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Friday, April 12, 2013

For years, senior Obama officials, including the president himself, have been making public claims about their drone program that have just been proven to be categorically false. The evidence of this falsity is so conclusive that even establishment sources are using unusually harsh language - including "lies" - to describe Obama's statements.


Three key lessons from the Obama administration's drone lies

The axiom that political officials abuse their power and lie to the public when operating in the dark is proven yet again


guardian.co.uk, Thursday 11 April 2013 09.46 EDT

For years, senior Obama officials, including the president himself, have been making public claims about their drone program that have just been proven to be categorically false. The evidence of this falsity is so conclusive that even establishment sources are using unusually harsh language - including "lies" - to describe Obama's statements. McClatchy's national security reporter, Jonathan Landay, obtained top-secret intelligence documents showing that "contrary to assurances it has deployed US drones only against known senior leaders of al-Qaida and allied groups, the Obama administration has targeted and killed hundreds of suspected lower-level Afghan, Pakistani and unidentified 'other' militants in scores of strikes in Pakistan's rugged tribal area." That article quotes drone expert Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations as saying that "McClatchy's findings indicate that the administration is 'misleading the public about the scope of who can legitimately be targeted.'"
In his own must-read article at Foreign Policy about these disclosures, Zenko writes - under the headline: "Finally, proof that the United States has lied in the drone wars" - that "it turns out that the Obama administration has not been honest about who the CIA has been targeting with drones in Pakistan" and that the McClatchy article "plainly demonstrates that the claim repeatedly made by President Obama and his senior aides - that targeted killings are limited only to officials, members, and affiliates of al-Qaida who pose an imminent threat of attack on the US homeland - is false." Beyond the obvious harms of having the president and his administration continuously lie to the public about such a crucial matter, Zenko explains that these now-disproven claims may very well make the drone strikes illegal since assertions about who is being targeted were "essential to the legal foundations on which the strikes are ultimately based: the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force and the UN Charter's right to self-defense." Marcy Wheeler uses the documents to show how claims about drones from other key officials, including Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, are also unquestionably false.
Both Landay's article and Zenko's analysis should be read for the details, but I want to highlight the three key points from this:
(1) The Obama administration often has no idea who they are killing.

This has long been the most amazing aspect of the drone debate to me. Not even the CIA, let alone ordinary citizens, has any idea of the identity of many of the people they are targeting for death. Despite this central ignorance, huge numbers of people walk around in some sort of zombie-like state repeatedly spouting the mantra that "Drones are Good because We are Killing the Terrorists" - even though the CIA itself, let alone citizens defending its killings, have no clue who is even being targeted. It has long been known that Obama (like Bush before him) approved the use of so-called "signature strikes", where the identity of the target is not known but they are targeted for death anyway "based on a 'pattern of life' analysis – intelligence on their behavior suggesting that an individual is a militant" (the New York Times reported that "the joke [at the State Department] was that when the CIA sees 'three guys doing jumping jacks', the agency thinks it is a terrorist training camp" and that "men loading a truck with fertilizer could be bombmakers - but they might also be farmers").
But these McClatchy documents make clear just how extreme this ignorance often is, even after the fact:
The documents also show that drone operators weren't always certain who they were killing despite the administration's guarantees of the accuracy of the CIA's targeting intelligence and its assertions that civilian casualties have been 'exceedingly rare.'"

Zenko adds: "even the US intelligence community does not necessarily know who it has killed; it is forced to use fuzzy categories like 'other militants' and 'foreign fighters'." Targeting people without knowing their identity is as dubious morally as it is legally, which is why, Zenko explains, "No US government official has ever openly acknowledged the practice of such 'signature strikes' because it is so clearly at odds with the bedrock principle of distinction required for using force within the laws of armed conflict." How can any minimally rational person continue to walk around defending Obama's drone kills on the ground that they are killing The Terrorists or that civilian deaths are rare when even the government, let alone these defenders, often have no clue who is being targeted and then killed?
(2) Whisteblowers are vital for transparency and accountability, which is precisely why the Obama administration is waging a war on them.
Here is yet another example where we obtained proof of the falsity of the government's claims, and possibly illegal actions, for only one reason: a whistleblower leaked top secret documents to a journalist, who then published them. When you combine an impotent Congress, a supine media, and a subservient federal judiciary - the institutions ostensibly designed to check excessive executive branch secrecy - government leakers have really have become the only reliable means for learning about the lies and bad acts of political officials. And that's precisely why the Obama administration is waging an unprecedented war against them. Yesterday on Democracy Now, New York Times national security reporter Mark Mazzetti explained to Amy Goodman how this whistleblower war - by design - is impeding basic investigative journalism:

"AMY GOODMAN: And you, as a reporter, Mark - we see the greatest crackdown on whistleblowers that we have ever seen under any president: President Obama's administration is going after more whistleblowers than all presidential administrations combined in the past. And the role of journalists, how do you feel, as you try to cover these issues? Do you feel the crackdown?
"MARK MAZZETTI: It's harder. There's no question. It's harder and harder. People are - this crackdown has perhaps had its intended effect, which was maybe not to go prosecute the cases that have been brought, but also to scare others into not talking. And so, I find that in the last couple years covering national security issues, you just find people who were perhaps once more eager to talk or willing to talk, for reasons that- not just because they were whistleblowers, but because they thought it was important for reporters to have context and information about some of these operations -those people are increasingly less likely to talk.
"AMY GOODMAN: And you, yourself, being prosecuted or put under a kind of spotlight from the administration?
"MARK MAZZETTI: I mean, it's certainly worrisome for us and is worrisome that, you know, they go after - they go after sources, and it brings the reporters into it, as well. I think we're at a critical time here to - you know, hopefully this ends. But, you know, once there is a momentum in some of these cases, the Justice Department works in its own ways, and so people, once they make cases, they tend to try to make other cases. And so, that's what some -that's what's concerning for us."
There is no doubt that this is not only the primary effect, but also the primary purpose, of Obama's vindictive though highly selective attacks on leakers: to create a climate of fear to deter whistleblowers and journalists who think about exposing the bad acts and lies of the government (leaking to glorify the President remains permissible and encouraged). As Mazzetti suggests, the traditional sources for national security investigative reporters have dried up and the journalists themselves are frightened about reporting on these matters. All of this from a President who vowed to have the Most Transparent Administration Ever and from a political movement that once professed such horror at the secrecy abuses of Nixon and Bush.
(3) Secrecy ensures both government lies and abuses of power.
That the Obama administrations' claims about its drone program have proven to be false should be viewed as anything but surprising. Aside from the potent impulse for governments to lie to their citizenry about what they do, secrecy in particular renders inevitable - not possible, not probable, but inevitable - both abuses of power and systematic lying. And secrecy has been the hallmark of the Obama administration generally and its drone killings in particular. A recent Washington Post article - headlined: "Drone use remains cloaked despite Obama's pledge for more transparency" - discussed Obama's repeatedly unfulfilled promises for more openness and explained:
"But there is no indication that moves have been made in that direction, and the White House has not taken a public position on any legislative initiatives [for greater transparency]. The administration has continued to contest legal challenges to the program's secrecy. It has argued that national security concerns and the sensitivity of foreign partners who allow strikes on their territory preclude public explanations of how targets are selected and follow-up reports on who is killed."
So extreme is this secrecy and the abuses that it is spawning that even former Obama officials, such as former Clinton State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter, are vehemently objecting. Slaughter told the Post:

"The idea that this president would leave office having dramatically expanded the use of drones - including [against] American citizens - without any public standards and no checks and balances . . . that there are no checks, and there is no international agreement; I would find that to be both terrible and ultimately will undermine a great deal of what this president will have done for good . . . .I cannot believe this is what he wants to be his legacy."
Just to get a sense for how inevitable government lies are when political officials can operate in secret, consider the McClatchy revelation that "the [secret CIA] reports estimated there was a single civilian casualty, an individual killed in an April 22, 2011, strike in North Waziristan". Aside from the fact that, as Zenko noted, this proves Brennan's public claim of no civilian casualties during this period to be a lie, and independently is a claim that can be made only by virtue of Obama's warped re-definition of "militant" to mean any military-age male in a strike zone, the demonstrated truth is that this exact drone strike killed "five women and four children". So here you have Brennan lying to the public about civilian deaths, and the CIA lying in its own documents - all enabled by the radical wall of secrecy behind which this all functions.
That secrecy is the linchpin of abuses of government power is as central a political principle as exists. This week, WikiLeaks released a serachable catalog of millions of once-secret but now-declassified documents and highlighted an incredibly revealing transcript of a 1975 meeting between then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Turkish officials. The US Congress had just enacted an arms embargo on Turkey in response to its aggressive actions in Cyprus, and Kissinger, at this meeting, made clear that the Ford administration opposed the embargo and was committed to finding a way to get arms and other aid to Turkey. When a Turkish official suggested that Kissinger enter into a secret agreement for European countries to provide the arms, this is what was said:

People who exercise power inevitably abuse it when they can wield it in secret. They inevitably lie about what they do when they can act in the dark. This is just basic human nature, and applies even to the most kind-hearted leaders, even ones who are charming and wonderful family men. This is what makes pervasive secrecy and a lack of oversight and accountability so dangerous. It's what makes it particularly dangerous when the powers in question are ones highly susceptible to abuse, such as the power to target people for execution.
For that reason, it's entirely unsurprising that the Obama administration got caught making plainly false statements about its killing program. But for the same reason, it's very significant that it has been caught. In light of this evidence, any journalists that continue to rely on US government statements about its killing program are revealing themselves to be eager propagandists, willing to be lied to and help amplify those lies (the same was true of journalists who continued to rely on government statements about "militants" being killed even after they knew how Obama officials had broadened that term to the point of meaninglessness). How many times do we have to learn these same lessons before recognizing their universality?

52 comments:

  1. People who exercise power inevitably abuse it when they can wield it in secret. They inevitably lie about what they do when they can act in the dark.

    This is just basic human nature, and applies even to the most kind-hearted leaders, even ones who are charming and wonderful family men. This is what makes pervasive secrecy and a lack of oversight and accountability so dangerous. It’s what makes it particularly dangerous when the powers in question are ones highly susceptible to abuse, such as the power to target people for execution.

    For that reason, it's entirely unsurprising that the Obama administration got caught making plainly false statements about its killing program. But for the same reason, it's very significant that it has been caught.

    In light of this evidence, any journalists that continue to rely on US government statements about its killing program are revealing themselves to be eager propagandists, willing to be lied to and help amplify those lies (the same was true of journalists who continued to rely on government statements about "militants" being killed even after they knew how Obama officials had broadened that term to the point of meaninglessness).

    How many times do we have to learn these same lessons before recognizing their universality?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Congress empowered the President to determine who the enemy is.

      ... against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized,
      committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11,
      2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any
      future acts
      of international terrorism against the United States by such
      nations, organizations or persons
      . ...

      He has delegated that authority, as he must.
      As it was known he would.

      But it is reported that he still personally manages who is put on "The List", as he should.

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    2. .

      But it is reported that...

      But that is one of the major points.

      At what time? At what place? The story is constantly changing. None of the transparancy we were promised. At other times, we are told the decisions are made by a 'high-level, informed official'. Can we assume this is Brenner? What does 'high-level' mean? What does 'informed' mean especially in light of the practice of 'signature strikes'.

      My questions remain the same. What is our strategy? What is our overall goals? Do the drones strikes as currently configured help or hurt us in achieving those goals. Not only is the drone program not clearly explained to the American people, even our goals and the overall strategy to achieve them is not clearly explained to the American people.

      .

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    3. No argument from me on the marketing used to sell the "War on Terror 2.0"
      The lack of substance that the public is provided by the government amazes those that used to believe that "of, for and by the people" Federal propaganda.

      The lack of an explanation of policy that satisfies you does not make the President's actions illegal nor unconstitutional. The lack of transparency, while violating campaign promises does not violate the law. Prosecuting or threatening prosecution of those that violate secrecy laws is not illegal nor unconstitutional.

      As I have said, before, the House abides the actions of the President. As long as they do his actions are legal and constitutional. The House of Representatives is the major check upon the power of the President.

      Delete
  2. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence

    (NEWSER) – A member of the team that took down Osama bin Laden will testify in the trial of Bradley Manning wearing a “light disguise,” the judge has ruled. The SEAL will testify under the name "John Doe" in a closed session at a secret alternative location on June 3, the Guardian reports. What's more, Manning's defense team will be required to adhere to strict guidelines in its cross examination, sticking to a per-arranged list of questions related to the Manning case.

    The prosecution thinks the testimony will help prove that Manning "aided the enemy," the most serious charge against him. But the SEAL isn't the only sensitive witness on the docket. Three other witnesses will testify in closed sessions at secret locations, and the prosecution wants another 24 to testify in secret sessions, including a variety of high-ranking military and government officials. The judge hasn't decided whether to allow that; she pointed out that more transparent trials "inspire public confidence."

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  3. Total bull shit. There will be no objection to this farce by the US media.

    2nd Amendment, 6th Amendment, 4th Amendment: They are all the same to the sheeple and their masters in DC. If you are innocent, you don’t need a Bill of Rights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      Fifth Amendment. Due process.

      The Patriot Act. The NDAA. Current practice under the AUMF.

      Lawsuits against all have been brought in the courts. Will any of them be allowed to reach SCOTUS? Unlikely. Does anyone care? Apparantly not.

      .

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  4. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of providing an enormous stash of classified government documents to WikiLeaks for publication, deserves a Nobel Peace Prize more than President Barack Obama, according to former Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

    "While President Obama was starting and expanding unconstitutional wars overseas, Bradley Manning, whose actions have caused exactly zero deaths, was shining light on the truth behind these wars," the former Republican presidential contender told U.S. News. “It’s clear which individual has done more to promote peace.”


    Fucking A

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which former Republican made the comment?

      Why has the House continued to finance the "Unconstitutional War?

      Why has the House not moved to repeal the 14SEP01 Authorization?
      It has moved to repeal ObamaCare 33 times, as of 26SEP12.

      Priorities are clear.

      Delete
    2. .

      House?

      What about the Senate?

      THIMK.

      .

      Delete
    3. Funding originates in the House.

      If the House does not originate funding legislation, there is no funding.
      The House could kill the Drone War, without the Senate.

      If the Republicans played political hardball.
      But they will not. The GOP plays to posture, not to win.
      Wonder why?

      Delete
    4. The House voted at least 33 times to repeal ObamaCare when there was NO CHANCE the legislation would pass the Senate, let alone be signed by the President. It did not diminish the Republicans zeal to create a position and voting record, at least 33 times.

      It has not voted once to repeal the 14SEP01 Authorization.

      Republican priorities are clear.

      Delete
    5. The Senate, Q, is a deliberative body, or so the Senators claim.
      There are no Senators that have spoken out against the Drone War, but for Senator Paul.
      He has not, to my knowledge, introduced legislation to repeal the 14SEP01 Authorization.

      Despite the librarian rhetoric he spouts, it is not followed on by legislative proposals.

      Delete
    6. The Democratic wing of the Federal Socialist government will not buck President Obama.
      They would not vote to convict Mr Clinton, either.

      Delete
    7. The current crop of House Republicans will not buck President Obama, either.

      Delete
    8. .

