Defense Spending

Donald Trump’s Ignorance Of Science, History, Geography, Spelling, Math, Reading: Just Like His Poorly Educated Base!

Donald Trump has proved himself to be totally ignorant of so many fields of knowledge.

He is ignorant of science, and of the dangers presented by climate change and global warming.

He is ignorant of history, displaying his total lack of basic historical facts.

He is ignorant of basic geography, and could not point out nations or states on a map of the world.

He cannot spell, making constant mistakes on Twitter. It is true that anyone can misspell occasionally, and that typos can occur, but it happens so often that it demonstrates that he cannot spell, or if he does, he has no concern about how his blunders in spelling appear to readers of his Twitter account. He has no concern to correct himself, or admit shortcomings in spelling.

He has no concern about math, and what kind of increased costs his Mexico Wall proposal and vastly increased defense spending request would do to the budget.

He has no interest in reading, and lacks concentration power to stick to anything he reads, the reason why he wishes all memos to him to be one page, so he has never read the text of any healthcare bill conjured up by Congress to destroy ObamaCare.

He has no concern about details about anything, just wishing to add a notch to his so called “accomplishments” list, which now after eight months is one name–Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch–but by a smaller vote margin of 55-45, the least of anyone in the 20th or 21st century, except for Justice Clarence Thomas, who was confirmed in 1991 by a vote of 52-48.

What is truly sad is that Donald Trump’s gaps of knowledge are shared by a large portion of his poorly educated base, who hate universities, professors, and intellectuals, because they revel in their own inferiority and ignorance.

This is a definite long term crisis for America, the ignorance and lack of appreciation of education and knowledge, by a substantial percentage of the masses, who would rather follow an ignorant billionaire, and hang on his every word, rather than use reason and evaluation in their daily lives.

Are We On The Brink Of A Nuclear War, Or Another Massive Infusion Of Troops In The Korean Peninsula, As In 1950?

Today is Easter, and any sensible person is on tenterhooks as we seem to be on the brink of a nuclear war, or another massive infusion of troops in the Korean Peninsula, due to the crazy North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, striving to be a threat to the United States mainland and to his Asian Pacific neighbors.

Kim Jong Un is unstable, unpredictable, mercurial, dangerous, reckless–but so is our President, Donald Trump.

Trump seems to be on an ego trip over his bombing of a Syrian airfield, and the MOAB (Mother Of All Bombs) dropped on an ISIL (ISIS) stronghold in Afghanistan in the past week.

Military leaders are running the show, while Trump says the North Korean issue will be settled one way or the other.

The ratcheting up of rhetoric on both sides is terrifying, and it means we have the possibility of all out war coming, either by use of nuclear weapons for the first time since World War II, or more likely, a massive infusion of American troops into the Korean Peninsula after an expected North Korean invasion of South Korea, and the raining down of missiles on Seoul, the capital of South Korea, with more than 10 million people, by the North Korean regime.

If a ground war develops, we could see massive loss of life on the part of South Koreans, and Japan is also in danger, as well as the 28,000 American troops already present in South Korea, the reminder that we have had troops in South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

So 64 years later, nearly two thirds of a century, we may be soon engaging in another major war, which could, if things do not go well, lead to the decision to restart the military draft of young Americans, even though there has been no draft since 1973, and only registration required since 1980.

There is no question of the threat of North Korea, but to have an unstable egomaniac in Donald Trump dealing with this, instead of the sane and experienced Hillary Clinton, is a true concern.

Donald Trump had said he wished to put “America First”, and not engage in foreign wars, and yet now, he seems likely to engage in a war with North Korea, that will not easily be won, along with hints of ground troops in Syria, causing a confrontation with Russia and Vladimir Putin.

We must recall that the Korean War was not won, but was simply a truce, and there are no simple answers to this crisis, but we can sense military leadership taking over from civilian leadership, as Trump allows Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster to make final decisions on intervention that could undermine the nature of our democracy for the long term.

Let us not forget that when we commit troops to foreign war, in an age of no draft, who are the victims? They are primarily poor whites, as well as racial minorities, who commit themselves to a military career as the best alternative of occupation in a nation that has a growing poverty level, and the rich getting ever richer while the middle class sinks.

Instead of spending another $50 billion on defense, we should be spending on domestic needs, as we already have a bigger defense budget than the next eight nations combined.

