MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘NDAA’

Conservative Outrage Over the Possible Drafting of Women Obscures the Real Issue – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on September 15, 2021

Conscription is abhorrent to a free society. As Senator Paul’s father—former congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul—has well said: “A government that is willing to enslave some of its people can never be trusted to protect the liberties of its own citizens.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/09/laurence-m-vance/conservative-outrage-over-the-possible-drafting-of-women-obscures-the-real-issue/

By Laurence M. Vance

Earlier this year I asked the question: Will women have to register for the draft in 2021? That day may soon be coming.

Although the draft ended in 1973, the federal government continued to prosecute “draft dodgers” even after the Vietnam War ended. In 1975, President Gerald Ford eliminated the requirement that 18 to 25 year-old male citizens register with the Selective Service System.

During his campaign for president in 1976, Jimmy Carter promised to pardon those who evaded the draft. On January 21, 1977, President Carter made good on his promise and granted an unconditional pardon to hundreds of thousands of young men who dodged the draft during the Vietnam War. Yet, in 1980, Carter reinstated the requirement that men must register with the Selective Service System.

In its final report, issued in 2020, the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service (NCMNPS) recommended that Congress amend the Military Selective Service Act to require that young women, like young men, register for the draft when they reach 18 years of age.

Back in July, the Senate Armed Services Committee, with 5 Republican no votes, approved an amendment to the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to require “all Americans” (not just men) to register with the Selective Service System. The final approval of the NDAA was by a vote of 23-3.

Now, the House Armed Services Committee, which contains 31 Democrats and 28 Republicans, has voted 35-24 on an amendment to the NDAA (5 Republicans voted with the Democrats: Jack Bergman, Liz Cheney, Pat Fallon, Scott Franklin, Mike Waltz) to include women as well. The NDAA then cleared the committee in a 57-2 vote.

Texas Republican Chip Roy blasted both parties for the recent committee vote, and tweeted that its supporters can “go straight to hell.” Roy said that he would rather see the draft abolished than see women forced to participate: “Abolish the draft if you want. But under no circumstances will you draft our wives and daughters. Total, complete, bullshit.”

Many other conservatives share his outrage. But conservative outrage over the possible drafting of women obscures the real issue.

There is one thing, and only one thing, that the draft is good for: giving governments a supply of cannon fodder to fight unjust wars.

Waging war in the actual defense of ones country, home, property, and family does not require conscription. If the United States were actually attacked; that is, if foreign soldiers actually landed on east or west coast beaches or crossed the northern or southern borders, the government wouldn’t have to conscript anyone. Americans would get their guns and flock to the coasts or borders and start shooting before the government or the military did anything.

Conscription is a form of slavery, regardless of what the Supreme Court says. No young man or woman should ever be drafted.

If young men and women want to enlist in the military, travel the world, meet interesting people, and then bomb, maim, and kill them for Uncle Sam, that is bad enough. But the government should never force any American to do so.

A heroic group of just 4 Democratic and Republican senators and representatives, including Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), has sent a letter to House Armed Services leaders calling for an end to the Selective Service System because it is “expensive, wasteful, outdated, punitive, and unnecessary.” The small group of lawmakers also recently introduced the Selective Service Repeal Act. That is 4 out of 525 members of Congress.

Conscription is abhorrent to a free society. As Senator Paul’s father—former congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul—has well said: “A government that is willing to enslave some of its people can never be trusted to protect the liberties of its own citizens.”

Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from central Florida. He is the author of The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom; War, Christianity, and the State: Essays on the Follies of Christian Militarism; War, Empire, and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy; King James, His Bible, and Its Translators, and many other books. His newest books are Free Trade or Protectionism? and The Free Society.

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

‘Go straight to hell’: Texas Republican blasts BOTH parties after amendment to DRAFT WOMEN is adopted

Posted by M. C. on September 7, 2021

https://www.rt.com/usa/533799-draft-daughters-congress-ndaa/

While Democrats and some Republicans celebrated the “historic” inclusion of women in the US military draft, Congressman Chip Roy (R-Texas) went on a rant against both parties for this – and other policies over the years.

The Selective Service system currently requires men aged 18-25 to register for the draft. An amendment that would extend this to women as well was adopted in a 35-24 vote by the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, as part of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the bill funding the military. 

🎙️ WATCH: Last night, I advanced my historic, bipartisan amendment to include women in the selective service.Grateful for Rep. @michaelgwaltz (R-FL) and all members of the House Armed Services Committee who helped pass this measure 35-24. #NDAApic.twitter.com/6Fr9o9O54N— Chrissy Houlahan (@RepHoulahan) September 2, 2021

The Committee has 31 Democrats and 28 Republicans, meaning four members of the opposition crossed the aisle and backed the “historic” amendment to the NDAA. The Senate already approved the proposal in July, also with some GOP members joining the Democrats.

Roy, a former Senate staffer who was first elected to the House in 2019, fired off a nine-tweet tirade telling both parties to “go straight to hell.” 

“I do not trust you to do anything at all, much less say you will draft my daughter to ‘non combat’ roles,” he tweeted, before offering some examples.

Message to Republicans & Democrats – including @HouseGOP & @SenateGOP colleagues. I do not trust you to do anything at all, much less say you will draft my daughter to “non combat” roles. Why don’t I trust you? Let’s see – THREAD: (1/9) #DontDraftOurDaughters— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) September 2, 2021

Among his list of reprobates were people who amassed $30 trillion in national debt while giving lip service to balanced budgets, did nothing to secure the border except talk “in the false name of compassion,” politicized the coronavirus pandemic and the vaccines and treatments for it, and destroyed our healthcare system” in the “false name of coverage.” 

Roy also lashed out at people who had the US at war for 20 years only for “a gutless President to surrender and empower our enemies,” referring to the recent exit from Afghanistan. He also called out those who empowered “education bureaucrats” to teach children that America is evil and racist, and destroyed US energy independence “to appease institutional investors and the Acela corridor cocktail circuit.”

“Now you… want to draft my daughter and just ‘trust you’ not to put them into combat? All of DC – all of it – can go straight to hell,” he concluded.

Roy’s tirade came as the NDAA cleared the committee in a 57-2 vote, in a late-night session that stretched into Thursday morning. The House markup gives the Pentagon $23.9 billion more in funding than the White House budget request, even after President Joe Biden ended the war in Afghanistan – and the commitment to fund the Afghan government and military forces, which had surrendered to the Taliban in mid-August.

Both the amendment and Roy’s frustrated tweets went largely unnoticed by the major media outlets, which were focused on Thursday on the abortion restrictions that went into effect in Texas.

While the US abolished the military draft after the Vietnam War, the Selective Service registration requirement was only briefly lifted by President Gerald Ford in 1975. His successor Jimmy Carter reinstated it in 1980, citing the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. When the Obama administration ordered the military to allow women to take part in combat roles in 2013, the National Coalition for Men sued to declare the registration requirement as unconstitutional on the basis of sex.

The case made it all the way to the US Supreme Court, which ruled in June that the law was indeed sexist as written, but that Congress was considering updating it – which is precisely what happened. 

Ironically, the Democrats – and Republicans that joined them – have ended up enacting precisely what a meme campaign during the 2016 election accused Hillary Clinton of championing. Back then, sympathizers of Republican candidate Donald Trump argued Clinton would ‘Draft Our Daughters’ to fight Russia, and spread memes about it all over social media. 

Draft our Daughters. #3WordMotivationalSpeechpic.twitter.com/6nletx4KTU— Holtz (@Biorealism) November 3, 2016

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

States must take the lead to get U.S. out of pointless and endless wars

Posted by M. C. on December 22, 2020

With America’s armed forces soon to fall under the control of a Congress that will, in all likelihood, do everything they can to keep our troops overseas, it’s time for the states to step up. This is why I will soon be filing the Defend the Guard Act in South Carolina, a bill that would allow the governor to withhold national guard troops from being brought under federal control.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/dec/14/states-must-take-the-lead-to-get-us-out-of-pointle/

By Stewart Jones

While President Trump was negotiating yet another peace agreement this week — this time between Israel and Morocco — his enemies beat the drums of war in their ongoing effort to overthrow the America First foreign policy.

It’s sad that throughout the entirety of Mr. Trump’s presidency, the swamp has worked around the clock to dismantle his efforts toward peace. Even worse, with the passage of the disastrous, $740.5 billion 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), it appears the neocons and pro-war left will soon regain the levers of federal power, plunging America into another four years of stupid, pointless, endless wars abroad.

With America’s armed forces soon to fall under the control of a Congress that will, in all likelihood, do everything they can to keep our troops overseas, it’s time for the states to step up. This is why I will soon be filing the Defend the Guard Act in South Carolina, a bill that would allow the governor to withhold national guard troops from being brought under federal control.

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, was one of the precious few voices of reason in the congressional vote on the NDAA. In his speech before the Senate, he said, “They believe that a president has the power to go to war anywhere anytime, but when a president tries to remove troops, they say ‘Oh no no. What we really want are 535 generals in Congress to tell him he can’t leave a war.’” Rep. Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican, also took to Twitter to criticize the bill, writing, “This NDAA bill contains specific language to make it harder for the president to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.”

But heroes of liberty like Mr. Paul and Mr. Massie cannot fight this issue alone. Without reinforcements from elected officials across the board and a powerful grassroots movement to end America’s military expeditionalism, our efforts will never amount to anything beyond empty rhetoric.



