CONGRESSWOMAN BARBARA LEE – Congresswoman Barbara Lee has introduced the â€œAudit the Pentagon Act of 2013â€ for increased transparency and accountability in the defense budget. This bipartisan bill will cut the budget of any Federal agency by five percent that does not receive an independent audit for the previous year. To protect benefits for the nationâ€™s veterans, military personnel accounts and the Defense Health Program would be exempt from cuts.
BARNEY FRANK – There were so many encouraging signs for liberals in the election results this year that one of the most significant has been overlooked.
RANDY SCHUTT – ilitary spending (inflation-adjusted) has nearly doubled in the past 12 years, from $361.3 billion in FY2000 to $610.9 billion in FY2012. This massive increase has taken place during a time when the United States has the most powerful military ever in history and when we have no significant military enemies. The U.S. spends more on the military than the next 14 countries combined and vastly more than any possible enemies: roughly 5 times more than China, 10 times more than Russia, and 95 times more than Iran.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – In the midst of a nationwide election campaign in which many politicians trumpet their support for the buildup and employment of U.S. military power around the world, the American publicâ€™s disagreement with such measures is quite remarkable. Indeed, many signs point to the fact that most Americans want to avoid new wars, reduce military spending, and support international cooperation.
LAURA LITVAN – Companies led by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), the worldâ€™s largest defense contractor, say federal and state laws may require them to send out blanket notifications of potential job cuts before the election unless President Barack Obama and Congress act by October to avert automatic defense reductions of $500 billion over a decade that would start on Jan. 2.
BETSY CRITES – Fear can be a great motivator â€“ and a great manipulator. Those who oppose cuts to military funding play on our fears to convince us that any reduction in the defense budget would be a dangerous threat to our national security and to our economy. But is this level of panic justified? An examination of the assumptions that underlie the fears will expose just how shaky those assumptions are.
JANE DUGDALE – Philadelphia City Council, by a vote of 15-2, passed – on June 21 – a resolution “calling on the U.S. Congress to bring all U.S. troops home from Afghanistan, to take the funds saved by that action and by significantly cutting the Pentagon budget, and to use that money to fund education, public and private sector family-sustaining job creation, special protections for military sector workers, environmental and infrastructure restoration, care for veterans and their families, and human services that our cities and states so desperately need.”
PATRICK HILLER – In 1951 the U.S. gs partovernmentâ€™s Civil Defense Branch produced the film Duck and Cover. … Even at that time the usefulness of the proposed duck-and-cover maneuver in the face of the utter annihilation arising from a nuclear blast was questioned.
STIMSOM CENTER – In a unique study, three quarters of respondents favored cutting defense as a way to reduce the deficit, including two thirds of Republicans as well as nine in 10 Democrats.
EYDER PERALTA – A U.S. Navy variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C, conducts a test flight over the Chesapeake Bay in 2011. As Congress struggles to rein in the federal deficit, a new survey finds Americans preferred to cut defense spending more than any other program.
DR. JOSEPH GERSON -Beyond this hysteria, peace, labor and immigrant rights activists and scholars are gathering in Chicago for the May 18-19 Counter-Summit for Peace and Economic Justice, to present the case against NATO-driven militarism.
ERIN E NIEMELA – As the NATO summit approaches in May, throngs of peace protestors are expected to descend on Chicago to pressure the U.S.-led, 28-nation military alliance for an end to the war in Afghanistan. But for some activists, it will be too late to protest the greatest threat to a peaceful Afghanistan: the signing of the U.S.-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement.
Jim Cook – After all the talk about “the 1%”, who are these people really? Where do they work and how much do they really make? At the top of the list is Tim Cook, who replaced Steve Jobs at Apple.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER -“World military spending reached a record $1,738 billion in 2011 — an increase of $138 billion over the previous year. The United States accounted for 41 percent of that, or $711 billion.”
CRAIG CLINE – Former Vice President Dick Cheney is the fortunate beneficiary of a heart transplant. I hope his new heart has more compassion than his old one did.
BY DAVID SWANSON – We’ve done something worse than get our priorities wrong when we’ve moved resources to harming people rather than helping people.
