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  • 34 cents
    individual income taxes
  • 5 cents corporate taxes
    3.5 cents
    estate, gift, customs & misc.
    0.5 cents excise taxes
  • 57 cents
    borrowing
US 'Official' debt
As of April 1, 2010    12,786,559,060,352.58   (No April fooling, honest!)
November 16, 2009    12,031,299,186,290.07
That's three quarters of a trillion in 4 and a half months!
March 16, 2009    11,033,157,578,669.78
That's one trillion in 8 months!
Don't take a forecaster to predict what's coming!
treasurydirect.gov debt to the penny — click here
Strategy of disguised redistribution of national resources from the bottom to the top is carried out by a combination of:
(a) drastic hikes in the Pentagon budget
(b) equally drastic tax cuts for the wealthy.
April 16, 2007
Income Redistribution in Disguise
Escalating Military Spending
By ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
C ritics of the recent U.S. wars of choice have long argued that they are all about oil.
"No Blood for Oil" has been a rallying cry for most of the opponents of the war.
It can be demonstrated, however, that there is another (less obvious but perhaps more critical) factor behind the recent rise of U.S. military aggressions abroad: war profiteering by the Pentagon contractors.
Frequently invoking dubious "threats to our national security and/or interests," these beneficiaries of war dividends, the military-industrial complex and related businesses whose interests are vested in the Pentagon's appropriation of public money, have successfully used war and military spending to justify their lion's share of tax dollars and to disguise their strategy of redistributing national income in their favor.
This cynical strategy of disguised redistribution of national resources from the bottom to the top is carried out by a combination of (a) drastic hikes in the Pentagon budget, and (b) equally drastic tax cuts for the wealthy.
As this combination creates large budget deficits, it then forces cuts in non-military public spending as a way to fill the gaps that are thus created.
As a result, the rich are growing considerably richer at the expense of middle- and low-income classes.
Death was US
taxpayer supplied
and paid
U.S. military no longer simply a means — more importantly now an end in itself
Despite its critical importance, most opponents of war seem to have given short shrift to the crucial role of the Pentagon budget and its contractors as major sources of war and militarism — a phenomenon that the late President Eisenhower warned against nearly half a century ago.
Perhaps a major reason for this oversight is that critics of war and militarism tend to view the U.S. military force as primarily a means for imperialist gains — oil or otherwise.
The fact is, however, that as the U.S. military establishment has grown in size, it has also evolved in quality and character: it is no longer simply a means but, perhaps more importantly, an end in itself — an imperial force in its own right.
Accordingly, the rising militarization of U.S. foreign policy in recent years is driven not so much by some general/abstract national interests as it is by the powerful special interests that are vested in the military capital, that is, war industries and war-related businesses.
Bilin ongoing protest against US Israel stealing of land
It appears clear that content areas and content limitations for this interview were negotiated in advance.
Or it could be that Simon and Albright have so internalized Zionist prohibitions on discourse that no overt agreements were necessary.
For the Democratic Party as for NPR it is forbidden to discuss Palestine-Israel in the same interview as one discusses Iraq, Iran or the Middle East in general.
The Magnitude of U.S. Military Spending
Even without the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are fast surpassing half a trillion dollars, U.S. military spending is now the largest item in the federal budget.
Officially, it is the second highest item after Social Security payments.
But Social Security is a self-financing trust fund.
So, in reality, military spending is the highest budget item.
The Pentagon budget for the current fiscal year (2007) is about $456 billion.
President Bush's proposed increase of 10% for next year will raise this figure to over half a trillion dollars, that is, $501.6 billion for fiscal year 2008.
A proposed supplemental appropriation to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq "brings proposed military spending for FY 2008 to $647.2 billion, the highest level of military spending since the end of World War II-higher than Vietnam, higher than Korea, higher than the peak of the Reagan buildup."[1]
Using official budget figures, William D. Hartung, Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute in New York, provides a number of helpful comparisons: policy.
Iraq war spending larger than military budgets of China and Russia combined
Proposed U.S. military spending for FY 2008 is larger than military spending by all of the other nations in the world combined.
At $141.7 billion, this year's proposed spending on the Iraq war is larger than the military budgets of China and Russia combined.
Total U.S. military spending for FY2008 is roughly ten times the military budget of the second largest military spending country in the world, China.
Proposed U.S. military spending is larger than the combined gross domestic products (GDP) of all 47 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
The FY 2008 military budget proposal is more than 30 times higher than all spending on State Department operations and non-military foreign aid combined.
The FY 2008 military budget is over 120 times higher than the roughly $5 billion per year the U.S. government spends on combating global warming.
The FY 2008 military spending represents 58 cents out of every dollar spent by the U.S. government on discretionary programs: education, health, housing assistance, international affairs, natural resources and environment, justice, veterans' benefits, science and space, transportation, training/employment and social services, economic development, and several more items.[2]
 
Real military budget twice as much as official budget
Although the official military budget already eats up the lion's share of the public money (crowding out vital domestic needs), it nonetheless grossly understates the true magnitude of military spending.
The real national defense budget, according to Robert Higgs of the Independent Institute, is nearly twice as much as the official budget.
The reason for this understatement is that the official Department of Defense budget excludes not only the cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also a number of other major cost items.[3]
These disguised cost items include:
Budgets for the Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security.
Nuclear weapons research and development, testing, and storage (placed in the Energy budget).
Veterans programs (in the Veteran's Administration budget).
Most military retiree payments (in the Treasury budget).
Foreign military aid in the form of weapons grants for allies (in the State Department budget).
Interest payments on money borrowed to fund military programs in past years (in the Treasury budget).
Sales and property taxes at military bases (in local government budgets).
Hidden expenses of tax-free food, housing, and combat pay allowances.
After adding these camouflaged and misplaced expenses to the official Department of Defense budget, Higgs concludes:
"I propose that in considering future defense budgetary costs, a well-founded rule of thumb is to take the Pentagon's (always well publicized) basic budget total and double it.
You may overstate the truth, but if so, you'll not do so by much."[4]
Escalation of the Pentagon Budget and the Rising Fortunes of Its Contractors
The Bush administration's escalation of war and military spending has been a boon for Pentagon contractors.
That the fortunes of Pentagon contractors should rise in tandem with the rise of military spending is not surprising.
What is surprising, however, is the fact that these profiteers of war and militarism have also played a critical role in creating the necessary conditions for war profiteering, that is, in instigating the escalation of the recent wars of choice and the concomitant boom of military spending.[5]
Giant arms manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman have been the main beneficiaries of the Pentagon's spending bonanza.
This is clearly reflected in the continuing rise of the value of their shares in the stock market:
"Shares of U.S. defense companies, which have nearly trebled since the beginning of the occupation of Iraq, show no signs of slowing down. . . . The feeling that makers of ships, planes and weapons are just getting into their stride has driven shares of leading Pentagon contractors Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., and General Dynamics Corp. to all-time highs."[6]
 
Eighteen months after
United States Homeland Security
and Governmental Affairs Committee
Income Redistribution in Disguise
By ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
L ike its manufacturing contractors, the Pentagon's fast-growing service contractors have equally been making fortunes by virtue of its tendency to shower private contractors with tax-payers' money.
These services are not limited to the relatively simple or routine tasks and responsibilities such food and sanitation services.
More importantly, they include "contracts for services that are highly sophisticated [and] strategic in nature," such as the contracting of security services to corporate private armies, or modern day mercenaries.
The rapid growth of the Pentagon's service contracting is reflected (among other indicators) in these statistics: "In 1984, almost two-thirds of the contracting budget went for products rather than services. . . . By fiscal year 2003, 56 percent of Defense Department contracts paid for services rather than goods."[7]
The spoils of war and the devastation in Iraq have been so attractive that an extremely large number of war profiteers have set up shop in that country in order to participate in the booty:
"There are about 100,000 government contractors operating in Iraq, not counting subcontractors, a total that is approaching the size of the U.S. military force there, according to the military's first census of the growing population of civilians operating in the battlefield," reported The Washington Post in its 5 December 2006 issue.
 
Outsourcing and privatizing
T he rise in the Pentagon contracting is, of course, a reflection of an overall policy and philosophy of outsourcing and privatizing that has become fashionable ever since President Reagan arrived in the White House in 1980.
Reporting on some of the effects of this policy, Scott Shane and Ron Nixon of the New York Times recently wrote:
"Without a public debate or formal policy decision, contractors have become a virtual fourth branch of government.
On the rise for decades, spending on federal contracts has soared during the Bush administration, to about $400 billion last year from $207 billion in 2000, fueled by the war in Iraq, domestic security and Hurricane Katrina, but also by a philosophy that encourages outsourcing almost everything government does."[8]
Redistributive Militarism: Escalation of Military Spending Redistributes Income from Bottom to Top
But while the Pentagon contractors and other beneficiaries of war dividends are showered with public money, low- and middle-income Americans are squeezed out of economic or subsistence resources in order to make up for the resulting budgetary shortfalls.
For example, as the official Pentagon budget for 2008 fiscal year is projected to rise by more than 10 percent, or nearly $50 billion, "a total of 141 government programs will be eliminated or sharply reduced" to pay for the increase.
These would include cuts in housing assistance for low-income seniors by 25 percent, home heating/energy assistance to low-income people by 18 percent, funding for community development grants by 12.7 percent, and grants for education and employment training by 8 percent.[9]
Combined with redistributive militarism and generous tax cuts for the wealthy, these cuts have further exacerbated the ominously growing income inequality that started under President Reagan.
Ever since Reagan arrived in the White House in 1980, opponents of non-military public spending have been using an insidious strategy to cut social spending, to reverse the New Deal and other social safety net programs, and to redistribute national/public resources in favor of the wealthy.
That cynical strategy consists of a combination of drastic increases in military spending coupled with equally drastic tax cuts for the wealthy.
As this combination creates large budget deficits, it then forces cuts in non-military public spending (along with borrowing) to fill the gaps thus created.
Signs pointing to where the streets of Jourdan and Galvez should be.

Ninth Ward area residents attend a memorial anniversary ceremony dedicated to the victims of the breaking of the underfunded levee at the now reconstructed wall of the levee at the Lower Ninth Ward canal in New Orleans August 29, 2006.

Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Ninth Ward area residents attend a memorial anniversary ceremony dedicated to the victims of the breaking of the underfunded levee at the now reconstructed wall of the levee at the Lower Ninth Ward canal in New Orleans August 29, 2006.
 
