The Watering Hole; Thursday April 7 2016; Wage Peace, Not War part II — “Defense” Budget;

“We’re run by people that don’t get it. I don’t know, it’s a lack of street smarts,
it’s a lack of intelligence, to be honest with you, but it’s just a horrible situation.”
(Donald Trump)

A revolting statistic: The US military outspends the next 13 top-spending nations combined.

Military spending, WaPo

(▲Courtesy Washington Post▲)

Not sure why it is, really, but stats like that MAKE ME MAD!!! Can anyone come up with a better and more efficient means for a nation to piss away its wealth and sustenance than blowing the better part of a trillion dollars on its war machine? What exactly has that philosophy bought us US since, say, Sept 2 1945, aka the end of the last truly defensive war in which the US (necessarily) engaged? What’s been our gain in Korea? Vietnam? Grenada? Panama? Bosnia? Kuwait? Afghanistan? Iraq? And today, Syria? How many global “friends” have we acquired courtesy of our military adventurism? None? How many enemies have we made? Lots? To what end?

Are we safer now? Is the M.I.C. better off?

The answers to those last two questions are, of course, NO and YES, resp.; and therein lies the rub: it’s the MONEY, stupid.

Here in Amurkkka we loves us some military. Cuz there’s MONEY in it, dontcha know! OK, so there’s also wanton death, destruction, murder, insanity, etc., but what the hell, the MONEY trumps all of that, right? Right. So we continue on our wayward path of always spending more, more, more! on war (aka, to the uninformed, “Defense”) than the rest of the civilized world COMBINED! — and we leave nothing but death, destruction, and insanity  — and hatred of us — in our wake even as we accomplish only what the billionaires want most: more MONEY handed them by we the people. Conclusion: as a nation, we ain’t worth — to the rest of the world — much more than the powder it would take to blow US all to hell.

No worries, though; I have an idea.🙂

We currently spend $711 Billion per year on what we call “defense.” The world’s second biggest spender on “defense” is our (arch enemy?) China who spends, according to the chart up top, around $145 Billion (make it $146B for easy figuring). Suppose we, US, would agree, in the interest of global sanity, to spend no more than that on our war machine. That would leave $711B minus $146B, or $565B that could be invested elsewhere, maybe even on PEACEful enterprises!

Wow.

Think of it. More than half-a-TRILLION bucks left over! Half a trillion bucks once allocated for ‘defense’ but no longer wasted on bombs and bullets and stuff. Is it really necessary that our “leaders” forever continue to presume that their own reality must remain focused on and be governed by that line from Herman Wouk’s masterful tome The Winds of War, words attributed to Adolf Hitler?

“. . . I have never stopped building planes, planes, planes, U-boats, U-boats, U-boats! . . . I have piled bombs, bombs, bombs, tanks, tanks, tanks to the sky! It has been a wasteful, staggering burden on my people, but what other language have great states ever understood? It is out of a sense of strength that I have offered peace! I Have been rejected and scorned . . .”

That’s an able summation of what’s defined the US “defense” prescription for the last 70 years at least, but a quick look around serves to dismiss the thesis that a great state and its sense of strength can collectively serve to support peace anywhere among us before its leader(s) become rejected and scorned. So why do we continue to follow that self-destructive path? Why do we so love war? What’s so wrong with peace and with caring for others? What is it that forces us to insist on the always-failed military non-solution?

Simple. It’s the MONEY.

So, OK, we in the US currently piss away budget $711 Billion annually for “defense,” and a handful of “important” people (see Dick Cheney, e.g.) get rich off the process even as millions around the world suffer and/or die in result. That essentially spells out, seems to me, what could be described as an able summation of a genuinely nasty setup and policy.

I recommend a few simple changes; here’s a quick summary:

  1. Reserve $146 billion for “defense” in order to keep us on par with China.
  2. Of the (annual!) remaining $565 Billion, we can begin by allocating $100 Billion (annually!) to assist and provide for the needs of refugees who are fleeing the explosive (thanks mainly to US) Middle East — Syria, Iraq, etc.
  3. Of the remaining $465 billion, allocate $75 Billion (annually!) to assist and support refugees(?) from Central America and Mexico, also to enable each and all to obtain legal assistance that enables them to apply for and gain US citizenship, should they so desire.
  4. $390 billion remains. How about $100 Billion (annually!) to be invested in the maintenance and rebuilding of infrastructure here at home?
  5. Of the $290 Billion remaining, $75 billion could be invested (annually!) in anti-poverty programs/initiatives in cities and states everywhere across the country.
  6. Next, apply $100 Billion (annually!) on scientific program(s) designed and developed to help SOLVE the human-caused global climate change dilemma/crisis, both here at home and around the world.
  7. Invest $75 Billion (annually!) wherever needed in domestic Public Education.
  8. Invest $35 Billion (annually!) in a rejuvenated Peace Corps, dedicated to helping the needy in countries everywhere.
  9. And finally, use the remaining $5 Billion (annually!) to pay the salaries and office costs required by those who will work endlessly to devise the mechanisms of forever CLOSING and inverting the tax loopholes that benefit Corporations and billionaires everywhere!

There. A skeletonized recommendation of the means to relieve this country of its never-ending (annualized) planes, planes, planes, bombs, bombs, bombs, tanks, tanks, tanks piled to the sky (!.!.!.) philosophy, and to erect in its place a series of well-financed (each and every year!!) programs that will benefit people both at home and the world over; programs that will reduce (rather than accelerate) hatred of the US by people both at home and the world over. Consider all of this to be the latest incarnation of the

WAGE PEACE, NOT WAR!

domestic and global MOVEMENT!

