Exclusive: The bloated military budget is justified on the assumption that the United States can and should police the entire world, but this approach is fundamentally unsustainable, warns Jonathan Marshall.
By Jonathan Marshall
President Donald Trump’s latest $4.4 trillion budget proposal calls for boosting military spending by nearly $200 billion over the next two years, and would balloon the national debt by more than $7 trillion over the next decade. Pundits proclaim it “dead on arrival.”
But the likely alternative, based on the recent congressional budget accord, will be an equally irresponsible combination of sky-high military spending and even more borrowing – signs of a dysfunctional empire unable to manage its decline intelligently.
The U.S. national debt now exceeds $20 trillion, or $170,000 per taxpayer. When the number was smaller two years ago, under President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “dangerous and unacceptable.” Yet, following last December’s massive corporate and personal tax cut, and the subsequent agreement on new spending targets, Congress now envisions adding $15 trillion to the federal government’s debt over the next decade.
No serious analyst predicts any immediate disaster, but fast-rising levels of public debt, combined with extremely low levels of private savings, could set the United States up for another financial crisis. If interest rates climb, high levels of debt can rapidly drive up federal spending on interest. If another recession strikes, slashing federal revenues, the burden of debt can also soar.
While many domestic programs are slated to grow, a major contributor to the U.S. debt burden will be soaring military spending. The recent budget accord calls for feeding the military about $80 billion more this year, and an additional $16 billion more the next. The increase alone exceeds Russia’s entire military budget ($69 billion in 2016, the most recent year for which comparative data are available).
Even without these increases, the United States already spends more than twice as much on its military as China and Russia combined. Equally significant, the next 15 largest military spenders are all friendly powers or formal allies of the United States. That’s why the only serious threats to U.S. forces come when they insert themselves into local wars thousands of miles away.
The Indefensible Pentagon Budget
Commenting skeptically on the new Pentagon budget, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said, “It’s very difficult to have that big of an increase in one year and then be able to use it wisely.” That’s especially true when so much current spending is used unwisely.
The Pentagon budget tilts heavily toward gold-plated weapons systems that continue to fail tests and evaluations. Congress is buying dozens of trouble-plagued F-35 Joint Strike Fighters each year, with a projected program cost of more than $1 trillion, even though the plane is still not fully combat ready.
The Pentagon budget is also full of questionable programs, like the half billion dollars aimed at counter-narcotics initiatives in Africa and the Middle East, which were probed in a recent report by the Defense Department’s Inspector General.
Much worse, the Pentagon’s upcoming budgets contain about $140 billion over two years for fighting wars that the United States has no business waging.
This fiscal year alone, for example, the Pentagon says it will spend $45 billion fighting in Afghanistan. The Trump administration has no clear consensus even as to its goals in that country, much less how to achieve them.
All we have to show for 17 years of war in Afghanistan are thousands of lives lost and more than $1 trillion spent. The Taliban today control more territory than they did at the end of 2001, and ISIS has become a growing menace. “I think there’s an argument to be made that our national security is actually made more perilous the more we spend and the longer we stay there,” says Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
The Nuclear Black Hole
And then there is the expanding black hole of spending on nuclear arms. Plans developed under the Obama administration, and recently augmented by Trump’s Pentagon, call for updating America’s nuclear missiles, bombers, and submarines at a staggering cost of $1.7 trillion over the next 30 years.
With more than 4,000 nuclear weapons in our arsenal, many arms experts believe the United States is already vastly over-armed for the purpose of deterring any foreign power from launching a nuclear attack on the United States.
Yet President Trump’s recent Nuclear Posture Review calls for building three new types of nuclear weapons. That expansion will only add to what Andrew Weber, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs, recently called “the crushing nuclear weapons modernization spending tsunami in the 2020s.”
“Top defense officials have stated frankly that the Pentagon does not have a plan to pay” for the nuclear modernization program, wrote U.S. nuclear analyst Adam Mount in Foreign Affairs recently. “That figure will create serious tensions in a Pentagon wrestling with a dizzying array of other priorities: raising the readiness of U.S. forces, building new fleets of aircraft carriers, fighters, and attack submarines, and investing more funds in future research.”
Even worse than the waste of money is the potential that all these weapons will raise the risk of an accidental nuclear war.
“Today, the greatest danger is not a Russian bolt but a U.S. blunder — that we might accidentally stumble into nuclear war,” observed former Secretary of Defense William Perry and former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright in November. “This may sound counterintuitive, but if we scale back plans to replace the nuclear arsenal, we will actually improve our security. And we will save hundreds of billions of dollars.”
The Coming Fall?
The fundamental problem with the military budget is the underlying assumption that the United States can and should police the entire world – a view powerfully reinforced in the Trump administration’s recent National Defense Strategy document, with its hegemonic yearning for “dominant superiority in every operating domain.”
With some 800 military bases stationed in 172 countries, the United States is far and away the greatest empire the world has known. Our self-imposed mission, which guarantees ceaseless military engagements in conflicts around the world, creates unnecessary risks to American lives and to our economic security, not to mention our many foreign victims.
Those risks are multiplying as our national governance becomes ever more dysfunctional. Our national budget woes are a sign of the fact that maintaining U.S. military superiority around the world is becoming ever more unsustainable.
In his famous 1987 book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, Yale historian Paul Kennedy demonstrated a consistent link between economic and military strength. The link goes one way: a nation with robust resources can afford to build a strong military, but a nation with an oversized and overcommitted military may cripple its economy, undermining the very source of its strength. That’s what happens when empires get stretched too thin, like Great Britain’s after two world wars.
As Kennedy predicted, and the Trump era is confirming, the American empire cannot last in its current form. The faster we cut it loose, the more chance we have of a soft landing that preserves our security and prosperity.
Jonathan Marshall is a frequent contributor to Consortiumnews.com. He is the author or co-author of five books on U.S. foreign policy, international affairs, and history.
It is amazing the lack of history the Mr. Marshall knows. Dysfunctional Empire’s can actually go on for a very long time and the current deficit while alarming is not really a major concern. All one has to do is look up England’s debt in the 1700’s to see that the debt can in will by design go to 200% GDP and still function and I expect it to hit that number before anything will be done. Did the British empire go into the abyss when it it hit 200%? nope! It made adjustments and still functioned will being the loving people they were another 150 years. How quick will this happen before the US must adapt? Will given the fact since 1972 the debt has doubled at a ratio of every 8 years I suspect. My best guess is this will happen sometime around 2030. In the 60’s Charles de Gaulle knew the US was going broke in the 60s and demanded his gold. He threw NATO out and France actually sent a war ship in August 1971 into the New York harbor as if to say “give me my gold please!” Will the US fall? Absolutely not as there is no chief rival in the western hemisphere but ….the US will probably lose significant power unless it conquers and controls its major economic rival in the east. Really the US is all ready using significant power because it has chosen use their muscles over their minds. China is playing a brilliant game with diplomacy that is not carried out at the point of a gun. Imagine that people do not like getting shot at??? Wow! All the people in charge are doing is running up a credit card that basically puts money into the hands of the rich while giving the bill to the poor. This is very similar to what Spain did in the 1600’s and while Spain’s empire fell off a table due to competition that the US does not currently have. If you do not know history then you do not know a thing my friends.
What about these low-level nuclear weapons that I’ve been reading about or bio-chemical weapons? They are dangerously unhinged.
To give up on our empire would hurt our national vanity, though. Therefore we will not do it voluntarily.
Of course a bloated military budget serves all the likely suspects, but few are talking about where the money comes from to pay off that growing $trillions debt. Money has no value unless it represents real work and and the fruits of that work. Workers equate “work” with money, the spoiled elite do not. They equate money with more money, a spawn of itself, as if money has some intrinsic value like wood or wool or water. Therefore those spoiled parasitic elite have no empathy for real work because real work is an abstract concept to them. Apparently in their world, you don’t have to catch fish, you can just buy fish in the store.
The other part people are overlooking is how this bloated military budget forces hard working people to pay “interest” to international banksters, not sovereign nations. It’s just more evidence that banksters make ALL the rules and always have. The political process is theatre designed to convince us that “We The people,” actually have a say in things when, in fact, we don’t.
So please encourage more discussions on the real meaning of real work and remind people that the banksters make the rules and are majority owners of the military/security complex and own majority in oil and their pharmaceutical derivatives too. We need publicly-owned and controlled banking.
Interest would not cripple and enslave us if we didn’t allow it, and lobbying is a euphemism for BRIBERY and bribery is illegal so let’s not allow them to dictate to us by dictating the language.
Less documentation of fascism, more ACTION against it.
There’s $21 Trillion (and growing) missing since 1998, just from the Pentagon and HUD. Isn’t the whole point to keep stealing? The more Congress authorizes the easier to hide huge off the books expenditures. Obfuscation, the order of the day.
