Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The U.S. squanders billions on new aircraft carrier while American borders with Narcomex remain undefended

How many politicians got seven-figure jobs in the private sector after having pushed the project along? No one will ever know.
US squanders billions on new aircraft carrier
25 July 2017
In yet another massive squandering of public resources, the United States on Saturday commissioned the USS Gerald Ford, the country’s 11th supercarrier, at the cost of some $13 billion.
The combined price tag of the ship and its air wing of F-35c fighters, at $30 billion, is roughly equivalent to what the United Nations estimate for the annual cost of ending world hunger.
No doubt many defense contractor executives assembled to watch the ship’s christening had their private jets and country club memberships paid for with this monstrosity, which came in some $3 billion above budget. How many politicians got seven-figure jobs in the private sector after having pushed the project along? No one will ever know.
The Gerald Ford is just part of a major expansion of the US Navy, which was underway even before Trump announced his plans to increase US military spending by $54 billion each year and expand the size of the Navy by 75 ships. Over the next decade, the US military plans to field not only a new set of carriers, but a brand new class of ballistic missile submarines, destroyers, fighters, long-range bombers and nuclear missiles.
This expansion of military spending, under both Obama and Trump, has been met, on the part of the media, with either enthusiastic approval or silence.
By the time the carrier is operational in some three to four years, it will already be obsolete. When the United Kingdom commissioned its latest aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal United Services Institute noted that the vast ship was largely defenseless against the current generation of anti-ship cruise missiles fielded by Russia, China and other countries.
“Missiles costing (much) less than half a million pounds a unit could at least disable a British aircraft carrier that costs more than £3 billion,” it said.
Commenting on the report, the Russian Defense Ministry joked that the British aircraft carrier was “merely a large convenient naval target.” The same epithet could be applied to the Gerald Ford. This steel bathtub, housing some 4,300 sailors, airmen and officers, could be sunk within minutes if it wandered within 400 miles of the coast of Kaliningrad, Syria or, for that matter, China.
And yet, America has eleven of these dinosaurs, together with eight helicopter carriers that are as big as the aircraft carriers of other countries. With 5 percent of the world’s population, the US fields three quarters of the world’s carrier tonnage.
At Saturday’s commissioning ceremony, US President Donald Trump delivered a blustering, delusional speech, full of wild threats, in which he presented a picture of the United States arming itself to the teeth. He called the ship a “message to the world” that “American might is second to none, and we’re getting bigger, and better, and stronger every day.”
“Our enemies will shake with fear because everyone will know that America is coming,” he declared. Who these enemies are (one assumes they are not Islamists armed with Kalashnikovs) was never specified.
Trump added, “This ship also ensures that if a fight does come, it will always end the same way: we will win, win, win. We will never lose. We will win.”
In a clear breach of the principle of civilian rule over the military, he appealed to the sailors and officers gathered at the event to demand that the government expand military spending.
Summing up, the former real estate speculator said, "When it comes to battle, we don’t want a fair fight. We want just the opposite. We demand victory, and we will have total victory.”
Trump’s speech, showing the influence of his fascist-minded advisors Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller, did not invoke the word “democracy,” or even the principle of “self-defense,” within which the operations of US imperialism have traditionally been couched. All that was left was naked military force, threats and coercion.
While there exist significant differences between Trump and elements of the US military/intelligence apparatus, the US president, in his belief in violence as a solution to historical problems, exemplifies the thinking that pervades American policy circles, which seek to maintain US global dominance through the expansion of military power.
