And The Money Poured Down Like Rain

The House where all money bills are settled has given the Pentagon a blank check, well almost, for more endless wars and such to the tune of $700 billion…that is billion with a “B”….

In a bipartisan show of support for endless war and out-of-control military spending, the House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the nearly $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act of 2018 that aims to boost war outlays by $80 billion

The final vote tally was 357-70, with 127 Democrats throwing their support behind the bill. Sixty-seven Democrats—including Reps. Barbara Lee of California, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, and John Conyers of Michigan—voted against the legislation.

In addition to providing cash for 90 F-35 jets—20 more than President Donald Trump requested—the measure also approves more than $12 billion for the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, a massive boost in funding that comes amid soaring tensions between the United States and North Korea.

As the Associated Pressnotes, the legislation additionally “includes money for as many as 28 additional Ground-Based Interceptors, which are anti-missile missiles that would be launched from underground silos in Alaska in the event the U.S. decided to try to shoot down a North Korean missile heading toward the United States. The interceptors are designed to directly hit the enemy missile outside the Earth’s atmosphere, obliterating it by the force of impact.”

The House vote sets the stage for the Senate to debate the legislation shortly after Thanksgiving before sending it to Trump’s desk. Because the measure far exceeds the $549 billion ceiling set by the Budget Control Act, “House and Senate leaders must strike a budget deal that increases the caps in order to boost defense spending as prescribed by the bill,” Politicoreports.

(commondreams.org)

Now that is a pile on money, right?

Ever wonder just how you could get a piece of this pie?

I have but since I am staunchly antiwar…it was only a fleeting thought….

But in case we are having such dreams……

When it comes to the art of the deal, at least where arms sales are concerned, American presidents, their administrations, and the Pentagon have long been Trumpian in nature. Their role has been to beat the drums (of war) for the major American weapons makers and it’s been a highly profitable and successful activity. In 2015, for instance, the U.S. once again took the top spot in global weapons sales, $40 billion dollars of them, or a staggering 50.2% of the world market. (Russia came in a distant third with $11.2 billion in sales.) The U.S. also topped sales of weaponry to developing nations. In these years, Washington has, in fact, peddled the products of those arms makers to at least 100 countries, a staggering figure if you stop a moment to think about the violence on this planet. Internationally, in other words, the U.S. has always been an open-carry nation.

http://original.antiwar.com/william-d-hartung/2017/11/14/wield-influence-sell-weaponry-washington/

Do you realize just what that kind of cash could do for the people of this country?

What Do We Get For Our Money?

I am unashamed antiwar supporter…..I have witnessed first hand the obscenities of war and the waste of money that could be used for good.

I keep writing about the barbarity of war and few seem to care……so maybe I should try a different tack……

I recently wrote a post about the fact that the US can no longer afford a war……

Source: The US Can No Longer Afford War! – In Saner Thought

The voter is always looking for a way to lessen the burden on themselves thru taxation policies……maybe a better way to bring attention to the war profit is to tell where the tax dollars go to support war……

You wouldn’t know it, based on the endless cries for more money coming from the military, politicians, and the president, but these are the best of times for the Pentagon.  Spending on the Department of Defense alone is already well in excess of half a trillion dollars a year and counting.  Adjusted for inflation, that means it’s higher than at the height of President Ronald Reagan’s massive buildup of the 1980s and is now nearing the post-World War II funding peak.  And yet that’s barely half the story.  There are hundreds of billions of dollars in “defense” spending that aren’t even counted in the Pentagon budget.

Under the circumstances, laying all this out in grisly detail — and believe me, when you dive into the figures, they couldn’t be grislier — is the only way to offer a better sense of the true costs of our wars past, present, and future, and of the funding that is the lifeblood of the national security state.  When you do that, you end up with no less than 10 categories of national security spending (only one of which is the Pentagon budget).  So steel yourself for a tour of our nation’s trillion-dollar-plus “national security” budget. Given the Pentagon’s penchant for wasting money and our government’s record of engaging in dangerously misguided wars without end, it’s clear that a large portion of this massive investment of taxpayer dollars isn’t making anyone any safer.

