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As US government shuts down over budget crisis, group debuts DC ads calling to cut aid to Israel

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The organization American Muslims for Palestine is expanding its nationwide ad campaign calling to end U.S. aid to Israel to the nation’s capital. A press release from the organization says it is a perfect time given the country’s dire financial situation:

It is a fitting time. The federal government may shut down Tuesday because it cannot afford to pay its bills yet we are still sending Israel billions of dollars in military aid, loan guarantees, other grants and free or reduced cost weaponry every year. Also today, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu visited President Barack Obama in the Oval Office today to discuss Iran, Syria and the “peace process.”

“It is inexcusable that we continue to fund Israel’s military when our own government can’t pay its employees or fund important social services,” said AMP national board member Dr. Osama Abu Irshaid. “Our unconditional support of Israel hurts our image throughout the world and weakens our national security. It is time to keep this money here at home to help Americans who desperately need it.”

Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Executive Editor of

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48 Responses

  1. Walid on October 1, 2013, 10:44 am

    What’s the total annual cost of Israel to the US? it’s surely way over $3 billion.

    • amigo on October 1, 2013, 11:35 am

      Walid, google “WRMEA US aid to Israel”.You will be astounded by the amount it has and continues to cost to fund the zio entity.

    • JohnAdamTurnbull on October 1, 2013, 12:58 pm

      There may be some useful numbers on this similar campaign poster.

    • Ellen on October 1, 2013, 4:17 pm

      Walid, more details on “aid” here:

      “Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $118 billion (current, or non-inflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance. …. Strong congressional
      support for Israel has resulted in Israel receiving benefits not available to any other countries;…

      As of 2013, Israel was still authorized to issue up to $3.8 billion in U.S.-backed bonds. In general, Israel may view U.S. loan guarantees as a “last resort” option, which its treasury could use if unguaranteed local and international bond issuances become too expensive. … Israeli officials may believe that although they have not needed to use the loan guarantees in the last eight years, maintaining the program boosts the country’s fiscal standing among international creditors in capital markets. …”

      Artificially boosting Israeli fiscal standing is another form of invisible aid from US taxpayers as it makes (US subsidized) borrowing even cheaper for Israel that it would be otherwise.

      More from the report to Congress:

      Since 1973, Israel has received grants from the State Department’s Migration and Refugee Assistance account (MRA) 57 to assist in the resettlement of migrants to Israel.

      Details on “Migration and Refugee Assistance” to be found on page 16. As the report explains, “in Israel little differentiation is made between “refugees” and other immigrants, and the funds are used to support the absorption of all immigrants. ”

      In other words, the US tax payer gives millions each year to the illegal occupation squatter settler movement .

      And finally:

      According to USAID, institutions based in Israel have received the
      most program funding in the Middle East region.

      So our government is shut down over the politicization of a real budget crisis and we continue to pump billions into Israel. Why?

  2. Keith on October 1, 2013, 11:31 am

    “The study of money, above all other fields . . .is one in which complexity is used to disguise truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it.” (John Kenneth Galbraith)

    One would have thought that the budget crisis and government shutdown would be the ideal time for financially knowledgeable people in the press to explain, at least somewhat, the workings of the financial system and how that relates to the crisis. Alas, that is not the case, at least for the more popular press. I don’t read the Wall Street Journal, so maybe the financial press did.

    One would have hoped that at least someone would have brought up Quantitative Easing and how that relates. For those not familiar with the particulars (I’m not all that knowledgeable), QE essentially involves the Fed buying $85 billion in US Treasuries per month with money it creates, then depositing these in the regional banks to act as deposits to be loaned out. That’s right, the main “investor” buying Treasuries is Ben Barnanke using money he has created. In other words, money the Federal Reserve has created turns up as Federal debt to be repaid. That is because the Fed is more or less privately owned and operated. If the Fed was a public utility, the money would simply be injected into the economy with no debt added to the national debt, hence, no debt ceiling problem. Theoretically, the Fed could do what Ron Paul once proposed and simply forgive the debt since it didn’t cost them anything to create the money to buy the bonds. Kind of like a de facto public bank.

    Alas, two new problems arise. Since the purchased bonds form a significant part of member bank reserves, forgiving the debt would probably wipe out enough of the banking reserves to through the entire system into default. Actually, that is what Quantitative Easing was designed to prevent. The other problem is the market reaction to the sudden cessation of QE. Even Barnanke’s hint that he might taper off QE sometime soon caused a moderately severe reaction. A cold turkey cut off would cause the mother of all panics.

    What to make of all of this? First of all, this created “crisis” is an excuse to further advance a vicious class war and cut citizen benefits while continuing to throw money at Wall Street. Second, if and when Wall Street is ready, it will lay down the law to Congress and the “crisis” will be resolved. Third, Wall Street may not want the crisis to be resolved. Sitting on a mountain of cash, Wall Street may decide that the time is right to intentionally crash the global economy, buy up everything they don’t already own, and transition the planet to global neo-feudalism, the ultimate goal. Why now? Wall Street has their hired lawyer in the White House, what better time?

    Israel? Not particularly significant in the big picture at this point in time. Hold onto your hats, gang, this could be the start of a very rough ride!

    • Keith on October 1, 2013, 11:34 am

      Make that “throw the entire system into default.”

    • MRW on October 1, 2013, 5:34 pm


      ideal time for financially knowledgeable people in the press to explain, at least somewhat, the workings of the financial system and how that relates to the crisis.

      We don’t have “financially knowledgeable people in the press.

      You were right up until “deposits to be loaned out.”

      Here is how QE works. (First, the Fed is not one bank, it’s 12. There is no overarching Fed, or one Fed. The NY Fed, however, is the lead bank. Volker moved it from DC to NYC, stupidly, in the 70s along with mismanaging the interest rates by misunderstanding how federal accounting worked such that they soared to 20%.)

      Think of the Fed as having two accounts, which is true. Checking and savings. Just like any other bank. But it’s easier to grasp if you think of it this simply, even though there are fancier names for these Fed accounts. Also, the only ones allowed to have an account at the Fed are US Banks, and the US government, Foreign banks and governments. That’s all.

      When the US Treasury sells treasury securities at auction on the 15th of every month, it sells them on the open market. Anyone can buy them: endowments, large family trusts, foreign governments and banks, states, municipalities, corporations, rich individuals, etc. Anyone. They sell out immediately. People buy them because they are safe. If you have more than $250,000 in a bank account, the FDIC doesn’t insure you. Treasury securities do. They are protected by the full faith and credit of the US government.

      One more thing to know before I explain QE.

      Treasury securities are US currency. And the US federal government issues its own currency. (Buying a treasury security is like buying a bank CD.) Only ~12% of US currency are actual dollar bills. The rest are treasury securities. T-bills mature within a year; highly liquid. T-notes mature from 2-10 years. T-bonds mature from 10-30 years. ALL of them are tradable. Each have different (interest) yields. But they are “currency.” It’s how the federal government injects new currency into the US economy when it has to. And that is debt-free money no matter what anyone tells you. The US Treasury pays interest on the “debt” by issuing treasury securities annually to pay for that “debt service.”

      OK. This is QE. The Federal Reserve is going out on the open market and buying treasury securities that are for sale. There’s no coercion. The “endowments, large family trusts, foreign governments and banks, states, municipalities, corporations, rich individuals, etc” have decided to sell for whatever reason: they think interest rates are going to go up and want to take advantage of that, they want to buy a Boeing, they’re paying off a ransom, whatever. They want to sell. The Fed buys it. And like any private buyer, it pays the full amount of principal and interest (or yield).

      That payment goes into the seller’s bank checking account at the Fed. It’s up to the bank to mark up the seller’s account. If the Fed has bought a bank’s treasury security, that money goes into the bank’s checking account at the Fed. A checking account at the Fed is called a reserve account. That’s where the notion that the Fed is buying treasury securities to free up bank money for loans comes from. (But that is completely wrong. Loans create deposits, not the other way around.)