In 1950, my grandfather was drafted into the Korean conflict. I grew up hearing stories of courage and sacrifice. The problem with American involvement in Korea was that it didn’t follow a declaration of war, but a U.N. decision to get the U.S. to intervene.

Undeclared war — something with which our country has become painfully familiar over the last half-century — plunges our country into foreign quagmires based on the whims of politicians, rather than American interests.

In Article I of the United States Constitution, Congress is given the authority to declare war; history shows that this check on war is critical to the survival of our republic. The Founders repeatedly warned of the dangers of excessive foreign intervention, having studied the fall of countless republics into entangled empires. 

In Thomas Jefferson’s 1801 address to Congress, he said that the key to preserving our republic was “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.” In 1795, James Madison said that “of all enemies to public liberty war, is perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.” Mr. Trump has tried to follow this advice and our country has seen the benefits of peace and commerce in recent years.

The pressure needed to apply to Washington if we are to see this objective through will not generate itself; it will have to emanate from leaders from across the country who are sick of seeing brave American service men and women shipped overseas with no objective, no plan, and no exit strategy. As I file the Defend the Guard Act in South Carolina, I call on state legislators elsewhere to do the same in their legislatures.

• Stewart Jones is a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How State Legislators Can End Our Endless Wars | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on December 16, 2020

Can you see this happening in today’s Pennsylvania?

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/how-state-legislators-can-end-our-endless-wars/

by Stewart Jones

While President Trump was negotiating yet another peace agreement this week — this time between Israel and Morocco — his enemies beat the drums of war in their ongoing effort to overthrow the America First foreign policy.

It’s sad that throughout the entirety of Mr. Trump’s presidency, the swamp has worked around the clock to dismantle his efforts toward peace. Even worse, with the passage of the disastrous, $740.5 billion 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), it appears the neocons and pro-war left will soon regain the levers of federal power, plunging America into another four years of stupid, pointless, endless wars abroad.

With America’s armed forces soon to fall under the control of a Congress that will, in all likelihood, do everything they can to keep our troops overseas, it’s time for the states to step up. This is why I will soon be filing the Defend the Guard Act in South Carolina, a bill that would allow the governor to withhold national guard troops from being brought under federal control.

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, was one of the precious few voices of reason in the congressional vote on the NDAA. In his speech before the Senate, he said, “They believe that a president has the power to go to war anywhere anytime, but when a president tries to remove troops, they say ‘Oh no no. What we really want are 535 generals in Congress to tell him he can’t leave a war.’” Rep. Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican, also took to Twitter to criticize the bill, writing, “This NDAA bill contains specific language to make it harder for the president to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.”

But heroes of liberty like Mr. Paul and Mr. Massie cannot fight this issue alone. Without reinforcements from elected officials across the board and a powerful grassroots movement to end America’s military expeditionalism, our efforts will never amount to anything beyond empty rhetoric.

You can read the rest of this article at The Washington Times.

About Stewart Jones

Stewart Jones is a lifelong resident of Laurens County and a proud 8th generation South Carolinian. He currently serves as Chairman of the Lakelands Republican Liberty Caucus as well as an elected State Republican Liberty Caucus Board Member.

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Congress Again Proves that the Business of Washington is War

Posted by M. C. on December 15, 2020

As the first African-American to take charge of the Pentagon, the Austin pick is celebrated as a great victory for “diversity.” However, if we move beyond the color of a person’s skin, Biden’s selection is not all that diverse. Gen. Austin was head of the US Central Command under an Obama Administration that launched a brutal war on Libya under false pretenses and pursued a regime-change policy in Syria that involved arming and training jihadists. Upon retirement, as is all too common with military leaders, he cashed in on his service with a position on the board of military contractor Raytheon.

Austin will be “business as usual” for Washington’s warmongers and the military contractors who make a fortune inventing endless conflicts overseas.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/december/14/congress-again-proves-that-the-business-of-washington-is-war/

Written by Ron Paul

Libertarian educator Tom Woods famously quipped that “no matter who you vote for you end up with John McCain.” Unfortunately Woods was proven right for about the thousandth time this past week, as Washington again showed us that it is all about war.

First, we learned that if Joe Biden ends up in the White House next month he intends to put a deep state member of the military-industrial complex in charge of the Pentagon. General Lloyd Austin will be only the second Defense Secretary in decades to require a special Senate waiver to serve in that position. Gen. James Mattis under President Trump also needed a waiver, as he had been out of the military less than the required seven years before becoming Defense Secretary.

But the revolving door between active military service and civilian leadership of the Pentagon is perhaps less troubling than the revolving door between the military-industrial complex and leadership of the Defense Department.

