Peter Myers Digest: Sachs Wars-> Debt Crisis; Teacher who ‘misgendered’ a pupil banned from the profession
(1) Sachs Wars-> Debt Crisis
(2) Ukraine Depleted Uranium cloud headed for Poland
(3) Wokeism in US military
(4) Christian teacher banned from the profession for ‘misgendering’ a pupil
(5) Teacher who ‘misgendered’ a pupil banned from the profession
(1) Sachs Wars-> Debt Crisis
By Jeffrey D. Sachs
America’s Wars and the US Debt Crisis
To surmount the debt crisis, America needs to stop feeding the Military-Industrial Complex, the most powerful lobby in Washington.
By Jeffrey D. Sachs
In the year 2000, the U.S. government debt was $3.5 trillion, equal to 35% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). By 2022, the debt was $24 trillion, equal to 95% of GDP. The U.S. debt is soaring, hence America’s current debt crisis. Yet both Republicans and Democrats are missing the solution: stopping America’s wars of choice and slashing military outlays.
Suppose the government’s debt had remained at a modest 35% of GDP, as in 2000. Today’s debt would be $9 billion, as opposed to $24 trillion. Why did the U.S. government incur the excess $15 trillion in debt?
The single biggest answer is the U.S. government’s addiction to war and military spending. According to the Watson Institute at Brown University, the cost of U.S. wars from fiscal year 2001 to fiscal year 2022 amounted to a whopping $8 trillion, more than half of the extra $15 trillion in debt. The other $7 trillion arose roughly equally from budget deficits caused by the 2008 financial crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Facing down the military-industrial lobby is the vital first step to putting America’s fiscal house in order
To surmount the debt crisis, America needs to stop feeding the Military-Industrial Complex (MIC), the most powerful lobby in Washington. As President Dwight D. Eisenhower famously warned on January 17, 1961, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Since 2000, the MIC led the U.S. into disastrous wars of choice in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and now Ukraine.
The Military-Industrial Complex long ago adopted a winning political strategy by ensuring that the military budget reaches into every Congressional district. The Congressional Research Service recently reminded Congress that, “Defense spending touches every Member of Congress’s district through pay and benefits for military servicemembers and retirees, economic and environmental impact of installations, and procurement of weapons systems and parts from local industry, among other activities.” Only a brave member of Congress would vote against the military-industry lobby, yet bravery is certainly no hallmark of Congress.
America’s annual military spending is now around $900 billion, roughly 40% of the world’s total, and greater than the next 10 countries combined. U.S. military spending in 2022 was triple that of China. According to Congressional Budget Office, the military outlays for 2024-2033 will be a staggering $10.3 trillion on current baseline. A quarter or more of that could be avoided by ending America’s wars of choice, closing down many of America’s 800 or so military bases around the world, and negotiating new arms control agreements with China and Russia.
Yet instead of peace through diplomacy, and fiscal responsibility, the MIC regularly scares the American people with a comic-book style depictions of villains whom the U.S. must stop at all costs. The post-2000 list has included Afghanistan’s Taliban, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and recently, China’s Xi Jinping. War, we are repeatedly told, is necessary for America’s survival.
A peace-oriented foreign policy would be opposed strenuously by the military-industrial lobby but not by the public. Significant public pluralities already want less, not more, U.S. involvement in other countries’ affairs, and less, not more, US troop deployments overseas. Regarding Ukraine, Americans overwhelmingly want a “minor role” (52%) rather than a “major role” (26%) in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. This is why neither Biden nor any recent president has dared to ask Congress for any tax increase to pay for America’s wars. The public’s response would be a resounding “No!”
While America’s wars of choice have been awful for America, they have been far greater disasters for countries that America purports to be saving. As Henry Kissinger famously quipped, “To be an enemy of the United States can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.” Afghanistan was America’s cause from 2001 to 2021, until the U.S. left it broken, bankrupt, and hungry. Ukraine is now in America’s embrace, with the same likely results: ongoing war, death, and destruction.