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Reagan did the same thing. Gave massive tax funds to the military, tripled the US debt and gave amnesty to 10 million undocumented workers.
The difference now is that immigrants are tar brushed, for they are not needed to work for cheap labor as there are no jobs. And they are thus deported.
21 trillion in public debt and 65 trillion in private debt. A negative savings rate among Americans, other than the rich who hoard.
3 people own the combined wealth of half Americans, 8 people control the wealth of half the world population, according to OxFam.
Excellent article. Thank you. Also a shout-out to the many people posting; a rich variety of well-read individuals. I always learn something from your thoughtful comments that are based on soundly sourced materials.
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
Thanks Steve. Profound words.
Hey Steve you and John Whitehead are on the same page, as Whitehead quotes Eisenhower’s ‘the Chance for Peace’ 1953 speech in response to Molotov’s reaching out to the U.S. after the death of Stalin. Eisenhower delivered this outreaching speech just two days before John Foster Dulles Secretary of State made his speech threatening the Russians with his wicked wasp angry.
““Why throw money at defense when everything is falling down around us? Do we need to spend more money on our military (about $600 billion this year) than the next seven countries combined? Do we need 1.4 million active military personnel and 850,000 reserves when the enemy at the moment — ISIS — numbers in the low tens of thousands? If so, it seems there’s something radically wrong with our strategy. Should 55% of the federal government’s discretionary spending go to the military and only 3% to transportation when the toll in American lives is far greater from failing infrastructure than from terrorism? Does California need nearly as many active military bases (31, according to militarybases.com) as it has UC and state university campuses (33)? And does the state need more active duty military personnel (168,000, according to Governing magazine) than public elementary school teachers (139,000)?”— Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times”
Yep, and he golfed all through his presidency and let Allan Dulles and the deep state run the country.
Yep. Allan Dulles, Sullivan and Cromwell spawn, Goldman Sachs lawyers, Sachs runs the Fed. That’s a partial glimpse of the Deep state.
What is needed is one government like in China. Two party system in USA is a joke. How did Obama Hillary Bill Clinton and Trump get selected? Time for big change. America is rotten to the core.
While I agree as to the rotten-ness, recently I’ve been reading a book on murders of the Osage Indians with the time frame being the early 20th century, and watching a program on the history, during 1920’s, of labor unions and J. Edgar Hoover. The picture I’m getting is that corruption, violence toward the oppressed who try to rise up, and greed are not recent entities. I’ve been stunned to realize that what we’re seeing today is just an extension of what has always been present in this country: the wealthy running the show and the rest of us serving their interests.
This madness is destroying America,the working people are being made to pay off this debt created by the military corporations far into the distant future, pauperising unborn generations of Americans,they are the ones who will be
Left with a mountain of debt forever,meanwhile the infrastructure that was the bedrock of Americas wealth
has fallen into terminal decline,it will cost trillions to rectify this neglect,the trillions that are going to be pumped
Into the military industrial complex over the next decade, bringing the National debt to 30 trillion dollars,
this will put the top hat on an already washed up Bancrupt desperate empire where over reach is beyond
absurd, this giant con job the biggest ever in the history of the world,will put the final nails in the coffin of the
This is the way capitalism works and always has. Nothing new here.
There was a time the Roman Empire was “by far and away the greatest empire the world had known”. But then over-stretching the military on adventures in far-off lands to pillage their resources, in order to pay for an over-stretched military, never really made much sense, even back then. Not that the elite cared. When coupled with the evasion of tax by the super-rich and propertied classes, which in turn required off-loading the bulk of the tax burden onto the middle classes and poor, who were already taxed too much, things finally led to the decline of the empire that had been by far and away the greatest empire the world had known. Funny how history has a nasty habit of repeating itself.
When the Roman and Persian empires collapsed in the mid 600s AD, they lost to nomad armies telling the citizens “Surrender! We’ll lower your taxes!” Read al-Baladhuri’s Book of Conquests, available in English since the 1920s. It’s one surrend on terms after another, relatively little real fighting.
Nothing gained, nothing learned – just a whole heck of a lot more in collective debt. The deep state rules because it is the deep state that is minding the store …
We spend an obscene amount because 30 years of reforms were no more than smoke and mirrors. Too many pork eaters at the trough. Here we go again: more admirals than ships, $ 400 hammers, $ 800 toilet seats, etc. The list goes on and on, ad nauseum. Just this time, instead of during the Reaganesque Years, its bloated, hi-tech gilded weapon systems, multi-functional airborne platforms that can’t operate or perform specialized missions, and thousands of weapon systems seeking a war to justify their existence…
It’s not just weapons with gold-plated & diamond encrusted parts – the same thing happens in the private/public sector all the time. Those often don’t get much publicity. Witness the nuclear reactor disaster in South Carolina. That’s a very RED state, and they appear to have taken the stand that Westinghouse could do no wrong. Probably some hero there decided that this particular Corporate Person would be a God-Fearing Baptist if it had half a chance. Anyhow, they wrote up a contract for the new nuclear power plants of the type I believe is called Cost Plus. In this case, Cost Plus 15%. Well guess what, the Westinghouse Person decided economies were a really bad idea.
Those morons I spoke of didn’t have to worry – the money was coming out of the pockets of SC taxpayers. Very likely they’re still on the job somewhere in the state and waiting for their promotions.
I hope the blogger at the Eschaton site doesn’t mind my cut/pasting his short post on The Deficit.
Friday, February 09, 2018
Nobody Cares About The Deficit
He’s right. They don’t care. I’m not going to contact my Representative or two Senators because none of them care either. The Republicans “pretend” to be concerned about deficits when they’re not in power, but it’s just that – a pretense.
Mr. Marshall mentioned the new nukes which will supposedly cost 1.7 trillion dollars. At that price they’re not quite the same price as 1 carat gem diamonds – you can buy only seven and a half tons of those for that money. But they’re many, many times their weight in gold.
The F-35 is a piece of junk.
Why the Pentagon Isn’t Happy With the F-35
Anthony Capaccio, Bloomberg January 25, 2018
Does it matter? When even “liberals” like Bernie Sanders are solidly on board with the program, no.
Sep. 22, 2017
BUYER BEWARE: F-35 – The Fighter That Might Never Fight
The thing can’t carry many weapons. Such “stealth” as it has is mostly in the front. Eventually it has to turn around to go back home, and that monster engine will light up the sky – a Come To Me message to infrared sensors and missiles. Being visible to both radar and IR from the rear, and not very fast to boot = a recipe for failure.
Eventually they’ll have to dump the thing, but not until Lockheed and others have made a fortune. Look at what the Air Force is proposing for the B1 and B2:
Why the Air Force Is Dumping the B-2 for the B-21 (and the Old B-52)
The B-1 was a bone Saint Reagan tossed to Big Weapons – the thing never was any good. The B2 is impossibly expensive to operate, and that bill goes up with every passing year.
Another piece of junk which is being kept out of the news lately is the USS Ford.
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Ford Problems Continue
But never fear, Big Weapons has a plan!
The Navy’s Next Super Weapon: ‘Baby’ Aircraft Carriers?
This will be peddled as a cure-all, of course. Big Weapons makes piles of money with the Ford and the other two being built, and then will be ready to pivot to build the carriers we REALLY need.
The “Dysfunctional” description in the essay title is a good one. The US government is broken, and nobody in power has a bit of interest in repairing it.
Zachary what your great comment work provided for me, was a clear sight of how our governments massive spending on everything military isn’t so much about keeping us citizens safe, nor is this irresponsible spending about making a sortie any better of an experience for the pilot, but this insane spending is of the most importance to keeping the MIC swimming in waves of overly marked up profit, while all Americans needed benefits go down the drain.
After we write on these comment boards I often come away encouraged by the words of the many commentators who frequent this site, but there are those times I feel the frustrating intimations of what we are all up against, in the sense of how Sitting Bull must have felt when he had finally come to see how big his opponent the U.S. government truly was. It is with this condition of mind, I come a running to hear what you all here have to say. We may not be of much help as to end this crazy money spending on the sickness of war, but we at least by visiting this comment board find comfort in knowing their are others with likewise concerns. Sorry, just had to say this. Joe
Joe, both of your feelings are natural and appropriate to this baffling situation we are in. “Into the Valley of Death rode the six hundred….”
Courage is the unconditional commitment to do the right thing regardless of results.
“To venture is to risk defeat; but not to venture is to lose one’s Soul.” (Kierkegaard)
“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.”
Thanks for the uplifting message mike. Last evening when I wrote about my frustration and disappointment, I wrote that an hour after taking a Benadryl and I was tired. This morning I woke up with a whole new attitude.
