Monday, March 11, 2019


I honestly don't know what to say.
"Under White House direction, the administration is drawing up demands that Germany, Japan and eventually any other country hosting U.S. troops pay the full price of American soldiers deployed on their soil -- plus 50 percent or more for the privilege of hosting them, according to a dozen administration officials and people briefed on the matter."
Every time I think "Jesus, this HAS to be the stupidest thing this idiot can do." it's like he rubs his tiny hands and burbles "Here, hold my bucket of KFC!".
WTF? Seriously? If I was the chancellor of Germany or the Prime Minister of Japan, I'd be drafting a memo that translated "Well, don't let the door hit you in the ass" into nice diplomatese. If this fucking idiot intended to stop farkling about the globe killing people and breaking things? Fine. Let's shut up shop and go home. But he hasn't, and he won't. Christ, he couldn't get a couple of thousand jamokes out of Syria. How the hell is AFRICOM going to manage without Ramstein, or Landstuhl? How do medivac flights manage to go direct from Baghram to Dover AFB? How the fuck does Seventh Fleet manage without Sasebo?

Jesus wept, this guy.

Oh, but Hilary was going to start WW3.

Sorry, I forgot.

Update 3/12: Fred Kaplan has a worthwhile dissection of the latest piece of stable genius to come out of Trumpworld; the new defense budget. Packed in with all the other pork is this bit of special brilliance:
"For much of this century, ever since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, presentations of the defense budget have been divided into “Base” (the routine requests for weapons, research and development, personnel, etc.) and “Overseas Contingency Operations,” also known as OCO (the costs of fighting wars). The Budget Control Act, passed by Congress in 2011, set a cap on the Base but, for obvious reasons, gave the Pentagon flexibility in managing OCO.

However, in this year’s budget, the Pentagon has come up with a third category: “OCO for Base,” which the comptroller’s report defines as supplies, equipment, and other defense items that it’s including in the OCO budget “in order to comply with the Base defense caps in current law.”

In other words, the Pentagon’s senior budget official is admitting that he’s cheating. It is as if a dietician set a cap on how many calories a patient can consume—only to hear the patient say that he ate an extra tub of ice cream after dinner, but that’s all right because he’s not counting it as “calories.”

The scale of cheating is pretty extravagant. The budget’s request for Overseas Contingency Operations—the legitimate expenses of fighting in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere—is $66.7 billion, a slight reduction from last year’s $68.8 billion. But the “OCO for Base” request is $97.9 billion.

The Pentagon’s senior budget official is admitting that he’s cheating." (italics mine)
Cheating by having the balls to tell the people - the taxpayers - to their faces what you're cheating them out of?

If that's not pure Trumpian ballsiness I don't know what is.


These idiots DON'T know how to play this game.


  1. FDC, I'm sorry to say this but the reason Trump won the election was that he was more talented in US politics that Hillary was. I hate to say this, FDC but Hillary lost because she wasn't a very good political operator. Smart? Yes. Talented? Barely, but probably good enough. But she lacked the instincts that are necessary to win elections and hold political offices even more than Trump did (and as you've already pointed out, he didn't have much talent at all, just more than she did).

    Bill would have had Trump off-balance in 15 minutes and would not have let him get back on balance and Bill would helped the crowd have fun at Trump's expense. I'm not sure Trump would have survived his first hour of debate with Bill.

    I will eventually comment on Trump, Hillary, and the Presidency when I finally finish finding the words that will properly communicate my thoughts on the subject (fair warning, you'll like them even less). Sorry.

    1. Commander BoneSpurs has a talent for bullshit and lies. Other than that he is talentless - except for graft of course.

    2. Trump LOST the "election". He won the bizarre electoral structure the Framers used to ensure that the smelly rabble didn't elect some ranting populist lunatic...oh, wait, I'll come in again.

      I'd do a longer post about this if it was worth the time and effort, but the bottom line is that Trump is a symptom of the death of the "American Experiment". The anti-republican structures like the Electoral College and the Senate, designed to placate political troubles in 1789 are proving unable to adapt to the increasing urbanization and modernization of the current United States. The fact that bumfuck Idaho has as many Senators as California or New York? Seriously?

      The effect of this constitutionally-implemented gerrymandering is minority rule by old white people living in Bumfuck, Arkansas. This is not politically sustainable, but it's also not politically fixable. Eventually the U.S. will become an open autocracy, or will explode in political infighting. I'm not going to put money down, but my guess is Door #1. We'll get someone with all of Trump's dictatorial beliefs but more than a single brain cell, and he or she will run the table. We'll be Imperial Rome, complete with the trappings of a republic but none of the realities.

