Zbigniew Mazurak's Blog

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Archive for April, 2012

Rebuttal of Joe Biden’s lies about foreign policy

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on April 30, 2012


Vice President Joe Biden recently delivered a foreign policy speech in NY. The Obama team is very worried (and rightly so) that Republicans will use their disastrous foreign policy record against them, so they’re desperately defending it with lies while also making up lies about Mitt Romney.

I’ll just use a few issues to illustrate the point: Russia, North Korea, Iran, and the Communists in Latin America.

Biden alleges that the Obama Admin’s reset (read: appeasement) policy towards Russia has been a success, whereas Romney’s tough policy would lead to war and would be a return to Cold War days. But that is a blatant lie.

Firstly, Romney is NOT advocating a return to the Cold War years. He’s merely assessing Russia on the basis of its actual ACTIONS, not Medvedev’s pretty words. And Russia’s actions have been extremely hostile to the US: supplying Syria, Iran, and Venezuela with arms; publicly feting Assad, Ahmadinejad, Khamenei, Chavez, Ortega, the Castro brothers, and Kim Jong Il; building a nuclear reactor in Iran and supplying Iran with tons of nuclear fuel that the IRI is using to build nuclear weapons; shielding Iran, NK, and Syria from sanctions at the UNSC; threatening America’s allies such as Poland with a preemptive nuclear strike; threatening to aim BMs at all European countries if the US provides a BMD shield to Europe; and even bombing the US Embassy in Tbilisi in 2009, a direct terrorist attack against the US for which the Kremlin STILL hasn’t been accountable. (During the Cold War, the Soviet Union never dared to do this.) Russia IS America’s #1 geopolitical foe, as evidenced by its ACTIONS, not its nice words.

Secondly, Romney knows that most of Russia’s top leaders, including Putin and Lavrov, are KGB thugs.

Thirdly, Romney is not proposing to start a war with Russia or even cut off all contacts with it. He merely proposes to act tough with Russia (short of war): hold it accountable for its disastrous human rights record and arms sales to America’s enemies, pressure it morally and economically, pursue missile defense in Europe without regard for Russia’s threats, and withdraw from any treaties unfavorable for the US, including the disastrous New START treaty.

Fourthly, a tough policy of the kind that Romney is advocating is exactly what won, and ended, the Cold War (on America’s terms), thanks to Ronald Reagan, NOT Joe Biden. And as Senator, Biden opposed it (as did Obama). He was dead wrong about Moscow then, and he’s dead wrong about Moscow now. If it had been up to Biden, the USSR would’ve still existed.

As Ronald Reagan showed, if you build up your military and pressure your enemies, you don’t have to go to war, because no one dares to challenge you.

Biden lied in that speech that:

Gov. Romney is mired in a Cold War mindset,” Mr. Biden said. “Gov. Romney was part of a very small group of Cold War holdovers who never met an arms-control treaty that he likes. He was way out of the mainstream in this issue.”

These claims are blatant lies. Romney is not mired in a Cold War mindset, he merely sees Russia for what it really is: an aggressive, anti-American, dictatorial, KGB-run state. The disastrous New START, which Biden was apparently referring to, was opposed by far more people than “a very small group of Cold War holdovers”. It was opposed by 29 Senators (and would’ve been opposed by far more if they hadn’t been bribed by the Obama Administration with mirage promises of nuclear modernization), many experienced arms-control negotiators (including Fred Ikle and John Bolton), and many other Republicans. It is a disastrous treaty that should’ve never been ratified. It was shamefully railroaded by Obama and Harry Reid in the lame duck session of the 111th Congress, the most infamous Congress in history. It was Obama and Biden who were and are out of the mainstream on this treaty.

I will not repeat all of this disastrous treaty’s flaws here. To summarize:

  • It requires America to deeply cut its arsenal of nuclear warheads and their strategic delivery systems, by 170, while not requiring Russia to eliminate a single warhead or delivery system, because Russia was well under the treaty ceiling when it was ratified. In fact, it allows Russia to add such weapons.
  • It does nothing about Russia’s huge arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons, in which it has a huge lead over America.
  • It imposes sweeping restrictions on missile defense. Its preamble says that as Russia’s (and America’s) offensive strategic arsenals are drawn down, America’s missile defense systems must also be cut. The treaty bans the conversion of ICBM siloes and launchers to interceptor missile siloes and launchers, and creates a Bilateral Consultative Commission with powers to impose even more sweeping restrictions.

Russia succeeded in forcing Obama to agree to sweeping missile defense restrictions in return for a useless arms reduction treaty, something that the Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II Administrations never did, even though Moscow strongly pressured them, as revealed by SORT negotiator Douglas Feith.

Indeed, as everyone knows, Gorbachev broke two summits with Reagan when the Gipper refused to give in on SDI. Yet, Reagan held firm. Not so with Obama, who thinks that huge unilateral concessions are the way to placate Moscow. The Kremlin has simply pocketed them and given nothing in return. That is the essence of Obama’s failed “reset” policy, of which Biden was the original author.

It isn’t true that Romney “never met an arms control treaty he liked” – Romney did not, AFAIK, oppose START-1, START-2, the SORT, the NPT, or the INF Treaty – but the Obama team and the leftists who run the State Department have never met an arms control treaty they didn’t like, even if it was deeply unfavorable for the US, like the New START. And that’s the one treaty Romney is on record opposing.

Come to think of it, all the arms control treaties of the world have abysmally failed to stem, let alone prevent, the proliferation of WMDs and ballistic missiles, or of any weapons whatsoever. More than 4 decades of such treaties have utterly failed to stop the proliferation of WMDs (China, North Korea, Pakistan, India, and Israel all possess nuclear weapons and Iran is on its way) or ballistic missiles (30 countries have them). It’s time to say this blunt truth (which the Obama Admin and the arms control community won’t like): that arms control treaties are not even worth the paper they are printed on. They are completely worthless. They only limit free countries’ armaments and militaries while completely failing to restrain rogue states.

Besides Russia and arms control, Obama has also failed on many other fronts. He has completely failed to stop Iran from accelerating its nuclear program (aided by Russia). His sanctions are so weak and contain so many loopholes that they’re laughable. Iran’s words and actions are growing ever more belligerent, the number of spinning centrifuges is growing, and so is Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium. There is only one way to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and that is to bomb Iran, which Obama, despite his pious promises, has  removed from the table. Obama’s 2009 overture to Iran was greeted with contempt and laughter by Tehran.

On North Korea, he has continued previous Administrations’ policies of appeasement and concessions, which Pyongyang always pockets and then violates its commitments and pursues aggressive actions. Obama’s appeasement policy was not altered even by the sinking of the Korean ship Cheonan, the shelling of South Korean islands by the KPA, or the latest North Korean BM test. After each attack or provocation, Washington’s response has been the same: appeasement and more concessions. (And Obama is a master practitioner of appeasement.) Romney wants to change this.

Obama has also been appeasing Communists and socialists in Latin America: listening to Daniel Ortega curse America, shaking hands with Raul Castro and Hugo Chavez, allowing Cuba to rejoin the OAS, and taking Argentina’s side on the Falklands dispute.

While appeasing America’s enemies, Obama has been knifing America’s allies in the back. Britain’s reward for deploying 10,000 soldiers to Afghanistan and for those guys dying alongside US troops was that the Obama Admin has taken Argentina’s side on the Falklands by calling for negotiations (when there is nothing to negotiate about; the Falklands and their residents are British and it’s a settled issue) and referring to them as the Malvinas. Israel has been castigated for building settlements in Jerusalem and Obama demands that it withdraw to indefensible armistice lines. And on 9/17/2009, the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland, Obama threw that country and the Czech Republic under the bus by cancelling plans to deploy missile defense systems there, replacing them with mirage promises of plans based, as the Defense Science Board and the GAO have repeatedly pointed out, on nonexistent technology that will take a lot of time and money to develop.

And yet, Biden falsely claims that

“I promise you the president has a big stick. I promise you.”

No, Obama has a very tiny stick, as America’s enemies around the world already know. More worryingly, he’s deeply cutting America’s stick with his deep defense cuts: budgetary, programmatic, force-structural, and in the nuclear arsenal. He’s even threatening to veto any attempt to save defense from sequestration!

Obama’s and Biden’s promises are worthless and not credible, as most Americans already know. When Election Day comes, I’m confident they’ll reject Biden’s useless promises and elect Mitt Romney.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/apr/26/biden-savages-romney-foreign-policy-ny-speech/?page=all#disqus_thread

Posted in Military issues, Politicians, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

In defense of the Air Force’s 5th gen fighters

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on April 29, 2012


Few weapon systems have been maligned so much as the Air Force’s 5th generation fighters: F-22s and F-35s. The opponents of a strong defense routinely malign both of them with half-truths or outright blatant lies in order to convince the public and the Congress to cancel the F-35 program just like the DOD and the Congress cancelled the F-22.