      The Fed, meantime, now has a treasury security on its books and the Fed is now earning the interest income from the treasury security which the private sector seller would otherwise have earned.

      The Fed has actually removed the interest income from the real economy because the Fed is earning it instead of the private sector. Last year the Fed removed $100 billion in interest income from the real economy with its QE purchases.

      By law since 1947, the Fed must return all profits after expenses to the US Treasury at the end of the year. The annual expenses for all 12 regional Fed banks is around $485 million, and the Fed pays dividends to its member banks of around 1.56% annually based on an arcane process that does not act like a regular corporation—not based on profits or rise in value–so the dividends the banks get are far lower than would be otherwise. For example, in 2010, the Fed earned $81.73 billion. It returned $79.27 billion to the Treasury.

      Last year the Fed earned $100 billion in interest from its treasury security purchases. The profit from that goes back to Treasury.

      Net effect? It has removed $100 billion from the real economy, making the US dollar scarcer, therefore raising the value of the US dollar globally, if anything. It has not altered the amount of money in the system. It is just as asset swap from savings to checking. Nothing more. It does not cause inflation (Erin Burnett is an idiot).

      So why is the Fed doing it? Because the goddamsonofabitch congress refuses to enact the fiscal policy we need to fix this economy. Only Congress can appropriate spending. It is not doing its job, and our President does not understand federal accounting. he is thinking like a state governor that does have to balance its budget; the federal government under our system since 1971 does not have to. We need $2 trillion spent on infrastructure. We need real scientific research. We need real education improvement. We need our communications backbone brought into the First World. All of these activities by the federal government (not state or local governments which are paid for by taxpayers!) would produce jobs, are debt-free expenses, and would provide the growth we need to grow this economy.

      The debt ceiling is another discussion. Suffice it to say, is is an artifact of a monetary system we got rid of decades ago, the gold standard. It has no business in our economy today, and that law should have been retired on August 16, 1971. Why don’t we know this? Re-election of Nixon, Watergate, Yom Kippur War, Oil Crisis, Impeachment. Journalists were otherwise occupied.

      BTW, for some stupid reason, a Fed checking account is called a reserve account.
      A Fed savings account is called a securities account.

      • Keith on October 1, 2013, 6:58 pm

        MRW- I hadn’t planned on getting involved in a lengthy discussion regarding the Federal reserve system, however, I take issue with several of your comments.

        Yes, there are 12 member banks in the Federal Reserve system, however, except for the NY bank, the heads of the other banks rotate membership within the Federal Reserve Board. The head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, while powerful, is not the same as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Barnanke.

        MRW: “Treasury securities are US currency.”

        No, they are not. They become part of the money supply, however, they are debt obligations of the US government which could potentially default.

        MRW: “But they are “currency.” It’s how the federal government injects new currency into the US economy when it has to. And that is debt-free money no matter what anyone tells you. The US Treasury pays interest on the “debt” by issuing treasury securities annually to pay for that “debt service.”

        All currency is money, however, not all money is currency. Currency does not pay interest. Treasury securities are debt obligations which do pay interest. The US Treasury, lacking sufficient tax revenue, pays interest on maturing treasuries by SELLING new treasuries on the open market to obtain the funds to pay the interest and rollover the debt. A big chunk of these new debt obligations are purchased by the Federal Reserve ($85 billion per month) as part of the Quantitative Easing program.

        I have no idea how you came to the conclusion that US Bonds and Treasury securities were not debt obligations which, in effect, constitute the national debt. They are and they do. Also, the notion that the Fed purchase of treasuries with created money somehow reduces interest income is tough to fathom. These treasuries become part of the banks’ deposits which form the basis of bank credit which is the foundation of our money supply.