America’s Defense Budget More Than 13 Other Nations Combined!

America’s defense budget is over $600 billion per year, more than the next 13 nations combined, and one can be sure that the intelligence agencies, all 16 of them, are not included in this total, as their budgets, and in many cases their actual existence, are a deep dark secret!

China, by comparison spends one sixth of our defense budget annually, about $100 billion, for a nation with four times the population of the United States.

The other countries on the list include Russia, Great Britain, Japan, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, India, Brazil, South Korea, Australia, Iran, and Italy.

The military budget is far higher than it was during the Cold War, and too much is being spent on nuclear weapons, and weapons systems that will never, in reality, be used.

But the Pentagon budget has long been one of massive cost overruns, and corruption by corporations that produce our war goods, and meanwhile the one half of one percent spent on “welfare” is being targeted for massive cuts by the Paul Ryan GOP Budget!

It is time for smart spending on defense, not massive waste at the cost of basic decency for our poorest citizens in a country that likes to think it is the most advanced in the world, but yet is too ready to sacrifice “social spending” in the name of mindless defense spending!

The Coming GOP Battle Between Ted Cruz And Rand Paul: Neither Good For The Republican Party!

It is now clear, after the CPAC convention, that the battle for the soul of the Republican Party is, most likely, to be between Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

Cruz represents the aggressive, in your face, bombastic image of the Tea Party, while Paul represents the libertarian, isolationist view of the same Tea Party.

Both hate the national government, and both want to cut domestic social spending, and have no desire to deal with the problems of the working class and the poor.

Both want to undermine the GOP establishment, and work against the idea of working with President Obama, and accepting that part of politics is negotiation and compromise.

Both men have very little ability to win a national election, as both are seen as extreme, and unable to take “Blue” states away from the Democrats.

Both appeal to those who want to put America back in the age of laissez faire of the Gilded Age, and want to assist the one percent who have become more wealthy and powerful at the expense of the middle class.

Cruz has a demagogic manner about him, reminding many of Joseph McCarthy in appearance and style, but he is seen as dangerous because despite his egotism, he is clearly very smart. However, he is willing to throw other Republicans “under the bus”, with his working against fellow Texas Senator John Cornyn, and also resisting Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as attacking past Republican Presidential nominees Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. Cruz has no ethics when it comes to pursuing his own ambitions, and he is extremely vain and arrogant. Imagining him dealing with foreign leaders is an absolute horror!

Paul, on the other hand, supports the idea that businesses should be able to reject customers based on race, being critical of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He is a libertarian like his dad, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, and believes that philosophy is realistic in the 21st century. He would love to cut defense spending enough so that we would withdraw from many of our bases around the world , an appealing idea, but not a realistic one. He comes across as more a visionary than Cruz, more pleasant than Cruz, willing to give respect to the elder statesmen of the party, and work with Establishment Republicans in the Senate, while disagreeing with them. He seems, overall, not as bright and ambitious as Cruz is.

Both are horrible choices for President, and both would lose, but the feeling is that Cruz is more of a threat, although the belief is that he would crash and burn, once the election campaign was in full swing. It seems likely that Paul would do better in electoral votes, and would be more liked personally, but still could not win a national election.

The ultimate question is why the Republican Party seems incapable of finding a truly great Presidential candidate, although in the long run, that does not matter as the Electoral College math dooms them in 2016, as long as they continue to alienate many major voting groups.

So the decline of the GOP, by a massive electoral defeat in 2016, seems more likely as the clock ticks toward the election year!

John McCain, Lindsey Graham, And NEOCON Hawks: Total Lunatics!

Senator John McCain of Arizona and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina seem ready to have America involved in another major war in Ukraine, as if we do not have enough loss of treasure and life in Iraq and Afghanistan already!

Thank goodness that McCain was not elected President in 2008, and with moron Sarah Palin by his side, a heartbeat away, as we would have been engaged with troops on the ground in Libya, Syria, and Iran, along with staying in Iraq and Afghanistan, under a man who thinks war solves issues, and that America has no limits on military spending!

Lindsey Graham is always at McCain’s side, ready to bomb and attack, while very willing to cut spending for the poor and the elderly, and it makes one wonder how he sleeps at night!

But this is the Neocons at work, destroying our budget and our unity, in their mad dash to impose America’s will, as if this is the Cold War all over again!

