Lavishing Money on the Pentagon

Exclusive: It seems like it’s always Christmastime at the Pentagon where the stockings are full and budget-cutting is for those domestic social-program guys, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

By Jonathan Marshall

Wise parents who celebrate Christmas advise their young children not to make unreasonably grandiose requests of Santa. After all, he has to squeeze down a rather narrow chimney to deliver their presents.

President Trump announces the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018 on Dec. 12, 2017, at the White House. (Screen shot from

But as Christmas approaches this year, leaders of Congress, the Pentagon, and the Trump White House seem to have forgotten that lesson. Their wish list for the U.S. military, if taken seriously, will bust the federal budget at the very time Republicans are ramming through tax legislation that will shrink Uncle Sam’s savings account by more than a trillion dollars over the next decade.

President Trump this week signed into law a $700 billion blueprint for military spending in the current fiscal year. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act includes funding for more troops, more weapons, more interventions abroad, and more active wars, with Trump’s enthusiastic blessing. “We need our military,” he declared at a White House signing ceremony.

In addition to lavish spending on new weapons — like $10 billion for purchases of the disastrous F-35 Joint Strike Fighter — this Christmas legislation for the military includes all sorts of smaller presents, including billions of dollars to fund NATO’s European Deterrence Initiative (whatever happened to Trump’s demand that our allies pay for their own defense?), missile defense systems of doubtful efficacy, and development of a new cruise missile that would violate the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty with Russia.

The bill also earmarks $350 million for military aid to Ukraine, including lethal weaponry — a highly provocative measure that Arizona Senator John McCain has long promoted. Independent analysts, including prominent conservative foreign policy experts, warn that such lethal aid would be destabilizing, provocative, and “extraordinarily foolish.”

Under the arcane rules of Congress, the House and Senate must still translate this blueprint into actual budget appropriations. Therein lies the rub. Back in the days when Republicans still claimed to believe in balanced budgets, they led the way in enacting limits on federal spending.

Current law caps core defense spending at $549 billion in fiscal year 2018. The defense authorization bill, in contrast, pegs the request for core Pentagon operations at $634 billion, with another $66 billion to fight ongoing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other hot spots. The latter funds are not subject to budget caps.

At his signing ceremony, Trump called on Congress to overturn its spending cap on the military. Many Republicans would be amenable, but Democrats may demand a parallel relaxation of budget limits on domestic spending, a non-starter for conservatives.

Supporters of increased military spending, led by the Pentagon, point to how overworked the armed services are in today’s world environment.

“We aren’t big enough to do everything we’re being tasked to do,” complained Admiral William Moran, vice chief of naval operations, in recent congressional testimony.

Policing the World

Moran was right: it’s a lot harder to police the world with 300 ships then it was several decades ago with nearly 600 vessels and only one serious foe.

Three F/A-18E Super Hornets assigned to Strike Fighter Attack Squadron 115 fly in formation over the aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Nimitz and their strike groups, along with ships from the South Korean navy, as they transit the Western Pacific, Nov. 12, 2017. (Navy photo by Lt. Aaron B. Hicks)

Seen another way, however, budgetary realities might be sending us a message that it’s no longer feasible, or in the national interest, to maintain nearly a quarter million troops in more than 170 countries and territories abroad.

Nor is it necessary for our defense to carry out vast military exercises from the Baltic States to the Sea of Japan in order to maintain dominance in Central Europe, the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, North Africa, and any number of other locations — all while conducting live military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Niger, and other war zones.

Those who can’t see their way to setting limits on runaway military spending should reflect on the fact that the roughly $65 billion a year the Pentagon spends on active war-fighting, through the “Overseas Contingency Operations” fund, is roughly equal to Russia’s entire military budget. Only China spends more than that amount. And after those two countries, the next 15 biggest military spenders are all U.S. allies or reasonably friendly toward the United States.

Where Does the Money Go?

Taxpayers should also reflect on the fact that the Pentagon has never passed a full audit and has only a foggy idea of where all its money goes.

“The United States Army’s finances are so jumbled it had to make trillions of dollars of improper accounting adjustments to create an illusion that its books are balanced,” Reuters reported last year.

The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Defense Department, as viewed with the Potomac River and Washington, D.C., in the background. (Defense Department photo)

“The Defense Department’s Inspector General . . . said the Army made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the year. Yet the Army lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up. . .

“For years, the Inspector General – the Defense Department’s official auditor – has inserted a disclaimer on all military annual reports. The accounting is so unreliable that ‘the basic financial statements may have undetected misstatements that are both material and pervasive.’”

We may not know for sure where the money goes, but we know it amounts to a vast sum every year. Since 9/11, Americans have paid nearly $5 trillion for its foreign wars, according to Brown University’s Cost of War project — or about $25,000 per taxpayer. If Congress really wants to ease the tax burden on middle-class Americans, putting an end to our permanent state of war would be a good place to start.

Jonathan Marshall writes frequently on Pentagon programs, including “US Arms Makers Invest in a New Cold War,” “New Navy Ship Leaking Tax Dollars,” “Trump Adds to Washington’s ‘Swamp’,”  “Learning to Love — and Use — the Bomb,” and “Rising Budget Stakes for Space Warfare.”


45 comments for “Lavishing Money on the Pentagon

  1. Bob Beal
    December 19, 2017 at 17:22

    “$21 Trillion dollars is missing from the US government. That is $65,000 for every person in America. That is more than our entire national debt!”

  2. Kelli
    December 17, 2017 at 14:45

    An embezzlement scheme that goes into bought and paid for politicians but to a bigger, more ominous shadow elite.
    This is the biggest SCAM for the rich going, with all but four Democrats signing off on the NDAA monstrosity.
    And now Republicans with their big and beautiful TAX FRAUD bill.

    All of this just makes me blood boil.

    Why doesn’t it most Americans??

  3. fudmier
    December 15, 2017 at 02:30
  4. CitizenOne
    December 15, 2017 at 00:36

    It is a two edged sword. The first edge is aimed at our enemies and the second edge is aimed at our wallets. We pay dearly for our defense but also we are protected (for now) by the largest military budget in the World.

    There is a large amount of collateral damage being done as a result and the blow back against our heavy handedness around the World will only justify more spending for Defense.

    Two edges, one sword. Each cuts equally as well but the sword grows stronger all the time and its ability to cut both sides also increases every year.

    The ability to wage war increases and our financial debt to fund it also increases every year.

    Welcome to the fortress created by the MIC. For better or worse we are protected and indebted to it while it grows and grows.

    • Sam F
      December 15, 2017 at 08:21

      That is completely unsupportable: the US is not in the least protected by its military.
      The US has the best natural defenses in the world, 3000 miles of ocean, and no historical enemies.

      Our military has done absolutely nothing since WWII to protect the US, and has been used to make us enemies around the globe, by subverting democracies, installing dictators, and killing over six million innocents in hope of suppressing moderate democratic socialism in the US. The MIC and IC joined with financial oligarchy to control elections and mass media, and have destroyed democracy in the US.

      You appear to be praising your prison as a fortress against imaginary enemies. Who is your real enemy?

      • Sam F
        December 15, 2017 at 19:46

        I agree with the balance of your comment, and object only to your statements that the US is protected by and indebted to its military.

