Lion of the Blogosphere

$125 billion of waste at the Pentagon?

There’s an investigation in the Washington Post which says that the Pentagon buried a report which showed that there was $125 billion of bureaucratic waste (over a five-year period).

I believe it. I worked for a year as a government contractor for the U.S. Army, and the project I was working on was a complete waste of the taxpayers’ money. Plus in the building where I worked, none of the government employees there seemed to be doing anything useful, if they were doing anything at all.

But I wouldn’t take this to mean that the entire government is like that. Before the U.S. Army job, I worked for a division of another government agency which was running a pretty tight ship in fulfilling its mission, and was providing good value for the taxpayer. It was more efficient than the private company I worked for in New York City which had a bloated and inefficient IT department staffed mostly by Indians, and customer service and marketing which had no clue what they were doing. But the company was profitable because they had a monopoly, and monopolies don’t have to be efficient or well run to be profitable.

Going back to the military bureaucracy, it’s probably the most inefficient bureaucracy in government because it’s the largest bureaucracy in government and the bigger a bureaucracy gets the more inefficient it becomes. And there’s less of a political check on Pentagon waste because the Republicans, who are normally suspicious about government spending, love government spending when it’s being done by the military; this is a point of view that’s a remnant of the politics of the Cold War which those of you under the age of 40 don’t remember.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 6, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Posted in News

102 Responses

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  1. As Donald Rumsfeld said in an interview with the Associated Press: “The problems we’ve got here, if you were in a private institution, one would think that a trained aide could end up saving something like 10 percent.”

    “…we’ve got something like 21,000 to 24,000 auditors. We’ve got five or six inspector generals. We’ve got five or six, three or four surgeon generals.”

    Unfortunately, the day he chose to discuss this was September 7, 2001. Subsequent events not only precluded cuts, but made the largesse far worse.

    http://archive.defense.gov/Transcripts/Transcript.aspx?TranscriptID=1610

    Fiddlesticks

    December 6, 2016 at 1:18 pm

  2. One solution to this problem is for there to be a reward system for government employees to report and identify waste (because insiders know what’s up). Distribute 0.01% of the savings to the employees as a reward. Save $125 billion? Distribute $12.5M to employees. Would you pay someone 0.01% to save 99.99%? I think anyone would. An Lion is right, not all agencies are equally bad.

    ASF

    December 6, 2016 at 1:37 pm

  3. As a veteran, I can attest to the massive government waste in the military. Over the course of my military career just in the small personal view I had, it was unbelievable. Much of my military career was a boondoggle, So…thanks taxpayers?

    In order to get military spending under control you have have to do a massive GM bailout type deal where you stand up a new, fully audit-able military system, and transfer assets to it. Then burn down the old military structure.

    Mike Street Station

    December 6, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    • I also am a veteran and I agree that the only solution at this point is to replace the entire structure. William Lind came to a similar conclusion earlier this year.

      The good news is that currently, actual military threats to the US are very low, and there is so much redundancy in the national and homeland security structures, that you can stand down entire parts of the military and not put the country at risk of invasion. Just the police forces in the US are larger and better armed than the armies of most other countries.

      The problem is that this involves a huge workforce (including contractors) that would be bad to dump onto the labor market all at once. So some sort of severance scheme is needed, if you don’t just do a guaranteed basic income for everyone.

      Ed

      December 6, 2016 at 5:08 pm

      • I don’t know…military skills are perishable, including the ability to do proper logistics. I don’t know what would be considered wasteful under the specialized skillset of the military/

        map

        December 7, 2016 at 3:56 am

      • I don’t understand the point of doing something complicated rather than just halving the DoD budget. Force the leadership to cut waste and prioritize sanely. Sequestration a couple years ago did in fact hit a lot of the defense contracting world. Some stupider stuff was cut.

        bob

        December 7, 2016 at 11:37 am

    • Ike tried to get rid of the Marines. Thought the Corps was a total waste of resources. OMG, every jarhead in the country called his congress-crittur. They practically called Ike (!) a godless commonist. Result?

      Semper Fi!

      gothamette

      December 6, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    • I’ve become convinced that the DoD will never be auditable. The push toward audit readiness has yielded some improvements, but we’re never going to have a legit IPA issue an unqualified opinion for DoD wide financials. We’re well past the point of diminishing returns, and I think the costs of future audit efforts outweigh the benefits. It keeps me employed, but true auditability is a pipe dream.

      Matt Stevens

      December 7, 2016 at 12:49 am

  4. One of the reasons government bureaucracies are so inefficient is that they can be held to very high accountability standards. Government agencies need to keep good track of how every dollar is spent in case Congress or some bureaucrat wants to audit the agency.

    Private companies sometimes manage expenses carefully, but they tend to look at the bottom line more. Private companies tend to manage budgets for expenses going forward more and worry less about how money was spent in the past.

    When I worked in a government funded agency, the auditors would randomly pick a small percentage of projects to audit. They would show up and demand the paper work to show the funding for a certain project three years ago was correctly spent on what was intended. It takes a large, well organized bureaucracy to file away all the paper work and be able to find it 3 years later.

    I have seen private companies doing things like asking managers to check the last months long distance phone charges to look for employees making personal long distance calls at work. (There were in fact some employees abusing this, but they were smart enough to use conference room phones so they were never caught.) I have never seen companies spending time worrying about how money was spent 3 years ago.

    Mike CA

    December 6, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    • I have seen private companies doing things like asking managers to check the last months long distance phone charges to look for employees making personal long distance calls at work.

