Defense Spending, Appropriations Bills, And Surveillance State Create A Leviathan-Sized Accounting Labyrinth

todayJuly 18, 2013 3

share close

Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – I am dealing with a decimal percentage five zeroes to the right of the decimal point of what the Congress or Senate is dealing with on just one of these appropriations bills. They have to go through this every single year.  If you have ever tried to slog through reading one of these monstrosities, you probably made it maybe 10 or 15 pages in before you threw your hands up in the air and went: No wonder they don’t want to read the bill.  I don’t want to read the bill! Well, try and read a bill, seriously.  Check out today’s transcript for the rest…


Begin Mike Church Show Transcript

Mike:  There is actual debate here and there is some dissention in the ranks if I’m to believe the latest reports we have out today, which say that there’s not a consensus on the gargantuan Defense Appropriations bill, and that Boehner — here it is from, “No action yet for Defense Spending bill.  This is great news.  Actually, it’s not defense, it’s offense.



From the outset of the budget wars this spring, the annual Pentagon appropriations bill was to be the Republican flagship, a half-trillion-dollar vessel that defied sequestration and helped garner the defense votes needed to pass the GOP tax and spending plan. [Mike: Something funny happened on the way to the opera, though.]

Mike Church Show Transcript – Americans With Guns Are Dangerous But Terrorists With Tanks And Jets Are Safe, Really!?

But more than a month after it was reported from committee, the bill has yet to come to the House floor. And with the August recess around the corner, it remains caught between the GOP leadership’s peripatetic agenda and a growing unrest among rank-and-file members over NSA surveillance at home and U.S. entanglements overseas.

[end reading]

america-secede-or-die-t-shirtMike:  Andrew, I never thought I would read something like that.  That is a marked difference from just a year or two years ago, isn’t it?  David Rogers at the Politico actually has in their piece about this that there is concern “over NSA surveillance at home and U.S. entanglements overseas.”  So there is some progress being made.  We’re starting to get through.  When I say we, I mean me, you people, and people that you fraternize with, and those that have grown weary and are sick and tired of the surveillance state or sick and tired of us being the bully and the funding source for policing the world or the known universe, as I often call it.  Some members of Congress are starting to get the message.  If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool lifelong Republican, this is important to you.  Daniel Larison has a post at the American Conservative Magazine.  I think that Larison is one of the better writers on this subject.

AG:  I’ve got a quick question on the evolution of the war weariness.  I’m too young to know, but didn’t the U.S. have a similar sort of movement after Vietnam?  Is this kind of a natural revolution?

Mike:  Funny you should ask that.  I don’t know if you saw this Tuesday in my Pile of Prep.  I printed it out but I did not get into it.  They have republished it now as the lead story at  A gentleman that goes by the name of Alfred W. McCoy had this piece at Tomgram, which is, a big noninterventionist site run by Tom Engelhardt.  “Obama’s Expanding Surveillance Universe” is the introductory piece.  It’s “Surveillance blowback: the making of the US surveillance state, 1898-2020.”  It’s funny you should mention it, Andrew.  Lo and behold there is a subtitle in that piece called “The Vietnam Years.”  Yes, after the end of the Vietnam era, there was a retrenchment and a ratcheting down.  As a matter of fact, I’m going to go all the way back and start.  The essay is probably about 12,000, 14,000 words.  I’m probably going to share one-seventh of it or less.  It’s very long.  It’s very, very much worth your time to read.  I relinked to it again today in today’s Pile of Prep.

Project 76 – James Madison Identifies a Monster, Called The Federal Government

Back in the day, Mark Twain actually inveighed against this.  As McCoy goes through this, he points out there was a buildup as we subjugated the Philippines, then Wilson came along and forced us to get into World War I and there was a buildup there.  The Sedition Act was passed.  The American sheeple at that time actually held a couple of liberties near and dear and didn’t like it.  By the mid-1920s, that era had basically been shut down and repealed.  Then of course the buildup during World War II and our fights in the theater in Japan and the European theater.  There was another buildup which lasted almost through the end of the Vietnam War.  At the end of the Vietnam War, there was another retrenchment.  At the end of the Vietnam War, this is how you got the FISA Court….

For the rest of today’s transcript please sign up for a Founders Pass or if you’re already a member, make sure you are logged in!
[private FP-Yearly|FP-Monthly|FP-Yearly-WLK]

To answer your question, it was Vietnam and Nixon’s spying at the end of the Vietnam era that had liberal Democrats demanding that this stop and cease.  There was an agreement, [mocking] “Okay, we can’t stop all of it.  We are kind of still embroiled in this thing called the Cold War.”  So they agreed to disagree and then they created the FISA Court.  That’s a roundabout answer to your question.  Then there was, obviously, since 9/11 another massive buildup.  Now we stare down another $600 billion appropriation.  Much of this spyfare stuff and the surveillance state is now in there.  Some people consider this, [mocking] “This is beyond reproach.  We’re never going to get to the day when we can do without all this, but we can do without significant portions of our surveillance state.”  You wanna bet?

There’s a wonderful editorial on yesterday about ending the Department of Homeland Insecurity.  That’s something we did not talk about on Monday.  I completely spaced out and forgot about this.  Janet Napolitano is leaving Big Sister, Big Female 1984, Big Sis is leaving the stewardship, if you want to call it that, of the Department of Homeland Insecurity.  Did you see the story?  Is she going to be the president of the University of California at Irvine or something?  One of the universities in California she’s going to become president of.

Now there’s a great opportunity, folks, if you are of our persuasion — the gentleman that wrote the piece at Bloomberg makes a very, very good case.  It’s a great opportunity here to just take the reins, seize it, and shut the DHS down.  It is not needed.  It was a kneejerk reaction to the events of September 11, 2001.  That’s exactly what it was and it’s not needed anymore.  Why keep it open?  Why keep pouring tens and tens of billions of dollars into it every year.  Another thing, it also necessitates — just like any other federal agency, it is an organic entity.  It does not know how to eat only what it on its plate.  That’s the best way I can describe the voracious appetite of the crisis and leviathan state.  Like any organic form of life, it looks at what’s on its plate or what’s in its bowl in front and goes: That’s pretty good, but I don’t see any dessert in there.  You’re gonna have to feed me just a little bit more than that.  Back to the defense bill.  We’re going to get into all this.  We have all of this for you today and much more.  As a matter of fact, did you see the story where there have now been two drone crashes out of an Air Force base in Florida?

AG:  I thought it was California, the one where I guess they retrofit planes and make them into drones and they have the self-destruct button.

Mike:  Yes.  I was reading it last night and I’ll get to it in a second here.  My post on it in the Pile of Prep today says:

Mike Church Show Transcript – Will Congress Raise The Debt Ceiling? Of Course They Will!


Up in smoke: The second drone crash in a week is reported out of Tyndall AFB in FL. Countdown to conspiracy theorists (5,4,3,2,1…) claiming this is a test run for self detonation attacks, waged by drones, to be used by Russian troops on Patriot groups.

[end reading]

Mike:  [mocking] “Come on, Mike, give them a break.”  I will.  Back to the Defense Appropriations spending and bill that I am thoroughly enjoying today.


Wednesday saw another attempt to delay implementation of health care reform, for example. Next the House is expected to turn to an education bill that’s a priority for Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) but is opposed by even traditional GOP allies in the business community.

At the same time, more than 150 defense amendments had been filed with the House Rules Committee by Tuesday, including proposals to bar military aid to Syrian rebels [Mike: I wonder whose idea that is, and no, I’m not taking credit I’m being serious about that. It doesn’t say whose amendment that is. I like it.] and stop the NSA from collecting private call records and metadata on telephone customers in the U.S. [Mike: Good luck with that.]

The situation is ticklish enough politically that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is pursuing a structured rule to limit amendments — a break with the GOP’s promise to allow open debate on appropriations bills.

Mike Church Show Transcript – Greenwald And Snowden: NSA Is Spying On Brazil, Germany, Anyone And Everyone

[end reading]

Mike:  Really, really?  [mocking Boehner] “It’s a good bill…to pass it.”


To appease the right, the committee is expected to report the $512 billion Pentagon bill with a $44.1 billion transportation and housing bill — that will be subject to open debate. But the leadership admits it is struggling still to find a path that will allow members to express themselves without jeopardizing the defense bill. [Mike: I’d like to see the defense bill jeopardized. I’d like to see that happen.]

“It’s a hard nut to crack,” said one aide. Already, conservatives like Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) were warning Wednesday that he and other Republicans will oppose any rule that does not allow a vote on an amendment to limit funding for the NSA telephone metadata program. [Mike: Limit funding, why not eliminate the funding?]

article-v-pamphlet-ad“The American people think it’s important enough,” Amash told POLITICO. “They think it is outrageous.” [Mike: Because it is outrageous.]

Even if agreement is reached on taking up the Pentagon bill next week, the delays already are significant. In fact, this will be the latest that any Republican-controlled House has dealt with the defense appropriations bill in many years. And it fits a pattern this summer as the leadership has allowed more and more fiscal 2014 spending bills to back up with only three approved by the House so far.

[end reading]

Mike:  You know what that means.  That means they’ll come close to shutting the federal leviathan down.  Somebody will be kicking and screaming and hollering about this.  At the last moment, super dude Boehner will ride in and there will be an omnibus — omnibus meaning they’ll just throw everything into one ginormous bill — and they’ll force members to vote up or down.  Dumbocrats are going to vote on this, too.  Don’t think that just because Amash is being quoted in this story and that there seems to be some delays, do not think for one moment that any of the gravy train is seriously in jeopardy.  There may be a nugget or two of an increase that’s on the table, but ultimately Boehner and the decepticons are going to get their way.


Democrats in the Senate have tried to capitalize on the drift in the House by accelerating their own Appropriations Committee markups of 2014 bills. With no progress on budget talks, both committees know they are heading toward a shutdown fight at the end of September.

[end reading]

Mike Church Show Transcript – War-Hungry GOP Wants To Spend Money On War But Not To Feed The Children

Mike:  You know what is truly remarkable about this?  Just think about this for just a moment.  Just consider this.  Most of us live on what we call paycheck to paycheck.  Despite what you people might think, [mocking] “You got a big show on satellite radio and a website and this and that.”  Trust me, I am W2 form to W2 form just like you.  I may have a little extra because I’ve got 16 jobs and four businesses to run.  Having said that, I run out of time to take care of my own personal finances.  It is difficult to find the time to manage many of the financial responsibilities that most of us have.  I do find time to do it, but it does take an effort to even carve out the time to deal with these things.  Don’t throw a refinance of your house into all this, for heaven’s sake.

I am dealing with a decimal percentage five zeroes to the right of the decimal point of what the Congress or Senate is dealing with on just one of these appropriations bills. They have to go through this every single year.  If you have ever tried to slog through reading one of these monstrosities, you probably made it maybe 10 or 15 pages in before you threw your hands up in the air and went: No wonder they don’t want to read the bill.  I don’t want to read the bill! Well, try and read a bill, seriously.  Try to read one of these omnibus bills.  You’ll be digging down into this thing, “Whereas . . . therefore . . . and the Secretary shall . . . Rule 347(b) U.S. Code 1972 Subsection 16, Paragraph 4, in pursuance thereof says . . .”

For more on Ben Franklin, pick up your copy of The Spirit of 76 right here!
For more on Ben Franklin, pick up your copy of The Spirit of 76 right here!

The point I’m getting at is the scope and size and scale of the inner workings of this monstrosity known as the federal leviathan is so large and such a labyrinth to try and navigate, I don’t know how they get any of this done.  No wonder they have to have teams of 25 lawyers per member of the House.  I think you can have up to 24.  It probably takes that many people just to read the incoming mail, much less sit down and [mocking] “Oh, man, we gotta spend $500 billion?”  There are many of you out there that go: I could spend $500 billion.  I bet you couldn’t.  I wager you couldn’t spend a billion dollars.  You’d run out of things you want.  You’d probably run out short of $10, after you started getting all the trinkets and gadgets.  The undertaking is just enormous, unbelievably enormous.

What does that make way for?  If you’re listening out there and keeping score and wondering if I have a point, of course I do.  What does that make way for?  That makes way for all manner of waste.  It’s the waste of scale.  It is out of scale.  There is no human contraption that you could make or design, no human being that we could genetically engineer that could possibly effectively manage spending $3.8 trillion per year.  As a matter of fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and use the same thing I just said, no machine or person that could manage $1 trillion per year.  The numbers are so astronomically out of our reach of comprehension because they’re so large and so astronomical that they’re going to defy anyone ever being able to actually understand it.  It’s a miracle that any of this stuff ever gets done.  It’s equally as miraculous that there is as little, relatively speaking, fraud, waste, and abuse than there is.

End Mike Church Show Transcript



Print Friendly, PDF & Email
author avatar

Written by: AbbyMcGinnis

Rate it

Post comments (0)

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x