As the first African-American to take charge of the Pentagon, the Austin pick is celebrated as a great victory for “diversity.” However, if we move beyond the color of a person’s skin, Biden’s selection is not all that diverse. Gen. Austin was head of the US Central Command under an Obama Administration that launched a brutal war on Libya under false pretenses and pursued a regime-change policy in Syria that involved arming and training jihadists. Upon retirement, as is all too common with military leaders, he cashed in on his service with a position on the board of military contractor Raytheon.

Austin will be “business as usual” for Washington’s warmongers and the military contractors who make a fortune inventing endless conflicts overseas.

Then things went from bad to worse, as the yearly monstrosity called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was passed with an amendment severely restricting the US president’s ability to remove troops from Afghanistan and Europe. Offered by neoconservative Congresswoman Liz Cheney, daughter of the warmongering Dick Cheney, the amendment all but guarantees that America’s longest war in history will continue pointlessly onward.

A coalition of warmongering Democrats and Republicans have been furious with President Trump for his last minute effort to draw troops down from Afghanistan and elsewhere, and they appear to have a veto-proof majority to tie the president’s hands.

Congress has for decades believed that the president can go to war whenever or wherever he pleases without a declaration, but if the president dares attempt to end a war their belief in a “unitary executive” is thrown out the window. What hypocrisy.

The Constitution is clear that the president is the commander in chief of the military and as such should have the authority to move troops as he sees fit. The Founders understood that 535 Members of Congress trying to micromanage troops on the battlefield is not a good idea.

Congress has it backward. It should be very difficult for a president to take the country to war and easy for that war to be ended.

Time after time, the “peace” candidate usually wins the election. But no matter how sick the American people are of endless war, the war machine finds a way to keep chugging along. What will it take to return to a policy of peace and prosperity?


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
Please donate to the Ron Paul Institute

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

NDAA Seeks To Halt Trump’s Troop Withdrawals From Afghanistan & Germany | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on December 5, 2020

Now you know why the REAL reason Republican war party, CIA, FIB etc turned against Trump.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/ndaa-seeks-halt-trumps-troop-withdrawals-afghanistan-germany

Profile picture for user Tyler Durden

by Tyler Durden Fri, 12/04/2020 – 23:00 TwitterFacebookRedditEmailPrint

Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com,

The version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) agreed to by the House and Senate, known as the compromise version, includes provisions to block President Trump’s planned troop withdrawals in both Afghanistan and Germany.

For Afghanistan, there is language in the bill that would block funding to reduce troop numbers in the country before the Pentagon, State Department, and the director of national intelligence assess how the drawdown would affect US security. The assessment would be required before troop numbers could drop lower than they are when the NDAA becomes law, and again if they drop below 2,000.

Via Zuma Press/Xinhua

President Trump’s current plan is to bring troop numbers in Afghanistan down to 2,500 by January 15th. The US-Taliban peace deal signed in February paved the way for all US and other foreign forces to be out of the country by Spring 2021.

Another troop drawdown President Trump’s Pentagon is planning is a reduction of forces in Germany from about 36,000 troops to 24,000. Congressional aides told The Hill that the compromise version of the NDAA includes language that would block the drawdown.

“There is language that prevents reduction in the number of US forces stationed in Germany below 34,500 until 120 days after the secretary of Defense submits an assessment and planning regarding the implications for allies, costs, military families, deterrence and other key issues,” one of the aides said.

The provisions to block Trump’s withdrawals could add to the controversy that is already surrounding the NDAA. On Tuesday, President Trump said he would veto the spending bill if it did not include an amendment to repeal Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

Section 230 gives tech platforms immunity from liability for content published by third parties. Trump doubled down on his call to include the provision in a tweet on Thursday after some Republican senators voiced their objection to the idea.

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Defund the Pentagon – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on August 13, 2020

Economist Robert Higgs has showed that “the total amount of all defense-related spending greatly exceeds the amount budgeted for the Department of Defense.” He calculated — ten years ago — that real defense spending was more than a trillion dollars a year. It is certainly not a penny less now.”

https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/defund-the-police/

by

Many liberals and progressives in the Democratic Party have been loudly calling for the defunding of police departments around the country after the tragic death of a black man, George Floyd, at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer. While defunding the police — not to be confused with disbanding the police — means different things to different people, most advocates propose redirecting a portion of city and county police budgets to social programs, mental health intervention, combating homelessness, and affordable housing programs.

Conservatives and Republicans have generally pushed back against calls to defund the police. They typically maintain that the level of police misconduct is overstated, that police departments just need to be reformed, and that violent crime and property crime will increase if police department budgets are cut. In response to some major cities calling for defunding the police, Donald Trump simply said, “We won’t be defunding our police. We won’t be dismantling our police. We won’t be disbanding our police. We won’t be ending our police force.” Certainly the president knows that funding levels for police departments are decided on the local level without any input whatsoever from the federal government?

