Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Department of Defense

Do Overseas Military Base Closures Mean a Shrinking U.S. Empire?

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 12, 2014:

When the Department of Defense issued its annual Real Property Inventory, Dmitry Orlov, an investigative reporter and author of The Five Stages of Collapse, was curious to see how the American empire was doing. To his astonishment, looking back as far as 1957, Orlov discovered that it is shrinking, declining sharply last year and continuing a trend of shrinkage going back for more than a decade:

The US may still have control of its domestic and territorial bases, but it has suffered huge losses of foreign military bases and acreage. Since reaching “peak foreign military bases” in 2004, the US now has just 64% of them — a loss of over a third in a decade! In the case of acreage the US retains 69% of its peak acreage in 2006, so it has lost 31% of its foreign military acreage — also close to a third. If you want to guess at what’s behind these numbers, you might want to look at them as the fallout from disastrous US foreign policy,

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Sen. Coburn’s Final 2014 Wastebook Is Funny, Sad, and Outrageous

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, October 23, 2014:

Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn’s final edition of his “Wastebook” lists 100 ways that the federal government is wasting taxpayer dollars on wacky, useless, and exasperating projects. Coburn first served in the House of Representatives for three terms and then two more terms as Senator. Battling prostate cancer and keeping his pledge not to run for a third term, Coburn is retiring at the end of this year. He has rightfully earned the sobriquet from big spending Democrats as “Dr. No.”

Journalists across the political spectrum enjoyed selecting their own “favorite” projects to explore, decry, and ridicule. Josh Hicks at the Washington Post picked his favorite nine, including

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Presidential Helicopter Upgrades to cost $20 Billion!

A U.S. Marine Corps Sikorsky VH-34D presidenti...

A U.S. Marine Corps Sikorsky VH-34D presidential helicopter (BuNo 147201) on the South Lawn of the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 12, 2014:

When Ike occupied the White House, he asked his staff about using a military helicopter to fly him to his summer home in Pennsylvania. A Sikorsky UH-34 Seahorse was selected as the aircraft of choice: no creature comforts, no air-conditioning, no toilet.

In 1958, the helicopter was upgraded, and then again in 1961. By 1978, the Marines and the Army were flying VH-3As, which were further upgraded in 1987. By 2000, even these upgrades were falling behind the technology curve, and by 2009 the White House helicopter stable included 11 VH-3Ds and eight VH-60Ns (the V stood for VIP).

The 9/11 attacks changed everything.

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Defense Department Announces Latest Presidential Helicopter Contract

UTC Sikorsky logo

UTC Sikorsky logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It didn’t take long for the skeptics to scoff at the costs of the latest effort to upgrade the fleet of presidential helicopters announced by the Defense Department on Wednesday, May 7. They say the $1.2 billion contract awarded to Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation will be just the beginning.

There are at least two reasons to be skeptical: the open-ended nature of the White House requirements and recent history. The Department of Defense outlined its requirements, stating that Marine Helicopter Squadron One which currently operates 19 presidential helicopters, must provide

 

Safe and timely transportation for the President and Vice President of the United States, heads of state and others as directed by the White House Military Office.

In addition, each aircraft must be equipped with various self-defense features such as bullet-proof glass and body panels and specialized communications equipment that allows the president to maintain “critical command functions” while airborne. Each needs to be large enough to carry up to 14 passengers and several thousand pounds of baggage while being small enough to operate from the White House lawn.

Each must have a minimum range of 300 miles and carry a full complement of defensive countermeasures to thwart heat-seeking and radar-directed missiles and also be hardened against an EMP (electromagnetic pulse), either from an enemy or from the sun. It must be able to send and receive encrypted communications and hold secure teleconferences while in flight.

And each must have air-conditioning and a toilet.

Under the contract Sikorsky promises to deliver two prototypes by 2016, with another 21 fully operational aircraft six years later.

Several questions arise. First,

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How a Republican Apologist Explains the Fiscal Cliff Deal

Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt (Photo credit: jdlasica)

In his latest column Hugh Hewitt rolls out argument after argument about why the GOP was forced to go along to get along on the fiscal cliff “deal” that no one likes. First, Boehner thought he could trust the president to be forthright:

The Speaker always seemed to assume the president was negotiating in good faith, even as the campaign events continued, and even as he was pummeled day and night by the president and his surrogates in the MSM.

Second, the GOP tried to do a backroom deal and it failed:

The collapse of the Speaker’s and the GOP’s ability to make an argument was complete when the silly “Plan B” stunt unfolded and then crashed and burned in front of the country last week.

And that was exacerbated by the internet, with which the GOP is

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Senator Coburn: “The DOD is the ‘Department of Everything'”

What Freedom Looks Like

(Photo credit: Roger Smith)

Following his office’s publishing of his annual “Wastebook” last month, Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has now released another oversight report, this one exploring waste and “non-defense” spending in the Department of Defense (DOD), entitled the “Department of Everything.”

In his “Wastebook” Coburn concluded that “all the outrageous and wasteful contents of this report were made possible by either the action or lack of action of Congress, earning it the well-deserved but unwanted distinction as the biggest waste of taxpayer money in 2012.”  Right behind the Congress, however, is the Department of Defense, which has been spending taxpayer monies on projects, programs and plans not related to the DOD’s primary function: defending the republic.

Although he thinks potential savings could exceed $70 billion over the next ten years if all of his suggestions were implemented, he also says that his report has just skimmed the surface, and savings could be much larger. He stated:

I prepared this report because the American people expect the Pentagon’s $600 billion annual budget to go toward our nation’s defense.

That isn’t happening. Billions of defense dollars are being spent on programs and missions that have little or nothing to do with national security, or are already being performed by other government agencies. Spending more on grocery stores than guns doesn’t make any sense. And using defense dollars to run microbreweries, study Twitter slang, create beef jerky, or examine Star Trek does nothing to defend our nation.

These are actual programs he and his staff uncovered by asking three simple questions:

  1. Does the mission of this program or agency directly relate to the mission of the Department of Defense?
  2. Does another federal agency or government or private entity already provide the services provided by this program or agency?
  3. Could these resources be better targeted towards higher priority defense needs, such as taking care of troops on the front lines or reducing our $16 trillion national debt?

What he and his staff found was merely a smattering, a skimming, a “starting point for reviewing Pentagon spending that is unnecessary, wasteful or simply not related to defense.”  He calls this wasteful spending a “rising tide of the red [ink] menace.” Here is some of what they uncovered:

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Taxmageddon Only Part of the Problem

Explosion

Explosion (Photo credit: Freidwall)

The Heritage Foundation went to the trouble of calculating exactly what will happen to the tax liabilities of taxpayers if Taxmageddon stays in place after the first of the year. Accordingly to Amy Payne, “Taxmageddon” is the

horrifying combination of expiring pro-growth tax policies from 2001 and 2003, the end of the once-temporary payroll tax cut, and just a few of Obamacare’s 18 new tax hikes…

Taxmageddon will be the largest tax increase EVER to hit Americans. It’s nearly $500 billion in one year, starting January 1. That’s two months away.

Here is Heritage’s breakdown of Taxmageddon’s impact on Americans:

  • Families with an average income of $70,662: tax increase of $4,138
  • Baby boomers with an average income of $95,099: tax increase of   $4,223
  • Low-income workers with an average income of $24,757: tax increase of $1,207
  • Millennials with an average income of $23,917: tax increase of $1,099
  • Retirees with an average income of $42,553: tax increase of $857

But even this fails to measure the real impact of Taxmageddon starting January 1. It’s that most of the tax increases will be borne by s

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Taxmageddon Confrontation Has Already Begun

Taxes

Forty-one Senate Republicans sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last week urging him and Senate Democrats to start addressing “taxmageddon”—the impending tax hikes that will drain $500 billion out of the economy every year starting January 1st, unless something is done:

It is essential that Congress and the president address these coming tax increases this summer, rather than creating additional uncertainty for families and job creators by waiting until the last possible minute. The time to begin is now.

[If nothing is done] this would be, without any exaggeration, the largest tax increase in American history.

House Speaker John Boehner, on ABC’s This Week, added:

We’re looking at the largest tax increase in American history on January the 1st. We’re looking at big cuts to our Department of Defense. And we’re looking at an increase in the debt limit. Why do we want to wait to rush this through at the end of the year after the election?

Speaking for the Democrats, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) drew the line in the sand

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Boehner Fires First Salvo in Taxmageddon Wars

U.S. President is greeted by Speaker of the Ho...

House speaker John Boehner decided on Tuesday to fire the first round in the coming battle to deal with the huge tax increases taking place after the first of the year (“Taxmageddon”) by setting the terms for the debt ceiling debate. In a speech at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2012 Fiscal Summit in Washington Boehner said that any discussion would revolve around his “Boehner principle”—every dollar of additional debt increase for the federal government must be matched by an equal or greater reduction in government spending.

Said Boehner:

When the time comes, I will again insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase. This is the only avenue I see right now to force the elected leadership of this country to solve our structural fiscal imbalance…

Just so we’re clear, I’m talking about real cuts and reforms—not these tricks and gimmicks that have given Washington a pass on grappling with its spending problem…

Previous Congresses have encountered lesser precipices with lower stakes and made a beeline for the closest lame-duck escape hatch. Let me put your mind at ease. This Congress will not follow that path, not if I have anything to do with it.

Democrats immediately fired back. White House spokesman Jay Carney called Boehner’s remarks as inviting brinkmanship similar to that last summer that resulted in an increase of the debt ceiling along with some future spending cuts. Said Carney: 

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U.S. Defense Department Announces Step Toward the North American Union

Español: Bandera Hipotetica de la unión Nortea...

