Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush & Obama's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Signs along the road to empire collapse

 

The US military empire is unsustainable - especially when the nation is $28 trillion in debt and using worthless Confederate money (that is a joke meaning the dollar is declining in value).  Below are just a few early examples that things are not going so well inside the Pentagon as they try to juggle the mounting cost demands of empire.  It is only going to get worse. Watch out they don't grab your Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and more. My suggestion is to step up the calls for Pentagon spending cuts emphasizing that human needs and climate crisis are demanding a complete change of direction. We should also be regularly talking about conversion of the war machine.


  • Hundreds of government vehicles are parked indefinitely at the U.S. Air Force’s largest base in Europe and delays to services are expected after the Air Force unexpectedly slashed vehicle maintenance funds servicewide. 
  • In a $715 billion spending plan sent to Congress, the Biden administration proposes sidelining ships and hundreds of aircraft to pay for fast-flying hypersonic missiles and newer generation warships. The $715 billion request is $11 billion more than the $704 billion Congress enacted for the current fiscal year, but if inflation stays around 4 percent, it will represent about a 3 percent real decrease.
  • In the past 10 years, Norfolk Naval Shipyard [in Virginia] has suffered nine major floods [due to rising sea levels] that have damaged equipment used to repair ships, and the flooding is worsening, according to the Navy. In 2016, rain from Hurricane Matthew left 2 feet of water in one building, requiring nearly $1.2 million in repairs. In response, the Navy proposed a more permanent barrier estimated to cost more than $30 million, part of a 20-year, $21 billion plan submitted to Congress this year to modernize Norfolk as well as Navy shipyards in Maine, Washington and Hawaii. [Some cost estimates for fixing the sinking navy docks at US bases worldwide are more than $350 billion.]

 


  • A consensus is building among current and former military leaders and defense industry executives that rising military personnel costs threaten the viability of the all-volunteer force. “Unless retirees contribute more for their TRICARE insurance, medical costs will not be brought under control and the national defense they served, and for which they fought and sacrificed, will be harmed,” says the final report of the Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel. 
  • Can US-Japan avoid train wreck on defense costs? Washington wants Tokyo to quadruple the amount it pays for military protection under the Special Measures Agreement 
  •  To make space in its shrinking budget, the U.S. Army has listed 37 programs for trimming in fiscal 2022. As has become standard practice, service officials are also asking lawmakers for money for things excluded from the budget proposal sent to Congress last week. Some programs appear on both lists. Take the Abrams tank, long the centerpiece of the land service’s armored force. A document listing the 37 programs says the Abrams effort is to be cut by about $154 million. But in their unfunded priorities list — informally known as the “wish list” — service officials ask lawmakers to add $369 million to the Abrams program to help field the third version of the tank to Army National Guard units without delays.
  • The federal government's books are in such bad shape that auditors can't even do their jobs, and the national debt is growing at an "unsustainable" rate, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) warned in its annual comprehensive review of the government's financial statements. The GAO singled out the Pentagon—as it has every year since 1990, when federal auditors first started trying to peer into the black hole of military spending—for "serious financial management problems." That includes more than 1,300 new issues raised during this year's incomplete audit of the Defense Department.

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