But these aircraft are actually excellent, deserving of funding, and as good as (or, in the F-22′s case, superior to) anything that the Russians and the Chinese have deployed or are now developing.

Critics have tried to use a few crashes involving F-22s as evidence that the aircraft is crappy. But the November 2010 crash of an F-22 was actually caused by the pilot, according to the USAF’s official investigation report, although the Service says it is not blaming him:

“Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told a congressional panel Tuesday that the Air Force did not blame Capt. Jeff Haney for the fatal November 2010 F-22 crash in Alaska, despite the service’s own report that said Haney was at fault.

“We did not assign blame to the pilot,” Schwartz said during a House Appropriations Defense subcommittee hearing. “… This was a complex contingency that he did his best to manage and, in the end, we lost aircraft control.”

The Air Force’s accident investigation report on the crash, released in December, stated that Haney did not react quickly enough to activate the Raptor’s emergency oxygen system or recover from a dive as he struggled to breathe.

“I find the cause of the mishap was the MP’s [mishap pilot] failure to recognize and initiate a timely dive recovery due to channelized attention, breakdown of visual scan and unrecognized spatial disorientation,” Brig. Gen. James Browne, the president of the accident investigation board, wrote in the report.”

It is true, however, that the plane’s oxygen generation system shut down because of a bleed-air problem:

The report also stated that the F-22’s On-board Oxygen Generating System, or OBOGS, which had been under investigation, did not malfunction, but the device did shut down because of a bleed-air problem.”

Nonetheless, strident liberals continue to blame the fightertype and claim that Pentagon officials are simply trying to “protect” a program that has already been closed:

“Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., questioned Schwartz and Donley, saying that “there’s been a suggestion … saying that the service is trying to protect its fifth-generation fighter and those involved in the program.””

Yet, Raptors have flown 8,000 flight hours since they were lifted from their grounding in September 2011.

Critics have similarly been attacking the F-35 program ever since its inception. Their attacks have intensified since the USAF announced recently that it would reduce the requirement for the A variant’s combat radius by just 5 miles, to 612 miles.

Moreover, as USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz says, this is more cost-effective than sticking to obsolete requirements set more than a decade ago.

But this would still mean that the F-35A will have a far longer combat radius than the B and C models as well as most of the short-range strike aircraft operated by the US military, the sole exceptions being F-111s, A-6s, and A-7s.

Extremely liberal Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) has recently decried the F-35 program and asked how can Republicans justify the program and its cost ($388 bn, which he rounds to $400 bn) while allegedly cutting food stamp spending, student loans, the Medicare program, and other social programs. He denies that it’s worth investing in.

Here’s how Republicans can justify it.

Firstly, defense is the #1 Constitutional duty (not just a legitimate Constitutional function) of the federal government. Investing in any programs needed or useful for defense is Constitutionally legitimate. OTOH, federal social programs, including food stamps, student lones, and Medicare, are unconstitutional.

Secondly, the F-35 is absolutely needed for America’s defense – not merely to replace legacy aircraft (F-15s, F-16s, A-10s, AV-8s, F/A-18s, EA-6s), but also to reduce the number of aircraft types used by the military (which will produce large annual savings) and to give the military a large increase in capability, very much needed as America’s enemies (China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, etc.) increase THEIR capability. The above-mentioned legacy aircraft are not survivable in modern combat environments and would be easy target for enemy SAMs. F-35s are stealthy, very survivable, and can therefore survive in any, except the most highly defended, environments, and eliminate air as well as ground targets easily. F-35s are currently the only true fifth-generation fighters in the world. Only they and F-22s can defeat the most modern fighters designed by America’s adversaries (J-10s, JF-17, MiG-29SMTs, Flanker variants, PAK FAs, and J-20s). F-15s (even F-15SEs), F-16s, and F/A-18s (even the E and F models) cannot. These legacy aircraft wouldn’t, in fact, stand the slightest chance against these modern Russian and Chinese aircraft.

Thirdly, the F-35′s cost could be reduced by a full 10% if the Congress would allow the DOD to produce F-35s in bulk, rather than in a piecemeal manner. It is Holt and his Congressional colleagues who are to blame for this 10% part of the program cost.

Fourthly, the Republican budget plan, while preventing sequestration of defense spending, would nonetheless retain First Tier BCA-ordered defense budget cuts and reduce total federal spending while reinvigorating the economy and balancing the budget within a decade (under dynamic scoring).

Fifthly, it is not true that, as Holt has claimed, the F-35 program’s cost is bigger than the entire defense budget “a decade ago”). “A decade ago” was FY2002, and the defense budget for that year was over $400 bn. By contrast, the F-35 program’s cost, $388 bn (not $400 bn as Holt falsely claims) is even smaller than the defense budget for FY2001 ($390 bn in today’s money).

So Congressman Holt’s claims are blatant lies.

The DOD’s fifth generation fighter programs are fully justified.

Posted in Constitutions, Economic affairs, Military issues, Politicians, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

Ann-Marie Murrell shows her true face

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on April 28, 2012


More than two weeks ago, I had a very fierce argument with Ann-Marie Murrell of Politichicks.tv. I would like to present the full facts to you, my Dear Readers, on this subject, so that you will know who Ann-Marie Murrell really is.

Two weeks ago, I saw Murrell praising Jenny-Beth Martin, the leader of the so-called “Tea Party Patriots” (a libertarian, pro-Ron Paul group masquerading as a Tea Party organization), as a “great woman conservative leader” on the Politichicks TV channel (she and her Politichicks colleagues conducted an interview with JBM in their studio) and on her FP profile.

I was outraged, because I know that JBM is a libertarian who supports deep defense cuts, that the TPP support deep defense cuts and isolationism (they demanded that Presidential candidates commit to immediately withdrawing the US from NATO, the UN, and NAFTA), and that JBM has called all Republican candidates “losers” and has said that in a race between Obama and a Republican candidate she wouldn’t know whom to vote for.

So I pointed out these facts, as well as the unavoidable reality that America, the GOP, and the conservative movement cannot have it both ways: either America will deeply cut (and thus gut) its defense (and the conservative movement and the GOP will support such policy), or it will not.

Either the GOP and the conservative movement will go libertarian and thus leftist, and embrace weak-defense and isolationist policies, or they will not.

Either America will recklessly cut its defense and become a military weakling like European countries, or it will not.

I also pointed out that Jenny Beth Martin called ALL Republican Presidential candidates (including Ron Paul) “losers” just two months ago, and that she’s on record as saying that in race between Obama and a Republican candidate she wouldn’t know whom to vote for.

(After all that Obama has done to America, how can any sane American, let alone any conservative, say that if it came down to Obama vs a Republican, she/he wouldn’t know whom to vote for?)

Yet, when I pointed these facts out on her profile, and called her out for lavishing such undeserved praise on JBM, Murrell became very angry with me. She denied that JBM had ever said such things and claimed that Martin had said she would definitely vote for any Republican against Obama. (But Martin said that a month before she said she wouldn’t know whom to choose: Obama or a Republican.)

In other words, America is at a crossroads. It must choose what it wants to have and what to do. It cannot eat a cookie and still have that cookie. It will either deeply cut (and thus gut) its defense or it will not. As Jesus said, a house divided against itself cannot stand.

And just as President Lincoln was right that America could not permanently remain half-slave and half-free, it cannot have it both ways on defense and foreign policy, and neither can the GOP or the conservative movement.

I pointed out these facts out to Murrell on her public profile and took her to task for lavishing undeserved praise on a faux conservative who is sabotaging the Republican cause, and she reacted very angrily by denying that these statements were ever made, falsely claiming that JBM intended to vote for whichever Republican would the nomination against Obama (now it’s clear that this Republican will be Romney) and based that ridiculous claim on an old, outdated statement Martin had made BEFORE she said she wouldn’t know whom to vote for in a race between Obama and a Republican candidate.

Furthermore, she called JBM her friend, and was outraged that I called Martin a disgusting, vile person for supporting deep defense cuts (about which Martin is on record and is not even trying to deny that she supports them).

Moreover, Murrell accused me of destroying the GOP from within and sewing discord and disunity in the Party, as if I were the one trying to divide the GOP, even though I am on record saying that I would support ANY Republican against Obama, while Martin could not commit herself to voting for any Republican, even Ron Paul, against Obama.