Had to cut through roof
With 18 others paddled a fishing boat
Cut includes over 140 programs that provide support for basic needs
For example, at the same time that President Bush is planning to raise military spending by $50 billion for the next fiscal year, he is also proposing to make his affluent-targeted tax cuts permanent at a cost of $1.6 trillion over 10 years, or an average yearly cut of $160 billion.
Simultaneously, "funding for domestic discretionary programs would be cut a total of $114 billion" in order to pay for these handouts to the rich.
The targeted discretionary programs to be cut include over 140 programs that provide support for the basic needs of low- and middle-income families such as elementary and secondary education, job training, environmental protection, veterans' health care, medical research, Meals on Wheels, child care and HeadStart, low-income home energy assistance, and many more.[10]
According to the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center:
"...if the President's tax cuts are made permanent, households in the top 1 percent of the population (currently those with incomes over $400,000) will receive tax cuts averaging $67,000 a year by 2012. . . . The tax cuts for those with incomes of over $1 million a year would average $162,000 a year by 2012."[11]
 
Escalating military spending
Official macroeconomic figures show that, over the past five decades or so, government spending (at the federal, state and local levels) as a percentage of gross national product (GNP) has remained fairly steady-at about 20 percent.
Given this nearly constant share of the public sector of national output/income, it is not surprising that increases in military spending have almost always been accompanied or followed by compensating decreases in non-military public spending, and vice versa.
For example, when by virtue of FDR's New Deal reforms and LBJ's metaphorical War on Poverty, the share of non-military government spending rose significantly the share of military spending declined accordingly.
From the mid 1950s to the mid 1970s, the share of non-military government spending of GNP rose from 9.2 to 14.3 percent, an increase of 5.1 percent.
During that time period, the share of military spending of GNP declined from 10.1 to 5.8 percent, a decline of 4.3 percent.[12]
That trend was reversed when President Reagan took office in 1980.
In the early 1980s, as President Reagan drastically increased military spending, he also just as drastically lowered tax rates on higher incomes.
The resulting large budget deficits were then paid for by more than a decade of steady cuts on non-military spending.
Income inequality also rose considerably
Likewise, the administration of President George W. Bush has been pursuing a similarly sinister fiscal policy of cutting non-military public spending in order to pay for the skyrocketing military spending and the generous tax cuts for the affluent.
Interestingly (though not surprisingly), changes in income inequality have mirrored changes in government spending priorities, as reflected in the fiscal policies of different administrations.
Thus, when the share of non-military public spending rose relative to that of military spending from the mid 1950 to the mid 1970s, and the taxation system or policy remained relatively more progressive compared to what it is today, income inequality declined accordingly.
But as President Reagan reversed that fiscal policy by raising the share of military spending relative to non-military public spending and cutting taxes for the wealthy, income inequality also rose considerably.
As Reagan's twin policies of drastic increases in military spending and equally sweeping tax cuts for the rich were somewhat tempered in the 1990s, growth in income inequality slowed down accordingly.
In the 2000s, however, the ominous trends that were left off by President Reagan have been picked up by President George W. Bush: increasing military spending, decreasing taxes for the rich, and (thereby) exacerbating income inequality (see Figure 1).
 
1968 lowest level of inequality
Leaving small, short-term fluctuations aside, Figure 1 shows two major peaks and a trough of the long-term picture of income inequality in the United States.
The first peak was reached during the turbulent years of the Great Depression (1929-1933).
But it soon began to decline with the implementation of the New Deal reforms in the mid 1930s.
The ensuing decline continued almost unabated until 1968, at which time we note the lowest level of inequality.
After 1968, the improving trend in inequality changed course.
But the reversal was not very perceptible until the early 1980s, after which time it began to accelerate-by virtue (or vice) of Reaganomics.
Although the deterioration that was thus set in motion by the rise of neoliberalism and supply-side economics somewhat slowed down in the 1990s, it has once again gathered steam under President George W. Bush, and is fast approaching the peak of the Great Depression.
It is worth noting that even at its lowest level of 1968, income inequality was still quite lopsided: the richest 20 percent of households made as much as ten times more than the poorest 20 percent.
But, as Doug Henwood of the Left Business Observer points out, "that looks almost Swedish next to today's ratio of fifteen times."[13]
Income of top one percent of population tripled
The following are some specific statistics of how redistributive militarism and supply-side fiscal policies have exacerbated income inequality since the late 1970s and early 1980s-making after-tax income gaps wider than pre-tax ones.
According to recently released data by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), since 1979 income gains among high-income households have dwarfed those of middle- and low-income households.
Specifically:
The average after-tax income of the top one percent of the population nearly tripled, rising from $314,000 to nearly $868,000-for a total increase of $554,000, or 176 percent. (Figures are adjusted by CBO for inflation.)
By contrast, the average after-tax income of the middle fifth of the population rose a relatively modest 21 percent, or $8,500, reaching $48,400 in 2004.
The average after-tax income of the poorest fifth of the population rose just 6 percent, or $800, during this period, reaching $14,700 in 2004.[14]
Legislation enacted since 2001 has provided taxpayers with about $1 trillion in tax cuts over the past six years.
These large tax reductions have made the distribution of after-tax income more unequal by further concentrating income at the top of the income range.
According to the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, as a result of the tax cuts enacted since 2001:
In 2006, households in the bottom fifth of the income spectrum received tax cuts (averaging $20) that raised their after-tax incomes by an average of 0.3 percent.
Households in the middle fifth of the income spectrum received tax cuts (averaging $740) that raised their after-tax incomes an average of 2.5 percent.
The top one percent of households received tax cuts in 2006 (averaging $44,200) that increased their after-tax income by an average of 5.4 percent.
Households with incomes exceeding $1 million received an average tax cut of $118,000 in 2006, which represented an increase of 6.0 percent in their after-tax income.[15]
James Forrestal
James Forrestal’s oil portrait always hung prominently in one of the private Dillon Read dining rooms for the eleven years that I worked at the firm. Forrestal, a highly regarded Dillon partner and President of the firm, had gone to Washington, D.C. in 1940 to lead the Navy during WWII and then played a critical role in creating the National Security Act of 1947.

He then became Secretary of War (later termed Secretary of Defense) in September 1947 and served until March 28, 1949.

Given the central banking-warfare investment model that rules our planet, it was appropriate that Dillon 
partners at various times lead both the Treasury Department and the Defense Department.

Shortly after resigning from government, Forrestal died falling out of a window of the Bethesda Naval Hospital outside of Washington, D.C. on May 22, 1949.

There is some controversy around the official explanation of his death — ruled a suicide.

Some insist he had a nervous breakdown. Some say that he was opposed to the creation of the state of Israel.

Others say that he argued for transparency and accountability in government, and against the provisions instituted at this time to create a secrete “black budget.”

He lost and was pretty upset about it — and the loss was a violent one.

Since the professional killers who operate inside the Washington beltway have numerous techniques to get perfectly sane people to kill themselves, I am not sure it makes a big difference.

Approximately a month later, the CIA Act of 1949 was passed.

The Act created the CIA and endowed it with the statutory authority that became one of the chief components of financing the “black” budget — the power to claw monies from other agencies for the benefit of secretly funding the intelligence communities and their corporate contractors.

This was to turn out to be a devastating development for the forces of transparency, without which there can be no rule of law, free markets or democracy.

Catherine Austin Fitts — Dillon Reid and Co. Inc. And the Aristocracy of Stock Profits

Photo: Wikipedia     

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed Forrestal as an administrative assistant on June 22, 1940, then nominated him as Undersecretary of the Navy six weeks later. In the latter post, Forrestal would prove to be very effective at mobilizing industrial production for the war effort.
He became Secretary of the Navy on May 19, 1944, following the death of his immediate supervisor Frank Knox from a heart attack. Forrestal then led the Navy through the closing year of the war and the demobilization that followed.   What might have been his greatest legacy as Navy Secretary was an attempt that came to nought.   He, along with Secretary of War Henry Stimson and Under Secretary of State Joseph Grew, in the early months of 1945, strongly advocated a softer policy toward Japan that would permit a negotiated face-saving surrender.   His primary concern was "the menace of Russian Communism and its attraction for decimated, destabilized societies in Europe and Asia", and, therefore, keeping the Soviet Union out of the war with Japan.   Had his advice been followed, Japan might well have surrendered before August 1945, precluding the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.   So strongly did he feel about this matter that he cultivated negotiation attempts that bordered closely on insubordination toward the President.
Forrestal opposed the unification of the services, but even so helped develop the National Security Act of 1947 that created the National Military Establishment (the Department of Defense was not created as such until August 1949), and with the former Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson retiring to private life, Forrestal was the next choice.
His 18 months at Defense came at an exceptionally difficult time for the U.S. military establishment:   Communist governments came to power in Czechoslovakia and China; West Berlin was blockaded, necessitating the Berlin Airlift to keep it going; the war between the Arab states and Israel after the establishment of Israel in Palestine; and negotiations were going on for the formation of NATO.   His reign was also hampered by intense interservice rivalries.
In addition, President Harry Truman constrained military budgets billions of dollars below what the services were requesting, putting Forrestal in the middle of the tug-of-war.   Forrestal was also becoming more and more worried about the Soviet threat.   Internationally, the takeover by the Communists of Eastern Europe, their threats to the governments of Greece, Italy, and France, their impending takeover of China, and the invasion of South Korea by North Korea would demonstrate the legitimacy of his concerns on the international front as well.
Photo and description: Wikipedia
James Forrestal’s oil portrait always hung prominently in one of the private Dillon Read dining rooms for the eleven years that I worked at the firm. Forrestal, a highly regarded Dillon partner and President of the firm, had gone to Washington, D.C. in 1940 to lead the Navy during WWII and then played a critical role in creating the National Security Act of 1947.
He then became Secretary of War (later termed Secretary of Defense) in September 1947 and served until March 28, 1949.
Given the central banking-warfare investment model that rules our planet, it was appropriate that Dillon partners at various times lead both the Treasury Department and the Defense Department.
Shortly after resigning from government, Forrestal died falling out of a window of the Bethesda Naval Hospital outside of Washington, D.C. on May 22, 1949.
There is some controversy around the official explanation of his death — ruled a suicide.
Some insist he had a nervous breakdown. Some say that he was opposed to the creation of the state of Israel.
Others say that he argued for transparency and accountability in government, and against the provisions instituted at this time to create a secrete “black budget.”
He lost and was pretty upset about it — and the loss was a violent one.
Since the professional killers who operate inside the Washington beltway have numerous techniques to get perfectly sane people to kill themselves, I am not sure it makes a big difference.
Approximately a month later, the CIA Act of 1949 was passed.
The Act created the CIA and endowed it with the statutory authority that became one of the chief components of financing the “black” budget — the power to claw monies from other agencies for the benefit of secretly funding the intelligence communities and their corporate contractors.
This was to turn out to be a devastating development for the forces of transparency, without which there can be no rule of law, free markets or democracy.
Catherine Austin Fitts — Dillon Reid and Co. Inc. And the Aristocracy of Stock Profits
What Briody does not mention is allegations regarding Brown & Root's involvement in narcotics trafficking. Former LAPD narcotics investigator Mike Ruppert once described his break up with fiance Teddy — an agent dealing narcotics and weapons for the CIA while working with Brown & Root, as follows:
“Arriving in New Orleans in early July, 1977 I found her living in an apartment across the river in Gretna. Equipped with scrambler phones, night vision devices and working from sealed communiqués delivered by naval and air force personnel from nearby Belle Chasse Naval Air Station, Teddy was involved in something truly ugly.
She was arranging for large quantities of weapons to be loaded onto ships leaving for Iran.
At the same time she was working with Mafia associates of New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello to coordinate the movement of service boats that were bringing large quantities of heroin into the city.
The boats arrived at Marcello controlled docks, unmolested by even the New Orleans police she introduced me to, along with divers, military men, former Green Berets and CIA personnel.
“The service boats were retrieving the heroin from oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, oil rigs in international waters, oil rigs built and serviced by Brown and Root.
The guns that Teddy monitored, apparently Vietnam era surplus AK 47s and M16s, were being loaded onto ships also owned or leased by Brown and Root.
And more than once during the eight days I spent in New Orleans I met and ate at restaurants with Brown and Root employees who were boarding those ships and leaving for Iran within days.
Once, while leaving a bar and apparently having asked the wrong question, I was shot at in an attempt to scare me off.”
Source: "Halliburton’s Brown and Root is One of the Major Components of the Bush-Cheney Drug Empire" by Michael Ruppert, From the Wilderness
Catherine Austin Fitts — Dillon Reid and Co. Inc. And the Aristocracy of Stock Profits
April 16, 2007
Income Redistribution in Disguise
Escalating Military Spending
By ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
One of only two new
homes built, Ninth Ward
18 months since
Hurricane Katrina hit
C lose scrutiny of the Pentagon budget shows that, ever since the election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980, opponents of social spending have successfully used military spending as a regulatory mechanism to cut non-military public spending, to reverse the New Deal and other social safety net programs, and to redistribute national/public resources in favor of the wealthy.
Close examination of the dynamics of redistributive militarism also helps explain why powerful beneficiaries of the Pentagon budget prefer war and military spending to peace and non-military public spending: military spending benefits the wealthy whereas the benefits of non-military public spending would spread to wider social strata.
It further helps explain why beneficiaries of war dividends frequently invent new enemies and new "threats to our national interests" in order to justify continued escalation of military spending.
Viewed in this light, militaristic tendencies to war abroad can be seen largely as reflections of the metaphorical domestic fights over allocation of public finance at home, of a subtle or insidious strategy to redistribute national resources from the bottom to the top.
External Wars as Reflections of Domestic Fights over National Resources
Despite the critical role of redistributive militarism, or of the Pentagon budget, as a major driving force to war, most opponents of war have paid only scant attention to this crucial force behind the recent U.S. wars of choice.
The reason for this oversight is probably due to the fact that most critics of war continue to view U.S. military force as simply or primarily a means to achieve certain imperialist ends, instead of having become an end in itself.
Yet, as the U.S. military establishment has grown in size, it has also evolved in quality and character: it is no longer simply a means but, perhaps more importantly, an end in itself, an imperial power in its own right, or to put it differently, it is a case of the tail wagging the dog-a phenomenon that the late President Eisenhower so presciently warned against.
Accordingly, rising militarization of U.S. foreign policy in recent years is driven not so much by some general/abstract national interests, or by the interests of Big Oil and other non-military transnational corporations (as most traditional theories of imperialism continue to argue), as it is by powerful special interests that are vested in the war industry and related war-induced businesses that need an atmosphere of war and militarism in order to justify their lion's share of the public money.
Preservation, justification, and expansion of the military-industrial colossus critical big business objectives
Preservation, justification, and expansion of the military-industrial colossus, especially of the armaments industry and other Pentagon contractors, have become critical big business objectives in themselves.
They have, indeed, become powerful driving forces behind the new, parasitic U.S. military imperialism.
I call this new imperialism parasitic because its military adventures abroad are often prompted not so much by a desire to expand the empire's wealth beyond the existing levels, as did the imperial powers of the past, but by a desire to appropriate the lion's share of the existing wealth and treasure for the military establishment, especially for the war-profiteering contractors.
In addition to being parasitic, the new U.S. military imperialism can also be called dual imperialism because not only does it exploit defenseless peoples and their resources abroad but also the overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens and their resources at home.
Ismael Hossein-zadeh is a professor of economics at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. He is the author of the newly published book, The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism
His Web page is http://www.cbpa.drake.edu/hossein-zadeh
Notes
[1] William D. Hartung, "Bush Military Budget Highest Since WW II," Common Dreams(10 February 2007).
[2] Ibid.
[3] Robert Higgs, "The Defense Budget Is Bigger Than You Think," antiwar.com (25 January 2004).
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ismael Hossein-zadeh, "Why the US is Not Leaving Iraq,".
[6] Bill Rigby, "Defense stocks may jump higher with big profits," Reuter(12 April 2006).
[7] The Center for Public Integrity, "Outsourcing the Pentagon" (29 September 2004).
[8] Scott Shane and Ron Nixon, "In Washington, Contractors Take On Biggest Role Ever," The New York Times (4 February 2007).
[9] Faiz Shakir et al., Center for American Progress Action Fund, "The Progress Report" (6 February 2007).
[10] Robert Greenstein, "DESPITE THE RHETORIC, BUDGET WOULD MAKE NATION'S FISCAL PROBLEMS WORSE AND FURTHER WIDEN INEQUALITY," Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (6 February 2007).
[11] Ibid.
[12] Richard Du Boff, "What Military Spending Really Costs," Challenge 32 (September/October 1989), pp. 4-10.
[13] Doug Henwood, Left Business Observer, No. 114 (31 December 2006), p. 4.
[14] Congressional Budget Office, Historical Effective Federal Tax Rates: 1979 to 2004, December 2006; as reported by Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
[15] See Tax Policy Center tables T06-0273 and T06-0279 at.
 
 Biloxi/Gulfport
empty lots where
houses and businesses
used to stand
Iraq: the hidden cost of the war
Andrew Stephen
Published 12 March 2007
America won't simply be paying with its dead.  The Pentagon is trying to silence economists who predict that several decades of care for the wounded will amount to an unbelievable $2.5 trillion.
They roar in every day, usually direct from the Landstuhl US air-force base in the Rhineland: giant C-17 cargo planes capable of lifting and flying the 65-tonne M1 Abrams tank to battlefields anywhere in the world.
But Landstuhl is the first staging post for transporting most of the American wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan back to the United States, and these planes act as CCATs ("critical care air transport") with their AETs — "aeromedical evacuation teams" of doctors, nurses and medical technicians, whose task is to make sure that gravely wounded US troops arrive alive and fit enough for intensive treatment at the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre, just six miles up the road from me in Washington.
These days it is de rigueur for all politicians, ranging from President Bush and Ibrahim al-Jaafari (Iraq's previous "prime minister") to junior congressmen, to visit the 113-acre Walter Reed complex to pay tribute to the valour of horribly wounded soldiers.
Last Christmas, the centre was so overwhelmed by the 500,000 cards and presents it received for wounded soldiers that it announced it could accept no more.
Yet the story of the US wounded reveals yet another deception by the Bush administration, masking monumental miscalculations that will haunt generations to come.
Thanks to the work of a Harvard professor and former Clinton administration economist named Linda Bilmes, and some other hard-working academics, we have discovered that the administration has been putting out two entirely separate and conflicting sets of numbers of those wounded in the wars.
This might sound like chicanery by George W Bush and his cronies — or characteristic incompetence — but Bilmes and Professor Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate economist from Columbia University, have established not only that the number wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan is far higher than the Pentagon has been saying, but that looking after them alone could cost present and future US taxpayers a sum they estimate to be $536bn, but which could get considerably bigger still.
Just one soldier out of the 1.4 million troops so far deployed who has returned with a debilitating brain injury, for example, may need round-the-clock care for five, six, or even seven decades.
In present-day money, according to one study, care for that soldier alone will cost a minimum of $4.3m.
Article continued here: Iraq: the hidden cost of the war
© New Statesman 1913–2007
Iraq, April 2007
4 years after occupation
Almost a million dead
4 million displaced, scattered into other countries
Untold injured
Horror of US UK invasion continuing
Sadriya market, Baghdad, Iraq