The USS Gerald Ford is the physical embodiment of the idea that the long-term historical decline of American capitalism can be offset by more guns, more ships, more wars and more deaths.
The “American Century” has been characterized by the overwhelming superiority of US air power. Despite the fact that the United States has been continuously at war since 1991, not a single US soldier has been attacked by enemy aircraft for over six decades.
And yet, as the US moves into increasingly sharp conflict with Russia, China and even its European allies, it is becoming increasingly clear that its most advanced weapons systems, including aircraft carriers and “stealth” aircraft such as the F-22, F-35 and B-2, would see substantial losses in the event of a shooting war with Russia, China or even some lesser, regional power such as Iran.
In recognition of this reality, Gen. Mark A. Milley noted that the US needs to prepare for conflicts in which “the levels of violence… would be immense and it would be the likes of what the world hasn’t seen since the Second World War.”
Despite the vast scale of US arms spending and the breathtaking scope of its military operations all over the world, it is increasingly undeniable that the period of US military, economic and geopolitical hegemony is coming to an end.
This was the conclusion of a study published by the US Army War College late last month, which asserts that American political hegemony is “not merely fraying,” but “collapsing.”
The report goes on to state that the order that “first emerged from World War II” was “transformed to a unipolar system with the collapse of the Soviet Union." It continues: "The 17-year period after the Cold War... was a unique time when American power was essentially unchallenged,” but “we have been moving into a new era.”
With the rise of “revisionist” powers like China and Russia, the United States has been so weakened that “it no longer can—as in the past—automatically generate consistent and sustained local military superiority at range.”
This is in line with an assessment by historian Alfred W. McCoy, who declares in a soon-to-be released book: “All available economic, educational, technological data indicate that when it comes to US global power, negative trends are likely to aggregate rapidly by 2020, and could reach a critical mass no later than 2030. The American Century, proclaimed so triumphantly at the start of World War II, may already be tattered and fading by 2025, and, except for the finger pointing, could be over by 2030.”
But the relative decline of the United States is, in some ways, the least of the US military’s worries. The Army War College report notes that, beyond the collapse of the US-dominated world order, “[A]ll states and traditional political authority structures are under increasing pressure.” It adds, “The fracturing of the post-Cold War global system is accompanied by the internal fraying in the political, social and economic fabric of practically all states.”
It cites an earlier report that warned of the "increasing chasm between governments and their governed over the basic right to rule.” It adds, “Today, all states are experiencing a precipitous decline in their authority, influence, reach and common attraction,” as populations are presented with “myriad alternative sources of political alignment or allegiance.”
It concludes that states “now all wrestle with one another over competing interests while standing on quicksand—threatened” not only by national rivals, but “the fragile and restive social order they themselves rest on.” In this case, the quicksand is a metaphor for the growth of popular opposition to war, social inequality and capitalism itself.
Confronting crisis at home and abroad, the US is lashing out everywhere simultaneously: against Russia, China, Iran, and now even its NATO allies. The same weekend that Trump commissioned his aircraft carrier, the House of Representatives reached a deal on a bill that would sanction European companies for economic dealings with Russia, a move that, according to a leaked EU memo, would bring retaliatory measures by the EU “within days.”
All of this presents a warning to the working class: The US ruling elite, faced with economic stagnation, geopolitical decline and a crisis of legitimacy at home, sees war, no matter how bloody and disastrous, as the solution to its problems. 
Andre Damon

