Military Buying Italian Planes At $50 Million A Piece . . . And Sending Them Directly To “Boneyard”

220px-Alenia_C-27J_(Pratica_di_Mare)_edit1220px-B52sdestroyedWhile the federal and state governments continue to cut programs for education, scientific research, and the environment, the Pentagon continues to spend wildly on items and them toss them out. We recently saw how they prefer to deliver bags of money to Karzai, buy Russian aircraft that Afghans can’t fly or maintain, or build huge buildings to be then torn down unused. Of course, no one is ever fired for constructing massive buildings that no one wants only to tear them down. After all, these are contracts going to powerful companies with friends in the government. Now, we buying huge planes at $50 million a pop only to roll them directly from the factories into mothballs because no one wants them. To make this even more incomprehensible, we are not even making the cargo planes. Like the Russian helicopters that the Afghans cannot fly, we are buying the cargo planes from Italy . . . and we are continuing to order more as we struggle to find places to dump them.

The dozen Italian-built C-27J Spartans have been shipped to an Air Force facility in Arizona dubbed “the boneyard.” We are ordering five more, which are expected to be immediately sent with the others into mothballs. The Air Force has spent $567 million on 21 of the planes which will join some 4,400 other aircraft and 13 aerospace vehicles at the boneyard — more than $35 billion of unused airplanes.

Why order planes to be immediately mothballed? Ohio’s senators, Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman wanted them to give a mission for Mansfield Air National Guard Base and to save 800 jobs. So we will spend $567 million to save 800 jobs. Wouldn’t it have been easier to give half a million to each of their constituents and save the rest of the money?

Of course, with citizens rising up against the latest effort of the Administration and Congress to intervene in another war, we could have a pile up of unused weapons . . . until we find a use for them.

89 thoughts on “Military Buying Italian Planes At $50 Million A Piece . . . And Sending Them Directly To “Boneyard”

  1. This kind of stuff really infuriates me. The military budget needs to be cut IMMEDIATELY. This kind of waste has no justification. Why all this talk of raising taxes when they waste our tax money this way? The bigger the federal government gets, the more this kind of wasteful nonsense spending will go on. They have TOO MUCH MONEY. When are taxpayers going to wake up and realize this and stop voting to give them more of our hard earned money?

  2. They can be used to ship caviar and filet mignon steaks to the generals who run the joint:

    Then-defense secretary Robert M. Gates stopped bagging his leaves when he moved into a small Washington military enclave in 2007. His next-door neighbor was Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, who had a chef, a personal valet and — not lost on Gates — troops to tend his property.

    Gates may have been the civilian leader of the world’s largest military, but his position did not come with household staff. So, he often joked, he disposed of his leaves by blowing them onto the chairman’s lawn.

    “I was often jealous because he had four enlisted people helping him all the time,” Gates said in response to a question after a speech Thursday. He wryly complained to his wife that “Mullen’s got guys over there who are fixing meals for him, and I’m shoving something into the microwave. And I’m his boss.”

    Of the many facts that have come to light in the scandal involving former CIA director David H. Petraeus, among the most curious was that during his days as a four-star general, he was once escorted by 28 police motorcycles as he traveled from his Central Command headquarters in Tampa to socialite Jill Kelley’s mansion

    The commanders who lead the nation’s military services and those who oversee troops around the world enjoy an array of perquisites befitting a billionaire, including executive jets, palatial homes, drivers, security guards and aides to carry their bags, press their uniforms and track their schedules in 10-minute increments. Their food is prepared by gourmet chefs. If they want music with their dinner parties, their staff can summon a string quartet or a choir.

    The elite regional commanders who preside over large swaths of the planet don’t have to settle for Gulfstream V jets. They each have a C-40, the military equivalent of a Boeing 737

    (American Feudalism – 3</a?, quoting The Washington Post). Think how much money is being saved by not shipping the gourmet food by freezer trucks.