        Anyone interested in additional information on our financial system may care to read “The Web of Debt” by Ellen Brown. Also, I provide a link to a video presentation by Damon Vrabel which provides an excellent summary of our present system.

      • MRW on October 1, 2013, 7:52 pm

        There are too many things wrong in your definitions and understanding. I don’t have the time right now.

        Read “Freedom from the National Debt” by Frank N. Newman, former Deputy Secretary of the US Treasury. Then we can talk. The book came out in April 2013. It’s 87 pages. He explains in exact simple terms how the US Treasury works, and what he calls the ‘logic’ of it. BTW, he recommends reading Randall (Randy) Wray, among others, to understand the federal accounting system. Randy Wray also corrected many misconceptions for Ellen Brown, because she contacted him, after her book came out.

        The Fed made itself purposely opaque during the last half of the 20th C. When you strip aside the bullshit, it’s no more complicated than a payday loan company.

        I know all about the Fed structure. The 12 regionals are the ‘private’ institutions. The Board of Governors are the govt side, with political appointees etc. The Federal Reserve is a public-private institution like the military and post office.

        The US govt does not ‘borrow’ money from the private sector to run the government. Where do you think the private sector gets US money to begin with? The private sector is not allowed to create currency. Neither does it borrow money from China. There is no factory in downtown China making US dollar bills. The problem is the terminology. When the US government creates money, it is called issuing debt. It’s an accounting artifact, and term, related to the double-entry accounting system. It is marked in the right column as a liability, but it never has to be paid back. It is NOT the same as the private sector creating credit. That is debt with interest, and has to be paid back. Big diff. Problem is we’ve rendered unto banks things over the last 30 years that were the purview of the federal government. We now have financial capitalism as a result, and this privatization is killing our country, IMHO.

        Gotta run.

        EDIT: I will watch the video you link to later. No time now. it’s 1:45 hours long.

      • Keith on October 2, 2013, 12:27 am

        MRW- “Read “Freedom from the National Debt” by Frank N. Newman, former Deputy Secretary of the US Treasury. Then we can talk.”

        I don’t know if I am going to bother to read this or not. You seem hopelessly confused. Everything I said in my original post was essentially true. You have added needless complexity to the issue along with a ton of misinformation. From the reviews for “Freedom from the National Debt”

        “A more modern way to think of the Treasury auction process is not as the U.S. government “borrowing” safe money from people. Rather, the auctions are ways to allocate, through a market process, a limited supply of new Treasury securities to bidders who want to invest in the safety and liquidity of Treasuries.”

        My response? I am well aware of the treasury market as being a relatively safe resting place for institutional (and other) investors (like me), primarily due to the US dollar as the global reserve currency. And while Frank Newman may advocate a “new look” at treasury auctions in regards to borrowing “safe” money, that doesn’t alter the fact that treasury auctions are the government borrowing (not creating) money to run the government. The “safety and liquidity” of treasuries is dependent upon the ability of the Treasury to continue to borrow money via the issuance of new treasuries, which, in turn, is contingent upon the raising of the national debt limit. Failure to raise the debt limit will severely curtail the treasury auction and more-or-less shit can Quantitative Easing, which was the subject of my original, uncomplicated post. I have trouble believing that this book states that treasuries are not Federal debt obligations as you maintain. Perhaps a quote would entice me to read this book which you seem to have misunderstood.

        As for “There are too many things wrong in your definitions and understanding.” Funny, you took the words right out of my mouth. Are you aware of how many times you have contradicted yourself? For example, you say that “Buying a treasury security is like buying a bank CD.” True enough, a CD is a bank debt obligation to you in return for the MONEY you gave to the bank. Then you say that “Treasury securities are US currency. And the US federal government issues its own currency.” No, the Federal Government does NOT create money! The Federal Reserve and private banking system create money primarily in the form of bank credit. The Federal Reserve LOANS money to the US government when it buys treasuries and the banks create additional money when they create loans supported by the treasuries the Fed deposits in their accounts. This isn’t all that complicated so quite trying to make it so with superfluous detail.