      These days, smart employees don’t abuse the company hard-line telephones (or internet service) they just use their own cell phones w/ unlimited talk, text, and data.

      Over the past 35 years, I’ve been an employee for a large government defense company and have held long-term contractor positions in local, state, and federal agencies. My biggest gripe is management’s low performance requirements for select, protected groups, while holding much higher requirements for one specific group. In practice, the abysmally low performance requirements for non-White males tends to drag down the performance requirements for White males. If non-White males are required to perform at, say, level 3 out of 10; then I’m only expected to perform at level 6. Heck, I can do that in two hours of actual work per day. Makes for an easy job for everyone.

      That and the full-on press for hiring and promotional preferences for protected groups. Oh well, I’m in and winding down, but it’s going to be much harder for career success for today’s young White males.

      E. Rekshun

      December 6, 2016 at 6:26 pm

      • “These days, smart employees don’t abuse the company hard-line telephones (or internet service) they just use their own cell phones w/ unlimited talk, text, and data.”

        Actually, I assumed that no one cared because phone rates have come down so much. At least not if you’re making a six-figure salary. If you have a crappy job at a call center, then you are are monitored very closely and fired for the slightest reason (in order to put fear into the other employees).

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 6, 2016 at 8:16 pm

  5. The biggest problem with accountability for govt spending in my opinion is there really aren’t any good balancing metrics to prove success. I’ve worked large capital projects for publicly traded and private companies. All of them had high standards for reporting and accountability. The big difference was that eac project had an expected rate of return that success was measured against later:

    Military spend doesn’t get that.

    GSP

    December 6, 2016 at 3:48 pm

  6. I have a question for any military members here: What is the real stock of most of our fabled men and women in uniform?

    My impression, is that at least 90% of our warriors are desperate dummies/druggies (of various diversity) and/or women who want to be single moms on Uncle Sam’s dime.

    I mean, besides the Marines, Seals, and Aviators and other elites, how many of the enlisted soldier are really worth a damn? Would it be more profitable if 90% of these people were gone?

    fakeemail

    December 6, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    • That’s probably not true. The armed forces use an IQ test to reject the least intelligent applicants.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 6, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      • Also, enlisted men are regularly tested for drugs. That alone eliminates a lot of riffraff.

        WRB

        December 6, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    • When your war planning determines half of your workers and equipment will being gone in the first 30 days of total war, it’s hard to ensure you’ll win without some overspending in peacetime.

      cesqy

      December 6, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    • Definitely not true. I would say that the average IQ of the military is well above 100. The IQ mean is skewed because they reject everybody with an IQ below 90, and there aren’t that many military jobs for those 90 IQ enlistees. The military is not representative of the population at large.

      Daniel

      December 6, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      • One interesting consequence of truncating a huge portion of the left side of the bell curve is that military high schools have the lowest black – white achievement gaps on standardized tests of all schools in the country. Only the top 40% of blacks are psychometrically qualified to enlist, and they tend to have smarter than average black children.

        PoorGradStudent

        December 6, 2016 at 6:37 pm

      • As a former attorney representing small fry myself, may I ask why you represent SEALS or other elite types PB? After all, many of those guys are going to have post-military careers as cops, firemen or Blackwater thugs at $200k or more.

        Cole Haight

        December 6, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      • Cole,

        I try not to charge people who are of limited means. It’s not like I’m rolling in dough myself, but I try to give ordinary people a break when possible. I do this way too much LOL. Anyway, I was originally going to charge a very low fee to one of the soldiers. He’d sold a script and hadn’t been paid for it. I figured I’d change him something becuase he’d have extra money coming in, from the script, at the end of the day. Then I found out that he was seriously wounded. He was in something called the “community based Wounded Warrior Transition Program,” so that he could be treated at UCLA. He’d already had like 30 surgeries. When I found that out, I knew I couldn’t charge him anything, so I took his case pro bono.

        After that case, a bunch of those guys started calling. I never charge them. They are fighting for us, doing what we should be doing, and I don’t have the heart to make money from them. Back in the day a lot of them would go from active duty into the reserves so that they could work as contractors and, as you say, earn $200k working for Triple Canopy or whatever. Or defense contractors would employ them. One guy worked for Palantir, for example, even though he’s not a computer guy. But these days a lot of them are getting disability pensions. The military seems to take care of the Special Operations guys becuase they sacrifice so much. Anyway, they are nice guys and I don’t think it’s right to charge them.

        Joe Schmoe

        December 7, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    • I have taken several pro bono cases for members of the Special Forces and SEALS. Most of them are exceptionally competent people. Through those cases, I have also come into contact with ordinary, run-of-the-mil; members of the military — nurses, payroll clerks, etc. They are also very competent people. Focused, dedicated, well-trained. A lot less less bureaucratic, in terms of mindset, than you might think.

      Unfortunately, a huge percentage of enlisted guys have incredibly chaotic personal lives. The amount of white trash drama that goes on is UNBELIEVABLE. They get into disputes over divorce, child custody, extramarital affairs, restraining orders, used pickup trucks and motorcycles, insurance claims, etc., etc. — the list goes on and on. They fight about anything and everything. They have affairs with one each other’s wives and girlfriends. And in the social media era, the feuding is continuous, 24/7. Guys deployed in Afghanistan will feud with guys at home via text message, Instagram and Facebook.