  3. Giant Pentagon Budget Is Unauditable


    The federal government is currently in a state of shutdown thanks to a small faction of extremist Republicans who vehemently bellow that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will have a catastrophic economic effect on our country. These members of Congress are so irrational about the ACA that they have caused the furlough of nearly 800,000 federal workers — some of whom handle vitally important tasks such as safety inspections, monitoring our food supply and detecting epidemic outbreaks. Congress, however, has failed to address the worst excesses in the federal budget — the bloated, highly wasteful military budget. More than half of federal discretionary spending now goes to the military budget. Many more taxpayer dollars are devoted to the Department of Defense than to the critical needs of our citizenry, including the flawed Obamacare which should be replaced with single payer — full Medicare for all.

    Unfortunately, curbing the worst excesses of an out-of-control military industrial complex is not a front burner issue for the 40 or so Tea Party Republicans currently stomping their feet in Congress about health care reform. Instead, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who has recently emerged as the de-facto leader of the opposition to Obamacare, has accused his opponents in Congress of “holding the military hostage” by not giving in to the demands of the extremists in his party.

    So let us focus a critical lens on the Pentagon budget. Including all the extra expenditures for various unlawful overseas military exploits, the U.S. defense budget for 2013 is estimated to be around $716 billion (not counting defense expenses in other civilian departments.) To strike a comparison,China, the next biggest military spender, has a budget of $106 billion as reported by their government. Remarkably, you can add the military budgets of the next ten largest spending countries and still not match the U.S.’s astronomical military budget — which is fully half of the U.S. government’s entire operating budget, post Soviet Union, no less!

    For far too long the American public has bought into the highly-profitable fear mongering and propaganda-spreading of corporate contractors like Lockheed Martin and Boeing. President Eisenhower famously warned of the dangers of the military industrial complex in his farewell address. We’re now seeing the devastating result of unchecked, reckless spending on costly, unnecessary high-tech weapons of mass destruction. When it comes to spending, the Pentagon is stuck in Lockheed Martin’s horror shop of weaponized mayhem.

    Which leads us the most important question — where do all these billions of dollars go? Don’t ask the Pentagon, because they can’t or won’t tell you. Years of poor expense managing and book balancing has led to so many documented cases of waste and fraud that it’s hard to keep up. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) every year declares the Pentagon budget to be “un-auditable.” The GAO website lists the DOD financial management as “High Risk”, reporting that: “Significant financial and related business management systems and control weaknesses have adversely affected DOD’s ability to control costs; ensure basic accountability; anticipate future costs and claims on the budget; measure performance; maintain funds control; prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse; address pressing management issues; and prepare auditable financial statements.”

    Here are just a few examples of the waste.

    The Pentagon’s F-35 joint strike fighter program has already cost nearly $400 billion (70 percent higher than the initial cost estimate) and is plagued with hundreds of reliability and performance problems. Before that, it was the F-22 program which cost nearly $80 billion. Rife with its own production woes and cost overruns, 187 F-22′s were produced out of a planned 648. Not one of them has flown a combat mission. Even former combat pilot Sen. John McCain admits the whole project was a waste, based on military strategies that are no longer relevant.

    The Navy’s latest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, is expected to cost $12.8 billion — a 22 percent increase in cost since its construction began in 2008. (Notice a pattern?) The Pentagon expects to build three of them at a projected cost of $48 billion. The U.S. Navy currently has eleven aircraft carriers — not a single one of which is matched in size or capability by a vessel in the fleet of any other country on Earth. Despite the extraordinary cost and the lack of necessity, the Navy continues to request and be granted more of these behemoths.

    Another Cold War-era weapon the Pentagon continues to fund construction of is nuclear submarines. The Navy has plans to build twelve new ballistic missile subs at an estimated cost of $100 billion. What potential global adversary exists today that warrants such a large fleet of nuke-armed submarines? Reducing our cache of nuclear weapons would itself save $35 billion — a move Russia says it would match.

    Internal auditors for the Pentagon have discovered numerous cases of highly questionable overcharges by corporate contractors in Iraq like Halliburton and its subsidiary KBR. These overcharges on such services as fuel and meal delivery have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. The eye-opening documentary Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteersrevealed some extraordinary examples–charging $100 for washing a bag of laundry and $45 for a case of soda.