There is, however, one area of government spending that liberals, conservatives, Democrats, and Republicans are united on that they don’t want defunded. Even though it is one of the largest expenditures of the federal government and is unnecessary and destructive in so many ways, these groups from across the political spectrum don’t want to defund the military in any way. And of course, Trump has pushed for higher military budgets ever since he was elected.

The Democratic-controlled House (H.R.6395) and the Republican-controlled Senate (S.4049) each just passed their own version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2021 (Oct. 1, 2020–Sept. 30, 2021). The bipartisan votes in the House and Senate were 295 to 125, and 86 to 14.

According to the Congressional Research Service’s publication Defense Primer: Navigating the NDAA, “Unlike an appropriations bill, the NDAA does not provide budget authority for the Department of Defense (DOD). Instead, the NDAA establishes or continues defense programs, policies, projects, or activities at DOD and other federal agencies, and provides guidance on how the appropriated funds are to be used in carrying out those authorized activities.” Budget authority is provided in subsequent appropriations legislation.

The House and Senate bills authorize FY2021 appropriations and set forth “policies for Department of Defense (DOD) programs and activities, including military personnel strengths.”

Specifically, both bills authorize appropriations to the DOD for:

• Procurement, including aircraft, weapons and tracked combat vehicles, shipbuilding and conversion, and missiles
• Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation
• Operation and Maintenance
• Working Capital Funds
• Chemical Agents and Munitions Destruction
• Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities
• The Defense Inspector General
• The Defense Health Program
• The Armed Forces Retirement Home
• Overseas Contingency Operations;
• The Space Force
• Military Construction

Both bills also authorize personnel strengths for active duty and reserve forces and set forth policies regarding:

• Military personnel
• Acquisition policy and management
• International programs
• National Guard and Reserve Forces facilities
• Compensation and other personnel benefits
• Health care
• DOD organization and management
• Civilian personnel matters
• Matters relating to foreign nations
• Strategic programs, cyber, and intelligence matters

The bills also authorize appropriations for base realignment and closure activities and maritime matters, and authorize appropriations and set forth policies for Department of Energy national security programs, including the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

Both the House and Senate versions of the NDAA would fund defense for fiscal year 2021 at the obscene amount of $740.5 billion.

Politico recently ran two opinion pieces on defunding the Pentagon: the conservative case and the liberal case.

The conservative case was made by Andrew Lautz of the National Taxpayers Union and Jonathan Bydlak of the R Street Institute’s Fiscal and Budget Policy Project:

With resources more limited than ever, areas of the budget that were off-limits for years should now be more closely scrutinized. At the top of that list should be the single largest part of the federal discretionary budget, an entire category of spending that has long been off the table: the Pentagon.

Republicans in Congress need to start tackling the Pentagon budget just as boldly as they do other areas of discretionary spending. Doing so would put our nation on a better fiscal path and create opportunities for unlikely political alliances. Conservative figures like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and former Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) for years advocated restraint at the Pentagon; two of the most recent efforts to restrain the Pentagon’s budget in the coming year come from staunchly progressive members of Congress: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).

The liberal case for defunding the Pentagon was made by Senator Sanders. Addressing directly the NDAA, he said,

Under this legislation, over half of our discretionary budget would go to the Department of Defense at a time when tens of millions of Americans are food insecure and over a half-million Americans are sleeping out on the street.

Moreover, this extraordinary level of military spending comes at a time when the Department of Defense is the only agency of our federal government that has not been able to pass an independent audit, when defense contractors are making enormous profits while paying their CEOs outrageous compensation packages, and when the so-called War on Terror will cost some $6 trillion.

If the horrific pandemic we are now experiencing has taught us anything it is that national security means a lot more than building bombs, missiles, nuclear warheads and other weapons of mass destruction. National security also means doing everything we can to improve the lives of tens of millions of people living in desperation who have been abandoned by our government decade after decade.

Sanders introduced an amendment to the NDAA that would “reduce the military budget by 10 percent and use that $74 billion in savings to invest in communities that have been ravaged by extreme poverty, mass incarceration, decades of neglect, and the Covid-19 pandemic.” It didn’t pass.

Conservatives at the Heritage Foundation — who seem to have never seen a defense budget that was high enough — took notice of the Politico articles. Writing in “What the ‘Defunding the Pentagon’ Articles Don’t Tell You,” Thomas Spoehr, who “serves as director of Heritage’s Center for National Defense where he is responsible for supervising research on matters involving U.S. national defense,” says that “both pieces lack some information that would contribute to a richer, more informed discussion of this critically important topic.” His article’s three key takeaways are:

1. National defense now consumes the smallest portion of the U.S. federal budget in a hundred years — 15% — and continues to shrink.
2. Our defense responsibilities include security commitments to NATO, Japan, South Korea, international sea lanes, and other areas.
3. If the nation is going to effectively counter China, Russia, and others, continued military rebuilding following years of budget cuts is necessary.