Or —

We can go the other way, elect Donald Trump as our President, and wallow in the swill that his tremendous acumen on all such matters has already suggested:

I know how to fix it, so easy, that aspect of it. And even, you know, the nuclear.
I am doing so good on nuclear by people that are fair. What’s happening now is
we’re paying for the world’s — we’re like the world’s policeman but they don’t
pay us for it. We lose a fortune on the military. You know, our military budget is
phenomenally higher than any other budget but it’s not for us, we’re protecting
everybody else and we lose a fortune.

(Donald Trump)

Nice choice, right?

OPEN THREAD

 

 

21 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Thursday April 7 2016; Wage Peace, Not War part II — “Defense” Budget;

  1. 2 Mama Cats Found Clutched Together with 8 Babies Born Just Days Apart

    Two abandoned cat mothers were found in a garage. When they were turned into the shelter in a box, they clutched together with their eight tiny nursing kittens just days apart in age.

    “Megan and Moha are inseparable and care for their wee ones interchangeably,” Here Kitty Kitty Rescue (Elkhart, Indiana) said.

    The torbie mother’s name is Megan and the orange mother is Moha. (More pics at link)

      • Hey, OIMF! Aren’t you near or in Culpeper County? What do you think about the RV park owner kicking out the interracial married couple because of the ‘religious liberty’ law?

        • I am indeed. I’ve heard nothing of this, I’ve been busy following the county’s denial of an alternative septic permit for a mosque. Do you have a link?

      • It was an Islamic center that was denied a building permit in Culpeper. The interracial couple was in Mississippi. I had to go into history on this phone to figure it out. My bad.

        • BTW, the interracial couple kicked out of the RV park was at PoliticusUSA.

        • Well thank goodness. Culpeper County doesn’t need any more shame.

          • It was actually a pump and haul septic permit that they were denied, which of course does prevent them from building. A few of the haters pretended the issue was with that type of system. County staff recommended approval, and over the years 18 out of 19 such requests have been approved, 5 of them for churches. Most of those opposed don’t even bother to hide their hate and accuse the 15-20 folks who meet at their temporary mosque of wanted a permanent placeto plot jihad. It’s sad and disgusting.

            • accuse the 15-20 folks who meet at their temporary church to plot Crusade …. hmm – just change two words and…

  2. Though many Conservatives will claim Trump is no conservative, he does share one belief with them: If something isn’t profitable, then it’s not worth doing at all. They also don’t do nuance very well, so it’s hard to explain to them that protecting the rest of the world is better for us than not doing it.

    • Conservatives typically have only the most severe impression of the meaning of “profit.” To them it means only the money something yields above what it costs; to them, peace and lack of aggressive behavior are for chickenshits only, not anything that “real men” would ever do. And since “real men” are the billionaires, there clearly ain’t no profit in peace, hence anything spent on it is wasted.

      To them, EVERYTHING is about money. Nothing more, nothing less. Means there must be money in irrational hatreds and in fear itself. And in stupid, apparently.

    • Their stories are always like this one. I’ve had the opportunity to visit with a number of Illegals who were recent border jumpers. Strong proud people who only want to make a better world for their children. Most are from Latin America, but an increasing number, I’d guess around 30%, are from Eastern European and Asian countries. If you ever have an opportunity to participate in a border immersion experience, do so…

      Bob

      • Back in the eighties, my Arizona ag business (seedless watermelon growers) always used “illegals” on our harvesting crew. The reason was simple: they worked hard, they worked well, they were honest, and were always there on time, as scheduled. Meanwhile, there were no “locals” that would even consider doing such hard work in 115 degree sunshine (or any other time, probably). Every week or so the Border Patrol would come by and if they caught any “illegals” they’d haul them down to the Mexican border and deport them. They were usually back by dawn the following morning, ready to work.

        Those people live a very hard life and don’t deserve the hate and the treatment they receive in the US. All they’re trying to do is earn enough money to keep their families housed and fed, but for way too many Amurkkkans, that’s apparently the equivalent of a terror attack, or of rape, murder, etc.

        There is, sadly, a substantial portion of US “citizens” who aren’t worth the powder to blow them up. I’ll take a hardworking and honest “illegal” any day of the week.

  3. All the way back to Fru’s post:

    The British, starting in 1889, decided to spend massively on the Royal Navy so that it could fight the next two biggest powers (seen to be France and Germany back then) at once. The result was not security, but a waste of money in a massive arms race that resulted in a contributing factor to the start of World War 1 and heralded a decline in British relative economic might.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_Defence_Act_1889

    Paul Kennedy called on this as ‘Imperial overstretch’ as a major cause of decline of a number of Empires in the last 2000 years…. British, Dutch, French, Spanish, Roman…..

    http://www.ibtimes.com/imperial-overstretch-bloated-defense-budget-weakening-us-213116

    • Yep, you nailed it. That’s exactly been the historical (and is now the current) point. There’s a very logical reason to allocate some funds for national defense, but in today’s case the concept of this country spending more on war shit than the rest of the civilized world combined points directly at something very sinister that’s clearly deeply embedded in this particular culture. My guess is that it’s a combination of rampant greed and the male pasture bull syndrome.

      Don’t know how to rid the world of that nonsensical crapola; my guess is it’s genetic, however, and we’ll have to wait for either evolution or Monsanto to cough up the cure. I’m also guessing that by the time either of those options occur, human-induced climate change will have solved the problem in its own way: extinction. Not a bad option, actually, esp. when one sees dudes like Trump, Cruz, Putin, et al. taking aim at the global stage.

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