As a candidate, Donald Trump occasionally tossed a few rhetorical grenades in the Pentagon’s general direction. He said America’s wars wasted trillions of dollars. He said he was smarter than the generals on ISIS (“Believe me!”). He said the F-35 jet fighter cost way too much, along with a planned replacement for Air Force One. He said he’d be much tougher on companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and other major defense contractors.
Instead of toughness, Trump as president has proven to be the Pentagon’s lackey. Recently, he opined the Pentagon’s budget was out of control (“crazy”), and he suggested a 5% cut in fiscal year (FY) 2020. That trial balloon was shot down quickly as Trump directed Secretary of Defense Mattis to submit a record-setting $750 billion budget for FY 2020. This is roughly $50 billion more than the FY 2018 budget for “defense.”
The Saudi government has condemned a US Senate resolution accusing the Saudi Crown Prince of being responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. But bigger trouble for the Saudis might be on the horizon, as an historic Senate vote to end the US participation in the Saudi war on Yemen passed on the same day. Though the House is being prohibited by its leadership from voting on its own version of the resolution, the Senate move has raised awareness of the brutal Saudi war and has increased the momentum. What next? Watch today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
An online vigil for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange was broadcast live on Consortium News on Friday night. If you missed it, watch the replay here.
Among the featured guests were famed whistleblower Dan Ellsberg, former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel, CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, columnist Caitlin Johnstone, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and more:
FYI – There are two terrible Cotton amendments that would essentially open, not shut the door, to US involvement in the war. Cornyn also offering three problematic amendments though not as poison pill as Cotton.
By unanimous consent, the Senate adopted the following agreement for consideration of S.J.Res.54:
At 1:45 pm on Thursday, December 13th, all time be considered expired on S.J.Res.54, and the Senate vote in relation to the following amendments in the order listed, with 2 minutes equally divided in the usual form prior to each vote:
The Guardian published three accounts from Yemeni aid workers working with the Norwegian Refugee Council about their experience of the war and the humanitarian crisis. This comes from Marwan Al-Sabri, a 32-year old water and sanitation officer from Taiz:
We already know that the shelling kills people, but I am seeing what a broken economy does too. People have been left so desperately poor that they kill themselves before the hunger does.
The economic war being waged against the civilian population is often overlooked in coverage of Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, but it is one of the major reasons why almost 16 million people are food insecure even with humanitarian food aid and more than 20 million are food insecure without it. Of those, there are 1.7 million people in the Taiz region that are at crisis, emergency, or catastrophe levels of food insecurity, and that’s with humanitarian food aid. Approximately the same number of people in the Hodeidah governorate are enduring the same deprivation. More than two-thirds of the population of Hajjah governorate in the northwest are suffering the same hardship. More than half of the country’s entire population is in the same position, and conditions are going to keep deteriorating unless the war is brought to a halt and the economy is stabilized.
Al-Tanf, Idlib, Kurdish areas in the northeast. Three Syria powder kegs and the US is holding a handful of matches. The continued US occupation of a large chunk of Syrian territory is not providing stability. It is illegal and it is emboldening terrorist organizations. Now some senior military figures are saying we must stay in Syria to protect against “pro-regime” forces. Does this make any sense? We are back to “Assad must go”? Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report: