The Institute for Policy Studies on Thursday shared the results of extensive research into how the $750 billion U.S. military budget could be significantly slashed, freeing up annual funding to cover the cost of Medicare for All—calling into question the notion that the program needs to create any tax burden whatsoever for working families.
Fueled by the growing demonization of migrants, as well as ongoing fears of foreign terrorism, the U.S. borderlands have become laboratories for new systems of enforcement and control. Firsthand reporting, interviews, and a review of documents for this story provide a window into the high-tech surveillance apparatus CBP is building in the name of deterring illicit migration — and highlight how these same systems often end up targeting other marginalized populations as well as political dissidents.
The United States formally withdrew from a landmark nuclear missile pact with Russia on Friday after determining that Moscow was in violation of the treaty and had no plans to come into compliance with it. U.S. President Donald Trump made the determination that the United States would terminate adherence to the 1987 arms control accord, known as the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), senior administration officials told reporters.
China has demanded that the United States "immediately cancel" a potential $2.2bn arms sale to Taiwan, including battle tanks and anti-aircraft missiles. The move would be Washington's first big-ticket military sale to the democratically-governed island in decades, and comes amid deteriorating ties between the US and China, the world's two largest economies that have been locked in an acrimonious trade war.
As the Trump administration maintains the friendliest U.S. relationship with the Israeli right in history, Texas has become one of the most pro-Israel states in the country. It has forged ties with Israeli settlements and aggressively enforced a law targeting advocates of boycotting Israel. Its exports to Israel last year topped $900 million, and its imports from Israel are valued at $1.5 billion, according to the Texas Economic Development Corporation.
The Trump administration chose the Friday afternoon before Memorial Day weekend to invoke an obscure state-of-emergency provision that would allow it to sell billions of dollars in weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates without giving Congress a chance to block the sale.
In its latest budget request, the Trump administration is asking for a near-record $750 billion for the Pentagon and related defense activities, an astonishing figure by any measure. If passed by Congress, it will, in fact, be one of the largest military budgets in American history, topping peak levels reached during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. And keep one thing in mind: that $750 billion represents only part of the actual annual cost of our national security state.
One of America’s major political parties may not yet be willing to acknowledge that climate change is real, but it is already having significant effects on the U.S. military. Flooding in Nebraska and a hurricane in Florida that damaged military installations led to a recent Pentagon request of $5 billion in relief money. Now Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., are calling on the Government Accountability Office to assess military contractors’ vulnerability to climate risks.
Donald Trump says Saudi Arabia could turn to Russia or China for arms, but the French intelligence report emphasizes its dependence on the West. But a highly classified document produced by the French Directorate of Military Intelligence shows that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are overwhelmingly dependent on Western-produced weapon systems to wage their devastating war in Yemen. Many of the systems listed are only compatible with munitions, spare parts, and communications systems produced in NATO countries, meaning that the Saudis and UAE would have to replace large portions of their arsenals to continue with Russian or Chinese weapons.
The RAND Corporation with Pentagon support has carried out a war game simulation in which the United States loses to both Russia and China. The US and NATO are unable to stop an attack in the Balkans by the Russians, and the United States and its allies are unable to prevent the takeover of Taiwan by China. These are the claims made by RAND. But is RAND right?
Eight members of Congress have taken a pledge to work to bring ongoing U.S. global military conflicts to a “responsible and expedient” end, the result of a first-of-its kind lobbying effort by military veterans on Capitol Hill. The pledge was written and organized by a group called Common Defense, made up of veterans and military families, which advocates for scaling back U.S. military commitments overseas.
At the heart of the Huawei case is the rise of China's "military-civilian integration," and the U.S. government's instinctive reservations over it. Military-civilian integration is a strategy designed to increase China's national power by mobilizing and incorporating all advanced technologies held by the PLA, the national government as well as state-run and private companies.
In a piece titled “Why America needs low-yield nuclear warheads now,” Michael Morell and Jon Kyl argued that Russian and Chinese nuclear modernization programs demanded a response. “Russia is intent on exploiting what it perceives as a U.S. nuclear capability gap,” they write. “We must change that calculation” by adding submarine and sea-launched missiles with nuclear warheads. This would increase deterrence and prevent nuclear war, they claim; otherwise Russia will strike first.
Lobbyists representing the Saudi government reserved blocks of rooms at President Trump’s D.C. hotel within a month of Trump’s election in 2016 — paying for an estimated 500 nights at the luxury hotel in just three months, according to organizers of the trips and documents obtained by The Washington Post. At the time, these lobbyists were reserving large numbers of D.C.-area hotel rooms as part of an unorthodox campaign that offered U.S. military veterans a free trip to Washington — then sent them to Capitol Hill to lobby against a law the Saudis opposed, according to veterans and organizers.
When President Donald Trump announced that he would be deploying soldiers to the southern border, in numbers that seemed to swell in direct proportion to the fever of his campaign rallies, the media eagerly enabled his hysteria, treating the arrival of a few hundred refugees as an impending alien invasion. And while Nicholas Kristof has since acknowledged that The New York Times allowed itself to be manipulated ahead of a midterm election, few appear willing to confront the darker reality this assault has laid bare: The Trump administration has sought to militarize the region from the start.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo faced internal opposition to U.S. support for the war in Yemen from State Department staff, according to a recent report. The staffers had become concerned by the rising civilian death toll in the war being carried out by Persian Gulf monarchies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — not only owing to bombings of densely populated areas, but also a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by the fighting, with up to 8.4 million people at risk of starvation.
I found that Warren’s tenacity when ripping things like corporate lobbyists’ “pre-bribes” suddenly evaporated when dealing with issues like the enormous military budget and Israeli assaults on Palestinian children.
The U.S. Senate passed a measure that would codify into law the $38 billion defense aid package for Israel over 10 years that was negotiated in the final days of the Obama administration. The U.S.-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018 approved Wednesday gives the defense package the imprimatur of Congress, which would keep any future president from reneging. The $38 billion deal negotiated in 2016 is the most generous ever to Israel.
With little debate or public attention, the Senate just followed the House in approving $717 billion for the nation’s military, meaning the bill is headed for the president’s signature. The passage is no surprise. The National Defense Authorization Act is one of the few pieces of federal budget legislation that sails through every year, without fail, on a bipartisan basis.
US President Donald Trump is "milking Gulf countries" and exploiting tensions in the Middle East to bolster its arms sales. That's according to Al Jazeera's senior political analyst Marwan Bishara, who was commenting shortly after the US leader told Saudi Arabia it needed to pay up if it wanted the US to continue its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in Syria.
Forty-five billion dollars. That’s how much the Pentagon says the Afghan war is costing American taxpayers, and with no end in sight they may have to keep footing that bill for years to come.
Any examination of Kelly’s past public remarks makes clear he is not a sober professional, calculating that he must degrade himself in public so he can remain in place to rein in Trump’s worst instincts behind the scenes. Rather, Kelly honestly shares those instincts: He’s proudly ignorant, he’s a liar, and he’s a shameless bully and demagogue.
A key component is missing from the current controversial discussion surrounding football players and the national anthem. In the recent days of argument over whether NFL players have the right to protest racial inequality and systemic injustice in the United States, few have brought up the fact that less than a decade ago, professional football players didn’t even appear on the field during the national anthem.
Even as President Donald Trump faces ever-intensifying investigations into the alleged connections between his top aides and family members and powerful Russian figures, he serves as commander in chief over a U.S. military that is killing an astonishing and growing number of civilians. Under Trump, the U.S. is re-escalating its war in Afghanistan, expanding its operations in Iraq and Syria, conducting covert raids in Somalia and Yemen, and openly facilitating the Saudi’s genocidal military destruction of Yemen.
While President Trump berates Qatar for sponsoring terrorism at the highest levels, he is simultaneously authorizing the country to purchase over $21 billion of U.S. weapons. One portion of that deal -- $12 billion for 36 F-15QA fighter jets -- was inked on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., when Qatar's Defense Minister met with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis.
When President Trump’s top foreign policy advisers gathered recently at the White House to discuss plans to revamp the administration’s Afghanistan strategy, the makeup of those in the room was indicative of a significant turn in U.S. foreign policy. Seated front and center at the Situation Room table were four current or retired generals who dominate just about every big national security decision Trump makes.
President Eisenhower warned our nation during his farewell address to be very wary of the military industrial complex and its encroachment on civil society. The moment when the best interests of defense contractors start determining what is in the national security interest of our country, the tail has begun to wag the dog. This is the concern of Rand Paul, regarding the recent arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
The Pentagon has generated almost $6 billion over the past seven years by charging the armed forces excessive prices for fuel and has used the money — called the “bishop’s fund” by some critics — to bolster mismanaged or underfunded military programs, documents show.A $6 billion surplus was tapped to train Syrian rebels and shore up a fraud-riddled pharmacy program.