The military budget could be cut prudently and deeply if the U.S. replaced its wars of choice and arms races with real diplomacy and arms agreements. If presidents and members of congress had only heeded the warnings of top American diplomats such as William Burns, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia in 2008, and now CIA Director, the U.S. would have protected Ukraine’s security through diplomacy, agreeing with Russia that the U.S. would not expand NATO into Ukraine if Russia also kept its military out of Ukraine. Yet relentless NATO expansion is a favorite cause of the MIC; new NATO members are major customers of U.S. armaments.
The U.S. has also unilaterally abandoned key arms control agreements. In 2002, the U.S. unilaterally walked out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. And rather than promote nuclear disarmament—as the U.S. and other nuclear powers are required to do under Article VI the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—the Military-Industrial Complex has sold Congress on plans to spend more than $600 billion by 2030 to “modernize” the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Now the MIC is talking up the prospect of war with China over Taiwan. The drumbeats of war with China are stoking the military budget, yet war with China is easily avoidable if the U.S. adheres to the One-China policy that properly underpins U.S.-China relations. Such a war should be unthinkable. More than bankrupting the U.S., it could end the world.
Military spending is not the only budget challenge. Aging and rising healthcare costs add to the fiscal woes. According to the Congressional Budget Office, debt will reach 185 percent of GDP by 2052 if current policies remain unchanged. Healthcare costs should be capped while taxes on the rich should be raised. Yet facing down the military-industrial lobby is the vital first step to putting America’s fiscal house in order, needed to save the U.S., and possibly the world, from America’s perverse lobby-driven politics.
(2) Ukraine Depleted Uranium cloud headed for Poland
Ukraine’s Depleted Uranium Blast: Europe on Brink of ‘Environmental Disaster’
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev warned on Friday that a radioactive cloud was heading towards Western Europe following the destruction of a Ukrainian warehouse storing British-supplied depleted uranium ammunition.
Sputnik News spoke with Dr. Chris Busby, physical chemist and scientific secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, about how the West’s decision to provide depleted uranium (DU) ammunition to Ukraine has potentially caused a continent-wide ecological disaster. Below is his answer in full.
Recently, several web media outlets provided videos of an enormous explosion in the town of Khmelnitski, located to the West of Kiev, and about 200 km from the border with Poland. There were two major explosions which produced a massive roiling swirling fireball which, like an atomic bomb, developed upwards and formed a mushroom cloud, which was black.
I have represented nuclear atmospheric test veterans in the Royal Courts of Justice in London and have seen many films of nuclear explosions: this was not one. A nuclear explosion is characterised by an immediate intense white light which wipes out the camera film or detector.
So, what was it? It was suggested by several commentators that an arms depot that had been hit contained the Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons sent by the UK to the Ukraine for use in the British Challenger tanks as anti-tank penetrators. That the explosion was one involving the burning of the DU in the fireball. Since I am a scientific authority on Uranium and its health effects, but have also examined its dispersion and behaviour in the environment, I will comment on what I believe happened, and why it is important. I was a member of the UK government Ministry of Defence Depleted Uranium Oversight Board (DUOB) in 2000-2005, and also the UK government Committee Examining Radiation Risk from Internal Emitters (CERRIE) 2000-2004. I am Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR) which is an independent NGO that provides advice on risk from ionising radiation.
My main research interest in this area is Uranium and health, particularly the DU particles, which are so small they act as a gas and move over very large distances once they are created by the burning of DU. I found them in England in 2003 after they had come from Iraq. I found them in 2023 in England after they came from the Ukraine war. So that is the first thing: the material is able to travel very large distances.
Therefore, if the Khmelnitsky explosion was a DU one, the material would move with the wind direction and should be detectable at monitor sites downwind.
First, we need to say that DU has a gamma signature, it releases gamma rays. The UK and USA governments lie about this. They point to the fact that the U-238, that remains after the fissile U-235 is removed in the centrifuges (and is sent off for nuclear weapons and reactors), is a weak alpha emitter.
They say that alpha radiation cannot penetrate skin and so the DU itself is harmless. That it cannot be detected by a Geiger Counter and the alpha particles don’t make it through the window. There is, of course, a health problem if the post-impact particles are inhaled and pass into the body through the lung into the lymphatic system or directly into the digestive system, but essentially DU is harmless.
What you need to know is that Uranium 238, when it decays with its alpha emission, turns into Thorium-234 and Protoactinium-234m which then turns into Uranium 234. Thorium 234 is a beta and gamma emitter delivering 6% of its decay energy as a gamma ray. Thus, large clouds of DU particulate aerosol will be detectable by gamma detectors.
When I visited Iraq with Al Jazeera in 2000 I went to the south and examined the corpses of the tanks that had been hit by DU in the first Gulf War. Some of the A-10 DU penetrators were still lying around. They gave off an intense gamma ray signal, and the holes in the tanks were highly gamma ray active. So much for only an alpha emitter.
I am a yachtsman: examination of the UK metereological weather pressure maps tell us that at the time, and for days after the explosion, there was an anticyclone to the North of the explosion site and winds were weak but from the South East blowing North Westerly around the high-pressure area. So, the plume would move towards Poland. If the winds were about 5km/h they would reach any Poland detectors 250 km away on the 15th.
After Chernobyl, the European Union set up a Europe-wide gamma radiation detector system that used to give gamma readings in real time. I went to look. But astonishingly, all the data was blocked. The web- based system, administered from Germany, (EURDEP) would not provide the detector maps that are normally available. Luckily, there were some location maps on the web and some that had been already downloaded by colleagues of mine before the system stopped working. I obtained maps from Poland. One of these I show below.
You will see that a very highly significant increase in gamma radiation occurred at this detector, north west of the explosion site almost exactly when it would be expected on the basis of a distance of 250km and a mean wind speed of 5km/h. The increase, from 60nSv/h to 90nSv/h was highly statistically significant about 50%. Other detectors all across Poland showed an increase*, as the plume passed over them, the increase being weaker the further away (due to dispersion of the plume).
Later, the Poles measured the increase at the Marie Curie Institute in Lublin, but their map was a more sophisticated one and needed some expert interpretation. The Polish map gave gamma increases split into two natural isotopes, Bismuth and Thallium, also total gamma and cosmic ray gamma.
(3) Wokeism in US military
Depletion of US Munitions Stockpile Due to Ukraine War Will Benefit China: Former Military Officials
By J.M. Phelps
May 21, 2023 Updated: May 22, 2023
Two former military officials are sounding the alarm that the <https://www.theepochtimes.com/us-army-seeks-18-billion-to-replenish-munitions-lost-to-ukraine_5209038.html>depletion of U.S. munitions as a result of Washington’s support of Ukraine could end up benefitting China. This is occurring as the communist regime is modernizing its military posing a grave threat to the United States, they say.
Air Force Col. (ret.) Rob Maness, a former bomber squadron commander who served the U.S. military for over 30 years, told The Epoch Times that China is overtaking the U.S. military while the country is unnecessarily distracted with Ukraine, “wokeism,” and more. Force structure is one of his primary concerns, considering the naval fleet of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is larger than that of the U.S. Navy.
He contends that national security experts in the West underestimate the impact of the size of Beijing’s navy, deflecting to the superior quality and technology of the U.S. Navy. “While that’s not necessarily untrue, numbers matter and these [experts] know that numbers matter,” he said. “They matter in ground forces, they matter in air forces, and they certainly matter in naval forces.”
In Senate testimony in April, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said the Chinese navy will have will increase the size of its navy by nearly 100 ships, “moving towards a fleet of 440 ships by 2030.” Previously, Del Toro also revealed that “by 2028, [the U.S.] will have approximately 291 ships or so.”
The Epoch Times also spoke to Brigadier General (ret.) Blaine “Blaino” Holt, a former deputy U.S. military representative to NATO and cofounder of the nonprofit Restore Liberty. He is considerably less concerned about the size and strength of the Chinese navy. For example, he said, reports of a new Chinese aircraft carrier, or supercarrier, have created quite a stir in the media.
“But these kinds of things are built for Chinese prestige,” he said. “Yes, they’ve got a big blue-water navy with more ships than we do, but how are their ships?” he said, adding “they’re not that great.” “They don’t have the same firepower we offer [with our naval vessels].”
Maness, however, contended that size still matters given that “the entire Indo-Pacific theater is navy-centric.” If communist China’s aggression leads to war, he said naval forces will be at the center of it. If this confrontation is imminent, he said, the United States should be focused on increasing the size and capability of its navy.