      • Keith on October 2, 2013, 12:35 am

        MRW- Jeez, I just noticed another blatant contradiction! You say: “The US govt does not ‘borrow’ money from the private sector to run the government.” Previously you said: “When the US Treasury sells treasury securities at auction on the 15th of every month, it sells them on the open market. Anyone can buy them: endowments, large family trusts, foreign governments and banks, states, municipalities, corporations, rich individuals, etc. Anyone.” So which is it? Are not “corporations and rich individuals” the private sector?

      • MRW on October 2, 2013, 7:49 am


        So which is it? Are not “corporations and rich individuals” the private sector?

        Of course.

        You asked for a quote. Newman starts his book out with this:

        In order to fully understand the nature of Treasury securities (“ national debt”), we need first to focus on what money really is.

        Many people think of money – in addition to being a medium of exchange to buy and sell things – as the “real thing” for a financial asset, the good, safe stuff. They think of the government as borrowing this good, reliable value from investors who need incentives to invest their “secure money” in Treasuries. And many people who have been lectured a thousand times about the “evils” of “national debt” believe that the U.S. government will have to generate enough money revenue, through future taxes, to “pay off” all the Treasury securities that have been issued to finance deficits.

        But none of these beliefs are true. [Emphasis in original in italics but that doesn’t show up here.]

        Newman, Frank N. (2013-04-22). Freedom from National Debt (p. 1). Two Harbors Press. Kindle Edition.

        You object to this: “Treasury securities are US currency. And the US federal government issues its own currency.” OK. How about the unit of account in the United States is the Dollar. Treasury securities are dollar deposits at the Fed. Okay with that? The US Treasury issues those. The US Treasury also issues the paper currency that the public needs for commerce and the Fed distributes it; the printing cost to the Fed is about 7 cents each. Both paper currency and treasury securities have the full backing of the US government (+both are tradable). Bank money, or credit money–which is the majority of money created in the US–does not (+they are a form of liability of commercial banks).

        We are going to go around and around on this, I see. I want to go to bed.

      • Keith on October 2, 2013, 3:12 pm

        Thanks for the quote which reaffirms my statement that treasuries constitute national debt, “…Treasury securities (“ national debt”)….”, and that failure to increase the debt limit will impact the sale of new treasuries, hence, Quantitative Easing. Nothing in the quote contradicts anything I have said. I am well aware of the fact that the national debt is an inevitable consequence of our debt based money system, not something to be paid off.

        You seem to have backed off from your assertion that “The US govt does not ‘borrow’ money from the private sector to run the government.” Of course it does. When it auctions treasuries, it is borrowing from the private sector to make up the shortfall between expenditures and tax revenue. The Federal Reserve Banks and all of the other banks are in the private sector and create our money supply.

        “The private sector is not allowed to create currency.” Yes it does. The authority to create and manage the money supply was delegated to the US central bank, the Federal Reserve. “Except for coins, the government does not create money. Dollar bills (Federal Reserve Notes) are created by the private Federal Reserve, which lends them to the government.” (p3, “Web of Debt,” Ellen Brown)

        “How about the unit of account in the United States is the Dollar. Treasury securities are dollar deposits at the Fed. Okay with that?” (MRW)

        No, they are not dollar deposits at the Fed. Uncle Sam has not LOANED the Fed money which has been deposited, the government has BORROWED created money from the Fed. The treasuries are IOUs. Furthermore, Treasury auctions involve more than just the Fed buying treasury securities (loaning the government money), other folks are involved as well. And please don’t conflate the Treasury auctions with the secondary market for US Treasury securities, an important part of the global financial system not relevant to this discussion. And yes, I am aware that the treasury market plays a critical financial role well beyond that of government borrowing to cover the revenue shortfall, however, once again, not relevant to the discussion which has already wandered well beyond the limited intent of my original comment, not to mention Mondoweiss’ focus on the Middle East. This is my last comment on this thread.

  3. Justpassingby on October 1, 2013, 11:46 am

    Meanwhile Israel want more dollars.

  4. radii on October 1, 2013, 12:41 pm

    in 2003 Bibi said israel didn’t need U.S. money and “in ten years” israel could go it alone … but wait, there’s more – during the Bush 43 administration the Commerce Dept. and trade rep. complained bitterly about israel locking U.S. products out of the israeli market … but wait, there’s still more – israel has the world engaged in strict sanctions against Iran but allows its own citizens to trade with Iran

    time to cut off all funding to israel

    • DICKERSON3870 on October 1, 2013, 1:20 pm

      RE: “in 2003 Bibi said israel didn’t need U.S. money and ‘in ten years’ israel could go it alone” ~ radii

      THAT WAS THEN; THIS IS NOW: “Israel Pushes for Boost in U.S. Aid to More Than $3B a Year”, By Nathan Guttman,, 9/17/13
      Beltway Wrangling Starts Now as Deal Expires in 2017

      [EXCERPT] Israel’s 10-year assistance agreement with the United States doesn’t expire until 2017. But in Washington time, that’s not too far away for Israel to argue now for increasing aid levels when the agreement is renewed.
      Citing the ongoing instability in the Middle East, Israel is already pushing for an increase in U.S. military aid to address new challenges and to ensure Israeli military superiority in the region.
      More specifically, in renewal talks that are ongoing between the two countries, Israel is pointing to, among other things, recent sales of advanced American weaponry to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Under a doctrine stemming from statutory language in earlier legislation, the United States, Israeli officials point out, is committed by law to ensuring that Israel maintains a “qualitative military edge,” — known more commonly as QME — over any of its Arab neighbors.
      The 2008 law, seen as mainly declarative at the time, could provide the legal basis for increasing aid to Israel in order to ensure its military edge. . .


      • DICKERSON3870 on October 1, 2013, 4:52 pm

        P.S. RE:“Citing the ongoing instability in the Middle East, Israel is already pushing for an increase in U.S. military aid . . .” ~ Guttman’s article (from above)

        SEE: “Israel cutting military budget by $2 billion despite heightened regional threats”,, 7/11/13

        [EXCERPTS] TEL AVIV — Due to budgetary constraints, the Israel Air Force plans to cut combat squadrons despite threats of a regional war.
        The military has released a plan to sharply reduce manpower and other programs over the next five years. . .
        . . . Officers said the plan, meant to save nearly $2 billion by 2018, would reduce combat readiness amid threats of a war with Iran and Syria. . .


  5. eljay on October 1, 2013, 12:54 pm

    >> in 2003 Bibi said israel didn’t need U.S. money and “in ten years” israel could go it alone

    And Iran is just six months away from having a bomb. ;-)

  6. seafoid on October 1, 2013, 1:03 pm

    I’d love to hear how US vets feel about having their interests dropped in favour of the cash pipeline to Israel.

  7. HarryLaw on October 1, 2013, 1:57 pm

    3 Billion, 100 Billion it does not matter what the figure is, it is a price and a cheap price the politicians are willing to pay in order to get, and stay elected. Only when ordinary Americans in large numbers rise up and threaten to hold their Representatives accountable, as they did with their rejection of the Syrian war, will things change.

  8. kma on October 1, 2013, 2:24 pm

    now that Saudi Arabia is Israel’s best friend, why don’t they take over the child support payments?
    seriously, I’d love to see Americans demanding that, and I’d love to see it happen.

  9. kma on October 1, 2013, 2:26 pm

    p.s. every time an American whines about having to pay taxes for other people’s health care, they should be told how many Israelis get health care and how much tax Americans pay that foreign country.

    • seafoid on October 1, 2013, 3:23 pm

      Red State Americans moaning about Obamacare and saying nothing about Israel care- where is the consistency?

