Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The weekly Daley: Beat more swords into plowshares

From page A6 | February 08, 2013 |

Word out of Washington is that “they” may cut pay increases to the military by a percent or so. That’s a slap in the face not only to the soldiers but also to their families — and to all off us. And the reason is because of the sequestration deal that’s looming a little over the horizon. That’s the deal manufactured by one of the “gang of gangs” to punish each other and us for not negotiating a budget and debt deal a year-and-a-half ago.

Taking it out of the troops’ paychecks is a pretty chicken way to save money. No doubt it will save some money, but there’s a lot of much pricier stuff that could be looked at before you start biting the hand that feeds you, in a manner of speaking. And there’s a real smack of disingenuousness in referring to all our troops as “heroes” on Monday and cutting their pay on Tuesday.

Many of us are led to believe that there is tremendous waste and fraud in the medical/healthcare industry. Whether or not it’s really true, I don’t know, but I suspect if not a tremendous amount, there’s plenty.

Likewise, who could doubt that there’s every bit as much waste and fraud connected to defense and the military/industrial complex Eisenhower warned us about so long ago?

Julian Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton and online commentator wrote this week:

“Despite all the dramatic rhetoric (about how much the cuts will degrade the military), the fact is that the United States spent more in 2011 ($711 billion) than did China, Russia, the UK, France, Japan, India, Saudia Arabia, Germany, Brazil, Italy, South Korea, Australia and Canada combined ($695 billion).”

He also quoted Time Magazine reporting that even with all the cuts in the sequestration, our overall defense spending would only be reduced from 40 percent of the world’s defense spending to 38 percent. Much of our spending is generated by legislators whose districts include big-time defense contractors. Meanwhile, we’re told that a significant portion is being spent on old weapons or technology the military no longer even wants.

Zelizer leans a bit to the left, but if the data is accurate, how can we justify not reducing defense spending of that magnitude? Who are the enemies that we need to outspend 10 or 20 or 50 or a billion to one? The Shoe Bomber? The Underwear Bomber? The rebel army in Mali? Al Qaeda is still out there along with any number of what’s called al Qaeda-linked organizations, most of which have no particular agenda that includes bringing us down. They’re too busy fighting for their own survival in failed states whose economies are primarily based on sand. And most of them think a nation without sports, TV and beer, but with women you can’t see and lots of severed hands would be heaven on earth.

We need super strong homeland security and super alert intelligence systems and super effective Special Forces and super reliable allies. Gazillion-dollar nuclear submarines and globe-shattering missiles and the like aren’t going to catch the occasional nut who puts a bomb in his drawers.

Threatening to begin draconian deficit reduction by picking the pockets of soldiers is about as blatantly political a scheme as one could imagine. I get it. It’s meant to shame Congress into taking some realistic and legitimate steps toward cutting debt and balancing a budget, and with any luck, taking a hard look at why we are spending $700-plus billion a year on defense.

Chris Daley is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. His column appears each Friday. 





Sand Fire nears containment: 66 structures destroyed

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

District 2 candidate statements tell of goals

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

Schedule for Highway 50 blasting closures

By News Release | From Page: A3

Tails wagging over dog park approval

By Julie Samrick | From Page: A3

Quarter-acre fire in Kelsey

By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A3



My Turn: Privatization of public services

By Mark Belden | From Page: A4

Policy book

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4



GDPUD management report

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

District 2 supervisorial special election

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Piano replaced

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Comments sign-in policy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Save the Guinea Worm

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Large bangs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

Private property gets no respect

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment



Ex-Bruin lends a helping hand

By Steven Shaff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Sierra Sharks finish middle of the pack

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

Roundup: July 29, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

Taz pull through for SSL trophy

By Patty Pope | From Page: A8



Nuns discover a pleasant place

By Lexi Boeger | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Bargains can be found everywhere

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

At a glance: Game time

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

Barbecue dinner to benefit Blue Star Moms

By Mount Aukum Winery | From Page: B2

Stroke and osteoporosis screenings planned

By Life Line Screening | From Page: B3

Stagecoach story takes riders on a trip

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B3

Help needed to make cool ties

By Sew 4 | From Page: B3

Gold Rush Days activities cancelled this year

By Sacramento Convention And Visitors Center | From Page: B4

Master Food Preservers: Tomato time

By Monique Wilber | From Page: B4

Build an author platform at the Library

By El Dorado | From Page: B5

Sacramento area museums offer summer fun

By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B5



Weather stats 7-29-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Building permits 6/2-6/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

Crime Log: July 17

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2



Merlyn Wilbur Adams

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Lisa Oliver Rose

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate




Women’s Health

Love the skin you’re in

By Noel Stack | From Page: WH4

Dump stress and improve your health, productivity

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: WH7Comments are off for this post

Women’s Health Expo

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH8

Find the confidence you need to fight back

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH12

Our choices directly affect our health

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH14

They’re NOT your mother’s hearing devices!

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH17