Economy Forever Wars Military William D. Hartung

America’s $1.4 Trillion ‘National Security’ Budget Makes Us Ever Less Safe

PumpkinSky, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

By William D. Hartung / TomDispatch

William Hartung, Call It the National (In)security Budget

Yes, Afghanistan went down the drain and Washington’s global war on terror ended (more or less) in disaster 20 years after it began. But the urge to militarize the planet? Not a chance in an American world where, as TomDispatch regular William Hartung lays out in striking detail today, the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex plan to continue ruling the roost in Washington for time eternal.

So, war, what is it good for? Absolutely something! In that sense, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a horror of the first order, has been anything but bad for the Pentagon. Just in case you hadn’t noticed, three decades after the old Cold War ended, with a distinct helping hand from Russian president Vladimir Putin, the Biden administration has been playing its part admirably in ramping up this country’s newest version of the old Cold War into an ever more militarized set of confrontations.

It’s not just the CIA operatives in Ukraine or the sending of U.S. troops to neighboring Poland early in the Ukraine war. Only last week, at a NATO summit, President Biden announced that this country would ramp up its military presence in Europe yet again on land, sea, and in the air. (Keep in mind that, since the war in Ukraine began, Washington had already dispatched an extra 20,000 troops to Europe, raising its forces there above 100,000.)  At least 3,000 more combat troops are now heading for Romania, two F-35 squadrons for Great Britain, U.S. naval ships for Spain, and the U.S. 5th Army Corps will establish a sizeable permanent base and headquarters in Poland, while there will be unspecified “enhanced” deployments in the Baltics and American forces will be upped in Germany and Italy, too.

And this isn’t just happening in Europe to face down an outrageous Russian invasion of Ukraine. An increasingly militarized commitment to Asia, especially Taiwan, and a new Cold War with China has been in the cards for a while now. I’m sure you remember our president upping the ante there by responding to a reporter’s question about whether the U.S. would ever get militarily involved in defending Taiwan this way: “Yes, that’s the commitment we made.” True, his aides walked him back on the subject, but from sending American naval vessels through the Taiwan strait and into the South China Sea to ramping up naval war exercises with allies in the Pacific, everything seems to be getting colder and colder in ways that seem hotter and hotter.

The world may look more ominous to some of us, but not, it seems, to the Pentagon. In terms of what matters to our military leaders, things — think: funding — are only (and eternally) on the upswing.  Keep all of this in mind as you read Hartung’s latest yearly look at our national (in)security budget and how, in a world with so many other problems, it continues to go through the roof. Tom

Fueling the Warfare State

This March, when the Biden administration presented a staggering $813 billion proposal for “national defense,” it was hard to imagine a budget that could go significantly higher or be more generous to the denizens of the military-industrial complex. After all, that request represented far more than peak spending in the Korean or Vietnam War years, and well over $100 billion more than at the height of the Cold War. 

It was, in fact, an astonishing figure by any measure — more than two-and-a-half times what China spends; more, in fact, than (and hold your hats for this one!) the national security budgets of the next nine countries, including China and Russia, combined. And yet the weapons industry and hawks in Congress are now demanding that even more be spent. 

In recent National Defense Authorization Act proposals, which always set a marker for what Congress is willing to fork over to the Pentagon, the Senate and House Armed Services Committees both voted to increase the 2023 budget yet again — by $45 billion in the case of the Senate and $37 billion for the House. The final figure won’t be determined until later this year, but Congress is likely to add tens of billions of dollars more than even the Biden administration wanted to what will most likely be a record for the Pentagon’s already bloated budget.

This lust for yet more weapons spending is especially misguided at a time when a never-ending pandemic, growing heat waves and other depredations of climate change, and racial and economic injustice are devastating the lives of millions of Americans.  Make no mistake about it: the greatest risks to our safety and our future are non-military in nature, with the exception, of course, of the threat of nuclear war, which could increase if the current budget goes through as planned.

But as TomDispatch readers know, the Pentagon is just one element in an ever more costly American national security state.  Adding other military, intelligence, and internal-security expenditures to the Pentagon’s budget brings the total upcoming “national security” budget to a mind-boggling $1.4 trillion. And note that, in June 2021, the last time my colleague Mandy Smithberger and I added up such costs to the taxpayer, that figure was almost $1.3 trillion, so the trend is obvious.

To understand how these vast sums are spent year after year, let’s take a quick tour of America’s national security budget, top to bottom.

The Pentagon’s “Base” Budget

The Pentagon’s proposed “base” budget, which includes all of its routine expenses from personnel to weapons to the costs of operating and maintaining a 1.3 million member military force, came in at $773 billion for 2023, more than $30 billion above that of 2022. Such an increase alone is three times the discretionary budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and more than three times the total allocation for the Environmental Protection Agency. 

In all, the Pentagon consumes nearly half of the discretionary budget of the whole federal government, a figure that’s come down slightly in recent years thanks to the Biden administration’s increased investment in civilian activities. That still means, however, that almost anything the government wants to do other than preparing for or waging war involves a scramble for funding, while the Department of Defense gets virtually unlimited financial support.

And keep in mind that the proposed Biden increase in Pentagon spending comes despite the ending of 20 years of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, a move that should have meant significant reductions in the department’s budget.  Perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn, however, that, in the wake of the Afghan disaster, the military establishment and hawks in Congress quickly shifted gears to touting — and exaggerating — challenges posed by ChinaRussia, and inflation as reasons for absorbing the potential savings from the Afghan War and pressing the Pentagon budget ever higher.

It’s worth looking at what America stands to receive for its $773 billion — or about $2,000 per taxpayer, according to an analysis by the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. More than half of that amount goes to giant weapons contractors like Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, along with thousands of smaller arms-making firms.