are by Mex gangs, and 93% of murders in La Raza-Occupied Los Angeles are by 


“In Mexico, a recent Zogby poll declared that the vast majority of Mexican citizens hate Americans. [22.2] Mexico is a country  saturated with racism, yet in denial, having never endured the social development of a Civil Rights movement like in the US--Blacks are harshly treated while foreign Whites are often seen as the enemy. [22.3] In fact, racism as workplace discrimination can be seen across the US anywhere the illegal alien Latino works--the vast majority of the workforce is usually strictly Latino, excluding Blacks, Whites, Asians, and others.”


An American immigrant is not someone supported by government funds in a "relocation" center; flown over here at government expense; given a cash allowance, free housing, and medical care; and then eased onto local public assistance: Section 8 rental grants, food stamps, WIC, AFDC, clothes from one government-sponsored charity or another, Medicaid, and public schooling, with free lunch and breakfasts and even help with furniture. That's not an immigrant.  That's a future Democrat voter.  ----- RICHARD F. MINITER – AMERICAN THINKER         COM


Are America's Wars Just and Moral?

Patrick J. Buchanan
 By Patrick J. Buchanan | July 25, 2017 | 4:24 AM EDT

The bombed-out ruins Aleppo, Syria. (Photo: Voice of America)
"One knowledgeable official estimates that the CIA-backed fighters may have killed or wounded 100,000 Syrian soldiers and their allies," writes columnist David Ignatius.
Given that Syria's prewar population was not 10 percent of ours, this is the equivalent of a million dead and wounded Americans. What justifies America's participation in this slaughter?
Columnist Eric Margolis summarizes the successes of the six-year civil war to overthrow President Bashar Assad.
"The result of the western-engendered carnage in Syria was horrendous: at least 475,000 dead, 5 million Syrian refugees driven into exile in neighboring states (Turkey alone hosts three million), and another 6 million internally displaced. ... 11 million Syrians ... driven from their homes into wretched living conditions and near famine.
"Two of Syria's greatest and oldest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, have been pounded into ruins. Jihadist massacres and Russian and American air strikes have ravaged once beautiful, relatively prosperous Syria. Its ancient Christian peoples are fleeing for their lives before US and Saudi takfiri religious fanatics."
Realizing the futility of U.S. policy, President Trump is cutting aid to the rebels. And the War Party is beside itself. Says The Wall Street Journal:
"The only way to reach an acceptable diplomatic solution is if Iran and Russia feel they are paying too high a price for their Syria sojourn. This means more support for Mr. Assad's enemies, not cutting them off without notice. And it means building up a Middle East coalition willing to fight Islamic State and resist Iran. The U.S. should also consider enforcing 'safe zones' in Syria for anti-Assad forces."
Yet, fighting ISIS and al-Qaida in Syria, while bleeding the Assad-Iran-Russia-Hezbollah victors, is a formula for endless war and unending terrors visited upon the Syrian people.
What injury did the Assad regime, in power for half a century and having never attacked us, inflict to justify what we have helped to do to that country?
Is this war moral by our own standards?
We overthrew Saddam Hussein in 2003 and Moammar Gadhafi in 2012. Yet, the fighting, killing and dying in both countries have not ceased. Estimates of the Iraq civilian and military dead run into the hundreds of thousands.
Still, the worst humanitarian disaster may be unfolding in Yemen.
After the Houthis overthrew the Saudi-backed regime and took over the country, the Saudis in 2015 persuaded the United States to support its air strikes, invasion and blockade.
By January 2016, the U.N. estimated a Yemeni civilian death toll of 10,000, with 40,000 wounded. However, the blockade of Yemen, which imports 90 percent of its food, has caused a crisis of malnutrition and impending famine that threatens millions of the poorest people in the Arab world with starvation.
No matter how objectionable we found these dictators, what vital interests of ours were so imperiled by the continued rule of Saddam, Assad, Gadhafi and the Houthis that they would justify what we have done to the peoples of those countries?
"They make a desert and call it peace," Calgacus said of the Romans he fought in the first century. Will that be our epitaph?
Among the principles for a just war, it must be waged as a last resort, to address a wrong suffered, and by a legitimate authority. Deaths of civilians are justified only if they are unavoidable victims of a deliberate attack on a military target.
The wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen were never authorized by Congress. The civilian dead, wounded and uprooted in Syria, and the malnourished millions in Yemen, represent a moral cost that seems far beyond any proportional moral gain from those conflicts.
In which of the countries we have attacked or invaded in this century — Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen — are the people better off than they were before we came?
And we wonder why they hate us.
"Those to whom evil is done/Do evil in return," wrote W. H. Auden in "September 1, 1939." As the peoples of Syria and the other broken and bleeding countries of the Middle East flee to Europe and America, will not some come with revenge on their minds and hatred in their hearts?
Meanwhile, as the Americans bomb across the Middle East, China rises. She began the century with a GDP smaller than Italy's and now has an economy that rivals our own.
She has become the world's first manufacturing power, laid claim to the islands of the East and South China seas, and told America to keep her warships out of the Taiwan Strait.
Xi Jinping has launched a "One Belt, One Road" policy to finance trade ports and depots alongside the military and naval bases being established in Central and South Asia.
Meanwhile, the Americans, $20 trillion in debt, running $800 billion trade deficits, unable to fix their health care system, reform their tax code, or fund an infrastructure program, prepare to fight new Middle East war.
Whom the Gods would destroy ...
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever."