Funny comment thread mike, where about you chastise me for my humor, and then down here on this thread you comfort my aching soul. What a guy, and a good human you are mike. Again thanks mike for caring, both ways for your correcting me on my use of my drab misplaced humor, and here where I just about lose it. Joe
Deficits and debt, they are two different things, are not a problem if the money is used for people. Many countries have huge deficits and function fine.
The problem is when debt and deficitis are caused by giveaways to military and other corporations.
Russia manages to come up with weapons like the Kanyon unmanned submarine/ super torpedo, 2 of which could destroy America, the Armata and PAK50, all on a bargain basement budget of $47 billion, compared to the US $1,200 billion.
This is an excellent summary of US overspending on the military. One of the principal problems is that most of the voting members of the US Congress have an interest in increased military spending because there are ‘defence industry’ jobs in all 50 US States; also, many Congress members (or their parties) receive financial support from the arms industry. One would like to think that the US will be able to get money out of politics, but I think this excessive financial support for the Pentagon will only end once the country’s financial system can no longer sustain it. The best parallel is not really the UK, but rather France in the last decade before the Revolution, when the King and his Government spend vast sums (which they did not have) on their military on supporting American Independence – these debts led directly to the Revolution
Clearly, as has been pointed out by numerous expert analysts, government spending, both public and private borrowing, the creation of national and private debt through the mechanism of the Fed and its creature the petro dollar, the consequent erosion of the commons and all social programs for the masses, and simple acquisition of the necessities of life, let alone servicing of this burgeoning debt in the face of inexorable job loss and deliberately camouflaged inflation, cannot extrapolate into the indefinite future for much longer. Simple mathematics precludes the sustainability of the system as presently functioning. People imagine (manageable) linear change when what is actually taking place is very much exponential (and lethally out of control). Which begs the question: just what is it that TPTB have planned to save their hides and screw the rest of us when TSHTF?
Good question Realist. I’m sure the phony bastards will come up with something, but I have no idea what. But it’s sure to be something bad for most of us. Oligarchs only care for themselves and their money, the rest of us are expendable
If they think they are going to retreat to their luxury underground bunkers to live out their days, they are delusional. Those are just expensive coffins.
The lesser oligarchy members I know are halfwit bullyboys who know that they will remain at the top of the pyramid as the floodwaters rise. At worst they will still live in comfort as they enjoy the demise of those they feel they have beaten. Let them eat cake if they have no bread. The rich can always buy what they need from the desperate, and hire the desperate to exterminate the riotously desperate. The demise of the poor is a minor bump; there are no serious consequences for the rich.
As in France, 1789? Or Russia, 1917?
Yes, Zhu, then there were consequences unforeseen. But I suspect that surveillance and suppression of communications will prevent any more such revolutions, until the end of a long series of US military humiliations, embargoes, and collapsed financial bubbles, at last making the vast majority actually hate the rich and devote their lives to ending oligarchy. We are still a long way from that economic situation, at least 40-60 years, perhaps twice that, so there are no consequences for present adults of the oligarchy, and they don’t deeply care about the future of their children. All is for themselves.
IMO Mars is Choice #1. The fact it’s so far away makes it safer. Choice #2 would be the Moon. Much easier, but within easy range of surviving Earthmen seeking vengeance. Distant Third would be massive retreats on Earth. Again an opinion, but those will be built anyhow with an eye on staying alive until #1 or #2 become operational. In the long term there are many, many drawbacks to Choice #3.
To keep track of things, follow the progress of Musk’s Big F*****g Rocket. If US taxpayers continue with unlimited support for this and the other monsters, Choice #1 remains on track.
PresidentPuppet Trump Directs NASA to Return to the Moon, Then Aim for Mars December 11, 2017
That’s covering both bases. My science sites say Trump & Company is cutting the rest of the space program drastically to help pay for this. Especially the programs associated with Climate Change. The Rich Bastards really don’t care about climate change. IMO that’s a combination of them being psychopaths and having what they believe is a viable backup plan.
Zachary, your scenario makes clear the reason for point number one you make in your post below (“Nobody cares about the deficit”).
Nobody cares because it is an intractable problem. No solution is planned because none is possible. Ergo, when the time comes and collapse occurs, they will go to plan B (or is it “Plan 9 from Outer Space?”). The current operational policy is to milk the system dry until the unavoidable collapse happens. Perhaps they even seek to orchestrate it on some advantageous schedule. The resulting chaos may even be used to justify implementing a “final solution” to the population bomb and the “rightful” allocation of remaining resources.
They are not only seeking for a push to colonise space (as per the enormous and splendiferous space station in the movie Elysium, though, aside from unrevealed operational alien technology, I suspect the Moon, which you mention, is the most doable) but they plan to replace the entire conventional military with autonomous AI-controlled robotics. Solar-powered robot aerial and underwater drones on constant patrol (carrying nukes, natch). Nuclear missile-carrying satellites (perhaps the most archaic of their mad plans). Orbiting EMP weapons. Particle beam, microwave, ultrasonic, and rail-gun equipped ships, tanks and planes, as appropriate. Shoot, they’ve even designed the functional equivalent of “imperial walkers” from Star Wars, except not quite as big (but they will relentlessly track their human prey and then go boom). Then there are already essentially workable “drone swarms” (try eluding or fighting off a couple hundred of those suckers programmed exclusively to tract you and detonate as they close in). Some might be as tiny as a flying insect and sting you with a shot of ricin. Oh, yeah, and Robo-Cop’s (or maybe the Terminator’s) real-life counterpart (you’ve seen the videos of the robots being kicked over and endlessly coming back for more).
What is the point of all this other than to exterminate most human life on the planet? The scariest thing they are thought to be developing is genome-specific molecular probes that can carry lethal viruses only to their intended targets, which is perhaps why some federal agency was recently caught collecting genetic markers specifically from ethnic Russians. Discover DNA sequences exclusive to them and you can theoretically design viruses that infect only them. “Great” unless some of your “all American” cousins or wife unknowingly share some genetic heritage with the targets. Also, the Russian Atlanticists and oligarchs, invested bigly in American securities along with all the other transnational parasites, won’t like hearing that.
Nevertheless, I don’t think the masterminds who would implement such grand schemes would worry about being held accountable. Who would be left to charge them in the no-longer-existent courts of law?
That was scary and entertaining, well done.
Ditch the entertainment response; this is for real stuff, and fear is among the appropriate responses to it. Just as planet scale disaster movies have an opposite effect from realistically waking folks up to real danger; one has to keep in mind that projected future scenarios are rapidly becoming real life problems that we desperately need to deal with. This ain’t no SF BS no mo bro – this is for real!
Okay mike it’s not entertaining, but still the way Realist described it was easy to read, and his comment flowed very well to make his point.
I get it mike, I really do, but someone here needs to make some humor out of this mess we are all in, or I’m afraid we will all just go bonkers if we don’t. On behalf of not insulting anyone here I will try and watch my comedic response, and let the fear fall where it may.
I value your opinions mike, so I will carry on, and in the future I will be careful to how I word my responding comments. Joe
I think that those who are trying to control our world may have a dim sense that it is doomed to spin out of control at some point, but these power addicts, like all addicts keep hoping it won’t happen soon, or on their watch. And I think some of them have survivalist ideas and actually build bunkers. Others vaguely entertain notions of some technological deus ex machina to pull their chestnuts from the global fires.
But I think we give these deluded folks too much credit to think they have actual workable plans for their survival. Most of them probably concur with the last of the French Aristocrats, “Apres moi, le Deluge.” Which translates to, “as far as what happens to everyone else, who cares, as long as it doesn’t happen to me.” They are wrapped in their fancy garments of ultimate selfishness, and will probably be blindsided when they finally realize that they too are going down with he Ship, along with all the disposable hoi polloi.
“Discover DNA sequences exclusive to them and you can theoretically design viruses that infect only them.” Apartheid South Africa did a lot of research on this, with zero success. Ethnic groups are not species or subspecies, and there is no diseases that only target group X and leave you safe. We are all collections of mongrels.
Actually, there are numerous historical precedents for certain human populations being more or less vulnerable to specific pathogens. Small pox and measles v the native Americans for one. The European population v the plague bacillus and the syphilis spirochaete. In more recent times, the HIV and Ebola viruses had differential effects on various populations, blacks being more susceptible than whites. In time, Darwinian evolution through natural selection taking place at the level of the immune system, target tissue receptors or whatnot makes the susceptible populations more resistant, as the vulnerable are weeded out. Pathogens and hosts notoriously co-evolve, the former gradually becoming less virulent and the latter populations more resistant.
And, we are talking only about pathogens that have arisen through the random vagaries of evolution in the wild. It may be very well possible to craft designer viruses, selecting every nucleotide in their genomes, such that they bind more avidly to receptor sites more common in some peoples or elude the various levels of immune response in others. I know there is significant genetic variation in most every human population today (perhaps not in some still isolated hunter-gatherer tribes) mostly due to the ever increasing genetic admixture as anyone can now travel the globe and marry outside their own group. That’s exactly why I said that even the proponents of such awful tactics might find their own relatives felled by their biological weaponry.