The United States and Saudi Arabia are putting together one of the biggest arms sales in history and looking toward a new regional security architecture. Behind the scenes, the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have been conducting extensive negotiations, led by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. After years of disillusionment with the Obama administration, the Saudi leadership was eager to do business. “They were willing to make a bet on Trump and on America,” a senior White House official said.
Analysis of the Times and Locations of Critical Events in the Alleged Nerve Agent Attack at 7 AM on April 4, 2017 in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria. Analysis using weather data from the time of the attack shows that a small hamlet about 300 m to the east southeast of the crater could be the only location affected by the alleged nerve agent release. The hamlet is separated from the alleged release site (a crater) by an open field. The winds at the time of the release would have initially taken the sarin across the open field. Beyond the hamlet there is a substantial amount of open space and the sarin cloud would have had to travel long additional distance for it to have dissipated before reaching any other population center.
Don Benton has a long record of controversies, but no record of military service. Late Monday night, when many Americans were in bed, President Donald Trump quietly announced his intention to nominate former Washington state senator Don Benton (R) to be director of the Selective Service System, which operates the nation’s military draft. This was when the problems first came to light.
The budget won’t pass. But what it says about the president is really, really important. Using the Pentagon’s massive budget as a baseline, 55 billion is a relatively small increase. But it’s paid for, in part, by a relatively huge cut to the State Department. State’s $55 billion budget, $19 billion of which is spent on operations related to American wars, is slashed by 29 percent (leaving it with a total of $39 billion). The operative words for State are fewer and less: fewer diplomats, less development aid, and less support for international organizations like the United Nations.
US 'security' aid to to both Israel and Palestinian Authority is keeping Palestinians occupied. By providing aid to the security sector of West bank and Gaza has resulted in half Palestinian public sector civil servants to be employed in security. The Palestinian security now restrains mass uprisings by suppressing Palestinians who resist Israel's occupation.
As the Obama administration prepares to hand-off its vast, opaque institutions of surveillance and covert warfare to Donald Trump, many have begun to worry anew about these powers. The new president-elect and his cabinet will have unprecedented power to conduct secret wars and assassinations around the globe, thanks in part to programs bequeathed to him by his liberal predecessor. The aggressive posture that Obama took towards whistleblowers also sets a precedent for Trump to step-up attacks against those inside the government who dare to shed light on such programs.
Widespread social unrest will ignite when Donald Trump’s base realizes it has been betrayed. I do not know when this will happen. But that it will happen is certain. Investments in the stocks of the war industry, internal security and the prison-industrial-complex have skyrocketed since Trump won the presidency. There is a lot of money to be made from a militarized police state.
Americans have not paid much attention to the war In Yemen. With all eyes on Syria and the neo-Cold War rivalry there with Russia, Yemen did not come up at all in the presidential debates. Yet according to UN figures, the war has left 10,000 dead and 900,000 civilians displaced — and it arguably implicates the United States even more than the Syrian conflict.
Let’s start with what Hillary Clinton stands for. She is pro-Wall Street, pro-Big Pharma, pro-Monsanto, pro-Fracking, pro-Big Media, pro-globalism, pro-TPP (yes, she is) and pro-military industrial complex. She is funded by the 0.1% and will rule for the 0.1%.
Despite Michael Pence’s claim that we need to begin by “rebuilding our military,” the U.S. is not even close to losing its overwhelming military dominance.. Last year, the United States spent $600 billion on its military – roughly as much as the next eight countries put together.
For all the chatter about animosity between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, The Washington Post reports that “a senior Israeli official will arrive in Washington next week for a final round of negotiations involving the largest military aid package the United States has ever given any country and that will last more than a decade after President Obama leaves office.” The U.S. already transfers $3.1 billion in taxpayer money every year to Israel – more than any other country by far – but the new agreement Obama is set to sign “significantly raises” that amount, and guarantees it for 10 years.
We Americans have funny notions about foreign aid. Recent polls show that, on average, we believe 28% of the federal budget is eaten up by it, and that, in a time of austerity, this gigantic bite of the budget should be cut back to 10%. In actual fact, barely 1% of the federal budget goes to foreign aid of any kind. Overall, the United States covers nearly one quarter of Israel’s defense budget — from tear gas canisters to F-16 fighter jets. In their 2008-2009 assault on Gaza, the Israeli Defense Forces made use of M-92 and M-84 “dumb bombs,” Paveway II and JDAM guided “smart bombs,” AH-64 Apache attack helicopters equipped with AGM-114 Hellfire guided missiles, M141 “bunker defeat” munitions, and special weapons like M825A1 155mm white phosphorous munitions — all supplied as American foreign aid.