wonderful if America has come to its senses and has decided that the risks of bullying Russia far outweigh any imagined  benefits. But taking even a cursory a look at recent history, “wonderful” is a rare, if non-existent, exception whenever the U.S. does anything on the diplomatic front.

I will be offering a possible scenario which with my every fiber I hope is not what unfolds.

Secretary of State Kerry, accompanied no less by the mistress dominatrix of neocon terror herself, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland __ a demon diplomat who helped engineer the most obvious coup in history in the Ukraine __ talked to Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday, May 12.

Apparently, Kerry passed along the sentiment that the U.S. wants to work in concert with Russia on the Ukraine crisis, and moreover supports the Minsk II agreement, viewing it as the most promising and constructive path toward resolving the dispute.

The meeting lasted four hours. Both sides claimed the talks were frank, though they didn’t produce any major breakthroughs.

A few reporters noted that Nuland seemed to be pouting when she exited the meeting. Hardly a surprise there, since she is a shallow and vulgar shrew who only smiles when sparklers and balloons herald the triumphs of her destructive anti-Russian tomfoolery.

In the press conference which followed the long discussions, Kerry then warned President Poroshenko he should “think twice” before shelling the Donetsk airport, something by the way he has already started doing.

While this apparent turnaround in the confrontation the U.S. has been mounting for over a year now __ vilifying Russia, imposing sanctions, demonizing Putin, increasing military presence and staging war games all over Europe, sometimes right next to Russia’s borders __ appears to be a positive development, I fear this latest white hat routine is yet another diplomatic feint.

America is again the nice guy. Taking the initiative to make things right with the Russians. Talking up peace. Encouraging Poroshenko to cool it with the aggression.

Of course, implied in Kerry’s statement warning Poroshenko is that the U.S. has no control over him. That he’s his own man. Which is blatant nonsense. If you just look close enough, you can see the puppet strings manipulating Poroshenko’s every ham-fisted attempt to look like a credible figure.

So let’s say Poroshenko not only continues to bomb the Donetsk airport, but mounts a full scale assault on the East. He has stated with embarrassing candor very recently, even after meeting with Merkel, Hollande, and Putin, and agreeing to the terms of Minsk II, that he will not rest until he has achieved total control over Novorussia, AND reclaimed Crimea. That his real focus is war with Russia itself, though this was couched in unaccounted for paranoia that Russia would be attacking Ukraine this summer.

Thus, continuation and expansion of this conflict is inevitable.

Russia has made it clear that while it wants the cease fire to hold and strongly supports a peaceful resolution of the conflict in accordance with the Minsk II agreement, it will NOT ALLOW the wholesale slaughter of Russians in the Eastern territories.

Here is what I fear . . .

Now that they’ve benefited from six months of training by the U.S. “advisers”, armed with new “defensive” weapons supplied by various parties at the behest of America and NATO, Poroshenko will attack the East. Russia will respond and send the Ukraine army running. Russia may even feel its necessary to post garrisons in the Eastern territories to protect the local population and prevent another assault.

The U.S. will then make propaganda hay out of all of this.

“We went to Russia. We tried to be friends. We don’t approve of Poroshenko’s rash moves but we can’t control the guy.  What he did wasn’t very nice.  But look at Russia!  They are trying to rebuild the Soviet Union by invading other countries!”

America will then redouble its efforts to isolate Russia with new sanctions, more military presence on Russia’s borders, more character assassination of Vladimir Putin. The U.S. will pull NATO and the rest of the world on board. Cold War 2.0 will exponentially accelerate and again we’ll be facing the prospects of World War III.

It’s simpleminded and stupid beyond belief but with the ironclad control the U.S. has on Western media, such nonsensical smears and blatant propaganda has worked in the past and will probably work again.

What is this all about?

The long game is pinning down Russia, keeping it in check, never allowing it the room to achieve its full economic and military potential. Hem it in, poke at it and always keep it off balance, constantly keep it scrambling __ something the U.S. does very effectively with its own citizenry __ make it angry, try to goad it into making a rash move, use any excuse to humiliate it in the eyes of the world.

It’s a key ingredient of the demented neocon strategy of total dominance, which dreams of a world begging for mercy and crumbs from the Great American Empire.

Isolate Russia . . . contain it . . . ultimately dominate it.

If this new developing scenario plays out as I described it, it means that Kerry’s mission to Moscow was just more geopolitical gaming, that America’s claim to want cooperation and constructive engagement just more world-destabilizing hypocrisy, that maybe Victoria Nuland has some real acting talent, and more profoundly . . .

NO ONE SHOULD EVER BELIEVE ANYTHING WASHINGTON SAYS OR DOES!

What’s new?

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