Memorial Day Thoughts on National Defense

President Barack Obama greets veterans before the Carrier Classic basketball game between the University of North Carolina Tar Heels and Michigan State Spartans on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson, docked at North Island Naval Station in San Diego, Calif., Nov. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Robert Reich: We spend billions on Cold War weapons systems like nuclear attack submarines, aircraft carriers, and manned combat fighters that pump up the bottom lines of defense contractors but have nothing to do with 21st-century combat.

Across-the-Board Spending Cut Proposals Go Mainstream

political tribes

Ivan Eland: Deep down, both Republican and Democratic politicians believe something needs to be done about the monstrous and dangerous deficit and debt, but they are scared to do anything because, unfortunately, the American people want their government handouts but are unwilling to pay for them.

Only Road to Budget Reduction: Across-the-Board Cuts

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Ivan Eland: Weapons purchases are often welfare projects doled out to congressional districts and states with political clout. In fact, unlike in the commercial market, defense contractors don’t give subcontracts to the best subcontractors but spread them around the country to build political support, so that it is very difficult to kill weapons programs.

Across-the-Board Cuts Needed to Avoid Fiscal Armageddon

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Ivan Eland: To keep with the bipartisan spirit after the Gabrielle Giffords’ assassination attempt and also to avoid partisan fighting over spending priorities, which will bog down and probably eventually kill any significant budget cuts, all government programs should be cut by 15 percent from last year’s budget level, including heretofore sacred defense and entitlement programs.

Who Is Behind the Deficit Crisis

tax breaks

Shamus Cooke: Unless labor and community groups massively mobilize working people in fighting for a pro-worker solution to the deficit crisis, austerity measures — like reducing Social Security and Medicare — will be forced upon us.

Watch “Deficit Hawks” Rush to Defend Pentagon Bloat

robert gates

Randy Shaw: The Republican Party and Democratic so-called “deficit hawks” attack any proposed defense cuts as “job killers.” Yet this alliance refused to save the jobs of hundreds of thousands of teachers, and have backed tax and spending policies that have cost the nation millions of jobs in recent years.

Are Seniors Right of Center?

Senior Citizens

Tina Dupuy: A right-of-center nation would have never embraced the extremely liberal notion of public retirement insurance for its citizens. And government-funded health care for seniors like Medicare?! That’s not “free market” – that’s not “freedom.”

Marcy’s Response to Jane Harman: You’re in the Bubble

marcy winograd rally

Marcy Winograd: my JOBS, NOT WARS campaign against Jane Harman in today’ Democratic Party primary centers around connecting the dots between the trillions we spend on war and the money denied for sustainable job creation, affordable housing, strong public education, and quality health care for all.

Israel and Harman in Tandem: From High Seas to Airwaves

Vietnam vet, author, and antiwar activist Ron Kovic with Marcy Winograd

Norman Solomon: When Israel attacked the Gaza aid flotilla, Congresswoman Jane Harman was engaged in a parallel assault. Israel’s government relied on the efficacy of violence; Harman’s campaign was counting on the power of paid media. In both cases, the targets were advocates of human rights for Palestinian people.

Defense Secretary Wants Defense Spending Cuts–Really

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

Tina Dupuy: Going largely underreported, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke at the Eisenhower Library (name for the president who coined the term “military-industrial complex”), last week calling for cuts in the Pentagon’s budget. Gates asked, “Does the number of warships we have and are building really put America at risk when the U.S. battle fleet is larger than the next 13 navies combined, 11 of which belong to allies and partners? “

American Empire: How the Military-Industrial Complex Is Warping America’s Values

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Tim Gatto: Now that corporate control of our elections is out in the open thanks to our Supreme Court, we might as well realize that what we see on our televisions and read in our newspapers is also corporate-controlled. We can still tune into the internet to see world news and different opinions, but I can see that soon even the internet will swallowed up by corporate money.

Don’t Call It a ‘Defense’ Budget

war and liberty

Norman Solomon: As new sequences of political horrors unfold, maybe it’s a bit too easy for writers and readers of the progressive blogosphere to remain within the politics of online denunciation. Cogent analysis and articulated outrage are necessary but insufficient. The unmet challenge is to organize widely, consistently and effectively — against the warfare state — on behalf of humanistic priorities. In the process, let’s be clear. This is not a defense budget. This is a death budget.

Why Freeze Spending on Only Part of the Budget?

Budget-Pie

Ivan Eland: President Obama’s rationale for not including these security expenditures in his discretionary spending freeze is that he is prosecuting two wars. Aside from the obvious solution of ending the two conflicts—which are part of the “war on terror” but have had the counterproductive effect of increasing retaliatory terrorism—and cutting back the defense budget, defense spending could be reduced even if the two war efforts are sustained.

Better Relations with Iran Require Change in U.S. Thinking and Policy

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One election in Iran will not significantly change U.S.-Iran relations—only a change in U.S. thinking and policy will do so. Historically, the U.S. government, under both Republican and Democratic presidents, has painted relatively poor third world regimes that don’t toe the empire’s line as “evil”—Moammar El-Gadhafi’s Libya in the 1980s, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the [...]

China’s Threat to the U.S. Is Exaggerated

chinese-army

The Pentagon’s annual publication, Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2009, accused China of stocking its military with weapons that can be used to intimidate or attack Taiwan and mitigate U.S. air and naval superiority near its territory. Even if the Department of Defense’s report has not exaggerated the threat from China—unlikely since [...]

This Week in the LA Progressive: March 2 to 8

Budget Obama Rescuing Capitalism: That’s a Lot of Weight for One Brother. Obama is present at the re-creation of the global economic system. “It is a challenge he has to take up,” Like I said, that’s a lot of weight. –Carl Bloice Is Obama Responsible for Wall Street’s Meltdown? Where Populist Rage Is Heading. The [...]

Guns and Butter (Again)

sinking-uncle-sam

When you stop to think about it, people measure how well their lives are going not by their absolute state of being but by their situation relative to their expectations. For example, a poor person in a developing country may be ecstatic about getting a pair of shoes for the first time; in contrast, a [...]

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