      You might think that the elite soldiers, like SEALS and Special Forces guys, have less dysfunctional personal lives than ordinary soldiers who work as aircraft mechanics and payroll clerks. In my experience the opposite is true. Most of the elite soldiers (not all) are MORE dysfunctional than the ordinary soldiers. They are more capable and more dysfunctional at the same time. The drama that goes on is unreal. For example, elite solider A gets deployed to Iraq. While A is in Iraq, B — an elite solider in the same unit — will sleep with A’s wife. B will then take a nude photograph of A’s wife and send it to A in a text messages, stating “I [slept with] your wife!” Incredibly, when A gets back from his deployment, he will not necessarily hold a grudge against B! They’ll fight about other stuff — they fight about everything — but the infidelity won’t necessarily be seen as an especially big deal by either A or B. In the military enlisted ranks, stuff like this is fairly ROUTINE.

      It’s heartbreaking. Most enlisted soldiers are great people taking enormous risks. They are EXTREMELY disciplined, competent and capable. It’s terrible to see them engage in self-destructive behavior. I think the explanation is mostly cultural. I grew up in white trash America myself, in a lower-middle-class community in the Midwest. This sort of thing went on 25 years ago, when I was 20, but I think that white trash America has gotten more dysfunctional since then. I don’t know what is causing the dysfunction but there is a tremendous amount of it. I always tell the guys that they have got to eliminate the white trash drama from their lives. Thankfully most of them listen and have made great strides. They are doing reasonably well. But it’s pretty surprising when you first encounter it. The contrast between the dedication and overall competence of soldiers and the drama in some of their personal lives is pretty stark.

      Joe Schmoe

      December 6, 2016 at 6:15 pm

      • I’ve read that today’s military is disproportionately made up of Scots-Irish descendants – the fourth English wave from Albion’s Seed that settled the Appalachian backcountry – relative to their proportion of the overall population. Basically the group we think of as white trash today. Hundreds of years ago before they made it to the new world, they had a pastoral warrior culture on the borders of England and Scotland where they spent their time pulling the medieval equivalent of this same sort of shit. So I guess you could sort of say they’ve been bred for it.

        Jokah Macpherson

        December 6, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    • “I have a question for any military members here: What is the real stock of most of our fabled men and women in uniform?

      My impression, is that at least 90% of our warriors are desperate dummies/druggies (of various diversity) and/or women who want to be single moms on Uncle Sam’s dime.”

      That sounds like more a description of the military during the draft era. Surprise drug testing is pretty regular so it tends to weed (heh!) out the druggies. There are dummies in the military of course, but since the military has minimum ASVAB testing standards for admittance, the rate of dummies is a lot lower than out in the civilian world. I can’t speak for all of the military, but in the field I was in, people were mostly from the middle class and were looking to get college money and their man card stamped.

      Mike Street Station

      December 6, 2016 at 6:33 pm

  7. How much of that money went to X’mas trees n gifts for the offices of armed forces?

    This is the season to be jolly!

    JS

    December 6, 2016 at 4:22 pm

  8. Learn to love defense spending gentlemen.

    Trump’s nationalism won because he, in effect, promised to divert pork to traditionally Republican interest groups. One of the biggest of those special interest pigs is the military industrial complex. It along with the president-elect’s infrastructure plans are part of his industrial strategy to build a long-term Republican majority.

    The Libertarians are done, children. The Rust Belt can’t be won without giving pipeline contracts to construction firms in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

    Under Trump the Imperialistic Federalist* wing of the Republican Party is back in control of the GOP after a woeful absence of 84, disastrous, years for the country. The return of the Federalists means the American Empire will be bigger and better funded than ever, the deficit and gold standard be damned:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalist_Party

    The Undiscovered Jew

    December 6, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    • I agree.

      The tenants of Trumpism:

      1. Xenophobia
      2. Low tax, low reg, crony capitalism
      3. Law and order
      4. Massive, deficit financed, infrastructure and military spending

      This is how we will build our 50 year majority

      Otis the Sweaty

      December 6, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      • Sounds like Japan.

        gothamette

        December 6, 2016 at 7:53 pm

      • Tenants??

        driveallnight

        December 6, 2016 at 8:55 pm

      • Sounds like Japan.

        Minus the egregious military spending.

        Tenants??

        Hostages.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 6, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      • “Minus the egregious military spending.”

        Right. I realized that as soon as I clicked. Unz has the best comment site. You can edit.

        gothamette

        December 7, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      • “This is how we will build our 50 year majority”

        Good time to bring this up – what about the 47 million unregistered white voters? Let’s write off half – they are probably better off not voting.

        But what about the other half? That’s the making of a permanent 50 year majority. Got to get these guys registered. Who the hell are they? Who is not registered in this day & age? I am guessing they are mostly rural.

        “This is how we will build our 50 year majority”

        This is my answer to Ruy Teixeira, who is not the slightest upset about Trump’s win.

        http://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2016/11/15/13629814/trump-coalition-white-demographics-working-class

        There’s still a lot of white votes left, and they ain’t dying quite as quickly as Ruy wants us to.

        Then, when we’ve demonstrated How It’s Done, a lot of people will be calling themselves white. The flight to white, so to speak.

        gothamette

        December 7, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      • Ruy is making several mistakes:

        1. He assumes that college educated whites will continue to be as supportive of Democrats as they currently are. In truth, support for Dems amongst college whites has long been in decline, it was reversed in 2016 only due to college whites hatred of Trump. Three elections from now, Republicans will likely be winning about 80% of the non college white vote in addition to 60% of college educated whites.

