Who Pays For War?

I am antiwar basically because there is NO shared experience….about 1% of the population fights these wars ….what kind of war asks for no sacrifice?

War taxes, like conscription, used to be synonymous with war. In addition to generating revenue, taxes also created an accountability linkage between leaders and their conduct of war. As Charles Tilly put it in his observations on fiscal sociology, taxation “constitutes the largest intervention of governments in their subjects’ private life.” Centuries earlier, Adam Smith recognized this when he worried that leaders might sidestep war taxes — which he favored as an equitable and financially sound way to finance wars — out of concern for “offending the people, who, by so great and so sudden an increase of taxes, would soon be disgusted with the war.” It was exactly that possibility of disgust, however, that provided accountability. If leaders of democratic political systems had to introduce taxes to pay for wars, they would think twice about the wars they started and keep them shorter and less costly.

https://warontherocks.com/2018/05/just-put-it-on-our-tab-21st-century-war-financing-and-the-decline-of-democracy/

Our many wars are costing in the trillions of dollars…..and we are reducing taxes annually…..and we seem to be starting new wars annually….when will we reach the limits of war to costs?

Overseas, the United States is engaged in real wars in which bombs are dropped, missiles are launched, and people (generally not Americans) are killed, wounded, uprooted, and displaced. Yet here at home, there’s nothing real about those wars.  Here, it’s phony war all the way. In the last 17 years of “forever war,” this nation hasn’t for one second been mobilized. Taxes are being cut instead of raised.  Wartime rationing is a faint memory from the World War II era.  No one is being required to sacrifice a thing.

Now, ask yourself a simple question: What sort of war requires no sacrifice?  What sort of war requires that almost no one in the country waging it take the slightest notice of it?

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/03/15/fog-americas-phony-war

I have tried to make people understand how much war cost the American taxpayer and what we can do o change the dynamic…..when I speak to people they seem to glaze over when I quote the numbers to them…..

estimates issued by the Pentagon, the Costs of War Project has, for instance, come up with a comprehensive estimate of what the war on terror has actually cost this country since 2001: $5.6 trillion. It’s an almost unfathomably large number. Imagine, though, if we had invested such funds in more cancer research or the rebuilding of America’s infrastructure.

That $5.6 trillion includes the costs of caring for post-9/11 veterans as well as spending to prevent terrorist attacks on U.S. soil (“homeland security”). That figure and its annual updates do make the news in places like the Wall Street Journal and the Atlantic magazine and are regularly cited by reporters. Even President Trump, we suspect, has absorbed and, in his typical fashion, inflated our work in his comment at the end of last year that the U.S. has “foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East” (which just months earlier, more in line with our estimate, he had at $6 trillion).

(informed comment)

Few can imagine that amount….most get lost when the total reaches a million….if we are spending trillions that could be used elsewhere what can we do to finance these wars without end?

I have tried to explain how we could have our social programs and wars at the same time….a war tax.

I mentioned a tax and now eyes roll and people get their hackles up because they do not want more taxes they want less.  Good for them but if you want to be the muscle of the rest of the world something has got to be done.  (I got that covered)

https://legationes.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/if-there-must-be-war-pay-for-it/

Wait there is more…..

https://lobotero.com/2015/12/31/if-you-want-war-then-pay-for-it-part-deux/

Finally someone is seeing what needs to be done to finance these wars without end…..

A maverick lawmaker on the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday boosted a modest proposal made years ago by then-Sen. Charles Rangel: a dedicated “war tax” that would draw attention to military spending and force Americans to confront the cost of defense.

Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, is perhaps best known for his advocacy on behalf of troops and military families, despite staunch opposition to recent wars, including those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/02/16/americas-anti-war-pro-soldier-congressman-resurrects-idea-war-tax.html

You can be as patriotic as you like….but if a war must be fought then it needs a forward looking plan to pay for it.

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The VA Needs Saving!

Every American veteran should be concerned in what is happening to the institution that tasked with their care…..