[This is molecular genetics being discussed. Why is it being moderated? I see nothing provocative or controversial here.]
As far as the Mars trip, ask your NASA promoters how they intend to deal with unpredictable solar flares and mass ejections that would fry the unshielded space travelers. They might answer – we will build shields for them. To which you ask, won’t that add too much weight to the vehicle? They say, we are working on that – send more money!
That’s why I concede that only the Moon would be a viable destination for any human evacuation over the near term. Over the long term for an exodus to Mars, perhaps they have in mind recapitulating something like the nearly-attempted Orion project from the 1950’s, which was completed on paper and was only stopped for lack of funding.
The project would involve assembling a massive craft approximately the size of an aircraft carrier or heavy cruiser in earth orbit, containing adequate shielding because of the very nature of its engines: chambers housing controlled sequential nuclear detonations to propel the craft at a velocity that would shorten the 6-9 month journey using standard chemical rockets to a matter of weeks. The mother ship would park in a planetary orbit while shuttles delivered the people and critical supplies and machinery to the surface. The empty ship would return to earth orbit to reload for subsequent trips.
You might have thought that the project stalled in the 1950’s because the danger of a nuclear catastrophe was too great a risk to employ such technology, but it seems to have really been the lack of money and will. Maybe the rich have both things in abundance today (they’ve certainly ginned up a lot of wars and military spending they can use as a subterfuge for funding secret projects).
Musk’s “Big F..king Rocket” program could be interpreted as a stepping stone, or feasibility project, to undertaking the real deal, like Project Orion. The first volunteer “colonists” being asked to live out their sure-to-be shortened lifespans on Mars in high tech quonset huts can be considered human guinea pigs. Musk thinks he can create an instant atmosphere on Mars, composed mostly of CO2 and H20 (not breathable but good for plant growth and heat retention and a weak shield against some radiation), via “terraforming” the planet by vaporizing the planet’s north and south poles with thermonuclear bombs. Lotsa nuclear prestidigitation in most of this scenario. I suppose anything might be tried if our species, especially its upper crust, were facing extinction in its own fouled nest. Personally, I’d throw in with living as a Morlock in a network of underground Lunar lava tubes. But that’s just me.
On either Mars or the Moon there would have to be underground living quarters, for even on Mars there isn’t enough atmosphere to protect people there from cosmic rays. The unworkable orbital “Space Habitats” would be perfect when these structures were put underground. It’s barely possible some plants might be designed to live by themselves on the surface of Mars.
That’s the youtube show titled To Mars By A Bomb – The Secret History of Project Orion
It speaks of 1,000 atomic bombs to get the Orion ship to orbit. Going to Mars adds more, and of course slowing down again requires even more. Too dangerous – even if everything worked perfectly, for the fallout of a thousand bombs is going into the atmosphere. Too expensive too. By comparison ordinary rockets are staid and cheap.
My main concern is that the Earth is going to be discarded like waste paper to enable the Rich Bastards to leave the scene of their crimes. I’m of the opinion that the concept of using chemical rockets to do the transport job is workable. I don’t much like the rest of it.
Once the Trump or Romney clan get to Mars, then what? It’s not exactly a friendly environment. No friendly natives will show them which local plants to cultivate.
“massive retreats on Earth” To something like Megacity #1 and #2 in the Judge Dredd comic books? I don’t think we are anywhere near able to build such refuges. Anyway, until robots are perfected far beyond the present level, the 1% need a lot of servants. Trump doesn’t even tie his own shoelaces! You can be sure he can’t cook, let alone raise, his own food.
They will rely on the power of Positive Thinking or some such voodoo. They are no wiser or more far-sighted than the rest of us. Sometimes less.
As a German Citizen, I want to recall the fact, that the Sowjet Union collapsed without war. (maybe, if you want, as a consequence of the Afghan war)
Few of us can imagine or beleave, that USA can do likewise.
You might enjoy Dmitri Orlov, _Reinventing Collapse_ (2008). Orlov is a Russian-American engineer. He writes about the stages of the Soviet collapse and how Americans might react to similar problems.
This is an outstanding little talk by the late Dr. Chalmers Johnson given at the time his book “The Sorrows of Empire” was being released.
Brian, thanks for the Chalmers Johnson video, I really enjoyed it.
What I always liked most about Chalmers Johnson, and he did it on this video, was he drew practical comparisons. Like in this video you provided Brian, Professor Johnson references Americans driving SUV’s that get 13 miles to the gallon while we have the technology to increase our gas mileage significantly instead we deny ourselves that excellent knowledge of technology to only pressure the world for more of its finite resources, such as oil. And as you well know Brian in America this call for more of almost anything often translates into more war.
I need to look for it, but once I heard Chalmers Johnson make a case for why the U.S. does not need more aircraft carriers, but of course nobody was paying attention to this once brilliant man, and we now have more aircraft carriers, as China has the single most effective missile (DF-21D) as to take out an enemy (that would be us) aircraft carrier with all but one missile, and one carrier at a time. Thanks again Brian. Joe
The carriers look so impressive and cool when they pull into port though!
Yeah, and Kirk Douglas would have single-handedly won WWII against the entire Japanese navy (at least vs the Pearl Harbor invasion fleet) in that time travel movie–the one where his modern-day carrier bristling with electronics, jet fighters and missiles (may have even carried nukes) gets transported back to 1941. Game over, man. That didn’t happen, but at least one of his men left behind in the past became fabulously wealthy knowing how history was to unwind. Meh, I’d rather see the future.
Having served on an aircraft carrier all I will say to you is, that if you like big go live on one. Personally I much rather liked the smaller ships, but if you like a smooth ride, and long chow lines, then the aircraft carrier is just the thing. Joe
Laughably, the AP and Bezos Post, among mainstream media outposts, have claimed in the last few days that the GOP is now abandoning its anti-deficit principles. Hell, it hasn’t had any from Reagan’s time forward.
What is the context of the WaPo article? I only know that deficit terrorism, which neoliberal governments depend on mightily, is alive and well. They create deficits that they tell us are evil and they lie, blaming it on social spending. (The only social spending – aka socialism – allowed is bank bailouts and subsidies for fossil fuel industries and weapons makers.) Dean Baker wrote an entire book about it. I have yet to buy and read it, but it’s my intention. It’s called “The Conservative Nanny State.” Here in Canada, Tony Clarke many years ago wrote “Confronting The Big Business Takeover Of Canada,” and in it he said that the biggest hoax perpetrated by our Canadian corporate owned media was the idea that social spending (miniscule compared with other spending and ‘expenditures’, aka straight up handouts) was the cause of our deficits. Deficits serve an important purpose. In pursuit of the neoliberal agenda of privatization and deregulation, deficits give neoliberal governments the excuse to allow privatization. On top of scammy P3s (public private partnerships aka privatization by stealth), deficits are simply a mechanism to facilitate privatization. Governments shovel out tax cuts and expenditures (handouts), while aiding and abetting offshore tax havens, creating deficits (that people don’t ask for but are punished for with austerity) that become governments’ excuse to cut social spending (the cupboard is bear, but don’t ask “Why?”), which leads to destruction of publicly funded programs and services, which leads to their being discredited (because the public is susceptible to propaganda about the private sector being better at management than the socialistic government), which sets them up for privatization. Susan George calls this constant transfer of public (the people’s) assets to the private sector a BIG theft.
I thought this was an interesting comment made by Trump to General Mattis last summer in the Washing Post and posted on Anti-war.com. “Trump was weighing plans to send more soldiers to Afghanistan and was contemplating the military’s request for more aggressive measures to target ISIS affiliates in Northern Africa. In a meeting with his top national security aides, the President grew frustrated. “You guys want me to send troops everywhere.” Trump said, “What’s the justification?” “Sir, we’re doing it to prevent a bomb from going off in Times Square.” Mattis replied. The response angered Trump, who insisted Mattis could make the same argument, again, about almost any country on the planet.” Not to mention more people die from lightening strikes then from terrorist attacks and no money spent there, and yet we’re able to manipulate the American people we are protecting them from a grave danger. We can see who’s really calling the shots.
And there is about as much chance of avoiding occasional lightening strikes as there is warding off all terrorist attacks. The whole anti-terror project is such an obvious scam. But the raging bull of the American public mind is easily persuaded to attack the rippling red cape, rather than the wily matador……….
