NDAA 2020

by anthony freda

Now seriously, wouldn’t it be more accurate to call it the NOAA (National Offense Authorization Act)?  Perhaps Scratch for War, Inc. or Payola for Pentagon Planet?  Especially given this list by the late, great, William Blum who left us on Dec. 9, 2018.  Among many other books, he’d written America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy; The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else, blogged ‘the anti-Empire Report’

United States bombings of other countries, William Blum

“The above was written in 1994, before the wanton destruction generated by the bombing of Yugoslavia, another in a long list of countries the United States has bombarded since the end of World War II, which is presented below.

  • Korea and China 1950-53 (Korean War)
  • Guatemala 1954
  • Indonesia 1958
  • Cuba 1959-1961
  • Guatemala 1960
  • Congo 1964
  • Laos 1964-73
  • Vietnam 1961-73
  • Cambodia 1969-70
  • Guatemala 1967-69
  • Grenada 1983
  • Lebanon 1983, 1984 (both Lebanese and Syrian targets)
  • Libya 1986
  • El Salvador 1980s
  • Nicaragua 1980s
  • Iran 1987
  • Panama 1989
  • Iraq 1991 (Persian Gulf War)
  • Kuwait 1991
  • Somalia 1993
  • Bosnia 1994, 1995
  • Sudan 1998
  • Afghanistan 1998
  • Yugoslavia 1999
  • Yemen 2002
  • Iraq 1991-2003 (US/UK on regular basis)
  • Iraq 2003-2015
  • Afghanistan 2001-2015
  • Pakistan 2007-2015
  • Somalia 2007-8, 2011
  • Yemen 2009, 2011
  • Libya 2011, 2015
  • Syria 2014-2016

He’d included a ‘Plus’ list as well.

Another of Blum’s lists:

Overthrowing other people’s governments: The Master List’; Instances of the United States overthrowing, or attempting to overthrow, a foreign government since the Second World War. (* indicates successful ouster of a government)

But let’s go play Duopoly Dialing for Dollars!

‘House Democrats ratify $733 billion for US military’, Patrick Martin
15 July 2019, wsws.org

“By a near-party-line vote Friday, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives approved the National Defense Authorization Act, providing $733 billion for the Pentagon, with the bulk of the spending directed toward preparing the US military for future wars with China and Russia.

Not a single Republican House member voted for the bill, which passed 220–197, because they objected to a series of “progressive” amendments incorporated into the NDAA to ensure a top-heavy Democratic vote for the overall legislation.”

All of these amendments will be stripped out of the bill in the House-Senate Conference Committee, which will now ensue. The resulting military authorization bill will come back to the House as unamendable “must pass” legislation, which most “progressive” Democrats will claim they have no choice but to support.

The eight Democrats who voted against the bill included four newly elected representatives who have been frequent targets of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley—and four other liberals—Mark Pocan, Barbara Lee, Earl Blumenauer and Adriano Espaillat.

The amendments approved included one barring President Trump from waging war on Iran without congressional approval. A similar amendment has already been defeated in the Senate.”

“Others on the wish list include repeal of the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, the legal basis for the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq; a one-year prohibition for using US military funds to support the Saudi-led war in Yemen; a provision blocking the deployment of low-yield nuclear weapons on US submarines; another barring the transfer of new prisoners to the Guantanamo Bay prison; reinstatement of eligibility for military service of transgendered soldiers; and a ban on the use of Defense Department funds to build Trump’s wall on the US-Mexico border or to house people detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

From govtrack.us:

‘This was a vote to pass H.R. 2500 in the House. The federal budget process occurs in two stages: appropriations and authorizations. This is an authorization bill, which directs how federal funds should or should not be used. (It does not set overall spending limits, however, which are the subject of appropriations bills.) Authorizations are typically made for single fiscal years (October 1 through September 30 of the next year) but are often renewed in subsequent law.’

The votes, the ‘Ideology of Votes’, and ‘Statistically notable votes’ are on the page.

“The Senate version passed on June 27, 2019

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe (Republican from Oklahoma) expressed satisfaction with the House action, even though he is opposed to nearly all the liberal amendments. Praising his Democratic counterpart Adam Smith, he said, “We both have the commitment. We’ve got to get a bill.” He explained, “The main thing that I wanted out of the House was to get something out of the House into conference, and then we can go to work.”

Martin writes that back-channel talks continue between Nancy Pelosi and the Trump administration regarding legislation to either raise or waive caps on spending for the Pentagon and domestic social spending set by the 2011 deficit reduction law scheduled to take effect once again on October 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year.

“More significant were the amendments that the Democratic leadership successfully blocked, especially one to reduce the overall funding level by $16.8 billion. This was voted down by an overwhelming 307–115 margin, with about half of the House Democrats voting to reject the amendment. The final “debate” in the House-Senate Conference Committee will thus be between the Senate figure of $750 billion, the largest amount ever allocated to the Pentagon, and the House figure of $733 billion, the second largest such amount.”