The institution that is there to aid all veterans with their health and entitlements (and yes if one uses the VA then they are using entitlements) and in years past there has been scandal after scandal…..but it soldier on….and then we elected a dude who was always harping about Vets and behind the scenes is screwing them……

“On any veterans issue, the first person the president calls is Ike,” says a former administration official. If the name Ike doesn’t ring a bell, at least in relation to Veterans Affairs, that’s appropriate. A ProPublica expose by Isaac Arnsdorf explains he’s “reclusive” Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, one third of “a previously unknown triumvirate” that has clandestinely been exerting influence over the VA—never mind that none of them have served in the military or worked in government. Palm Beach doctor Bruce Moskowitz and lawyer Marc Sherman round out the trio, which is referred to within the VA as “the Mar-a-Lago Crowd,” as that location serves as their informal HQ. Arnsdorf ran into some walls on the interviewing front: the men, a VA rep, and a White House spokeswoman declined to answer questions.

His reporting is therefore based on hundreds of documents he got using the Freedom of Information Act and interviews with former administration officials. The story he has pieced together is one of significant power: The men have the president’s ear and influence over personnel, with those who “were at odds with the Mar-A-Lago crowd,” including those in a slew of top positions (secretary, deputy secretary, chief of staff, director of electronic health records modernization), “pushed out or passed over.” Arnsdorf alleges that decisions have to be run by them, officials fly to consult with them on taxpayers’ dime, and initiatives pushed by the men in some cases have benefited their own interests. Read the full piece for much more on an “arrangement … without parallel in modern presidential history.”

This does not surprise me at all……as usual he, Dear Leader, was all talk and action is questionable where the veterans are concerned…….once again someone that is big talk that has never served…there ought to be a law!

Time for veterans to take control of their benefits (watch for a Veterans Day march)…..something on the line of the Bonus Army from the past….(dammit Google it!)

So I Have Written!

Turn The Page!

Enter The Starship Troopers?

(Apologies to Robert A. Heinlein)

Obama (remember him) had the idea of a space force….. well not to worry it was picked up by Our Dear Leader, Trump….but if you do not remember the Obama thing……https://lobotero.com/2009/01/06/militarization-of-space/

Plus more recent posts…….below post has references to most of the thoughts I have had on this “proposal” so far……

https://lobotero.com/2018/08/01/to-the-stars-and-beyond/

I bring this up because just recently the whole idea (Obama’s) is being promised by 2020 by Dear Leader’s front man, Pence…….

“Space force all the way!” So tweeted President Trump on Thursday after his VP outlined the White House vision to have a new US Space Force in operation in a scant two years. This would be no small feat: Mike Pence detailed a plan in which the Space Force would be a sixth military service on par with the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard—and the first new addition since the Air Force came along in 1947, reports the Washington Post. Details:

  • Why? The Pentagon increasingly relies on space technology—satellites, for example—and the White House argues that it’s time for a dedicated force to protect American interests above, particularly from Russia and China. “Just as we’ve done in ages past, the United States will meet the emerging threats on this new battlefield,” said Pence. “The time has come to establish the United States Space Force.”
  • Congress’ role: Only Congress can create a new branch of the military, and Pence promised that the White House would work closely with members and produce a budget for it next year, reports the AP. Bipartisan support seems to be there: GOP Rep. Mike Rogers and Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper, members of the House Armed Services panel, said in a joint statement that the move is overdue and would “result in a safer, stronger America.”
  • New position: The plan calls for a new civilian position of assistant secretary defense for space who would report directly to the defense chief, reports Axios.
  • The changes: Instead of creating the branch from scratch, the plan involves a major restructuring of current space systems, reports NBC News. As part of that, a “unified combatant command” called the US Space Command would be established and led by a four-star general. “This would seemingly reorganize the warfighting chain of command for space—something that’s separate from what the Space Force would do,” per the Verge, which digs deep into the nitty gritty of the possible changes. Also to be established would be a Space Development Agency and a Space Operations Force.

The US will assert its dominance in space for generations to come……

President Donald Trump wants Congress to allocate $8 billion over the next five years for space security systems as it establishes a U.S. Space Force as the sixth branch of the military, Vice President Mike Pence said.

“It’s not enough to have an American presence in space,” Pence said Thursday in a speech at the Pentagon. “We must have American dominance in space. And so we will.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-09/pence-says-space-force-to-assert-u-s-dominance-in-orbit

Personally, I think it is a waste to time and money and is being used as a diversion……but I am not alone…..

