MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘National Defense Authorization Act’

Lawmakers’ Military Earmarks Are Exploding Like Fireworks | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on July 6, 2020

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/lawmaker-military-earmarks-are-exploding-like-fireworks/

Thought these congressional goodies were banned? Wait until you see the latest National Defense Authorization Act.

It’s that time of year again, when lawmakers, Pentagon officials, and observers on the sidelines quibble over what should—and should not—be in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Two weeks after the Senate Armed Services Committee advanced their version of the 2021 NDAA, the House Armed Services Committee advanced their own NDAA. Passions have been high and policymakers have tried inserting everything from base naming requirements and stricter “Buy American” provisions to (much-needed) transparency changes.

But regardless of how the House and Senate reconcile their respective NDAA versions, there’s the lingering inevitability of hundreds of earmarks worth billions of dollars being added as the legislation moves from authorization to appropriation. Typically, the earmarks range from $100,000 for research projects to billions of dollars for unrequested weapons systems. If lawmakers are serious about fixing waste, fraud, and abuse at the Department of Defense (DoD), they’ll need to keep earmarks out of the budget. It won’t be easy for Congress, but taxpayers deserve better than pet projects and endless deficits and debt.

When the media reports DoD spending figures, it’s tempting for them to focus on the topline numbers such as the fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget of $738 billion, which amounts to nearly $6,000 for each American household. Annual DoD spending has increased roughly $200 billion over the past five years, and easily matches (or exceeds) what the U.S. was spending on Defense during the Iraq War 10-15 years ago. But in the grand scheme of things, the media often neglects the disturbing trend of Congress lavishing earmarks onto the Pentagon that were never requested by DoD. Last year, for example, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance found the FY 2020 Defense bill contained an astounding 785 earmarks totaling $16.1 billion(click here for the full list).

Unsurprisingly, the top two slots on the list were taken by the F-35 program, which has an estimated lifetime cost of $1.5 trillion. Despite well-documented dysfunctions with the F-35, lawmakers threw an extra $2 billion in taxpayer money toward the ailing program. For example, the fighter jet’s sea search mode is only capable of examining a small sliver of sea surface while pilots have been complaining about barotrauma and sinus pains while onboard.

Even the supply chain for procuring parts is out-of-whack. The Government Accountability Office notes, “to keep aircraft flying despite parts shortages, from May through November 2018 F-35 squadrons cannibalized (that is, took) parts from other aircraft at rates that were more than six times greater than the services’ objective…personnel at F-35 squadrons are pulling parts off of other aircraft that are already unable to fly instead of waiting for new parts to be delivered through the supply chain.”

Despite these well-documented problems, lawmakers are all-but-certain to request more for the program than Pentagon officials say they will need.

And if the past is any guide, the volume of earmarks will continue to increase. FY 2020’s total of 785 earmarks represented a 15.6 increase from FY 2019’s total of 679 earmarks. This doesn’t seem possible, since there’s supposedly been a ban in place on earmarks since 2011. But lawmakers have ignored the ban and just gotten sneakier, cobbling vague language into bills that doesn’t (strictly speaking) benefit their districts.

But when situations arise such as Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) securing hundreds of millions of dollars for body armor production, taxpayers can’t help but wonder if the funding serves the country, 3M (which is based in Saint Paul, Minnesota), or Rep. McCollum’s reelection bid.  Body armor is undoubtedly important, but a competitive grants process (not earmarks) would be the best way to ensure money is spent wisely.

Clearly, a ban on earmarks hasn’t been enough to deter the self-serving behavior that sows mistrust of Washington, D.C. So, it’s up to lawmakers, taxpayers, and advocacy organizations to call out this behavior and hold members of Congress accountable for wasteful spending. And with the 2020 federal deficit approaching $4 trillion, it’s more important than ever to end these shenanigans. Policymakers shouldn’t let all the intrigue on Capitol Hill get in the way of discipline and accountability.

Ross Marchand is the Vice President of Policy for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. 

