Ever Heard Of USIP?

USIP is a program that was passed during the Reagan years.

The United States Institute of Peace is an independent national institute, founded by Congress and dedicated to the proposition that a world without violent conflict is possible, practical, and essential for U.S. and global security. USIP pursues this vision on the ground in conflict zones, working with local partners to prevent conflicts from turning to bloodshed and to end it when they do. The Institute provides training, analysis, and other resources to people, organizations, and governments working to build peace.

Our generals will be the first to tell you it’s cheaper to prevent a war than fight one. Lawmakers should keep this in mind as they face an unusually complex budgetary environment this year.

As Congress navigates budget caps and a White House determined to slash spending, it also must consider the turmoil and violence rocking the world.

Source: Give a Reagan-era peace institute a chance | TheHill

I know our new president is all about fighting wars but we have only so much cash to do what he wants and now he purposes even more tax cuts meaning less money yet again.

Maybe if he or his advisors like Tillerson would spend a little time doing some research then they might find that the Reagan idea does have value.

Okay I know that I am not one of Reagan’s biggest fans but he did have some ideas that deserve another look see.

That is unless continuous war is the main goal of the Trump cabal.

And it is looking more and more like it is…..to the point that trump is trying to establish a new world order.

That Donald Trump is a grand disruptor when it comes to international affairs is now a commonplace observation in the establishment media. By snubbing NATO and withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, we’ve been told, President Trump is dismantling the liberal world order created by Franklin D. Roosevelt at the end of World War II. “Present at the Destruction” is the way Foreign Affairs magazine, the flagship publication of the Council on Foreign Relations, put it on its latest cover. Similar headlines can be found on the editorial pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post. But these prophecies of impending global disorder miss a crucial point: in his own quixotic way, Donald Trump is not only trying to obliterate the existing world order, but also attempting to lay the foundations for a new one, a world in which fossil-fuel powers will contend for supremacy with post-carbon, green-energy states.

Source: Is Trump launching a new world order? , by Michael T Klare (Le Monde diplomatique – English edition, June 2017)

Continuous war is looking more and more like the future for the US….that is unless someone steps up and takes a stand.

Will USIP survive in the Trump era?

Blueprint For A Banana Republic

Back in March, which seems like a lifetime ago, Pres. Trump released his fist budget…..and it was a doozey….but instead of sounding like a plan it reads more like the ideas of a banana republic.

President Trump has released a budget blueprint outlining increased military spending and cuts across other agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department. Congress will still have to draft a formal budget, but the plan released Thursday by the White House indicates the president’s priorities. Read the full document below. Read more about the specific proposals and their implications here.

But if you do not like others analysis of the budget then take the time a read the damn thing for yourself and see what is being done to this country.

Source: Full Text Of President Trump’s 2018 Budget Blueprint : NPR

If you read and are capable of understanding what you have read then you will see that this budget is turning our country into a banana republic style military dictatorship….and if you remember any history at all then you will recall that this will lead to NOTHING good.

A combination of spending cuts that will escalate domestic poverty while simultaneously increasing investments in militarism.

The Trump administration has officially unveiled its proposed budget to “Make America Great Again,” and by all accounts it’s a total flop. Most news outlets are ignoring the greater implications of what is proposed in the budget itself—the society America would become if the Trump budget became official.

Source: Trump’s Budget Is a Blueprint for a Banana Republic-Style Military Dictatorship | Alternet

The only saving grace is that this budget seems to have very little support from either side of the aisle.  It may well be dead before it arrives…..

We can hope that calmer more reasonable minds will prevail…..but I am not holding my breath.

The Budget Of The Century

The new federal budget is making news these days…..and boy is it a whopper of a budget……and as one would think since the GOP is ruling the roost the social programs will be hit and hit hard…..

A rundown of thoughts of the new federal budget……pending budget.