Another step toward the North American Union was announced on Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Defense in its press release noting the “inaugural trilateral meeting” of North American defense ministers in Ottawa, Canada. It was attended by Canada’s Minister of National Defense Peter MacKay, Mexican Secretary of National Defense General Guillermo Galvan, and Mexican Secretary of the Navy Admiral Mariano Mendoza, along with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

The communique was all about “defense,” “threats” and “security,” key fear-based watch-words decided upon years ago to sell the idea of the North American Union to the American people:

By virtue of our geography, our peoples, and our trading relationship, our three nations share many defense interests. Threats to North America and the hemisphere are increasingly complex and require non-traditional responses. Building upon the trilateral collaboration under the North American Leaders Summit process, we share a determination to enhance our common understanding of those threats and of the approaches needed to address them…

We know that transnational threats require transnational responses…

Our meeting today has established the framework necessary to build North America’s resilience by pursuing a practical agenda built on sustained trilateral cooperation on issues related to defense. [Emphasis added.]

The press release continued on in the same vein, stressing the need for trilateral coordination to provide 

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Two Years Later: Where Did the Haiti Earthquake Money Go?

US Navy 100224-N-6278K-064 International Organ...

Two years after the Haiti earthquake on January 12, 2010—which killed 316,000, injured 300,000 more, left one million homeless, and destroyed $8 billion in property—most of the billions of dollars pledged to help the island recover can’t be accounted for. And of that which can be, precious little found its way into the hands and mouths of the Haitians themselves.

Some $12 billion was pledged, including $2.75 billion from the United States, $650 million from the European Union, and the balance from 35 other countries.

Much of the U.S. government’s aid was funneled through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which reported that it helped build a 10-megawatt power plant and repaired and upgraded five electric power substations in Port-au-Prince, provided some $10 million in financing for 46 “micro financial institutions and financial cooperatives” and another 7,600 loans to coffee, cocoa, and mango growers. USAID rebuilt roads, irrigation systems, and storage and processing facilities, while offering “improved seeds, fertilizer and technologies to more than 9,700 farmers [who] have increased rice yields by 64 percent, corn yields by 338 percent, bean crops by 97 percent, and plantain outputs by 21 percent for beneficiary farmers.”

According to the USAID report, the agency built 600 semi-permanent furnished classrooms, which allowed some 60,000 students to return to school after the earthquake. It also helped build a temporary Parliament building to replace the one destroyed by the earthquake.

So far, so good. But when the Government Accounting Office (GAO) looked at the progress made by the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), a joint effort between the Haitian authorities and international donors to coordinate the flow of assistance last May, the GAO was chagrined to find that

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Private Contractors Feeding at the Public Trough

The latest ranking of contractors providing services to the federal government reveals that at least nine of the top 10 are tied to the Department of Defense and took in nearly $70 billion of the government’s money in 2010. Leading the pack as it has for the past 17 years is Lockheed Martin, with $17 billion, followed by Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Raytheon, and General Dynamics.

The top 27 contractors each received at least $1 billion in contracts from the government last year, with Number 100 on the list, Teledyne, getting $170 million. This reflects the enormous growth of government spending in general, and on outside vendors in particular, growing from $207 billion in 2000 to

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Pentagon: Cyberattack an Act of War

Matrix Code

Image by My Melting Brain via Flickr

Following up on the publication of the “International Strategy for Cyberspace” by the Obama administration last month, the Pentagon clarified and expanded upon its intention to consider a computer attack as equivalent to a more traditional act of war.

The White House’s strategy made clear that:

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Defense Department Builddown Coming?

Thirteen C-17 Globemaster III aircraft fly ove...

Image via Wikipedia

As calls for cuts in the defense budget increased, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates knew what he would have to do: throw the cutters a bone, and then dig in against any further reductions. By admitting that he could shave $78 billion out of the defense budget over the next five years, Gates then went to work defending any further suggested incursions into the future spending plans by the military-industrial complex.

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Spending on Military and Wars Rising but Cuts are Off-Limits

USS DWIGHT D EISENHOWER CVN-69: Iranian aircra...

Image by roberthuffstutter via Flickr

In an exciting, well-researched and gripping novella in the December issue of Popular Mechanics, author Erik Sofge concludes that the war between China and the United States in the year 2015 will be won by China.

It is August, 2015 and the fight is over whether Taiwan’s status as an independent nation will remain intact, or whether it will become, finally and forever, part of the People’s Republic. The big fight, however, is “between an old superpower and a new one.” Using the latest technology, the United States finds itself at a major disadvantage when China is able to render useless the high-tech and very expensive communications network relied upon by the United States. Says the author,

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Voters: Spending Cuts, Yes; Cutting My Programs, No

The Cato Institute’s massive 262-page study, Downsizing Government, by Chris Edwards, is the most recent offering of suggestions and recommendations for cutting severely the size, cost, reach, power and influence of the federal government in the lives of American citizens. In general, those citizens welcome such suggestions, according to Rasmussen Reports, which announced that two out of three Likely Voters they polled “prefer a government with fewer services and lower taxes rather than a more active one with more services and higher taxes.” Surprisingly this was supported by almost half of those Likely Voters who were also Democrats, along with 67 percent of unaffiliated voters, and 90 percent of Republicans voters.

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.