  5. godenich
    December 14, 2017 at 23:45

    The great political divide between democrats and republicans in our republic[1] would appear to be the question of more guns for security versus more butter for the economy[2]. Both require more taxpayer funding so I would submit that there is little or no debate on the issue of more government versus less government. So when you hear the call from Uncle Sam that it is our civic duty to vote, the cry is echoed from democrats and republicans for their planned visions of more government, more rules and more public spending that require more dollars from our wallet and less dollars for our families. Each party pays lip service to fiscal rectitude when taxpayer dollars are diverted to their opposition’s plan. The more complicated the system becomes, the greater the need for ever more sophist-icated legal minds and bureau-cratic clerks that do not contribute directly to the productive economy, but rather enlarge the government machinery that regulates and increasingly controls our lives. The irony is that tax dollars gathered from our own blood, sweat and tears fuel this vicious cycle. Since there is no significant political party dedicated to restraining the Leviathan of government, the moderating force of the Constitution may be neglected for the individual citizen and left to the highest bidder that profits through financing lobbying groups that call for every kind of government intervention here, there and everywhere. Even if the perfect balance of government was struck, our current combination of monetary system and tax regime is designed in such a way that it increasingly indentures future generations with the chains of US Treasury Bonds. This stifles our economy and the American spirit and are the true enemies we need to defeat,.. ignorance and complacency. When I look at the devastation in the Middle East and elsewhere, I think of WWW articles and books I’m collecting from Internet Archives[3] and other great works like Bastiat’s Essays [4,5]. I can’t help from thinking that if there were less war expenditures, there would be less need of welfare expenditures and less opportunity for war profiteering off our tax dollars. We do need to lead by example, not force. Making war unprofitable for arms manufactures, financiers and the stock markets around the world is one of my very few globalist inclinations.

    [1] Republic or Democracy | Youtube
    [2] Guns or Butter?: War and the Making of the Welfare State | Victor Burke | 1985
    [3] Internet Archives
    [4] Frédéric BASTIAT (1801 – 1850) – LibriVox
    [5] Books by Bastiat, Frédéric – Gutenberg

  6. fudmier
    December 14, 2017 at 22:48

    Taxpayers are happy to give their money to the global oil, gas and military empires…its a necessary part of the rich man’s democracy, where the rich guys decide among themselves how the poor guys should pay for the rich guys cost of obtaining more wealth. The rich oil and gas guys need to frack more oil reserves and produce more oil and gas (FOG counts) and the military guys need at least thirty new military bases overseas (just isn’t enough space to host all of the Christmas parties), also needed are two million more airplanes[its difficult for generals to get between golf games and parties without their own planes], 6000 more ships [one for each officer in the Navy], and lots and lots of tanks are needed because when mobile weapons are active, the FOG profits go up. Maneuvering in the FOG that’s what it is all about!

    • Anon
      December 15, 2017 at 08:10

      These deliberate false statements of fact impair debate. Please stick to the facts, which are quite sufficient.

  7. Mild -ly - Facetious
    December 14, 2017 at 20:08

    …, so the words say “The Truth Shall Set You Free”
    other words say “You can’t handle the truth…”
    My eyes (below photos) show me all i need to know

  8. mike k
    December 14, 2017 at 19:08

    The American economy is a war economy. Take the weapons sales and huge military expenditures away, and the economy would collapse. War and debt fuel the capitalist war machine. We are a culture dependent on killing. No wonder there is no serious effort for peace in our government. We depend on constant war. We are war addicts. Take away our war fix, and we would go into withdrawal.

  9. Drew Hunkins
    December 14, 2017 at 18:47

    The Zio-militarist rag, WaPo, actually ran an ed the other day lamenting how the Pentagon is being starved b/c of the profligate ways of the social safety net-social programs. Can you believe that?

    Not making it up.

    Reasonable people can only shake their head at WaPo; a publication that would have us embroiled in a deadly invasion of Iran if it had its druthers.

    Meanwhile the Washington-ZIo-militarists have over 700 military bases scattered across the globe, wasting money, destabilizing regions, fostering hostility toward American citizens.

  10. Andrew
    December 14, 2017 at 18:05

    With our non-existing State Department, war is only natural sadly. We need adults in Washington.

  11. December 14, 2017 at 17:08

    It’s the kind of “protection” any extortion client of Al Capone would understand.

    • mike k
      December 14, 2017 at 17:23

      Paranoia is a total failure to trust anything or anyone. This is the state of continual fear that our 1984 government seeks to instill in it’s citizens. Those in such a state of perpetual anxiety are very open to any “strong leader’ who promises to protect them from their ubiquitous enemies.