The fact is that they refuse to understand that Crimea is to Russia what Mexico is to us, a boundary line that we will defend at all costs. If Mexico became unreliable and a threat to America, we would intervene as Vladamir Putin has in Crimea.

It is not an issue of endorsement of Putin and Russia, but rather an issue of Crimea being their “back yard”, and there is no way that Russia will allow an unfriendly Crimea, where a majority are Russian ethnically, to be hostile to Russian interests.

This is nothing new in history, and considering the numerous examples of US intervention since World War II. some of them justified and many NOT justified, who are we to dictate to other nations on the safety of their borders?

So it is a question of reality, not morals and ethics!

Cutting Military Spending A Good Step, Since We Have As Much Spending as Next Twelve Nations Combined!

The world is an unsafe place, and yes, we have to be prepared for any eventuality, but does that mean that we need to spend as much as the next twelve nations combined?

Can we possibly match the two nations with bigger armies, China and India, when they both have3-4 times our population?

Do we really need so many aircraft carriers, and more nuclear weapons, and more bombers than we have now, which cost billions upon billions, while the ranks of the poor and the near poor continue to grow?

Can we intervene in every international crisis, even if the cause is good and moral, or do we have to pick our battles, and only engage militarily when the urgency of intervention is clear cut?

The plan, announced this week by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, to scale down the military to the smallest number of troops since before World War II engagement, in a world where technology, including drones, is going to be used more and more, makes total sense, as future wars will not be fought like World War II or even the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

We will still be number one, but have extra funds available to help promote the “American Dream” for future generations, emphasizing health care, education, housing, and the revival of the flagging middle class!

The Republican Party will have a “knee jerk” reaction to any proposal to scale down the military, but it can and must be done in a sensible, rational way, or else the national debt increase, much fueled by defense spending out of all control in the past decade, doubling over that time, will suffocate American democracy!

The Founding Fathers did not wish a defense behemoth as the Pentagon has become since World War II, and the Cold War is over, and the whole strategy of defense can be modified safely, and save trillions of dollars over time!

The Reagan Era Is Over: Obama Agenda Makes That Perfectly Clear!

The Reagan Era, which lasted from 1981-2009, is over, and will be seen as constituting those years in the history books! This would include the time of George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, as well as Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Reagan promoted the idea of distrust of government; of greatly increased federal spending on defense and national security, while cutting domestic spending: helped to undermine labor rights and minority rights; allowed corporate dominance to grow without federal regulations; undermined the environment and consumer safety; engaged America into a major role in the Middle East, therefore promoting anti American terrorism; and caused through their taxation cuts on the upper class and their wild defense spending to cause most of the increase in the national debt from $1 trillion when Jimmy Carter left office to $10.5 trillion when George W. Bush left office.

Even Bill Clinton, the one Democratic President, accepted the idea of smaller government and less regulation, while, however, having the success of adding less to the national debt and having balanced budgets for several years, something that the Republican Presidents—Reagan and the two Bushes—were unable to accomplish during the 20 years out of 28 total in the era they were in charge.

And one must recall that Republicans controlled the Senate from 1981-1987, and from 1995-2007, except for the last half of 2001 and 2002. And they controlled the House of Representatives from 1995-2007. So they had an impact on policy making for a majority of the years of the Reagan era.

Barack Obama represents a diametrically opposite viewpoint on all of the characteristics of the Reagan era. While he will not be able to accomplish all of his goals in the second term, with the GOP control of the House, and the ability to use the Senate filibuster in the upper chamber, the Obama era can now be seen as a path breaking event, similar to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan representing fundamental change in their times!

Two Weeks In: Is Paul Ryan A Positive For Mitt Romney?

Tomorrow morning, it will have been two weeks since Paul Ryan was selected as the GOP Vice Presidential nominee.

The question is whether or not it has been a positive for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party.

The answer is both yes and no, but with the no side more obvious!

In a positive way, Paul Ryan has come across as a photogenic candidate, a man who is intelligent, bright, and an outstanding speaker at political events, and in the latter area, far outdistancing Mitt Romney, his running mate.

But on the negative side, the political focus has been on issues that harm him and the Republican Party, going into their convention in Tampa next Monday to Thursday.