President Trump’s first budget proposal was officially unveiled Thursday morning—and it delivers exactly what he promised. The proposal—titled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again”—contains cuts that the Washington Post says could be the biggest reduction in federal programs since the post-World War II drawdown. The Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department are the hardest-hit agencies according to budget previews, with cuts of around 30%. Military spending would be beefed up by $54 billion under the proposal, $1.5 billion is earmarked for a border wall, and Homeland Security would get a 6.8% funding increase. A roundup of coverage about the $1.15 trillion spending plan:

  • The document is here.
  • Politico reports that the budget is “red meat” for Trump’s base, with deep cuts to their most disliked government agencies and programs, though it is also what’s known as a “skinny budget” because it is so short on details. A more detailed budget will be out in May.
  • The AP lists winners and losers. The latter group includes the departments of Energy, Labor, and Transportation, along with after-school programs and many independent agencies supported by tax dollars.
  • White House budget director Mick Mulvaney acknowledged that the cuts would lead to job losses, Reuters reports. “You can’t drain the swamp and leave all the people in it,” he said during a budget preview Wednesday. He said that White House officials had looked at Trump’s campaign speeches, and “turned those policies into numbers.”
  • The New York Times reports that congressional Republicans have already declared parts of the plan dead on arrival. “The administration’s budget isn’t going to be the budget,” Sen. Marco Rubio told reporters. “We do the budget here. The administration makes recommendations, but Congress does budgets.”
  • The Hill notes that such proposals tend to be “little more than guidance” for lawmakers—and that the Senate shot down Obama’s 2015 budget 98 to 1.
  • The AP reports that the budget funds Trump’s boost for the Pentagon, the biggest since Ronald Reagan’s, with cuts to conservative targets including the National Endowment for the Arts, legal aid for the poor, and the AmeriCorps national service program.
  • NBC notes that Trump’s proposal, which makes cuts to 12 out of 15 Cabinet agencies, only covers the “discretionary” quarter of the $4 trillion budget for the fiscal year that starts in October. The portion dealing with issues including taxation, Social Security, and Medicare is due in mid-May.
  • The Washington Post reports that the budget proposal’s elimination of funding for public broadcasting means that Big Bird’s doom has been predicted once again, though public broadcasting has survived previous “zero funding” proposals all the way back to Richard Nixon.

Now that we know what is being said about the new budget…..how about we look at the programs destined for the trash heap……

  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting ($445 million): Funds local public television and radio stations, including PBS and NPR.
  • National Endowment for the Arts ($148 million): Funds after-school programs, art shows, musical productions, and more as part of its goal of getting Americans involved in the arts, according to Quartz.
  • Northern Border Regional Commission ($8 million): An economic development agency for New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, according to USA Today.
  • Chemical Safety Board ($11 million): Investigates and makes safety recommendations following chemical accidents at federal facilities.
  • Legal Services Corporation ($385 million): Provides free legal advice to low-income Americans, funding more than 9,000 full-time legal staff.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities ($148 million): Provides scholarships in literature and culture.
  • United States Institute of Peace ($35 million): A federal think tank with 300 employees that focuses on conflict resolution.
  • United States Interagency Council on Homelessness ($4 million): Federal agency tasked with responding to and reducing homelessness.
  • Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars ($11 million): Provides scholarships in social sciences and humanities.
  • Denali Commission ($20 million): An economic development agency for Alaska.
  • Inter-American Foundation ($22 million): Promotes “citizen-led grassroots development” in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Delta Regional Authority ($25 million): An economic development agency for eight states in the Mississippi Delta region.
  • African Development Foundation ($30 million): Encourages economic development in Africa.
  • US Trade and Development Agency ($60 million): Promotes US transportation, energy, and telecommunications exports.
  • Overseas Private Investment Corporation ($83 million): Promotes private investment from US in the developing world.
  • Appalachian Regional Commission ($146 million): Works to improve the economy in Appalachia, according to Politico.
  • Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation ($175 million): Also known as Neighborworks America, it helps affordable housing programs.
  • Institute for Museum and Library Services ($230 million): Funds 35,000 museums and 123,000 libraries around the country.

Corporation for National & Community Service ($1.1 billion): Also known as AmeriCorps, it coordinates and promotes community service around the country.

All the programs that have been hated by the GOP for decades…..but let’s say this budget passes (I do not think that it will)……how will it effect those people that supported Trump during his his to the tower?

As a candidate, President Donald Trump promised to focus on revitalizing predominantly rural and small-town industries across America, claiming that “[f]amily farms are the backbone of this country” and that “coal is coming back.” President Trump visited these small towns and rural areas promising voters he would “create massive numbers of jobs” and that he would “rebuild … your communities.” But the agenda that Trump is advancing—reflected in his “skinny budget” released today as well as in his reported past policy proposals and statements—reveals his bait and switch on voters in these very communities.