      • mike k
        December 14, 2017 at 17:27

        And of course the mafia uses violence and terror to soften up it’s clients. “Look what happened to Joe Smith, who didn’t have our protection – some bad guys burned his store down. You wouldn’t like for something like that or worse to happen to you, would you?”

  12. mike k
    December 14, 2017 at 16:40

    Even though we have developed the most devastating nuclear weapons imaginable, we still do not have the elusive peace they are supposed to guarantee. And yet there are brilliant scientists at DARPA and elsewhere who are working feverishly to develop biological weapons capable of spreading death to every human on Earth, except for those immunized in advance against it. Nice eh? This is not fantasy. This fiendish work is afoot and probably near completion any day now.

    That solution might deliver a kind of eerie peace over the decimated planet, at least for the immunized ones. But one has to wonder how long it would last, given the evil in the hearts of the survivors……………..?

  13. Piotr Berman
    December 14, 2017 at 16:13

    “We aren’t big enough to do everything we’re being tasked to do,” complained Admiral William Moran, vice chief of naval operations, in recent congressional testimony.

    Moran was right: it’s a lot harder to police the world with 300 ships then it was several decades ago with nearly 600 vessels and only one serious foe.
    I guess that it totally begs the question what does it mean to “police the world” or “what US Navy is being tasked to do”. If the purpose is to “remove obstacles for free trade”, the first observation is that the flow of goods through seas and oceans proceeds well without any help. Here and there we can see pirates, but they can be handled well with the type of vessels that Coast Guard has: no need for high caliber artillery, missiles, anti-missile and anti-torpedo systems etc, just decent speed and light weapons. Such low cost navy can be operated largely by the local powers like Malaysia, and USA can contribute some wee presence plus satelite imaginary, and computer systems for tracking etc. In waters like Horn of Africa where pirates do not face “local powers” there is enough naval capacity in countries where the traffic originates or goes to. Mind you, a typical pirate vessel is a speed boat with a dozen of pirates armed with machine guns.

    Another type of mission would be opening straights for traffic that a foreign power can close. There is only one such straight, Hormuz, and in the absence of a war with Iran there is no problem there, in the case of a war with Iran the prospects are dim, because Iran can use missiles based in tunnels/caverns in the mountains near the Straight, and as 2006 war shows, getting rid of them can be a huge headache. One can save a few trillion dollars by not trying to match Iranian defensive capabilities with American offensive capabilities.

    Aha, I recall than in 2008 Russia blockaded Georgia, and USA did not like it. Like with Hormuz, the geography prevents USA from overwhelming the local power, so again, the only sensible course of action is to avoid wars. (Of course, it was not merely geography, but as Russians blocked Georgian ports both from the sea and from land, and had decent air superiority next to their own territory, geography is already sufficient.)

    Lastly, USA is a trend setter, for better and for worse. If we give impression of getting a lot of satisfaction from “controlling the seas”, other countries feel that their prestige requires something of that kind. Thus China raises her flag over tiny reefs of South China sea, the population feels national pride and USA reacts, but with hardly any effect.

    • mike k
      December 14, 2017 at 16:28

      Why stop there? Why not just put down all of our enormous stores of weapons?? If you say that cannot be done, then you are a proponent of endless war and murder. It must be done, if we are to have peace. If you think massive armaments guarantee peace, I would advise you to look at our murderous world today, and ask you if your idea is working?

      Or maybe you think we just don’t have enough weapons yet to assure peace??

      • Piotr Berman
        December 14, 2017 at 18:28

        Sorry, I was too verbose. My claim is that contrary to Adm. Moran (another worshipper of the goddess of whine, Diane Isis), the possible tasks for USA navy are of two types: (a) current navy is a lumbering overkill, replace it with a similar number of tiny very fast vessels for “police like” actions (b) hopeless, preparing for them is just a waste. There is also a nuclear deterrent function, but I doubt if it needs more than 20-30 units (damn expensive, but a bargain compared to aircraft carrier groups that are good for nothing).

