Monday, October 9, 2017

The Pentagon Merits NO Further Budget Increases Until It Accounts For What's Already Spent!

Okay, let's try to get some perspective here on military- "defense" spending, especially after we've learned the Jacobins in congress (including Dems) had just approved more than $640 b for the new Pentagon budget for FY 2018.  This was actually $30 b more than the Pentagon asked for, and included (as Bill Maher reported Friday night) 34 additional F-35 aircraft the Pentagon didn't want.

What's wrong with this picture? Pretty well everything! First,  this over the top defense waste is sucking up more and more federal discretionary spending. (See graphic).  Then added to this, we know the U.S. spends more than the next 11 nations combined, e.g.

But a vastly more disgusting aspect is that the Pentagon cannot account for the money it's already spent!  Former defense analyst Chuck Spinney pointed this out first in a 2000 interview on Bill Moyers'  NOW PBS program, noting $1.2 trillion unaccounted for. This was in light of 1996 legislation passed by congress requiring all government agencies to undergo annual audits.

But as Spinney pointed out (interview may still be available online) the Pentagon has not complied at all, and up to the time of his PBS appearance had not squared the books on its military spending. That is, where did all the money go, by category and amount?

To make matters worse, a July 2016 report by the Department of Defense's Inspector General found that the Army alone has accumulated $6.5 trillion in expenditures that can't be accounted for over the past two decades.   As David Lindorff reported for This Can't Be Happening! the DoD "has not been tracking or recording or auditing all of the taxpayer money allocated by Congress — what it was spent on, how well it was spent, or where the money actually ended up." Note the Army wasn't alone, as Lindorff added: . "Things aren't any better at the Navy, Air Force and Marines,"

Well, really no surprise as Chuck Spinney reported this across the service branches as early as 2000. It's only now that the unaccounted for money has hit multiple trillions people are starting to pay att4ention.

Btw, we already have an idea what's going on. For those not living on Mars or under a rock we've known for over 20 years that defense spending actually amounts to a high end jobs welfare program for specific congressional districts - mainly GOP. While congress critters are quite happy to grab money from defense contractors to enable more jobs for their districts, they absolutely refuse to sit on corporations to force them to lay out more $$$ for new jobs - as opposed to spending the cash on stock buybacks.

But let's be clear both Ds and Rs are playing this noisome game, selectively going after social spending but avoiding making the DoD accountable As Lindorff notes politicians of both major political parties are "always demanding accountability for every penny spent on welfare. ... Ditto for people receiving unemployment compensation,"

Funny then - or maybe not - how they chase "pennies" but ignore the big bucks falling into limbo at the Pentagon.  But....that is how much the Pentagon has them by the cojones.

As Lindorff has also noted:  Politicians have engaged in pervasive efforts "to make teachers accountable for student 'performance,'"Yet, he observed, "the military doesn't have to account for any of its trillions of dollars of spending ... even though Congress fully a generation ago passed a law requiring such accountability."

Well, what do we have here? None other than "hollow laws" to use the words of author William Greider, in 'Who Will Tell The People - The Betrayal Of American Democracy, e.g.
Image result for 'Who Will Tell The People
A book, by the way, I heartily recommend to all serious readers of this blog.  As Greider points out hollow laws are confected by congress critters to provide political cover - in case their constituents might not be too happy about some aspect of the nation - but they are never intended to be enforced. They are then, window dressing.

Enter now the latest perfidy, given  Thomas Hedges reported for The Guardian  in March 2017 - after Trump proposed a $52 billion increase in military spending -  "the Pentagon has exempted itself without consequence for 20 years now, telling the Government Accountability Office that collecting and organizing the required information for a full audit is too costly and time-consuming."  

Exempted itself!?  Are you kidding me?  As Chuck Spinney pointed out on Bill Moyers program, then an agency declines fiscal accountability we are no longer a democracy because the agency or department is no longer accountable to the citizens - the taxpayers. It is then a law unto itself, and we are short steps from fascism.

Let us note that the most recent DoD audit deadline was September 2017, yet neither the Pentagon, Congress nor the media seem to have paid any attention. Why should they given they plausibly have already ackno9eldged we are living in a state -nation that no longer has any use for its citizens. Other than voting, and often in a blind and dumb manner.

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