Murrell claimed that I’m trying to divide the GOP and that JBM is on our (conservatives’) side and merely disagrees with me on one issue. But Martin is definitely NOT on our (conservatives’) side (or the GOP’s side) and is definitely NOT a conservative. Firstly, if someone supports deep defense cuts, one is NOT a conservative by any definition of the word. Secondly, if someone supports the disastrous policy of deep defense cuts, that person is NOT on our (conservatives’ or the GOP’s) side anymore than someone calling for steep tax hikes or for socialized medicine. If a person is calling for deep defense cuts, he/she is either extremely stupid or a disgusting, evil person – a wolf in sheep’s clothing. If that is the case, that person is my deadly enemy.

And thus, we argued and argued all day, exchanging 4 posts each, until, when confronted with the full facts for the fourth time and proven wrong, Murrell decided to hide from the truth and unfriended me.

So here are the facts:

  • Ann-Marie Murrell lavished undeserved praise on JBM, calling her “a great woman conservative leader” and a friend of hers.
  • JBM is on record calling all Republican candidates “losers”.
  • The last recorded time she was publicly asked whom she would vote for in a contest between Obama and a Republican candidate, she said she wouldn’t know whom to vote for.
  • Her group, TPP, supports (indeed, demands) an immediate US withdrawal from NATO and NAFTA and new isolationism.
  • Martin herself supports deep defense cuts, including, but not limited to, the sequester.
  • The country and the Republican Party must decide whether to deeply cut, and thus gut, America’s defense or not. It’s an either/or choice; one cannot have it both ways.
  • The country ad the Republican Party must decide whether to support isolationism or not.
  • When faced with all of these facts and called to task for lavishing undeserved praise on JBM, Murrell got angry, displayed temper tantrum, and unfriended me in a typically childish manner.

Judge for yourselves, Dear Readers.

Posted in Ideologies, Military issues, World affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Polls are NOT showing Obama “winning” the race

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on April 27, 2012


As is the case every election season, the lamestream media are incessantly trumpetting polls that purport to show that the Democratic Presidential candidate (in this case, Obama) is “winning” the presidential race and holding a huge lead over the Republican candidate. The purpose of this propaganda is clear: to make Republicans think that their electoral effort is a vain one, that they stand no chance of defeating Obama, and that they must just as well give up.

But they are wrong, because the polls are NOT showing Obama “winning the race”. Let’s look at the 8 most recent polls as of today (April 25th, 2012), listed here. The first of these was the Rasmussen poll from April 14th-16th, and the most recent one was conducted by Gallup from April 19th-23rd.

Two of these polls (Rasmussen’s from 4/14-4/16 and Gallup’s from 4/14/-4/18) show Romney leading Obama (by 5 pp and 4 pp, respectively). One other shows Obama and Romney tied at 46% each. But there are 5 polls from this period showing Obama “leading”. So Obama must be leading, right?

Wrong. As Steven Warshawsky pointed out a little less than 4 years ago on AT, there are four problems with polls which should cause you not to take them too seriously. Firstly, polls are often worded in a biased way, which is reflected in their results. Secondly, pollsters almost always adjust polls to give Democrats and Democratic responses greater weight, or select sample groups of voters that are disproportionately Democratic in comparison to actual national party registration. Thirdly, there are many independent voters. And fourthly, the Democratic candidate’s “lead” is usually within the poll’s own margin of error.

Let’s look at these polls. The Economist/YouGov poll from April 14th-April 16th “shows” Obama at 49% and Romney at 42%, but the poll’s MOE is 4 pp. So the correct result could actually be Romney at 46% and Obama at 45%. Very close, but with Romney leading. Similarly, the NBC/WSJ poll from 4/13-4/17 shows Obama at 49% and Romney at 43%, but its MOE is 3.1 pp, so it could actually be Romney at 46.1% and Obama at 45.9% – again, very close, but with Romney leading. And the PPP/DailyKos/SEIU poll that purports to show Obama “leading” Romney 49% to 44% has a MOE of 3.1 pp, so it could actually be Romney at 47.1% and Obama at 45.9%, again, very close, but with Romney leading.

And the other two polls “won” by Obama? The Quinnipiac poll has Obama at 46% and Romney at 42%, and the Gallup poll from 4/19-4/23 purports to show Obama leading Romney by 7 pp, 49% to 42%. The polls’ MOEs are, respectively, 1.9 pp and 3 pp. Ah-ha! Obama is definitely winning the race, because his lead in those polls is beyond the MOE, right? Wrong. Look at the results. According to the Gallup poll, 9%, and according to Quinnipiac, 12% of Americans are undecided. These voters will likely vote for Romney. Certainly there is no reason they will vote for Obama.

Additionally, while this Gallup poll gives Obama a large lead, the previous poll by Gallup – conducted just days earlier, from April 14th to April 18th – showed Romney leading by 5 pp, which suggests that in a matter of 5 days the public shifted in Obama’s favor by a net 12 pp. This is a ludicrous suggestion. Again, to borrow a line from Steven Warshawsky, does anyone know any person who goes through such mental and political gymnastics?

In short, polls are not showing Obama “winning” the race any more than they are showing Romney “winning” the race. The only thing they’re proving is that the race is too close to call and that it won’t be decided until the American people actually step into the voting booths on Election Day. When that day comes, I’m confident the majority of them will pull the lever for Romney.

Posted in Politicians | Leave a Comment »

How Republicans’ various budget plans compare on defense

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on April 26, 2012


Because defense is the #1 Constitutional duty of the federal government (see here and here), we need to evaluate how the various budget plans proposed by Republican Congressmen and Senators would fund that Constitutional government function; in other words, how they compare on that score.

Chairman Ryan’s plan would fund defense at $544 bn in FY2013, which is fully adequate in my opinion (unlike the Obama Admin’s budget) and would fund all needed defense programs while preventing drastic force structure reductions. However, it does not appear to repeal sequestration fully; it only directs Committees with jurisdiction over mandatory spending programs to find sufficient savings in them to replace the sequester. Over a decade (FY2013-FY2022), the Ryan Plan would, if implemented by these committees, produce budget savings 3.36 times larger than what the sequester would produce. But that would be contingent on the committees complying with the Budget Resolution (which is not a law) and finding the savings. That is not certain. Recall that the Super Committee created by the Budget Control Act of 2011, and composed of 12 Senators and Congressmen, was also supposed to find savings – to the tune of $1.5 trilion over a decade – and yet, it couldn’t. Therefore, under the Ryan plan, the threat of sequestration would be contingent on the mandatory-spending-jurisdiction-committees complying with a nonbinding resolution. Given that mandatory spending is the third rail of American politics, the chances of them complying with that resolution when it is NONBINDING are low.

The Republican Study Committee’s plan would fund defense at the same level ($544 bn in FY2013 and more in later fiscal years), but it would also permanently remove the threat of sequestration. Forever. Furthermore, it would cut nondefense spending far deeper than the Ryan Plan would and would balance the budget by FY2017, thus undermining defense cuts supporters.

The Toomey Plan would also fully fund defense, at a level similar to that proposed by the RSC and by Chairman Ryan, and it would allow for the possibility of GWOT funding through FY2018 (the last US troops are to leave Afghanistan in FY2015). After that, any GWOT funding would have to be matched, dollar for dollar, with spending cuts elsewhere. However, while the Toomey Plan would balance the budget in FY2020, it does not contain any entitlement reforms. That is a problem because entitlement spending already consumes 63% of the entire federal budget and is growing nonstop on autopilot. It will consume 100% of the federal budget if it remains unchanged.

Sen. Rand Paul’s plan, if implemented, would remove the sequester in FY2013 and, although it retains some of the First Tier BCA cuts and limits defense spending to $542 bn in FY2013 and slows down its growth significantly, it would still fund defense sufficiently. The toplines in his budget plan are sufficient. What is worrisome is some of his specific defense spending proposals; for example, he wants many, if not most, of US bases abroad to be closed and the troops stationed there brought home, even though doing so would actually cost a lot more money than it would save. He also wants to significantly reduce the military’s size and personnel numbers, which would be unwise. Contrary to his claims, the military’s size has already been dramatically reduce since the end of the Cold War: the US military has far fewer troops, aircraft, ships, tanks, and ICBMs than it had in 1990 or 1991.

Sen. Rand Paul also proposes to end the Afghan war in FY2014 and to bring all the troops fighting in Afghanistan home, which I agree with. So, the topline figures that he proposes are sufficient in my judgment; it’s some specific defense policy proposals of his that would be unwise.

So, as far as defense issues are concerned, all four of these proposals are good, but I believe the RSC budget is best and Rand Paul’s budget plan is second-best, while the Toomey budget is not clear about whether it would stop sequestration, and the Ryan Plan bets on the mandatory-spending-jurisdiction committees finding the requisite savings.

So, ironically, for us defense conservatives, the Ryan Plan is not the best plan available. The RSC’s budget blueprint is.

 

 

Posted in Economic affairs, Military issues, Politicians, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

Rebuttal of John Pickerill’s praise of Ron Paul

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on April 25, 2012


The leftist libertarian loon John Pickerill, who falsely claims to be a conservative, has endorsed Ron Paul and claims that Paul would be impossible for Obama to defeat, while nominating Romney somehow guarantees Obama a second term. He’s completely wrong, of course, but the most laughable part of his screed is the one in which he claims that Ron Paul supports a strong defense:

“Lastly, Ron Paul believes national defense is the single most important responsibility the Constitution entrusts to the federal government.”

That is a blatant lie, but then again, blatant lies are the only things one can expect from John Pickerill and other leftist libertarians.

The truth is that Ron Paul could not care less about defense. He stridently opposes a strong defense and does not believe that defense is the federal government’s (or anyone else’s) responsibility at all. He has always supported, and continues to support, deep defense cuts which would GUT the US military. In 2010, he cosponsored deep cuts to personnel numbers, the force structure (i.e. the size of the US military), modernization programs, O&M funds, and the nuclear arsenal together with his fellow strident liberals Barney Frank and Ron Wyden. Today, he supports the sequestration of defense spending (which would totally gut the military, see here: ) and cuts BEYOND sequestration. He even denies that sequestration would result in any defense spending cuts at all and claims it would produce only reductions in defense spending growth, even though this is a blatant lie, as proven, for example, here:

https://zbigniewmazurak.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/refuting-the-cogcs-lies-about-defense-spending/

Ron Paul supports deep cuts even to defense programs that protect ONLY the US. As an example, he has repeatedly voted to cut the Ground Based Interceptor program by $100 mn. The GBI, also known as the Ground Based Midcourse Defense System, is a missile defense system consisting of 30 interceptors based in AK and CA. It protects ONLY the United States and no other country (except Canada, which is contigous to the US). Its sole purpose is to defend the US homeland. Yet, Paul opposes even THIS program and has repeatedly voted to cut it.

@To quote Ronald Reagan, “Ron Paul is one of the outstanding leaders fighting for a stronger national defense. As a former Air Force officer, he knows well the needs of our armed forces, and he always puts them first. We need to keep him fighting for our country.””

One woefully out-of-date quote from Ronald Reagan (uttered before Reagan really knew Paul) from 1976 proves NOTHING. Ron Paul later showed his real face and proved himself to be a strident liberal, a total nonconservative, and a traitor to the GOP who called Reagan a totally failed President and resigned from the GOP because of him. (But in 1996, this saboteur came back crawling to the GOP.)

“Ron Paul will make sure our military spending is only for actual national security.”

It is ALREADY used only for actual national security. Hint: fighting terrorists in Afghanistan is CLOSELY related to America’s national security, despite Pickerill’s pious denials. And no, weapon programs don’t exist to enrich contractors, they exist to equip the military with the most modern weapons and equipment that America can make, equipment superior to that of America’s enemies, and for that reason, they are needed. If people get thousands of jobs as a result of producing these weapons, so much the better.

“He will keep our troops out of unconstitutional wars that entangle us in failed nation-building missions, so our troops can come home to defend America’s borders instead.”

The Afghan and Iraqi wars were authorized by Congress (by overwhelming, bipartisan margins, I might add). They were Constitutional. Furthermore, while I oppose nationbuilding and peacekeeping missions, bringing all troops back home would be much more expensive than keeping them where they are, or at least keeping some troops in strategic bases overseas.

“He will not pander to defense contracting lobbyists.”

Nor is the current Congress doing so, as evidenced by the passage of the Budget Control Act, which mandates over a trillion dollar in core defense budget cuts (including the sequester). If there are defense lobbyists on Capitol Hill, they are doing a bad job.

“He will protect our taxpayer dollars from being spent on a failed foreign policy of trying to be the policeman of the world.”

The US is not (and should not be) the world’s policeman. Any claims to the contrary are false. Furthermore, while any attempts by the US to be the world’s policeman would result in failure, isolationism, as proposed by Paul and Pickerill, would result in an even bigger failure, and a catastrophic one at that. Just like it failed in the run-up to WW2. Ron Paul’s isolationist “see no evil, hear no evil, if we leave them alone they’ll leave us alone” loony foreign policy is doomed to fail.

Furthermore, Paul would actually have been the EASIEST to beat of all Republican candidates, even easier to beat than Gingrich. That swivel-eyed loon who coddles truthers, Nazis, KKK thugs, 9/11 truthers, racists, and anti-Semites, and is a bone fide 9/11 truther and anti-Semite himself, would be so easy to beat that he would not win a single state against Obama, just like he failed to win a single state when he ran in 1988, 2008, and this time around. Paul is a loser and will never be President. He will be going home to his rocking chair after this election season is over, and not a moment too soon.

Posted in Military issues, Politicians, World affairs | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

A conservative foreign policy: 10 basic principles

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on April 21, 2012


Here’s my proposal of a conservative foreign policy, or at least of 10 basic principles for it, along with practical examples of how these principles should be applied. This is a foreign policy approach that every conservative, moderate, independent, and even some libertarians should support.

1) The US must always maintain a strong, generously funded defense. Deep cuts to defense spending must be prevented.

The Constitution makes it clear that providing for a strong, generously funded defense is the highest duty of the federal government, and one of the reasons the federal government was created and the Constitution adopted in the first place. But defense cannot be maintained on the cheap (European countries have tried to do so and have failed); deep defense spending cuts would cripple the US military. Therefore, sequestration and part of the BCA First Tier budget cuts must be cancelled and replaced with spending cuts elsewhere, as the Ryan Plan, the Toomey Balanced Budget Plan, and the RSC’s Budget Plan would all do.

2) Unless there is an imminent threat to America’s national security, the President cannot go to war without a Congressional declaration of war.

If a British naval squadron was coming close to attack USN ships stationed in Norfolk by surprise, would President Madison wait for the Congress to declare war? Of course not. If there is an imminent threat to national security, the President is authorized and even obligated to act immediately.

But the key word here is “imminent”. If there is no immediate threat, the President cannot go to war without a Congressional declaration of war, John Yoo’s fantasies to the contrary notwithstanding.

3) The US should not go to war unless there is a serious threat to its national security, its crucial interests, or its key allies. Furthermore, US troops should be committed to war only with clear goals, a clear strategy to achieve these goals, full resources to accomplish them, and an exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement, and should be deployed only if non-war means have failed.

This is a summation of the Weinberger and Powell Doctrines, which were good guidelines as to when and how use military force and should be reinstated.

4) When it’s necessary to intervene militarily abroad, the US military should come in, smash its enemies, and then leave. No nationbuilding, no peacekeeping operations Kosovo-style, and no democratizing of defeated countries.

Had the Nation followed this principle after 9/11, it would not have become entangled in Afghanistan.

5) American troops should be used only to defend America and its allies, deter aggressors, and punish them if they attack. They are not, and must never be treated as, politicians’ toys. Their mission is NOT to topple all dictators, democratize the world, nationbuild, referee civil wars, keep peace between warring ethnic factions in irrelevant countries, or right every wrong in this world.

The DOD should issue a Mission Statement for the US military along these lines.

6) The US should honor its treaty commitments to its allies.

If the US wants other countries to honor their obligations, it must honor its own obligations. At the same time, America’s allies must start contributing more to their own defense and to missions they undertake together with the US.

7) America’s global military deployments need to be periodically reviewed and adjusted as necessary.

While it would be foolish (and extremely expensive) to withdraw all US troops from all foreign countries, some deployments (in Europe) are relics of the Cold War.

8) The US should always side with its allies against its foes, rivals, and unhelpful actors.

Therefore, for example, in the dispute over the Falklands, the US should side with Britain (which is America’s #1 ally), and not with Argentina, which is a corrupt, badly-run, irrelevant country closely allied with Hugo Chavez.

9) No US troops should ever be under foreign command.

10) The US does not need the permission of the UN, NATO, any other multilateral organization, or of any foreign country to act militarily abroad. It needs the permission only of its own Congress. While allies’ opinion should be considered and given some weight, ultimately, America’s own interests and needs must prevail.

Therefore, Sec. Panetta’s garbage that the US government would seek the UN’s or NATO’s permission to act militarily, but not that of the US Congress, needs to be repudiated.

Posted in Constitutions, Ideologies, Military issues, World affairs | 3 Comments »

Rebuttal of Tom Coburn’s lies about defense spending

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on April 19, 2012


Tom Coburn’s newest book, the Debt Bomb, has recently been published. In that book, Coburn suggests many useful fiscal reforms and savings… except when it comes to defense spending.

Coburn, who is an anti-defense libertarian and not a conservative, is an ardent opponent of defense spending per se, and in his drive to deeply cut (and thus gut) America’s defense, he’s made up a litany of blatant lies that he wrote into Chapter 13 of his book, wrongly titled Defense: Peace Through Strength Through Streamlining.

The title is misleading because what Coburn actually advocates is not peace through strength, but peace through weakness, and the spending cuts he advocates go far beyond streamlining. He advocates massive cuts to actual military capabilities. He calls on Congress to implement the disastrous defense cuts proposals he has made in his ridiculous “Back to Black” plan. To reiterate:

1) Cutting spending on the nuclear arsenal and the arsenal of means of delivery by $7.9 bn per year, i.e. $79 bn over a decade, for purely budgetary reasons, by:
a) cutting the nuclear stockpile down to the inadequate levels allowed by the disastrous New START treaty (former SECDEF James Schlesinger deems them “barely adequate”);
b) cutting the ICBM fleet from 500 to 300 missiles (i.e. by a whopping 200 missiles);
c) cutting the SSBN fleet from from 14 to 11 subs;
d) delaying, again, for purely budgetary reasons, the Next Generation Bomber program until the mid-2020s when it hasn’t even been allowed to begin; and
e) maintaining a reserve stockpile of just 1,100 warheads;
f) cutting the strategic bomber fleet to just 40 aircraft compared to the current 96 nuclear-capable B-2s and B-52s and 66 non-nuclear-capable B-1s.
This is the worst of all his proposals by far. The disastrous New START treaty, which does not cover tactical nuclear weapons (in which Russia has overwhelming advantage), ordered the US to cut its nuclear arsenal to already-inadequate levels, so that Russia could keep nuclear parity status with the US. Cutting the US nuclear arsenal down to levels authorized by this treaty is a mistake; cutting it further would be an ever bigger mistake; cutting it by a whopping 200 ICBMs, 3 SSBNs, and hundreds of warheads would be an egregious blunder which would make America much less safe and invite a Russian nuclear first strike. Coburn also proposes to forego any modernization of the deterrent until the mid-2020s, and then only of the bomber fleet. A requirement for a Next Generation Bomber Type is real and was officially acknowledged by the DOD 5 years ago, in 2006, in that year’s Quadrennial Defense Review.(1) It was later confirmed by the 2010 QDR.(2) It was subsequently acknowledged by the then leadership of the DOD, including Secretary Gates. Later that year, the CSBA – which Coburn likes to cite as a source – released a report (authored by retired USAF Colonel Mark Gunzinger, who participated in all defense reviews to date) stating that an NGB is an urgent requirement which must be met by 2018 at the latest and that consequently, the NGB program must not be delayed any longer. (3)
In short, the nuclear triad is the last part of the military that should be cut. And for all of these draconian cuts, Coburn would “save” only $7.9 bn per year, whereas my proposals of cutting the administration budgets of the DOD alone would save taxpayers well over $10 bn per year.
2) End the purchases of V-22 Ospreys at no more than 288 aircraft, thus allowing some Marine H-46s to retire unreplaced, leaving the USMC with far fewer V-22s that they believe they need, and not having the V-22 Osprey as an option for the USAF’s CSARX competition or the Navy’s Carrier Onboard Delivery Aircraft Replacement plan. The savings: a meagre $0.6 bn a year, or $6 bn over a decade.
This proposal is just as dumb as the first one. Barring the USAF’s bombers (B-52s, B-1s, and B-2s), there isn’t a single weapon type in America’s inventory that is as combat-proven and as battle-tested as the V-22, which has been widely used in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. It is more survivable, and can fly much farther and faster, than any other rotorcraft in history, and can fly to places where other rotorcraft cannot. When an F-15E was downed in Libya earlier this year, it was a V-22 that rescued its crew. The V-22 is a must-have aircraft type. Orders for it should be increased, not cut. And contrary to Coburn’s claim, it costs only a little more than an MH-60: $67 mn for a V-22 vs at least $44 mn for an MH-60.
3) Cancel the Marine (STOVL) and Navy (CATOBAR) variants of the F-35, buy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets instead. The saving: a paltry $700 mn per year, i.e. $7 bn per decade.
This proposal, frequently stated by those who wish to cut the defense budget deeply, is fundamentally flawed, because it’s based on two wrong assumptions: a) a Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing variant is not needed; b) the Super Bug is interchangeable with the F-35.
There is clearly a requirement for a STOVL variant, as confirmed by USMC Commandant Gen. James Amos, who is himself a Naval Aviator. He knows the F-35B better than anyone. Coburn’s assumption that a STOVL variant won’t be needed is based on wishful thinking. As for the second assumption: no, the Super Bug is not an alternative to, nor even substitute for, the F-35. It’s basically a redo of the F/A-18 Hornet, a plane that first flew in the 1970s. It is not stealthy, has a much shorter range compared to the F-35C, and a higher maintenance cost. It can operate only in benign, uncontested airspace.
4) Retire the USS George Washington early, cutting the carrier fleet permanently to 10 and cutting the number of carrier air wings from 10 to 9. This would save a paltry $600 mn per year, i.e. $6 bn over a decade, at a large cost to America’s defense.
This would also be reckless. Contrary to Coburn’s claim, during the Cold War, the USN needed – and always had – at least 15 carriers. Throughout the Cold War, the Navy had no fewer than 15 carriers. The flattop fleet was not cut until after the Cold War. In 2007, the Congress reluctantly agreed to cut the carrier fleet from 12 to 11, while simoultaneously writing a well-grounded requirement for at least 11 carriers into law. Last year, the Congress again reluctantly agreed to waive that requirement – but only for two years, from 2013 to 2015, until the USS Gerald R. Ford is commissioned. As studies by the Heritage Foundation have repeatedly shown, the Navy needs no fewer than 11 carriers at any one time. Cutting the carrier fleet and the number of CAWs would be reckless.
5) Cancelling the Precision Tracking Space Satellite (PTSS) program of the Missile Defense Agency.
This program is necessary to create a constellation of 6 dedicated satellites tracking ballistic missiles, a capability that none of America’s current satellites offer.
6) Cutting the total number of troops deployed in Europe and Asia to just 45,000.
While Europe can certainly defend itself on its own, having only one plausible enemy (Russia), this cannot be said of America’s Asian allies. The US can afford to withdraw troops from Europe but not Asia, where any American drawdown would be viewed as a sign of weakness and disengagement, which Sec. Panetta and President Obama have both recently tried to prevent, trying to assure America’s Asian allies that this will not happen.
7) Using the $100 bn savings that Secretary Gates for deficit reduction, not for military modernization as Sec. Gates wanted and the Services – which worked hard to find these savings – were promised by Gates, President Obama, and the Congress.
These savings were to be used for a number of military modernization programs, including purchases of additional ships, modernization of the Army’s combat vehicles, and the forementioned Next Generation Bomber program. Taking that money away from them and using it to pay the bills for a deficit caused exclusively by runaway civilian spending would not just be dumb, it would be an act of heinous betrayal.
(8) Delay the Ground Combat Vehicle for purely budgetary reasons. The saving: a paltry $700 mn per year, i.e. $7 bn per decade.
For purely budgetary reasons. Do I need to say more?
9) End the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program without replacement, not with a replacement as Sec. Gates proposed.
The decision of Sec. Gates (whom Coburn quotes selectively) to cancel the over-budget, delayed Marine amphibious truck vehicle known as the EFV was the right one. However, as a replacement, Gates proposed starting a new, less complex, less costly amphib program that is scheduled to produce the first amphibious trucks in 2014, so that Gen. Amos can ride in them before he retires in late 2014. As both Gates and Amos have stated, there is a clear requirement for such a vehicle. The USMC’s obsolete, Vietnam War era AAVs must be replaced. Coburn proposes not to replace them.
1o) Cutting DOD weapon R&D spending by 10% in FY2012, then by another 10% in FY2013, and then freezing it for a further 8 fiscal years.
Again, this is motivated purely by budgetary concerns, not military ones. Coburn claims that from FY1981 to FY1988, the DOD received, in constant dollars, $407 bn, and he claims that is only $51 bn per year. He’s wrong, and apparently can’t do simple math. $407 bn divided by seven is $58.142857 bn, i.e. ca. $58.143 bn. He proposes to cut R&D spending to a paltry $58.0 bn and keep it there, even though that is LESS than what was invested during the Reagan era.
Furthermore, Coburn claims (in the “What to cut from defense” subchapter) that his B2B defense cuts proposals are not just prudent but “necessary”. No, they are not. They would actually be deeply damaging, as they deeply weaken America’s defense and thus imperil national security. Furthermore, as the RSC, the Heritage Foundation, Paul Ryan, and Rand Paul have shown, it is possible to balance the federal budget WITHOUT significant defense cuts (even while Rand Paul, like me, proposes to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan quickly).
Furthermore, Coburn opens this chapter of his book with a selective quotation from President Eisenhower’s farewell address and falsely claims that Ike’s worst fears about the “military-industrial complex” have realized. No, they haven’t. Not even close. While the defense industry surely does a lot of lobbying on Capitol Hill and in the DOD, they have abysmally failed to prevail in the vast majority of cases, as evidenced by all the defense cuts (including the closure of over 50 weapon programs) since President Obama took office.
If the military-industrial complex exists and is so powerful, how come could it not even defend save any of those 50 weapon programs from termination?
Coburn claims that defense spending is a sacred cow. He writes:

“Of all the sacred cows that need to be tipped in Washington, defense spending is the biggest and the most stubborn.”

But the truth is that defense spending is NOT, and has never been, a sacred cow. Defense spending was deeply cut during the late 1940s, the 1950s, the 1970s (throughout the entire decade), and the 1990s, and has now been slated for $1.087 TRILLION dollar cuts over the next decade ($487 bn plus $600 bn through sequestration); on top of that, GWOT (OCO) spending is being cut annually and is set to zero out by FY2016, after the last US troops leave Afghanistan. Any claim that the DOD has ever been, or currently is, a “sacred cow” is a blatant lie.
Coburn acknowledges that

“First, it is one of the few legitimate Constitutional roles of the federal government. Also, peace through strength is not a mere slogan but a reality of life. Maintaining a strong national defense is vital to our national security. Our strength is our best deterrent. Without it, our economy, freedoms, and liberty are all placed at risk.”

and that
“Knowing what to keep and what to cut in the defense budget is our first responsibility as elected officials. Thinking critically about defense is your responsibility as well.”
 That is well said, but Coburn’s actual policy proposals are totally inconsistent with these principles that he CLAIMS he professes. On the one hand, he admits that a strong defense is necessary, but on the other, he advocates deep defense spending cuts, including draconian cuts to actual military capabilities and arsenals such as the ICBM fleet.
Coburn then commends the ignorant, biased, anti-defense hack Chris Edwards of the CATO Institute for bashing the F-22 program as a parochial project, and commends its cancellation, but the F-22 was NOT the parochial pork project Edwards and Coburn portray it to be. It was a NEEDED 5th generation fighterplane program which was WRONGLY cancelled by the Obama Administration, with Congressional consent, in FY2010. Now the future of the entire US fighterplane fleet relies on a single, troubled program – the F-35 – while Russia and China are testing their stealthy 5th generation Raptor-like fighterplanes.
Coburn also decries the former second engine for the F-35 as a pork project, yet it was actually a necessary program which was sustaining competition in the F-35 program. By killing it, the Congress gave Pratt&Whitney a monopoly on F-35 engines and forced three American military services as well as many foreign countries to rely on a single engine type. That was a reckless decision, yet Coburn lauds it.
Coburn furthermore complains that

“Congress has a rich history of ordering ships and planes our generals did not ask for and do not need.”

But the generals are hardly infallible, and per the Constitution, it is the CONGRESS, not the generals, who is supposed to decide what weapons the military needs and in what quantities. The Constitution vests the prerogatives “to provide for the common defense”, “to raise and support Armies”, and “to provide and maintain a Navy”, and to build military facilities SOLELY in the Congress. Deciding what weapons the military needs and in what quantities is exclusively for the Congress to make, not for the generals, the SECDEF, or the President. Although, to be fair, some of the earmarks he mentions were indeed irresponsible and harmful for the troops (such as the polyester clothing inserted by Congressman David Wu).
In the last 20 years, the generals, forced by successive Administrations to toe their propaganda lines and understate real military requirements, have usually testified (under White House pressure) in favor of ever fewer ships, planes, ground vehicles, and other weapons. So their testimony is not credible.
While on this subject, it’s worth noting that his own B2B plan proposes to cut many military capabilities that the generals deem necessary and worth protecting from cuts, including many procurement programs the generals deem necessary (including 2 variants of the F-35 and the V-22).
Moreover, earmarks constitute only a tiny part of the defense budget and the total federal budget, and are currently banned due to a moratorium. It is, however, only a moratorium, and needs to become a permanent, total earmark ban.
Calling us, opponents of deep defense cuts, “defenders of the status quo”, he calls defense spending’s tiny share of GDP a “misleading” figure. But I am not a defender of the status quo, merely an opponent of defense cuts (especially deep ones), i.e. of cuts to MILITARY CAPABILITIES and needed programs. I do not oppose DOD reforms; I’m actually the author of the largest DOD reform proposals package ever devised. Coburn also falsely claims that the nonwar (core) defense budget is larger today than it was during the height of the 1980s.
The current core defense budget is $531 bn. The FY2010 budget was $534 bn. The budgets for FY1987, FY1988, and FY1989 were, respectively: $606.35 bn, $574.23 bn, and $585.60 bn. So from FY1987 to FY1989, defense spending was MUCH HIGHER than it is now.
Coburn decries the fact that despite defense spending growth, the military is not stronger than it was in 2001 and is significantly smaller than in the 1940s or the rest of the Cold War. But the deep defense spending, force structure, and procurement cuts he advocates would make the problem much worse.
He also claims that “the growing cost of military hardware has been a key driver of our debt”, but that is not true. Although many weapon programs have suffered serious cost overruns, their cost (and even total military spending) has NOT been a key driver of America’s public debt. The military budget amounts to just 19% of total federal spending and accounts for only a tiny minority (less than 10%) of the spending growth that has occurred since FY2001.
The savings he proposes besides acquisition reform, while laudable and worth pursuing, would save taxpayers only $15.9 bn per year (or, including eliminating fraudulent Agent Orange compensation, $20.12 bn per year) – a tiny share of the over $100 bn worth of annual defense spending cuts his B2B plan calls for and the amount that the sequester would cut out of defense.
Coburn then cites a lobbyist (!) for Americans for Tax Reform as a credible source. The lobbyist falsely claims that the sequester would cut only $500 bn over 10 years (in reality, it would cut at least $550 bn over a decade, IN ADDITION TO the $487 bn cuts already ordered by the first tier of the BCA). The lobbyist, while admitting that sequestration would cut the core defense budget by $140 bn n FY2013 alone, ridiculously claims that this is
“hardly a huge pill to swallow, ESPECIALLY since the bill doesn’t include limits on supplemental spending. Who’s to say the 050 cut doesn’t just show up in additional supplemental spending? Something to ponder for conservatives who are concerned about ‘deep’ defense cuts.”
These claims are blatant lies. Firstly, a $140 bn annual cut (which would be deeper than even I previously thought) WOULD be a huge pill to swallow. It would amount to more than 26% of the DOD’s core budget for FY2012 ($531 bn) and its requested FY2013 budget ($525 bn). Such cuts would completely gut the military. That is inevitable. They would mean drastic reductions in end-strength, the military’s size, compensation for the troops, maintenance and training funding, and modernization (i.e. very few purchases of new equipment, at a time when the vast majority of the military’s gear is old, obsolete, and worn out and needs to be replaced). There isn’t that much waste in the defense budget. (BTW, ATR’s lobbyists waste more money every year than the DOD does.)
Why won’t these items show up in the supplemental? Because 1) the White House has explicitly prohibited the DOD from doing so; 2) to do that, they would have to increase the ANNUAL supplemental request by $140 bn per year, up from $88.5 bn requested for FY2013, and not even the stupidest Congressman will buy that trick; 3) supplemental funding is shrinking annually and is slated to shrink further every year (to $88.5 bn in FY2013 and $44.5 bn in FY2014) and eventually zero out when the last American troops leave Afghanistan. That shrinkage has been ongoing and will continue regardless of whether sequestration proceeds. Any claim that the DOD will simply move sequestered budget items worth $140 bn PER YEAR to the supplemental is a blatant lie.
That’s something to ponder for those callously unconcerned about the sequester’s deep defense cuts and those who make light of these cuts. But of course, ATR lobbyists are not on Capitol Hill to tell the truth; they are there to lie.
Coburn buys into ATR’s lies, and falsely claims that “regardless of how deep the defense cuts may look, they will never materialize.” This is a blatant lie, as proven above; the supplemental cannot be used to avoid sequestration, and the sequester itself will kick in on Jan. 1st absent Congressional action.
Furthermore, while Coburn admits that sequestration is bad because it would cut everything equally deeply – the necessities along with waste - he falsely claims that “the dollar goal of sequestration (…) was not the problem, just the method.”
He’s completely wrong, however. It’s not just sequestration’s METHOD of cuts that’s bad, it’s the DOLLAR GOAL as well. A $100 bn or $140 bn ANNUAL cut of defense spending would be deeply damaging for America’s defense, as it would cut waste ALONG WITH actual military capabilities and crucial modernization programs. That is an inevitable consequence of such deep budget cuts to an arbitrary figure. There isn’t that much waste even in the DOD. Not even close. As proven by Coburn’s failure to find more than a paltry $20.12 bn in efficiencies. Even under a different method, if required to cut its budget by $100 bn per year, the DOD would HAVE to dramatically cut military capabilities and thus weaken America’s defense. (For specifics, see here.)
Coburn claims that “even with sequestration, defense spending would still increase by 16% over the next ten years compared to 23% without sequestration.” That is a blatant lie. Under sequestration, defense spending will grow by only a few points over this year’s level, and only at the end of the decade. At the start of the decade, it will be dramatically cut, and from then on, will be growing very slowly, not reaching FY2011/2012 levels until FY2019 at the earliest, as proven by the first graph (produced by the CBO) below. As the second graph below (from the Bipartisan Policy Center) shows, under sequestration, defense would be cut to a record low, not seen since before WW2.
Coburn claims that “streamlining will strengthen, not weaken, our national security”, but the massive, reckless defense cuts he advocates (predominantly cuts to military capabilities and modernization, not to DOD waste) would gravely WEAKEN America’s defense and jeopardize national security. He ends this chapter by quoting a proverb saying that all great powers destroy themselves from within, but defense/military spending is not destroying America at all. It constitutes just 19% of the federal budget, a small share. It is not responsible for America’s fiscal woes.
In short, this entire chapter of Coburn’s book is completely worthless and ridiculous. It’s a litany of blatant lies. Conservatives should not waste their money buying that book.
References:
[1] The 2006 QDR, as released by the DOD.
[2] The 2010 QDR, as released by the DOD. The author will send you a copy of both Reviews at request.
[3] Mark Gunzinger, Sustaining America’s Advantage in Long-Range Strike, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 2010.