      And remember

      > Get Government’s hands off my Medicare

  10. Keith on October 1, 2013, 3:39 pm

    Hey everybody, I’m about to say something which will probably be hugely unpopular so I’ll likely say it only once. The primary objection to military and other aid to Israel is moral, not economic. In fact, the economic objection is pathetically weak. The total budget request for fiscal 2013 is $3.8 trillion, therefore, the $3.1 billion request for Israel is less than one-tenth of 1% of the total, hardly a budget buster. The imperial military is asking for $ 673 billion, over 200 times as much. Let us be honest here, $3.1 billion is relative chump change compared to the imperial military and other expenditures of empire. If you are going to talk about the economic aspect, it is far better to tie the $3.1 billion for Israel with all other war spending which, in fact, it is. Still and all, my objection to Israel is primarily moral. Support for Israel and empire is flat out wrong. Period.

    • annie on October 1, 2013, 3:44 pm

      The total budget request for fiscal 2013 is $3.8 trillion, therefore, the $3.1 billion request for Israel is less than one-tenth of 1% of the total

      but keith, how much did iraq cost us? i am not asserting that war was completely for israel, but heck, the neocons would have been quiet if it had not been in israel’s interest. that goes for egypt, syria and iran too. it’s just not realistic limiting our financial commitment to israel’s security as in the one digit billions. that said, good point, it is primarily moral.

      • Light on October 1, 2013, 3:54 pm

        How much has the “war on terror” cost the US?

      • annie on October 1, 2013, 4:04 pm

        trillions. how many billions are in a trillion? a hundred or a thousand? i can’t keep track. it’s a 1000 billion x at least 3 or 4. . i think the american public is putting 2 n 2 together and realizing the wars just transfer all the money to the wealthy. and morally, it’s a dead end…literally.

      • Woody Tanaka on October 1, 2013, 4:14 pm

        “trillions. how many billions are in a trillion? a hundred or a thousand?”

        Americans use the short scale, so it’s a thousand billion in a trillion.

      • annie on October 1, 2013, 4:54 pm

        thnx, that’s what i thought woody, but i googled it just to confirm. it’s hard to even imagine that amount of money invested in destruction.

      • RoHa on October 1, 2013, 9:15 pm

        Annie, here’s one trillion dollars.

      • HarryLaw on October 2, 2013, 4:34 am

        RoHa, thanks for that link, would have been more impressive with 1 dollar bills, by the way according to the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government the projected cost of the Afghan and Iraq wars will be 6 trillion dollars.$6-trillion

    • Woody Tanaka on October 1, 2013, 4:00 pm

      While I think that you are correct in that it is a moral abomination that we send those ingrates all that money, I disagree that there is no economic argument. Because the proper comparsion isn’t against the other things we spend money on (wisely or not [and regarding our military, it’s not. It should be cut by 75%]) but against what 3 Billion dollars could buy. How many roadways, airports, bridges could be improved for 3 Billion per year? How many American people could get health care? How many schools need new facilities, or textbooks or teachers? How many vocational training programs could 3 Billion/year fund? How many Americans could be helped for that money? 3 Billion would go a long way toward making this a better country. Instead, we give it to the scum of the earth in the idf. That’s both a moral outrage and an economic travesty.

      • ritzl on October 1, 2013, 7:32 pm

        Exactly right, WT. It’s both.

      • Citizen on October 3, 2013, 3:36 am

        @ Woody Tanaka
        In addition to the sequestration, now we have the government shutdown too. Also, The US underwrites our investment bankers and Israel’s debt, even though, compared to nearly all the American public, both are very well off economically and financially.

      • Woody Tanaka on October 3, 2013, 8:14 am

        Exactly right. Giving this money to those people when there are decent, American people who it could help is an unforgivable sin.

    • Ellen on October 1, 2013, 4:25 pm

      Keith, I understand the argument, but the 3.1 billion figure does not account for the billions of “invisible” aid. The argument falls flat as it is incomplete by billions.