The most concerning part of the new budget proposal, however, may be the administration’s support for a three-decades long, $1.7-trillion plan to build a new generation of nuclear-armed missiles (as well, of course, as new warheads to go with them), bombers, and submarines. As the organization Global Zero has pointed out, the United States could dissuade any country from launching an atomic attack against it with far fewer weapons than are contained in its current nuclear arsenal.  There’s simply no need for a costly — and risky — nuclear weapons “modernization” plan. Sadly, it’s guaranteed to help fuel a continuing global nuclear arms race, while entrenching nuclear weapons as a mainstay of national security policy for decades to come. (Wouldn’t those decades be so much better spent working to eliminate nuclear weapons altogether?) 

The riskiest weapon in that nuclear plan is a new land-based, intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).  As former Secretary of Defense William Perry once explained, ICBMs are among “the most dangerous weapons in the world” because a president warned of a nuclear attack would have only a matter of minutes to decide whether to launch them, increasing the risk of an accidental nuclear war based on a false alarm. Not only is a new ICBM unnecessary, but the existing ones should be retired as well, as a way of reducing the potential for a world-ending nuclear conflagration.

To its credit, the Biden administration is trying to get rid of an ill-conceived nuclear weapons program initiated during the Trump years – a sea-launched, nuclear-armed cruise missile that, rather than adding a “deterrent” capability, would raise the risk of a nuclear confrontation.  As expected, nuclear hawks in the military and Congress are trying to restore funding for that nuclear SLCM (pronounced “Slick ‘em”).

The Pentagon budget is replete with other unnecessary, overpriced, and often potentially dysfunctional systems that should either be canceled or replaced with more affordable and effective alternatives.  The most obvious case in point is the F-35 combat aircraft, meant to carry out multiple missions for the Air Force, Navy, and Marines. So far, it does none of them well

In a series of careful analyses of the aircraft, the Project on Government Oversight determined that it may never be fully ready for combat. As for cost, at an estimated $1.7 trillion over its projected period of service, it’s already the most expensive single weapons program ever undertaken by the Pentagon. And keep in mind that those costs will only increase as the military services are forced to pay to fix problems that were never addressed in the rush to deploy the plane before it was fully tested.  Meanwhile, that aircraft is so complex that, at any given moment, a large percentage of the fleet is down for maintenance, meaning that, if ever called on for combat duty, many of those planes will simply not be available.

In a grudging acknowledgement of the multiple problems plaguing the F-35, the Biden administration proposed decreasing its buy of the plane by about a third in 2023, a figure that should have been much lower given its poor performance. But congressional advocates of the plane — including a large F-35 caucus made up of members in states or districts where parts of it are being produced — will undoubtedly continue to press for more planes than even the Pentagon’s asking for, as the Senate Armed Services Committee did in its markup of the Department of Defense spending bill.

In addition to all of this, the Pentagon’s base budget includes mandatory spending for items like military retirement, totaling an estimated $12.8 billion for 2023.

Running national (in)security tally: $785.8 billion

The Nuclear Budget

The average taxpayer no doubt assumes that a government agency called the Department of Energy (DOE) would be primarily concerned with developing new sources of energy, including ones that would reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels to help rein in the ravages of climate change.  Unfortunately, that assumption couldn’t be less true.

Instead of spending the bulk of its time and money on energy research and development, more than 40% of the Department of Energy’s budget for 2023 is slated to support the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which manages the country’s nuclear weapons program, principally by maintaining and developing nuclear warheads.  Work on other military activities like reactors for nuclear submarines pushes the defense share of the DOE budget even higher. The NNSA spreads its work across the country, with major locations in California, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Its proposed 2023 budget for nuclear-weapons activities is $16.5 billion, part of a budget for defense-related projects of $29.8 billion.

Amazingly the NNSA’s record of managing its programs may be even worse than the Pentagon’s, with cost overruns of more than $28 billion during the last two decades.  Many of its current projects, like a plan to build a new facility to produce plutonium “pits” — the devices that trigger the explosion of a hydrogen bomb — are unnecessary even under the current, misguided nuclear weapons modernization plan.

Nuclear budget: $29.8 billion

Running (in)security tally: $815.6 billion

Defense-Related Activities

This catch-all category, pegged at $10.6 billion in 2023, includes the international activities of the FBI and payments to Central Intelligence Agency retirement funds, among other things.

Defense-Related Activities: $10.6 billion

Running (in)security tally: $826.2 billion

The Intelligence Budget

Information about this country’s 18 separate intelligence agencies is largely shielded from public view.  Most members of Congress don’t even have staff that can access significant details on how intelligence funds are spent, making meaningful Congressional oversight almost impossible. The only real data supplied with regard to the intelligence agencies is a top-line number – $67.1 billion proposed for 2023, a $5 billion increase over 2022. Most of the intelligence community’s budget is believed to be hidden inside the Pentagon budget. So, in the interests of making a conservative estimate, intelligence spending is not included in our tally.

Intelligence Budget: $67.1 billion

Running (in)security tally still: $826.2 billion

Veterans Affairs Budget

America’s post-9/11 wars have generated millions of veterans, many of whom have returned from battle with severe physical or psychological injuries. As a result, spending on veterans’ affairs has soared, reaching a proposed $301 billion in the 2023 budget plan.  Research conducted for the Costs of War Project at Brown University has determined that these costs will only grow, with more than $2 trillion needed just to take care of the veterans of the post-9/11 conflicts.

Veterans Affairs Budget: $301 billion

Running (in)security tally: $1.127 trillion

International Affairs Budget

The International Affairs budget includes non-military items like diplomacy at the State Department and economic aid through the Agency for International Development, critical (but significantly underfunded) parts of the U.S. national security strategy writ large.  But even in this category there are significant military-related activities in the form of programs that provide arms and training to foreign militaries and police forces.  It’s proposed that the largest of these, the Foreign Military Financing program, should receive $6 billion in 2023. Meanwhile, the total requested International Affairs budget is $67.8 billion in 2023.