Posted in Economic affairs, Ideologies, Military issues, World affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rebuttal of the “Reason” mag’s and Jim DeMint’s false claims

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on April 18, 2012


Sen. Jim DeMint has recently given a lengthy, 5-page interview to the libertarian, anti-conservative “Reason” magazine, and it was conducted by RM editors Matt Welch and Nicholas Gillespie (the guy caught lying in the infamous RM video I refuted a few months ago).

DeMint wrongly said in the interview that “the GOP should adopt a lot of Ron Paul’s ideas” and “should become much more libertarian”, thus giving signs that he has converted to libertarianism and that considers Ron Paul to be a prophet.

Sen. DeMint is completely wrong. No, the GOP should not adopt any of Ron Paul’s ideas (except on the Federal Reserve, privacy, and drug legalization), and no, it should not become libertarian to any degree. It shouldn’t become libertarian at all.

Ron Paul is right only on a few discreet issues, and that proves nothing. Even a blind pig will find an ear of corn once in a while. Ron Paul is like a blind pig. Apparently, the vast majority of Republicans agree, since they have so far rejected Ron Paul in all states that have voted so far.

Ron Paul needs to be completely ignored and shunned, and that is why he has been clobbered in this year’s Republican primaries, just like four years ago.

Specifically, Sen. DeMint says this about defense spending and foreign policy:

DeMint: Well, there are a lot of obvious things. Not just the waste. We do need to rethink the money we spend on military and defense. I think Ron Paul does make a good distinction: There’s a difference between spending on military and spending for defense.

The primary function of the federal government is to defend our country. We need to make sure that we have the technology, the intelligence, the equipment to defend America from a lot of new threats. And if that is not doable with bases all over the world, we need to rethink how spread out we actually are. We have to demand that our allies actually pay a greater proportion of their defense. We’re still in Germany; we were there after World War II. We’re in South Korea. We’re in a lot of places. We may need to be in some of those places for deployment and protection. But I think it’s fair to say let’s rethink that and make sure we’re spending money in the right places.”

An examination/rethinking of defense/military spending, and a debate in the GOP about it and about US foreign policy (and America’s defense commitments to its allies), is fine and even healthy.

But that’s not what libertarians want. They want defense to be deeply cut (and thus gutted) and the US to withdraw from world affairs and retrench behind its borders.

While I agree with Sen. DeMint that America’s allies can and should start paying much more for their own defense, I also believe it would be geopolitically and strategically unwise, as well as immoral, to pull the rug from under them by terminating defense commitments to them (or at least to strategically-important allies such as SK and Japan). Furthermore, the vast majority of the defense budget is used to defend the US, not foreign countries, and therefore, the US would have to spend the same amount of money it spends today on defense even if it were to defend itself and dump all of its allies. Furthermore, spending money on defending America and its crucial allies is money well spent, so to answer DeMint’s concern, “we are spending money in the right places” – the US and strategically important countries.

And no, the US doesn’t have “bases with all over the world”, and America can be defended with the bases it currently has abroad (indeed, these bases are needed and it would cost far less to maintain them than to bring the troops back to America and build the bases for them in the US). (That is not to say that every single base/installation is absolutely needed and cannot be closed, or that US troops can’t be safely withdrawn from Germany and Italy.)

As for waste, there is not much waste in the defense budget (if DeMint claims otherwise, he needs to prove that claim). And most of the “waste” that Sen. Tom Coburn has supposedly found in it are actual military capabilities and needed weapon systems, and only a tiny minority of that is actual waste. The vast majority of the defense cuts that Coburn proposes are cuts to crucial military capabilities and modernization programs, NOT wasteful spending. So for anyone to use Coburn as a credible source is ridiculous.

While DeMint admits that the US needs modern weapons, technology, intelligence capabilities, and well-trained troops to defend itself, he fails to mention that they cannot be acquired or maintainted on the cheap and cost a lot of money. There’s no way to avoid spending a lot on them. Defense on the cheap is not possible, as the disarmament of European countries has shown.

DeMint further falsely claims:

“And frankly, some of our spending is politically driven because a particular defense system or ship is built in a certain congressional district or state. The money’s allocated not necessarily because our generals want it but because someone in Congress wants it. Those are the kinds of things we need to change. But the first priority of our federal government is to defend our people, and we need to make sure we do that well.”

That’s not true. There are no longer such weapon programs in the defense budget. There were some as recently as a few years ago, but there aren’t any anymore. Robert Gates has closed so much weapon programs that there aren’t really many remaining at all. The DOD’s current weapon programs are not parochial nor politically-driven, they are absolutely needed to replace a wide variety of obsolete, worn-out weapons, and to maintain or, in some cases, increase America’s defense capabilities.

Earlier, on the second page, DeMint said this:

reason: How much of the defense budget can be cut without hurting American preparedness or the ability to protect American lives?

DeMint: I’m not sure what that number is. But I do know there’s waste in Pentagon spending. We’ve identified waste not only in the Pentagon but all across the board. I’ve got a whole chapter on waste that [Oklahoma Republican Sen.] Tom Coburn opens for me. We can find a lot of that. But we have to have a vision for what we want our military to do. And that’s why in the last couple of weeks, I’ve said I want whoever our nominee is in the Republican Party to listen to some of the things Rep. Ron Paul [R-Texas] is saying. “

Furthermore, DeMint said on that page:

“But we have to have a vision for what we want our military to do. And that’s why in the last couple of weeks, I’ve said I want whoever our nominee is in the Republican Party to listen to some of the things Rep. Ron Paul [R-Texas] is saying.”

Sen. DeMint is completely wrong. The GOP does need a vision for what the military is expected to do, but to borrow that “vision” from Ron Paul is dangerous and UN-conservative. Ron Paul is completely wrong on military and foreign policy issues.

But most troublingly, DeMint said this:

“If we’re going to have a Republican Party that can be the majority party, it’s going to have to be very inclusive of libertarians and a lot of the things they’re talking about. We’ve got to rethink a lot of the things we’re doing.

