Tag Archives: Military-Industrial Complex

Defense Sec. Memo Confirms Trump’s Military Parade

Washington, D.C.— A memorandum for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued on March 8, confirms that a Veterans Day military parade requested by President Trump last month will be held in honor of U.S. military veterans and provides “initial guidance” for the planning of the parade.

“This parade will focus on the contributions of our veterans throughout our history of the U.S. Military, starting from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, to today, with an emphasis on the price of freedom,” the memo stated.

The memo included a list of “considerations provided by the Secretary of Defense” including plans to “highlight the evolution of women Veterans” and assurances that tanks would not be included in the event in an effort to “minimize damage to local infrastructure.” The D.C. Council had previously tweeted their objection “Tanks but No Tanks.”

The document goes on to note that Veteran and Medal of Honor recipients will surround the President in the Capitol reviewing area, and there will be a “heavy air component at the end of the parade.”

While the document doesn’t provide a cost estimate, last month the White House budget director gave a preliminary estimate to the House Budget Committee and said the parade could cost between $10 to $30 million.

Despite having the largest and most powerful military force in the history of humanity, military parades in the U.S. are rare, with the last taking place after the first Gulf War in 1991 at a price tag of roughly $12 million (not adjusted for inflation).

In early February, President Donald Trump told his generals to begin preparing for a military parade in Washington, D.C., reportedly inspired by the French Bastille Day parade he watched in Paris over the summer. Opponents criticized the idea of holding a military parade, likening it to militaristic displays in states such as Russia or China. Politico reported there was broad bipartisan pushback— with politicians on both sides of the aisle calling it a waste of money that would break with democratic traditions. A poll conducted by Military Times claimed that 88 percent of 100,000 respondents opposed the parade and “said the military has more important needs to address.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders refuted those notions, stating that Trump’s intention was to have “a celebration” of the military and that “President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe.”

The Trump administration has appointed numerous high-ranking military leaders into roles in the White House and cabinet, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.

Ron Paul on What the FISA Memo “Really Tells Us” About US Government

Washington, D.C. — Preeminent “Godfather of Liberty” Ron Paul waded into the controversy surrounding the recently released FISA memo, which provided detailed allegations of the FBI and DOJ’s abuse of the FISA court, providing a unique perspective that aims to cut through the partisan divide. Paul was quick to call out the lies perpetuated in the run-up to the release of the memo.

In an article published for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, titled What the FBI/FISA Memo Really Tells Us About Our Government, Paul noted:

The release of the House Intelligence Committee’s memo on the FBI’s abuse of the FISA process set off a partisan firestorm. The Democrats warned us beforehand that declassifying the memo would be the end the world as we know it. It was reckless to allow Americans to see this classified material, they said. Agents in the field could be harmed, sources and methods would be compromised, they claimed.

Republicans who had seen the memo claimed that it was far worse than Watergate. They said that mass firings would begin immediately after it became public. They said that the criminality of US government agencies exposed by the memo would shock Americans.

Then it was released and the world did not end. FBI agents have thus far not been fired. Seeing “classified” material did not terrify us, but rather it demonstrated clearly that information is kept from us by claiming it is “classified.”

[RELATED: Ex-CIA Operative Declares FBI is “Ticked” in Wake of FISA Memo; Pledges “We’re Going to Win”]

After rebuking the left/right media talking points perpetuated by corporate media, Paul placed a laser-like focus on what he identifies as the actual root cause of what has been taking place in Washington, D.C.: the Military-Industrial Complex.

Paul wrote that the “deep state” feared “Trump’s repeated promises to get along with Russia and to re-assess NATO so many years after the end of the Cold War were threatening to a Washington that depends on creating enemies to sustain the fear needed to justify a trillion dollar yearly military budget.” He claims that the fervor surrounding Russiagate was simply a ploy by hawks on both sides of the aisle to create anti-Russia sentiment within the American population, which “served their real goal of keeping the US on war footing and keeping the gravy train rolling.”

Paul continued:

In the end, both sides got it wrong. Here’s what the memo really shows us:

First, the memo demonstrates that there is a “deep state” that does not want things like elections to threaten its existence. Candidate Trump’s repeated promises to get along with Russia and to re-assess NATO so many years after the end of the Cold War were threatening to a Washington that depends on creating enemies to sustain the fear needed to justify a trillion dollar yearly military budget.

Imagine if candidate Trump had kept his campaign promises when he became President. Without the “Russia threat” and without the “China threat” and without the need to dump billions into NATO, we might actually have reaped a “peace dividend” more than a quarter century after the end of the Cold War. That would have starved the war-promoting military-industrial complex and its network of pro-war “think tanks” that populate the Washington Beltway area.