  14. mike k
    December 14, 2017 at 16:06

    The time is past to keep thinking of war and murder as normal, or inevitable. Unless people are disgusted and deeply disturbed by this criminally insane behavior, what hope is there that we will ever change it. And please don’t give me that phony bullshit about human nature. All the alibis in the world will not cover these monstrous crimes and they who enable them and carry them out. Heroes indeed. Maybe Heroes to Satan! And if you don’t like Satan, then let’s say Heroes who have dedicated themselves to serving and doing evil deeds. And if you still want to question if evil exists, then let’s say they are committed to doing the worst most hurtful things humans are capable of – all in the name of the highest ideals, of course.

  15. Hans Zandvliet
    December 14, 2017 at 16:03

    “(whatever happened to Trump’s demand that our allies pay for their own defense?)”
    It met a German “Nein!”
    Which actually is quite reasonable: why should America’s vassal states in Europe pay for the maintainance of America’s Empire?
    Besides, they already paid “protection money” by handing over their sovereignty to Washington.

  16. mike k
    December 14, 2017 at 15:54

    And why are these lethal weapons given out like candy to the most vicious rulers on the planet, like Israel and Saudi Arabia? The better to murder with, my dear.

  17. Zachary Smith
    December 14, 2017 at 15:39

    Israel now has five F-35s, and is scheduled to get 45 more. Free, of course.

    Your suggestion that they will tinker with them and possibly even fix some of the worst features is a reasonable one. That there would be anything “free” about any such information given back to the US seems unlikely to the extreme.

    • bobzz
      December 14, 2017 at 19:01

      Appreciate the info, gentlemen.

  18. bobzz
    December 14, 2017 at 15:26

    Correct me if I am wrong. Did not the US send 2 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Israel? If so, I wonder if they wanted their help to solve the technical problems the US cannot seem to solve despite the lavish amount of our tax dollars spent on it.

    • Ol' Hippy
      December 14, 2017 at 15:57

      Over a trillion $ on a weapons system that’s marginal at best. Putin spends less that 20% of US amounts as upgrades instead on new systems that require insane amounts of $’s to work. The Osprey comes to mind and they still crash killing crews to this day. Also Putin’s missile defenses work, at least better than 50% judging the delivery of Trump’s expensive fireworks display on Syria early this year. 60 missiles were launched, 1 was a dud, hence the 59 and only 24 hit non vital targets. that is less than a 50% success rate, not good by most standards and a cost of over $ 100 million +. War is expensive and do we really need worthless wars to make the wealthy even fatter than their already bloated selves deserve?

  19. exiled off mainstreet
    December 14, 2017 at 15:01

    The pentagon is the de facto controlling element of the yankee imperium. No matter which of the two nominal faction parties rule the Pentagon’s unchallenged power, extending to billions of dollars in fraudulent unaccounted for extra cash, goes on. No matter which figurehead is put into office, the pentagon’s uncontrolled wars continue unless they are met with nuclear powered opposition, and even that doesn’t seem to be enough to deter them from threatening North Korea. Elections are only a sham to provide the illusion that the rule of law persists. The actual claims of world control backed up by a myriad of bases everywhere is unprecedented. Neither Napoleon nor Hitler had such a wide reach, though part of it is because technology has advanced in the intervening decades and centuries. This won’t end well unless some means is found to put this under control without a nuclear send-off.

    • mike k
      December 14, 2017 at 15:50

      This US slaughter rampage has already ended millions of lives that might have ended in a better way. America has rivers and lakes of BLOOD on it’s hands.

  20. Zachary Smith
    December 14, 2017 at 14:38

    A couple “new” foreign bases are in Israel and Ukraine. The troops in Israel have been there for quite a while, and that one may merely represent a chance to build some facilities for the troops already present.

    The one is Ukraine has the potential of causing all kinds of trouble.


    If some brilliant guy gets the notion of installing an Aegis Ashore ABM facility there “because of the evil Iranians”, watch out.