It is no surprise that “prior to joining Heritage, Spoehr served for more than 36 years in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of Lieutenant General.”

Spoehr’s first point is a typical conservative smokescreen to justify higher defense budgets. By talking about the defense budget in terms of a percentage of something (GDP, the total federal budget, prior years, et cetera) instead of absolute numbers, conservatives can deflect attention from the obscene level of defense spending. And even worse, defense spending is actually much higher than the budgeted amount. Economist Robert Higgs has showed that “the total amount of all defense-related spending greatly exceeds the amount budgeted for the Department of Defense.” He calculated — ten years ago — that real defense spending was more than a trillion dollars a year. It is certainly not a penny less now.

Spoehr’s second point is certainly true. The concern that he never raises is “Why?” Why should the U.S. Department of Defense, funded by U.S. taxpayers, and charged with defending the United States, have “security commitments to NATO, Japan, South Korea, international sea lanes, and other areas”?

Spoehr’s third point assumes that the United States needs to counter “China, Russia, and others.” That is only because U.S. foreign policy is reckless, belligerent, and meddling instead of being a Jeffersonian foreign policy of neutrality, nonintervention, peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none. And it is simply not true that there have been years of defense budget cuts. All one has to do is look up the figures. Because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, defense spending rose from $470.55 billion in 2001 to the obscene level of $849.87 billion in 2010. It declined in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014; basically stayed level in 2015, 2016, and 2017; and then rose in 2018 and 2019.

Because the Department of Defense functions as the Department of Offense, it is the Pentagon that needs to be defunded.

Laurence M. Vance is a columnist and policy advisor for the Future of Freedom Foundation, an associated scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and a columnist, blogger, and book reviewer at LewRockwell.com. He is the author of Gun Control and the Second Amendment, The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom, and War, Empire and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy. His newest books are Free Trade or Protectionism? and The Free Society. Visit his website: www.vancepublications.com. Send him e-mail.

Be seeing you

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Trump’s Point of No Return – Gold Goats ‘n Guns

Posted by M. C. on January 5, 2020

Like it or not Trump executed the man most responsible for the systemic destruction of ISIS and neutering of Al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq. He’s also a man, over the years, who has fought the U.S. to a standstill across the Middle East.

Those were his pertinent crimes.

Israel has been itching for the U.S. to attack and destroy Iran’s nuclear R&D facilities. The only way to achieve that was to get Trump to pull out of the JCPOA, forcing Iran back into enrichment and then using that as the casus belli.

https://tomluongo.me/2020/01/03/trump-point-of-no-return/

When I wrote that the coup against President Trump had morphed into a Civil War, I wasn’t kidding. The sham impeachment created the perfect environment for the Democrats and Republicans to get something definitive from him by playing the House and the Senate off each other.

With the Senate Neocon Occupied Territory the escalation of belligerence since Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed through the impeachment vote has been serious.

First, there was the rider to the NDAA which upped the sanctions on everyone willing to work on Nordstream 2. Then Lindsey Graham pushed the frankly insane DASKA bill through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Pelosi forced her impeachment vote through the House on partisan lines. Then, clearly overstepping her authority, she refused to send the Articles to the Senate hoping to add a more serious charge, like Obstruction of Justice or Treason for laundering Russian money through Deutsche Bank.

It is under these circumstances we should view the events in Iraq over the last week, especially the killing of IRGC Quds Forces Commander Qassem Solemaini.

Because I’ve warned from the beginning of this impeachment, Trump was just 17 votes in the Senate away from conviction. And failure on his part to respond to an attack on our troops now or our soil, the embassy in Baghdad, would have been enough to turn that many against him and install Mike Pence.

At the end of the day we are held captive by a minority of power-mad Trotskyites without any capacity for forgiveness or humility. They believe in societal order through the whip and the sword.

Truly Maoist in their thinking, the only political power that exists comes from the barrel of a gun. This is why there has been zero opportunities for diplomacy with Iran.

Iran is to be destroyed. If not today, tomorrow. If not then then the day after. It will not end…

This is the most dangerous escalation of Trump’s administration. Nothing he’s done to this point compares with killing Solemaini and taking immediate credit for it.

Nothing he’s done is more tone deaf or disproportionate to whatever crimes were the proximate cause. And nothing he could have done would be more galvanizing of resistance to U.S. occupation of Iraq and Syria…

A strong man admits his mistakes and makes concessions to those he’s harmed. He doesn’t hide behind how unfair it is the political machine is arrayed against him.

And, now, he’s a failed president no different than Obama who he despises.