Mike k, I was reading an article by Chris Hedges, and he wrote what he always writes about, and that is we are an Oligarchy. The 1% owns 40% of the country’s wealth, and are in control of our political agenda and don’t give a damn about anything other then accruing more wealth with their rapacious greed. He always ends by saying the only thing that will cause a change is a revolution, a non- violent revolution, and it’s not that I disagree, but to have one you need a populace that is aware of what’s going on. I suspect more then 90% of the American public does not know. So, how is this revolution going to take place, especially a non-violent uprising against these oligarchs? After I read his articles I always feel depressed. Fear is always implemented to gain control, whether it’s the people of a country, or a child in an abusive home.
Yes, Hedges has a fine new article on oligarchy (OpEdNews and others), which is stable with mass media dumbing-down and propaganda. We can advise and educate, but there is no path to restoration of democracy until the structure of oligarchy completely destroys and discredits itself, more difficult now than ever before in history. The good news is that we need not lament the decline of US empire, for we can see it on the compost heap of history, and plan the growth that follows upon sufficient decay. Those who see beyond the lifespan of their organism, are more fortunate than most.
Hedges is great, but you’ve got a point. But his bad news, which it becomes when you begin to look at the challenges, isn’t wrong news. Relatively speaking. As a self-professed Christian, Hegdes should be telling people about the Kingdom of God, unless he doesn’t believe in it, which is fine. But then he shouldn’t call himself a Christian if he doesn’t believe in an actual Creator God and his plan of salvation for loyal, imperfect humankind.
The way I see it is, there’s the 1% and the 99% and then there’s the 1% of the 99% who care enough to know what’s going on. And they have the unenviable task of fighting with the 1% and the 98% of plugged in, a la Matrix, 99 percenters who are full of CNN etc truth. Is the 1% of the 99% outgunned or what?
Much of the problem is connected with “Christian” Dispensationalists, eager for more wars, in hopes of making Jesus return soon. That was certainly one reason for the Second Gulf War.
The answer is to organize in your communities, unions, organizations, etc. No amount of information is any good if it cannot be organized in such a way as to support knowledge. We have oodles of information, what we do not have is a national socialist organization that is strong and can use it. I am sitting on a trove of Koch documents regarding education, leaked.
But no one seems to want it.
Until people begin to organize the plutocrats will always win
As Alan Greenspan once said “There’s nothing preventing government from spending on whatever it wants”. Fiscal policy has been dismissed during the 40 years of neoliberalism. The only time government is allowed to intervene is for defense spending, corporate subsidies and bank bailouts. But has Ben Bernanke even said “Monetary policy isn’t a panacea”. Trillions of QE spending has just gone mainly toward the finance sector, where its spent on stock buybacks and speculation bubbles. Only a strong fiscal policy geared for public purpose will remedy the ailing industrial economy that has been forgotten.
MMT teaches the actual operational reality of economics. It debunks the many myths that are perpetuated by politicians and mainstream economists. We must get beyond this dogma about “balancing the budget” and worrying about the “national debt” at a time when there is so much unemployment. Our focus should be on private debt, that has been dishonorably created worldwide over the past four decades.
This site is a good start for anyone who wants to learn the truth.
With power addiction comes ego expansion. The addict knows no limits to his greed for more power. Science, logic, morality are cast aside in the all absorbing quest for more, more, more…………….
MMT is a cultist stance on monetary issues. #fify
Another bit of good news. A dysfunctional empire is exactly what I like. Too bad the military budget was not bigger.
Nothing is going to be nice about the decline and fall of the great Western Empire. It is ugly now and will only get uglier and more violent in the years ahead. We mustn’t kid ourselves the Empire still has enormous powers it will express its will in vicious ways much suffering will ensue.
Have no doubt “Global full spectrum domination.” still seems within reach to many in the Imperial high command.
Still, gratifying to see the US humiliated as Pence sat there looking stern in the face of overtures of reconciliation. There shalt not be peace.
Oligarchs hate peace.
Much truth there, but I wonder how stable is the union of MIC and WallSt/corporate and zionist/mass media oligarchies? It is mainly the zionist/mass media and their fools who promote the smaller MIC oligarchy.
If Israel fails, as humanitarians hope, the zionists and their mass media will not need the MIC. The main military concern of the WallSt/corporate oligarchy is riot control, and attacking social democracies in fear of domestic socialism, which they usually do via secret wars without largescale MIC involvement. The MIC and its warmonger demagogues could find themselves with declining public support.
Yes, the real patriots yearn for the failure of the US imperialist era, maintained by traitors to its principles and institutions. The worst of news for zionists and imperialists is the best of news for the people of the US.
Is a dysfunctional American empire any worse than a functional American empire? Is a dysfunctional Trump any better than a functional, competent Trump? And is a functional CIA any worse than a functional one? Has the CIA ever been something that the world needed? Or was it always only something that the American Empire (and the Corporatocracy which it resides in, and leads) needed?
“The fundamental problem with the military budget is the underlying assumption that the United States can and should police the entire world”
Morals have little sway in Trump’s world of realism, or dare we say realpolitik or Machiavelli ?! The bottom line not cited in this article for the United States (and priorly for Great Britain and Germany) is the ‘income tax’ that feeds the war chest of empire. Replace the ‘income tax[1,2]’ with a decentralized form of ‘apt tax[3,4]’ with limited inheritance and much of the onus of funding the unproductive warfare-welfare state is uniformly apportioned between individual taxpayers, industry and the financial sector. The financial incentive for seeking peace, in this fashion, may now become more evident to the working taxpayer. Where there is no financial incentive for Wall Street, there is no incentive for suffering the expense of campaign contributions in the near term and suffering higher taxation both during war years of destruction and inter-war years of reconstruction.
For example, let’s say your family fortune began, in large part, from the profits made by selling uniforms to soldiers and marketing government bonds for Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. A member of the family might be inclined to write a book exhorting the virtues of reintroducing the income tax and promoting it to influential bankers among family, friends and in government circles. Besides, reintroduction of Pitt’s 1798 income tax for the British Empire had already set the trend in Great Britain thanks to Robert Peel in 1842 and even Imperial Germany had an income tax, both Great Powers of the empire tradition. Why not the USA?!
We have now seen the tithing power of the 1st estate of faith in Europe, up to the Reformation, being slowly superseded by the financing power of the new 1st Estate of economics in contemporary times. Around the globe, a new form of jingoistic Leviathan State imposed by the 2nd Estate of government onto the 3rd Estate of taxpayers, whether called a “New Deal” or “4-year Plan”, may continue us on the road to greater totalitarianism, war and serfdom.
 The income tax : a study of the history, theory and practice of income taxation at home and abroad | Edwin Seligman | 1911
 The Conservative Origin of Income Taxation | SSRN | 2015
 APT Tax | Youtube
 Taxation for the 21ST Century: The Automated Payment Transaction (APT) Tax | SSRN | 1998
 Historians and the Welfare-Warfare State | Mises Institute | 2004
 J. & W. Seligman & Co. | Wikipedia
 History of Taxation | World Taxation
 The Origins of the Fed | Mises Institute
 Autocratic Taxation: Examining the adoption of income taxes in Imperial Germany and Prussia | Mares & Queralt | 2014
“United States is already vastly over-armed for the purpose of deterring any foreign power from launching a nuclear attack on the United States.”
There is absolutely no way any nation or even “terrorist” would consider such an act. The USA is not only the most belligerent, the most threatening, the most likely to even think of such a thing, but its massive overarmed state is hardly a secret from the rest of the world. The USA insists on considering Russia and China as enemies, not just rivals or even nations with which to cooperate, and pretends to be afraid of a first strike by North Korea.
Since the USA prints its own money, it is not the cost that is the problem, it is the effect on the balance of safety and possible peace in the whole world, with NATO ready to jump in at any stage of potential conflict.
You have an unmentioned assumption of “sanity” when you say that. And there is another complication – a “false flag” attack. Launching an attack which “seems” to come from Nation A would guarantee Nation A gets destroyed.
We’ve been seeing small scale versions of this in Syria and Ukraine for quite some time now.
The whole of Chinese society is a threat, according to Mr Wray, FBI director.
“The bloated military budget is justified on the assumption that the United States can and should police the entire world, but this approach is fundamentally unsustainable”
This is pure NONSENSE……To say “Police The World” is to imply doing something good……….The military is actually used for the sake of the “collective personal/group interests” of the cabal who rule the empire………..Those are called THE BANKING FAMILIES and their servants in the corporate world including the military industrial complex………….The military here is the global mercenary arm of the BANKSTERS……..Got it?!
‘Terrorize the World’ is a better description.
“All we have to show for 17 years of war in Afghanistan are thousands of lives lost”
In fact hundreds of thousands of people have died because of this needless American war of choice.
We get the pleasure of torturing people at Bagram. Probably including some Americans who’ve disappeared in accordance with NDAA.
Many good comments on this thread.