        2. History has shown that the more whites you win, the more Asians and Hispanics you get with it.

        3. Hispanics and Asians are undergoing massive ethnic attrition to whites.

        4. The coming destruction of the immigrant community will dramatically slow down the growth of the non white population.

        5. The growth of the non white population is mainly concentrated in the following states: CA, AZ, TX, CO, NV, IL, NY, FL, NJ, VA. Of those states, only FL is neither safely blue or safely red. Republicans can make up for the potential loss of FL by winning over MN, NH and ME along with the re-allocation of electoral votes based on number of voting citizens, as opposed to total population.

        6. Trump is about to build a massive voter suppression machine along with a machine designed to get out the vote of downscale whites.

        We haven’t won the war yet, but we are in good position to win the war shortly.

        Otis the Sweaty

        December 7, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      • Unz has the best comment site. You can edit.

        The functionality does no good with commenters that low in quality.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 7, 2016 at 11:35 pm

      • Good time to bring this up – what about the 47 million unregistered white voters? Let’s write off half – they are probably better off not voting.

        By all means have them registered, boost existing registered white turnout by a few percentage points, and win more moderate suburban voters in 2020 who voted for Johnson or Hillary in 2016, and Trump should win the popular vote.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 7, 2016 at 11:37 pm

      • “By all means have them registered, boost existing registered white turnout by a few percentage points, and win more moderate suburban voters in 2020 who voted for Johnson or Hillary in 2016, and Trump should win the popular vote.”

        In my dreams. This is the answer to Teixeraism. But registering the upper half of that 47 million would take a massive effort. It’s so doable, though, with Trump in the WH. GOP-e didn’t want to touch them because they thought that these whites would vote Dem, or were too volatile to be trusted. Probably true.

        I agree w/Otis that Asians & Hispanics are undergoing ethnic attrition, but only because whites are still the majority (barely).

        We very nearly lost this country.

        We must smash the drug cartels. We must expose how they managed to infiltrate the country so thoroughly – I believe it started during the Clinton years and intensified during Bush II. During Obama it was open season on the country. It’s a total scandal.

        gothamette

        December 8, 2016 at 10:18 am

      • “Unz has the best comment site. You can edit.

        The functionality does no good with commenters that low in quality.”

        LOL. But he has built a very good comment functionality. I’ve given up commenting at Rod Dreher. That site is utter shit. (Don’t put down Dreher, sometimes he’s entertaining, although a total blabbermouth. He should study Lion’s style for succinctness.)

        gothamette

        December 8, 2016 at 10:21 am

      • I’ve given up commenting at Rod Dreher. That site is utter shit.

        Dreher was always moderate. But what is wrong with his site?

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 8, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      • But registering the upper half of that 47 million would take a massive effort. It’s so doable, though, with Trump in the WH.

        Its difficulty level would be medium.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 8, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      • “But what is wrong with his site?”

        The comment feature sucks. He gets dozens and dozens of comments, many more than Sailer and the comments go on for several webpages, they don’t scroll down. Sometimes he gets hundreds of responses.

        On Unz, you can see who has responded to whom, and if you hover the mouse over the responder, you see the response. Click on that, and you can hover the mouse over what you responded to and see the original comment.

        gothamette

        December 8, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    • So the last good republican president was…..Herbert Hoover? It’s been all downhill for the country since the depths of the great depression in 1932? Trump is some kind of GOP renegade for supporting out of control completely irrational military spending?

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

      magnavox

      December 6, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      • So the last good republican president was…..Herbert Hoover?

        There were two good GOP Presidents after Hoover: Reagan was the best, Eisenhower was second. The rest were average to below average (Ford, Nixon, Bush #1) or disastrous (Bush #2).

        It’s been all downhill for the country since the depths of the great depression in 1932?

        Yes. If the decline wasn’t obvious between 1932 and Kennedy’s assassination it was because our decline began from an exceptionally high peak in 1932 and because we won WWII thanks to an industrial base built during the 1865-1932 Golden Age. New Deal economics had less to do with our wartime manufacturing prowess than the overcapacity from the Roaring 20s; no aircraft carrier was built by Social Security.

        Btw, the generals who won the war such as Nimitz, Patton, MacArthur, etc, came of age during the Gilded Age, not the 1950s fake prosperity.

        Trump is some kind of GOP renegade for supporting out of control completely irrational military spending?

        Trump is not a renegade – he is restoring Robber Baron Nationalism to its rightful place as the leading wing of the Republicans:

        https://pragmaticallydistributed.wordpress.com/2016/11/17/the-robber-barron-nationalism-of-hamilton-lincoln-finds-a-potential-ally-in-trump/

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 6, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      • New Deal economics and the subsequent Democrat Civil War on America for the last eighty years is what we’ve been fighting. That is where American Capital built between 1865 and 1932 went.

        map

        December 7, 2016 at 4:18 am

      • he is restoring Robber Baron Nationalism

        The robber barons were pro immigration. One of the first results of the 1924 immigration restriction was that the robber barons all stopped building giant estates and townhouses because they could no longer afford to staff them. It was immigration restriction through the decrease in the influx of labor and the social cohesion that was able to develop among various white ethnic groups that allowed the robber barons to be effectively challenged.

        Reagan was the best, Eisenhower was second.
        Reagan destroyed the Republican party. Imagine if someone like Trump had been elected in 1980 instead Reagan. In 1980 we needed someone who recognized that our allies in Asia and Europe were beginning to overtake us, that we needed to totally rethink our economic and military relationships in light of the fact that they were no longer bombed out charity cases. And we also needed to cut off immigration, especially non white and non christian immigration. Reagan not only made those things worse but propagated the toxic economic ideology that has completely taken over the party and destroyed it.

        Eisenhower was the last good president of either party.

        Btw, the generals who won the war such as Nimitz, Patton, MacArthur, etc, came of age during the Gilded Age, not the 1950s fake prosperity.

        It was the soviet soldiers that won the war. While the post civil war period definitely hellish and unnecessarily harsh in many ways I agree it produced an incredible economic marvel in the US and many benefits. And without a doubt the northeastern WASP establishment that came to being after the Civil War were the best elites this country ever had.

        magnavox

        December 7, 2016 at 8:29 am

      • The robber barons were pro immigration. One of the first results of the 1924 immigration restriction was that the robber barons all stopped building giant estates and townhouses because they could no longer afford to staff them.

        Yes but that was whites only immigration. European immigration is a completely different topic than modern immigration because races are genetically predisposed to adopt better in some cultures than others.

        It was immigration restriction through the decrease in the influx of labor and the social cohesion that was able to develop among various white ethnic groups that allowed the robber barons to be effectively challenged.

        It’s more like robber baron nationalism was given up after Hoover. Alf Landon* was typical of the weak Progressive-minded opposition that Republicans put up to against the Left until Reagan.

        Imagine if someone like Trump had been elected in 1980 instead Reagan.

        So Magnavox finally becomes #AlwaysTrump!

        Reagan destroyed the Republican party. Imagine if someone like Trump had been elected in 1980 instead Reagan.

        Bush 1 got the ball rolling on demolishing the Republicans. It was also HW Bush who in 1990 raised legal immigration from the more moderate average of 500,000 to 600,000 during Reagan’s presidency to the 1 million it has been since.

        It was the soviet soldiers that won the war. While the post civil war period definitely hellish and unnecessarily harsh in many ways I agree it produced an incredible economic marvel in the US and many benefits.

        The Soviets were dependent on America to give them supplies. Without the manufacturing output we diverted to Russia they might still have lost to Germany despite their enormous effort and sacrifice before we could begin pushing Germany out of North Africa and Europe.

        And without a doubt the northeastern WASP establishment that came to being after the Civil War were the best elites this country ever had.

        True, but it was their Rockefeller Republican and radical Leftist* descendants such as Landon and Upton Sinclair* who gave up on their predecessor’s conservatism and built modern Liberalism with the New Deal and Great Society:

        Upton Sinclair in 1938:

        http://archive.org/stream/UptonSinclairOnTheSovietUnion/Upton-on-sovietUnion_djvu.txt

        It is also true that I have been studying the problem of Russia as earnestly as I know how for twenty years. There have been few days during that period that I have not sought some new facts and pondered them. I have had many a heartache over the things which have happened in Russia— so different from what I hoped for. I watched Gorky all through this period, and I know how he suffered and how more than once he wavered. But in the end he made up his mind that the Soviet regime was the best hope for the workers of Russia, and that is my conclusion today.

        * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alf_Landon

        After the communist revolution in China, he was one of the first to advocate recognition of Mao Zedong’s communist government, and its admission to the United Nations, when this was still a very unpopular position among the leadership and followers of both major parties.

        In 1961, Landon urged the U.S. to join the European Common Market.[1] In November 1962, when he was asked to describe his political philosophy, Landon said: “I would say practical progressive, which means that the Republican party or any political party has got to recognize the problems of a growing and complex industrial civilization. And I don’t think the Republican party is really wide awake to that.”[1] Later in the 1960s, Landon backed President Lyndon Johnson on Medicare and other Great Society programs.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 7, 2016 at 6:41 pm

      • Most of what you said was self evidently stupid. Robber barons voluntarily giving up their wealth and power? As for lend-lease helping the soviets win the war, you are correct. But I was responding to your original statement that American generals won the war, which I guess we both agree is incorrect.

        magnavox

        December 8, 2016 at 7:00 am

      • Most of what you said was self evidently stupid. Robber barons voluntarily giving up their wealth and power?

        Everything I wrote was correct. The Northeastern establishment did not give up wealth and power directly, starting with FDR they abandoned Hamiltonian Conservatism for Progressivism thinking they could get even better results with the latter ideology.

        As for lend-lease helping the soviets win the war, you are correct. But I was responding to your original statement that American generals won the war, which I guess we both agree is incorrect.

        I was responding to your comment that Soviets won the war. I pointed out they could not have without American supplies. The American generals did win the war because, supposing our intervention against Germany had been strictly limited to sending war material, the Germans might have been able to fight the Soviets to a draw or win outright if the Wehrmacht didn’t have to guard their Western flank, or only had to worry about Britain in the West which could not by itself have taken back France.

        America’s economic as well as direct military intervention was what brought about a decisive victory instead of a German victory or Continental stalemate.

        I guess we both agree you were incorrect.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 8, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    • This is how we will build our 50 year majority

      With that platform Republicans built a 67 year majority from 1865 to 1932, and turned America into the greatest industrial power of all time.

      Tru-libertarians (both mainstream Cato Libertarians and fringe Lew Rockwell types) oppose the government spending. Should they be executed along with the TruCon vermin or converted to the true faith?

      The Undiscovered Jew

      December 6, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      • Tru-libertarians (both mainstream Cato Libertarians and fringe Lew Rockwell types) oppose the government spending. Should they be executed along with the TruCon vermin or converted to the true faith?

        Extermination of the TruCons has been called off in the aftermath of Trump’s victory because they are are no longer relevant. Libertarians will likewise not be exterminated due to their own irrelevance.

        Otis the Sweaty

        December 6, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      • Extermination of the TruCons has been called off in the aftermath of Trump’s victory because they are are no longer relevant. Libertarians will likewise not be exterminated due to their own irrelevance.