The only thing more pathetic than Trump right now is the gaggle of jackals running against him. Weep for the future.

Be seeing you

Why Iran Is One of the Most Exciting Architecture ...

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

While You Were Obsessing Over Impeachment

Posted by M. C. on January 4, 2020

The political class, including the mainstream media, would prefer you pay attention to the fluff, not to the things that really matter. Perhaps instead of obsessing over impeachment or the latest debate over a Trump tweet, you would be better served to pay attention to what they don’t want you to pay attention to.

https://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2019/12/20/while-you-were-obsessing-over-impeachment/

…While you argued over the gory details of impeachment with your friends on Facebook, Congress passed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. The nearly 3,500-page bill authorizes $738 billion in defense spending in Fiscal Year 2020. It creates a “Space Force,” so the U.S. can expand its empire into the cosmos. And Congress rejected a provision that would have made it just slightly harder for the president to unilaterally send American troops into combat. In other words, Congress agreed that it would not bother to do its job and declare war before sending the U.S. military to conduct offensive combat operations as required by the Constitution. It will continue to let the president make that call on his own. You know – the president the House just impeached.

Even worse, the current iteration of the NDAA extended provisions written into the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that effectively authorize government kidnapping. The vaguely worded sections purport to authorize the arrest and “indefinite detention” of anybody the president decides might be associated with “terrorism” and subject them to the law of war. In effect, the government can deem you a terrorist and lock you away without due process. Government kidnapping may sound like hyperbole, but that’s exactly what the NDAA authorizes in effect.

Speaking of war, while all eyes were glued to the three-ring circus in D.C., the Washington Post released documents revealing that the U.S. government has been lying to us about the war in Afghanistan for decades.

“A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.”

As one three-star general put it, “What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking. If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction .?.?. 2,400 lives lost.”

This seems, maybe, just a tiny bit, significant. But the news barely saw the light of day. It was completely buried under an avalanche of impeachment reporting…

So, let’s review. While America was mesmerized by the pro-wrestling event on Capitol Hill, Congress agreed to maintain the government’s “authority” to kidnap you, to keep spying on you without a warrant, to continue unconstitutional wars, and to spend you deeper into debt.

Political theater makes for splashy headlines and heated debates, but it really has very little impact on your life. The political class, including the mainstream media, would prefer you pay attention to the fluff, not to the things that really matter. Perhaps instead of obsessing over impeachment or the latest debate over a Trump tweet, you would be better served to pay attention to what they don’t want you to pay attention to.

Be seeing you

sheeple

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

An End to the World as We Know It?, by Philip Giraldi – The Unz Review

Posted by M. C. on December 26, 2019

Congress and the White House compete in year-end stupidity sweepstakes.

The U.S., to be sure, has been adept at turning adversaries into enemies and disappointing friends, and it is all done with a glib assurance that doing so will somehow bring democracy and freedom to all.

https://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/an-end-to-the-world-as-we-know-it/

At the end of the nineteenth century, Lord Palmerston stated what he thought was obvious, that “England has no eternal friends, England has no perpetual enemies, England has only eternal and perpetual interests.” Palmerston was saying that national interests should drive the relationships with foreigners. A nation will have amicable relations most of the time with some countries and difficult relations with some others, but the bottom line should always be what is beneficial for one’s own country and people.

If Palmerston were alive today and observing the relationship of the United States of America with the rest of the world, he might well find Washington to be an exception to his rule. The U.S., to be sure, has been adept at turning adversaries into enemies and disappointing friends, and it is all done with a glib assurance that doing so will somehow bring democracy and freedom to all. Indeed, either neoliberal democracy promotion or the neoconservative version of the same have been seen as an overriding and compelling interest during the past twenty years even though the policies themselves have been disastrous and have only damaged the real interests of the American people.

The U.S. relationship with Israel is, for example, driven by a powerful and wealthy domestic lobby rather than by any common interests at all yet it is regularly falsely touted as being between two “close allies” and “best friends.” It has cost Americans hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies for the Jewish state and Israeli influence over U.S. policy in the Middle East region has led to catastrophic military interventions in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Mogadishu and Libya. Currently, Israel is agitating for U.S. action against the nonexistent Iranian “threat” while also unleashing its lobby in the United States to make illegal criticism of any of its war crimes, effectively curtailing freedom of speech and association for all Americans.

Far more dangerous is the continued excoriation of the Kremlin over the largely mythical Russiagate narrative. Congress has recently approved a bill that would give to Ukraine $300 million in supplementary military assistance to use against Russia. The money and authorization appear in the House of Representatives version of the national defense authorization act (NDAA) that passed last week.