Centrist GOP lawmakers push back against border wall funding

Centrist GOP lawmakers push back against border wall funding
Two House Republicans want to water down plans to include funds to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall promised by President Trump in the spending package slated for a floor vote this week.
Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), whose district includes the largest section of the Mexican border of any House member, has long said building the wall would be impractical and ineffective.
House GOP leaders plan to add $1.6 billion to the spending package to begin construction on the border wall. The legislation will likely be blocked by Democrats in the Senate, but will serve as an opening salvo for the debate in September to avoid a government shutdown this fall.
Hurd has submitted an amendment that would prevent the use of funds to build any physical barriers, including walls or fences, along the border until the secretary of Homeland Security submits a comprehensive border security strategy to Congress.
Under Hurd’s amendment, the report would need to provide a justification for using a more expensive type of physical barrier or tool, as well as a cost estimate for protecting each mile of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) is so far the only other Republican to sign on to Hurd’s amendment. Like Hurd, Fitzpatrick is part of the House GOP’s centrist faction that represents a district expected to be targeted by Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.
Three Texas Democrats who also represent districts along the U.S.-Mexico border have endorsed Hurd’s proposal: Reps. Vicente Gonz├ílez, Henry Cuellar and Beto O’Rourke.
Rep. Filemon Vela (Texas), another border-district Democrat, told The Hill Tuesday he would not support Hurd's amendment because it lays out a path through which a border wall could eventually be funded.
"It's too much of a middle ground," said Vela.
But O'Rourke, who along with Vela has been one of the strongest opponents of the wall, said he would support any amendment opposing the wall, including Hurd's.
"It asks all the right questions," said O'Rourke, who is running for Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) seat in 2018. 
A spokeswoman for Hurd didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
The House Rules Committee is meeting Tuesday to determine which of the more than 300 amendments submitted to the spending package will be allowed votes on the floor.
The Rules panel is controlled by the majority party leadership and determines how legislation is considered by the full House.
All of the Republicans who represent part of the U.S.-Mexico border have expressed skepticism about building the wall as proposed by Trump. Like Hurd, Reps. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) have said the wall would be ineffective.
Pearce’s district is the only one along the Mexican border that Trump won in November.
In a statement back in January after Trump issued an executive order directing agencies to begin construction of the wall, Hurd said that it would be “the most expensive and least effective way to secure the border.”
“Each section of the border faces unique geographical, cultural, and technological challenges that would be best addressed with a flexible, sector-by-sector approach that empowers the agents on the ground with the resources they need,” Hurd said at the time.
The $1.6 billion for the border wall is expected to be added to the spending bill by the Rules Committee.
Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Department of Homeland Security, has submitted an amendment allocating the $1.6 billion specifically for physical barriers in the Rio Grande Valley and in San Diego. It reflects the amount included in a Homeland Security spending bill advanced by the House Appropriations Committee last week.
The Rules Committee could grant Carter’s amendment a vote on the assumption it would be adopted on the floor. But the Rules panel could also decide to unilaterally include the amendment in the spending package before it hits the floor, which means there wouldn’t be a standalone vote on wall funding.
—Rafael Bernal contributed.

House votes to add border wall funding to spending bill


House votes to add border wall funding to spending bill
© Getty Images
The House used a procedural maneuver on Thursday to add $1.6 billion to a government spending bill for construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall promised by President Trump.
Lawmakers won’t be faced with a standalone vote on approving the $1.6 billion in taxpayer funds to pay for the wall. Instead, House GOP leaders opted to tuck adoption of the $1.6 billion into a procedural vote that begins floor debate on the part of the legislation that provides funding for defense programs.
Avoiding a standalone vote on the wall funding prevented what could have been a tough vote for some GOP lawmakers. Trump had promised during the campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall. 
Five Republicans opposed the procedural vote: Reps. Will Hurd (Texas), Justin Amash (Mich.), Thomas Massie (Ky.), Walter Jones (N.C.) and Steve Pearce (N.M.). 
The House is expected to pass the national security-focused spending package later on Thursday.
The $1.6 billion would be specifically allocated for physical barriers in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and in San Diego, Calif. That includes 32 miles of new fencing and 28 miles of new levee wall in the Rio Grande Valley, in addition to 14 miles of secondary fencing in San Diego.
Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Department of Homeland Security, said he was disappointed lawmakers were considering a scaled-back spending package instead of bills to fund all parts of the federal government.
The spending package on the floor this week only includes money for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Energy, legislative branch operations and the Defense Department, along with the wall.
“Despite my reservations about the process, I believe that each of these three projects included in this amendment are absolutely necessary for national security,” Carter said of the wall funding.
Not all Republicans are on board with making Trump’s vision of a border wall become reality.
Hurd's district includes more than 800 miles of the Mexican border, more than that of any other House member. He and the two other Republicans who represent border districts have long said that building a wall along the entire southwestern border would be impractical and ineffective.
President Trump won only one of the nine districts along the U.S.-Mexico border in last year's election. That district is represented by Pearce, who like Hurd opposed the procedural move on Thursday.
Hurd submitted an amendment to the spending package that would have prevented the use of funds to build any physical barriers along the border, including walls or fences, until the Department of Homeland Security submits a comprehensive border security strategy justifying the costs.
Despite opposing the idea of a wall entirely, three Texas Democrats who also represent parts of the border signed onto Hurd’s amendment: Reps. Vicente Gonz├ílez, Henry Cuellar and Beto O’Rourke.
Hurd introduced legislation on Thursday that would require the Department of Homeland Security to prioritize technology-based solutions for border security and submit a comprehensive border strategy is submitted to Congress. Five other Republicans, including Pearce, and Cuellar, a border-district Democrat, have signed onto Hurd's bill.
"We can’t double down on a Third Century approach to solve 21st Century problems if we want a viable long-term solution,” Hurd said in a statement.
The House Rules Committee, which is controlled by the majority party leadership to determine how bills are considered on the floor, did not grant Hurd’s amendment a floor vote.
The Rules Committee also rejected several amendments from Democrats to prohibit any use of funds to build the border wall.

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