International Affairs Budget: $67.8 billion

Running (in)security tally: $1.195 trillion

The Homeland Security Budget

After the 9/11 attacks, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was established by combining a wide range of agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Transportation Security Agency, the U.S. Secret Service, Customs and Border Protection, and the Coast Guard.  The proposed DHS budget for 2023 is $56.7 billion, more than one-quarter of which goes to Customs and Border Protection as part of a militarized approach to addressing immigration into the United States.

Homeland Security Budget: $56.7 billion

Running (in)security tally: $1.252 trillion

Interest on the Debt

The national security state, as outlined so far, is responsible for about 26% of the interest due on the U.S. debt, a total of $152 billion.

Interest on the Debt: $152 billion

Running (in)security tally: $1.404 trillion

Our Misguided Security Budget

Spending $1.4 trillion to address a narrowly defined concept of national security should be considered budgetary malpractice on a scale so grand as to be almost unimaginable — especially at a time when the greatest risks to the safety of Americans and the rest of the world are not military in nature. After all, the Covid pandemic has already taken the lives of more than one million Americans, while the fires, floods, and heat waves caused by climate change have impacted tens of millions more. 

Yet the administration’s proposed allocation of $45 billion to address climate change in the 2023 budget would be less than 6% of the Pentagon’s proposed budget of $773 billion.  And as noted, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are slated to get just one-third of the proposed increase in Pentagon spending between 2022 and 2023. Worse yet, attempts to raise spending significantly to address these urgent challenges, from President Biden’s Build Back Better plan to the Green New Deal, are stalled in Congress.

In a world where such dangers are only increasing, perhaps the best hope for launching a process that could, sooner or later, reverse such perverse priorities lies with grassroots organizing. Consider, for instance the “moral budget” crafted by the Poor People’s Campaign, which would cut Pentagon spending almost in half while refocusing on programs aimed at eliminating poverty, protecting the environment, and improving access to health care.  If even part of such an agenda were achieved and the “defense” budget reined in, if not cut drastically, America and the world would be far safer places.

Given the scale of the actual security problems we face, it’s time to think big when it comes to potential solutions, while recognizing what Martin Luther King, Jr., once described as the “fierce urgency of now.” Time is running short, and concerted action is imperative.

William D. Hartung

William D. Hartung, a TomDispatch regular, is a Senior Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, and the author most recently of “Pathways to Pentagon Spending Reductions: Removing the Obstacles.”

6 comments

  1. Only Mass Peaceful Protest Against EMPIRE can win in destroying the fascist ‘Pro-Empire’ Republican Party in 2022 — which could lead easily to destroying this faux-Democratic corporate Party in 2024.

    Then, instead of having TWO ‘Pro-Empire’ Parties we can progress to a seriously progressive and one United ‘Anti-Empire’ democratic socialist party — which was within sight, nearing a century ago, in 1944, with FDR’s brilliant socialist VP, Henry Wallace, who was torpedoed in America’s first coup, orchestrated by the OSS & DNC, and which even Albert Einstein’s 1949 letter, “Why Socialism?” sent to the little gutless haberdasher and captive un-Truman corporate faux-President — in the fabulously revealing book “Double Government” [Michael Glennon] which he exposed in his book of the same name.

    Today, we’re way beyond the 1960’s era/error of just ‘Anti-War’ actions to have any chance of saving ‘our world’ — only a visionary ‘Anti-Empire’ movement powered by: “bend the long arc of history toward” survival.

    With the recent ‘passing on’ of any nuclear “Bomb Power” [Gary Wills 2010] , the current power of ‘superior propaganda’ has become the most powerful destructive weapon on earth in this our worldly Empire:

    Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal Child-Killing & War-Starting EMPIRE, controlled by the ‘Ruling-Elite’, UHNWI, <0.003%ers, TCCers, arrogantly self-appointed "Masters of the Universe", and "Evil (not-so) Geniuses" [Kurt Andersen] — which hides Empire behind their totally corrupted dual-party Vichy-facade of faux-democracy.

    Oh, BTW, Bernie don’t wind-up like gutless and useless, Biden!!

    Sung to the tune of the 1963 show song, "Bye Bye Birdie" — I would offer this paeon: "Bye Bye Byeden — the Empire’s Got You Now”

    https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffab&q=Bye+Bye+Birdie+movie+video&atb=v187-1&iax=videos&ia=videos&iai=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DC9C2CXsLS1c

    What we really need is — "Voter Access", "Candidate Access", and NEW 'Anti-Empire’ 3rd "Party Access” — for a democratic socialist government, as Einstein wrote in 1949.

    I'm contributing “Strategic Advantage” [Michael Porter HBS] which is more valuable than just the little bit of money that all ‘we average American people’ can raise to overthrow this damned Empire.

    All Revolutions are against only one thing — EMPIRE.

    And the only weak spot of Empire is to focus like a laser and Expose this Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal & War-Starting EMPIRE, which favors the ‘Ruling-Elite’, UHNWI, <0.003%ers, TCCers, arrogantly self-appointed "Masters of the Universe", and "Evil (not-so) Geniuses" [Kurt Andersen] — which hides Empire behind their totally corrupted dual-party Vichy-facade of faux-democracy.

    EMPIRE, like Vampires can only be overthrown by the light of peacefully ‘Exposing' or surgically ‘Excising’ this “Quiet American” duopoly of EMPIRE.

    That’s my most valuable Contribution of Strategy — rather than any amount of money.

    Who Profits? This Disguised Global Crony Capitalist ‘Negative Externality Cost’ dumping EMPIRE!

    Who Pays? “We the people of our world"

    As 'these NY 'Times' they are a-changin" reports:

    Russia’s disinformation campaign seemed to flounder in the early days of the invasion, as narratives about Ukrainian bravery dominated the internet. But in Russia (and America), the countries' propaganda machines were busy churning out a deluge of misinformation aimed at their own citizens — of which America is “We’re #1, We’re #1, We’re #1 in both Global Propaganda, and “We’re #1, We’re #1, We’re #1 also with the highest/worst GINI Coefficient of Wealth Inequality in the world @ 0.858.