I think that it’s hard for Americans to comprehend that the global elite don’t care about the state of their country or, frankly, the state of the world. There is no long-term planning or consideration for anyone other than themselves. They are globalists. If no support is available for their corporations (read: vanguard), then they will create it in any manner necessary; graft is easy, but the military option has always been available.
Here is an excerpt from a recent article by Paul Street on Counterpunch which describes this and signals to the world at large about these locusts:
“All we have to show for 17 years of war in Afghanistan are thousands of lives lost and more than $1 trillion spent.”
Yes, indeed, although this callous madness conveniently siphoned off hundreds of $billions into the off shore bank accounts of the know nothing oligarchs who pay into our corrupt election system to have a seat at the policy table.
The last paragraph is perfectly correct but the lesson of history is that soft landings just don’t happen! “A nation with an oversized and overcommitted military may cripple its economy, undermining the very source of its strength.” Kennedy pointed to the Soviet Union as an example of what he meant and, of course, events proved him right. The same argument could be made in regard to the Russian Federation, which is frantically trying to keep up with the US and will probably destroy itself doing so. The US situation is not quite the same. US power stems from Bretton Woods. The dollar replaced sterling as the world reserve currency, which was logical in 1944 inasmuch as the US was literally “the last man standing”. It is that reserve currency status that has allowed to US economy to survive in spite of being hollowed out, financialized and bearing a monumental debt burden. It is thus US global military dominance which gives it global economic dominance, and, by extension, political, dominance. However, to keep the US economy from collapsing, the US has to maintain the world’s mightiest military machine and demonstrate its determination so see off all challengers by using that machine against anyone who doesn’t back off. The failure to stand up to Putin in Ukraine, now aggravated by Trump’s bawling at half the planet but doing nothing is undermining US military dominance and thereby, undermining US economic dominance. Thus, America’s wealth is generated by the military machine. Not only does the military machine generate the wealth which is used to finance it, it probably makes a “profit” by generating wealth beyond what it costs to maintain it! Thus, Mr Marshall’s thesis, namely, that if the military machine was abolished or greatly reduced, the money now spent on it would be available for other purposes, is wrong. Without the military machine, the wealth it generates just wouldn’t be there at all. The dollar would lose its status as world reserve currency, which cause its value to fall, leading to the world’s elite, whose holding are principally valued in dollars, to panic which, in its turn, would generate a worldwide, 1929-style economic collapse, effecting all countries: the US, the EU, Russia, China, Japan etc. Thus, the only way to maintain US “prosperity and security” is to maintain the military machine! But the military machine is unsustainable! It’s a vicious circle! There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza! As Thomas Jefferson said about slavery, it’s like holding a wolf by the ears. You don’t like it but you don’t dare let go!
This country cannot provide good, affordable health care and education for its citizens but continues year after year to increase the already bloated military budget. Despite all the thoughtful men found here at Consortium News, both writers and commenters, does anyone note that it is men who keep making these aggressive decisions? And the women who go along with it, do so usually for power or self enrichment, such as HRC. Quote attributed to Jimi Hendrix but may be from Sri Chinmoy: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. “
Chinmoy was another peace lover, who tried to bring his vibe to the UN. The Sermon on the Mount is also about the power of the powerless, Truth Power as Gandhi called it. Unfortunately the gross power wielding individuals of this world are in many ways more clever than the children of Light, and find many ways to delude people and lead them astray from their true destiny, which is to establish a culture based on Unconditional Love.
I remember not so long ago feminists tried to claim (I think sometimes they still do) that if there were more women in positions of authority in business and politics all problems would be solved. The financial crash of 2008 would never have happened. Politics would work towards a constructive consensus. There would be this cooperative sisterhood working towards rational policies and solutions to problems.
Some people actually believed this romantic garbage. Instead we got people like Clinton, Haley, Allbright, Powers, Harf, Rice, Maxine Waters, crazed, demented harpies one and all. Even more loathsome servants of an inhuman dysfunctional system than the male of the species.
It’s right that women should have opportunities they were denied in the past. But don’t expect anything more positive to come of it. Some people had expectations from Obongo because he was black. “Hope and Change.” The only Change he brought anyone was Chump Change. Some deluded people said the same about Clinton because she was a woman. Identity politics at its worst. What difference does it make if you are lied to by a white male, a half black man, or a woman? It’s just a distraction, a substitute for coherent policies.
It’s not men, it’s testosterone that is the culprit.
” This country cannot provide good, affordable health care and education for its citizens but continues year after year to increase the already bloated military budget.”
Provide good, affordable health care? The Ruling Establishment is busy cutting it down; everything – medicare, medicaid, social security. . . I just learnt recently from some people in medicine that the health private care plans have been cutting down payments to doctors for some time now , and dental care plans are doing the same. It seems like it is accelerating under Trump now – and “The Corporate Democrats” are fully on board.
What would you think of the head of an average household if he starts making his budget plans like the Ruling Establishment is doing in Washington? If he starts cutting down on food, health maintenance, and fixing the house and instead start buying guns, and other expensive toys. He would be ridiculed and advised to see a counselor. It seems to me that the People who are in charge in Washington are psychologically sick. How would you explain otherwise this latest plan – cooked under Obama and now expanded – to spend 1.5 trillion dollars on nuclear weapons as if the country does not have enough destructive weapons already. About 8000 nuclear warheads .
Dave I have two doctors I see a couple of times a year. Over a period of around 15 years or so I have watched each of these two fine physicians go from mildly defending our American healthcare system to now hear these older veteran doctors complain about the very system they both use to defend. In fact, recently after seeing each of my doctors for routine visits, they both now advocate for single payer. No kidding Dave, and they both do point to what you said about the billing procedures. You must know the healthcare business in order for you to say this, and if not well then maybe you just pay good attention while others fiddle around never coming to any conclusion of anything that matters.
It’s become cliche to say of how everything in our government needs to be cut down to size, all but for and except to our massive military defense budgets, is the case. It’s not only cliche, but it has become the way of American life, which means death to so may others. Dave I seriously ask you to what in the hell is a wrong with our government that it continues along this path of destruction? Joe
I agree Jessika. My opinion is human culture in general has been following a domintor-style of societal organization for at least 6000 years now. In the dominator model (as opposed to the cooperative model), being ascendant over one’s neighbors is held as a premium characteristic, while nuturing and cooperation are seen as “weak and effeminate.”
I think what we are all experiencing today is the synergistic build up of having made no substantial progress in evolving as a whole culture, to the point where we’re actually devolving. I still think there’s a chance of turning it all around and bringing a maturation of human culture, but unfortunately at this point such a course correction will probably only follow losing at least half the current population to a lithium deuteride clusterfluff.
Thanks for your thoughtful post; hopefully this reply isn’t too much of a downer.
“The Pentagon budget tilts heavily toward gold-plated weapons systems that continue to fail tests and evaluations. Congress is buying dozens of trouble-plagued F-35 Joint Strike Fighters each year, with a projected program cost of more than $1 trillion, even though the plane is still not fully combat ready.”
Hey Mr Sunny Ways! Think on this, if you can do that.
Arby, Can imagine the chest thumping when we finally get them to fly. Probably will occur at half time at the Super Bowl.
They can fly but they are plagued with problems and essentially can’t do what the ads say they can do. Russians and Chinese fighters can only hope that if war breaks out soon, they’ll be up against these jets that don’t do well in rain, as I recall.
I could be mis-remembering, but I thought that Israel bought some of the jets. Now, if they got hold of those ‘politically engineered’ planes, and reverse engineered them, stripping out numerous add-ons requested by dolts like Clinton, Who knows?
Yes, orders for the F-35 are already being filled despite the planes not being combat ready (this won’t be for another few years, and another few hundred billion apparently). Israel has taken delivery on several, but I didn’t notice any mention of their use in the recent airstrikes against Syria (like most sensible types, they relied on the ol’ reliable F-16, which any Palestinian will tell you is just as deadly as the latest trillion dollar Edsel).
The US govt. has been pressuring all our allies to buy F-35s. Australia, for example, is getting a bunch.
Forget about the “soft landing.” What we are dealing with is a runaway addictive process, heading for a violent crash. In this case, the addiction is to power, and it is insatiable. The voice of sweet reason that the article so accurately depicts, is totally unheard and unheeded by the obsessed addicts of limitless power. Like many substance abusers, the end of their addictive process will be the death of the addicts. Except in our case, the power addicts may kill all of us in their final crash.
Is there a chance for us? If there is, it is in Jimi Hendrix’s insight, “When the love of power is overcome by the power of love, then we will have peace.” Otherwise, not.
Reason has no sweet voice. It is a clicking-clacking computer. The silent voices of Angelic Choirs is sweet beyond compare, and persuades by imperceptible means which we mistake for our own inspired ideas. This is what regularly changes the course of history, but we have not been schooled in how to describe this process. The wicked rulers of this Hell-World would not permit its teaching…as if such a thing were even in their power.