Photo: BBC/AFP
Sadriya market, Baghdad, Iraq
January 19, 2006
A Tutorial on How to Find the Real Numbers
Just How Big is the Defense Budget?
By WINSLOW T. WHEELER
O n Dec. 21, 2005, Congress passed a defense appropriations bill, which according to the press releases of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, and many news articles subsequently written, funded "defense spending" for the United States for the current fiscal year, 2006.   The impression made by the press releases and the news articles was that the $453 billion advertised in the bill, H.R. 2863, constitutes America's defense budget for 2006.[1]
That would be quite incorrect.   In fact, the total amount to be spent for the Department of Defense in 2006 is $13 billion to $63 billion more, the latter figure assuming full funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.   If you also count, non-DOD "national defense" costs, add another $21 billion, and, if you count defense related security costs, such as homeland security, the congressional press release numbers are more than $200 billion wrong.
Having observed, and in past years participated in, the obscuration of just how much the United States actually spends for defense, this author believes it would assist the debate over the defense budget in this country by identifying its actual size.   The "defense spending" bill enacted in December had the title, "Making appropriations to the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006 and for other purposes."   It was a little heavy on those "other purposes" [2] and it did not comprise all the money the Defense Department received and will receive for 2006.
To peer through the opaqueness of congressional defense appropriations, it is necessary to run through the numbers; all the numbers.   The first step is to understand the "defense spending" bill, H.R. 2863, as enacted:
* Division A of the bill appropriated $453.3 billion, but not all of it for DOD.   $522 million went to the CIA for unclassified "intelligence community management" and to the Coast Guard.   This makes the DOD total in Division A $452.8 billion.[3]
* Division B, Title I, Chapter 1 of the bill adds to DOD $4.4 billion for its expenses to rescue and relieve civilians and to undo damage to DOD contractors from Hurricane Katrina.
* Chapter 7 of Division B adds another $1.4 billion to rebuild DOD facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
* Division B, Title II, Chapter 2 adds $130 million for DOD work for protection from the threat of the Avian Flu pandemic.
* Division B, Title III, Chapter 2 cuts the DOD budget by $80 million in rescissions (cancelled spending).   More importantly, Chapter 8 in this title cuts DOD, and all other federal spending, except the Department of Veterans Affairs and "emergency" spending, by one percent "across the board."   The cut is mandated to occur in every single program of the affected accounts, nothing is exempted.   The reduction to DOD is $4.0 billion.   The actual total for DOD in the bill is $454.8 billion, over a billion more than what the appropriations committees implied.
But that's not all for the Defense Department's budget.   Add $12.2 billion for military construction.
For reasons of politics and jurisdiction, Congress appropriates money for the Defense Department in two separate bills: the Department of Defense Appropriations bill and the Military Construction Appropriations bill -- which these days is also wrapped in with other spending, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs.   The "MilCon" bill funds military bases in the states and districts of almost every member of Congress.
A major Capitol Hill activity is writing press releases for local newspapers about the goodies the senators and representatives add for their military facilities back home.   They also write press releases about the goodies they add in the DOD appropriations bill.   (Having two bills to write press releases about is better than one.)   So, that gets DOD spending for 2006 to $466.7 billion.   That's all, right?   Nope.   Add about another $50 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There is already $50 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan in the $466.7 billion appropriated in H.R. 2863.   However, war spending in 2005 was over $100 billion, and most expect 2006 to cost at least as much.   Nonetheless, Congress decided to provide just $50 billion for ongoing military operations, about enough money for the first six months of the fiscal year.
It will run out in about March 2006.
Before then, Congress and the president will need to add more, up to another $50 billion.   It is that amount that Pentagon and congressional officials privately say they anticipate will be added in a "supplemental" appropriations request in early 2006.[4]   OK, that gets the total to $516.7 billion.   Done now, right?   Nope.   There are other defense activities in the Department of Energy to keep America's nuclear arsenal reliable and effective and to develop new nuclear weapons.
Add another $16.4 billion.   There are also defense related costs in the Selective Service, the National Defense Stockpile, parts of the General Services Administration, and other miscellany.   Add still another $4.7 billion.   That gets the total to $537.8 billion.   This figure constitutes the "National Defense" budget function (known to budget geeks as budget function "050") in presidential budget requests and congressional budget resolutions.   You may also want to count even more spending, such as the costs of the Department of Homeland Security, which is certainly national defense in a generic sense.   Add about $41 billion. [5]
You might also want to consider some of the human consequences of current and previous wars; add about $68 billion for Veterans Affairs.   Also, consider adding the costs of reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan which counts in the State Department's budget, plus all the other costs for international security, diplomacy, and foreign aid, as administered by Condoleezza Rice; add about $23 billion.
If you count all these costs, the total is $669.8 billion.   This amount easily outdoes the rest of the world.   In fact, if you count just the costs of the National Defense budget function, the approximate $538 billion we spend is $29 billion more than the $509 billion the entire rest of the world spends. [6]
Pick the number you believe to be most appropriate for "defense spending" in 2006.   Presumably, you will not be using the $453 billion widely advertised by Congress and the press.   Now, there can be an accurate debate on whether this budget is too large or too small.   Please proceed.
Confused by this welter of numbers?   Not surprising; below are the important parts.
U.S. Defense and Security Spending Fiscal Year 2006
H.R. 2863 Grand total for the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, (but not all Congress has appropriated to DOD) $454.5 Billion
H.R. 2528, Military Construction Appropriations: $12.2 Billion
Total Appropriated to Date to Dept. of Defense: 466.7
Likely 2006 Supplemental (Possible amount to complete Iraq/Afghanistan war costs for 2006) $50 billion
Likely Total for DOD for 2006 $516.7 billion
Department of Energy/Defense Activities Appropriations (Funds nuclear weapons activities): $16.4 Billion
Other non-DOD defense activities (Funds Selective Service, National Defense Stockpile, etc.): $4.7 billion
Total for "National Defense" (Constitutes the National Defense Budget Function (Budget Function 050) in presidential budgets) $537.8 billion
Homeland Security (Approximate amount for non-DOD Homeland Security costs): $41 billion
Veterans Affairs $68 billion
International Security (Approximate amount for reconstruction aid, foreign arms sales, development assistance, etc.) $23 billion
Total for non-defense but security related costs:
$132 billion
1] See Dec. 17, 2005, U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, "Conferees Approve FY 2006 Defense Spending Bill."   See first sentence in addition to the press release's title.
[2] The bill was passed by Congress on Dec. 21, 2005, and it was signed into law by the president on Dec. 30, 2005.   It is now Public Law 109-148.
[3] To be entirely correct, significant amounts of the funds ostensibly appropriated to DOD are actually for the various U.S. intelligence agencies, some of them outside DOD.   Last year, a defense official accidentally told the press the classified intelligence budget amounted to about $40 billion.   The appropriations for intelligence agencies are buried in various parts of the DOD bill.   For example, the account, "Other Research and Development," for the Air Force might have a few billion for CIA or NSA programs.   The details of these intelligence appropriations are available only to members of Congress and a very small number of staffers.   The paperwork resides in a secure vault in the Capitol building for those cleared members and staff to read; very few do.
[4] As this is written, the press is reporting DOD and OMB to be considering a supplemental of not $50 billion to finish out war funding in 2005 but $80 billion to $100 billion.   Insiders report that the press has this wrong; it is more likely that DOD and OMB will ask for about $50 billion more for 2006 and a "down payment" for 2007 war costs of $40 billion to $50 billion.
[5] This number and those below for the VA and international security are not from congressional budget data but from "The Military Balance 2005-2006," International Institute for Strategic Studies, Routledge, 2005, p. 42.   The final actuals for these agencies in 2006, including not just appropriations but also "mandatory" or "entitlement" spending, is not available and likely will not be for a few weeks, as of this date.
[6] "SIPRI Yearbook 2005; Armaments, Disarmament and International Security," Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 310.
Winslow T. Wheeler is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information.   He spent 31 years working for US Senators from both parties and the Government Accountability Office.   He contributed an essay on the defense budget to CounterPunch's new book: Dime's Worth of Difference. Wheeler's new book, "The Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages U.S. Security," is published by the Naval Institute Press.

Current Military, $459B:Military Personnel $99B, Operation and Maintenance $133B, Procurement $68B, Research and Development $58B, Construction $6B, Family Housing $4B, Retired Pay $39B, DoE Nuclear Weapons $16B, 50% NASA $8B, International Security $7B, 60% Homeland Security $16B, misc. $5B Note:President Bush does not include any funds for the war on terrorism or the war on Iraq in this budget, which he expects to request later as supplemental funding.
Past Military, $345B: Veterans’ Benefits $63B; Interest on National Debt (80% estimated to be created by military spending) $282B
Human Resources, $593B: Education, Health/Human Services, HUD, Food/Nutrition programs, Labor Department, Soc. Sec. Admin.
General Government, $235B: Legislative, Justice Dept., State Dept., International Affairs, Treasury, Gov’t. Personnel, 20% interest on national debt, 50% of NASA, 20% Homeland Security
Physical Resources, $99B: Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Interior Dept., Transportation, Environmental Protection, Army Corps Engineers, NSF, FCC, 20% Homeland Security

T o t a l   F e d e r a l   F u n d s   (O u t l a y s ):   $ 1 , 7 3 1   B i l l i o n

HOW THESE FIGURES WERE DETERMINED

War Resisters League creates this leaflet each year after the President releases a proposed budget. The figures here are from a line-by-line analysis of projected figures in the “Analytical Perspectives” book of the Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2004. The percentages are federal funds, which do not include trust funds such as Social Security that are raised and spent separately from income taxes. What you pay (or don’t pay) by April 15, 2003, goes only to the federal funds portion of the budget. The government practice of combining trust and federal funds (the so-called “Unified Budget”) began in the 1960s during the Vietnam War. The government presentation makes the human needs portion of the budget seem larger and the military portion smaller.

     “Current military” spending adds together money allocated for the Dept. of Defense ($371 billion) plus the military portion from other parts of the budget. Spending on nuclear weapons (without their delivery systems) amounts to about 1% of the total budget. “Past military” represents veterans’ benefits plus 80% of the interest on the debt. Analysts differ on how much of the debt stems from the military; other groups estimate 50% to 60%. We use 80% because we believe if there had been no military spending most (if not all) of the national debt would have been eliminated. The government willingly borrows for war, but finds nothing extra for crises in human needs.

      We have split the money in the new Homeland Security Department between Current Military, General Government, and Physical Resources. The military portion includes the Coast Guard (which WRL has always included in military), a small amount in Homeland Security that is coded military in the Federal Budget, and half of “Border and Transportation Security”; the other half we have placed according to the coding in General Government. The category “Emergency Preparedness and Response” (the work of the former FEMA) is within Physical Resources. While some may see legitimate measures within this budget to prevent terrorist attacks, we also believe that the mission of this department involves a militarization of U.S. society and a system of widespread arrests designed to enhance fear and mistrust and nibble away at civil liberties. We also believe that if Homeland Security represents “defense” of the U.S., then it is all the more clear that the current Department of Defense should be returned to its original name, War Department.

The Government Deception

The pie chart below is the government view of the budget. This is a distortion of how our income tax dollars are spent because it includes Trust Funds (e.g., Social Security), and the expenses of past military spending are not distinguished from nonmilitary spending. For a more accurate representation of how your Federal income tax dollar is really spent, see the large chart.

pie00_deception.jpg (17558 bytes)

Source: New York Times, February 4, 2003, p. 25

Which Path to a Safer World?

TOOLS FOR PEACE
  TOOLS FOR WAR
11 Blankets for refugees
$100
11 hand grenades
3-day training for 160 youth in peace building
$4,000
1 rocket launcher
Enroll 2 children in Head Start
$14,000
1 cluster bomb
2 home health aides for disabled elderly
$40,000
1 Hellfire missile
Associate Degree training for 29 RNs
$145,600
1 Bunker-buster guided bomb
Rent subsidies for 1,000 families
$586,000
1,000 M-16 Rifles
Annual salary/benefits for 15 RNs
$763,000
1 minute war on Iraq
Improve, repair, modernize 20 schools
$46 million
1 hour war on Iraq
WIC program nutrition for 200,000 families
$130 million
7 unmanned Predator drones
Eradicate polio worldwide
$275 million
3 tests of missile defense system
Best vaccinations for 10 million children worldwide
$350 million
6 Trident II missiles
Childcare for 68,000 needy children
$413 million
Amphibious Warfare Landing Ship Program
7,000 units of affordable housing
$494 million
1 year military aid to Colombia
Prevent cuts to education programs (FY2003)
$1.1 billion
1 day of war on Iraq
Minimum support to save Amtrak train service
$1.2 billion
2 months U.S. war force in Afghanistan
Annual salary/benefits for 38,000 elementary teachers
$2.1 billion
1 Stealth bomber
Double federal funding for mass transit
$12 billion
1 year cost of war in Afghanistan (2001/2002)
Healthcare coverage for 7 million children
$16 billion
1 year nuclear weapons program
Save 11 million lives worldwide fighting infectious diseases
$38 billion
1 month U.S. current military spending

The costs of warmaking are staggering—especially while cities and states face huge budget deficits. The administration has hidden its real priorities by not putting the costs of the war on terrorism or war on Iraq in its budget. Stay informed about the real budget and other means to enhance security by seeking information from the groups below.

Partial source list: Center for Defense Information (www.cdi.org); Federation of American Scientists (www.fas.org); Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (www.cbpp.org); National Priorities Project (www.natprior.org); World Policy Institute (www.worldpolicy.org/projects/arms), Children’s Defense Fund (www.childrensdefense.org); UNICEF (www.unicef.org); New York Times (11/12/01; 3/18/02; 10/13/02; 12/05/02); World Health Organization (www.who.int); National Center for Education Statistics (nces.ed.gov); Mennonite Central Committee (www.mcc.org/us/colombia/dollars.html)

 


WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Demonstrate and leaflet during tax season and on the last day of filing, Tuesday, April 15, 2003, at the IRS or a post office.
  • Write the President and your representative and senators and demand that the military budget be cut.
  • Write letters to the editor of your local paper. Send all of them copies of this flyer.
  • Refuse to pay the 3% federal excise tax on your phone bills. This tax has been used symbolically as a war tax since World War I. Nonpayment of the federal tax is between you and the IRS and should not result in cutoff of phone service. Though illegal, nonpayment of the tax is almost risk-free. Contact us for details.
  • Refuse to pay all or part of your income tax. Though illegal, thousands of Americans are openly participating in this form of protest. You can take control of your paycheck and avoid contributing to the military. Contact us for information or referral to a war tax resistance counselor near you.
  • Contribute resisted tax money to an organization working to help people (e.g., day care centers, health clinics, food banks, housing programs, human rights organizations) or to an alternative fund that pools tax money from resisters and gives grants to human needs and peace groups.
  • Contact the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, PO Box 150553, Brooklyn, NY 11215, (800)269-7464. Support the Peace Tax Fund bill to allow 100% of your taxes to fund nonmilitary programs: (888) 732-2382.


RESOURCES

You can order the following resources from the WAR RESISTERS LEAGUE, 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012. (212) 228-0450, fax (212) 228-6193. We accept Mastercard and Visa; please add 20% for postage.

El piechart en el español

  • Click here to downloadCopies of the print version of this webpage are available for 10¢ each (1-199), 7¢ each (200 or more), 6¢ each (500+) plus 20% postage. You can also download an Adobe Acrobat version of it by clicking on the image to the right. You can download a free Acrobat reader here.
  • For sample brochures and resources on war tax resistance, send a self-addressed stamped (57¢) envelope to War Resisters League at the New York address below.
  • “Your Telephone Taxes Pay for War,” explanatory brochure. Single copies 50¢. $10/ 100. Cards to enclose with phone bills, $1/12. Read it online!
  • Our Tax Money, Our Choice: A Call to War Tax Resistance,” basic brochure on how’s and why’s of war tax resistance. 50¢ each. $10/100.
  • War Tax Resistance: A Guide to Withholding Your Support from the Militarythe newly revised 5th edition expected to be released March 2003 — 144-page handbook with history, methods and resources. $15 plus $2 bookrate or $4 priority mail.

Why Do the Percentages Vary from Group to Group?

The U.S. Government says that military spending amounts to 17.5% of the budget, the Center for Defense Information (CDI) reports 51%, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) reports 41%, and the War Resisters League claims 47%. Why the variation?

Different groups have different purposes in how they present the budget figures. WRL’s goal has been to show the percentage of money that goes to the military (current and past) so that people paying — or not paying — their federal taxes would know what portion of their payments are military-oriented. Also, some of the numbers are for different fiscal years.

There are at least five different factors to consider when analyzing the U.S. budget:

  • discretionary spending vs. total spending
  • budget authority vs. outlays
  • function vs. agency/department
  • federal funds vs. unified budget
  • time period

Discretionary Spending. CDI uses "discretionary" spending — budget items that Congress is allowed to tinker with — which excludes so-called "mandatory" spending items (such as interest on the national debt and retirement pay). WRL does not make such distinctions and lumps them together. Consequently, CDI figures do not include "past" military spending.

Past Military Spending. If the government does not have enough money to finance a war (or spending for its hefty military budgets), they borrow through loans, savings bonds, and so forth. This borrowing (done heavily during World War II and the Vietnam War) comes back in later years as "hidden" military spending through interest payments on the national debt.
       How much of the debt is considered “military” varies from group. As mentioned above, WRL uses 80% whereas FCNL uses 50%. Consequently, FCNL reports that 41% of the FY2001 budget is military (24% current military and 17% past military). WRL's figures are 47% of the FY2004 budget (27% current and 20% past).

Outlays vs. Budget Authority. WRL uses "outlays" rather than "budget authority," which is often preferred by the government, news media, and groups such as CDI. Outlays refer to spending done in a particular fiscal year, whereas budget authority refers to new spending authorized over a period of several future years. Consequently, CDI reports $399 billion in FY2004 budget authority for the military and $2,600 billion "over the next six years," while WRL reports outlays of $459 billion plus $345 billion in past military spending — totaling $804 billion — just for FY2004. Because of this recent increase in "budget authority," WRL's calculations of the military percentages should rise even more dramatically in future years as the new spending kicks in.

Function vs. Agency/Department. Not all military spending is done by the Department of Defense. For example, the Department of Energy budget is responsible for nuclear weapons. Consequently, calculations of military spending should consider the function of the budget item regardless of the department or agency in charge of it. However, not everyone agrees what constitutes a military function. For example, WRL includes the 60% of Homeland Security (which includes the Coast Guard), and half of NASA in military spending, while other groups do not.

Federal Funds vs. Unified Budget. WRL uses "federal funds" rather than the "unified budget" figures that the government prefers. Federal funds exclude trust fund money (e.g., social security), which is raised separately (e.g., the FICA and Medicare deductions in paychecks) and is specifically ear-marked for particular programs. By combining trust funds with federal funds, the percentage of spending on the military appears smaller, a deceptive practice first used by the government in the late 1960s as the Vietnam War became more and more unpopular.

What period are we talking about? Finally, there is some variation in figures because different fiscal years are used. WRL’s figures (above) are for FY2004 (Oct. 1, 2003 to Sep. 30, 2004) as are the most recent U.S. government figures. FCNL uses FY2001 and CDI uses FY2004 but their 51% at the top of this box is from FY2001.

 

War Resisters League
339 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 228-0450
fax (212) 228-6193

WRL homepage


Believing war to be a crime against humanity, the War Resisters League, founded in 1923, advocates Gandhian nonviolence as the method for creating a democratic society free of war, racism, sexism, and human exploitation.

 

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BBC — Wednesday, 21 November 2007
New York hunger levels 'rising'
The shelves at New York City USA Food Bank are empty

Food Bank is unable to meet demand, with shelves empty 

Image: Food Bank
Food Bank is unable to meet demand, with shelves empty
Over 1.3 million people, one in six New Yorkers, cannot afford enough food, with queues at soup kitchens getting longer, anti-poverty groups say.
The New York City Coalition Against Hunger says the number of people who use food pantries and soup kitchens in the city increased by 20% in 2007.
Some of the food distribution points are struggling to meet demand.
The coalition blames the situation mainly on increased poverty as well as government cutbacks in food aid.
Federal supplies of food cut by as much as three-quarters
"This annual survey of food pantries and soup kitchens shows that more working families, children, and seniors are being forced to seek emergency food," Joel Berg, the coalition's executive director, said in a statement.
"Given that hunger continued to increase in the city, even when the economy was still strong last year, it is no wonder that now, when the economy is weakening, lines at pantries and kitchens are getting even worse."
Some food outlets said they would not be able to distribute turkey rations for Thanksgiving on Thursday, because their federal supplies of food had been cut by as much as three-quarters.
Food Bank, a non-profit organisation which distributes food to about 1,000 pantries, said its shelves were half full compared with usual levels.
According to a survey, 59% of New York's food programmes, up from 48% last year, said they did not have enough resources to meet demand.
The US Department of Agriculture says 12.6 million households nationwide, or more than 30 million people - 10% of the population - did not have enough food at some point in 2006.
Percentage of New York City, USA, food pantries and soup kitchens without enough food to meet the growing demand.

More than one million New Yorkers are unable to feed themselves adequately, New York City Coalition Against Hunger said Wednesday, criticizing the US government for cutting emergency food aid.

The number of people who use food pantries and soup kitchens soared in New York City in 2007, while food stocks drastically declined, forcing fully half of these programs to ration food.

Photo: www.nyccah.org
1.3 Million New Yorkers (One In Six)
live in food insecure households
417,000 Of Them Are Children
Currently homeless
Holds up sandwich
given outside
emergency
overnight shelter
The number of people who use food pantries and soup kitchens soared in New York City in 2007, while food stocks drastically declined, forcing fully half of these programs to ration food.
The Coalition’s survey estimated that pantry and kitchen use increased by 20% in 2007, on top of the 11% increase in 2006 estimated by last year’s survey.
Sadly, the need for the New York City Coalition Against Hunger is greater than ever, with the city facing an increasing crisis of poverty and hunger.
During 2006, an average of 1.3 million New York City residents, including over 400,000 children, lived in households facing food insecurity, according to federal statistics calculated by the Coalition.   This number was an increase of 1.4% over the previous three-year period.
City Human Resources Adminstration data also suggests a growth in the need for emergency food, with 323,000 more meals being served by City-funded programs in 2006 than 2005.
In the Coalition's annual survey of hunger in New York City - the most comprehensive of its kind - the city's emergency food programs estimated an 11% growth in need from 2005 to 2006, on top of 6% growth in the previous year.
Because these agencies were unable to obtain enough food, money, staff, and volunteers to meet their growing need, nearly half (46%) were forced to ration food by turning people away, reducing portion sizes, and/or limiting hours of operations.
Clearly, the benefits of the city's economic upswing have not reached low-income citizens.
The result has been hunger that hangs on.   The fastest-growing populations at emergency food programs are working parents, children, and senior citizens.
While the public often uses "hungry" and "homeless" interchangeably, most of the people forced to use pantries and kitchens do have a home - just not the money to purchase all the food they need.
This accelerating increase in hunger....
For website and to download report click here
Percentage of New York City, USA, food pantries and soup kitchens at which food and funding from government has decreased.