    Smaller wastes add up too. An internal audit from the Army Human Resources Command recently revealed that the Army paid $16 million to soldiers that were deserters or designated AWOL over a two-and-half year period. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) released an oversight report last year that documented how DOD could save $67 billion over ten years by cutting such outrageous expenditures as “Pentagon-branded beef jerky”, “Pentagon-run microbreweries”, and “a smart phone app to alert users when to take a coffee break.”

    Absurd spending sprees have become routine for the ravenous, corporatized military. According to a 2009 report from Mother Jones magazine, the military wasted about $296 billion in cost overruns in 2008. Imagine that–in one year, the United States blewabout two-thirds more in its poorly managed military budget then China spent on its military. The defense budget of the entire European Union in 2008 was $281 billion–still less than the Pentagon frittered away. Considering such a colossal failure in money management, where is the Tea Party? How can the self-proclaimed party of smaller government and fiscal responsibility look the other way? Talk about chronic hypocrisy!

    On the eve of this week’s government shutdown, the Pentagon decided to go on an all out shopping spree. They awarded 94 contracts to various contractors totaling about $5 billion. Based on their track record, such an enormous overnight expenditure should raise some serious concerns in Congress.

    Instead, House Republicans have chosen to make their stand on the potential bloated costs and excess wastes of the Affordable Care Act. Now seems like an ideal time to turn the attention to the $716 billion elephant in the room. If we are going to shutdown non-essentials in our country, let us start by shutting down the waste and fraud in our military budget.

    Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.

  4. We recently saw how they prefer to deliver bags of money to Karzai …” – JT

    He recently said some bad things about us:

    Hamid Karzai has ruled out signing a security deal with the United States until disagreements over sovereignty are resolved. In angry remarks, the Afghan president condemned the Nato alliance for a military occupation that had caused “a lot of suffering, a lot of loss of life and no gains because the country is not secure”.

    “They commit their violations against our sovereignty and conduct raids against our people, air raids and other attacks in the name of the fight on terrorism and in the name of the resolutions of the United Nations. This is against our wishes and repeatedly against our wishes,” Karzai said, using some of his harshest language to date against the US-led military coalition.

    “The United States and its allies, Nato, continue to demand even after signing the BSA they will have the freedom to attack our people, our villages. The Afghan people will never allow it.”

    (Guardian). But look on the bright side, think about what he would have said if he wasn’t being given truck loads of cash.

  5. Even in wartime, military procurement often made no sense. One of my uncles was on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific during WW2. Among his duties, he had to write reports…a lot of them. All the reports were typed. When a typewiter ribbon wore out, if a requisition chit were sent to the storekeeper, they usually got a note back saying the Navy had determined a ribbon ought to last a certain length of time, and until the time was up, no new ribbon. My uncle said the work-around for that was to carry the offending typewriter up to the highest point on the superstructure and toss it off onto the flight deck below. Since it was wartime, “battle damaged” equipment was replaced promptly.

    The sailors found it easier to replace typewriters than typewriter ribbons. Some things never change.

  6. “Why order planes to be immediately mothballed? Ohio’s senators, Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman wanted them to give a mission for Mansfield Air National Guard Base and to save 800 jobs. So we will spend $567 million to save 800 jobs. Wouldn’t it have been easier to give half a million to each of their constituents and save the rest of the money?”

    Depends on what you mean by constituents, and whose constituents.

    Stupid only goes so far in explaining things, but add avarice and greed and the skids are greased for truly mind-boggling schemes.

    Italy probably got something out of this exchange besides money, the U.S. probably got something out of it besides airplanes, and someone else is probably going to get something out of both of them — like an order from Italy for new aircraft from an American aircraft manufacturer funded with low-interest loans for the US? That’s too obvious, but there is a game afoot.

    And the American taxpayers are going to pay for it, even more than they already have.

  7. What this blog post misses, is that the termination costs pursuant to the FAR would likely have almost equaled the price of the additional aircraft because they were near completion. Furthermore, the facility they are being sent to isn’t exactly a graveyard for aircraft.

    Let’s not blame the military here–like many of you have done–blame Congress. The military did the right thing here: they tried to cancel the program earlier and couldn’t. So then they went and, instead of spending millions of dollars and receiving NOTHING, they spent just a little bit more and received the aircraft.

  8. There has to be a quid pro quo here. My suspicion is that the bargain is for the US to place bases and/or equipment in Italy. Or perhaps military airspace and seaport docking permissions.

    They couldn’t be trying to curry favor with a certain SCOTUS justice could they? Nah….that’s too preposterous.

  9. It’s Congress. It’s not the military, the Pentagon, or the government.

    It would be even better to say “the politicians”.

    All ‘government’ stupidity and waste is done by elected officials and political appointees. Ordinary civil servants (and ordinary soldiers) do not do these things.

    (At the highest level, Chiefs of Staff or, say, the Head of the FDA, these people are political appointees even though they originate from the military or civil service.)

  10. I can make fun of Italians and Italy, having immunity by virtue of birth. That’s the PC world in which we live.

  11. “Who the hell’s idea was it to buy planes from the Italians?”

    I hear they get you there on time when flying in reverse.

  12. Oro, You’re confusing w/ French planes who only can taxi in reverse. The Italian planes just sit on the tarmac and never fly, because the pilot and ATC are constantly arguing. However, during the imbroglio, they feed you a great meal on the Italian plane. Their planes are just restaurants on wheels, like huge food trucks.

  13. And with the McCutcheon v Federal Elections Commission case now before the US Supreme Court, we could see this kind of obligatory wasteful spending skyrocket as even more politicians will be even deeper in the pockets of the defense industry big shots.

    Yes, it is the politicians giving the military things they don’t want or need in their own self interest. These things do help politicians’ constituents back home, and thus that helps the politicians, and that is the real point.

    In case you should ask, no, we can’t use any of that money for things like PTSD treatment, rehabilitation for head injuries, prosthetic devices, transition counseling from military to civilian life, in-service and post-service suicide prevention, and such. Because, you know, that’s just a vote here and a vote there. Meh.

    Seriously, how many terribly injured soldiers and their families could be truly helped if the costs of just a few of these planes were diverted in their direction? That, I could support.

  14. To follow up on what Rick in Salt Lake said. I just watched the documentary Poster Girl. If anyone has not seen the film, it is worth your time. Not a long film, about thirty minutes. It is the story of former Army Sergeant Robynn Murray. Poster Girl was nominated for an Academy Award as best documentary. It is currently on Netflix.

  15. This should make people very suspicious of the administration’s claims to care about the budget and the welfare of our people.

    The govt. shutdown reveals quite a bit about where the overlord’s values truly lie. This would be the overlords in Congress and the Executive Branch, Republicans and Democrats alike. It is clear that the budget has a real agenda, one not condusive to a good life for human beings, the earth and its creatures.

    Again and again we see money and resources allocated to waste and death while people go hungry, jobless and homeless. That’s not a accident. It is by design. We are heading for all out austerity-a goal shared by a Democratic president, and Congress and Socialists in other nations.

    Recently, Obama had the money to raid Somalia and Libya. Congress has money for this program. We need to pay attention to these people’s real priorities. Those show up in their budget. They work for the 2 percent and it behooves us all not to mistake that fact.

  16. This boondoggle of a quid pro quo is blood money for the lives of Italian service people who were/are sacrificed in support of the US governments wars in Iraq/Afghanistan.

  17. Dan 1, October 8, 2013 at 10:13 am

    It’s Congress. It’s not the military, the Pentagon, or the government.

    It would be even better to say “the politicians”.

    All ‘government’ stupidity and waste is done by elected officials and political appointees. Ordinary civil servants (and ordinary soldiers) do not do these things.

    (At the highest level, Chiefs of Staff or, say, the Head of the FDA, these people are political appointees even though they originate from the military or civil service.)
    Have you wondered why the glorification of the competence of the military takes place in parallel with the demonization of “government” in the LSD media?

  18. Jill: Child, you are all over the place. Pick an opinion and see it through.

    Dredd: Excellent point. I always laugh when people say the government can’t do anything right, but totally support the military industrial complex.

  19. I agree with OS that this purchase is possibly related to our large expansion of military bases in Italy. No matter what the reason is, it stinks.

  20. Oro, I’m brushing up, headed to Italy and France. My French is actually a bit better, took it in high school and college. The problem is the Italians are grateful for you trying, Mexicans are like that also. The French, well their pompous a-holes. C’est la vie. They make good wine and cheese.

  21. Hey Nick, I hear Italian helicopters go WOP WOP WOP !!

    PS. my children are half Italian. The only bad jokes are the ones told in malice, and or purposeful puissance to belittle.
    However I have personally found, that myself as speaker of some such jokes, to be interpreted differently by the listeners to some such jokes.
    I have calmed my amusing stereotypical joke telling down several notches and feel personally better off for it.

    One day at my Father-in-Laws house he was on the phone. The guy on the other end called him a F-n Dago. OOPs. ….. I thought an atomic bomb went off in the house!!!!! He was a WWll vet and could be very expressive. …. I never called him that!!!! …somehow the phone survived.:o)

  22. david, If you have tempered ethnic humor because you feel better, then bravo. I have no problem w/ that. If you did it because of PC pressure, “booo, boooo! Good natured boos.

    We have become a culture of worry warts. Worrying about terrorists, weather, finances, OFFENDING PEOPLE. The problem w/ the latter is PC makes people walk on egg shells. It is a negative energy w/ a pompous, positive veneer. It’s horseshit. The vast majority of people know that. Too many are cowered to say it.

  23. David, Our hotel in Nice requires a breakfast purchase of 24 euros per person!! I’ll be eating pastries, will think of you, and will take a few back to my room, thinking of a 48 euro breakfast. I have no problem paying twice that for dinner, but breakfast? The hotel is highly rated, on the ocean, and quite reasonable[$160/night]. They get ya’ w/ the breakfast. C’est la vie.

  24. This is actually how an unsupervised Government runs.
    The bankers supply all the money the politicians can spend,
    The military gets all the money they ask for to buy anything they want.
    The corporations buy Congress and pass any laws they need to do business at less costs to them but tremendous costs to us.

    So, even though the American Public is the majority in this whole thing, the Public is kept out of the really important money decisions that affect their daily lives. If the Public was more involved in how their money was being spent, the politicians would do their job different. To get elected (legally) they would be more “Public directed” instead of more, “Banker directed.”

    Don’t get all hot and think the Government is “broken.” Because it’s never been broken. It’s running perfectly but, not for you!

  25. I’m with “Otterray Scribe”, above, on the bargaining thing.

    This post is seriously lacking in context, in my judgment.

    Just read a piece on Longform (can’t remember the mag) the other day about how Italy has become the U.S. And NATO’s launching pad for air and naval (and, potentially, ground) operations in the Mediterranean.

    In addition to the possible quid pro quo aspect referenced by OS, there is the transport issue. The U.S. armed forces are always very short on transport capacity relative to their fighting capabilities, mostly due to the relative “unsexiness” of transport capability when it comes to defense appropriations.

    If these aircraft are not needed in peace-time, what else would you do if not “mothball” them?

    The base in AZ is not a boneyard. It has an enormous salvage yard where hundreds of aircraft are cannibalized for perfectly good parts. In addition, there is a storage park for reserve aircraft, like the cargo planes discussed in the post. Why in AZ? Because of the terrain and the climate. Little in the way of runway prep is required, and aircraft can sit for years in the dry air with little or no degradation.

    (To be clear, I am a lefty, not a knee-jerk, pro-military-spending winger. I am only interested in what is being said here, and how and why it is being said.)

    Again, more context, please.

  26. JULIET you should stop seeing your opinion as the one that counts what jill said is right and exact.. its not about the money as there is none!!! we all know except maybe you that the federal reserve is printing money out of air.. so if we have no money for resources and programs to help the people where does the fed get money for specialized military weapons we DO NOT NEED?
    how is it the billionaires are getting richer while everyone else is getting poorer by the day?
    they say without them we wouldnt say. many say with them we wont survive im definitely believing the latter.

    the world is being run by a bunch of megalomaniacs who have stolen, cheated, and blackmailed their way into anyand everything of value. and until the people stop being in self made denial , and waiting for a superhero who isnt coming. it will only get worse.. if we dont stand up as one soon and break them…. they are going break us….

    how many of you have really sat down and researched the tpp pact that elaine wrote about?

    how many of you know about this little law tucked inside of the obamacare heathcare bill

    Health and Human Services (HHS) and their state level emissary, Children Protective Services (CPS) are engaged in a conspiracy which will culminate in (1) the Agenda 21 designed breakdown of the family; (2) the eradication of any semblance of parental authority over children; and, (3) unbridled and unfettered access to seizing children from the home in unlimited quantities for whatever nefarious purposes which might dictate the volume of child seizures.

    This program emanates from a partnership between various United Nations organizations and ICF [Inner City Fund] International , acting on behalf of HHS, CPS and Obamacare (i.e. The Affordable Health Care Act). The evidence in this article, along with the included links, will demonstrate that when Obamacare is fully operational, our families, specifically our children will be living in a Romanian type of a Ceausescu hellish nightmare.

  27. The feds don’t have the authority to spend money on education or the environment. Perhaps a little on research only as it pertains to an enumerated power.

    Seems I’m the last person here who should be pointing this out.

    Oh. Bring troops home, stop the phony wars. Then cut the military budget. That ought to curtail wasteful spending or cause the generals to launch a nuke on our soil in a vain attempt to plunder us more than they already have.

    Either way we are sunk.

    This is what happens to deviant and corrupt civilizations.

  28. nick spinelli wrote: “… thinking of a 48 euro breakfast.”

    It is funny how the cost of breakfast can be what we remember most on a trip.

    Earlier this year I took one of my daughters to Russia as a graduation gift – expand your horizons – educational kind of thing (she just started college this fall). We stayed at the W in St. Petersburg, Russia. We had been eating at very nice cafes in the city that were very reasonably priced with excellent food. One morning my wife says, “let’s have breakfast here instead of going out. I don’t care what it costs; I just want to try it.” So we go into the hotel restaurant where they have a breakfast buffet setup. The buffet was not at all up to our standards, or that of most any American. It was not the eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, waffles kind of thing, but bread, sandwich meat, cheeses, cereal kind of setup. And the cheeses were kind of dried out like they had been out for hours. We really did not enjoy it very much. When I got the bill, I was floored. It was $4500 rubles, which at the time was about $150. I could not believe we paid $50 a person for that breakfast. The funny thing is that it has become a joke on every trip. Anytime we think something costs a bit much, someone will say, “but it still costs less than that breakfast in Russia” or “it’s better than that $150 breakfast.” It is amazing how overpaying for something like that can make you feel so good about paying for something else. :-)

  29. How nice it is to be wealthy enough to visit foreign lands, stay in luxury hotels, and pay for ridiculously priced breakfasts, while at the same time disdaining those whose income is shrinking because the wealthy have just about destroyed the Union Movement. I assume it is hard to have empathy when one is living so well.

  30. David, Travel is the best education, and you were taught a great lesson! When I was in Boston, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, I went down to the hotel lobby for a very run of the mill buffet breakfast. There was a Russian tourist group there and they were wild eyed, stuffing everything they could into their pockets[not the eggs]. I related this to a friend. She told me of a person in her church who had emigrated here from the Soviet Union in the 80’s. The first time she went into a supermarket she was overcome w/ a flood of emotions, seeing the bounty we all take for granted. She, and all the good people of her country had been lied to about the US. The KGB was in charge of those lies, and a KGB man is still running her homeland.

    Cold cuts are also part of an Italian breakfast buffet. But, being Italians, it is a nice display of quality meats and cheeses. Americans have poor breakfast habits, except for rural farm folk who eat hearty breakfasts. You can splurge on breakfast because your body has the entire day to burn off the fat. The protein and fat consumed @ breakfast also keeps one satiated during the course of the day, keeping blood sugars regulated and cravings down. I was back where I grew up in the northeast. The ubiquity of Dunkin Donuts shows one reason why we are so obese as a nation.

  31. We all make choices. I WORKED HARD for this. I have NO PENSION or health benefits, I saved for this working 80 hour weeks. And, for the 78th time, I have MUCH empathy for union workers, I despise their leaders who feed off of them. I grew up in a union factory family. I am a critical thinker.

  32. Mike Spindell wrote: “How nice it is to be wealthy enough to visit foreign lands, stay in luxury hotels, and pay for ridiculously priced breakfasts, while at the same time disdaining those whose income is shrinking because the wealthy have just about destroyed the Union Movement. I assume it is hard to have empathy when one is living so well.”

    [sigh] You remind me why envy is such a dishonorable trait.

    I’m not ashamed of my blessings. I can help teach you how to do such travels too if you are interested. It involves taking advantage of those so-called “evil corporations” like JPMorgan Chase whose money can trickle down to benefit you if you know how to do it. If you cast me into some economic class different from you in order to make us enemies, it does neither of us any good.

    I do not disdain anyone whose income is shrinking. Today I provide an apartment for a homeless person, and in the last hour just treated another person to lunch. There is a wise Jewish proverb that has guided me for most of my life: “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”

    The truth is, Mike, you really do not know me.

  33. david, We all make choices. Some people choose to have fancy houses on golf courses, lakes, etc. We have always lived in a modest house. I don’t judge folks who go the fancy house route, to each their own. Travel is the best education. Our kids travelled this great country and many countries. That is where we chose to use our resources. And, that’s where we continue to spend our money. When folks react like this I always sing the song in my head, “Little boxes on a hilltop, little boxes made of ticky tack, little boxes on a hilltop and they all look the same.” It gives me perspective and a smile.

  34. Somebody mentioned the US is trying to give Italians a favor. My money is on that argument since it’s only last week I read that the US is hoping to have multiple bases in Italy, the most in all of Europe. Sorry, forgot where I read it.

  35. Linda H,
    If Obama is a dictator, how come all those Republicans and teabaggers causing him so many headaches aren’t in some dungeon somewhere? Hitler, Mussolini, Kim Jong Un, and Stalin would have “disappeared” them by now. So if he is a dictator, how come he has had to fight tooth and nail to get even parts of his proposed legislation passed?

  36. As a Leftist one would only hope that other fellow travellers like Prof. Turley, Gene H, and others frequenting this blog would finally come to the principled realization that casting a vote for Corporatist Party A vs. Corporatist Party B (2 sides of the same coin) is a political dead end that working people will never prevail from until they organize a 3rd anti-Corporate Party C — that is, only Turley (out of of Constitutional principles), Gene H. (out of similar principles), along with myself & a small handful of other regulars here (for similar reasons) refused to vote for Obama last election despite the consternation of the 99% who voice their opinions here.

    My hope is those dedicated folks here look back at the reasons why Turley refused to vote for Obama last election (despite him voting for Obama the 1st time around) and make the principled break away from Dems once & for all and organize along different lines — because without that break we progressives are DOOMED.

    Anybody whose read the last 24 months of Glenn Greenwald’s blog knows what I’m talking about

    PS: As a coincidence: approx 8 out of 10 words that start with the letter D in the English language have negative connotations.

  37. David,

    Envy you? I pity you. And yes I do know you very well from all your writings here. I know you are a bigot. I know that you are a smug, self satisfied prig, with an ill disguised. disdain for people not of your class. I know that you think yourself “Lady Bountiful” when it comes to helping the poor without an understanding that your contempt shows through. I’m also certain in my greater pity for your employees, to have you as an employer. Finally I know that you engage in weak and disingenuous argument. Other than that I suppose that you have some good qualities, though I yet to see them.