    But, as John Belushi said on "Saturday Night Live" — "Noooo" — actually the Russian oligarchs are only second to America's “Quiet Empire” of Global War & Empire Oligarchs.

    This sometimes doesn't get reported by omission, American oligarchs, with a little help from their gobment friends, in dismissing the "accumulation by dispossession" that has been visited on Russians recently, has reduced Russia's GINI Coefficient of Wealth Inequality from the highest/worst GINI Wealth Inequality in the world at 0.879, and has just been bested by America.

    YES — U.S. sanctioning and beggaring of Russian oligarchs has now elevated America to #1 position in having the highest GINI Coefficient of Wealth Inequality in the world.

    "We're #1", "We're #1", "We're #1", in GLOBAL INEQUALITY of WEALTH — which after all, is all that counts in Money and Power.

    After all, Oligarchy is Rule by Power, while Plutocracy is Rule by Money — hell, "What's the difference"?

    I'd like to ask just one question — and don't spare my feelings.

    "Don't you think that 'we the American people' should at least have one 'Anti-Empire' Party — when the Repub and Dem Parties already have Two 'Pro-Empire' Parties?"

    Get ‘WOKE’ Ralph, for God’s Sake: We’re Nothing but a “Quiet American” dual-party Vichy Disguised Global EMPIRE

    Hey, Ralph Nader, Jamelle Bouie NYT, Bernie Sanders, Zack Heiden (Maine ACLU), Oliver Hall, Shenna Bellows (Maine Sect. Of State), and Aaron Frey (Maine Attorney General):

    HOW ABOUT some GO, GO, GO — Fight, Fight, Fight, against Candidate and Voter Access Suppression at University of Southern Maine — and other Public University systems through-out the U.S.?? For our FOUR MILLION newly 18 year-old students this voting year!!! (And 12 million by 2024) LET”S GET OUT THE ‘WOKE’ Voters!!

    *** I’ve got only one question for you — and don’t spare my feelings. ***

    “Shouldn’t ‘we the American people’ have at least one ‘Anti-Empire’ Party, — since the Dems and Repubs already have TWO damned ‘Pro-EMPIRE’ Parties??

    THINK about the UN-fairness — of this Virtual Duopoly of a Graham Greene, “Quiet American” EMPIRE

    I know the RNC DNC, and DCCC don’t give two shits about this — but I do, and you should too.

    Well, as Gomer Pyle would say, “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise” — here’s what happens when “Empire-Thinking” employs UHNWI dirty Money, instead of obsolete “Bomb Power” [Gary Wills], in the Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal & War-Starting EMPIRE, to favor the ‘Ruling-Elite’, UHNWI, <0.003%ers, TCCers, arrogantly self-appointed "Masters of the Universe", and "Evil (not-so) Geniuses" [Kurt Andersen] — which hides behind their totally corrupted dual-party Vichy-facade of faux-democracy.

    Lordy, Lordy, Lordy — the result won't be released immediately, but this confrontation with 'Empire-thinking' Putin, against the "Quiet American" 'Empire-thinking', has already drastically reduced Putin and his oligarchs to only 2nd place in the battle for being #1 in GINI Coefficient of Wealth Inequality:

    Russia is currently listed as "We're #1" in GINI of Wealth Inequality at 0.879 — "but wait, there's more"!

    With America's, and Byeden's, pummeling of Russia, in 'Money Ball', by decimating and locking up what funds the Russian Oligarchs had before the war — "We're #1" again — and Russia's Oligarchs have almost certainly dropped down dramatically to somewhere near China's very moderate, and lower than the mean GINI ranking of all countries, at likely less than a GINI Coefficient of Wealth Inequality of 0.70.

    So the real "bottom line" is that our own American teams' GINI Coefficient of Wealth in the world is now #1 for our own domestic Oligarchs!

    I’ll send it all, but don’t feel badly if it’s too much — just ignore what you don’t like.

    I usually start out this way with the addressing of the person that I’m sending the overview to most recently:

    Hey, Paul (Krugman), I’ve got one question for you — and don’t spare my feelings. “Shouldn’t the people have one ‘Anti-Empire’ Party, since the Demos and Repubs already have TWO ‘Pro-EMPIRE’ Parties??

    Dear Bernie, you got to be ‘Woke’ and be the ’Spirit’ Bernie like “Bulworth" — of our 2nd and coming American Peaceful Political Revolution Against EMPIRE, Bernie!

    Here’s what I write to anyone/everyone who is open-minded, gutsy and is willing to use the Strategic Advantage of ‘Anti-Empire’ messaging against the damned two ‘pro-Empire’ duopoly of EMPIRE itself!

    Dear Robert Weissman, President of Ralph Nader’s PUBLIC CITIZEN,

    I’m sorry it has come to this stage of only asking for money, but I signed your request for action@citizen.org and I am glad to also contribute money — However I would ask you for one non-monitory favor: That you provide me with Ralph Nader’s contact information, so that I can chat with him about our conversation in the Portland Maine Unitarian Church during his 1996 Presidential run, at which I suggested/debated with Ralph that EMPIRE is the seminal problem in America — and Ralph may also remember the political economic policy paper that I wrote to you in the same 1996 year titled:

    "Negative Externality Costs — The Hidden Corporate Tax on America"

    BTW, I would also think that regarding this Dual Party Duopoly of “Quiet American” EMPIRE, Ralph might like to briefly scan some my following notes in 2022 regarding the insane “Empire Thinking” UHNWI, Ruling Elite, “Masters of the Universe”, who totally control this camouflaged and contemporary 2022 Empire of death 26 years later in its continuing metastasis.

    Has Bye Bye Byeden’s ‘cracked-up' foreign policy and defense team, of Tony Blinken, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Ned ‘CIA' Price, John ‘CIA’ Kirby, and our entire Senior State Department Officials On Our Diplomatic Presence in Ukraine— all that we need to add is Victoria "Eff the EU” 'Kagan-PNAC’ Nuland to get this war started by announcing that there have been reports of Russian soldiers pulling Ukrainian babies off incubators.

