Saturday, July 28, 2018


House Democrats vote for record US military spending

By Patrick Martin
28 July 2018
By an overwhelming bipartisan vote Thursday, the US House of Representatives approved the largest military authorization bill in American history. The National Defense Authorization Act approves $716 billion to fund US military aggression around the world, and gives President Trump the power to order cyberwarfare attacks on Russia, China, Iran and North Korea without further congressional action.
The NDAA passed on a roll-call vote of 359 to 54. House Republicans backed the legislation by a near-unanimous vote of 220-5. House Democrats supported it by the margin of 139-49. The entire House Democratic leadership backed the military authorization bill: Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Deputy Minority Whip James Clyburn, and Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Debbie Dingell, the multimillionaire Democrat from the 12th Congressional District of Michigan, was one of the representatives voting for the military authorization bill. The Socialist Equality Party filed nearly 6,000 signatures last week to place our candidate, Niles Niemuth, on the ballot against Dingell in the November 6 election. One of the central issues being raised by Niemuth is opposition to militarism and war.
The final form of the NDAA was approved by a House-Senate conference committee on Monday. A statement issued by the conference committee leaders, including Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island and three Republicans, hailed the bill, claiming, “This legislation will strengthen our military’s readiness, provide our troops a pay raise, support effective implementation of the National Defense Strategy, drive further innovation in emerging technologies to secure our military advantage and continue to reform the Department of Defense.”
Among the costliest provisions are:
·         A 2.6 percent pay increase for uniformed military personnel, the largest in a decade
·         An increase of 15,000 active-duty troops
·         One new US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
·         Two new Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines armed with atomic weapons
·         13 other new warships
·         77 new Joint Strike Fighters
Adam Smith of Washington state, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, played a key role in the conference committee. During the brief floor debate on the bill Thursday, he said, “This bill does step up to confront our adversaries in Russia and China,” adding that it contained provisions to enhance “the absolutely critical work of pushing back against President Putin’s ongoing campaign to undermine U.S. alliances, partnerships, and democratic values around the world.”
The bill “restates our commitment to NATO and our partners,” Smith said. “It extends the prohibition on military cooperation with Russia. It declares that Russia violated the Chemical Weapons Convention … It strengthens the prohibition on funding for activities that would recognize the sovereignty of Russia over Crimea. It requires a whole-of-government response to malign foreign-influence operations and campaigns, it improves our cyber and counter-influence infrastructure, and a good deal more.”
Among the anti-Russia and anti-China provisions are the largest funding to date for the European Deterrence Initiative, which builds up NATO forces in Eastern Europe, along the borders of Russia. New NATO units have been deployed in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, aimed at ensuring that NATO will be involved immediately in the event of any conflicts fomented by the rabidly nationalistic and anti-Russian governments of the four countries.
The bill would also lead to the creation of a new position on the White House National Security Council, devoted to countering supposed Russian interference with US elections. Smith portrayed this and other provisions as a victory for the Democratic Party’s anti-Russian campaign, which has been aimed at portraying Trump as a Russian puppet.
However, the White House issued a statement Thursday hailing the passage of the bill, and declaring, “The Administration commends the House of Representatives for passing the Conference Report to accompany H.R. 5515, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, and encourages its swift passage in the Senate.” The statement noted the NDAA fully authorizes US aid to Israel, including “co-development and co-production of missile defense systems.”
The NDAA also authorizes Trump’s unprecedented request to stage a military parade in Washington D.C. shortly after the November 6 election, an exercise that will be used to promote the dominant role of the military in American public life.
Anti-China provisions in the NDAA include requiring a public report on Chinese military and “coercive activities” in the South China Sea and elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific region, and a five-year extension of the Maritime Security Initiative, under which the US provides military assistance to countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the main arena for US-China competition. The bill also requires the secretary of defense to draft a five-year plan for an “Indo-Pacific Stability Initiative.”
The NDAA authorizes $235 million to expand air base systems “to enhance the combat power of U.S. forces in the Indo-Pacific region,” the conference committee said. While the bill prohibits the federal government from doing business with any company using telecommunications equipment or services supplied by Chinese firms Huawei Technologies or ZTE, it stops short of measures—opposed by the White House—which would effectively force ZTE into bankruptcy by cutting off its supplies of US-built components.
Particularly ominous are the sections of the NDAA on cyberwarfare. The bill authorizes the Pentagon to conduct “unattributed” cyber operations without having to comply with the usual restrictions on covert operations, such as requiring a Presidential Finding which is submitted to key leaders of Congress. According to the bill “clandestine military activity or operation in cyberspace shall be considered a traditional military activity.”
Section 1642 of the bill is described by one analyst as a “mini-cyber AUMF,” referring to the Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed by Congress in 2001 before the invasion of Afghanistan and in 2002 before the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It pre-authorizes US military cyber operations if the president determines that (1) there is “an active, systematic, and ongoing campaign of attacks against the Government or people of the United States in cyberspace, including attempting to influence American elections and democratic political processes” and (2) that Russia, China, North Korea or Iran are responsible. In that event, the president may order US cyberwar forces “to take appropriate and proportional action in foreign cyberspace to disrupt, defeat, and deter such attacks.”
This provision effectively gives Trump and any successor, Democrat or Republican, the power to launch a full-scale cyberwar without further congressional authorization, merely on his own declaration that the United States is under attack. Moreover, the language is so broad that the activities of WikiLeaks, for example, could be construed as an attack requiring cyberwar retaliation, given the claim by the US intelligence agencies that WikiLeaks published material stolen from the Democratic National Committee by Russian government hackers.
So pervasive is the embrace of militarism in US ruling circles that the passage of the biggest military authorization bill in US history is barely considered to be news. It was not reported by the New York Times at all, while the Washington Post reported the bill’s passage only in its online edition, but not in print. No evening television news program reported the House vote.
The brief report in the Post emphasized the congressional unanimity. The article noted, “The 359-to-54 vote on the $716 billion measure, which the Senate is expected to take up late next week, comes after one of the shortest negotiation processes for the behemoth defense bill in recent history—an indicator of how few politically controversial issues arose during the debate.”