  38. @ Linda Hendrix: I don’t remember seeing your name on this blog; could be because I don’t check it out on a daily basis. I just don’t get why you think you can make a statement, without any proof whatsoever, that Pres. Obama is a dictator.

  39. Juliet N wrote: “Real dictators take their enemies behind a barn and shoot them in the face.”

    That’s the way they use to do it. In modern times, dictators establish electronic surveillance and use remote controlled drones.

  40. Els DL wrote: “I just don’t get why you think you can make a statement, without any proof whatsoever, that Pres. Obama is a dictator.”

    Some statements are pretty much self evident.

    Bill and Hillary Clinton tried to pass a Health Care reform law in 1993. I remember his efforts well because I received an invitation from ABC News to represent the homeless of Tampa Florida when Bill Clinton came to Tampa for a Nightline Town Hall Meeting about Health Care. I personally spoke with Bill Clinton. He is one of the most charismatic and personable people I have ever met. The thing about Bill Clinton is that he worked with people. He did not try to force his bill through. He pitched it, and, unlike Obama, he attempted to have it be fit in with a budget. He attempted to pass universal health care bill along with a budget to pay for it. That is responsible leadership. Unfortunately, he did not succeed in getting the votes he needed, but at least he approached it from a democratic way rather than as a tyrant.

    In contrast, President Obama weaseled his bill through in the dead of night. The Senate voted on Christmas Eve. Without anyone having read the bill. And no Republican voted for it. And he claimed no funding was needed for it, and that health care costs for EVERYBODY would go down. He did not present a budget. He gave only his word that it would not cost anything and it would save us money.

    The Supreme Court found part of the law unconstitutional. Since then, at least 17 revisions have been made to the law. When Congress staff discovered how much they would have to pay for it, they complained, so Obama provided subsidies for them. Some of our Congressmen in the House of Representatives are not so sure this is such a good law. President Obama refuses to negotiate with them until they first rubber stamp funding for the law. Yeah, I can see how Linda Hendrix thinks President Obama is ruling us like a dictator.

  41. Juliet, Your dictator has killed almost 5 times as many people w/ drones compared to Bush. He has a love affair w/ them.

  42. SWM, As you know, was never a fan of Bush or his tactics. I did favor capture and interrogation, but as we have discussed @ length, not torture, just legit interrogation to obtain intelligence. The obsession w/ drones by Obama is more than a bit troubling. I think he sees it as antiseptic, no Americans get their hands dirty, as it were. I can talk w/ you w/o having to deal w/ the baggage so many have here. With too many, they don’t see that Obama is not the guy so many of US[I donated money to him in 2008] thought he was. And, in the drone area, which was our limited discussion, Obama is ~5 times worse. Hope all is well w/ you. I miss your being here regularly but there’s not an ounce of guilt trip in me. We all have responsibilities and priorities. Haven’t seen Gravity but that’s next on our list.

  43. I have been a harsh critic of this President, more so than I was of George Bush. As someone who enthusiastically campaigned for Mr. Obama, I have felt an obligation to decry his record on human rights. Unlike people who had no problem with Mr. Bush for doing the exact same thing, that would make me not a hypocrite. And, for the record, Ms. Clinton is not my first choice to succeed Mr. Obama.

  44. “Little boxes on a hilltop, little boxes made of ticky tack, little boxes on a hilltop and they all look just the same.”

    Bush left office last decade. He is not being supported by ANYONE here. Why do you feel so compelled to keep bringing him up? We’re talking about Obama and his love affair w/ drones. Bush is history, Obama is present, and still in love w/ that joystick. And, doing something 5 times more is not “the exact same thing.” It is the same thing, X 5. The dictator you brought up, who took people behind the shed, died 40-50 years ago.

  45. […] Top military and constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley noted yesterday: […]

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