The bill is a renewal of the controversial Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative that Donald Trump allegedly manipulated to bring about an investigation of Joe Biden’s son Hunter. The new version expands on the former assistance package to include coastal defense cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles as offensive weapons that are acceptable for export to Kiev. It also authorizes an additional $50 million in military assistance on top of the $250 million congress had granted in last year’s bill, “of which $100 million would be available only for lethal assistance.”

Ukraine sought the money and arms to counter Russian naval dominance in the Black Sea through its base at Sevastopol in the Crimea. One year ago the Russian navy captured three Ukrainian warships and Kiev was unable to push back against Moscow because it lacked weapons designed to attack ships. Now it will have them and presumably it will use them. How Russia will react is unknowable.

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, has been in Washington lobbying for the additional military assistance. He has had considerable success, particularly as there is bipartisan support in Congress for aid to Kiev and also because the Trump Departments of Defense and State as well as the National Security Council are all on board in countering the “Russian threat” in the Black Sea. President Trump signed the NDAA last week, which completed the process.

Far more ominously, Kuleba and his interlocutors in the administration and congress have been revisiting a proposal first surfaced under Bill Clinton, that Ukraine and Georgia should be admitted to the NATO alliance. Like the $300 million in military aid, there appears to be considerable bipartisan support for such a move. NATO already has a major presence on the Black Sea with Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey all members. Adding Ukraine and Georgia would completely isolate the Russian presence and Moscow would undoubtedly see it as an existential threat.

The NDAA also provides seed money to initiate the so-called Space Force, which President Trump inaugurated by describing it as “the world’s newest war-fighting domain. Amid grave threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital. We’re leading, but we’re not leading by enough, but very shortly we’ll be leading by a lot. The Space Force will help us deter aggression and control the ultimate high ground.”

If that isn’t bad enough, the new defense budget ominously also requires the Trump administration to impose sanctions “with respect to provision of certain vessels for the construction of certain Russian energy export pipelines.” Last week the House of Representatives and Senate approved specific sanctions relating to the companies and governments that are collaborating on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will cross the Baltic Sea from Vyborg to Greifswald to connect Germany with Russian natural gas. President Trump has signed off on the legislation.

The United States has opposed the project ever since it was first mooted, claiming that it will make Europe “hostage” to Russian energy, will enrich the Russian government, and will also empower Russian President Vladimir Putin to be more aggressive. Engineering companies that will be providing services such as pipe-laying will be targeted by Washington as the Trump administration tries to halt the completion of the $10.5 billion project.

Now that the NDAA has been signed, the Trump administration has 60 days to identify companies, individuals and even foreign governments that have in some way provided services or assistance to the pipeline project. Sanctions would block individuals from travel to the United States and would freeze bank accounts and other tangible property that would be identified by the U.S. Treasury. One company that will definitely be targeted for sanctions is the Switzerland-based Allseas, which has been contracted with by Russia’s Gazprom to build the offshore section of pipeline. It has suspended work on the project while it examines the implications of the sanctions.

Bear in mind that Nord Stream 2 is a peaceful commercial project between two countries that have friendly relations, making the threats implicit in the U.S. reaction more than somewhat inappropriate. Increased U.S. sanctions against Russia itself are also believed to be a possibility and there has even been some suggestion that the German government and its energy ministry might be sanctioned. This has predictably resulted in pushback from Germany, normally a country that is inclined to go along with any and all American initiatives. Last week German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas asked Congress not to meddle in European energy policy, saying “We think this is unacceptable, because it is ultimately a move to influence autonomous decisions that are made in Europe. European energy policy is decided in Europe, not in the U.S.”

German Bundestag member Andreas Nick warned that “It’s an issue of national sovereignty, and it is potentially a liability for trans-Atlantic relations.” That Trump is needlessly alienating important countries like Germany that are genuine allies, unlike Israel and Saudi Arabia, over an issue that is not an actual American interest is unfortunate. It makes one think that the wheels have definitely come off the cart in Washington.

The point is that Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence and Mike Esper (admittedly too many Mikes) wouldn’t know a national interest if it hit them in the face. Their politicization of policy to “win in 2020” promoting apocalyptic nonsense like war in space has also reinforced an existing tunnel vision on what Russia under Vladimir Putin is all about that is extremely dangerous. Admittedly, Team Trump throws out sanctions in all directions with reckless abandon, mostly aimed at Russia, Iran, North Korea and, the current favorite, Venezuela. No one is immune. But the escalation going from sanctions to arming the Kremlin’s enemies is both reckless and pointless. Russia will definitely strike back if it is attacked, make no mistake about that, and war could easily escalate with tragic consequences for all of us. That war is perhaps becoming thinkable is in itself deplorable, with Business Insider running a recent piece on surviving a nuclear attack. New homes in target America will likely soon come equipped with bomb shelters, just like in the 1950s.

Be seeing you

‘America Says’ Game Show Cleared For Fall Syndication ...

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »