it’s not just what’s IN the $738 billion

bipartisan, House-passed 2020 NDAA…that’s important, but what’s been removed.

According to Patrick Martin, wsws.org:

“The most important aspect of the legislation, besides the vast total sum authorized, was the stripping out of the bill of virtually every provision in the original House version that would have set limits on overseas military operations by the Trump administration.

The House-Senate conference removed a ban on US military support for the genocidal war by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, and a provision requiring that Trump obtain congressional approval before initiating any military operations against Iran.

The conferees also removed a measure that would repeal the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which gave congressional approval in advance to the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq. The AUMF is still being used—long after the overthrow and execution of Saddam Hussein—as the legal pretext for other US military actions in the Middle East.

Another House-passed restriction that disappeared in the conference committee would have barred deployment of a low-yield, submarine-launched nuclear warhead that would mark a major step towards “usable” nuclear weapons in a war with Russia or China.”

“The NDAA does include two restrictions on possible Trump military actions—but both were introduced by Democrats as part of their attacks on Trump from the right, as insufficiently aggressive towards Russia and North Korea. The bill would bar Trump from withdrawing the United States from NATO. It also bars reducing the US military deployment in South Korea to below 28,500 without a certification from the Pentagon that such a decision was in the US “national interest.”

“The conference committee also removed a provision that would have forbidden the president to shift money from the military budget to finance construction of the wall along the US-Mexico border. Trump carried out this unconstitutional diversion from the fiscal 2019 budget after the end of a 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government over the refusal of Congress to approve the building of the wall.

The bill does not rescind Trump’s executive order banning transgender soldiers in the military, and it bars the closure of the US torture center and prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The bulk of the bill, as the top-line number indicates, is endless spending for military buildup, including $71 billion for overseas operations (mainly Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and drone warfare across the Middle East and North Africa), dozens more fighter jets and warships…”

“The bill provides the financial basis for carrying out the strategy enunciated by the Pentagon in January 2018, when it shelved the pretext of the “war on terror” and declared that the central axis of US military planning was wars with other great powers, particularly Russia and China.

The litany of anti-Russia and anti-China provisions includes:

  • an increase of $734.3 million in the European Defense Initiative for military construction, anti-submarine warfare
  • prohibiting military-to-military cooperation with Russia
  • prohibiting US government recognition of Crimea’s absorption into the Russian Federation
  • imposing sanctions related to the NordStream 2 and TurkStream pipelines from Russia to Germany and Eastern Europe
  • requiring the Pentagon to update its strategy against “malign influence” by including Russia and China
  • expressing support for the people of Hong Kong and their autonomy from China
  • supporting improvements in Taiwan’s military capabilities
  • adding the island states of the Pacific Ocean to the Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative
  • prohibiting the purchase of rail cars and buses produced in China for federally financed mass transit systems (out of professed concern that these will be equipped to spy on Americans)

Dropped from the legislation were provisions setting standards for cleaning up toxic PFAS chemicals used in firefighting at Air Force bases and other military sites. There are at least 100 such sites in Michigan alone, and thousands across the country.”

Meanwhile, via RT.com:


“The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved a bill asking the State Department to determine whether Russia falls under criteria of a state sponsor of terrorism, potentially opening a way stricter sanctions.

The pretentiously titled ‘Stopping Malign Activities from Russian Terrorism (SMART) Act’ could potentially bring the already strained relations between Moscow and Washington to a new low.

Introduced by Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) in April, it requires the Secretary of State to give “appropriate congressional committees” a straight answer on whether Russia could be designated a sponsor of terrorism.The bill also requires the State Department to determine and report to Congress whether the militia in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics in eastern Ukraine can be considered “foreign terrorist organizations.”

And also from RT.com:

“The US rolled out new sanctions against Iranian companies, including its largest airline Mahan Air, accused of “weapons of mass destruction proliferation” and transportation of lethal aid to Yemen.

The airline, which has been a target of Washington’s restrictions since 2011, has been repeatedly accused by the US of having deep ties with the Iraninan Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and regularly transporting its troops and hardware around the region.

“The Iranian regime uses its aviation and shipping industries to supply its regional terrorist and militant groups with weapons, directly contributing to the devastating humanitarian crises in Syria and Yemen,” US Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement.” [snip]

The sanctions might have “very heavy implications” for the airline, which will likely be barred from using airports in countries fearful of secondary sanctions coming from the US, as well as likely causing other problems, former Pentagon official Michael Maloof believes.

“It could affect their ability to get component parts, depending upon the type of an aircraft,” he told RT. “It could be devastating in that respect and affect the safety of passengers. It could ultimately have the effect of shutting down the airline – and maybe that’s what they [the US] want to do.”

Besides the air carrier, the sanctions also targeted an Iranian businessman, Abdolhossein Khedri, and two shipping companies belonging to him. The businessman stands accused of “terrorism support” and partaking in the IRGC “smuggling operations.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the move is part of “maximum pressure campaign of sanctions against Iran.”

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

From the Mafioso Chief Diplomat on Twitter:

Words fail:

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I would be surprised. Sounds like the H-S conference was run by the Pentagon and their war machine buddies in the arms industry. Our local senator touted the $80 billion porkie for submarines as good legislating. Oh my. Good for who or what? The war economy keeps rolling along.

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May we be united and strong -- laurel

boriscleto's picture

@QMS Has been touting a provision that would require the DoD to buy all its flatware from Sherill Manufacturing, the last flatware manufacturer in the US. A few dozen jobs saved!

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" In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy "

edg's picture

@boriscleto

One of the stupidest things we've ever done as a country is outsource our manufacturing to others. We would have lost World War 2 if we'd done that in the 1920s and 1930s.

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wendy davis's picture

@QMS

RL went sideways not long after i'd posted this, but it's in a holding pattern..for now.

by 'us' do you mean ordinary amerikan citizens? yes, if a nation bullies and threatens constructed/imaginary enemies for too long, as with the british and roman empires, someone will bite back. there seems to be little reprieve by now from this nation's refusal to cede to a mulitpolar world. be the defense industry stocks soared yesterday, though.

a silver lining for 'War as a Racket'. tea party fucking cory gardener is one of my senators.

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snoopydawg's picture

and I mean that with all sincerity!!

The legislation provides another $300 million in US military aid to Ukraine

The timing of more aid to Ukraine stinks just like it did during Obama's disastrous tenure. He cut $5 billion from SNAP then and gave it to Ukraine and now I'm betting the money Trump will save is nowhere close to the $300 million this time around.

Why anyone is surprised anymore that democrats voted for this is boggling. They have long proven that when it comes to the military budget and other things that can always find money for they are no different that the gop. No inch of daylight between them.

I am sure that not one of these cretins asked how they were going to pay for it. OF course not. Just keep gutting social programs and transfer the money to the military. And oh yay. Let's start using those mini nukes. The low yield ones that they think Russia will give a good gawd damn about if they are used against them.

Hard and sideways!!

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

yes, mark esper had already announced the new tranche of military aid as per my last OP on the nornmandy four peace summit.

patrick martin (crikey, i'd attributed this report to andre damon in error) wrote:

"The “debate” on the House floor consisted largely of leading Democrats and Republicans from the Armed Services Committee praising each other, and especially Chairman Adam Smith (D-Washington), who introduced the legislation and served as its main advocate during the floor debate.

Smith acknowledged the bipartisan support for the bill. “Divided government” complicated the negotiations, he said, but “we do agree on a lot—90 to 95 percent.” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer hailed the bill as a “compromise,” saying that this should not be considered a pejorative term, because “that’s what we do here.”

right there in plain site: the truth of the matter. i can't remember now if it were in his or other coverage the orange man bing quoted as saying "Hey, we got all we wanted and more!" i'd tried and failed to find it on his twitter account.

c'mom, amiga: they're only low yield nukes! #NoBigDeal.

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earthling1's picture

to use tactical nukes translate to: We are going to full spectrum nuclear war soon. Nothing will stop these maniacs now.
Perhaps the American sheeple deserve annihilation after all. They certainly refuse to wake up. Better to die in their sleep I would guess.
The Saker is convinced it will be in 2020.
"A look into 2021 – brace for impact as a perfect storm is forming on the 2020 horizon".

"My friends, I am sorry to say that I think the next year will probably be a perfect storm!  I have explained in many articles why I think that, so I will just summarize it all here:"

"In the USA the next Presidential election will most likely be a disaster.  The Dems are dead set to use any and all lies and tricks to try to remove Trump, while the GOP hopes that by selling out to Israel it will remain in power.The US is tanking on so many levels that I will only mention a few crucial ones: politically, socially, economically and militarily.  The Trump-disaster has shown beyond doubt that this is not about personalities or who gets to sit in the White House.  It is about a system which is profoundly 1) corrupt 2) dysfunctional and 3) unreformable.  From now on it’s all “down” for the USA.  I love this country and many of its people (even while I hate its ruling elites) and I take no pleasure is observing this.  In fact, I would argue that folks like myself and many, many others (I think of Dmitry Orlov, Ron Unz or Andrei Martyanov) have truly done all we can to avoid that outcome, but we were too few and too isolated.  Now it is too late.The EU is in absolutely TERRIBLE shape.  Frankly, the Europeans deserve a lot of that pain because instead of defending their own national interests, they preferred prostituting themselves to the United States and the AngloZionist Empire.  Now the the chickens have come to roost and it hurts.  Besides, the EU is just as corrupt, dysfunctional and unreformable as the USA.  This will get worse before it gets better."

"The bottom line is simple: the Empire is dying and this puts the entire planet at risk of war.  Why?  Because war is typically what myopic, ignorant and messianic leaders like to use as a way out from a crisis."

"Do not worry too much about Russia: she is fine ready for everything and anything the Empire might throw at her.  She is ready politically, economically and, most crucially, militarily.  It is now becoming obvious to me that the hyper-cautious, some would say “flaccid”, policies of Putin towards the endless stream of sanctions and provocations by the West has given Russia the time she needed to prepare for every contingency, including full scale nuclear war.  Russia made it there now, and she is so far ahead that no amount of promises of miracle weapons systems will allow the West to catch up for, AT LEAST, a full decade."
I see nothing in the MSM, Congress, the White House, or the Pentagon that refutes any of this.
The only option I see is beginning a sustained and comprehensive expose' of where the hidyholes the Elite plan to ride out the storm while the rest of us vaporize. Maybe it will discourage them, with the thought there MIGHT be survivors waiting for them to come out, chickenshits that they are.

  

 

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

snoopydawg's picture

@earthling1

The EU is in absolutely TERRIBLE shape. Frankly, the Europeans deserve a lot of that pain because instead of defending their own national interests, they preferred prostituting themselves to the United States and the AngloZionist Empire.

We have to find a way to take the power to start nuclear war out of their hands. That a few thousand can make that decision for billions of us is beyond comprehension. How? No idea for how to wake up the masses who can't see that there is something very wrong with our government. We can thank Obama for killing the anti war movement and put people back to sleep.

"The bottom line is simple: the Empire is dying and this puts the entire planet at risk of war. Why? Because war is typically what myopic, ignorant and messianic leaders like to use as a way out from a crisis."

Putin has said that if war comes to Russia they will still be standing at the end of it. He showed what their weapons are capable of doing and yet we're still on the path to Armageddon. Lots more protection for Israel in this NDAA. MIGA! while the USA falls apart.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

earthling1's picture

@snoopydawg
"Putin has said that if war comes to Russia they will still be standing at the end of it."

Putin has also said "I cannot imagine a world without Russia in it."
Clearly meaning if there is no Russia, there will be no world.
He's not bluffing.

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

@earthling1 The only relationship tolerated toward Russia by American elites is one of utter aggression. One of the more unhinged Russian xenophobes is Cenk Uygar of the Young Turks. In this clip sorta ironic that Cenk accuses Trump of not being aggressive toward the Russians. Cenk accuses Trump of doing nothing about Crimea but Russians took over Crimea under Obama, and punished Russia with sanctions.

US, Russia Press Conference Gets Tense

Any democrat will be pushed to take very hard measures against the Russians to show that he or she are not like the weakling Trump. In Cenk's rant the question not answered is "okay how to get back at the Russians?" Given the language and hatred Cenk shows, the obvious answer is war. The German Nazis used the same type of rhetoric against the Jews. And eventually the Nazis believed the Jews were waging actual war against them, and hence the genocide.

And what kicks it off? Take your pick. But it will be some false flag, and missiles will fly, and then return missiles will fly.

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earthling1's picture

@MrWebster
did not take over Crimea.
The people of Crimea held a vote to leave Ukraine and join with the Russian Federation on their own free will.

And what kicks it off?/em>

A small tactical nuke in Syria, Yemen, or Iran, to test the response from Russia. They fully expect Russia will bitch and complain and try to drum up worldwide outrage.
More likely Russia will unleash a barrage of conventional weapons at all western forces and sinking any warships near Russia.
Any nuclear response from the US will be met with all out conflagration worldwide.
The American regime is playing with fire, and all life on the planet (maybe cockroaches will survive).
IMHO

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

wendy davis's picture

@MrWebster

i only lasted five minutes. does cenk always sound like he's about to explode? didn't realize he was still alive and kickin', so to speak. yeppers: the russians 'stole crimea'. and are now in the process of 'stealing the donbass area in eastern ukraine. and the yuko-nazis are pushing back by killing them.

gawds teeth yes: false flags are coming, and there've already been a number of them vis a vis: Iran, especially. bibi under indictment is even more dangerous.

i hadn't read a thing yet about the lavrov/trump/pompeo meetings, but when i'd seen a photo of lavrov and trump in the oval office all i could think was: Beauty and the Beast.

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wendy davis's picture

@earthling1

whether or not we're on the long slide down, and how much at fault 'we' all are. pretty funny the saker recons just four of them attempted to fight the power, though. i sure do disagree with that braggadocio math, lol.

he'd had a pretty interesting analysis on the paris summit that café commenter had mentioned, and i'd added the cliffs notes version to my thread.

but his comments, pluto's and mine reminded me only too poignantly of these lines from the late john trudell in his 'rich man's war':

Some ones are crazy or
Maybe we take turns
Dreaming about some kind of life
We say it could have been different
But it wasn't because we weren't...

Some things start good and go bad
Some things get bad and stay bad
Are we caught in between
Living a lie or not living at all?

the ruling class has already been buying their hide-holes in dubai and new zealand, from what i've read. thanks, erarthling1.

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Watching those crazy mericuns' destroy any hope for the future of 'our' people and the planet.
All so a couple dozen greedy bastids can accumulate more wealth and power than their
competitors. Kinda game is that? Russian roulette with no empty chambers.
Cheese whiz.

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May we be united and strong -- laurel

wendy davis's picture

@QMS

power and influence are zero sum. 'We want it all, you can't have any'. lot more than a few dozen, i reckon, but still, may the all rot in hell. oh; they really already are, they just don't know it. sociopaths don't do self-reflection.

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snoopydawg's picture

Just an FYI that Luke is still peddling BS.

I wonder how the Wikileaks lawsuit against him is going? I'd think that if I was already being sued for what I have written I'd be more careful going forward.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

that's just priceless! the photo says it all; thanks for bringing it, i needed the chortles.

don't ever change, luke! actually, as far as the wikileaks lawsuit against the grauniad, i'd mused about that on my most recent hellish for assange OP, as that paper had almost sounded reasonable about him. wish i could remember how that sounded, but...nope.

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snoopydawg's picture

@wendy davis

It just doubles down on everything that has been debunked already. I only read till it started talking about how Mueller found.... which he really didn't and gave up. I don't know why I keep expecting Russia Gate to go away after the truth about it came out. Maybe I'm just slow..

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

no, i hadn't clicked in, reckoning i'd known what it would say. i'm sorry, and i'll read it in the morning. remember: luke can tell russian trolls by their use of multiple emojis! no, darlin, russia gate is alive and well, and it may never day until this empire expires.