And yet, this Hell World is everywhere permeated with Divine Radiance. Too bad, as you say, that most of us are not instructed how to attune ourselves to these higher realities. Inner silence is the key. Be still and know that you are That, all of this is That, and there is nothing other than That.
This quote from Jonathan Marshall’s piercing article for me said it all;
“Today, the greatest danger is not a Russian bolt but a U.S. blunder — that we might accidentally stumble into nuclear war,” observed former Secretary of Defense William Perry and former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright in November. “This may sound counterintuitive, but if we scale back plans to replace the nuclear arsenal, we will actually improve our security. And we will save hundreds of billions of dollars.”
Yet besides always hearing and continually reading about our bombastic President’s outrageous tweets, the fear driven approval by the American public doesn’t get to hear such quotes as General Cartwright’s, as he so stated in regard to our Nuclear stock piling gets no news coverage to speak of at all, what so ever.
Many, many, Americans haven’t the slightest idea of how Russia stands in the over looming shadow of America’s huge military expense outlays, as the MSM demonizes Putin to the extreme of tabloid news coverage. Although I do believe that most Americans do realize that the MIC is spending away their hard earned retirement benefits, these same fellow Americans delay real protest, out of some regard for their patriotism, and to reassure themselves that they live in a dangerous world and need protected at all cost. Little does the American public realize that their real enemies are profiting all the more from this media injected fear, as we all stand as the F16’s fly overhead… this same adoration of all things military, is also the threat to the world that you don’t mess with the U.S., and with that we all say, hoorah.
This warring madness has brought us to where our military expenditures have outgrown continually fighting our behind the curtain friends al Queda, for now we need a nuclear threat, in order to pad the pockets of the MIC elite investor, so why not rattle Russia’s cage? This mindset, is even sold to the naive public as a very American thing to do, and apparently it is. Only will General Cartwright’s warning be seen as a prophetic message, or will his cautioned statement be heard as his words being of the most pragmatic to our human extinction?
You beat me to it, Joe. I had copied that from Perry and Cartwright and was reading down to see if anyone else mentioned it. If these guys (who should know) have the willies about “blunder” and understand what is necessary for “security”, then perhaps (most definitely) we should take heed.
Gregory tell us more of what you would have posted, if I hadn’t beat you to it. I always look forward to getting into a conversation on this comment board whether I posted the comment which got a few reply’s, or whether I reply to comments made by others which inspire me. So never allow me to steal your thunder. Plus, I like hearing from you, as I do others who stop by for a chat with me from time to time.
Just like our fellow American friends and neighbors of who have no idea of who Victoria Nuland is, or that Russia’s total defense spending expenditures are sharply eclipsed just by the recent U.S. budgetary increases it gave itself on defense spending, so why would anything be different where Americans would know of General Cartwright’s Nuclear Weapons expansion prediction? Our MSM certainly shows it’s true colors by their purposely ignoring what the responsible General had to say with his prophetic scary nuke weapons increases warning, and to where that escalation in weaponry could lead us.
While there is a real world out there, we Americans are teetering on the edge of several hot spots on our geopolitical planet, and yet we Americans are being entertained 24/7 by a tabloid gossiping MSM who has shed its responsibility to provide truthful and accurate news, and all of this has been designed by the Establishment to prevent peace, as to keep the uninformed viewers that much more uninformed. Yes the mission is to prevent peace, because with peace there is no war. No war, no war, what does that mean? That means that the MIC and it’s little brother Homeland Security, along with all of the U.S. spy agencies in our government would have nothing to do, and have nothing to profit from.
The message is simple Gregory, but getting the word out is beyond complicated to impossible. Joe
So true Joe what you say about people having no idea and getting the word out. I’d like to think that when “modernization” of the nuclear weapons program is proposed at a cost of a cool 1.7 trillion the ears and eyebrows of network news producers and major newspaper editors would perk up a bit. And when the new nuclear posture review tells us that the war on terrorism is on the back burner because it’s more important that Russia and China are constantly reminded whose thumb they’re supposed to be under….that should get some attention as well. (The “war on terror” is a phony ruse anyway, but that’s beside the point at present!)
It’s cool the same thing that got my attention got yours. My comment about it was just what I posted (some thunder ha!). I just like to try not to come into a thread late and repeat something already said.
I’ll guess I’ll have to force myself to read the Post link associated with the Perry & Cartwright quotes but I just got in late from work and my ebb and flow is running low. Look forward to getting back to you.
Nice to get back with me Gregory, go relax and I will see you on another thread. Joe
A most astute summation, Joe.
And, …..meanwhile, back at the Ranch,………..it was Day 2 of White House press briefings, with nearly not a single question on any topic other than a fired wife-beating underling. The Nation needs to know.
This months obsession is Rob Porter. Bannon I saw was quoted as saying that the #metoo movement will bring Trump down. Everyone is blaming each other for the failure to vet Porter…it’s a mess, and it’s crazy, but it’s our mess, and our crazies that are doing it, as we all go after each other in this American glass bowl where many go their individual ways until they discover that they aren’t. It’s like we, or better put our media, is throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. A tired cliche I know, but it’s the best way to describe this MSM attack on a sitting U.S. President that I can think of.
As much as I don’t like having Trump in the White House I find myself utterly appalled by the constant ongoing televised coup that has replaced our American sanity, that is to if we Americans ever were sane to begin with. I say this, because after all we Americans have been being lied too for so long, and buying into their lies after every tragic event, that I do believe our minds have been conditioned to believe almost everything they tell us, like well trained Pavlov dogs we are predictable. I’m just not that sure to how this all ends, but at least we who do question this insanity for the moment can come here to discuss it.
For the sake of running a government maybe Porter should resign. On the other hand the best media optics would be for Trump to publicly fire Porter. Trump could order the White House guards to build a huge bond fire on the White House lawn and graphically I mean brutally burn these dirt bag women haters at the stack. Did I mention to do this without giving the accused any trail, or hearing. Yes, we should go total barbarian on their wife beating ass, and then next week go after someone else without a fair hearing. Does my sarcasm make me a misogynists? You tell me, because I loss my pc handbook along the way to our country’s anarchist newly installed hangmen gallows to where we will hang these treacherous buggers in the early twilight of the evening, and then afterwards we can all go and howl at the moon.
RnM it’s so crazy I do find a bit of humor makes it all go down a little smoother, like swallowing rock salt smooth. Joe
As stated in the article, we have far more weapons to deter any attack. So, the Russians (and Chinese) have to ask why are we doing it? One answer is just to make money for the MIC, and that is probably the correct answer. Another one however is that we are planning a first strike (something by the way that we have never foresworn), and that means Russia and China have to consider that possibility.
There are those who counter that the Russians are also building new weapons. But, that is the whole dangerous logic of an arms race.
Last evening I thought about the plight of Puerto Rican citizens saddled with a humongous and unpayable debt resulting from spending decisions foisted upon them by corporate oligarchs. Marshall informs us that, “The U.S. national debt now exceeds $20 trillion, or $170,000 per taxpayer.” I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ll be hard pressed to come up with my share. Puerto Rico–which just got another blow to his electrical grid–is our canary in the mine shaft. No! We cannot expect a “soft landing.”
And speaking of SHAFT,
$9.3 trillion, $9,300,000,000,000, has officially “gone missing” from the military budget.
Well-written piece. The only thing that puzzles me is the absence of the word “Israel,” a factor that has a strong influence in how much conflict we are pleased to stir up in the mideast…
Israel almost always gets uncredited billing in these type of affairs. I’m with you, let’s start pointing to this Zionist troublemaker, and rearrange the deck chairs in the Middle East immediately. Joe
Because Americans are responsible for their own follies and bad decisions, no one else. We are condemned to freedom.
Thank you Johnathan,
For the most recent common sense analysis and suggestions about what to do to really preserve our national security and prosperity at the same time. History in this vein should be required reading for both our leaders and their people. Would that it were possible ….. and in time to do some good.
Couldn’t agree with you more. Joe
The sooner the Imperial US empire collapses due to its financial debt, the better. Much of the world will be obliged, well Israel will not , of course. If the collapse, could simultaneously disintegrate the federal state into smaller nations, even better. The libertarians would be happy. Then the Americans will not pose a threat to anyone, except each other and can happily pursue their continuing desire for regional conflicts, all on known home turf. The American population will then have the benefits of having a thorough knowledge of “neat” cluster munitions, “powerful” rounds of depleted uranium and the to little heralded benefits of “death from above” drone attacks.
It will be a sobering experience, but why should brown people have all the benefits ?