Second, the memo shows us that neither Republicans nor Democrats really care that much about surveillance abuse when average Americans are the victims. It is clear that the FISA abuse detailed in the memo was well known to Republicans like House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes before the memo was actually released. It was likely also well known by Democrats in the House. But both parties suppressed this evidence of FBI abuse of the FISA process until after the FISA Amendments Act could be re-authorized. They didn’t want Americans to know how corrupt the surveillance system really is and how the US has become far too much like East Germany. That might cause more Americans to call up their Representatives and demand that the FISA mass surveillance amendment be allowed to sunset.

Ironically, Chairman Nunes was the biggest cheerleader for the extension of the FISA Amendments even as he knew how terribly the FISA process had been abused!

Finally, hawks on both sides of the aisle in Congress used “Russia-gate” as an excuse to build animosity toward Russia among average Americans. They knew from the classified information that there was no basis for their claims that the Trump Administration was put into office with Moscow’s assistance, but they played along because it served their real goal of keeping the US on war footing and keeping the gravy train rolling.

But don’t worry: the neocons in both parties will soon find another excuse to keep us terrified and ready to flush away a trillion dollars a year on military spending and continue our arguments and new “Cold War” with Russia.

In the meantime, be skeptical of both parties. With few exceptions they are not protecting liberty but promoting its opposite.


Ron Paul: Ex-Im Subsidizes Military-Industrial Complex

By Peter Fricke

Former Republican Rep. Ron Paul claims that even though the Export-Import Bank benefits hostile regimes, interventionists support it because it subsidizes the military-industrial complex.

The libertarian-minded Paul outlined his objections to the bank in his weekly column for the Ron Paul Institute. He said taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize either state-owned foreign companies or “America’s biggest and most politically powerful corporations.”

Yet the benefits of Ex-Im financing are not limited to American exporters, Paul points out, saying in many cases state-controlled firms owned by regimes that oppose the U.S. also enjoy significant gains. Russia, for instance, has in recent years benefitted from $1.5 billion in Ex-Im loans, and Venezuela, Pakistan and China have profited from the bank’s activities as well. (RELATED: Ex-Im Criticized for Lending to State-Controlled Foreign Companies)

“With Ex-Im Bank’s track record of supporting countries that supposedly represent a threat to the US, one might expect neoconservatives, hawkish liberals, and other supporters of foreign intervention to be leading the effort to kill Ex-Im Bank,” Paul observes. However, in what he describes as “an act of hypocrisy remarkable even by DC standards,” most of those elements are actually supporting the bank.

“This seeming contradiction may be explained,” Paul writes, “by the fact that … many of Ex-Im Bank’s beneficiaries are also part of the industrial half of the military-industrial complex,” and receive backing from the think tanks and media outlets that advocate for an interventionist foreign policy.

Ex-Im is a New Deal-era government agency that provides financing assistance to American exporters. Many conservative lawmakers and interest groups are hoping to prevent Congress from extending Ex-Im’s charter before it expires on June 30, which would prevent the bank from making any new loans, though it would still be able to service its existing commitments.

Supporters say the bank boosts job growth by helping exporters sell goods overseas, but opposition has been steadily mounting among Republicans who see it as a source of corporate welfare for large corporations like Boeing, General Electric and Caterpillar.

Paul comes down squarely on the side of the opposition, saying that contrary to the efforts of Ex-Im supporters to brand the bank as a vital tool for small businesses, its reputation as “Boeing’s bank” is well earned, given that 40 percent of all Ex-Im financing went to Boeing in 2014. That same year, “70 percent of the loans guaranteed by Ex-Im’s largest program went to Caterpillar, which is hardly a small business.” (RELATED: Small Business Becomes Pawn in Ex-Im’s Fate)

Apologists for Ex-Im warn that eliminating the bank would destroy the jobs and economic growth it supports, but according to Paul, that reasoning “is a version of the economic fallacy of that which is not seen.”

“The products exported and the people employed by businesses benefiting from Ex-Im Bank are visible to all,” he explains, “but what is not seen are the products that would have been manufactured, the businesses that would have been started, and the jobs that would have been created had the funds given to Ex-Im been left in the hands of consumers.”

Paul also calls the argument that the loans Ex-Im provides would not be available from the private sector a “flawed justification,” because if the assertion is valid, it means Ex-Im financing “causes an inefficient allocation of scarce resources” that actually undermines the economy.

Fortunately, he may have less to worry about on that front. Analysts who follow some of Ex-Im’s primary beneficiaries say those companies would have no trouble finding private sources of financing if Ex-Im is shut down, though they would have to accept less favorable terms based on actual market risk, Bloomberg reports.

“In the here and now impact, would this be the end of civilization as we know it, would it be raining cats and dogs? No, that’s nonsense,” Richard Aboulafia, vice president of aviation advisory firm Teal Group, told Bloomberg. “It helps out on the margins in terms of profits or market share.” (RELATED: Boeing Threatens to Outsource Jobs if Ex-Im is Shut Down)

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last June, Boeing even acknowledged outright that if Ex-Im were to close, or even just run out of funding authority sufficient to meet the demands of Boeing customers, the company “may fund additional commitments and/or enter into new financing arrangements with customers.”

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