Tag Archives: defense spending

Minister of Defense … of Ridiculous Wastes of Taxpayer Money

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I have come to realize that the Conservative Regime is built on three platforms:

  • Fear
  • Fear and
  • Fear

The Conservatives have nothing else of substance with their policy objectives and all Canadians will eventually feel the boot of fascism on their necks if we don’t get rid of this government.

In implementing these platforms, they have three essential budgets:

The latest announcement from our Minister of Defending Ridiculously Large Wastes of Canadian Taxpayer Dollars is towards an untendered contract to someone who’s likely very close to the Conservative fear machine.  And this interview on CBC is the biggest pile of bulls**t I’ve heard in a long time, using the rationale of ‘our neighbours are hyperspending on wasteful killing machines, so we simply have to hyperspend on even more useless killing machines’.

This stuff really pisses me off.

Where’s the ‘peace-loving, let’s move the world forward’ Canada that I grew up in?

Where are the ‘bake sales for bombers’ that companies like Lockheed Martin should have to worry about as opposed to corrupt back-room back-scratch deals that we’re seeing rolled out by the Cons?

Stop the Bleeding, Cut the Defense Budget

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The Harper Administration has made a commitment to spend more than $500 billion (BILLION) over the next ten years on the Department of Defense.

Because most of this expense will be on non-Canadian companies and companies in the US and elsewhere that are committed to one thing – eternal strife – we need to seriously re-evaluate this expenditure.

And when we do, the rewards will be fantastic .  Even if we’re brave enough to cut $20 billion from this budget, we’ll easily cover the lion’s share of what’s recently been pledged by the Harper Administration.

If you need rationale for this argument, I came across this piece which might be of interest . The general thought: The Pentagon shouldn’t be used to create jobs.

The High Cost of Defense

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This article shows the return to a warrior economy.

During the Clinton years, the US government was almost able to pay off its bills because this administration had reduced defense spending.  Not a lot, but enough.

At the dawn of the Bush age, we saw an iunprecedented increase in ‘defense’ spending that has nearly bankrupt the US economy.

With any luck, Obama will curb the defense appetite and we’ll have a return to sanity.  However, I’m reading a number of articles and I’m getting mixed messages.  What are your thoughts on Obama’s warrior agenda?

Why We Love War

Full original story here.

Yes, America’s economy is a war economy. Not a "manufacturing" economy. Not an "agricultural" economy. Nor a "service" economy. Not even a "consumer" economy.

Is peace ever conceivable when trillions in revenue are at stake? Likely, no.

In Canada, we have the same brand of Conservatives demanding more money be spent on the defense industry. In answer to the questions this author asks, the solution is simple: don’t vote for them in the upcoming election (more on that above as I follow the intentional sabre rattling to provoke the opposition parties into election).

Here are some more quotes from this article:

Deep inside we love war. We want war. Need it. Relish it. Thrive on war. War is in our genes, deep in our DNA. War excites our economic brain. War drives our entrepreneurial spirit. War thrills the American soul. Oh just admit it, we have a love affair with war. We love "America’s Outrageous War Economy."
Americans passively zone out playing video war games. We nod at 90-second news clips of Afghan war casualties and collateral damage in Georgia. We laugh at Jon Stewart’s dark comedic news and Ben Stiller’s new war spoof "Tropic Thunder" … all the while silently, by default, we’re cheering on our leaders as they aggressively expand "America’s Outrageous War Economy," a relentless machine that needs a steady diet of war after war, feeding on itself, consuming our values, always on the edge of self-destruction.
  • Why else are Americans so eager and willing to surrender 54% of their tax dollars to a war machine, which consumes 47% of the world’s total military budgets?
  • Why are there more civilian mercenaries working for no-bid private war contractors than the total number of enlisted military in Iraq (180,000 to 160,000), at an added cost to taxpayers in excess of $200 billion and climbing daily?
  • Why do we shake our collective heads "yes" when our commander-in-chief proudly tells us he is a "war president;" and his party’s presidential candidate chants "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran," as if "war" is a celebrity hit song?
  • Why do our spineless Democrats let an incompetent, blundering executive branch hide hundreds of billions of war costs in sneaky "supplemental appropriations" that are more crooked than Enron’s off-balance-sheet deals?
  • Why have Washington’s 537 elected leaders turned the governance of the American economy over to 42,000 greedy self-interest lobbyists?
  • And why earlier this year did our "support-our-troops" "war president" resist a new GI Bill because, as he said, his military might quit and go to college rather than re-enlist in his war; now we continue paying the Pentagon’s warriors huge $100,000-plus bonuses to re-up so they can keep expanding "America’s Outrageous War Economy?" Why? Because we secretly love war!
We’ve lost our moral compass: The contrast between today’s leaders and the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 shocks our conscience. Today war greed trumps morals. During the Revolutionary War our leaders risked their lives and fortunes; many lost both.
Today it’s the opposite: Too often our leaders’ main goal is not public service but a ticket to building a personal fortune in the new "America’s Outrageous War Economy," often by simply becoming a high-priced lobbyist.
Ultimately, the price of our greed may be the fulfillment of Kevin Phillips’ warning in "Wealth and Democracy:" "Most great nations, at the peak of their economic power, become arrogant and wage great world wars at great cost, wasting vast resources, taking on huge debt, and ultimately burning themselves out."
‘National defense’ a propaganda slogan selling a war economy?
But wait, you ask: Isn’t our $1.4 trillion war budget essential for "national defense" and "homeland security?" Don’t we have to protect ourselves?
Sorry folks, but our leaders have degraded those honored principles to advertising slogans. They’re little more than flag-waving excuses used by neocon war hawks to disguise the buildup of private fortunes in "America’s Outrageous War Economy."
America may be a ticking time bomb, but we are threatened more by enemies within than external terrorists, by ideological fanatics on the left and the right. Most of all, we are under attack by our elected leaders who are motivated more by pure greed than ideology. They terrorize us, brainwashing us into passively letting them steal our money to finance "America’s Outrageous War Economy," the ultimate "black hole" of corruption and trickle-up economics.
You think I’m kidding? I’m maybe too harsh? Sorry but others are far more brutal. Listen to the ideologies and realities eating at America’s soul.
1. Our toxic ‘war within’ is threatening America’s soul
How powerful is the Pentagon’s war machine? Trillions in dollars. But worse yet: Their mindset is now locked deep in our DNA, in our collective conscience, in America’s soul. Our love of war is enshrined in the writings of neocon war hawks like Norman Podoretz, who warns the Iraq War was the launching of "World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism," a reminder that we could be occupying Iraq for a hundred years. His WW IV also reminded us of the coming apocalyptic end-of-days "war of civilizations" predicted by religious leaders in both Christian and Islamic worlds two years ago.
In contrast, this ideology has been challenged in works like Craig Unger’s "American Armageddon: How the Delusions of the Neoconservatives and the Christian Right Triggered the Descent of America — and Still Imperil Our Future."
Unfortunately, neither threat can be dismissed as "all in our minds" nor as merely ideological rhetoric. Trillions of tax dollars are in fact being spent to keep the Pentagon war machine aggressively planning and expanding wars decades in advance, including spending billions on propaganda brainwashing naïve Americans into co-signing "America’s Outrageous War Economy." Yes, they really love war, but that "love" is toxic for America’s soul.
2. America’s war economy financed on blank checks to greedy
Read Nobel Economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda Bilmes’ "$3 Trillion War." They show how our government’s deceitful leaders are secretly hiding the real long-term costs of the Iraq War, which was originally sold to the American taxpayer with a $50 billion price tag and funded out of oil revenues.
But add in all the lifetime veterans’ health benefits, equipment placement costs, increased homeland security and interest on new federal debt, and suddenly taxpayers got a $3 trillion war tab!
3. America’s war economy has no idea where its money goes
Read Portfolio magazine’s special report "The Pentagon’s $1 Trillion Problem." The Pentagon’s 2007 budget of $440 billion included $16 billion to operate and upgrade its financial system. Unfortunately "the defense department has spent billions to fix its antiquated financial systems [but] still has no idea where its money goes."
And it gets worse: Back "in 2000, Defense’s inspector general told Congress that his auditors stopped counting after finding $2.3 trillion in unsupported entries." Yikes, our war machine has no records for $2.3 trillion! How can we trust anything they say?
4. America’s war economy is totally ‘unmanageable’
For decades Washington has been waving that "national defense" flag, to force the public into supporting "America’s Outrageous War Economy." Read John Alic’s "Trillions for Military Technology: How the Pentagon Innovates and Why It Costs So Much."
A former Congressional Office of Technology Assessment staffer, he explains why weapon systems cost the Pentagon so much, "why it takes decades to get them into production even as innovation in the civilian economy becomes ever more frenetic and why some of those weapons don’t work very well despite expenditures of many billions of dollars," and how "the internal politics of the armed services make weapons acquisition almost unmanageable." Yes, the Pentagon wastes trillions planning its wars well in advance.

Why the US Has Gone Broke

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Link to full story here.

There’s an absolute sense when the author uses “gone” vs “going”. People ask me why I’ve got “Question War” and “Give Peace a Chance” bumber stickers on my little car instead of a “Support the Troops” icon.

The following describes why:

Going into 2008, the United States finds itself in the position of being unable to pay for its own elevated living standards or its wasteful, overly large military establishment. The government no longer even attempts to reduce the ruinous expense of maintaining huge standing armies.

Instead, the Bush administration has put off these costs for future generations to pay or repudiate. This fiscal irresponsibility has been disguised through manipulative financial schemes, but the time of reckoning is fast approaching.

There are three aspects to the U.S. debt crisis.

First, the U.S. is spending insane amounts of money on “defense” projects that bear no relation to the national security of the U.S. At the same time, the income tax burdens on the richest segment of the population are at strikingly low levels.

Second, there is a mistaken belief that public policies focused on frequent wars, huge expenditures on weapons and munitions, and large standing armies can indefinitely sustain a wealthy capitalist economy. The opposite is actually true.

Third, this devotion to militarism despite limited resources results in a failure to invest in social infrastructure and other requirements for the long-term health of the U.S. These are what economists call opportunity costs, things not done because the money was spent on something else. The public education system has deteriorated alarmingly and health care is not available to all citizens. Most important, the U.S. has lost its competitiveness as a manufacturer for civilian needs, an infinitely more efficient use of scarce resources than arms manufacturing.