The first week was dominated by his proposal to make Medicare a voucher program for future Medicare recipients, and while many observers give Ryan credit for his courage in pushing the idea in his Ryan budget, it is clearly a negative on the campaign trail, scaring many seniors who, theoretically, will not be affected by the plan, since it only affects those under 55. It also antagonizes many who are a bit younger than 55, and do not appreciate that what they are paying for in payroll taxes may lead to a system far less supportive of them when they are seniors, than their older brothers and sisters or parents are entitled to.

The fact that Paul Ryan supported every spending program of the Bush Administration, and wishes to avoid any spending cuts for defense, although he originally supported such cuts, also hurts.

As bad as the Medicare and spending issues have been, the abortion, rape and Todd Akin controversy this past week has done a tremendous amount of damage among a majority of women, particularly since Ryan had the same view on the subject as Akin, while the GOP was throwing Akin “under the bus”, so to speak. And since Akin refused to leave the Missouri Senate race, he is an albatross around Ryan’s and Romney’s neck for the remainder of the campaign.

So in antagonizing senior citizens, and those near senior citizen status, in the not so distant future, and women who have a sense of dignity and pride about the control of their own bodies, Paul Ryan has been much more a negative factor than a positive one.

And the ultimate irony is that he has provided, basically, no “bump” for Mitt Romney, far less than Sarah Palin did in the beginning for John McCain four years ago!

Reality: American Defense Spending As Much As Ten Other Nations Combined!

In the midst of debate about defense spending, it should be pointed out that Pentagon spending is over $600 billion annually, while China is at $90 billion, even with increased spending!

Also, the US spends more on defense than the next TEN nations combined!

And finally, the cuts in defense spending are on FUTURE INCREASES in spending, not an actual cut in present defense spending!

Will this have any effect on opponents who will accuse the Obama Administration of putting America in danger?

Of course not, but it shows what the Obama Administration is doing is justifiable and reasonable!

The Death Of Former Senator Mark Hatfield Of Oregon: A Great Public Servant And Mainstream Republican!

The death over last weekend of former Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon reminds us of just how far the Republican Party has shifted from the 1960s through the 1990s mainstream historical tradition.

Mark Hatfield was a Senator’s Senator, one of the giants of the Republican Party, much admired and respected by Democrats, as well as mainstream Republicans.

The fact that South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond in the early years of Hatfield’s Senate tenure, and newly elected Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum in 1995 moved to harm Hatfield’s seniority over different issues such as civil rights and the so called “balanced budget” amendment, only adds to his historical stature. And today, we have people of the ilk of Thurmond (Rick Perry, for instance), and Santorum himself attempting to be the nominee of his party for President on a platform promoting hate and lunatic ideas, demonstrating the moral crisis in the GOP these days.

Hatfield believed in government, supported social programs with vigor, and opposed defense spending and intervention in foreign lands, having the distinction of NEVER supporting a Pentagon spending bill in his thirty years in the US Senate.

Hafield was a religious man, a Baptist, but believed in separation of church and state. He was the true image of a really religious man, who believed that we are here to help our fellow human beings, not be mean spirited and uncaring about those less fortunate. He was the true follower of the beliefs of Jesus Christ, not phonies such as Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain, among others in the GOP Presidential race.

Mark Hatfield was a principled progressive in the Republican tradition, and was willing to cross the aisle to work with Democrats for the good of the nation.

How can we mark his death at age 89, without a sense of mourning that the party he was a proud member of, has become a disgrace, an embarrassment, a dinosaur, as the party has allowed itself to be taken over by greedy, selfish interests, and Tea Party radicals that are anarchists, with willingness to destroy the American economy in their hatred of those less fortunate, and particularly their despising of the first African American President, who if he were white, would not have as much poison and venom directed at him, as Barack Obama has to bear daily from despicable talk show hosts and bigoted, right wing corporate spokesmen, and most Congressional Republicans.

Mark Hatfield will be remembered as in the best tradition of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Robert La Follette, Sr., George Norris, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and numerous other moderate progressives, including Jacob Javits, Nelson Rockefeller, Charles Percy, Charles Mathias, Lowell Weicker, Edward Brooke, Clifford Case, William Scranton, Bob Packwood, George Romney, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. and others not mentioned here.

So may Mark Hatfield rest in peace, and we should continue to honor him, and teach about his principles and contributions to our political history!