Source: Top Ten Ways your Taxes pay for Endless War | Informed Comment

It really is NOT rocket science……

There you have it…..you want your tax dollars to go further to improve the country then make war less profitable…..and then you can see your tax dollars at work….for good.

A Deal That Is Not A Deal

The good news when Trump was Saudi Arabia he let the world know that a deal had been struck and it would mean jobs back home……$110 billion was the price tag that he pushed……

What does this deal really mean in the long run……

It turns out that the $110 billion Saudi Arabia arms deal that the Trump administration announced in May is actually “fake news,” according to the Brookings Institution.

Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow and director of the Brookings Intelligence Project, writes that everyone with whom he has spoken in the defense industry and on Capitol Hill says that the supposed $110 billion deal is actually “a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but not contracts.”

In fact, a lot of these proposals, which the Pentagon calls “intended sales,” are just arms that defense contractors speculate that the Saudis might want at some point. Many were even proposed during the Obama era.

For example, the Pentagon proposed to sell the Saudis four frigates for $11.25 billion in 2015, but since then, no contracts have been signed

Read the full Brookings Institution article here.

As usual with this president……a promise does not mean a reality…..will any of his promises ever translate into real jobs for Americans?

Some Real “Men” In Congress After All

I have accused most of the people serving in the Congress as cowards…and I still believe that most have no nuts for the job.

But there are a few that show the cajones to take on the president and the M-IC…..I have written about others that are showing some gumption…..

Source: Tulsi Gabbard Finds An Ally – In Saner Thought

Source: Did Congress Grow A Set? – In Saner Thought

Recently our president made a trip to Saudi Arabia and promised them about $110 billion in weapons…..and that will be challenged by a couple of brave Senators….

US senators introduced legislation on Thursday to stop at least a portion of President Donald Trump’s $110bn sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Republican Rand Paul and Democrats Chris Murphy and Al Franken introduced a resolution of disapproval in the Senate to force a vote on whether to block part of the sale.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee received formal notice of the pending sale on 19 May.

The Arms Export Control Act of 1976 allows a senator to force a vote on an arms sale, once Congress is formally notified of plans to go ahead.

The same three senators introduced a similar resolution last year seeking to block the sale of $1.15bn of tanks and other equipment to Saudi Arabia. That measure was defeated overwhelmingly.

(middleeasteye.net)

They will probably not be successful for the Saudis have many Senators in their back pockets….but at least these people are forcing the Congress to take a long look at the wasteful crap of this president.

On another front some of these people are pushing for the action on the Authorization for Use of Military Force(AUMF)….this is an attempt to try and force the Congress to do their duty and vote on any war-like action.

Since the US started attacking ISIS years ago, the legal basis for the war has been pretty much non-existent, with officials sometimes claiming the 9/11 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) from 2001 covers ISIS too, even though ISIS didn’t even exist when it was passed.

Congress has long spurned the idea of voting on the ISIS war, however, delaying it early in the war because it was too close to an election, and mostly forgetting about it after that. Sens. Jeff Flake (R – AZ) and Tim Kaine (D – VA) are reviving the push for a AUMF vote.

Flake issued a statement saying it was “past time for Congress to voice its support for the war against ISIS.” Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Corker (R – TN) says last year was “not the right time,” but that he thinks conditions might be right now for the vote.

(antiwar.com)

I may not agree with these people politically but I am on their side with this attempt to protect our troops and the curb the waste of money in war.

We are always hearing some moron going on about a balanced budget…..you want that then stop spending all the cash on war…pretty goddamn simple!

My hat is off to these brave souls as they will be chastised and will probably lose this battle but at least it will put both actions on the record and bring a little more light to them.

Closing Thought–11May17

Bomb’s Away!

As it is today the US is dropping bombs on at least 5 different nations through multiple sorties per day…..and that has created a bit of a problem…..

Massive air wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan are just the beginning of the story for the United States military, with regular strikes in places like Somalia and Yemen, and constant risks of the US launching a massive war on North Korea at any moment. That’s a lot of bombs being dropped, and mostly in open-ended conflicts.

A year ago, the Pentagon was warning that it was forced to raid its world-wide stockpiles of bombs because they were using so many. Now,, they’re running through those too, and are using smart-bombs faster than they can buy them from massive US arms makers.