        You’re going soft.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 6, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      • The libertarians need to realize that, due to the size of government, we have had a de-facto industrial policy going on decades. The government is 35% of the economy by taxation alone and it heavily regulates the rest.

        Isn’t it about time that we had the right industrial policy?

        Trump is actually following the correct approach. He realizes that there has not been a realistic cutoff between “free-market” and “government intervention” for decades. Why not simply use an industrial policy that is domestically beneficial instead of one pretending that is somehow part of some “free market.”

        map

        December 7, 2016 at 4:31 am

      • He realizes that there has not been a realistic cutoff between “free-market” and “government intervention” for decades. Why not simply use an industrial policy that is domestically beneficial instead of one pretending that is somehow part of some “free market.”

        The government intervention he’s inclined to is generally in agreement with pure Capitalism where government action is justifiable if it is in support of creating common economic conditions for private actors broadly. Directly intervening with specific private actors like Carrier is populism crony Capitalism, which though related is distinct from pure Capitalism. But his overall agenda would tilt the economic environment back towards a purer Capitalism as America has traditionally practiced it.

        Politically Capitalism has the potential to bring many more votes than Libertarianism because the latter’s agenda would cut into Republican special interest groups as much as Liberals.

        https://pragmaticallydistributed.wordpress.com/2016/11/26/infrastructures-place-in-capitalism/

        Capitalism – Government actors set the common business environment without favoring particular private actors; individual private actors are then free to take any business action within the boundaries of the established environment.
        Libertarianism – Private actors set the common business environment without favoring particular private actors; individual private actors are then free to take any business action within the boundaries of the established environment.
        Liberalism – Government actors set the common business environment without favoring particular actors; government actors then decide on all individual economic actions within the boundaries of the established environment.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 7, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      • “Extermination of the TruCons has been called off in the aftermath of Trump’s victory because they are are no longer relevant. Libertarians will likewise not be exterminated due to their own irrelevance.

        You’re going soft.”

        C’mon guys, we need their votes. Well, those who vote for Trump. The Johnson voters should be exterminated.

        gothamette

        December 7, 2016 at 9:34 pm

      • The Johnson voters should be exterminated.

        At last you’re coming to terms with your inner Otis.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 7, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    • Like Alexander Hamilton (in case it wasn’t obvious…) I prefer the budget to be in balance. But since Progressives have made a hash of the welfare state for eight decades in such a way that it can’t be easily reversed, I’ll go along with the deficit spending on infrastructure, tax cuts, mercantilism, armed forces, and warfare.

      We can tackle Medicare and Social Security in Trump’s second term.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      December 6, 2016 at 7:26 pm

      • What do you think of Trump’s trucon cabinet picks so far?

        gothamette

        December 8, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    • The proposed defense spending is not going to happen. Interest rates are already spiking. Uncle Sam is flat broke. Massive deficit spending is simply not possible going forward any more because the bond markets will not tolerate it. People don’t seem to get this. Whether Clinton or Trump, the 45th president was always slated to preside over both a bad recession and serious cuts to the federal budget.

      bob

      December 7, 2016 at 11:46 am

      • Maybe default on the old currency and issue a new currency? The debt is so huge and many see it as illegitimate. If Trump were to default on it, his base wouldn’t blame him (it’s Bush and even moreso Oblamoe’s fault, the crowd will chant). The base views the debts in many ways as illegitimate. The democrats would boo as they don’t believe deficits matter and would blame the default on Trump’s crazyness/incompetence, but it doesn’t matter. The country is clearly divided in half and both sides are diametrically opposed, so at this point anything goes. The real question is can we survive the chaos and what would arise from the chaos.

        OldTimer

        December 7, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      • The proposed defense spending is not going to happen. Interest rates are already spiking. Uncle Sam is flat broke.

        The Goldbugs never learn.

        He can first of all make up for the increased budget with higher economic growth. As an extra buffer the Imperial American dollar is backed by a metal better than Gold: enriched Uranium.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 7, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      • Japan’s bond market has put up with it and the US bond market will do the same. When bonds eventually do rise, and they will, every developed country will have a currency crisis. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

        Otis the Sweaty

        December 8, 2016 at 1:23 am

  9. Why don’t Republicans privatize the military? I mean if it’s good for social security, why isn’t it good for national security?

    Yakov

    December 6, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    • A lot of the military is already privatized. That’s what all the defense contractors are.

      destructure

      December 6, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    • Cheer up.

      The military has HVAC repair contracts waiting with for you.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      December 6, 2016 at 7:23 pm

      • The HVAC sucked at the building at Fort Belvoir, I wish that they could have had a competent guy like Yakov there.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 6, 2016 at 8:19 pm

      • The HVAC sucked at the building at Fort Belvoir, I wish that they could have had a competent guy like Yakov there.

        Yakov knows where Trump Tower is. It’s just a matter of him offering him his business card.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 6, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      • The sidewalk at Trump Tower was blocked off again today. Can he finish this cabinet stuff or do it somewhere else, like Mar-a-Lago? So annoying!

        gothamette

        December 7, 2016 at 9:37 pm

      • The sidewalk at Trump Tower was blocked off again today. Can he finish this cabinet stuff or do it somewhere else, like Mar-a-Lago? So annoying!

        The presence of the Secret Service around Trump Tower is most likely going to remain as long as he is president. You have an annoying 8 years ahead of you.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 7, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    • Cheer up.

      The military has HVAC repair contracts waiting with for your signature.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      December 6, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    • Everything that the gov’t touches turns into crap. Just look at Obama Care and the snafu during the initial launching of its website where applicants were trying to sign up and the site falters due to overcapacity.

      JS

      December 7, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      • Medicare is great. Even Republicans love it.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 7, 2016 at 9:58 pm

      • You can say it is an old program and geared towards seniors and disabled younger people.

        Anything fomented by the gov’t today or recently would be a disaster.

        JS

        December 7, 2016 at 10:52 pm

  10. But, in a post scarcity economy, can there be such a thing as government waste? The Pentagon should be praised for their foresight, no?

    beancrusher

    December 6, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    • A very interesting point. But alas, no one is praising them for creating jobs for government contractors. And also, government contractors are value transference organizations in which a few people at the top make all the money.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 6, 2016 at 8:11 pm

      • One large government defense contractor put food on the table for four generations of my family. My 90-year old grandmother has been enjoying my grandfather’s contractor pension for over 40 years!

        E. Rekshun

        December 7, 2016 at 10:48 am

    • It’s a waste, because gov’t funds are not used efficiently. Such money could have made many Middle White Americans satisfied with the status quo.

      JS

      December 6, 2016 at 8:36 pm

  11. Trump is probably going to cut costs on the military. He’s already making it clear for Air Force One and the gravy train deal granted to Boeing.

    JS

    December 6, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    • Hear, hear. Let’s go back to the M-14!

      Vincent

      December 6, 2016 at 9:02 pm

  12. Only $125 billion?

    (Kinda joking, but not really.)

    Vincent

    December 6, 2016 at 9:23 pm

  13. “Sounds like Japan.”

    Cool. No minorities.

    Vincent

    December 6, 2016 at 9:26 pm

  14. I worked in defense communications in the ’70s and ’80s at RCA, GE, and two startups. We bid very competitively to win DoD contracts against hungry, equally determined rivals, so profit margins were shaved to the bone. On challenging technology-development contracts, we often ended up losing money as unforeseeable difficulties made a farce of the schedule.

    If a big system eventually went into long-term production, our profit margin was set by tough negotiations with seasoned DoD contract specialists and their hired expert advisers in the private sector. There was no waste to speak of.

    Mark Caplan

    December 7, 2016 at 12:21 am

    • Yes, this was my experience at a large government defense contractor in the ’80s.

      E. Rekshun

      December 7, 2016 at 1:01 am

  15. “Unfortunately, a huge percentage of enlisted guys have incredibly chaotic personal lives.”

    Read this whole post by Joe Schmoe.

    I was on active duty almost thirty years ago-as an ROTC graduate officer. I was frankly kind of shocked by the behavior of -enlisted and officers-: guys sleeping with other guys wives when they were in the field, wives cheating on their husbands (I even knew of a white officer’s wife who was cheating with a black enlisted soldier), and so on. My commanding officer cheated on his wife with his deputy commander’s wife. I had lived a pretty insulated midwestern life, so perhaps my shock was naivete.

    One thing nobody is addressing: military spending is almost by definition unnecessary and a boondoggle. I don’t mean that the military is unnecessary: I mean that nobody knows the best way to be a military at peace, and a military at peace is spending money that is effectively arbitrary, so every dollar it spends is ‘wasted.’ I’ll give you one really minor example.

    Reserve and National Guard soldiers meet one weekend a month and two weeks during the summer. What does it mean for a soldier, who works 36 days a year (11 weekends plus 14 days), to be ‘ready’?
    You are probably imaging that those soldiers go out and do maneuvers for two days once a month (say, pretend to be on a patrol in the woods, or dig foxholes, or something). Assume you are right (but you are not): how do you define a ‘good’ ‘patrol’? Is it just walking? Walking, but paying attention? As long as they wrote a patrol order before the practice, is it ‘good’? Do they take it seriously (put camo on their face, get all of their wartime equipment out, do it in the rain or good weather, etc etc)? But would ‘doing it seriously’ be the best use of their time (for instance: if they put camo on, and get all of their equipment out for the patrol, you have to allocate time to clean up, and clean that equipment. Is the best use of time for a 36 day a year soldier to spend half of his time cleaning his uniforms and backpack, because he walked in the rain for two hours on Saturday)?

    As I said, those soldiers aren’t going out ‘on patrol’ anyway. They are normally in the barracks (armory) doing paperwork. Or getting a medical and dental checkup (yep. Those part time soldiers spend 10% of their time on duty going to the doctor and dentist-and lawyer, to make sure their wills and legal situation is up to date and they are ready for deployment). They spend one weekend a year (almost 10% of their duty time) with a Christmas Party in the December drill. And so on. And this issue isn’t unique to reservists; active duty soldiers have the same tradeoffs of time, and the same combinations of duties that appear clearly valuable to clearly nonsense, and everything in between. There’s no bottom line to say: ‘this is clearly valuable, so do it more often’ (there’s no equivalent to ‘I sold 150 hammers in my hardware store today, and brought home $1500. This was a productive use of my time’). Every use of time and expense is almost arbitrary.

    The point is: nobody knows what an appropriate use of time would really be. We know that soldiers that are in shape are better than those that aren’t: that soldiers that are trained (at what? Keeping their paperwork up to date? Disassembling a machine gun? treating a wound? Advising a fellow soldier that is lonely?) are better: but exactly how all this fits together to be the ‘most efficient’ is simply not known.

    Another really minor example: your average soldier fires his weapon (on a firing range) once a year. Is that good? Should they fire twice a year? Or once a month? Or once a year, but go to the dentist once a year? Once a year, and do affirmative action training once a year? Twice a year, and spend X hours exercising? What is the ‘best’ use of time? Its simply unknowable.