It doesn’t threaten me to sit down and talk to someone who’s got a different view on the drug war or the military. If I know they believe in limited government, decentralization of power, individual liberty; we’re on the same page. That’s one of the things I talk about in the book: If you have a shared goal, you can debate and compromise and still move in the right direction (…)”

Jim DeMint is completely wrong.

There are two possibilities. Either he’s dangerously naive, or he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing just like Ron Paul. A common tactic that liberals and libertarians use to win conservatives’ trust is to agree with us conservatives on 90% of the issues so that we will overlook the other 10%. The 10% that counts.

To paraphrase conservative blogger Publius Huldah: I, Zbigniew Mazurak, have many flaws. But all of them can be overlooked with just a little good will. But if I were caught selling heroin to school children, that could not be overlooked.

It doesn’t matter how much Ron Paul agrees with us conservatives on as long as he disagrees with us on the most important issues: defense, foreign policy, counterterrorism, and Israel. Someone who calls for deep defense cuts and total isolationism is no more our ally than someone calling for socialized medicine. And that, BY ITSELF, completely disqualifies him (and everyone infatuated with him, including DeMint) and renders DeMint’s entire rant irrelevant.

If I were caught selling heroin to schoolchildren, would you care if I’m a good worker, taxpayer, churchgoer, and conservative? Of course not, and rightly so.

Someone who calls for deep defense cuts and/or isolationism is no more conservative than someone who calls for socialized medicine or huge tax hikes on the wealthy.

The Bible says “by their fruit ye shall know them”. Someone might claim to be a conservative and to support the Constitution. But if that person supports deep defense cuts and/or isolationism, either he’s stupid or he’s a liberal and therefore our enemy, and it doesn’t matter what he says on any other issue.

Besides, although Jim DeMint (who is not an intelligent person) clearly doesn’t understand it, America cannot have it both ways. The Nation will either deeply cut (and thus gut) its defense or it won’t. It’s that simple. There’s no middle route, no third way on this issue. Either America will gut its defense or it won’t, just as it could not permanently remain half-slave and half-free.

Furthermore, we conservatives and libertarians differ on more than defense & FP; we differ on what kind of federal government we want. We conservatives, like the Founding Fathers, believe in limited Constitutional government that performs a few discreet crucial functions well, not “no government at all”. Libertarians want the latter. That is a divide that cannot be bridged. There can be no compromise or third way on this huge fundamental difference. And even if one was possible, libertarians are not interested in a compromise; they want everything to be done their way.

Moreover, by saying “It doesn’t threaten me to sit down and talk to someone who’s got a different view on (…) the military”, DeMint essentially said that he doesn’t care about military and foreign policy issues and that he’s willing to ignore them and discard conservative principles related to these issues; and further, that he’s willing to compromise on these crucial issues for the sake of domestic ones.

DeMint (like other libertarians) clearly doesn’t understand that defense, other national security issues, and domestic issues (including civil liberties and the economy) are inextricably linked. You cannot have civil liberties and a strong, secure, growing economy without a strong defense and a foreign  policy that advances America’s national interests.

Furthermore, DeMint laughably claims:

“If we’re going to have a Republican Party that can be the majority party, it’s going to have to be very inclusive of libertarians and a lot of the things they’re talking about.”

This is rich. This comes from the guy who has zero experience and zero credentials in making the GOP the majority party; the guy who said just a few years ago that he would rather lead a small, ideologically pure minority than a large, but ideologically diverse, majority. If his wish were granted, the GOP would probably attract the small percentage of the electorate that the libertarians are, but it would simoultaneously scare away moderate and independent voters who currently vote Republican. This is a recipe for a permanent minority party.

For its part, the so-called “Reason” magazine made the following false claims on the second page:

“What about entitlements and defense spending? Because that’s where the real money is.”

Not really. The real money is NOT in defense spending; it’s in entitlement programs. Military spending amounts to just 19% of the total federal budget (20% according to the Reason magazine itself) and to a paltry 4.6% of GDP. Lumping entitlements and defense spending together is ridiculous and deliberately misleading. It’s like lumping fruit and meat together and claiming that they are the same category of things because they are food.

“The defense budget is 20 percent of all government spending and has increased about 100 percent since 2000.”

That is also a lie. The total military budget amounts to just 19%, which is a very small share, and has not increased by “about 100%” since 2000. Not even close.

The FY2001 DOD budget, signed in CY2000, was $291 bn in then-year dollars, i.e. $390 bn in today’s money. The current (FY2012) DOD budget under the FY2012 NDAA is $645 bn. That means the military budget has increased by only $255 bn, i.e. by only 39.5%, since FY2001. That is not even close to 100%. Gillespie and Welch are simply lying.

In conclusion, Jim DeMint is flat wrong. The GOP should not become any more libertarian than it is, should not adopt any of RP’s ideas (except on drug legalization and privacy), and should not be inclusive for libertarians. As Ronald Reagan rightly said, “a political party cannot be all things to all people.” And for us conservatives, libertarians are not our allies; they are not, contrary to DeMint’s claims, “on the same page” as we are. They profess a completely different ideology and vehemently disagree with us on at least 10% of the issues. The 10% that counts.

Someone who calls for deep defense cuts and/or isolationism is no more my ally than someone calling for socialized medicine.

Posted in Constitutions, Military issues, Politicians, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

Why states are required to recognize each other’s marriage certificates

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on April 17, 2012


A dispute is currently ongoing about whether or not states have to recognize marriages validly contracted in other states and whether the Congress can liberate them from this duty by statute. Specifically, this dispute pertains to gay couples. Radical social conservatives claim that the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution authorizes the Congress to allow states, by statute, to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages validly contracted in other states. In other words, they claim that states don’t have to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages, but they don’t make the same claim regarding heterosexual marriages.

Are they right or wrong? Let’s find out.

Let’s first look at the full text of the Clause, i.e. of Art. IV, Sec. 1. It’s very short. It reads as follows:

“Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.”

Now, how to interpret it? I don’t know about you, folks, but most lawyers whom I talk to tell me that one should always interpret laws in good faith, i.e. try to extract clear, unambigous meanings out of them if that’s possible, and consider them ambigous only if, after multiple attempts, I cannot give the text any clear, unambigous meaning.

I believe that the FF&C Clause does require each state to recognize all marriages contracted in all other states in accordance with these other states’ laws. That’s because the Clause says “full faith and credit shall be given in each state”, and then only says that Congress may prescribe the manner in which such acts/records/proceedings shall be proven and their effect. But it doesn’t say that Congress may legislate that they have no effect in other states, or that states can disregard each other’s marriage certificates.

Thus, Congress may require, by general laws, that more than just a marriage certificate/license be presented to prove that marriage was contracted. But it may not legislate that one state can completely disregard other states’ marriage certificate.

Moreover, were I to claim that states can do that and the Congress can, by statute, allow them to do so, I would be arguing an indefensible position. Such an interpretation of the Clause makes it, or assumes that it is, internally inconsistent, self-contradictory, unclear, and ambigous. It assumes that the text is unclear and that the Congress may express this ambiguity by deciding which acts/records/proceedings other states must honor and which ones they don’t have to.

Moreover, if it were true, a dangerous precedent would be set and the country would start rolling on a dangerous slippery slope. By that same logic, the Congress could allow states to:

- refuse to recognize validly contracted heterosexual marriages from other states, because laws on who is eligible to marry vary state by state (some states allow first cousins to marry, most others do not; some states allow girls under 18 to get married, some others do not);
- refuse to recognize divorce rulings from other states (e.g. let’s say that VA decides it opposes divorce on principle, bans divorce completely, and disregards vivorce rulings from other states’ courts);
- refuse to recognize DLs from other states (after all, highway codes and DL exams vary from state to state and CA may refuse to recognize your driver license, if you have one, on the grounds that you may not have been tested sufficiently); how would you like not being allowed to drive into KY or VA because your DL is not considered valid there? or moving to VA and having to pass your DL exams all over again?
- refuse to recognize death certificates from other states; thus, a person who is considered dead in KY may be considered alive in CA.

These would be the unfortunate consequences of adopting such interpretation of the Clause. If Congress can allow states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages validly contracted in another state, it can also allow states to disregard these other documents. Such an interpretation assumes that the Clause is internally inconsistent, self-contradictory, and unclear. It is not a good faith interpretation.

OTOH, my interpretation is a good faith one. It gives the text a clear, unambigous meaning, and one that is not absurd and is consistent with the meanings of the words in the Clause.

The only proper way to make sure that states don’t have to recognize out-of-state sex marriages is to amend the Constitution. And I support the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would ban same-sex marriage altogether.

Posted in Constitutions | 1 Comment »

 
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