Billions to the Generals, Pennies to the People

There were two amazingly contradictory votes in the U. S. Senate on Thursday.  First, the Senate has passed a $662 billion defense authorization bill for 2012 that includes $527 billion for the Pentagon’s annual base budget. Approved by a 93-7 vote, the legislation also provides $117 billion for war spending.

The same day, the Senate voted 51-49 to reject a proposal to extend the payroll tax cut- a cut that would put an additional $1500 in the pockets of the average working citizen of this nation.

Guns or butter?

The Republican Party, it should be noted, voted nearly unanimously against the tax cut for workers. Only one Republican voted yes.

So, is this continual pattern of voting for guns, not butter, placing our nation at greater risk from internal negative forces than any external, foreign threat to this nation? I think so.

What good is the latest supersonic fighter jet when millions of Americans find that they cannot cope with rising food, fuel and grocery costs? How will the latest high-tech submarine help millions of Americans hold onto their home or to their job?

How will $117 billion for war spending put butter on the table of tens of millions of American dinner tables?

You tell me!  We’ve allowed the Generals everything that they want, all of the goodies to play their war games, while throwing crumbs at The People! That scenario surely portends a much greater disaster,  far more  than some dopey 15th century al Qaeda group operating in the distant mountains of Afghanistan.

The outrage at all of this?

Great silence across the land.  As usual.

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24 thoughts on “Billions to the Generals, Pennies to the People

  1. MR writes: “So, is this continual pattern of voting for guns, not butter, placing our nation at greater risk from internal negative forces than any external, foreign threat to this nation? I think so.”

    And, my first question is who warned us of this? The other day
    a post on Eisenhower was written and it was taken up with the 1952 GOP
    Convention fight between Taft and Eisenhower. One of the major
    interpretations on Eisenhower concerns why he changed his mind and decided
    to fight for the GOP nomination. Shortly after the War, and while he was
    still Allied Commander, Eisenhower took a long trip across Europe by air
    to see the devastation. It was one thing to order it, it was quite another
    to see what his orders did to the cities and landscape of Europe. It
    appears this was one of those experiences that deeply impacted his thinking.
    He became a supporter of the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, of the U.N.,
    and of NATO. It appears that initially Eisenhower really did intend to stay
    out of politics as was written in his rejection of Truman’s plea for him to
    run for President as a Democrat. Eisenhower did not not run for the
    Presidency as a Republican because he opposed the New Deal social
    programs. As President he supported Social Security, the GI Bill,
    and added his voice of Presidents calling for national health insurance.
    Between the time that he rejected Truman’s plea and the allowing of his
    name to be put in nomination, Eisenhower had become very concerned
    about Sen. Taft. Taft was calling for the reduction of the American
    military, oppostion to the UN and other foreign treaties, and the dismantling
    of the New Deal social reforms, just as if the last 20 years had never
    existed. Obviously, Eisenhower is a military man, so any threat to that
    institution was waving the red flag. Just as important to Eisenhower was
    his above mentioned air trip mentioned above. He saw with his own eyes
    the devastation that Europe was in and knew that it had to be rebuilt with
    American tax money. Foreign nation building! Taft and his group were
    neo-isolationists. Eisenhower came to view Taft as a clear and present
    danger to the United States and to the prevention of another destructive
    war. He wanted Taft defeated within the Republican Party to end any
    influence he might have. In a non primary way of choosing
    of delegates to the Conventions the only possible way was a floor fight.
    So, there was a wing of the GOP taking on another wing of the GOP in
    the Convention. Today, I suppose it would be fought out in the various
    primaries as we have seen recently where the traditionalists were campaigned
    against by the social conservatives and small government wings of the GOP.
    Moreover, for Eisenhower to have accepted Truman’s overature to run as
    a Democrat was very iffy. As mentioned, Eisenhower was not in that frame
    of mind yet, but moreover, people wanted change and did not see the
    new world as it was developing after WWII. The Republicans and Taft were
    popular. Much like Britain “threw out” Winston Churchill, the man who had
    saved them from Nazi domination. The democrats were going to lose; the
    Republicans had it won a year ahead of time.

    Eisenhower wins easily and is President until 1961. As he finishes his term
    he writes his “Farewell Address” that we hear quoted so much. Indeed, just
    within the last couple of days one of news shows presented a clip from
    that speech. Eisenhower himself had to struggle with the Congressional-
    Military-Industrial Complex. Indeed, during the 1960 election, the Democrats
    and Kennedy accused Eisenhower of creating a missle gap with the Soviet
    Union. Dems would build more missles! That is why Eisenhower’s original
    wording is so important. Both Democrats and Republicans had fallen
    prey to the military-industrial complex. Eisenhower wanted the country to
    know this, but there was such furor in Congress that he had to take
    “Congressional” out of the final text. By 1956 the Taft wing had been pretty
    well set aside, isolation was no longer the issue, but it was a developing
    aggressive foreign policy under the Goldwater conservatives.

  2. And, secondly, MR, you say, in answering your own question, “I think so.”

    If that is the case, then why continue to support Congresswoman Kaptur who
    seems to be one of many in the hip pocket of the “Congressional”-Military-Complex?

  3. “How will $117 billion for war spending put butter on the table of tens of millions of American dinner tables?

    You tell me! We’ve allowed the Generals everything that they want, all of the goodies to play their war games…”

    It seems to me we have been here with this questions before, MR. When
    we keep the same people giving “the Generals everything that they want” how
    would you expect there to be any change? Kaptur has been there 24 years and trying for 26, lol, and you want change? She certainly it seems has been
    putting butter on the tables of the military-industrial complex owners and
    workers.
    A question is, can capitalism exist without some kind of warfare, real or
    imagined?

  4. I think the two votes actually were two different issues.

    The first one definitely smelled of backroom dealing. Nobody wants the military dollars spent in their state to go away. Especially during an election year.

    The second one was to stop the proposed speed up of the demise of the Social Security Fund. Unlike some public sector unions in Toledo, people falling under Social Security don’t get most of their share paid by the employer. And I noticed that in addition to paying almost all of their retirement dues, The City of Toledo taxes property owners for additional contributions to the police and firefighter’s pension funds. Throw in retiring after 20 years and double-dipping, those retired public servants have get one hell of a monthly income.

  5. Kaptur voted for the National Defense Authorization Bill. Something a little over $600 BILLION. Now, where is all that butter going? BTW, Kucinich
    voted NO.

    1. Do ya think there’s any U.A.W.s’ unions in any of those defense plants? Maybe she traded her vote for hall rental. You know, she always has her campaign celebrations at the U.A.W. hall on Ashland Avenue in Toledo.

      We get that there might be someone better for the job, but if you have any suggestions, we’re all ears.

  6. ” U.A.W. hall on Ashland Avenue in Toledo”

    Know that place and hall well, NON….My father was a UAW member, and
    he ‘dragged” me, lol, to many a union meetings there. He would take me
    there for strike discussions, and who would be working while the plants were
    idle. At the place he worked certain machinery had to be be kept running
    or they would “freeze” up. As a laboratory technician he was always “working”
    during the strike his shift, but he had to donate much of the money he
    earned while working to the strike fund. We would go to the union meetings
    with his check cashed, and the treasurer would figure out the percentage and
    that is what dad had to donate back to the union. I would go there for political
    rallies too. And, every once in a while there would be a “feed” and people
    would come to celebrate a day like St. Patrick’s Day or a German
    Oktoberfest.. Thanks for the memories, NON.

  7. Hello Uptheflag,
    Thanks for passing on the personal aspects and I want to say how much respect I have for the memory of your father with this post. There should be more like him today as this would be a better world for it.