    Letting both the infrastructure and the US citizens back home go to hell in order to blow money to the winds on Foreign Bases and F-35s is insane. But that seems to be what is going to happen.

    • Anon
      December 15, 2017 at 08:01

      Yes, the warmongering extortion racketeers have made the pact of fascism with warmongering demagogues.
      The base in Israel will be a fine place to launch a preemptive strike on Israel, and enforce a two-state solution.

  21. Joe Tedesky
    December 14, 2017 at 14:31

    Hey maybe with a bigger defense budget the U.S. may start winning some of these wars. On the other hand does the U.S. gear up for indefinite war, because winning only stands to shorten the MIC profit margins? Why should the goal of dominating the world make life miserable in Kentucky, or anywhere in the U.S. for that matter? This could only happen in a Republic where Democracy is used as an excuse for the way we live. America wise up, your being played, and the music isn’t worth dancing too.

    • exiled off mainstreet
      December 14, 2017 at 15:03

      The organised military state which is being paid by the fiddlers seems to call the tune.

      • Joe Tedesky
        December 14, 2017 at 16:54

        It’s like we Americans are on a 24/7 life long dance marathon, isn’t it?

    • Ol' Hippy
      December 14, 2017 at 15:44

      Why win wars? The theory seems to be running the economy off war profiteering, a sure fire way to enrich the coffers of defense contractors and winning isn’t a solid financial strategy. The trick is to fool Congress making them believe unlimited purse strings helps the ’cause’. It certainly doesn’t help social programs as the are gutted to pay for $ trillion + yearly expenditures. This whole ethos has to change the country of it will face financial collapse, soon by my estimates.

      • Joe Tedesky
        December 14, 2017 at 16:52

        Ol’ Hippy you make a great point. Why in many cases, like for instances in Vietnam or now in Afghanistan, where it would have been wise to get the hell out, instead we buckled down and stayed the course. Staying the course for what? For to win another battle, not likely, but to add billions upon trillions to a nation who is already strapped with a big National Debt only to spend more on killing people. To label this all the time military mindset as but merely insane, doesn’t quite go far enough to explain to just how bad our American love of war is. One thing the U.S. seems good at is making enemies, and rightfully so, since our MIC needs a bogeyman or two in order for it to do the business it does. That’s it, we Americans haven’t created as much of a military as for it to be strictly defensive, in as much as we created a military to gobble up every asset and earned while saved dollar every American can muster, all in the name of doing ‘ good business’.

    • mike k
      December 14, 2017 at 15:47

      I wish we would stop calling it a defense budget. It is the US WAR Budget, and it is the biggest on the Planet. And guess what, the US has started more wars than anyone else, and sells more weapons of death to others than anyone else. We are the number one MERCHANTS OF DEATH!

      • Joe Tedesky
        December 14, 2017 at 16:41

        Then ‘War Budget’ it is…just, remind me in case I forget to call it that. Joe

    • Realist
      December 16, 2017 at 17:03

      Joe, remember that $6 trillion dollars you were so worried about the Pentagon spending but not being able to account for? Well, hang onto to your hat:

      “The US government may have misspent $21 trillion, a professor at Michigan State University has found. Papers supporting the study briefly went missing just as an audit was announced.

      Two departments of the US federal government may have spent as much as $21 trillion on things they can’t account for between 1998 and 2015. At least that’s what Mark Skidmore, a Professor of Economics at MSU specializing in public finance, and his team have found.

      They came up with the figure after digging the websites of departments of Defense (DoD) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as well as reports of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) over summer.

      The research was triggered by Skidmore hearing Catherine Austin Fitts, a former Assistant Secretary in the HUD in the first Bush administration, saying the Inspector General found $6.5 trillion worth of military spending that the DoD couldn’t account for. She was referring to a July 2016 report by the OIG, but Skidmore thought she must be mistaking billion for trillion. Based on his previous experience with public finances, he thought the figure was too big even for an organization as large as the US military.”