    Hell, that’s how this “Quiet American” Empire lit the fuse for bombing Iraq in 2003!

    Since the NYT is keeping it's head down and saying little regarding the situation in Ukraine, because “these ’Times’ they are a-changin” slowly and almost imperceptively in the long arc of history toward or alway from Critical Empire Theory. The “Times” often acts as NYC beat-cops often say: “Nothing to see here folks. Just keep on walking"

    But all kidding aside, how about someone smart and reasonable like Fiona Hill getting involved in lowering the temperature on this crazy 'war-ginning up' — and maybe in addition to the fabulously highly informed and Putin knowledgeable Fiona — the only other idea I could forward would be for everyone to chill-out and watch the 1966 humorous and dis-arming film, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming" — Based on The Off-Islanders 1961 novel by Nathaniel Benchley Produced by Norman Jewison, Starring Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint, Alan Arkin, Brian Keith, and Jonathan Winters.

    Where-in a Russian submarine gets stranded on a sand-bar in a small Maine coastal town, which causes much trepidation, confusion, running round in circles of comedy, but finally ending in many of the Russian sailors helping to save a young Maine child, and ending in everyone getting along famously — including one of Carl Reiner's teenage daughters falling in love with a handsome young Russian sailor.

    Now that's how international potential dangers of War should really end if we all "can just get along". [Rodney King].

    LOVE TO ALL

    As I posted in “these ’Times’ they are a changin” this morning: regarding the “Times” article, "Spurning Demand by the Taliban, Biden Moves to Split $7 Billion in Frozen Afghan Funds":

    What an ambivalent move by the Christian, empathetic, but obviously not progressive President.

    While this doesn’t lower old Joe to the level of the easy to recognize; sociopathic, narcissistic, and megalomaniac ‘faux-Emperor Trump’, it certainly puts Bye Bye Biden in some sort of Catholic purgatory for 'middle of the roaders' — which radical Texas progressive, Jim Hightower, described as “there’s nothing in the middle of the road except for yellow stripes, dead armadillos", and Joe Biden.

    I often demonstrate and protest at the busy intersection of Congress and High Streets right in front of the TEGNA Media TV WCSH 6 sector of our fully integrated Media EMPIRE.

    While I literally LOVE Adam McKay, Ron Suskind, and David Sirota’s film “Don’t Look UP” — the only one aspect of this fabulously insightful, educational, radical, metaphoric-thinking film, IMHO, is that all the bubble-headed, ‘Keep it Lite’, chatter in the TV interview set portion of the mourning show, ’The Rip’ — I would have preferred to use the analogy of shows like; CNBC, Bloomberg, et. al. blah blah blahing about how Wall Street is doing soooo good, and talking, in particularly about the “quality of revenues”. “Now the most important thing about the market movement today, Sarah, is the Quality of Revenues”.

    But in TRUTH, that phase the “Quality of Revenue” is absolutely the deadly exposure point and vulnerability of the damned “Master of the Universe” on crooked WallStreet — because most of the “Quality of Revenue” is, as Warren Beatty said in his 1998 radical film “Bulworth” that “it must be the money, eh? It turns everything into crap”.

    Well, the supposedly wonderful “Quality of Revenue” is also crap squared — because most of the revenues in reality are produced like a modern version of scam/Ponzi ’Negative Externality Costs’ which are greater than the profits of most crony capitalist corporations, and in some cases as much are the Gross total ’supposedly’ “Quality Revenue” of corporations like fossil fuel, weapons-makers, and other high ’Negative Externality Cost’ dumping corporations.

    Of course all of the ’Negative Externality Costs’ dumped on our people and our world then metastasize over the years into increasing and massive “Accumulation by Dispossession” — which grows as filthy excess into a GINI Coefficient of Wealth INEQUALITY which is second only to that of Putin’s Russia. That’s absolutely correct: that the GINI Coefficient of Wealth Inequality is #1 for Russia at 0.879 and #2 for the U.S. at 0.852 — on the GINI scale 0 equals all people in a country sharing the same wealth, while a GINI of 1.0 equals all the wealth in a country being accumulated by ONE individual. So, America can’t keep boisterously cheering at football games, and sports events that “We’re #1, “We’re #1, “We’re #1” — the U. S. Is just number #2 in terms of all the countries in the world for Wealth Inequality!!

    [The following sections of my expanding writings are other useful Accumulations of Truth — with the Focal Point being that of this damned “Quiet American” camouflaged EMPIRE]

    “Don’t Look Up”, — it’s not just a fictional metaphoric Comet that will kill us all, but a very real EMPIRE — we need a Peaceful Political Revolution Against Empire.

    America is not any kind of a democracy, nor even a far less democratic Republic, but it is just the "disease of Republic Empire” — a Disguised Global Crony Capitalist RACIST Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal & War-Starting EMPIRE.

    That “Don’t Look Up” Comet isn’t the death of our world, but Global EMPIRE is much closer to killing any chance for hopeful and peaceful democratic socialism!

    But here’s the “Good News”

    A more than sufficient campaign for President, Senate, or Congress CAN be WON by a 'Strategically Advantaged' campaign which avoids and exposes "Big Money", appeals to the vast majority of disgusted voters of both these dual-party Vichy-facades of faux-democracy, and which provides exposure of this inexorably corrupted Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal & War-Starting Empire.

    Turning "Big Money" and "Big Empire" into deadly negative factors in the minds of all compassionate & thinking Americans is by far the best and only honest Campaign Strategy for all ‘we the American people’ and our fellow citizens around our fragile little world!.

    And the only thing that can kill “Good News” is to nail him to a cross, again and allow EMPIRE to kill him — a second coming time.

    I've read and/or watched; "On The Beach", "Morgan", "Dr. Strangelove", "Catch 22", "Being There”, “The Russians are Coming — The Russians are Coming" "Havana", "Bulworth", "Don't Look Up", and many other 'anti-war' and 'Anti-Empire' fictional dystopian lessons more times than I can remember.

