Closing Thought–31May18

The one country that gets our aid without question is Israel and those funds were to be spent on American made equipment so Israel gets out taxpayers funds and spent in American to enrich the M-IC……but it seems that Israel wants to change this program…..

As the record-large 10-year US military aid package to Israel is set to go into effect, Israeli MPs are lobbying the Trump government to make substantial changes. In particular, they object to the made-in-USA rules.

The $38 billion aid package is to be spent on US-made equipment. This has been a common way to make foreign aid politically safe, as it means that money is ultimately going to US arms makers who have a lot of influence.

Israeli officials, however, see this US armament as a problem for their economy. The Israeli Knesset Finance Committee is estimating that 22,000 Israeli jobs would be lost if the US doesn’t just send Israel the money straightaway and let them spending on Israeli-made arms.

Yet this was the agreement all along, back to when President Obama got the Israeli government to finally, grudgingly agree to accept $38 billion worth of equipment. While President Trump has suggested the aid couple end up being even bigger, as part of a desire to throw more arms at Israel, the desire to keep growing US weapons exports means he’s probably not going to be eager to send Israel the cash instead.

(antiwar.com)

I do not like the idea of my tax dollars being sent to the thugs in Israel…but since I have no say in where the money goes I’ll just say “Screw Israel”…..you do not like the way things are done then we will keep our cash and they can go f*ck themselves….put that in your matza ball and shove it!

Peace Out…..chuq

Advertisements

The “Pink and Greens”

I bet right now you are thinking that this is some sort of Code Pink and the Green Party collaboration…..well you would be sadly mistaken…..this is about the new colors for the uniforms of the military…..Pink?

Not long ago the US Army replaced the green dress uniforms with a dark blue….which was stupid for the Air Force has blue uniforms….the Army distinction was gone…..now they are at it again……

Army leadership has been saying for months that a decision on bringing back the World War II-era pinks and greens uniform was due this spring, but with May underway, officials say a decision is still forthcoming.

In the meantime, Marlow White has been building excitement about the prospect of a new service uniform, creating a prospective rollout timeline it last updated on May 2.

The release pegs Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley making a final decision on the uniform and its fielding plan by Nov. 11, with several events leading up to that.

One is a wear test during spring or summer of this year by a recruiting battalion, followed by ― if Milley approves ― an initial rollout next June, to coincide with the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2018/05/14/is-this-the-rollout-plan-for-the-pinks-and-greens-the-army-says-nothing-is-final/

Again?

If I recall correctly the army changed uniforms just 5 or so years ago….so why not spend some of the land fall funds that the Pentagon seems to get whether they want it or not.

What was wrong with the Army green dress uniform?  Not a damn thing…..so did we really need to waste tax payers money?

A question for the ages.

The War Of Words

It seems they is all we have going on in this country these days…all the he said, he said…..the silly back and forth while this country slides into yet another abyss…..the trade war is the newest “art of the deal”…….the bluster is good but is any of it true?

President Trump on Monday made the case that his White House is righting years of wrong in regard to China. Beijing “has agreed to buy massive amounts of ADDITIONAL Farm/Agricultural Products – would be one of the best things to happen to our farmers in many years!” he wrote. “On China, Barriers and Tariffs to come down for first time,” went another. And a third took aim at Democrats. “I ask Senator Chuck Schumer, why didn’t President Obama & the Democrats do something about Trade with China, including Theft of Intellectual Property etc.? They did NOTHING! With that being said, Chuck & I have long agreed on this issue! Fair Trade, plus, with China will happen!” The tweets follow days of negotiations between the two nations, though even some of Trump’s supporters are worried that China is getting the upper hand. Details:

  • Dueling statements: Treasury chief Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that the US was “putting the trade war on hold” and ditching the idea of tariffs while talks continue. However, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer made a point to say that tariffs were still an important tool to “protect our technology.” The Wall Street Journal sees these as “markedly different positions,” adding that the statements punctuate days of negotiations “with a question mark.”
  • China winning? An analysis by Heather Long at the Washington Postasserts that China is winning the trade fight, at least so far. The White House, for example, has been demanding that China reduce the United States’ trade deficit with Beijing by at least $200 billion, but no such specifics were evident in a “noticeably vague” joint statement issued by the nations over the weekend. Also, China may have agreed to buy more US energy and farm products, “but it was almost certain that the Chinese were going to buy more of that stuff anyway.”
  • Criticism: Business Insider rounds up criticism of the weekend developments from Trump allies including Lou Dobbs of Fox Business (“US must export like a superpower not an agrarian developing nation half our size!” he wrote) and former steel industry CEO Dan DiMicco (“Did #President just blink?” he wrote. “China & friends appear 2 be carrying the day.”) Meanwhile, Marco Rubio states flatly that China “is winning the negotiations.”
  • What’s next: With the trade war “on hold,” CNNMoney looks at the big questions still to be answered in ongoing talks, including whether Beijing will seriously address US allegations of technology theft.
  • Biggest threat? A post at Axios argues that China is “thinking long term” with a global strategy, unlike the US. “China is pouring time, money, infrastructure and trade into every continent, after promising to fill the global void created by Trump’s America First,” writes Jim VandeHei, who also faults Congress for having short-term vision. Xi Jinping is positioning China to dominate most of the world’s important industries in the decade to come.

So the “art of the deal” is put on hold while the words continue to fly……is this something learned in the Wharton School?

Was That With A “T”?

I have written many times about the waste and the out right loss of funds budgeted for the Pentagon…..the latest article just makes my case for me…..

Twenty-one trillion dollars.

The Pentagon’s own numbers show that it can’t account for $21 trillion. Yes, I mean trillion with a “T.” And this could change everything.

But I’ll get back to that in a moment.

There are certain things the human mind is not meant to do. Our complex brains cannot view the world in infrared, cannot spell words backward during orgasm and cannot really grasp numbers over a few thousand. A few thousand, we can feel and conceptualize. We’ve all been in stadiums with several thousand people. We have an idea of what that looks like (and how sticky the floor gets).

(Read On……)

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-pentagon-cant-account-for-21-trillion/

You realize that amount is greater than the GDP of Australia?  We could fund a whole other country on the missing funds from the Pentagon

Isn’t our Pentagon a wonderful department…..that is my money, your money, the taxpayers money that no one can account for….time to a change.

Where Does The Money Go?

We all have asked that question when we look at our cash balances and our bills……it would be nice if the toads in Congress would ask the same question about taxpayer funds…..

For instance…..did you know how much the US spends on war?

A “near-constant state of war” is just one of the reasons the US spends more than any other country in the world on its military—by a long shot. If the next seven major military spenders combined their funds, they still wouldn’t measure up, according to a list compiled by 24/7 Wall St., though China is making strides. The 10 countries that spent the most on war in 2017:

  1. USA: $610 billion (3.1% of GDP)
  2. China: $228 billion (1.9%)
  3. Saudi Arabia: $69.4 billion (10%)
  4. Russia: $66.3 billion (4.3%)
  5. India: $63.9 billion (2.5%)
    1. France: $57.8 billion (2.3% of GDP)
    2. United Kingdom: $47.2 billion (1.8%)
    3. Japan: $45.4 billion (0.9%)
    4. Germany: $44.3 billion (1.2%)
    5. South Korea: $39.2 billion (2.6%)

    Click for the full list

That is a lot of cash that could be used elsewhere in this country….like our failing infrastructure, or that cheap health care the Trump promised….but instead there could be a raise coming to defense spending…..

The American defense-industrial base needs Pentagon budgets to grow at least 5 percent per year to remain healthy and stable, the industry’s leading trade group said in a report released Wednesday.

The report by the Aerospace Industries Association blames Budget Control Act cuts and Congress’ repeated deferral to continuing resolutions for a steep drop in the market’s number of prime vendors. It’s unclear exactly how smaller suppliers have been impacted, but “the detrimental impact of budget cuts have been felt throughout the supply chain,” the report reads.

https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2018/04/25/defense-industry-needs-5-percent-annual-budget-growth-to-stay-healthy-says-new-aia-report/

That is the answer….bigger and better guns and bombs….then if all this money is supposedly well spent then why cannot the US win the wars it starts?

Almost 17 years after Washington’s war on terror was launched, déjà vu all over again hardly sums up the situation. Still, it’s a place to start. Take a headline from nearly a decade ago – July 2009, to be exact. By then, the American war in Afghanistan (the second Afghan War of our era) was already years old and not exactly going well. “U.S. Marines pour into Helmand,” went that headline, “in biggest offensive against Taliban for five years.” That July, in the first year of the Obama administration, more than 4,000 Marines were being dispatched to the heartlands of Helmand Province to secure Afghanistan’s major opium-poppy-growing region. That was, of course, nearly eight years after the Bush administration had declared the country “liberated” by an American invasion. By the fall of 2014, after five more years of fighting the Taliban and advising Afghan security forces in Helmand – and hundreds of American deaths – those troops were finally withdrawn from “one of the few bright spots in the Afghan war.” However, a corrupt Afghan government and its security forces, filled with “ghost soldiers” and “ghost police” (mostly paid for with U.S. funds), couldn’t even hold onto their paychecks, no less the parts of the province that had been “liberated” from the Taliban and the remarkably irrepressible opium trade that went with it. Slowly, much of the province fell back into Taliban hands as opium farming only spread and flourished.

https://original.antiwar.com/Arnold_Isaacs/2018/05/01/why-cant-the-worlds-best-military-win-its-wars/

If you want answers more than this article then may I suggest a book written by Harlan A. Ullman, “Anatomy Of Failure”…..

Questions with few answers.

Economic News

It is Saturday and I need to report on stuff that is happening and the MSM seems to avoid their inclusion in the daily news reports.

Remember those tax cuts last year and all the promises for the future?  Well here is some news that the GOP does not want the rest of the population to know…..

One of the many things confirmed by the great tax-bill melodrama of 2017 is that Republicans only pretend to care about “fiscal responsibility” when Democrats are in power and tax cuts aren’t on the line. With the opportunity to slash the corporate rate nearly in half, cries of “I won’t endorse a bill that adds one penny to the deficit!” evaporated, and tacking on $1.5 trillion became no big deal. Tax cuts, we will soon be reminded, don’t grow on trees, and the social safety net must be pared back in exchange. For now, though, Republicans are still in the trickle-down honeymoon phase, seeing in every corporate press release more confirmation that America has been made great again. Which makes it somewhat ironic that the Treasury is now burning through its cash reserves at an even more spectacular rate.

the CBO does not agree with the GOP bullshit……

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the federal government will run out of money even sooner than expected, thanks to the new tax legislation, which is estimated to lead to a fall in revenue of $136 billion in 2018. A default on debts had originally been forecasted for late March or early April. But now, because of the new withholding tables, “withheld receipts are expected to be less than the amounts paid in the comparable period last year.” That, combined with the fact that the Treasury generally issues a high number of tax refunds in February and March, means that the $272 billion in cash the Department had on hand as of Tuesday will quickly dwindle. If the debt ceiling isn’t increased by the first half of March, the C.B.O. cautioned on Wednesday, “the government would be unable to pay its obligations fully,” and would be forced to delay payments, default on its debts, or both.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/02/the-gop-tax-cut-is-draining-the-treasury

Why is it when the GOP does something economic the reserves suffer the worst?  And does no one call them on their bullshit?  Then they are the ones that bitch about the deficit the loudest and instead of responsible spending they want to make up the short fall by screwing the rest of the population?

One more news item and it is one that no one wants to hear…..recession…….

When will the US enter its next recession? Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal are predicting 2020. We’re currently in an economic expansion that started in mid-2009—the second-longest in American history—and 59% of the forecasters surveyed think it is most likely to end in two years due to the Federal Reserve raising interest rates. Another 22% predicted 2021; smaller groups predicted 2019, 2022, or an unspecified date beyond that.

Recessions are difficult to predict, but one economist who took part in the survey says signs are emerging that the current expansion is in the late stages of its cycle, and another says “any year from 2019 onward is in play” for a recession. The last recession began in December 2007; alarms were raised in 2011 and 2016, but the US did not enter a recession either time. The longest-ever economic expansion was in the 1990s, lasting 10 years.

Just FYI so that my readers can make any adjustments that they may need…..

Sorry if I peed on your parade….Have a good day and get some rest!  chuq

Reforms Are Needed (Pentagon)

$60 hammers or $300 toilet seats or that $45 wood screw….these are some of the spending irregularities that have been reported over the years…..plus there is always stories of money that has been lost by the Pentagon…..

A new Department of Defense Inspector General’s report, released last week, has left Americans stunned at the jaw-dropping lack of accountability and oversight. The glaring report revealed the Pentagon couldn’t account for $6.5 trillion dollars worth of Army general fund transactions and data, according to a report by the Fiscal Times.

The Pentagon, which has been notoriously lax in its accounting practices, has never completed an audit, would reveal how the agency has specifically spent the trillions of dollars allocated for wars, equipment, personnel, housing, healthcare and procurements allotted to them by Congress.

https://www.mintpressnews.com/audit-pentagon-cannot-account-6-5-trillion-dollars-taxpayer-money/219246/

The recent budget gave the Pentagon huge increases and some are saying that Congress needs to step up and make some reforms to the system to make the Pentagon more cash efficient……

In periods of budget increases, reforms and efficiencies tend to fall by the wayside. That should not be the case. The budget increases should be a chance to reflect and to re-assess efficiencies and reforms, especially those that require up-front investments to be executed. The Department of Defense needs to be a good steward of taxpayers’ dollars, regardless of future levels of the defense budget. Good stewardship includes being able to extract the maximum amount of value from every dollar spent, independent of the department’s budget. The Pentagon should take advantage of its increased budget to make sure that there is room to invest in creating efficiencies and reforming outdated systems.

1. The Pentagon should take advantage of its budget increase to enact business reforms that will lead to a more efficient and effective Defense Department.

2. From closing and realigning bases to providing school choice for military dependents, there are many opportunities for the Pentagon to improve its operations.

3. The Department of Defense will need congressional support to enact meaningful business reforms, and should seek Congress’s cooperation now.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/04/18/congress_should_pursue_pentagon_business_reforms_113338.html