Source: 10 Ways President Trump’s Agenda Will Harm His Supporters in Rural and Small-Town America – Center for American Progress

This all leads me to thank all those members of the “Ignorati” that helped elect this person and they can oversee the destruction of the American society….Are You Satisfied? (to quote Wild Bill Hickcock)

Let me close with a quote from Press Sec Spicer…..”just because you get less money does mean it is a cut”…..I love these people….only the “Ignorati” could give us this collection of mental midgets.

Trump’s Government Overhaul

Does anyone besides me remember the promise by Donald Trump that if he was elected that he would overhaul the government….drain the swamp I believe was the term he used.  And the peasants cheered and danced.

Personally I did not bite on the loaded hook that he dangled……

The president has the right idea. But he forgot to include the people that can make it happen.

The executive order issued by President Donald Trump yesterday has a goal nearly every citizen and legislator would cheer: to “improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the executive branch.”

What’s not to like? The executive branch is an organizational basket case, and it sorely needs a re-think. For 238 years, citizen legislators and presidents have come to town with dreams of fixing public problems, hatching new agencies and programs to do it, many of which live long beyond the problem they were intended to solve. The slow aggregation of government initiatives has produced a $3.8 trillion per year government with at least 180 agencies. With each passing year, the government becomes more complex and incoherent — “kludgeocracy”, as political scientist Steven Teles termed it.

Source: Why Trump’s government overhaul won’t work

And then there is the budget……Trump being a Repub he will no doubt be in the mood for a skinny budget…..a budget that does wonders for the rich and screws the poor unmercifully….

So will Trump’s budget…..

The skinny budget should show how President Trump proposes to allocate these massive cuts. These details will help answer the following five questions about the Trump agenda in order to determine whether President Trump is trying to help ordinary Americans or using government to advance the narrow interests of powerful elites:

  • Does the budget protect basic living standards for American families?
  • Does the budget create good jobs?
  • Does the budget ensure a level playing field?
  • Does the budget launch partisan attacks on American democracy?
  • Does the budget make Americans safer?

Source: 5 Things to Watch in President Trump’s Skinny Budget – Center for American Progress

The answers my friend are blowing in the wind……

Where Did The Money Go?

I along with so many others are tired of the waste of cash by the Pentagon…they get all the cash they want and then set off to piss it away…..we all know the horror of a $60 hammer or a $300 toilet seat…..

But there are times that the Pentagon is just wrong and how can a “small government” GOP Congress allow it to continue?

What am I going on about?

The good news: A Pentagon-requested study on administrative waste turned up plenty of fodder for officials to work with in streamlining operations. The bad news: The study found so much internal waste—$125 billion worth—that Pentagon officials seemingly tried to squash it, based on interviews and secret memos seen by the Washington Post. The report, issued in January 2015 by the Defense Business Board, found what the Post refers to as a “bloated bureaucracy,” with nearly a quarter of the defense budget used on overhead and administrative costs like HR and accounting. The study offered the DOD a five-year plan to save that $125 billion (including through attrition and maximizing its IT capabilities), at which point it appears enthusiasm for the report waned as Pentagon brass worried future military funds would be cut if Congress and the White House got wind of the results.

The Post details how the Pentagon went into downplay mode, restricting the study’s data and taking down a public summary. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work, the Pentagon’s No. 2 official, commissioned the report—even after one board member warned him “you are about to turn on the light in a very dark room”—but his stance shifted when the study was done. “There is this meme that we’re some bloated, giant organization,” Work told the Post, noting the study “vastly overstates what’s really going on.” He noted it’s not easy to carry out some of the board’s suggestions, including getting rid of federal jobs, though he says the Pentagon will partly implement some of them to bring an estimated $30 billion in savings by 2020. “We’re the largest bureaucracy in the world,” Work said. “There’s going to be some inherent inefficiencies in that.”

Not only are the Repubs bullshit specialists but they also cover for this sort of thing when it comes to the Pentagon…like they are somehow above having to account for the taxpayers money they are given…..

Will this new upcoming Congress be any different?  (the sound of raucous laughter)…..maybe a good place to look for help with the deficit would be the Pentagon…..

Republicans are always railing against “government waste” in their never-ending quest to cut government programs. Well, the Washington Post has presented them with the quintessential example of what they can tackle as soon as the new Congress is sworn in: an almost unfathomable amount of taxpayer dollars being wasted at the Defense Department.

The Post’s Craig Whitlock and Bob Woodward published an incredible investigation on Monday uncovering that the Pentagon itself commissioned an internal report aimed at identifying wasteful spending within its bureaucracy. The auditors, which only looked at the agency’s business and support operations, found a staggering $125bn that the Pentagon was wasting.