      Now this is a piece of information that the algorithms to purge “fake news” were specifically designed to remedy.

      This must be why Cheney could say that “deficits don’t matter.” Not when the entire federal budget is a fiction.

  22. mike k
    December 14, 2017 at 14:05

    The American God is two faced. One face worships money and power over all else. The other face glories in violence and domination of others. One God with two faces is who a good American is expected to serve. Those who urge peace and sharing wealth are the enemies of America and it’s God, and must be silenced or destroyed.

    • Piotr Berman
      December 14, 2017 at 16:33

      While some claim that “we” have Judeo-Christian tradition, in fact it is Helleno-Roman tradition. For example, two chambers of Congress, jury trials etc. are copied from Rome, democracy and demagoguery were already invented in Greece, and none of that was prescribed by “our God”. Thus we may raise temples to a single deity but we cherish multiple ones, Mercury for commerce and riches, Athena for education and industry, Mars for war, Venus for beauty. Some students during history tests claim that “Greeks also had a goddess of whine, Diane Isis”, which is somewhat correct because a goddess of whine (especially feminist) is truly needed in our panteon. Somewhat confusing, Pluto is not related to plutocrats. In the hindsight, monotheism was a mistake that is regretted in deed, if not verbally.

      • Piotr Berman
        December 14, 2017 at 16:51

        Another view on “actual American religion” stresses traditions that predate Columbus, namely the Aztecs. Wars were waged not to win, but to kill enough people that their blood and hearts will sufficiently nourish the 5th Sun to prevent the end of (the 5th) world, now I guess it should be 6th, as the Aztec world ended. Without wars we would need to rely on the justice system to kill enough people, and indeed, the death penalty is most popular near Mexico, but the number of such sacrifices is meager, so every year without a war seriously risks the death of our sun.

        One piece of evidence for this conjecture are the trials about the right of schools to conduct prayers prior to football games between high schools (again, in a state that borders Mexico). What causes the urge to pray before watching a ball game? Sacred ball game is actually a unique mark of the central American civilizations (Aztec, Maya etc.). Moreover, the mythological ball game was between gods of underworld and gods of fertility who are now represented by the cheerleaders.

    • Sam F
      December 15, 2017 at 07:54

      Yet interaction with the people shows that many are merely convinced that others worship these corrupt gods of mass media, while opportunists accept the mass media ideals of money=power=virtue achieved through violence and domination. Those are the fake ideals of the bully class everywhere, who in the unregulated US can rise to control organizations such as business, mass media, and government. Long the fake ideals of bully class Republicans, they now control the duopoly.

      They can do that because our constitution provided no protection of the institutions of democracy from economic power, because it was not then nearly so concentrated. Now we have information power to be abused and controlled as well, and we no longer have the tools of democracy to make the reforms.

      There was a time when most who had strength and courage also had sympathy for those like themselves, and a majority still do. But as you note, now “those who urge peace and sharing wealth are the enemies” of the bully god “and must be silenced or destroyed.” Restoration of democracy awaits the insurgency of the good who have the strength and courage to serve better principles.

      • cbrown
        December 15, 2017 at 11:19

        Courage awaited though i hardly seen them nowadays. Something to keep them busy by being poor, uneducated,mentally challenged, chemically poisoned, indoctrinated, and finally terrorized. Have you seen the current military service men condition ? Psychotic. Majority of their field commander are Iraq’s and Afghanistan occupation soldiers graduate while the most corrupt and immoral are designated as commanding officers.
        My only hope is the old folks that understand the horror and the error of their past deed in antiwar activists to get more supporters and attention.

      • December 21, 2017 at 09:32

        “They can do that because our constitution provided no protection of the institutions of democracy from economic power, because it was not then nearly so concentrated. Now we have information power to be abused and controlled as well, and we no longer have the tools of democracy to make the reforms.+

        Sam, that’s it in a nutshell. The challenge, how to secure acknowledgement and consensus that this is true, motivation to extricate; and the will to do so.

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