      You start out your argument by blaming the Republicans led House for failing to cut funding to the drone war when in fact the appropriations process is a bipartisan affair. Nothing is passed or denied unless approved by both Houses. You state funding legislation originates in the House as if funding appropriations 'must' start in the House. That is not true. The only restriction the Constitution calls for is that "all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives". Other than for raising taxes, the Constitution is silent except in stating that 'Congress' has the power to raise money and pay the debts of the U.S.

      While it is true that appropriations bills 'traditionally' start in the House and are amended by the Senate, this is not set in stone. "For the FY1998 through FY2005 regular appropriations bills,15 the Senate appropriations subcommittees and committee did not generally wait for the House bill; instead, they reported original Senate bills." Likewise, the Senate can attempt to change appropriations by adding amendments to unrelated bills initiated by the House.

      My only point is that to try to blame one branch of government or one party for not controlling the drone program is ridiculous. The mess we have in OZ is bipartisan. You diminish your arguments by your constant partisan positions. You sound like the partisan flunkies and pundits of the right and left, the McConnells and the Reids, the Ryans and the Schumers, the Hannity's and the Matthews, the Kristols and the Dionnes.

      While you subsequently point out that none of the munchins in OZ are willing to reverse their previous mistakes on AUMF, your intial post in the stream was clearly aimed at the Republicans. That was the reason for my response.

      .

      Delete
    9. Well, Q, the Republicans are suppose to be the "Loyal Opposition". If there was a Constitutional "problem" with the way the President was enforcing the 14SEP01 Authorization, it would be a logical assumption that the Republicans would carry the torch.

      The Republicans control the House, which, as we all know, the legislation to defund the Iraq adventure originated and was debated and voted upon, back when the "War on Terror" was a politically divisive issue.

      The War on Terror continues with small footprint tactics and the domestic marketing revamped. I'm not sure the Federals even have a name for it, any more.
      "Drone War" is not the administration's choice, I'm sure.

      Delete
    10. The House is also where the Impeachment of the President begins.
      If the Drone War is illegal and unconstitutional, where are the impeachment hearings?

      Where is there even talk, amongst the Representatives, of holding hearings?

      I do not believe there is any, at all.

      If the Loyal Opposition is not in opposition to the President's policies, why should anyone else?

      What policies should the US be pursuing if not the one's we are, in regards the 14SEP01 Authorization?

      Delete
    11. .

      If the Loyal Opposition is not in opposition to the President's policies, why should anyone else?

      Again, rat, a simplistic statement. Anyone, regardles of party affiliation, who looks at the current administration policies and the justification it provides for them and sees major legal, moral, constitutional, or practical issues with them should be speaking up and objecting to them. And if their job is to write or change laws, they should be making the effort to do so.

      Your argument, if I read it right, is that since the munchkins in OZ are all standing around with their thumbs up their ass as they abdicate their responsibility everything must be jim dandy.

      Absurd.

      Although in this land of the sheeple, you seem to have a lot of company. Enjoy.

      .

      Delete
    12. .

      What policies should the US be pursuing if not the one's we are, in regards the 14SEP01 Authorization?

      With regard to the AUMF, repeal it. It reminds me of the Cash/Carter lyrics "We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout..."

      It was rushed, ill-conceived, way too general and open-ended. Whenever a vacuum is created, it will somehow be filled. We have seen the results. It was intended to to allow for the punishment of those who attacked us on 9/11. The attackers were captured (or killed), OBL is dead, and the Taliban were defeated, at least initially. Now, we merely wait for the inevitible 'declare victory and go home'. The AUMF is no longer needed. Now it exists merely as a thin excuse for many questionable policies.

      You keep asking what policies should the US be pursuing. I ask you first tell me what are our goals. I can't answer your question until you tell me what you are trying to achieve.

      .

      Delete
  5. Once a worthless SOB,
    Always a worthless SOB.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Magic Johnson relieved by Sandy Koufax

    Sandy's only 77, in better shape than Doug @ 69.