That’s a big problem for the Pentagon, because as already the biggest consumer of bombs on the planet by far, there isn’t exactly a ton of leftover capacity for them to draw on. That makes the US air wars literally unsustainable at current levels, because there just aren’t enough bombs on the planet to supply them all

(antiwar.com)

The Defense industry runs non-stop and we still cannot keep up with the number of bombs needed…..does anyone see the problem here?

Thanx everyone for your visits and your comments…I appreciate your visits….time to bow out for the day….chuq

Closing Thought–08May17

Brain Games!

I for one think that learning is essential to life……one should continue long after leaving school….and anything that would help me learn faster and better could be a good thing.

DARPA, that super secret R&D outfit that researches weapons and other such necessities for our continuous wars,  is looking into a way to hack a human brain….that’s right…I said hack the human brain!

If the brain is just a bunch of wires and circuits, it stands to reason that those components can simply be re-wired in order to create a better, smarter us. At least, that’s the theory behind a new project from the military’s secretive DARPA research branch announced on Wednesday, which aims to enhance human cognitive ability by activating what’s known as “synaptic plasticity.”

Recent research has suggested that stimulating certain peripheral nerves—those that relay signals between the brain, the spinal cord and the rest of the body—can enhance a person’s ability to learn, by triggering the release of neurochemicals that reorganize connections in the brain. Through its new Targeted Neuroplasticity Training program, DARPA is is funding eight different research efforts that seek to enhance learning by targeting those nerves with electrical stimulation. The end goal is to translate those findings into real-world applications that boost military training regimens—allowing a soldier, to say, soak up a new language in months instead of years. Should DARPA figure out a way to do that, its efforts will likely go on to impact all of us.

Source: DARPA Wants to Hack Your Brain to Make You Learn Faster

Plus these people are using the human brain to make robots more deadly…..

Without even realizing it, soldiers could soon be training robot sharpshooters to take their jobs.

Modern sensors can see farther than humans. Electronic circuits can shoot faster than nerves and muscles can pull a trigger. Humans still outperform armed robots in knowing what to shoot at — but new research funded in part by the Army may soon narrow that gap.

Researchers from DCS Corp and the Army Research Lab fed datasets of human brain waves into a neural network — a type of artificial intelligence — which learned to recognize when a human is making a targeting decision. They presented their paper on it at the annual Intelligent User Interface conference in Cyprus in March.

Source: The Military is Using Human Brain Waves to Teach Robots How to Shoot – Defense One

While I like these ideas….I also see it as something that can and will be abused in the name of profit…..it is only a matter of time.

Any thoughts?

Today has been a bit slow on IST…I do hope it is not because I had to cut back….this is my last of the day….I have too much research to fool around……see you guys tomorrow….chuq  out.

From The Ashes

I have been a critic of the so-called “security contractors”….these people are nothing more than mercenaries….hired soldiers to fight wars for the rich and powerful…..they fight for money not some noble excuse like fighting communism or terrorism…..money is the only motivation.

To save space and my typing finger I will send you to an op-ed I recently wrote on this subject…..

Source: Rise of the American Mercenary – In Saner Thought

After so much bad PR the mercenaries in the Blackwater group changed their name to Xe and then sort of dropped off the world stage press coverage….

But did they?

Appears Blackwater guys have been working off the radar so to speak……

On Jan. 11, 2017, Intelligence Online — a professional journal covering the world’s intelligence services — revealed that the pilots of Air Tractor attack planes flying from Al Khadim air base in Libya are private contractors working for Erik Prince, the founder of the company formerly known as Blackwater.

War Is Boring’s own sources in Libya confirmed the assertion. Our sources said that the pilots flying the United Arab Emirates Air Force IOMAX AT-802 Air Tractors — converted crop-dusters — are mercenaries and aren’t Arabs.

Source: Erik Prince’s Mercenaries Are Bombing Libya

Once again we have an American company supplying mercenaries to fight in wars…an American company profiting off of the science of war….just an extension of the M-IC.

There use to be a punishment for fighting in a war that was not of your home nation…loss of citizenship…may I suggest that it is time for this to be reconsidered.