“But how are we going to pay for investments in public infrastructure, public education, socialized medicine and renewable energy?” “Aw, f**k it. Who knows. Let’s just spend that money on a Space Force instead!”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/08/09/idiotic-wasteful-ridiculous-mike-pence-pilloried-he-puts-his-serious-face-make-case

But if you are still not sure then maybe some further reading will help…..please give these a try…..

https://www.defensenews.com/space/2018/08/09/think-space-force-is-a-joke-here-are-four-major-space-threats-to-take-seriously/

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/08/07/space_force_on_the_horizon__maybe_113690.html

https://spacenews.com/space-force-pentagon-moving-closer-to-trumps-vision/

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/08/05/winning-an-arms-race-in-space-remains-a-futile-fight/

Keep in mind that the formation of another branch of the military will require Congressional approval…..not looking too good right now…..and after the mid-terms may look even worse.

So I Have Written!

Turn The Page!

Will It Be Perpetual War?

IN the beginning war could only be declared by act of Congress and then along came the attacks of 9/11 and the Congress gave their powers up to the president to declare war whenever the mood struck him.

The Authorization for the Use Of Military Force (AUMF) gave the president unlimited power to decide what was a war and when to go fight…..the Congress took a backseat….

In 2018 a bi-partisan bill has taken a new step forward…..

In the near future, Congress will debate a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). I use the word “debate” lightly. So far, no hearings have been scheduled, and no testimony is likely to be heard unless something changes. That’s a shame, because this is a serious matter, and this is a deeply flawed AUMF.

For some time now, Congress has abdicated its responsibility to declare war. The status quo is that we are at war anywhere and anytime the president says so.

So Congress—in a very Congress way of doing things—has a “solution.” Instead of reclaiming its constitutional authority, it instead intends to codify the unacceptable, unconstitutional status quo.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/rand-paul-congress-moves-to-give-the-president-unlimited-war-powers/

Yes I wrote that this was a bi-partisan bill……so how do the Dems fit into this bill?

If there is any surprise that Senate Democrats, most of whom are virtually indistinguishable from pro-war Republicans, are about to coalesce in support of the newest version of the Authority for the Use of Military Force of 2018 (AUMF), then you have seriously not been paying attention.

The proposed AUMF of 2018 would replace AUMF 2001 and  repeal AUMF 2002 while it will codify an “uninterrupted authority to use all necessary and appropriate force in armed conflict” against  the Taliban, al Qaeda, ISIS and as yet unidentified “designated associated forces” who might “pose a grave threat to the US” in whatever country they occupy.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/04/25/democratic-partys-war-history-and-aumf-2018

There is a provision in the new AUMF that has a disturbing consequence…..

……..a bipartisan group of six lawmakers, led by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Tim Kaine, D-Va., is proposing a new AUMF that would greatly expand who the president can place in indefinite military detention, allin the name of restricting presidential power. If the Corker-Kaine bill becomes law as currently written, any president, including Donald Trump, could plausibly claim extraordinarily broad power to order the military to imprison any U.S. citizen, captured in America or not, and hold them without charges essentially forever.

https://theintercept.com/2018/05/01/ndaa-2018-aumf-detention/

I smell a challenge to this new attempt…..does not seem to be in the spirit of the Constitution…..

But we will see……it looks like more of the same or in other words….perpetual war.

Closing Thought–09Aug18

Ever heard of “Bock’s Car”?

Nope not some fanciful car from the past.

Would you know what I mean if I said….”Enola Gay”?

Almost all Americans know the name of the plane that dropped the first A-Bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

“Bock’s Car” is the name of the plane that dropped the second and final A-Bomb on Nagasaki that ended World War Two.

Today is the anniversary of the 2nd bomb dropped on Japan that devastated the town of Nagasaki just days after the bomb on Hiroshima.

By August 1945, U.S. Navy submarines and aerial mining by the Army Air Forces severely restricted Japanese shipping. The AAF controlled the skies over Japan and the AAF’s B-29 bombing attacks crippled its war industry. A plan for the invasion of Japan had been drawn up; Operation Olympic was scheduled for November 1945. Estimates of Allied casualties ranged from 250,000 to a million with much greater losses to the Japanese. To repel invaders, Japan had a veteran army of some two million ready, an army that had already shown its ferocity and fanaticism in combat. Some 8,000 military aircraft were available that could be used for devastating Kamikaze (suicide) attacks on U.S. ships. The draft had been extended to include men from age 15 to 60 and women from 17 to 45, adding millions of civilians ready to defend their homeland to the death, with sharpened sticks if necessary.

https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/Museum-Exhibits/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/196194/bockscar-the-aircraft-that-ended-wwii/

But why a second bomb?  Was the devastation of Hiroshima not enough?