    We've all had many chances to "Look Up", and to more importantly 'Look Inside' ourselves.

    All our founders fully understood from their deep reading of Roman history that "the disease of Republics is Empire" — and at least since Mark Twain was a leading Vice President of the "American 'Anti-Imperialist' League" in 1898, we could have understood that the long arc of history has bent toward, rather than away from, Empire — which is also vulnerable to the shortened logic of not addressing the full problem we could read everyday in the mast-head banner of an ‘opinion-setting' newspaper owned by a billionaire:

    "Democracy Dies In Darkness Under Empire” — What the Washinton Post should have done by adding these last two words ‘Under Empire’:

    I didn't have to write a book about this syndrome of "divide and conquer" being the deadly virus used by this Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal & War-Starting Empire to 'gin-up' wars, nor to expose the damned: ‘Ruling-Elite’, UHNWI, <0.003%ers, TCCers, arrogantly self-appointed "Masters of the Universe", and "Evil (not-so) Geniuses" [Kurt Andersen] — which hides behind their totally corrupted dual-party Vichy-facades of faux-democracy.

    All I'm doing now to shorten the learning curve of American Vet's understanding of war and it's creator, Empire, is contained in one 'double-side' demonstration sign that can be used by any of the young and 'Woke' college students, along with older and open-minded Americans, Russians, Chinese, Green Germans, and all other citizens of our small and fragile only little world:

    This weirdly inspired by "Don't Look Up", 'double-sided' demonstration sign has only four words and two colors — GREEN & RED

    BTW, one of the film’s producers was Ron “We’re an Empire Now” Suskind —— as he reported in October of 2004, and printed in the New York Times:

    There is a foreboding ‘shade’ of propagandist deception and un-awareness of this duopoly of disguised EMPIRE that hangs over us as much as the antebellum slave-owners imposed in outlawing slaves from learning to read.

    This extant, but currently obscured, Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal & War-Starting Empire hangs over all of our eyes.

    What used to be called the study of ‘political economics’ has been captured by the science of politic-science and economic-science — both of which are handmaidens of this state of Empire.

    Hopefully over some time the current economics of Empire — will recognize that the Empire construct of ‘Negative Externality Costs’ being imposed on we the people by Facebook, qua METAtastasis, is the greatest crime in history, as it enables not only “Accumulation by Dispossession” but also this duopoly of Empire against any form of democratic socialism (as Einstein pleaded for and warned the President about in 1949).

    “We will Overcome, We will Overcome, We will Overcome — Empire this day ay ay ay”

    The Inverse and Polar Opposite of EMPIRE is not just ‘democratic socialism’ — but LOVE

    Adam McKay’s prescient “Don’t Look Up” openly shows that Ron “We’re an Empire now” Suskind is right there in the credits!

    While McKay deserves great credit for his exposure of the “Disease of Republics” — which all our founders knew as Empire — has also been extensively portrayed in the art of cinema, not only for decades, but also more prominently than by the ‘too comfortable’ Fourth Estate.

    In addition to Adam McKay’s prescient “Don’t Look Up”, in which Peter Isherwell’s yelling at President Orlean to “get out here”, matched Ben Rand’s “making the President wait” in the 1979 “Being There”, shows that neither of the dual faux-parties, nor the USG is in control of this insane “Empire-Thinking”.

    Has anyone at the ‘Times’ considered or reported the litany of films like; “Dr. Strangelove”, “Bulworth”, “Havana”, “Three Days of the Condor”, et. al. which have investigated and reported on, what might be called the library of “Empire Exposure” films?

    Recently, the ’Times’ asked in an opinion piece whether “America Is Falling Apart at The Seams” in its recklessness — to which I replied:

    It’s easy to understand why people are driving so recklessly, now as 99% of ‘we the people’ of America have a sixth sense nearing the ‘event horizon’ of the end of this Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal and War-Starting Empire.

    That new “recklessness” is the same sense of reckless driving that Fred Astaire displayed in the 1959 Stanley Kramer film “On The Beach”.

    Canadian child psychologist and pediatrician Gabor Maté sensed that same thing when he was a baby in Nazi occupied Budapest in 1944, and his maternal grandparents were killed in Auschwitz when he was five months old — as he wrote much later that “all the Jewish babies cried inconsolably”.

    That conscious or unconscious sense of recklessness and impending dread was also what Stanley Kubrick sought to engender in his fabulous 1964 film, “Dr. Strangelove”. While, Warren Beatty’s 1998 “Bulworth” also created a sense of “recklessness” of political-economic truth consummated with gallows humor of love and death. Concluding “It must be the money — it turns everything into crap”.

    Of course, the entire project of “these ‘Times’ they are a-changin” — hopefully bending the arc of history long enough away from an asteroid or global Empire — to achieve Adam McKay’s loving team-effort in “Don’t Look Up” may bear some fruit — not just another apple — but another loving fruit that’s not a reckless ‘bite too far’.

    Paul Krugman, as a Nobel Economist must know that, ’Negative Externality Cost’ pumping and dumping of oil, weapons, cigarettes, deadly drugs and most recently the new facade of “Divide and Conquer” ‘anti-social media’ from Facebook, et. al. — purely to create ‘faux-profits’ by destroying our social democracy — is the greatest crime in world history.

    SRI (Socially Responsible Investing) and ESG (Environmental Social Governance) are just propagandist ploys to do nothing except looting by another capitalist name, but just by calling it PEP (Positive Externality Profits), the entire investment landscape can engender ‘Positivity’ and survival, instead of looting through ‘Negative Externality Cost’ dumping for faux-profits and hoarding through “Accumulation by Dispossession” [David Harvey]. As both Churchill applauded of ‘democracy’, and Einstein theorized of “Why Socialism?”, a poetic “synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits”, in government for a synthesis of democracy and socialism — could save our only fragile little planet from destruction!

    Any reasonably informed Americans — particularly the 4 million ‘Woke’ 18 year olds coming into voting age EACH YEAR (and 12 million Greta-capable Woke students by 2024) — could be easily informed about the “disease of Republics, Empire”, even if they only opened their minds and souls to the fun but serious lessons by watching Warren Beatty’s old 1998 film, “Bulworth”, a similar but newer film, “Don’t Look Up”, Madonna’s record,“Ghost Town”, and maybe getting onto the train taking-off toward democratic socialism with LOVE.

    And don’t miss Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now” Christmas Special on Free Speech TV focusing on the deep truth telling of Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald & Chris Hedges on NSA Leaks, Assange & Protecting a Free Internet — which will only repeat showings on Sat. Jan 1, 8:00 PM and Thur. Jan. 6, 3:00 AM.

    The new ‘platform’ “Discord”, which the NYT reported on today, doesn’t seem like anything but another ‘platform’ in the social media spying universe that will devolve into crap and ‘discord’ (“divide and conquer” style) as amply depicted in the fabulous new film, “Don’t Look Up”.

    The alliance of crony capitalism, racism, propaganda, ecocide, and war-starting (virtually or in reality) certainly seems with this boom/bust Stock Market ratcheting-up of making fortunes through ‘Negative Externality Cost’ dumping, which provides a clear path toward the goal of uber “Accumulation by Dispossession” [David Harvey], to the ultimate goal of One Global Empire — rather than a world of compassionate global ‘democratic socialism’ — which Albert Einstein proposed in 1949 to a President who was the product of the 1944 DNC & OSS torpedoing and coup against the fabulously progressive and brilliant ‘democratic socialist’ VP, Henry Wallace.

    “IMAGINE there’s no Empire
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell beneath us
    Above us only sky”

    Let’s learn and get beyond ‘Critical Race Theory’ and onto the real “Disease of Republics”, which is EMPIRE — by teaching Critical EMPIRE Theory.

    The Inverse and Polar Opposite of EMPIRE is not only ‘democratic socialism’ — but LOVE

    “We got Trouble right here in River City, and the starts with ’T’ and that rhymes with ‘E’, and that stands for EMPIRE.”

    The only sane and effective solution to this Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal & War-Starting Empire is to focus on the:

    GREEN NEW DEAL and a ‘winning’ Strategic Alliance with a new:

    GLOBAL GREEN
    ‘ANTI-EMPIRE’
    DSA PARTY

    +

    Believe me, the grass-roots money raising invention that the first few Democratic Candidates devised and used — worked well for a few candidates — but is now just beggaring all the less fortunate contributors — and the real problem is that the UNLIMITED MONEY of many damn ‘Pro-Empire’ & Big Dollar Contributors will overwhelm what the good, average, honest, and principled masses of ‘we the American people’ can possibly afford to spend against this Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal & War-Starting EMPIRE, which can spend enough to literally ‘flush’ the people.

    Today, IMHO, elections — or more accurately (S)elections — can only be won with a winning “Strategic Advantage” [Michael Porter HBS] and the days of hoping to win through truthful platforms are literally “Gone with the Wind”.

    Only superior Strategic Advantage can even hope to win in a poker game where there are ’no limits’ at the Crony Capitalist table.

    As I have oft commented in “these ‘Times’ they are a changing” for the better:

    Within a few years, an increasing number of progressive economists will realize that Facebook is the greatest ‘Negative Externality Cost’ pumping and dumping scheme in global history. [Full stop]

    Unlike the moral and ethical resistance to past ‘Negative Externality Cost’ dumping scams which were designed to provide “Accumulation by Dispossession” [David Harvey] and which always drove the ‘curve of history toward Empire’ — many principled ‘truth tellers’, whistle-blowers, and Anti-War/Anti-Empire; authors, academics, scientists, and “democracy-thinkers”, from; J Robert Oppenheimer, Norbert Wiener, Albert Einstein, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Joseph Stiglitz, Henry Wallace, Earl Shorris, Cornel West, and many thousand of other moral and ethical beacons have lead the path forward to “bending the curve of history away from EMPIRE”.

    And, I have also provided some understanding of why exposing EMPIRE is the only way to overcome EMPIRE and all it’s cancerous facades:

    I’m in Maine, where Dirigo (to lead) is the state moto, since it was the first and leading Green Party state, the first state in which Ralph Nader led and qualified the Green Party for national/presidential elections — rather than (S)lections — like these dueling and dual Red and Blue ‘Pro-Empire’ Parties, akin to switching back and forth in the 50s between the only unsatisfying choices being between oil smoking Fords and rusting Chevys.

    Each year now we will be having 4 million young and ‘Woke’ — yes Woke, and progressive, “say that dirty word”, just as Warren Beatty shouted out “Socialism” in the most radical and prescient film, “Bulworth”, that Americans were ever allowed to see — and those 4 million new youth voters each year give me absolute assurance over one year (4 million) and three years with (12 million Greta’s) that the Green New Deal will be a reality that changes everything.

    Additionally, even though I will be an old “Common Sense” American Revolutionary of 77 in 2024, I’m hopeful that by then a real Election, with 12 million new young Woke voters could even have a good chance to see a new compliment and addition to our progressive GREEN NEW DEAL with an even NEWER and real choice of a:

    GLOBAL GREEN
    ‘ANTI-EMPIRE’
    PEACE PARTY

    Why??

    Because we already have two Red and Blue ‘Pro-Empire’ Parties.

    I know, it may seem like a dream, and the ‘Ruling Elite’, UHNWI, 0.03%ers, “Master of the Universe” will fight like hell, but, sing with Lennon & Lenin:

    “Imagine there’s no Empire
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky”

    BTW, this current ‘nastier than hell’ Disguised EMPIRE is owned exclusively by the damned: ‘Ruling-Elite’, UHNWI, <0.003%ers, TCCers, arrogantly self-appointed "Masters of the Universe", and "Evil (not-so) Geniuses" [Kurt Andersen].