“The budgetary impact of the 2011 law, the September 30 deadline for passage of 12 appropriations bills for various federal departments and agencies, and the impending breach of the federal debt ceiling—now estimated by the Treasury to take place in early September—mean that the Democratic Party will soon be called upon to take actions that will further expose its pretensions to be fighting Trump or defending the interests of working people. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi & co. will be ratifying higher military spending and further cuts in domestic social programs, while refusing to use the financial crunch as leverage against Trump’s vicious attacks on immigrants and more broadly on democratic rights.”

But this was my favorite chuckle-worthy news:

“The conference committee is nearly certain to side with the Senate version, which passed by a huge bipartisan majority, 86–8, with six of the seven Democratic senators running for president being absent from the vote because they were campaigning.”

The Senate version S. 1790: votes, notable votes, not voting, etc. and those not voting. Because hey, it’s only the gargantuan Military Appropriations bill!  Strategic absences or so very busy campaigning, can’t hop on a plane, Senators, Congresspeople?

Meanwhile, from David Swanson: ‘Military Bill Amended for the Better: This Pig Has Really, Really Good Lipstick’, David Swanson, World BEYOND War, July 14, 2019

Heh; sorry, but you’ll have to click through for his Pig Lipsticked artwork, it’s seriously hard for me to look at for long, but funny as hell for a few moments. 

“The latest U.S. House of Representatives version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which is beyond global in scope and not the least bit defensive, offended Donald Trump’s desire for limitless power and spending in dozens of ways detailed by the people he employs to write things longer than tweets — and that was before it was amended. And the amendments are shockingly good.

If you’re going to pass a stinker of a bill, piling several hundred billion more dollars into a criminal enterprise that endangers us, devastates the natural environment, diverts funding away from enterprises that could save and radically improve billions of lives, promotes bigotry and violence, and generates refugees who can then be blamed for it, the least awful way to do so would be with the following amendments. But, bear in mind, these have been passed by the House and not the Senate, and unless people find out they exist and raise absolute hell about keeping them in, the House will strip them out in deference to the Senate, the President, the campaign funders, or all three.”

Swanson’s list of ‘shockingly good’ amendments is much longer than Patrick Martin’s, but nowhere does he mention that the Senate version will likely rule in the conference committee meetings.

“We should keep in mind that some of these amendments would outlaw things that are already illegal, and that President Trump will have little reason to comply with any amendments that make it into law, given the practice established by Bush-Obama of erasing selected portions of laws with signing statements, and given Nancy Pelosi’s commitment not to impeach.

We should also keep in mind that a pig will always remain a pig.”

I know I’ve used it before, and had borrowed it from John Wight lamenting NATO’s continued and epically toxic existence.  “The cogent analysis of Roman imperialism provided by political economist Joseph Schumpeter in the second decade of the 20th century:

There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome’s allies; and if Rome had no allies, then allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest—why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted. The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors, always fighting for a breathing space. The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies, and it was manifestly Rome’s duty to guard against their indubitably aggressive designs. They were enemies who only waited to fall on the Roman people.

by anthony freda

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

3 responses to “NDAA 2020

  1. War, glorious, money $$$$$ making War! that drone the Iranians just shot down? Only $110 million taxpayer dollars, that pilot killing wonder plane F-35 – actual price; Only $350 million each. We have orders for another $15 billion buck Aircraft Carrier (BFT) to be named; “The Anal {jt} Rump, glory to the Almighty taxpayer dollar, and the loans from investors and China. U.S. Treasuries on sale now! “Jingfei-ijia”=cops and gangsters belong to the same family. (And Politicians) Our West Point Generals never seem to learn the lessons of history. During the second world war we bombed Germany and Japan to rubble and ashes, yet it was Boots on the Ground that always win the final battles. We spent more bombs on Viet-Nam than in the entire second world war, but little, half garbed men with 50 year old rifles drove off the Great Satan with all his majestic power, B-52’s. Seems I just heard a program that stated that all our modern computerized war machines can be stopped dead by a 16 year old hacker in Iran or Russia, or China, or even America! Bomb’s Away!

    • “Seems I just heard a program that stated that all our modern computerized war machines can be stopped dead by a 16 year old hacker in Iran or Russia, or China, or even America! Bomb’s Away!”

      why do ya think the pentagon and nat sec agencies are spending so many billions on a ‘cyber command’? ;-)

      now i can’t say the same history would hold true now, as far as boots on the ground winning wars, but hell, when wa the last time this nation’s masters o war…won one? but cynics like me wonder if the whole point isn’t to keep from winning them… but clearly, US weapons are far inferior to chinese and russian ones.

      now i’ve heard that hi-tech spy plane the iranians shot down was valued at $200 million, but yanno, it’s just other people’s money, isn’t it?

      what photo do you mean? that f-35: what iteration is it by now? 7.0?

  2. P.S. you might like to look at the picture on my last Post, “Do we deserve to be called, the Ignorant Masses”

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