    Vin Scully announcing, a youthful 86 year old lad.

    ReplyDelete


  7. Bradley Manning read out a personal statement to the court in Fort Meade, Maryland, at a pre-trial hearing over his prosecution for leaking the largest trove of state secrets in US history. It provides the first account in his own words and under his own name of how he came to download hundreds of thousands of classified documents and videos from secure military databases and transmit them to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

    The US government has refused to publish contemporaneous transcripts and documents from the Manning court martial, prompting legal complaints from open government groups. In the absence of a full official copy of Manning's statement, journalists covering the case have had to rely on their own note-taking from the courtroom.


    ReplyDelete
  8. "AMY GOODMAN: And you, as a reporter, Mark - we see the greatest crackdown on whistleblowers that we have ever seen under any president: President Obama's administration is going after more whistleblowers than all presidential administrations combined in the past.

    And the role of journalists, how do you feel, as you try to cover these issues? Do you feel the crackdown?"

    Our Hero of Hope and Change.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Idaho becomes second state to restrict drone use by police agencies......drudge

    ReplyDelete
  10. If you needed another reason to believe that John Kerry is a jerk and talks too much, check this out:

    Kerry, on his first visit to Seoul, warned North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un, not to proceed with an anticipated launch of a medium-range ballistic missile.

    “It is a huge mistake for him to choose to do that because it will further isolate his country and further isolate his people who frankly are desperate for food, not missile launches,” Kerry warned.

    What he should have said:

    “It is a huge mistake for him to choose to do that.” Kerry warned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      It gets worse,

      John Kerry said the US, South Korea and the international community were “all united in the fact that North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power”.

      If they are not a nuclear power why even talk about them?

      Looney tunes.

      .

      Delete
    2. We are simply not going to accept them as a nuclear power, and that is that.

      We don't have to do anything more than that.

      Why didn't someone think of this earlier?

      We can do the same with Iran.

      Delete
    3. Well, it hs been a number of years since the NorKs detonated a device, which at the time was billed as a small nuclear weapon, especially by those at the olde Belmont.

      Assuming that the NorKs did detonate a nuclear device, having successfully utilized the Pakistani assets they bought, to not accept that reality is simply delusional.

      If the NorKs do not have a device, as Qsays, why dignify their behavior with any public comments, at all.

      If the NorKs do not have a nuclear device, there is little chance their clients in Iran are ahead of the NorKs on the learning curve.

      Delete
  11. Nat Gas up 120% from the "Rufus Low."

    ReplyDelete
  12. Federal spending was right at $3.6 Trillion in 2011. It fell to $3.54 Trillion in 2012, and it looks like it will be somewhere around $3.45 Trillion this year.

    Treas Report

    So much for the old "ballooning Federal spending" story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .


      Yes, those monthly reports are very comforting.


      .

      Delete
    2. Facts is facts. Spending is what it is.

      Sometimes it's good to step back from the partisanship, and hyperbole.

      Delete
    3. As for the snide reference to "monthly," the reason I usually reference the Sept numbers is that they give the numbers for the entire Fiscal Year.

      Delete
    4. Btw, many people are not "comforted" in the least by declining spending during recessionary times.

      Delete
    5. .

      Well then, they should be comforted. The trend in spending is projected to rise again after this year.

      U.S. Government Spending

      OBM Chart 1.1

      Tax Policy Center


      For those who take comfort in the fact that our deficits are projected to decline relative to GPD over this budget period, it should be noted that debt is also 'what it is'. By 2020, the annual cost of interest on the debt is projected to exceed our entire projected defense budget.

      .




      Delete
    6. Some things "are what they are." Debt, however, is not one of them. It ALWAYS has to be taken in context. For instance, what would be an extreme overload to my would be unnoticeable to the Buffets, and Gates of the world.

