The Military-Industrial Complex is alive and well under Republican Control


GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe – “a new emphasis on defending America.”AP Photo

The Senate on Monday easily passed a $716 billion defense policy bill that aims to continue Republican-led efforts to build up the U.S. military but could set up a clash with defense hawks in the House over how best to do it.

The massive legislation would authorize more warships and fighter jets, more troops and the largest pay raise for them in nearly a decade, but in some cases it would still lag behind a House version passed in May and the Pentagon’s own designs.

Keep in mind taxpayer dollar$ already fund Pentagon featherbedding greater than the sum of the next seven countries’ spending. China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, United Kingdom, and Japan combined.

Of a total $716 billion, the legislation would authorize $617.6 billion for the Pentagon base budget and $68.5 billion in war spending in the Overseas Contingency Operations account. It would authorize another $21.6 billion for nuclear weapons programs under the Energy Department.

If the DOD’s budget remained the same among other things it would have been possible to have funded public college for every student in the US and had $12B left over. That’s not how our Congressional war pimps organize their priorities. Colleges and students don’t prioritize kickbacks in dollar$ and job$ and campaign funding to politicians. Democrats aren’t exempt from condemnation. Just that Republicans would rather spend more time in bed with the death and destruction business.

United States of Amnesia

❝ “The United States of Amnesia.” That’s what Gore Vidal once called us. We remember what we find it convenient to remember and forget everything else. That forgetfulness especially applies to the history of others. How could their past, way back when, have any meaning for us today? Well, it just might. Take the European conflagration of 1914 to 1918, for example…

❝…in Europe, a hundred years ago, war had become politically purposeless. Yet the leaders of the world’s principal powers — including, by 1917, U.S. president Woodrow Wilson — could conceive of no alternative but to try harder, even as the seat of Western civilization became a charnel house…

❝…similarities between the Great War as it unspooled and our own not-in-the-least-great war(s) deserve consideration. Today, as then, strategy — that is, the principled use of power to achieve the larger interests of the state — has ceased to exist. Indeed, war has become an excuse for ignoring the absence of strategy…

❝ Congressional midterm elections are just months away and another presidential election already looms. Who will be the political leader with the courage and presence of mind to declare, “Enough! Stop this madness!” Man or woman, straight or gay, black, brown or white, that person will deserve the nation’s gratitude and the support of the electorate.

Until that occurs, however, the American penchant for war will stretch on toward infinity. No doubt Saudi and Israeli leaders will cheer, Europeans who remember their Great War will scratch their heads in wonder, and the Chinese will laugh themselves silly. Meanwhile, issues of genuinely strategic importance — climate change offers one obvious example — will continue to be treated like an afterthought.

As for the gravy train, it will roll on.

RTFA. The military-industrial complex President Eisenhower warned of – lives better than a top-shelf Wall Street hedge fund manager. Politicians roll over easy-peasy – rotund from pockets stuffed with their share of the proceeds.

Students Force Republican-owned Legislature to Admit Climate Change Realities

❝ It sounds completely improbable: The Utah Legislature recently adopted a resolution that moves the state from denial of global climate change to the recognition that finding a solution is crucial.

An obvious question is how this flip-flop occurred in a legislature with a Republican super-majority of 83 percent, in a state that produces more than 90 percent of its electricity from fossil fuels. Students at Logan High School can tell you the answer: For nearly two years, they have been working to make the Legislature budge. They educated themselves about the science of climate change and formed alliances with other students and business leaders throughout the state.

❝ Most of all, the teenagers never stopped. They simply refused to give up.

Kudos to the students who embraced science, their constitutional right to speak out, their courage in the face of vested interests rooted in 19th Century profiteering.

Trump’s “science cleansing” turns Fed websites into garbage farms

❝ Nearly a year into the Trump administration, mentions of climate change have been systematically removed, altered or played down on websites across the federal government, according to a report made public Wednesday.

The findings of the report, by the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, an international coalition of researchers and activist groups, are in keeping with the policies of a president who has proudly pursued an agenda of repealing environmental regulations, opening protected lands and waters to oil and gas drilling, withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate accord, shrinking the boundaries of federal monuments, and appointing top officials who have questioned or denied the established science of human-caused climate change.

❝ The authors of the study said that the removal of the words “climate change” from government websites, and a widespread effort to delete or bury information on climate change programs, would quite likely have a detrimental impact…

❝ “Why are these federal agencies putting so much effort into ‘science cleansing’ instead of using time and resources to fulfill agency responsibilities, such as protecting the environment and advancing energy security?” they wrote.

Trump works very hard at fulfilling George Orwell’s predictions of sophistry and bald-faced lies. Without, of course, ever having read any of that author’s work. He simple-mindedly obeys the worst advocates of conservative censorship.