Rising Threat, Depleting Inventory
In addition to his concern about the U.S. Navy, Maness also expressed concern about the threat of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and nuclear arms. “The Chinese have redoubled their efforts to increase that force capacity to come to a more of parity with the United States in these areas,” he said.
Earlier this year, a congressional <https://www.theepochtimes.com/china-now-has-more-icbm-launchers-than-the-us-lawmaker-confirms_5040894.html>notification from U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), which oversees the nuclear arsenal, revealed that China has more intercontinental ballistic missile launchers than the United States. “The U.S. must put more effort into increasing our production capability on these,” Maness said.
Holt agreed, saying, “The U.S. should not be focused on the Chinese military’s size and strength. He said, “We should be looking in the mirror.” In agreement with Maness, he said, “We’re overly engaged in Ukraine, giving up equipment and munitions.”
Maness said, “I only have access to what’s publicly available, but it certainly doesn’t look like the United States is doing the things it needs to do to deter China, which on the surface appears to be a near-peer competitor.” Even so, he said, “I still think they’re a second-grade power in that part of the world, but it is quite clear their goal is to become the great power across the globe—and we’re not doing what needs to be done to deter them.”
Maness criticized the billions in aid sent by the United States to Ukraine, arguing that “Ukraine has never been a vital national interest to the United States.” According to him, “western Europe under NATO is more than capable of defending itself.”
To date, the United States has provided $46 billion in military assistance to Ukraine, including drones, tanks, missiles, and artillery, as well as training, logistics, and intelligence support.
“We keep putting our [U.S.] resources in Ukraine, not just with dollars, but also with our war reserve materials and weapons,” Maness said. “After the 20-plus year wasted effort in Afghanistan, our war <https://www.theepochtimes.com/us-munitions-stockpiles-low-army-at-absolute-edge-of-industrial-capacity-army-secretary_5160467.html>reserve stocks are low, and haven’t been replenished.”
According to Holt, “Whether someone agrees with our involvement in Ukraine or not, the mathematics is the same.” Agreeing with Maness, he said, “We’re giving up our stocks and ammunition for a war in Ukraine that comes off of 20 straight years of warfare in Afghanistan.” In the meantime, he said, “China has been happy to have the opportunity to build up its conventional forces while watching us weaken ourselves.”
Peace Through Strength
Like Maness, Holt said “wokeism” has infiltrated the ranks of the military and the cultural shift is harming service members. “At a time when we should be strengthening our own military and guaranteeing victory against any of the nation’s enemies, we’re asking [service members] for their pronouns,” he said.
House Armed Services Committee members Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.) <https://www.theepochtimes.com/house-republicans-probe-preferred-pronoun-role-play-at-west-point_5141865.html>recently called attention to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, inquiring about forced participation in sensitivity training that included “understanding and respecting” others’ preferred pronouns.
“Patriots are being called extremists and they’re rooting them out from the military’s ranks,” he added. “Loving your country is not extremism.” Instead of a “love for country” or the values of the Constitution being taught, he said, the military is pushing divisive race theory-based equity training and policies. “It’s a dangerous game for the U.S. to do what it’s doing to itself culturally.”
Holt said, “Patriotic service needs to be something that’s honorable again. It’s in our best interest to teach our military leadership about the concept of victory, not maintaining little wars all over the world.”
It’s not too late to achieve “peace through strength” throughout the world, Maness said. Not only must wokeism be brought to an end, he said, “we need to be stronger than [our adversaries], and we need to stay stronger than [our adversaries],” he explained. “We also have to have the political will to use force when it’s necessary, and that’s not something I’d expect to see from the Biden administration.
“What we are seeing while we focus on Ukraine is Russia push more towards China,” Maness said. “Combine their nuclear forces together, and they absolutely created a very large risk for the United States, NATO, and Indo-Pacific allies.”
Holt said, “If the U.S. is going to be any kind of deterrence, we need to sober up and show some strength.” According to him, the “State Department needs to start getting interested in diplomacy again.” Those are the things that will deter China, he added.
The Pentagon did not respond to requests by The Epoch Times for comment.