EASTSIDER-I know, it sounds like some crazed lefty conspiracy theory, but hear me out before you rush to judgment. I have a theory ... about that Military.
It is no secret that Donald Trump has a Jones for Generals. I don’t know if it’s the uniforms, the idea of having military parades, or whatever else, but even retired military officials like Phillip Carter and Loren DelJonge Schulman have nervously noted how unusual this affinity is.
As reported in USA Today, Senator Claire McCaskill characterized the Cabinet as:
"I call it the three 'G' Cabinet: Goldman, generals and gazillionaires," Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, said mockingly Sunday on ABC's This Week, a reference to multiple Trump appointees who have worked at the Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs.
I like Claire.
About the Military Budget
And outside of the President’s signature tax cuts for the 1/2 of 1% that already own us,
there has to be a clue in the fact that our military budget is going up up up at an alarming rate.
Without too much notice, the Senate passed a 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which not only eliminated the Obama era automatic spending cuts but added some $630 million above what even the President had asked for. Just in case you think this was subject to the usual Republican/Democrat fights, no sir. As CNBC reported, “The final vote was 89 to 8. It required a simple majority to pass the Senate.”
So, if we were waiting for Chuck Schumer and the Dems to freak out over all this, we’re Waiting for Godot. Not only that, if you break down what’s coming, the number is going to be a staggering $886 billion! If you want to look under the hood of all this money, there’s a very detailed accounting of the components by a financial blog called The Balance.
Personally, I find it scary as heck.
Presidents, Troops & the Secret Wars
While we are told that President Trump wants to get us out of all wars, we haven’t gotten out of a single one. And in Afghanistan, we have even moretroops there. Worse, as reported by 60 Minutes, it’s so bad that those troops have to take a helicopter to even get around safely in the capital city, Kabul. You can read about it here.
While they refuse to talk about it, courtesy of the Pentagon and Trump, we have current military involvement (read troops) in something like 170 countries, as reported by Forbes.
By the way, this creepy increase of where our military are in harm’s way was not some invention of Donald Trump. In a devastating but well documented article in the LA Times, this headline says it all: “President Obama, who hoped to sow peace, instead led the nation in war.”
Wow! You should check it out in the link. The article talks about how Obama did significantly reduce the number of troops in war zones (from 150,000 to 14,000). But, the way he did it was to use technology, drones, and exporting the military into myriad hotspots via commando units. As the article states:
“The administration built secret drone bases and other facilities in Africa and the Middle East and added troops and warships in the western pacific. It also moved troops and equipment to eastern Europe to counter a resurgent Russia.”
What’s creepy is that most of us would never have known about any of this, except for the three Special Forces troops killed in Niger.
I think most of us wondered, Niger? Where the heck is it and what are we doing there with military troops? That’s when people started to demand answers, and we found that we have simply shifted from “conventional” war to what is politely referred to as “asymmetric” military actions all over the globe.
Anything from Congress? We all know the answer, and the Dems aren’t much better than the Republicans.
This doesn’t even account for the hidden budgets of third party mercenary corporations like Blackwaterand their kin.
Kids and Detention Facilities
We now know thanks to the Administration’s “take the children from their parents and sell them off” program, that there are third party private contractor “detention facilities” in a whole bunch of places, including military facilities.
Military facilities? What the heck is going on? It turns out that it is all buried under the heading of “Immigration Policy,” where most of the Republican Party (and some Democrats as well), have simply pretended that there was no such thing until all hell broke loose as children were literally ripped from the bosoms of their mothers, right in front of us on television.
As the public demanded answers, it turns out that the private prison industry is heavily involved in building and running these facilities. In an important article by Tanyi Misra in CityLab, we discover “How Your Neighborhood Private Immigrant Prison Influences Its Members of Congress.”
Congress critters? Oh gee. They must mean the ones that knew nothing about any of this, and conveniently couldn’t get an appointment to see what’s going on. Kudos to UC Riverside for the study, and I hope they keep it funded, keep it up, and hold elected officials’ feet to the fire.
We all know that the amount of intestinal fortitude in Congress can be measured in the single digits, be they Republicans or Democrats. So why isn’t anyone, including Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi screaming about this stuff? Is it because they are too busy listening to a bunch of Hillary Clinton hacks (as in losers) who “formulate” their national strategy? You know, the one that will guarantee victory this time? The national strategy that clearly does not exist beyond Chuck and Nancy continuing to own the reins of power?
I could go on about private military contractors like Blackwaterand beyond, but I don’t want to sound like some Breitbart troll. At the same time, if all these happenings have been hidden in plain sight and ignored by the so-called mainstream media, what else it out there we don’t know about?
I clearly remember during the Vietnam war that the government had no problem ramping up detention facilities very quickly. So, when I discover that many of these alleged “immigration detention facilities” are secretly built on Federal military land, I have a basic question:
What’s the difference between a “detention facility” for immigrants, and a detention facility for dissidents?
Riddle me that one.
(Tony Butka is an Eastside community activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in government and is a contributor to CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.