More than one million New Yorkers are unable to feed themselves adequately, New York City Coalition Against Hunger said Wednesday, criticizing the US government for cutting emergency food aid.

The number of people who use food pantries and soup kitchens soared in New York City in 2007, while food stocks drastically declined, forcing fully half of these programs to ration food.

Photo: www.nyccah.org
Over time I was increasingly shocked by the speed and ease with which many intelligent and seemingly competent members of the CFR [ Council on Foreign Relations ] appeared to eagerly justify policies and actions that supported growing corruption.
The regularity with which many CFR members would protect insiders from accountability regarding another appalling fraud surprised even me.
Many of them seemed delighted with the advantages of being an insider while being entirely indifferent to the extraordinary cost to all citizens of having our lives, health and resources drained to increase insider wealth in a manner that violated the most basic principles of fiduciary obligation and respect for the law.
In short, the CFR was operating in a win-lose economic paradigm that centralized economic and political power.
I was trying to find a way for us to shift to a win-win economic paradigm that was — by its nature — decentralizing.
Catherine Austin Fitts — Dillon Reid and Co. Inc. And the Aristocracy of Stock Profits
 
The reader can appreciate why Wall Street would welcome someone as accommodating as Gorelick at Fannie Mae.
This was a period when the profits rolled in from engineering the most spectacular growth in mortgage debt in U.S. history.
As one real estate broker said, “They have turned our homes into ATM machines.”
Fannie Mae has been a leading player in centralizing control of the mortgage markets into Washington D.C. and Wall Street.
And that means as people were rounded up and shipped to prison as part of Operation Safe Home, Fannie was right behind to finance the gentrification of neighborhoods.
And that is before we ask questions about the extent to which the estimated annual financial flows of $500 billion–$1 trillion money laundering through the U.S. financial system or money missing from the US government are reinvested into Fannie Mae securities.
Catherine Austin Fitts — Dillon Reid and Co. Inc. And the Aristocracy of Stock Profits
James Forrestal
James Forrestal’s oil portrait always hung prominently in one of the private Dillon Read dining rooms for the eleven years that I worked at the firm. Forrestal, a highly regarded Dillon partner and President of the firm, had gone to Washington, D.C. in 1940 to lead the Navy during WWII and then played a critical role in creating the National Security Act of 1947.

He then became Secretary of War (later termed Secretary of Defense) in September 1947 and served until March 28, 1949.

Given the central banking-warfare investment model that rules our planet, it was appropriate that Dillon 
partners at various times lead both the Treasury Department and the Defense Department.

Shortly after resigning from government, Forrestal died falling out of a window of the Bethesda Naval Hospital outside of Washington, D.C. on May 22, 1949.

There is some controversy around the official explanation of his death — ruled a suicide.

Some insist he had a nervous breakdown. Some say that he was opposed to the creation of the state of Israel.

Others say that he argued for transparency and accountability in government, and against the provisions instituted at this time to create a secrete “black budget.”

He lost and was pretty upset about it — and the loss was a violent one.

Since the professional killers who operate inside the Washington beltway have numerous techniques to get perfectly sane people to kill themselves, I am not sure it makes a big difference.

Approximately a month later, the CIA Act of 1949 was passed.

The Act created the CIA and endowed it with the statutory authority that became one of the chief components of financing the “black” budget — the power to claw monies from other agencies for the benefit of secretly funding the intelligence communities and their corporate contractors.

This was to turn out to be a devastating development for the forces of transparency, without which there can be no rule of law, free markets or democracy.

Catherine Austin Fitts — Dillon Reid and Co. Inc. And the Aristocracy of Stock Profits

Photo: Wikipedia     

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed Forrestal as an administrative assistant on June 22, 1940, then nominated him as Undersecretary of the Navy six weeks later. In the latter post, Forrestal would prove to be very effective at mobilizing industrial production for the war effort.
He became Secretary of the Navy on May 19, 1944, following the death of his immediate supervisor Frank Knox from a heart attack. Forrestal then led the Navy through the closing year of the war and the demobilization that followed.   What might have been his greatest legacy as Navy Secretary was an attempt that came to nought.   He, along with Secretary of War Henry Stimson and Under Secretary of State Joseph Grew, in the early months of 1945, strongly advocated a softer policy toward Japan that would permit a negotiated face-saving surrender.   His primary concern was "the menace of Russian Communism and its attraction for decimated, destabilized societies in Europe and Asia", and, therefore, keeping the Soviet Union out of the war with Japan.   Had his advice been followed, Japan might well have surrendered before August 1945, precluding the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.   So strongly did he feel about this matter that he cultivated negotiation attempts that bordered closely on insubordination toward the President.
Forrestal opposed the unification of the services, but even so helped develop the National Security Act of 1947 that created the National Military Establishment (the Department of Defense was not created as such until August 1949), and with the former Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson retiring to private life, Forrestal was the next choice.
His 18 months at Defense came at an exceptionally difficult time for the U.S. military establishment:   Communist governments came to power in Czechoslovakia and China; West Berlin was blockaded, necessitating the Berlin Airlift to keep it going; the war between the Arab states and Israel after the establishment of Israel in Palestine; and negotiations were going on for the formation of NATO.   His reign was also hampered by intense interservice rivalries.
In addition, President Harry Truman constrained military budgets billions of dollars below what the services were requesting, putting Forrestal in the middle of the tug-of-war.   Forrestal was also becoming more and more worried about the Soviet threat.   Internationally, the takeover by the Communists of Eastern Europe, their threats to the governments of Greece, Italy, and France, their impending takeover of China, and the invasion of South Korea by North Korea would demonstrate the legitimacy of his concerns on the international front as well.
Photo and description: Wikipedia
James Forrestal’s oil portrait always hung prominently in one of the private Dillon Read dining rooms for the eleven years that I worked at the firm. Forrestal, a highly regarded Dillon partner and President of the firm, had gone to Washington, D.C. in 1940 to lead the Navy during WWII and then played a critical role in creating the National Security Act of 1947.
He then became Secretary of War (later termed Secretary of Defense) in September 1947 and served until March 28, 1949.
Given the central banking-warfare investment model that rules our planet, it was appropriate that Dillon partners at various times lead both the Treasury Department and the Defense Department.
Shortly after resigning from government, Forrestal died falling out of a window of the Bethesda Naval Hospital outside of Washington, D.C. on May 22, 1949.
There is some controversy around the official explanation of his death — ruled a suicide.
Some insist he had a nervous breakdown. Some say that he was opposed to the creation of the state of Israel.
Others say that he argued for transparency and accountability in government, and against the provisions instituted at this time to create a secrete “black budget.”
He lost and was pretty upset about it — and the loss was a violent one.
Since the professional killers who operate inside the Washington beltway have numerous techniques to get perfectly sane people to kill themselves, I am not sure it makes a big difference.
Approximately a month later, the CIA Act of 1949 was passed.
The Act created the CIA and endowed it with the statutory authority that became one of the chief components of financing the “black” budget — the power to claw monies from other agencies for the benefit of secretly funding the intelligence communities and their corporate contractors.
This was to turn out to be a devastating development for the forces of transparency, without which there can be no rule of law, free markets or democracy.
Catherine Austin Fitts — Dillon Reid and Co. Inc. And the Aristocracy of Stock Profits
What Briody does not mention is allegations regarding Brown & Root's involvement in narcotics trafficking. Former LAPD narcotics investigator Mike Ruppert once described his break up with fiance Teddy — an agent dealing narcotics and weapons for the CIA while working with Brown & Root, as follows:
“Arriving in New Orleans in early July, 1977 I found her living in an apartment across the river in Gretna. Equipped with scrambler phones, night vision devices and working from sealed communiqués delivered by naval and air force personnel from nearby Belle Chasse Naval Air Station, Teddy was involved in something truly ugly.
She was arranging for large quantities of weapons to be loaded onto ships leaving for Iran.
At the same time she was working with Mafia associates of New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello to coordinate the movement of service boats that were bringing large quantities of heroin into the city.
The boats arrived at Marcello controlled docks, unmolested by even the New Orleans police she introduced me to, along with divers, military men, former Green Berets and CIA personnel.
“The service boats were retrieving the heroin from oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, oil rigs in international waters, oil rigs built and serviced by Brown and Root.
The guns that Teddy monitored, apparently Vietnam era surplus AK 47s and M16s, were being loaded onto ships also owned or leased by Brown and Root.
And more than once during the eight days I spent in New Orleans I met and ate at restaurants with Brown and Root employees who were boarding those ships and leaving for Iran within days.
Once, while leaving a bar and apparently having asked the wrong question, I was shot at in an attempt to scare me off.”
Source: "Halliburton’s Brown and Root is One of the Major Components of the Bush-Cheney Drug Empire" by Michael Ruppert, From the Wilderness
Catherine Austin Fitts — Dillon Reid and Co. Inc. And the Aristocracy of Stock Profits
The Clinton Administration took the groundwork laid by Nixon, Reagan and Bush and embraced and blossomed the expansion and promotion of federal support for police, enforcement and the War on Drugs with a passion that was hard to understand unless and until you realized that the American financial system was deeply dependent on attracting an estimated $500 billion-$1 trillion of annual money laundering.
Globalizing corporations and deepening deficits and housing bubbles required attracting vast amounts of capital.
Attracting capital also required making the world safe for the reinvestment of the profits of organized crime and the war machine.
Without growing organized crime and military activities through government budgets and contracts, the economy would stop centralizing.
The Clinton Administration was to govern a doubling of the federal prison population.
Catherine Austin Fitts — Dillon Reid and Co. Inc. And the Aristocracy of Stock Profits
Major arms soar to twice pre-9/11 cost
Systems to have little direct role in terror fight
By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff | August 19, 2006
WASHINGTON — The estimated costs for the development of major weapons systems for the US military have doubled since September 11, 2001, with a trillion-dollar price tag for new planes, ships, and missiles that would have little direct role in the fight against insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The soaring cost estimates — disclosed in a report for the Republican-led Senate Budget Committee — have led to concerns that supporters of multibillion-dollar weapons programs in Congress, the Pentagon, and the defense industry are using the conflicts and the war on terrorism to fulfill a wish-list of defense expenditures, whether they are needed or not for the war on terrorism.
The report, based on Defense Department data, concluded that the best way to keep defense spending in check in the coming years lies in “controlling the cost of weaponry,” especially those programs that the Pentagon might not necessarily need.
The projections of what it will cost to acquire “major weapons programs” currently in production or on the drawing board soared from $790 billion in September 2001 to $1.61 trillion in June 2006, according to the congressional analysis of Pentagon data.
Costs for some of the most expensive new weapon systems -- such as satellite-linked combat vehicles for ground troops; a next-generation fighter plane ; and a cutting-edge, stealth-technology destroyer for the Navy -- are predicted to cost even more by the time they are delivered, because many of them are still in their early phases.   In a quarterly report to Congress on weapons costs earlier this month, the Pentagon reported that of the $1.61 trillion it thinks it will need for big-ticket weapons, it has spent more than half so far -- about $909 billion.
But the huge increase in weapons costs is already placing enormous strain on the federal budget, according to government budget specialists, who predict major increases in defense spending for years to come so that the Pentagon can afford all the weapons it has on the books.   The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, for example, estimates that between 2012 and 2024 the Pentagon budget will have to grow between 18 percent and 34 percent over what was appropriated this year.
Overall, annual defense spending has increased by about 11 percent per year since 2001, to about $400 billion this year, not including hundreds of billions of dollars that Congress has set aside to pay for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.   Military operations and maintenance costs, as well as salaries and health benefits for people in uniform, have all gone up by about 40 percent.
But the price tag for major weapons has garnered new attention from watchdog groups and government auditors, who contend that many of the arms already on the drawing board don't have much to do with ongoing combat or the war on terrorism.
In fact, most of the weapon systems being designed, tested , or built had been in the Pentagon's pipeline long before the Sept. 11 attacks. Despite the steep price jump, there has been a relatively modest increase in the number of new weapons projects over the past five years, according to Pentagon figures.
Still, “only a portion of these increased costs are a result of the war on terror,” said Winslow Wheeler , a former congressional budget specialist now at the nonprofit Center for Defense Information in Washington and the author of “ The Wastrels of Defense.”
The weapons projects designated as “major acquisition programs” require at least $365 million in research funding and $2.1 billion is acquisition costs.   They include new armored vehicles; two new fighter jets; an advanced Navy destroyer; a package of land, air , and space-based missile defense systems; and sophisticated electronic and intelligence systems such as a new satellite communications network.
Defense specialists attribute the spiral ing costs to a variety of factors.   Some projects have increased in scope, while other weapons systems have taken longer to acquire, adding to the cost.   Other projects turned out to be far more expensive than project managers and contractors predicted.
For example, the Future Combat System, a high-tech fleet of armored combat vehicles being developed by the Army , was forecast to cost $92 billion when its development began in 2003, according to the GOP committee's report.   As of December 2005, however, the price tag had skyrocketed to $165 billion, about an 80 percent increase in just two years.
The Government Accountability Office, the government's nonpartisan audit bureau, warned of “the risks of conducting business as usual,” and concluded in a report in November that the major weapons programs are at “high risk” for fraud, waste, abuse , and mismanagement.
The Department of Defense “has experienced cost overruns, missed deadlines, performance shortfalls, and persistent management problems,” the report said.   “In light of the serious budget pressures facing the nation, such problems are especially troubling.”
The GOP committee report was blunt about the impact of rising weapons costs on the federal budget, and expressed little confidence that Congress has the political will to reign in spending on weapons that are not critical to the war effort.   Noting that “every project has local employment implications,” the report said “weapon system politics” will make it extremely difficult to make cuts.
“Controlling the long-term costs of the Pentagon's arsenal are very nearly as complex as restraining the cost of government entitlements like Social Security and Medicare,” the analysis said.
© Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company.