      The US pays for Loan guarantees, grants, trade packages, use of weapons the US stockpiles in Israel under the Emergency Stockpile collaboration (In 2006 those weapons were used by Israel in Lebanon.), etc., on and on.

      • Citizen on October 3, 2013, 3:38 am

        The US has over $1 billion in Emergency military stockpiles in Israel; those stockpiles can be taken by Israel at is whim, citing military defense needs as the trigger. This has been done by Israel in the past.

    • kma on October 1, 2013, 5:51 pm

      Keith, you have morals! nothing unpopular about that.
      the money argument does resonate with people of a different moral character. in fact, I’m old enough to remember a time when repulicans would whine about support for Israel being one of those liberal democrat diseases. more recently, cutting aid to Israel ranked high among that crowd in reasons to support Ron Paul.
      it is not negligible at all, especially among those who think we spend too much on food stamps.

    • RoHa on October 1, 2013, 9:05 pm

      “Let us be honest here, $3.1 billion is relative chump change”

      A bit of chump change like that would be very welcome to the RoHa family.

      Do you remember Parkinson’s Law of Triviality? The committee spends far more time discussing the bike shed than discussing the nuclear power plant. One reason for this is that the committee members can comprehend the sums of money involved in the bike shed. The cost of the power plant is so great that the numbers are just meaningless noises. But they can imagine paying for the bike shed out of their own pockets.

      $3,100,000,000 is an imaginary number as far as I am concerned, but it is a lot easier to comprehend than $3,800,000,000,000. It is also a lot easier to tell the US public what that would buy them in terms of housing, roads, schools, etc. So, although you are correct in saying that it is a tiny amount compared with the overall US budget, the psychological impact gives the argument much greater persuasive force than the strict economics would suggest.

    • MRW on October 2, 2013, 5:32 am


      The late Thomas R. Stauffer is a “Washington, DC-based engineer and economist who has taught the economics of energy and the Middle East at Harvard University and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.”

      He produced a detailed economic “Special Report” on the cost of US aid to Israel in 2003, published in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 2003, pages 20-23.

      The Costs to American Taxpayers of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: $3 Trillion

  11. anthonybellchambers on October 1, 2013, 5:53 pm

    The American nation’s contempt for its congress is palpable as government offices and services shut down. This is a congress already contaminated by the influence of unelected lobbyists who effectively determine policy, in virtually every department, and this debacle is a huge humiliation for the world’s superpower and its president.

    The core problem is a representative system that acts too often for vested, often foreign, interests instead of for the ordinary American people who elected it. It is the very antithesis of democracy in a country that claims to be the largest democracy in the world and makes a mockery of government of the people and for the people.

    The United States should enact laws to rectify the way that this flawed and suspect legislature operates, but that would need the support of the very congress that itself requires major change. Only a nationwide referendum could bring about such far-reaching changes that would need to include the automatic registration of lobbies acting for overseas powers, as ‘Foreign Agents’ under the provisions of existing legislation.

  12. RoHa on October 2, 2013, 1:16 am

    Parlement of Foules has an interesting article.

    Is Cantor Leading an Israeli Coup Against the United States?

  13. just on October 2, 2013, 6:05 am

    What a terrific graphic.

  14. Citizen on October 3, 2013, 3:41 am

    The transfer of US military aid to Israel has been hit by the US government shutdown because of the dispute between the White House and Congress over the Affordable Care Act, Israel’s Minister of Economic Affairs to the US Eli Groner has told “Globes.”
    He said, “We are not talking about a specific step regarding Israel. There is no budget for most government activities because there is no Budget Act or decision for a continuing resolution for ongoing financing for the coming financial year, and that includes the budget for foreign aid.”
    By a special arrangement Israel receives all its military aid from the US government on the first day of the financial year. Israel was supposed to receive $3.2 billion for the 2014 financial year on October 1.
    Earlier US State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf confirmed that aid to Israel and other US allies would not be transferred on time. This is not the first occasion that US aid to Israel has been delayed by budget disputes.
    Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – – on October 3, 2013

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