But not everything is great for all Californians, with Breitbart News reporting that Silicon Valley has the highest income inequality in the nation and the U.S. News & World Report naming California as the worst state for “quality of life,” due to the high cost of living.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates that California spends $22 billion on government services for illegal aliens, including welfare, education, Medicaid, and criminal justice system costs. 

And just recently, the state-funded University of California system announced it will spend $27 million on financial aid for illegal aliens. They’ve even taken out radio spots on stations all along the border, just to make sure other potential illegal border crossers hear about this program. I can’t afford college education for all my four sons, but my taxes will pay for illegals to get a college education. 

California became a Democratic stronghold not because Californians became socialists, but because millions of socialists moved there.  Immigration turned California blue, and immigration is ultimately to blame for California's high poverty level.



A dashcam video of downtown Los Angeles on Christmas day reveals a stunning sight: hundreds of tents and lean-tos on the sidewalks that serve as shelter for the homeless. The scene is reminiscent of a third-world country. RICK MORAN / AMERICANTHINKER com





CITY, WORSENS BY THE DAY…. Approximates the great depression

HOMELESS AMERICA’S HOUSING CRISIS as 40 million illegals have climbed U.S. open borders.


EVERY AMERICAN (Legal) only one paycheck and two illegals away from living in their cars.

The Hollowing-Out of the California Dream

For minorities in the Golden State, opportunity and upward mobility are hard to come by.
July 26, 2018
Economy, finance, and budgets

Progressives praise California as the harbinger of the political future, the home of a new, enlightened, multicultural America. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskillhas identified California Senator Kamala Harris as the party leader on issues of immigration and race. Harris wants a moratorium on construction of new immigration-detention facilities in favor of the old “catch and release” policy for illegal aliens, and has urged a shutdown of the government rather than compromise on mass amnesty.
Its political leaders and a credulous national media present California as the “woke” state, creating an economically just, post-racial reality. Yet in terms of opportunity, California is evolving into something more like apartheid South Africa or the pre-civil rights South. California simply does not measure up in delivering educational attainment, income growth, homeownership, and social mobility for traditionally disadvantaged minorities. All this bodes ill for a state already three-fifths non-white and trending further in that direction in the years ahead. In the past decade, the state has added 1.8 million Latinos, who will account by 2060 for almost half the state’s population. The black population has plateaued, while the number of white Californians is down some 700,000 over the past decade.
Minorities and immigrants have brought much entrepreneurial energy and a powerful work ethic to California. Yet, to a remarkable extent, their efforts have reaped only meager returns during California’s recent boom. California, suggests gubernatorial candidate and environmental activist Michael Shellenberger, is not “the most progressive state” but “the most racist” one. Chapman University reports that 28 percent of California’s blacks are impoverished, compared with 22 percent nationally. Fully one-third of California Latinos—now the state’s largest ethnic group—live in poverty, compared with 21 percent outside the state. Half of Latino households earn under $50,000 annually, which, in a high-cost state, means that they barely make enough to make ends meet. Over two-thirds of non-citizen Latinos, the group most loudly defended by the state’s progressive leadership, live at or below the poverty line, according to a recent United Way study.
This stagnation reflects the reality of the most recent California “miracle.” Historically, economic growth extended throughout the state, and produced many high-paying blue-collar jobs. In contrast, the post-2010 boom has been inordinately dependent on the high valuations of a handful of tech firms and coastal real estate speculation. Relatively few blacks or Latinos participate at the upper reaches of the tech economy—and a recent study suggests that their percentages in that sector are declining—and generally lack the family resources to compete in the real estate market. Instead, many are stuck with rents they can’t afford.
Even as incomes soared in the Silicon Valley and San Francisco after 2010, wages for African-Americans and Latinos in the Bay Area declined. The shift of employment from industrial to software industries, as well as the extraordinary presence—as much as 40 percent—of noncitizens in the tech industry, has meant fewer opportunities for assemblers and other blue-collar workers. Many nonwhite Americans labor in the service sector as security guards or janitors, making about $25,000 annually, working for contractors who offer no job security and only limited benefits. In high-priced Silicon Valley, these are essentially poverty wages. Some workers live in their cars, converted garages, or even on the streets, largely ignored by California’s famously enlightened oligarchs.
CityLab has described the Bay Area as “a region of segregated innovation.” TheGiving Code, which reports on charitable trends among the ultra-rich, found that between 2006 and 2013, 93 percent of all private foundation-giving in Silicon Valley went to causes outside of Silicon Valley. Better to be a whale, or a distressed child in Africa or Central America, than a worker living in his car outside Google headquarters.
For generations, California’s racial minorities, like their Caucasian counterparts, embraced the notion of an American Dream that included owning a house. Unlike kids from wealthy families—primarily white—who can afford elite educations and can sometimes purchase  houses with parental help, Latinos and blacks, usually without much in the way of family resources,  are increasingly priced out of the market. In California, Hispanics and blacks face housing prices that are approximately twice the national average, relative to income. Unsurprisingly, African-American and Hispanic homeownership rates have dropped considerably more than those of Asians and whites—four times the rate in the rest of the country. California’s white homeownership rate remains above 62 percent, but just 42 percent of all Latino households, and only 33 percent of all black households, own their own homes.
In contrast, African-Americans do far better, in terms of income and homeownership, in places like Dallas-Fort Worth or greater Houston than in socially enlightened locales such as Los Angeles or San Francisco. Houston and Dallas boast black homeownership rates of 40 to 50 percent; in deep blue but much costlier Los Angeles and New York, the rate is about 10 percentage points lower.
Rather than achieving upward class mobility, many minorities in California have fallen down the class ladder. This can be seen in California’s overcrowding rate, the nation’s second-worst. Of the 331 zip codes making up the top 1 percent of overcrowded zip codes in the U.S., 134 are found in Southern California, primarily in greater Los Angeles and San Diego, mostly concentrated around heavily Latino areas such as Pico-Union, East Los Angeles, and Santa Ana, in Orange County.
The lack of affordable housing and the disappearance of upward mobility could create a toxic racial environment for California. By the 2030s, large swaths of the state, particularly along the coast, could evolve into a geriatric belt, with an affluent, older boomer population served by a largely minority service-worker class. As white and Asian boomers age, California increasingly will have to depend on children from mainly poorer families with fewer educational resources, living in crowded and even unsanitary conditions, often far from their place of employment,  to work for low wages.
Historically, education has been the lever that gives minorities and the poor access to opportunity. But in California, a state that often identifies itself as “smart,” the educational system is deeply flawed, especially for minority populations. Once a model of educational success, California now ranks 36th in the country in educational performance, according to a 2018 Education Weekreport. The state does have a strong sector of “gold and silver” public schools, mostly located in wealthy suburban locations such as Orange County, the interior East Bay, and across the San Francisco Peninsula. But the performance of schools in heavily minority, working-class areas is scandalously poor. The state’s powerful teachers’ union and the Democratic legislature have added $31.2 billion since 2013 in new school funding, but California’s poor students ranked 49th on National Assessment of Education Progress tests. In Silicon Valley, half of local public school students, and barely one in five blacks or Latinos, are proficient in basic math.
Clearly, California’s progressive ideology and spending priorities are not serving minority students well. High-poverty schools are so poorly run that disruptions from students and administrative interruptions, according to a UCLA study, account for 30 minutes a day of class time. Teachers in these schools often promote “progressive values,” spending much of their time, according to one writer, “discussing community problems and societal inequities.” Other priorities include transgender and other gender-relatededucation, from which parents, in some school districts, cannot opt out. This ideological instruction is doing little for minority youngsters. San Francisco, which the nonprofit journalism site Calmatters refers to as “a progressive enclave and beacon for technological innovation,” also had “the lowest black student achievement of any county in California,” as well as the highest gap between black and white scores.
Ultimately, any reversal of this pattern must come from minorities demanding a restoration of opportunity. Some now see the linkage between state policy and impoverishment, which has led some 200 civil rights leaders to sue the state Air Resources Board, the group that enforces the Greenhouse Gas edicts of the state bureaucracy. But perhaps the ultimate wakeup call will come from a slowing economy. After an extraordinary period of growth post-recession, California’s economy is clearly weakening, as companies and people move elsewhere. Texas and other states are now experiencing faster GDP growth than the Golden State. Perhaps more telling, the latest BEA numbers suggest that California—which created barely 800 jobs last month—is now experiencing far lower income growth than the national average, and scarcely half that of Texas, Colorado, Michigan, Arizona, Missouri, or Florida. Out-migration of skilled and younger workers, reacting to long commutes and high prices, seems to be accelerating, both in Southern California and the Bay Area.
One has to wonder what will happen when the California economy, burdened by regulations, high costs, and taxes, slows even more. Generous welfare benefits, made possible by taxing the rich, could be threatened; conversely, the Left might get traction by pushing to raise taxes even higher. The pain will be relatively minor in Palo Alto, Malibu, or Marin County, the habitations of the ruling gentry rich—but for those Californians who have already been left behind, and for a diminishing middle class,  it might be just beginning.

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