    CRT, Critical Race Theory, is only a part/sector, but an important sector, of ‘CET' (Critical EMPIRE Theory).
    CET, Critical EMPIRE Theory, is, the seminal construction of this all-too-real Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal & War-Starting Empire — which hides behind its dual-party Vichy-facade of faux-democracy — and employs propaganda to gin-up the spector of racism by disabusing the serious academic topic of Critical Race Theory as a mere totem to over-focus on Race itself and to enflame arguments about Racism.

    "Critical _____ Theory”, I would strongly suggest, is at the top of a pyramid of factors — or actually ‘causes' — of our multi-variable educational and problematic analysis of theories we should focus on as seminal with respect to "Critical Empire Theory”.

    While, Critical Race Theory, Critical Class Theory, Critical Education Theory, Critical Conflict Theory, Critical War Theory, Critical Propaganda Theory, Critical Capitalist Theory, et. al. should all be opened to academic study and attention — the penultimate study both for America and 'our entire fragile little world' should be Critical EMPIRE Theory.

    While many ill-informed Americans may still believe that America, our country, and "our government" is managed, for better or worse, by some form of functional democratic Republic, but that it is actually, however, a very modern and camouflaged form of 21st century EMPIRE.
    This uncomfortable fact is well understood by hundreds, if not thousands far better informed academics.

    In this American EMPIRE what ‘we the people of our world’ really need more than a 'Good 10 cent Cigar' is an effective and honest:

    GREEN 'ANTI-EMPIRE PARTY.

    Which I have expanded to this new moniker:

    GLOBAL GREEN
    'ANTI-EMPIRE'
    PEACE PARTY

    Why?
    Because we already have two RED and BLUE ‘Pro-Empire’ Parties.

    BTW, this current 'nastier than hell' Disguised EMPIRE is owned exclusively by the damned: ‘Ruling-Elite’, UHNWI, <0.003%ers, TCCers, arrogantly self-appointed "Masters of the Universe", and "Evil (not-so) Geniuses" [Kurt Andersen].

    Cont.

    SO, FOCUS LIKE AN EFFIN LASER ON EMPIRE — NOT on all the little ‘Issues’, “symptom problems”,
    nor even our entire “ailing social order” [Zygmunt Bauman] — because the ‘Winning Strategy” of focusing on EMPIRE is
    the sweet-spot and survival for any successful, progressive, educational, and continuation of a people’s American social
    democracy over Global EMPIRE

    Maine Wins w/ Dirigo (leading) and against Global EMPIRE!!

    BTW, IMHO, there is a dysfunctional and very dangerous situation devolving, in which money is being sought and employed by the progressive side of the equation as the primary vehicle to achieve what are viewed as positive political movements and to avoid or overcome negative political actions.

    While such ‘grass roots’ funding issues were initially viewed by the progressive movements being viewed as inexorably positive for the progressive agenda, a dark-side (or negative externality cost) is becoming more visible every day as a deadly trap for the political left, which BTW, had already been suffering under a precipitous arc of history toward the right ‘neofascist side’ of center for at least four decades.

    Employing money as the measure of political effectiveness is insane for the simple reason that it destroys democracy and allows this “disease of Republics”, which our forefathers all knew as Empire, into this most modern form of Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal & War-Starting EMPIRE.

    While the ancient Hippocratic Oath effectively says:

    “First do no harm”

    This two millennia newer teaching from Christ effectively says:

    “First do no Empire”

    The inverse of Empire is not just democratic socialism, but Love.

    BTW2, the explosion and dependence on too much dirty $$$ Money, and far too many insignificant little ‘ISSUES’ is “dividing and conquering” the left progressive base from ever focusing on a single simple, and strategic ‘winning’ “Strategic Advantage” against EMPIRE:

    “Show me what democracy looks like”
    “This ain’t what democracy looks like”
    “This is what an EMPIRE looks like”
    We must understand the deception of this new 21st century form of hidden EMPIRE — this analogy may be helpful:

    “Can’t see the Forest for the Trees” translates politically in 2022 into
    “Can’t see the Empire for the Issues & Money”

    Pleading desperately for MORE MONEY and for MORE ISSUES just ‘divides, distracts, dissipates’ focus on the seminal evil of EMPIRE — which makes it easy for EMPIRE to

    “DIVIDE and CONQUER ‘we the American people’.
    “It’s not the economy, stupid”
    “It’s not the COVID-45, stupid”
    “It’s not faux-Emperor Trump, stupid”
    “It’s not even the Issues, stupid”
    “It’s the effin Empire, stupid”

    Sincerely and with

    Liberty, democracy, equality, and justice
    Over
    Violent (and dual-party Vichy)
    Empire,

  2. The Russian invasion of Ukraine was not outrageous. The war was started by the US when it overthrew the democratically elected president of Ukraine in 2014. The CIA and NATO then spent the next eight years helping Ukraine bombard ethnically-Russian eastern Ukraine. When they felt ready, they ramped up the bombardment on February 16, 2022, in preparation for a ground attack against the breakaway militias in the Donbass. Joe Biden knew about all this. The US and Ukraine started the war. Russia moved in on February 24, and now they are going to finish it. US sanctions have backfired, with Europe now committing economic suicide. The US finally picked on someone their own size instead o terrorizing small countries. They are being defeated.

  3. There’s a lot of information ,and dispite americas control of the MSM it looks like we all are headed to WWIII and nothing can stop it ,greed and prejudices dictate the terms of everything ,so pleased I never had any kids

  4. harting apologizes for ukrop nazis—disgusting
    US the most barbaric nation in modern history…..amerikans —liberals the worst always justify invasions, imperialism genocide….the corruption is celebrated -admired by Americans
    “nothing can thrive in america unless inflated by hyperbole and gilded with a fine coat of fraud”. Paul Fussell
    “we are really 300 million used car salesmen that have no qualms about killing anyone that makes us uncomfortable”. hunter Thompson

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