      As for Hillary...she was a decent enough politician for the "old" United States, the pre-post-republic that we're now losing. But not the new one, where anyone not male, white, and "conservative" has to be capable of winning supermajorities of the popular vote just to cancel out the electoral tile.

      She also lost because 1) yes, she was a poor choice of candidate, given the decades of GOP lies and bullshit that had tied a can to her tail, 2) the ridiculous way the big news corporations focused on nothingburgers like "her e-mails" while ignoring and minimizing Trump's skeevy life, and 3) the electoral gimmicks noted above.

      So...the MAIN reason Trump won the election is because the United States is, in many ways, no longer a "republic" in any meaningful sense. He's like an idiot Caesar that managed to stagger out of the Senate after everyone inside had managed to kill each other and burn the place down.

    3. And the whole "Hillary = WW3" was in regard to perhaps the MOST ridiculous meme from 2016, the whole "Hillary the Hawk/Donald the Dove" thing.

      Clinton would have been very much a status-quo-war president. She's certain to have kept up the drone war and military "assistance" that ran under Obama.

      What Trump was not then and has shown not to be since was a "dove" of any sort. His paranoid obsession with "America is being cheated" has driven him to try and run those wars on the cheap, but he has shown that he's fine with the bog-standard GOP love for the Ledeen Doctrine and chasing-Muslims-around-the-world that were features of the Bushies' idea of geopolitics.

      In this, as in so many other ways, Trump benefited from the misprisions of the public press and the gullibility of WAY too many people - including some right here - about things that were said about him that were plainly, nose-on-your-face-obviously not true

    4. FDC: "Trump LOST the "election". He won the bizarre electoral structure the Framers used"

      True, however he's hardly the first person to use that route. Apparently Hillary failed to take that into account. That is a catastrophic political planning failure.

      FDC: "The effect of this constitutionally-implemented gerrymandering is minority rule by old white people living in Bumfuck, Arkansas."

      That is not true. We are currently enduring extreme minority rule by the .001% that has completely lost touch with the entire rest of the US, which causes the US to continually do stupid stuff that satisfies our wealthy masters.

      The gerrymandering, which depends exclusively on wealth and power, can take so many possible shapes that it does not depend on "old white people living in Bumfuck, Arkansas." That was just the route that Trump took last time. He will have to take a different route if he succeeds in getting re-elected (which is looking less and less likely).

      FDC: "Eventually the U.S. will become an open autocracy, or will explode in political infighting"

      We are generally acknowledged as an open autocracy in the all the non-US based groups I communicate with on a regular basis. The saving grace is that there is enough free and open lower-level elections to keep the wheels turning in the right direction and in a half-way responsible way. It is generally agreed in those groups that eventually that will change.

      No idea when, but preferably after I'm dead and my kids are somewhere else.

      FDC: "she was a decent enough politician for the "old" United States"

      No, she wasn't. See my comments above about failure to recognize the potential effect of the electoral college. That is a truly epic failure and unworthy of anybody who would be president.

      FDC: "Clinton would have been very much a status-quo-war president."

      True but that was causing such nasty repercussions within the "host" ("victim"?) countries that I am increasingly of the idea that it is a poor way to run a war against terrorism. Because, although it is cheap, profitable on the home front, and quiet, it slowly and increasingly generates potent headaches for us down the road that will be increasingly difficult to foresee and counteract.

      Again, I have to count this concept as a major failure for Hillary, who should know better (probably does!) but refuses to act on it.

      FDC: "Trump benefited from the misapprehensions(I think, spelling?) of the public press and the gullibility of WAY too many people"

      Agreed, BUT you MUST give the new guy on the block the benefit of the doubt when you do NOT have evidence one way or the other. But your other comments are not worthy of your usual level of analysis.

      What reason did Trump give for wanting to be President? He more or less admitted greed and a love of power. People understand these things and actually pretty well understood his basic drives. What reason did Hillary give for wanting to be President? None, really. She mentioned that she wanted to be the first woman President but she HAS to have known how horrible it can be to be President after watching Bill's experience from the front row. So that idea could not possibly have made the idea that appealing. I still don't know why she wanted to be President and would not be surprised if she didn't know either. It would certainly explain her somewhat lazy and sloppy campaign.

      Again, I've got other comments about this but they will have to wait a while because I don't have time to articulate them all clearly yet.

    5. @Pluto - "No, she wasn't. See my comments above about failure to recognize the potential effect of the electoral college. That is a truly epic failure and unworthy of anybody who would be president."

      She certainly recognized and understood the electoral college. Her failing and the failing of her campaign advisors was to think that Union support would win the Rust Belt for her. And for not recognizing the loss of votes to the Green Party. As it was she just barely lost Michigan by less than a quarter point, and would have won if not for Jill Stein. She would also have won in Wisconsin if not for Stein. Ditto for Pennsylvania. Those states would have put her over the top in the electoral college.

      Her other failing was to not put Bernie on as her running mate. That would have given her a landslide (if he had accepted). Or at least she could have been more vocal about embracing his message. If she had done that it would have been a Hillary win. Instead, it was Bone-Spurs who grabbed onto Bernie's anti-TPP message. And since then has seriously dorked it up.

    6. @Mike - "She certainly recognized and understood the electoral college. Her failing and the failing of her campaign advisors was to think that Union support would win the Rust Belt for her."

      Mike, I do not have good contacts in that part of the world so I have no understanding on the thinking of her high to mid-level staffers in those regions. I have briefly gone over the documents shared so far (not conclusive) and have not found a single reference to Unions at the main headquarters.

      That still counts as an epic failure for me in Hillary's little red book and you REALLY have to work hard to epically fail worse than Trump.

  2. Option 1 - Donny Fedorovich probably wants Germany and Japan to pay for his wall.

    Option 2 - He wants Germany and Japan to pay his proposed 12% increase for more nuclear weapons.

    Option 3 - Putin told him it would be a good idea.

  3. The German news don't report about such demands, but they do report on the moron ambassador's demand that Germany must not allow Huawei hardware for 5G mobile phone infrastructure for 'security' reasons.Else, the U.S. would cease intelligence cooperation with Germany (as if that was believable!).

    There are quite a few comments about NSA spying being a bigger problem than whatever spies the Chinese have.
    The senior ruling coalition party's parliament caucus leadership has already noted that our government needs no such advice to handle German security.

    I don't understand why our government didn't kick out that arrogant moron('s) ambassador long ago.

  4. The main thing that bugs me about this is how this is SO emblematic of the moron-grade "foreign policy" understanding in this Administration. Yes, I get that an outfit staffed by people of the low quality of Orange Foolius, Jared, Bolton, or Pompeo is going to be loonier than a wilderness of monkeys. But...c'mon?

    Who the hell benefited from keeping USAREUR more than the U.S.? Can you imagine trying to run logistical support for the clusterfucks in Iraq and Afghanistan (and Somalia and Libya and Syria...) without the bases in Germany? Can you imagine trying to run the Seventh Fleet's operations in the South China Sea region without the bases in Japan and on Okinawa?

    Christ, the host nations already pay a crap-ton of the costs of these posts. This is just ignorant asshole-ism, literally like a Mafia shakedown, put together out of a combination of arrogance, ignorance, and pure greed by people to whom everyone NOT in Bumfuck, Arkansas is a damn furriner.

    But in their stupidity they risk losing geopolitical assets that are worth WAY more to the US than to the host nations.

    As ol' Casey said about the Mets: WTF, can anybody here play this game?

    1. I disagree about the 7th fleet becuase I think the U.S. should base about 80% of its carriers, cruisers and destroyers on the West Coats, with Hawaii as forward wartime base.
      They should not do that stupid 'patrolling the seven seas with single carrier groups and MEUs' thing at all. It's plain stupid and leads to nonsensical force planning.

    2. I agree with you; the USN/USMC doesn't need to be farkling about off the coast of East Asia - it's way too tempting to mission creep and unneeded deployments.

      And I also agree that it would be a good idea to reduce the European footprint, too, which would reduce the temptation to go farkling about in Asia and Africa.

      BUT...if the U.S. foreign policy planners want to continue farkling about these places, the Asian and European posts are part of making the operations viable.

      So it needs to be one, or the other. They can't have both, but that seems to be what they want...

  5. The appropriations process for the US military has been in anarchy for years. The last actual budget that was passed by Congress was maybe in 2006 (or earlier?). Congress and the White House have used gimmicks and skullduggery in spending plans, and NOT an actual budget as required by law. This is a dis-service to Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen. Any large business or organization needs long term budget approval for long term planning and acquisition.

    About three decades ago, Congress paid lip service to a two-year budget request cycle instead of requiring the military to submit a budget request annually. The problem is Congress never followed up and allowed for that two year cycle. Today it is worse. These ‘Continuing Resolutions’ granting spending on previous levels for a few months, or a few weeks, or in some cases even for a few days are a huge problem for our military planners.