    Outside of war (when the mission is defined, and known, and success or failure are identifiable), the military is by definition a boondoggle. I’m not saying it isn’t necessary or valuable, but that identifying ‘efficiency’ in the military is impossible, even relative to other government agencies (much less private interests).

    Private Practice? If you bring in enough money to pay expenses, and have profit of X, success.
    The Post office? If your mail gets to where its supposed to within 4 days: success.
    The Military during peacetime? What’s the comparable metric?

    anon

    anonymousse

    December 7, 2016 at 5:57 am

    • “One thing nobody is addressing: military spending is almost by definition unnecessary and a boondoggle. I don’t mean that the military is unnecessary: I mean that nobody knows the best way to be a military at peace, and a military at peace is spending money that is effectively arbitrary, so every dollar it spends is ‘wasted.’ I’ll give you one really minor example.”

      This is a very shrewd point, and one reason why its a good idea to keep the military small if you don’t face a serious near-term threat. If the potential threats are across water, keep the navy up to par but the army small, do the reverse if nearly all your borders are on land. And traditionally the US did this.

      Another trade-off is that historically there seems to be a difference between fighting smallish imperialist wars like Iraq/ Afghanistan and big wars with other great powers. Doing the first type of war frequently seems to make armies less prepared for wars of the second type.

      However, bureaucracy and paperwork in the US military seems to have grown quite a bit in the last twenty-five years, so a “cut this stuff back to how it was in the 1990s” strategy could work.

      Ed

      December 7, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    • Thus is a no brainer. The army needs to train constantly and engage in military conflicts in order not to lose its edge. If there are no conflicts, it should create them to test its, weapons, combat readiness and ability. This is just so much common sense that I don’t know why I’m even saying it.

      Yakov

      December 7, 2016 at 7:56 pm

  16. So it looks like no Kobach for DHS. There is no good way to spin this, he was the guy we wanted but the guy who Trump put there is ex military and might be okay.

    A lot of ex military in Trump’s cabinet. Probably just because he likes military guys but maybe he wants the GOPe to be afraid of him staging a coup.

    Otis the Sweaty

    December 7, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    • Apparently Kobach is going to be deputy head of DHS, so forget what I said earlier, this is a good thing.

      Now lets get to work on the destruction of the immigrant community. Not only is it our number 1 policy priority (remember, the TruCons have already exterminated themselves so exterminating them has been crossed off of our to do list), but it is key to Trump’s re-election. If the immigrant community is not annihilated, Trump will not win re-election.

      Otis the Sweaty

      December 7, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      • I don’t think that the TruCons have been exterminated. They are just biding their time in Congress waiting for their chance. Remember that the TruCons in Congress could orchestrate a Trump impeachment. That would put Mike Pence in charge, who is probably more acceptable to the TruCons. The TruCons would need Democratic votes to actually remove Trump from office, but that might not be all that difficult.

        mikeca

        December 7, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      • magnavox

        December 7, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      • Trump has 50% approval. He is far and away the most popular figure amongst Republican voters. He is in the early stages of replacing all levels of party with Trump loyalists.

        The only way the party will remove Trump from office is if Trump loses his support amongst Republican voters. That will not happen as long as Trump succeeds in his task of the destruction of the immigrant community.

        Otis the Sweaty

        December 7, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    • Now lets get to work on the destruction of the immigrant community.

      A perfectly moderate statement. And to think there are misguided individuals who think you are some sort of extremist.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      December 7, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    • I think Kobach overstepped by “leaking” the “Kobach plan;” Trump saw it as a presumptuous/embarrassing/disloyal attempt to force him to choose Kobach.

      snorlax

      December 7, 2016 at 11:05 pm

  17. Lion, This is off topic, but what do you think this guy pays for his apt per month in this video?

    At 2:59 it looks like he has a doorman.

    At about 8:04 it looks like the entrance.

    ttgy

    December 7, 2016 at 3:39 pm

  18. Comment on DailyKos:

    “IMO, there’s a lot of un-informed people out there. Like I was. Until I found Daily Kos.”

    Otis the Sweaty

    December 7, 2016 at 4:05 pm

  19. Awesome article on Vox about how the destruction of the immigrant community will be enough to re-elect Trump:

    http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/12/6/13818948/trump-racism-popular

    Otis the Sweaty

    December 7, 2016 at 4:22 pm

  20. Lion are you editing comments you don’t like now?

    magnavox

    December 7, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    • Comments that violate the rules can be edited or deleted.

      If you want to make comments that violate my rules which won’t be edited, then I suggest the Stormfront message boards.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 7, 2016 at 9:07 pm

      • Did my post on the cost of the apt go through? I;m curious what that costs because I think guy in the video inherited money.

        I don’t see how he affords it with the part-time job he has.

        ttgy

        December 7, 2016 at 10:07 pm

      • How about that, it got auto-flagged as spam. I unspammed it.

        And yes, it looks like the guy with the weird facial hair has his own washer/dryer in his apartment, a normal amenity everywhere else in the United States but an extreme luxury in Manhattan.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 7, 2016 at 10:16 pm

      • Where are the rules? Do you read all the comments or just search for keywords (or is it just keyword)?

        magnavox

        December 8, 2016 at 6:55 am

      • It appears that the guy in the video is a bridge and tunnel type. He doesn’t live in Manhattan, therefore to own a cleaner and dryer in one’s apt is the norm.

        JS

        December 10, 2016 at 11:09 am

      • And is he a prole or a SWPL? He seems to be a prole with cash to splash.

        JS

        December 10, 2016 at 11:13 am


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