  8. He was a people person, Engineer. Thank you very much for your response.

    Let me tell you another way he influenced me with his actions. We were fortunate enough to have a cleaning woman come in once a week to clean the house. My parents moved a lot; they didn’t stay in one home very long. This one time when they had sold the one house and were getting ready to move
    into the new home, they engaged the cleaning lady to clean the other house.
    As the three of us went out to the car, she was going to get in the backseat.
    Dad said that she was to sit in the front with him and I would sit in the back.
    She protested a little about what people would say, and he responded that
    it was not appropriate for her to sit in the back because of what some one
    might think. This was the early 1950s.

    This makes me think about the GOP and immigration today. They say they
    are conservative, wonder what that means. I can understand being opposed
    to big government, higher taxes, and more and more regulation. However,
    in the case of immigration what is the GOP and fellow travelers wanting to
    conserve? Could it be the white race?

    1. Uh, this is just my experience. A lot of times people’s behavior is blamed on their race when it is really their manners. A woman, single or unmarried, would never share a seat with a man who wasn’t her husband back then. My own experience has shown this to be extremely clear in a situation of the employer and employee. I’m really not criticizing you because I only learned this by my own experiences; I thought it was a race thing, at first.

    1. Yes, he probably did, as did my mother. On the otherhand, my grand
      father who lived with us voted straight Republican. If that wasn’t a hoot!

      However, that was then and that was the past. Different times require
      different strategies. My friend, from what I read and hear, Europe is
      already looking over the cliff; they are there. MD might not agree with
      that, but it seems that is where Europe is. Apparently, this seems to
      be the problem for the Euro…The Euro does not represent an all-European
      currency system, unlike our Financial Reserve System which does.
      This last week when the NYSE went up 500 points it was because our
      Federal Reserve had overnight put billions of our dollars into the European
      Central Banks. And, what is interesting we don’t have that kind of money,
      so we had to go out and borrow it! That increases our national debt for
      Europe, so I guess we can see why some one like Paul is so critical of
      the Reserve System. MR, you seem to like the little know facts of government, well here is one for you. Another one is that European
      banks are larger/bigger than any U.S. Bank. So, if we have a Lehman’s
      collapse as we did in 2008, it is going to be very hard to intercede and
      stop an European failure without the approval of Congress. Now what is
      that snowball’s chance in hell of happening? Apparently, the next 10 days
      are critical. Merkel cannot handle this one.

      Well, there you go, MR, you have me on your side. Writing about this
      approaching “gloom and doom.” I hope MD is getting his money out of
      any French bank!

      1. and my grandparents were solid Democrats as were my mother’s sisters and brothers-in-law.

        Odd how people voted differently in the same family.

        I used to help my mother with her absentee ballot during her later years, and I told her that her vote would be cancelled out by me so why bother sending it in. Of course, she did anyway.

    2. And that was basically the 1950s and 1960s when there were real leaders.
      like Dirksen and Humphrey, LBJ and Javits, Kennedy and Mansfield,
      Church and Percy, McCormich and O’Neil. How can I paraphrase
      Sen. Bentsen’s quip to Quaile, how about Senators you are none of
      the above! There is no loss in replacing them. It’s time for “power to
      the people!”

  9. Hello Uptheflag,
    I paraphrase your statement, “Could it be to conserve the white race?” I can only speak for my area here at the Mid-Atlantic Delmarva Peninsula. The Ultra Conservative Republicans here are sons and daughters of Klansmen and they still have that same mindset only buried quietly within but it does occasionally comes out.

    Your father seemed to be a lot like my father. He grew up as a Union Coal miner’s son during the depression and belonged to the Teacher’s Union here in Maryland. Those children whom he taught and were poor, he would quietly lend a hand as he remembered well children of Non-Union Coal Miners being poor when he was growing up…..and was registered a Republican his whole life.

    In your next posting you stated, “It’s time for “power to the people!” I agree with you as we need to take a look at who is representing the lobbyist money flow and who is representing the middle class people. I would suspect that the later are damn few.

  10. How enlightening these comments have been, Engineer and MR. Just would like to move your statement around a little, Engineer so that it is joined together by saying, “….who is representing the middle class people. I would suspect that the later are damn few.” Thank you, Engineer, for putting in a concise
    way what I have been commenting about for a good couple of months now.
    I hope that MR can take your comment to heart and be willing to change
    supporting a government body that elects the same people over and over
    again to the detriment of the whole. Democrats, as well as Republicans,
    have put this country to where we have doubt whether the American Dream
    is still viable. Can my children tell their children to work hard in this
    country and you will move up the socio-economic ladder? In my opinion the deck is now stacked against that happening for most of the middleclass and
    those below. We can’t live in the past, we are the present and out future is
    in school now. For me to shut my eyes and vote a straight Democratic ticket
    is to deny that future.

    Case in point. In November Mississippi had an election for State offices.
    The Democratic candidate for Governor was an Afro-American Mayor. The
    first Afro-American to be nominated by a Party since Reconstruction.
    However, that candidate supported the Personhood Amendment and voter ID.
    Tell me, MR, how you could expect to vote for him?

  11. It is pathetic how the GOP constantly is in favor for tax breaks for the rich, but working people can just go to hell in their eyes. I think the Republicans will deservedly be getting a real ass kicking in next year’s elections, and I can’t wait!

  12. Uptheflag,
    I just read that the Russian voters dealt Vladimir Putin’s ruling party (the same old same old ruling class) a heavy blow today Sunday, 12-04-2011, by cutting its parliamentary majority in an election that showed growing unease with his domination of the country as he prepares to rerun and reclaim the presidency.

    Of course the first thought was if it can be done in Russia, and I am speaking from the many years I grew up knowing that Russia was ruled by the single party system for so many years, maybe it could be done here. From the 1950’s and up to date. I see this as a true revolution.

    I have said many times that revolutions are not caused by revolutionaries, it is the demographic, economic, social, and political forces that create a revolutionary environment that anoint and propel someone to the status of revolutionary, or some may call radical depending on their prospective.

    Maybe there is hope that the citizens of the U.S. will rise up and make the same changes as seen not only in Russia but many places around the world. Maybe it will come from the 99% movement in action now. Maybe we will see the Republican Party die the much needed death like the Whig Party in 1856. I would also like to see the Democratic Party have a revitalization of life and reassess its values. Maybe the more sane members of the Republican, (and there are not that many left,) can pick up the pieces and return to what we once stood for too. As for the balance of the ultra-radical conservatives, along with Rush Limbaugh and the likes, will go off and form their Nazi / Klan like values as a separate political party. Maybe the Wing Nut YAHOOs Party!

    1. I sure hope so. I had breakfast this morning with a person who only gets their news from FOX. I tried to explain and give examples of why that is a bad idea. They not only refused to listen to anything, they got mad at me for even suggesting that FOX NEWS was anything less than All American and fighting against all those commies. Geez!

      You would never believe the people I know who used to be active in the Republican Party, but now have either changed parties or stopped being involved in politics. That annoys the heck out of me: people jumping ship without a fight.

  13. I’ve got a question.

    How come people who claim to know so much about the Bible and/or the U.S. Constitution have to carry a copy of it in their pocket?

  14. Hello NON,
    “People jumping ship without a fight.” I have been asked many times why I keep my Republican affiliation. My reply is that I was a Republican before Rush Limbaugh and I’ll be damn if he will run me off. I keep my Republican loyalty and project my voice as I think things should be….Because It Pisses Off All The Right People!

    1. LOL – I still consider myself a Republican too. And that does piss off a lot of people. Sometimes I wonder though if the “current” Republican Party is just living up to the descriptions applied to it by the Democrats. You gotta admit the Republicans we see in the news are a little off. You know they’re off when diehard Republicans actually support some Democrat candidates.

      I’m still holding out that the Party I knew will come back home.

  15. Engineer, your comment on what facilitates a revolution is right on with me.
    The environment has to be prepared for a revolution to be successful.

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