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Afghanistan Papers Prove US Gov Blew $3 Trillion, Lied About It

Posted by M. C. on December 26, 2019

A mere 22 hours after the release of this document, the new National Defense Authorization Act that breezed through the House and Senate was signed by the President. That bill authorized $738 billion in military spending for 2020, actually increasing the budget by $22 billion over previous years.

https://www.theorganicprepper.com/afghanistan-papers-3-trillion-congress-ndaa/

by Daisy Luther

It’s rare that I read something on the Washington Post that I don’t find highly biased, even repugnant. But with their recent article on the Afghanistan Papers, they truly knocked the ball out of the park.

The facts they shared should have every American protesting in the streets. Trillions of dollars have been spent on a war that the Pentagon knew was unwinnable all along. More than 2300 American soldiers died there and more than 20,000 have been injured. More than 150,000 Afghanis were killed, many of them civilians, including women and children.

And they lied to us constantly.

Congress just proved that the truth doesn’t matter, though. A mere 22 hours after the release of this document, the new National Defense Authorization Act that breezed through the House and Senate was signed by the President. That bill authorized $738 billion in military spending for 2020, actually increasing the budget by $22 billion over previous years.

So, how is your representation in Washington, DC working out for you?

What are the Afghanistan Papers?

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RT May Soon Be Dropped by US Providers, Courtesy of McCain & Graham

Posted by M. C. on September 24, 2017

Only officially approved versions of the truth will be accepted.

It is pretty much that way already with lamestream/NPR media.

The scum brothers McCain and Graham – No surprise there.

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/rt-may-soon-be-dropped-us-providers-courtesy-mccain-graham/ri21012

Buried deep inside the just-passed defense budget is a small amendment, which could lead to a ban on broadcasting RT in America. The architects of the provision, Senators Graham and McCain, may recall that in their youth such practices formed what was known as the ‘Iron Curtain’. Read the rest of this entry »

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Space Cadets and Sex Changes: Our “Defense” Budget Is a Bad Joke

Posted by M. C. on July 17, 2017

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/07/16/space-cadets-sex-changes-defense-budget-bad-joke/

The sole objection the Democrats had to this budget-busting bill was that military spending did not achieve “parity” with domestic spending: with 60 votes required in the Senate to abrogate sequestration caps, the Democrats are using their leverage not to reduce military spending, but to increase domestic spending. As Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, put it:

“[T]o simply gut the nondefense discretionary budget, to plus-up defense does not make this country safer. I care enough about national security that I would raise taxes to pay for it.” 

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Don’t Act “Suspicious” When The Drones Start Flying Over your House

Posted by M. C. on August 25, 2012

I was just reading again today about 18 “suspected” militants killed in a drone attack.  All drone victims are now described as “suspected”.  Can you imagine reading “Joe Smith, suspected criminal, was executed today”.   That is real life in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Government Sponsored Terrorism, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Clash of Political Positions

Posted by M. C. on January 22, 2012

Robert Cogan’s Clash of Political Positions in the current Erie Reader got me to thinking about political tags from a Libertarian viewpoint. Mr. Cogan presents an enlightening comparison of political philosophies, primarily liberal, progressive, conservative and Libertarian. He describes many characteristics of each breed that I agree with. There are many unfortunate similarities also. These groups are not at all what they pretend to be. There are few real conservatives for example, at least not in the paleo-conservative Robert Taft tradition. Read the rest of this entry »

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We should recall anyone who Voted for the National Defense Authorization Act

Posted by M. C. on January 2, 2012

Below is my latest letter sent to the Erie Times News-I would surely like to see a recall movement in PA.

The Patriot Act has essentially repealed the 4th Amendment.  Now the Fifth Amendment which says we cannot incriminate ourselves, cannot be held without being charged or cannot be denied legal representation and that we have a guarantee of a speedy trial is toast.  This is due to the National Defense Authorization Act, sponsored by Senators McCain and Levin who never saw a war they did not like.  Read the rest of this entry »

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