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Bushwhacked By Budget Cuts
Sarah Johnston-Gardner
May 19, 2003

budget cuts
The United States is one of the richest and most powerful nations of all time.
We have the ability to provide health care and education to all our citizens, but our government is not prioritizing funding for these needs.
Instead, the priority is more military spending on what is already the largest military force in the world.
In light of the recent devastating budget cuts to schools and universities across the country, can we really say we all enjoy equal access to education, enabling us to lead the lives that we want?
Is a society really secure that values an oversized military with weapons of mass-destruction, a nuclear arsenal, and ballistic missiles dwarfing any of our potential enemies over the quality of education and health care?
Congress must approve the budget
Every year the President has to propose a budget for the spending of discretionary funds that Congress must approve.
The proposed federal budget from President Bush for 2003 asked for an unprecedented amount of our tax dollars to be directed to defense and the Pentagon, while millions are being cut from state and social service programs.
Military spending currently takes 50 percent of our budget while education takes only 9 percent.
Proposed budget cuts will damage food stamps, veterans’ benefits, childcare, school lunch programs, and other important services.
Three times amount federal government spends on education K-12
At the same time, Bush proposed an additional $75 billion to finance the war in Iraq. This amount could have paid the salaries of 1.5 million elementary school teachers.
And while Bush proposed $75 billion, it is more likely that the total cost of the war will be more like $100 billion, according to The National Priorities Project.
That is three times the amount the federal government spends on education K-12.
More Info about the 2003 Budget:
National Priorities Project www.nationalpriorities.org
National Education Association report www.nea.org/lac
True Majority www.truemajority.com/index.asp?action=2495&ms=reck3.
Women's Action for New Directions fact sheet on FY 2003 budget: www.wand.org
Better Budget Resolution: A resolution passed in Vermont in 1997 by Senator Jean Ankeney that states a firm commitment to responsible re-prioritizing of federal funds. www.wand.org
How does the budget affect you?
If you are a high school student, the funding statewide for high schools has been cut $6,771 million.
Compare this to the $15.7 billion we will spend on nuclear weapons.
While it is difficult to imagine how large this amount really is, the consequences will be clearly tangible: decaying buildings, underpaid teachers, old textbooks and the destruction of special education and school lunch programs.
Public school construction projects funds eliminated
Approximately forty education programs — including dropout prevention, school counselors, and rural education — will be eliminated.
The National Education Association cites that public school construction projects need $268 billion to complete their projects, yet Bush's new budget proposes that these funds be eliminated.
Are schools in your district deteriorating or overcrowded?
Is it difficult to find the money to build or repair your schools?
These problems will persist if we do not change the spending priorities of our government.
If you enrolled in higher education, the cut is $2,442 million. The result is more confusion in the bureaucracy of universities, higher tuitions, cuts in departments and spending overall.
How budget cuts affect different states
In Portland, Oregon, teachers have agreed to work two weeks without pay.
Can you imagine if the government asked soldiers to fly out to combat without pay or adequate maps?
Also a Portland program known as New Avenues for Youth, which provides alternatives to jails for juvenile offenders, is in danger of being eliminated due to the $250 million in proposed cuts to juvenile justice programs in President Bush's budget for next year.
There is also a $400 million cut in after-school programs for children at risk of falling into delinquency.
This would mean ending after-school programs for 500,000 students, according to Department of Education figures.
This is particularly troubling, as juvenile crime rates are on the rise and after-school programs have been demonstrated to make a difference in the direction of some youths' lives.
The combination of these two cuts could lead to a devastating shift in the lives of many youths.
Wise choices in spending?
In California, $601 million be cut from higher education and $888 million from education K-12.
These cuts can be compared with the $7.6 billion California taxpayers will pay for the war, which could instead provide for 130,460 public elementary school teachers or healthcare for more than 4 million uninsured children.
California will also pay $2 billion in nuclear weapons in 2004, which could have paid for 242,419 spots for children in Head Start preschool programs.
Do you think these are wise choices in spending?
Struggling students
Massachusetts has lost $75 million for higher education.
Republican governor Mitt Romney has proposed to consolidate two community colleges in western Massachusetts — one is urban, Holyoke Community College, and the other rural, Greenfield Community College.
The two colleges are 40 miles apart and there is no public transportation provided.
Paul Revera, executive vice-president of Holyoke Community College, explained that their school population is made up of mostly "working people, single parents and people without cars."
Revera suggested that the complex consolidation Romney called for would only complicate matters further for these struggling students.
In addition, the University of Massachusetts Amhert has had to cut programs such as student safety patrols, childcare, and the arts.
Students at this state-run university can expect a 15 percent increase in in-state tuition — for many, this means a public university education has become unaffordable.
Even if schools in your state have not suffered yet, the budget cuts will inevitably affect the future workforce of the entire country.
Education is empowerment.
If it is only offered to the few then we can expect the problems associated with the cycle of poverty and crime that affects us all to only get worse.
What are we spending it on?
If we are not spending money on education, what are we spending it on?
A $48 billion increase in military spending, and a proposed $75 billion or more for the war in Iraq.
In his proposed $2.13 trillion fiscal year (FY) 2003 budget, President Bush is requesting $396.1 billion in defense spending.
This is a $48 billion increase from FY 2002, and represents the largest defense increase in two decades, returning the U.S. to peak Cold War military spending levels.
The figures they are asking for do not take into account the snowballing costs of the war in Iraq, which have been estimated to cost over $100 billion dollars, according to the National Priorities Project.
How much is 48 billion?
According to Women’s Action for New Directions the $48 billion proposed military spending increase is by itself more than three times the combined defense budgets of Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Cuba, Sudan and Syria — those nations traditionally regarded as "rogue nations" or states of concern.
Clearly, the United States dwarfs the rest of the world in military spending: The proposed increase amount is larger than the entire defense budget of every other country, except Russia ($60 billion).
For 2003, military spending comprises 53% of all discretionary spending ($755 billion).
More money will be spent on the military next year than on all discretionary social programs combined.
Military spending currently takes 50 percent of our budget while education takes only 9 percent.
When we study these figures we can also think of what we could be doing with this money instead.
For example the $15.7 billion for nuclear weapons in FY2003 could instead provide salaries for nearly 300,000 new elementary school teachers.
The $396.1 billion proposed military budget could instead provide almost 16 million children with health care.
These "trade-offs," as the National Priorities Project calls them, harm everyone, but we do have the power to influence our representatives to incite changes in spending priorities.
We must continue to ask our representatives why our government can not provide an adequate education and a safe place to attend school for all its citizens, yet at the same time it can provide billions for a war that will inevitably harm innocent civilians overseas?
War-hungry President
We cannot place the blame solely on the local officials who are struggling with painful cuts to their budgets.
We have to turn to the federal level, to the war-hungry President and the Republican majority in Congress and Senate.
We have to raise our voices, and let our representatives know we want books not bombs!
Most citizens want safe neighborhoods, and ensuring quality public education will help end the cycle of poverty that leads to crime.
In his State of the Union address, Mr. Bush said he would "apply the compassion of America to the deepest problems of America" by introducing a $150-million-a-year program to provide mentors for children with parents in prison and disadvantaged middle school students.
He, of course, failed to mention the thousands of problems that are arising as a direct result of budget cuts to these and other government-run social and education programs.
Clearly it's going to take more than just lip-service to solve America's internal problems, and you can make a difference.
So, call your representatives in Congress, inform them and educate others on the need to shift our nation’s priorities.
Sarah Johnston-Gardner is a junior government major at Smith College in Northampton, MA.
Sources:
The National Priorities Project. www.nationalpriorities.org
Reg Weaver, President The National Education Association. "The Zero-Percent Solution?" — January 26, 2003
Butterfield, Fox. Cuts Imperial Youth Program in Oregon. New York Times. 3/9/03
The National Education Association report, www.nea.org/lac
Women’s Action for New Directions fact sheet on FY 2003 budget www.wand.org
© WireTap is a project of AlterNet and the Independent Media Institute.
Beyond defence and space, US spending on R&D drops
Washington — Defence and space projects account for most increases in the 5 billion (5,468 billion baht) federal research and development budget next year, worrying scientists who fear that after years of growth, the United States is beginning to skimp on technology that fuels marketplace innovation.
The realignment by Congress of research money toward national defence and human space exploration means many universities, institutions and scientists will have to scramble for new sources of money or cut back current or planned projects.
The National Institutes of Health, the nation's premier biomedical research agency, saw its budget doubled between 1999 and 2003 but is getting .6 billion (1,158 billion baht) next year, a slight 0.1% drop that marks its first budget cutback since 1970.
Research costs more
The cut, while small, comes at a time when a lot of research simply costs more, even the laboratory mice used in cancer research, explained Dr Harold Varmus, a former NIH director and Nobel Prize winner.
''There is a battle for the future in science and technology.   That's what is going to govern the future of our country. Not increasing investments in those areas sends a signal the country is going to regret,''
Dr Varmus now heads the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
The Bush administration counters that federal research and development spending remains near an all-time high and is close to 45% higher than when the president took office.
That ''is a strong statement of the high priority this administration places on innovation, competitiveness, science, technology and research,'' said Donald Tighe, a spokesman for the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which advises the president.
Federal research and development spending will rise .2 billion (89 billion baht), or 1.7% in 2006, to about 5 billion, according to an analysis by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Of that increase, 97% will go to Department of Defence weapons development and National Aeronautics and Space Administration spacecraft programmes, AAAS said.
Funding for other federal R&D increases only slightly, and actually falls if adjusted for inflation, AAAS analyst Kei Koizumi said.
''For 2006, for most areas, it's looking pretty bad.   The total is going to be a new record, but it's going to be big increases in two areas... Obviously, those are big priorities but in an overall budget in which Congress and the president are trying to cut domestic spending, all other R&D programs are flat at best and falling in most cases.''
Electrical engineering, computer science and other departments hurting
The nation's universities and research institutes fret the emphasis increasingly falls on development, which tends to help industry, instead of the experimentation and exploration associated with basic research.
Research spending is falling or stagnating, disproportionately hurting the colleges and universities that depend on federal support to run their electrical engineering, computer science and other departments, said Tobin Smith, senior federal relations officer for the Association of American Universities.
The group's 60 research universities account for 60% of federally supported, university-based research.
Most immediately, decreased R&D spending will lead to layoffs and other cutbacks at some facilities that rely on federal funding. NYT
      By ANDREW BRIDGES      January 03, 2006      
      www.bangkokpost.com      
        U.S. Debt        
          
Weapons of Mass Deception
Monday 25 April 2005
By Christian Hendersonn
 
Schechter analysed the US mainstream media for his film
In the prelude to the war, the Bush administration hinted at the existence of a link between Iraq and the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.
However, intelligence investigations commissioned by the White House and Congress have since determined the suggested links were false.
According to Danny Schechter, a media veteran of almost 40 years who nicknamed himself the News Dissector, the 70% figure suggests US media failed their public and led them to believe a baseless claim.
As the invasion played out on television screens around the world, Schechter "self-embedded" in his living room and examined US media coverage of the war.
He turned his conclusions into Weapons of Mass Deception www.wmdthefilm.com, a documentary film that examines how the media covered the war.
In the post-September 11 nationalistic ardour, the film concludes the US mainstream media failed to challenge Washington over its reasons for going to war, shut out anti-war voices and blurred the lines between commentary and journalism.
Aljazeera.net spoke to Schechter on the sidelines of last week's Aljazeera Television Productions Festival in the Qatari capital, Doha, where Weapons of Mass Deception was shown.
Aljazeera.net:  Why did you make this film?
Danny Schechter:  I have been a journalist since the 1960s.  And in some ways, this project grew out of a lifetime of work. I worked in radio; I worked in local television; I worked in cable news; I worked in ABC; I worked in mainstream and I worked in independent [media] so I think I had a wide range of experience.
I have also written six books about media issues, so I have had a chance to think about it more deeply; I think all that uniquely qualified me to take on this project.
Aljazeera.net:  What are you trying to do in this film?
Danny Schechter:  I try to offer some fresh insights.  I also try to speak to journalists about what this means in terms of our responsibilities to challenge and what this means in terms of democracy.
In the film, I make the suggestion that the Bush administration practices deception as part of its strategy and military strategy.
WMD accuses the US media of group think 
We know that everything they were saying about WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction)and the link with Usama [bin Laden] were not true and many of us knew it then and we said so, but everyone was saying something different.
Now, with study after study they say it was "group think" in the intelligence community.  That's why they screwed up.
If there was group think in the intelligence community, what about the journalistic community?  There was group think there, too.
Aljazeera.net:  Are you influenced by Noam Chomsky and his theory of manufacturing consent?
Danny Schechter:  Noam Chomsky doesn't watch television; he is more of an analyst of the New York Times and elite journalism so I didn't go to him for an interview.
I was more interested in journalists who covered the war and how they were debating it.  So I feel that Chomsky had a brilliant analysis of media, but more of it is oriented toward print.  It doesn't always take into account the techniques of the media.
Aljazeera.net:  What do you think of Chomsky's critics who accuse him of overestimating the sophistication of media control, and that - in reality - it is more to do with day-to-day decisions and market forces?
Danny Schechter:  I don't buy the conspiracy theories of media.  I remember a group of Syrians came to our office and they said:  'We agree with you because we really know the Jews run everything.'  This was their analysis.  I said, excuse me, Rupert Murdoch is not Jewish the last time I looked.
You know the problem is corporate media and corporate-controlled media and how they operate within their framework.
Aljazeera.net:  What do you mean when you use the term post-journalism era?
Danny Schechter:  Journalism is at a crossroads.  There are many journalists today who still believe in the values of journalism but who are frustrated by the difficulty of practicing it because the companies they work for do not really respect journalistic principles.  What they are there to do is satisfy their bottom line concerns, they have closed bureau after bureau.
 
The film accuses the media of shutting out anti-war voices
There has been a pattern of dumbing down, and by dumbing it down it means people inside media are dumbing themselves down.  They are not asking good questions, they are not challenging official narratives the way they should be.
If you look at Fox News, there is very little journalism, very little reporting.  Mostly it is talk shows posing as news programmes and [they are] opinion driven, you have three times more pundits on air as opposed to journalists.  That's another sign of the post-journalism era.
Aljazeera.net:  Are blogs an alternative to mainstream media sources?
There are now 10 million blogs.  Of those, maybe 10% claim to be journalistic.  Some of the bloggers are very responsible, really challenging and doing investigative digging that mainstream media are not.

Some are motivated just by ideological concerns. Recently, for example, Eason Jordan, the former chief of news at CNN - when he said at Davos 12 journalists had been killed by US soldiers there was a big shock and he was forced to resign.  In that case, a blogger took an off-the-record meeting and just blasted it out there with out having a full record of what was said.
I think a lot of blogging can be very irresponsible and some of it is sponsored by political forces by the Republican party or the Democrat party and the like, so it has a political and ideological not a journalistic function.
But in my blog www.mediachannel.org what I try to do every day is take the top stories and report what is not being reported by comparing and contrasting.
Aljazeera.net:  You credit American journalists who helped you make this film.  Do you think many in the US media are sympathetic to your message?
Journalists review copies of the 9/11 Commission report
 
Danny Schechter:  Whenever I talk to people in the media off the record, including anchormen, people are very supportive, people slip me footage from various networks.  People are very helpful, but a lot of them are living in a lot of fear.  Everybody feels vulnerable, people have mortgages; they have families - it's difficult to be courageous.
Many American media people feel vulnerable and as if they are being bullied, they feel totally insecure.  In the culture of the newsroom, if you put your head up, it will get chopped off.  Everybody is getting along by going along and that's a dangerous kind of conformity.
Aljazeera.net:  If the US is involved in another war, how do you think it will be reported in the US media?  Do you think the media have learned from some of the mistakes of the Iraq war.
Danny Schechter:  The institutional practices have not changed.  I feel like the coverage of the elections was very similar to the coverage of the war.  The same templates are being used, the same approach, the lack of political scrutiny, the lack of other voices, the way things are being framed, the lack of investigative checking.
The American media reported the Iraqi elections as a great victory for democracy.  Everyone else reported them and asked Iraqis why they were voting and they said to get the Americans out and to end the occupation.  Their reasons are very different from the way it was presented on American televisions.  So we still have this propaganda system, in effect, but its credibility is starting to be questioned.  And I hope my film will contribute to that.
What I want to see is more journalists taking more responsibility for what they do and showing more solidarity when other journalists are shot and killed.
How many people in the American media protested the killing of Tariq Ayub [Aljazeera's correspondent slain in Baghdad by US fire on 8 April 2003]?  That was blatant, a completely blatant assassination and yet nobody said a word.  We need to challenge that and show more solidarity with other media workers.
          Aljazeera - Features
Unspeakable grief and horror
                        ...and the circus of deception continues...
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Circus of Torture   2003 — now
He says, "You are quite mad, Kewe"
And of course I am.
Why, I don't believe any of it — not the bloody body, not the bloody mind, not even the bloody Universe, or is it bloody multiverse.
"It's all illusion," I say.   "Don't you know, my lad, my lassie.   The game!   The game, me girl, me boy!   Takes on interest, don't you know.   T'is me sport, till doest find a better!"
Pssssst — but all this stuff is happening down here
Let's change it!
To say hello:     hello[the at marker]TheWE.cc
For Kewe's spiritual and metaphysical pages — click here
 
 
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