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wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

sigh. trump and putin are trying to destroy europe, so: brexit. it is simply disturbing that so much rubbish can be written and rarely challenged.

in a similar vein, this is barry grey at wsws this morning on the house being about to debate the two impeachment charges, then vote next week:

“On July 25 of this year, when he spoke to President Zelensky of Ukraine by telephone,” Nadler said, “President Trump had the upper hand. Ukraine had been invaded by Russia. Zelensky had only recently been elected. He badly needed our help. He needed it in the form of military aid already appropriated by Congress because of our national security interest in Ukraine. And he needed help with an oval office meeting to show the world that the US stands with him against Russian aggression.”

He went on to make the improbable claim that Trump had to be removed from office in advance of next year’s election because otherwise Trump, in cahoots with Russia and/or other foreign powers, would rig the election—as he supposedly had done with Russian President Putin’s help in 2016.

[improbable claim???]

“Why is this necessary now? Why do we need to impeach the president? Why not let the next election handle it?” Nadler asked.

“We cannot rely on an election to solve our problems when the president threatens the very integrity of that election. Nor can we sit on our hands while the president undermines our national security and while he allows his personal interests and the interests of our adversary Russia to advance.”

no doubt you remember hero of the resistance movement who'd scaled a flagpole to tear down the confederate flag in charlotte?

and a good friday the 13th all.

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wendy davis's picture

@wendy davis

here's a new one (nice sucking up...now.:

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earthling1's picture

Lol, I love it.
Good one, QMS

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

wendy davis's picture

dec. 11, a few bits:

this accords with what i'd remembered:

'It’s official—the U.S. military will be getting a new ‘Space Force’ armed service built around the current Air Force Space Command. But for now, that force will look exactly like said command.

Space Force will remain subordinated to the Air Force in the same way that the Marine Corps is subordinated to the Navy. While that implies intertwined resources, it will nonetheless result in an independent service with its own four-star general on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Pentagon heavily depends upon satellites for intelligence and surveillance missions, as well as relaying navigation data, communications and drone command-links. It also operates two X-37 unmanned space ships with application in both intelligence gathering and potentially offensive space missions.

Currently the Air Force, Army and Navy all maintain separate space capabilities, though the Air Force is a clear leader. Critics of the Space Force concept argued it created new, unnecessary bureaucratic structures while lacking a tangible new mission. After all, the service as currently described is simply a re-named Air Force Space Command without any assets from the other services.

Proponents argued that a Space Force would allow a more concerted space-based strategy and ensure space capabilities receive the funding they need. How Space Force will actually be implemented remains very vague at present, however and the Congressional resolution remains more a promise to work out the details later than a complete package.

additionally, i'd remembered that the 'potentially offensive space missions' had included mock-ups of those missions disabling other nations' satellites in space to create havoc and let slip the dogs of war. thing is, in teevee and film it seems that figuring out which nation blew out their satellites was a bit of a sticky wicket, no matter how much suspicion was involved.

additionally, this language:

'Republicans also fended away attempts by the House to cut funding to produce low-yield W76-2 tactical nuclear warheads for Trident ballistic missiles deployed on Ohio-class submarines, which usually only carry city-destroying strategic warheads.

Tactical nuclear warheads are not limited by the New START treaty and Russia maintains a large stockpile of them.

Proponents of the new warhead, called the W76-2, argue the United States needs to increase and diversify its tactical nuclear weapon capabilities to be able to deter and possibly retaliate against Russia’s low-yield arsenal without resorting to large-yield strategic nuclear weapons.

Opponents argue that anything that makes nuclear weapons more ‘useable’ is a setback for the survival of the human race.'

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Someone (here?) recently asserted that Democrats were the anti-war party. If only.

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wendy davis's picture

@tle

amigo. i have to get a pen and paper to simple arithmetic any more. some of the allegedly antiwar dems aren't even that given their votes and tweeties.

may i leave tonight's closing song here? good night all.

from playing for change, world peace thru music around the world:

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@wendy davis (http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2019/roll672.xml)

I have done that kind of painstaking counting, but on Senate votes, which is 1/4 as hard. (Or I do data extraction on Y + “(D-“).

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