      As for the "interest" in 2020: That needs to be taken with a gargantuan grain of salt. Those guys mostly miss by wide amounts just looking Year to Year; to think they might be accurate 7 yrs out is a huge expression of faith.

      Delete
    7. Fer instance, your first link has a chart compiled in 2013, that shows Federal Spending rising over the 2012 total, whereas we now see that that not only Won't be the case, but that, instead, spending is going to drop significantly.

      If they get the "sign" wrong for the CURRENT fiscal year, what hope do they have of being correct 7 or 8 years, out.

      Delete
    8. An even bigger "fer instance:"

      In your 3rd link, the Tax Policy Center, a very good outfit, in 2012 estimated that 2012 Spending would be $3.795.

      It came in at $3.538 Trillion.

      They just missed it by $257 Billion.

      In the same calendar year.

      Delete
    9. .

      The links I posted were to show, as I stated, the projected trends in spending going forward and those trends are up. To assume that federal spending will continue to decline over an extended period of time is, IMO, well...I wouldn't count on it.

      The same applies to interest payments I mentioned. When deficits continue into the forseeable future even if their annual amounts are declining, interest on the debt of necessity has to grow.

      Now,you can argue about how much it grows but the trend is there. And because of our continuing barrowing and the compounding effect (paying interest on the money we barrow to pay our interest as well as other expenses) the interest grows at an escalating rate.

      Whether we use the president's budget, OBM, CBO, or independent organizations, they all agree the trend is there.

      From an earlier article from Politico, In 2013, CBO estimates that discretionary outlays will total $1.2 trillion vs. $224 billion for interest: a better than 5-1 ratio. By 2023, discretionary outlays will be $1.42 trillion, according to CBO, while interest payments will have risen to $857 billion." Less than 2 to 1.

      A half $ trillion, is a big error to make. And even if it is way off, the trend (as noted above in the discussion of the compounding effect) remains.

      Rest easy, grasshopper, the spending will be back.

      .

      Delete
    10. I got your "grasshoper," Bubba. Ri'chere.

      I'd bet you a dollar to an amero that interest payments in 2023 will Not be $857 Billion.

      Delete
    11. .

      It would be worth paying it just to assure I was around in ten years.

      .

      Delete
  13. Deuce will appreciate the picture of the fancy Generals here -

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/04/kim_jong_uns_shoes.html

    :)

    Putting our Generals to shame.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Socialist/Commie-loving President considers selling Socialist (TVA) enterprise,

    Capitalis/Freedom-loving Republicans wet their diapers.

    Sale contemplated

    ReplyDelete
  15. Australopithecus quirkicus discovered, the 'missing link' puzzle finally solved -

    http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-australopithecus-20130412,0,1589078.story


    Flat feet, small brain.

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  16. BTW, some spending definitely should be looked at in reference to GDP/Population Growth. I can see no reason why Defense should be one of them.

    There's no reason why it should be more expensive to defend a country of 350 Million than a country of 300 Million.

    looked at in this light, Defense spending should decline in proportion to GDP, not stay the same, or expand.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Deuce will appreciate the picture of the fancy Generals here -

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/04/kim_jong_uns_shoes.html

    :)

    Putting our Generals to shame.


    That is not medallions, that is Korean body armour.

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  18. A question about the Fed balance sheet. Why does it have to be reduced? Since the assets are already paid for, albeit with newly printed cash, why not just hold them, turn the interest payments back over to the treasury and redeem them on maturity?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Could you please ask a question that doesn't make my head hurt?

      :)

      Delete
  19. .

    I have to agree with Rufus.

    While it's easy to see what current FED policy is doing (or not doing) for both the haves and the have-nots, trying to understand the ultimate result of what they are doing is beyond me.

    I went to Google and got the following. It's in English, so you can kind of follow what the author is saying; however, wait until you get to the give and take in the comments section if you really want your head to ache.

    http://newmonetarism.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-balance-sheet-and-feds-future.html

    .

    ReplyDelete
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