  6. @FDChief: "the USN/USMC doesn't need to be farkling about off the coast of East Asia"

    Spoken like a true soldado. You neglected to mention the US Army and USAF. PACAF & Fifth AF in Japan have 20 Airfields, communication sites, training ranges, weapons storage areas, recreation centers, etc. They fly regular missions close to Chinese, Russian, and Norko borders. The Army's USARPAC has 15 installations in Japan. Those figures for both do NOT count the close to 50 joint use US/JDSF facilities. The numbers are similar in Korea. At least for the Army. I'm not sure of the total figures for Seventh Air Force, but they do have at least five other fields in addition to Osan and Kunsan Air Bases.

    And we still maintain joint use agreements with airfields in Taiwan and Thailand. SOCOM is still active in the Philippines, and Army and AF units still do the annual Balikatan exercise with the Philippine Armed Forces. There are smaller cooperative security locations, “lily pad" arrangements, with other Southeast Asian countries.

  7. @S O: "They should not do that stupid 'patrolling the seven seas with single carrier groups and MEUs' thing at all."

    The stupid force planning IMHO is for all those US bases on foreign soil. Why should American taxpayers pay expensive leases to Japanese and German farmers who used to plow the land that those bases sit on now, or to whoever those lease payments go to? Give those bases back to the original owners. Build more bases in the 50 US States and US territories. Spend that money at home. Overturn Reagan's BRAC closures and subsequent ones.

    1. article from 2013

      About one billion Euros was paid to U.S. for bases in Germany (for various purposes) in 2003-2012, so about 100 million per year.
      American troops have a habit of spending much in the on-base shops that are IIRC exempt from German taxes, and little in German retail.

      I'm not aware of any "expensive leases".

    2. Japan is generous with Host Nation Support (HNS). They provided $2-billion per year back a decade ago, may have declined some recently. That is twenty times what your article mentions was paid by Germany. Still does not cover cost of those bases though. Funny aside to that: the Japanese Parliament calls those HNS payments the 'Sympathy Budget'.

      As for the US BX or PX on base shops, I was never stationed in Germany so can't comment. But in the Far East bases, much of the available goods in the PX was locally made, purchased wholesale. And I would guess that many dollars were spent by US Soldiers and Airmen in German restaurants and beerhalls. And there are a great many of them that bring back an Audi, BMW, Mercedes, or Volkswagon at the end of their tours.

      As far as leases - in Japan not all were leased. Those US airfelds and naval bases that had formerly been IJA or IJN assets were not leased. But the majority of other US basing was in fact leased. There are so-called 'farm families' on Okinawa that have not farmed for generations because of the lease money coming in for their land that now hosts US barracks, HQs, and training areas. Is it not the same in Germany?

  8. I apologize, mike; in this case I forgot the zoomies. The Army would probably love to fuck around the East Asian littoral but simply lack the capacity. The issue here is policy, rather than services.

    No argument that DoD funding is a ball of snakes. That said, this gimmick is a level of brassfaced ballsiness I never thought I’d see. A reminder that there’s no real bottom to the Trump/GOP cesspit.

  9. What irks the hell out of me is the part Trump’s fake emergency cash-grab plays in showing exactly where all the “waste, fraud, and abuse” the GOP deficit-scolds constantly fulminate about is actually located.

    Because if you can just steal a billion here and there for a bogus vanity project...why can’t you CUT that billion? You’ve already proved you don’t believe it will really injure military strength.

    These people. Christ, it’s like a live-action 8chan comment section...

    1. Such evidence becomes available from time to time, yet people appear unable to notice.

      Much of the U.S.Army and U.S.Marketing Corps were proved to be of no use when both were very much engaged in occupation warfare that served no national interests. South Korea wasn't invaded. Europe wasn't invaded. Nobody was invaded in 2003-2011 except by Americans, British and a few Poles.

      Later, the U.S.Army reoriented somewhat to conventional warfare ... and Ukraine got invaded, but nobody considered sending the army to do something about it.

  10. Odd, innit, how all that cash doesn’t seem to have purchased an armed force that’s geopolitically effective at carrying out an incoherent geopolitical agenda. It’s almost like you’d be better off speanding time and money thinking as opposed to throwing cash at every harebrained piece of nonsense dredged from the fetid imaginations of imperialist cosplayers, paranoid culture warriors, and milporn fanfic writers. And Dick Cheney.

    Sadly, I think we’re already past the Late Republican stage and into the Early Imperial. So there will be little or no pushback against this sort of worthless war-pork.

  11. We should be trying to learn the secret that has kept the Swiss out of every war fought for the last 200 years. That would have been 500 years if they had not been invaded by Revolutionary France.

    And the Swiss did not join the United Nations until 2002, 57 years after its founding.

    1. helps to be forted up behind some pretty good-size mountains. And to be known to be a pain in the ass to invade.

      But I think the "fucking around playing Great Power games" is too deeply embedded in U.S. political thinking at this point; it's Bachevich's "Washington Rules" in action. Some sort of disaster will be needed to break the addiction, and I'm not sure I want to be living in that U.S., because the blowback is likely to take us from "Early Imperial" to full-blown autocracy/oligarchy.

    2. Most of the Swiss population and cities aren't actually behind mountains and they only started to create their fortifications in the mountains (the famous Reduit) in the 1940s. And to do so they had to import pretty much all resources from the potential invader, Germany. Being out of the way and having little of value probably played a big role. Plus their railway tunnels the Germans used to ship personal and equipment to and from Italy. Those were rigged to explode.

    3. Better map:

  12. By “forted up” it’s the piss-poor terrain in general that helps the Swiss; there are just too many better ways to get from France to Germany and vice-versa to make fighting thru the combination of mountains and Swiss worth doing unless - as you point out - there’s something of intrinsic value to be had there, and the cantons are just nice scenery tucked into a corner of the Alps.

    But more to the point...the Swiss have no reason to get stuck in to Great Power business outside their borders. You’d think the U.S. would have learned from it’s mistakes in that filthy business, but we don’t seem to have. There are few remaining bipartisan norms left in D.C., but “war works” is one.

    1. 100 years before the tunnel that Marvin mentioned was built, French engineers built a major road through the Simplon Pass. When completed, they told Napoleon: "There are no more Alps".

  13. Marvin -

    That must have been the Simplon Tunnel. The Swiss finally denied Germany the use of that tunnel in October of 1944. That was the same month that the Germans crushed the resistance movement by the Val d'Ossola or Free Zone of Ossola, which was situated on the Swiss frontier at the south end of the tunnel. Switzerland had given Ossola diplomatic recognition as a separate state from Mussolini's Italy. It was Italian partisans that saved the tunnel from being destroyed. Those partisans were remnants of the Val d'Ossola resistance:

    But my understanding was that the great majority German personnel and equipment moved through the Brenner Pass and other Austrian/Italian passes.

    1. Yes, I believe that. I just mentioned the tunnel as one of the few things the Swiss could use to put pressure on the Germans. There was little to gain by invading them to begin with (out of the way, no resources to speak of) but being able to move through Switzerland was valuable and could be denied to the if they invaded.

      But they probably wouldn't have been able to put up much resistance for long if Germany would have wanted them crushed. Simply blocking food and coal imports for a few months would have wrecked Switzerland. All those impressive fortifications and provisions to hold out in the mountains for long periods of time were simply not in place yet.

  14. Here's Matt Taibbi describing how impossible it was to even try and figure out how much, where, and for what money is being spent at DoD:

    Read it and weep.

  15. I wonder if Germany will finally give the US permission to leave in peace, go with god, and may you find happiness in whatever nonsense makes sense to you.

    Same same for Japan.

    I think the world is going to change a lot quicker when Germany and Japan are no longer indentured to American Military good will.

    Whether for better or worse...that is to be seen.

    Hello 1890's redux!!!


    1. German policy has been and is dominated by conservatives.

      The conservatives have been true conservatives under Kohl; they were the "do no reform" party. Problems piled up and weren't solved, so we got rid of Kohl (but had no decent alternative in starting position).
      Now we have Merkel after a short pseudo social democratic-green coalition.
      Merkel is a conservative as well, but she knows to u-turn when problem pressure grows to intolerable levels. This and the absence of xenophobia led to a desertion of the right wing into what can be called alt-right (but with less interest in plutocracy or anarchy than yours).

      There's still no way around having the CDU (conservaitves) run the government, for they are still the biggest party, and neither the far left nor the far right will be included in government. There's even a state where every single party in parliament is part of the ruling coalition save for far right and far left.

      Long story short; the conservatives run the show for the time being, probably for many years to come - and they are do-nothing politicians (with transatlanticism as one of their ideological foundations). They won't push away even a Trump 46 administration. They are nearly incapable of action altogether (and Merkel sure is now fully incapable of action as the lame duck she is).

      More importantly, German politicians have no ideas. They are nearly perfectly devoid of creativity. They cannot really imagine a different world. Even the greens have no real ideas, they have mostly reflexes. Our alt right is slavishly repeating BS that they get fed from foreigners without any own ideas. Our far left has no ideas whatsoever, they repeat decades if not well over a century old ideas instead.

      It's depressing.