Everyone knows that Nagasaki came three days after Hiroshima — but Nagasaki doesn’t get talked about nearly as much. The reason Nagasaki gets “overlooked” is pretty obvious: being the second atomic bombing attack is a lot less momentous than the first, even if the total number of such attacks has so far been two.

http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/2013/08/09/why-nagasaki/

Just a little history to close my posting day.

Turn The Page!

Tired Of War Yet?

I do a lot of reading and some it I use and some of it I save in case it is needed later and other times I flush it out of my system because it is total crap……then I read something that I found interesting and the more I thought about it as I was reading I came down with a case of calling it “CRAP”…..

The piece was printed in The Hill……it states that Dems need to be aware that voters are tired of war……really?

With the nomination and likely confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the party of Donald Trump is on the precipice of dominating all three branches of the federal government. After sweeping to victory in the 2006 midterms and then electing a popular two-term president in 2008, the collapse of Democratic influence in Washington represents an astonishing turnabout of political fortune.

A study suggests that a pivotal moment in the Democratic collapse happened in a Republican presidential debate in 2015, when Donald Trump established his reputation as an opponent of interventionism in the Middle East. During the debate, Jeb Bush chided Trump for his lack of foreign policy experience, and Trump unleashed a roundhouse punch that not only flattened Bush but ultimately Hillary Clinton.

http://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/397010-will-democrats-realize-that-americans-are-tired-of-war

I disagree!  If Americans were truly tired of war then they would demand it end…I am not talking about campaign slogans, chants or applause….they would vote to end it….so far they roll over and support the troops with slogans and chants and ignore the veterans.  They are NOT tired of war!  They relish it!

This piece was an outside attempt to influence the direction of the Dems during the Mid-Terms…..

Even in the day when wars make little sense we are still fighting in many countries all in the name of national security…….but nonetheless war makes little sense anymore…..

America spends more on its military than all its enemies put together yet it still can’t win wars. Failed adventures in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan have drained America’s power and diminished its prestige. The bloated Pentagon budget actually makes us weaker.

Here’s the weird bit: nobody seems to care. If any other government department spent as much and accomplished as little, the populace would be in arms, complaining about wasteful government spending. Instead we mumble “Thank you for your service” and increase defense appropriations.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/war-doesnt-make-sense-anymore/

Regardless we will continue to fight these wars of adventurism and the American people will care less that our troops are dying for what?

Back during WW2 the nation shared the experience with our soldiers…..civilians had to deal with rationing….not as life changing as combat but the people were asked to sacrifice….something they are not capable of doing these days…..the people are more spoiled than a 2 year old….

Trade And National Security

Our Dear Leader has decided that the way to extend what is left of his legacy is by declaring a trade war on allies and foes alike……but what does this do to our national security?

The US has a military advantage around the world……if so then what will these trade wars do to that advantage?

Is the United States undermining the foundations of its military advantage by initiating trade wars with most of the known world?

The connections between trade and innovation are complicated, but generally speaking freer trade tends to generate more technological innovation than autarky, although much depends on the specific legal and structural conditions under which trade is conducted. During the Cold War, the United States derived immense military advantage from the global trade system that it constructed. This trade system tied the world’s most powerful economies to the United States with private and public binds, and also ensured that American producers would find consumers. While the system had drawbacks (exposure to international shocks, limitations on national economic policy) it provided a sounder basis for long-run economic growth than the autarkic policies undertaken by the Soviet Union and its Eastern European subject states.

https://thediplomat.com/2018/07/trade-wars-are-not-good-for-the-us-military-advantage/

Alright let’s say that you agree with Dear Leader’s stand on trade wars and tariffs……can we justify tariffs from a national security point of view?

Economists nearly unanimously support open and free trade among nations.1 The arguments for free trade are not new, dating back at least to Adam Smith’s famous book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations in 1776 and David Hume’s series of essays, On Commerce and On the Balance of Trade in 1752. Free trade increases wealth in a nation by promoting the division of labor, thereby increasing the quantity of goods and services in the economy. This increased division of labor benefits people in two main ways. First, it expands the range of goods and services available to people. For example, many spices that are not native to the United States would be unavailable without international trade. Second, it allows people in a nation to buy goods of a given quality that are made more cheaply—that is, produced with fewer or cheaper resources. In short, free trade allows people to minimize their own use of scarce resources to achieve their desired ends.

https://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2018/MurphyJtariffs.html

Let me hear what my readers think……both pro and con on tariffs are welcome.