Zionist Israel will drop America faster than a red hot horseshoe, and cozy up to China or Russia. Zionists are not loyal to the US at all. They only our money, our blood on the battlefield in their behalf, and our cover in the UN. We must distinguish between Zionism and Judaism as they are not the same. Torah Jews do not support the Zionist state, but the Zionist state needs to pass itself off as Judaism for cover. Zionists must link anti-Zionism with anti-semitism because, without the veneer of Judaism, they are exposed for what they are—mini-America grabbing all it can for itself. Zionists, like American neocons, need to be saved from themselves.
Hey bobzz nice to see you post a comment. When reading your comment I could only picture Netanyahu trying to cozy up to Putin, which he recently did. Joe
“Zionists, like American neocons” –
I read, that 99% of them ARE Zionists. (don’t know, if it’s true)
Agreed, Zionists, and their parasitic NeoCons are Rightist Christians, whose selfish wishes are to witness their twisted, demented apocolyptic fantasies come true in the lands where the Bible took place. Too bad for us all, especially them though, because no one will be left for them to say, ” See, we warned you.”
Most neocons are Jewish, that is simply a fact. The ‘movement’ arose as a means of protecting Israel. There are also the apocalyptic Zionist Christians, like Pence.
“When we have squeezed all we can out of America, it can turn to dust and blow away.” – Netanyahu.
Den Lille Abe
A very humorous and biting fantasy Perhaps our leaders will respond better to ridicule like yours than they do common sense persuasion.
Human stupidity never ceases to amaze me. If history serves me well, military over stretching will affect the economy adversely. Those in charge know it but due to an imperial worldwide dominance ideology: they want to forge ahead irrespective of any costs. My father always told me that a person should think before he acts. I could not agree more.
It is not stupidity — it is the opportunism and profiteering (in the context of the complete lack of patriotism), which have been guiding the US deciders.
“Our self-imposed mission, which guarantees ceaseless military engagements in conflicts around the world, creates unnecessary risks to American lives and to our economic security, not to mention our many foreign victims. Those risks are multiplying as our national governance becomes ever more dysfunctional.”
Exhibit one: the dysfunctional healthcare system in the US.
Yes indeed Anna,…blind greed with no oversight…because the overseers have their hand in the till.
Anna good comment, our American elites hide behind their blanket of patriotism all the while at the same time these war profiteers of death look so respectable as they rob every man, woman, and American child’s so hard earned tax dollars, so as they have something to barter with their selfish bargaining for war, and always more war. Joe
Let us not forget sadism, either. More than a few of our leaders *enjoy* the suffering of other “lesser breeds outside the law”. There’s an erotic aspect too: the sex tourism industry of SE Asia is a by-product of the US war in Vietnam.
,” the American empire cannot last in its current form. The faster we cut it loose, the more chance we have of a soft landing that preserves our security and prosperity.”…I seriously doubt whether we can have a “soft landing” as the country seems to be engulfed in a “perfect storm”…all the institutions have been taken over by those who compete for the spoils of privatization. The military budget may be just a symptom of how bad it is.
I concur with your post. When the landing comes, it will not be easy. This sistem has major flaws inherently dangerous to itself so if USA wants to extricate from it, the country needs an emergency landing now and it’s people must braze for the worse.
A soft landing for USAmericans may be improbable, but turn your attention for a moment to the implications for non-Americans, perennially scape-goated, whose lives and well-being matter only to the extent that the American 0.1% can cash in on them. What are our chances, given that the first refuge of US deep state, when threatened, is to trump up a war, with which to distract those of you who give them power?
The other day, the FBI director announced that *Chinese Society* was a huge danger. Not just the Chinese government, but the whole of Chinese society. So that’s one scapegoat.
Absolutely right. At this stage – and for the past 50 years or so – the empire is the only thing preventing an extremely hard and painful landing.
Without the worldwide military bullying, other nations would stop using the dollar. As soon as that happens, the excess trillions “printed” by the Fed will have nowhere to circulate but the USA. Instant hyperinflation!
Don’t worry. The 0.01% have got their bolt holes in New Zealand ready.
That is a possibility. If it happened more slowly we would be able to put people back to work, making things for the rest of the World and running a large trade surplus. We have forgotten how to do a lot of this, but could build it up again. You are also downplaying the role of technology. Technology has progressed very rapidly. I read a story where a Chinese manufacturer and a robotics company in CA are planning a factory that will produce a simple shirt for $0.33 … in the United States.
The real danger is thermonuclear War … all the focus should be on that. That is something from which we would not recover.
Is it a dysfunctional empire or is it the Law of Diminishing Returns as argued by archaeologist Joseph Tainter in his book, The Collapse of Complex Societies? Tainter points out that there is evidence that virtually every complex society in (pre)history has succumbed to this phenomenon over time as society attempts to solve the large variety of problems inherent in such a complex organization. As society enlarges and encounters more and more problems, complexity increases requiring greater and greater amounts of energy and material resources. Eventually, the ‘costs’ outrun the ‘benefits’ (primarily due to the human proclivity to use the easiest and cheapest solutions first, leaving later ‘solutions’ that are more costly and difficult–think conventional oil wells with an energy return of about 100 barrels to every single barrel invested compared to the much smaller return of perhaps 5-10 barrels on deep-sea and shale drilling). Economic growth suddenly stalls and/or contracts leading to a host of social and economic crises that usually end with sociocultural ‘collapse’.
Imperial ambitions just expedite this entire process…
“The fundamental problem with the military budget is the underlying assumption that the United States can and should police the entire world…”
‘Police’ is the wrong verb. ‘Control’ is more appropriate.
Cynics often argue that the true role of the police in most states is to protect the rich and their property from the poor and dispossessed.
From that point of view, “policed” is exactly the right word.
“Another reason to be proud, this being a citizen! For the poor it consists in sustaining and preserving the wealthy in their power and their laziness. The poor must work for this, in presence of the majestic quality of the law which prohibits the wealthy as well as the poor from sleeping under the bridges, from begging in the streets, and from stealing bread.”
— Anatole France
Jonathan Marshall quotes Adam Mount: “Top defense officials have stated frankly that the Pentagon does not have a plan to pay” for the nuke program. OR perhaps they do. Social Security is reneged upon and food stamps are questioned in the current climate. The deficit that we the people had nothing to do with is a fake priority used as an excuse to cancel the useless eaters. In case you haven’t noticed, Soylent is sold at your local 7-Eleven.
It’s like our society is cannibalizing itself.
Yes. Tax-paying citizens, the working classes (as opposed to the investor class) are expected to “pay for” the tax bill giveaway to millionaires, billionaires and profitable corporations. 83% of the federal tax change goes to the 1%.
And Trump’s 2019 budget just released, would slash more than $1.8 trillion from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Not to mention eliminate the ACA plans of millions.
When does the .01 and 1% “pay for” their breaks, subsidies, and handouts which we are being forced to provide to them?
When does the Pentagon have to show some accountability for the trillions that they can’t even find, let alone the $$$ they’ve squandered on no-bid “contractors” and other such bullshit?
Let’s ask “our” representatives, and see what kind of answer we get…..
Why have a plan geeyp, when the Pentagon knows full well of how our congress and president will move rivers, mountains, and valleys, as to smash any other expenditures it can to accommodate any wish the Pentagon may demand, as for our government is always there to be so obliging for when it comes to spending our taxpayer money on weapons, and more death. Joe
Can someone explain to me how the Social Security program, paid for by me and most of all American workers, can be ‘cut’? I thought the program was independent of the operating budget. Is this notion wrong?
Concerning the so-called SS deficit, a conservative commentator on Left, Right, and Center exclaimed that raising the ceiling would be an “enormous tax increase” on the wealthy. How is this a bad idea?
Tom, I was thinking about the verbs I might use when I read your comment. I like it…”police” is exactly the right word. But I would change “protect the rich and their property from the poor and dispossessed” to “enhance the rich and their property and keep the many poor and dispossessed.”
Jeff Halper calls it securocratic warfare. Of course, pacification – keeping the people in their place – will be given the euphemism ‘security’ by our fascist leaders. (US police and military go everywhere and train other police and military, indoctrinating them in anti-communist ideology and pro Western values, cultivating the connections that will be utilized when those foreign military and police are called up to rise up against their “dictator” and do Washington’s bidding in bring “stability” to yet another targetted country.) And we know what ‘stability’ means. I call their idea of security ‘sickurity’.
Jeff Halper’s well-researched book “War Against the People -Israel, Palestinians and global pacification” Pluto Press 2015 is well worth having and reading. The USA miltary and police have learnt agreat deal from Isrel’s success in arming and helping surveillance in most of the world’s nations.
Agreed. Have it. Read it. However, he gets Rwanda wrong. Still worth having. It’s ridiculous how much the man knows about Israeli weapons systems.
Israelis will sometimes tell you that they are imitating the US and it’s successful elimination of the Native Amercans.
Don’t forget ‘exploit’.
why is it different from police to control. the cops here in the US control us . they are control freaks and micro manage us
Rule the world.