Source: If Republicans want to cut fat, they might start at the Pentagon | Trevor Timm | Opinion | The Guardian

The Air Force has a dud of a plane (which I have written about extensively) and the Navy has ships that it cannot afford….

The U.S. Navy today has only 272 deployable warships — a decline of more than 50 percent in just the last three decades — of which fewer than a third put to sea at any given time. Although the U. S. Navy remains by far the strongest force of its kind, current fleet trends call into question its future ability to meet inflated global missions that include tracking Russian submarines in the Arctic, patrolling the Persian Gulf, and defeating China on its home seas.

Rather than rethink those missions, the Navy is clamoring for more appropriations to pay for budget-busting weapons systems. For example, the Navy wants a dozen new ballistic-missile-carrying nuclear submarines at an estimated cost of about $140 billion. A single new Ford Class nuclear aircraft carrier will cost taxpayers nearly $14 billion — and that doesn’t include the inordinately expensive aircraft it will carry or the support ships needed to help protect it.

Source: New Navy Ship Leaking Tax Dollars – Consortiumnews

Trump has promised the best equipment and weapons….but does that include drains on our vital resources?

Just a thought that will get NO consideration from a GOP controlled Congress.

How the U.S. Military Can Save $1 Trillion

On January 20th Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of these United States….and shortly after that he will face the yearly challenge of the budget….there ought to be lots of back and forth and accusations will fly…..

Only days left before the best comedy in town….the budget debate……

Our biggest budget will be that of the Pentagon with all its glory and secrets

The National Interest magazine has a suggestion for the Trump-ites and others to consider when decided what will be best for the Pentagon…..

Cut the U.S. military’s size, but retain its technical edge.

The United States could reduce Pentagon spending by over a trillion dollars in the next decade—spending $5.2 trillion rather than the currently planned $6.3 trillion— by adopting strategy of military restraint. That’s the bottom line of a study I produced along with several colleagues as part of “Developing Alternative Defense Strategies 2016,” an exercise organized by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, where groups from five think tanks used CSBA’s “Strategic Choices” software to reimagine the U.S. military budget.

The others all increased military spending. The teams from the Center for New American Security and the Center for Strategic and International Studies added a few percent—tens of billions a year for the decade. CSBA’s team added about ten percent, and the American Enterprise Institute’s twenty.

Source: How the U.S. Military Can Save $1 Trillion | The National Interest

But then I am NOT sure that the country wants to save money…they prefer to reduce tax revenue and then spend their asses off so they can piss and moan about the deficit next election……so they can cut revenue…..it is all so predictable.

My suggestion is crap on the F-35 and that worthless ship that the Navy cannot afford the ammo for its guns….this would be a good start…..then proceed from there….

Congressional Cowards Strike Again

While we were all laughing or crying, depending on your ideology, about the first presidential debate…..and debating who won that “fart fest”…… the Congress did something spectacular…….they passed a budget!

That is right….this dysfunctional pack of do nothing cowards did one of their most important task……to see that the government is funded and functioning….

Acutely partisan and all but dysfunctional, Congress has completed its most elementary task after an intense weekslong struggle, finalizing a deal to fund the government just days ahead of a shutdown deadline, the AP reports. The legislation extends existing spending levels a mere 10 weeks, past Election Day, while finally addressing the Zika crisis with $1.1 billion and providing long-sought help for the residents of Flint, Mich., as well as flood victims in Louisiana. After a last-minute burst of deal-making, the legislation passed the Senate on a 72-26 vote Wednesday and was backed by the House 342-85 in a late-night vote.

Republicans, defending a fragile Senate majority and eager to get a handful of vulnerable incumbents back home to campaign for re-election, accused Harry Reid of holding up a deal to keep GOP lawmakers off the campaign trail. Democrats lobbed their own allegations, all but accusing Republicans of racism for holding up money for people affected by lead-tainted water in Flint. The situation produced frustration all around as lawmakers of both parties lamented their inability to get their basic work done, even if each party insisted the other was to blame. Yet even as they stumbled to a messy solution, some lawmakers were already looking ahead to next year, when much weightier tasks await the next Congress and a new president in what may be an even more fraught era of divided government.

Oh Yeah….they also gave Obama his first veto override when Congress voted down his veto of the 9/11 Bill…..