ADAM ENTOUS – Pentagon war planners have concluded that their largest conventional bomb isn’t yet capable of destroying Iran’s most heavily fortified underground facilities, and are stepping up efforts to make it more powerful, according to U.S. officials briefed on the plan.
PEACE ACTION – U.S. military spending is higher than it has been since World War II, at a level difficult to justify by any threats to the American people. A close look at U.S. military spending shows that it is directed toward threats posed by conventional opponents such as the Soviet Union. That is, we are preparing to fight the last war.
TIM MAK – The final bill for U.S. military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan could be as high as $4.4 trillion, according to a comprehensive new report.
PETER BERGEL – Recently my email brought two items on the same day which, when I put them together, seemed like a strong message for Independence Day.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – According to a recent report from the prestigious Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), world military expenditures grew to a record $1.63 trillion in 2010. Middle East nations alone spent $111 billion on the military, with Saudi Arabia leading the way.
JOHN NORRIS – The United States is fundamentally getting it wrong when it comes to setting its priorities, particularly with regard to the budget and how Americans as a nation use their resources more broadly.
DAVID SWANSON – The White House has a handy website to mislead you about your tax dollars at http://www.whitehouse.gov/taxreceipt. It claims that only 26.3% goes to “National Defense.”
DAVID MORRIS – For Republican presidential candidates the phrase â€œAmerican Exceptionalismâ€ has taken on almost talismanic qualities. Newt Gingrichâ€™s new book is titled, A Nation Like No Other: Why American Exceptionalism Matters. â€œAmerica the Exceptionalâ€ is the title of a chapter in Sarah Palinâ€™s book America by Heart.
JO COMERFORD – [Today is Tax Day. It seems appropriate for Americans to know what their government is using their money for. Here is a comprehensive summary. â€“ Editor]
Six months after the start of the current fiscal year (FY2011), congressional leaders and President Obama have reached agreement on a budget for the second half of the year. In all the deal provides just over $1 trillion in spending over the last six months of the year, a cut of roughly $40 billion from FY2010 levels.
DAVID SWANSON –
Pick up a copy of a 1040EZ US income tax form with all the instructions, particularly pages 36-37. Here are those two pages in a PDF. You’ll discover that the U.S. government only spends 22% of its money on “National defense, veterans, and foreign affairs.” The form admits that you could leave out the “foreign affairs” part and still be at 21%. However, take a look now at the pie chart created by the War Resisters League, which shows 54% of the budget going to the military.
DAVID SWANSON – Did you know that the U.S. public wants military spending cut? Did you know that President Barack Obama wants to increase it for his third year in a row? Actually I already know that most of you didn’t know either of these things.
MICHAEL TRUE – Blind faith — adhering to a proposition with no reasonable justification of its truth — is more dangerous for politicians than it is for religionists. True believers may acknowledge their blind faith in religious dogma, while foreign policy wonks seldom acknowledge their blind faith in political dogma. Yet many legislators and administrators â€” as well as columnists and academics â€” adhere to the dogma of â€œmilitary supremacy,â€ which dominates U.S. foreign policy. American tax payers, who have invested heavily in that dogma, may have serious questions about whether it works. The evidence?
PETER BERGEL – On January 31 I met with Representative Kurt Schrader to find out what his attitudes were on several of Oregon PeaceWorksâ€™ issues. Here are the questions I asked him followed by my notes on his answers.
REPS. BARNEY FRANK AND RON PAUL — As members of opposing political parties, we disagree on a number of important issues. But we must not allow honest disagreement over some issues to interfere with our ability to work together when we do agree. By far the single most important of these is our current initiative to include substantial reductions in the projected level of American military spending as part of future deficit reduction efforts.
CRAIG CLINE: On January 4th, the Statesman Journal ran an Associated Press article entitled: â€œMost state budgets on path to even leaner times.â€ The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that state budgets are likely to fall $180 billion short for the new fiscal year. According to the Pew Center on the States, our own Oregon is ninth among the ten â€œworstâ€ states, and 30th among all states, with a 14.5 percent budget gap for 2009-10 (as of July 2009).
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, http://www.sipri.org/, (SIPRI) has issued its annual report on global military spending. Worldwide, governments spent a record $1.46 trillion on their armed forces in 2008. The United States accounted for 42 percent of the global arms spending. When will we realize that’s simply too much?