Why the Pentagon Gets So Much Money So Easily

Bracing Views

pent The five-sided puzzle palace on the Potomac is about to be flooded with new money

W.J. Astore

Over at Foreign Policy, there’s a good article on how the Pentagon gets so much money so easily.  Basically, the Pentagon complains about lack of “readiness” for war, and Congress caves.  But as the article’s author, Gordon Adams, notes, most of the boost in spending goes not to training and maintenance and other readiness issues but to expensive new weaponry:

But the big bucks, according to the Pentagon’s own briefing, will go into conventional military equipment. That means more F-35s and F-18s than planned, a new presidential helicopter, Navy surveillance planes and destroyers, Marine helicopters, space launch rockets, tank modifications, another Army multipurpose vehicle, and a joint tactical vehicle the Army, Marines, and Air Force can all use. Basically, the services will soon have shiny new hardware.

With its $160+ billion…

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The Coming Wars to End All Wars

The Trump and Netanyahu governments have a problem: How to start a greatly expanded Middle-Eastern war without having a justifiable reason for one. No doubt they are working hard to solve this urgent problem. If they can’t find a “justification” (which they can’t), they will have to create one (which they will). Or perhaps they will find what they have already created. Whatever the solution, we should feel confident that they are not sitting on their hands. History teaches those who care to learn that when aggressors place a gun on the wall in the first act of their play, it must go off in the final act.

The compulsive hatred of Putin by many who have almost zero idea about Putin or Russian history is disproportionate to any rational analysis, but not surprising. Trump and Putin are like weird doppelgangers in the liberal imagination. John Steppling, “Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk into a Bar”


These sinister players have signaled us quite clearly what they have in store. All signs point toward an upcoming large-scale Israeli/U.S. attack on Lebanon and Syria, and all the sycophantic mainstream media are in the kitchen prepping for the feast. Russia and Iran are the main course, with Lebanon and Syria, who will be devoured first, as the hors d’oeuvres. As always, the media play along as if they don’t yet know what’s coming. Everyone in the know knows what is, just not exactly when. And the media wait with baited breath as they count down to the dramatic moment when they can report the incident that will compel the “innocent” to attack the “guilty.”

Anyone with half a brain can see the greatly increased anti-Russian propaganda of the past few weeks. This has happened as the Russia-gate claims have fallen to pieces, as former CIA analyst Raymond McGovern, the late Robert Parry, Paul Craig Roberts, and others have documented so assiduously. All across the media spectrum, from the big name corporate stenographers like The New York Times, CNN, National Public Radio, The Washington Post to The Atlantic and Nation magazines and other “leftist” publications such as Mother Jones and Who What Why, the Russia and Putin bashing has become hysterical in tone, joined as it is with an anti-Trump obsession, as if Trump were a dear friend of Putin and Russia and wasn’t closely allied with the Netanyahu government in its plans for the Middle-East. As if Trump were in charge. Read More

Israel backtracks on plan to tax church properties

JERUSALEM — Days after Christian leaders in the Holy Land bolted shut the doors to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in protest of attempts by the Jerusalem municipality to impose taxation on church properties, Israeli authorities backtracked Tuesday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wading into the dispute.

A statement from Netanyahu’s office said that in coordination with Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, a professional team would be established, led by a senior government minister and representatives of the foreign and finance ministries, to “formulate a solution to the issue of municipal taxes on buildings belonging to the churches that are not houses of worship.”

But the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which draws thousands of pilgrims daily to the place where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and later resurrected, remained shuttered Tuesday. Church leaders said they had received Netanyahu’s statement and were still contemplating reopening the church.

In a news conference Sunday, the leaders of the Greek Orthodox, Catholic and Armenian churches, which jointly manage the site, said they had received “collection notices and orders of seizure of Church assets, properties and bank accounts for alleged debts of punitive municipal taxes.”

Later, in a joint statement, the churches said Israel was waging a “systematic campaign against the churches and the Christian community in the Holy Land, in flagrant violation of the existing status quo.” Read More

The Intelligence-Industrial Complex

The Intelligence-Industrial Complex

“…we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.” Thus spoke President Dwight Eisenhower in January 1961.

Now we have an intelligence-industrial complex composed of close to a dozen and a half federal intelligence agencies and services, many of which are duplicative, and in the last decade or two the growth of a private sector intelligence world. Originally initiated in the National Security Act of 1947 as instrumental in conducting the Cold War, this massive expansion of data collection and analysis continued on even after the Cold War ended in 1991 and then received renewed energy with the declaration of a “global war on terrorism.”

It is dangerous to have a technology-empowered government capable of amassing private data; it is even more dangerous to privatize this Big Brother world. Read More

The Useful Idiocy of Donald Trump


Trump, who has no inclination or ability to govern, has handed the machinery of government over to the bankers, corporate executives, right-wing think tanks, intelligence chiefs and generals. They are eradicating the few regulations and laws that inhibited a naked kleptocracy. They are dynamiting the institutions, including the State Department, that served interests other than corporate profit and are stacking the courts with right-wing, corporate-controlled ideologues. Trump provides the daily entertainment; the elites handle the business of looting, exploiting and destroying. Read More

Why We’re Underestimating American Collapse – Eudaimonia and Co

Why We’re Underestimating American Collapse

You might say, having read some of my recent essays, “Umair! Don’t worry! Everything will be fine! It’s not that bad!” I would look at you politely, and then say gently, “To tell you the truth, I don’t think we’re taking collapse nearly seriously enough.”

Why? When we take a hard look at US collapse, we see a number of social pathologies on the rise. Not just any kind. Not even troubling, worrying, and dangerous ones. But strange and bizarre ones. Unique ones. Singular and gruesomely weird ones I’ve never really seen before, and outside of a dystopia written by Dickens and Orwell, nor have you, and neither has history. They suggest that whatever “numbers” we use to represent decline — shrinking real incomes, inequality, and so on —we are in fact grossly underestimating what pundits call the “human toll”, but which sensible human beings like you and I should simply think of as the overwhelming despair, rage, and anxiety of living in a collapsing society.
Let me give you just five examples of what I’ll call the social pathologies of collapse — strange, weird, and gruesome new diseases, not just ones we don’t usually see in healthy societies, but ones that we have never really seen before in any modern society.

America has had 11 school shootings in the last 23 days. That’s one every other day, more or less. That statistic is alarming enough — but it is just a number. Read More

Ajamu Baraka on Campaign to Shut Down US Foreign Military Bases

In Gaza

On January 22, 2018, I had the opportunity to speak with the well-respected, highly-informed, longtime rights activist and writer, Ajamu Baraka.

A human rights defender whose experience spans four decades of domestic and international education and activism, Ajamu Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles. Please see his extended bio on his website.

He was the 2016 Green Party vice presidential candidate, and is a lead organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace. Mr. Baraka is an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report, and also publishes at Black Commentator, Commondreams, Pambazuka, and Dissident Voice.

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