Monday, January 17, 2011


Typical Pie Chart of Annual U.S. Discretionary Funds Appropriations--for full description see

All the papers and TV networks were trumpeting the news a couple of weeks ago. The Department of Defense was proposing to cut its own budget by $100 billion [over 5 years]. An unprecedented offer-- from the military that has been driving more than one half of the U.S. government's annual discretionary budget for most of my lifetime. This would apparently mean $20 billion less than the $693 billion military appropriations of 2010 [3% savings]. But we need to examine what conservative commentator Paul Harvey used to call "the rest of the story."

The proposed DoD budget "cut" is only from a wish list of budget increases they had proposed. As NPR reports 1-7-10, "Defense Secretary Robert Gates did something of the impossible today: He announced cuts to the defense budget, and at the same time, though, he unveiled a plan to grow military spending." It will in fact grow by 3%. Some programs are cut, but the savings, plus a little extra, are shifted to other places in the Pentagon. 1

Source--Library of Congress, 1913 photo-- Houdini gets ready to take a dip into the water torture cell

Ms. KORI SCHAKE (Former Bush Administration Official): "My sense is that he's actually pulled off one of the great Houdini acts of our time because everybody's talking about this $100 billion-cut in the budget. What Gates has actually done is moved $100 billion from his existing budget to his existing budget." 1

"Retired Republican Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming wanted Gates to make real cuts. Simpson was part of a presidential commission that proposed 100 billion cuts in one year alone and would use it to cut the [national] deficit, not let the Pentagon pocket its savings." 1

The Pentagon, and its business partners, have made the military into our most profitable, but profligate, industry. No audits of its accounts are performed. Cost overruns are guaranteed payment, with profit margins above and beyond, that are also guaranteed. Can there be greater incentive to forever drive up the costs? Waste is "job one" at the Pentagon.

"Military spending has more than doubled since the 9/11 attacks." Article in NYT July 29, 2010 2 Our giant consumer economy and financial sectors certainly outspend the military industry, but it's disregard for good business practice has set the tone for all others, and is bankrupting us.

Remember post 911, shadowed by the tragedy of the Trade Towers in that financial crisis Enron went down, and our investment retirement accounts with it. We were told our patriotic duty was to go out and buy things [using credit for money that didn't materialize]. It would help defeat the terrorists. No need to sacrifice. Up puffed housing bubbles, banking derivatives bubbles—then burst.

We were all using shopping, or a select few playing the financial markets, as a distraction from facing our real situation in the world. We can't spend or shoot our way out of trouble. We live in an interdependent world, in which we are not police headquarters, just one of the neighbors with the nicest {yet some threat of foreclosure} house on the block.

Our reliance on inflated money and military aspirations, was only self-defeating. The U.S. is confined deeper in international debtors' prison—the Bush administration legacy.

On Jan. 19, 2001, Bush inauguration, the national debt was 5,727,776,738,304.64
On Jan 19, 2009, Obama inauguration, it was 10,625,053,544,309.79 Nearly doubled. Unfortunately, we are still bringing it on, as of Jan. 13, 2011 it is
We march on, trillion dollar debtor, war-on-terrorists. 3

"Our future on this planet, exposed as it is to nuclear annihilation, depends upon one single factor: humanity must make a moral about-face. – Pope John Paul II

"The choice today is no longer between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Faith in the dawn arises from the faith that God is good and just. When one believes this, one knows that the contradictions of life are neither final nor ultimate. One can walk through the dark night with the radiant conviction that all things work together for good for those that love God. Even the most starless midnight may herald the dawn of some great fulfillment." Martin Luther King, Jr.




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