The people of Jackson, Mississippi, have toxic sludge coming out of their kitchen faucets. In some neighborhoods, there isn’t enough water pressure to flush toilets. They’ve gotten, at most, the distracted attention of President Joe Biden.
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba says it will take $1 billion to fix the city’s water plant and another $1 billion to fix the sewer system. The Biden administration’s response? Last January, they promised to loan the state of Mississippi $459 million over 5 years for water “improvements.” (Reminder: these loans from the federal government must be paid back with interest.)
The loans go to the state, not to Jackson, a majority-Black city that has been underdeveloped for years.
With the new crisis in Jackson’s water system, nothing has come from the Biden administration.
One joker suggested that if the city of Jackson declared itself a part of Ukraine, the $2 billion check would be in the mail tomorrow.
The joke isn’t that far off.
$13.7 billion ‘slipped in’
Andrew Lautz in Responsible Statecraft reports that the Biden administration has “slipped” another $13.7 billion weapons package into a routine spending bill that Congress must pass to keep the government open past Sept. 30.
“If Congress accedes to the Biden administration’s request, then the U.S. government will have committed nearly $69 billion in taxpayer funds to Ukraine in just six short months,” the report says.
“The latest request from President Biden allocates about half of the total funding to the Department of Defense ($7.2 billion) and the other half to the Departments of State and Energy ($6.5 billion). This is in line with the first Ukraine aid package Congress passed ($13.6 billion total, which included $6.5 billion for DoD and $6.8 billion for State) and the second, much larger aid bill Congress passed ($41.6 billion total, including $20.1 billion for DoD and $19 billion for State).”
If the Biden request passes as is, then total U.S. war spending committed to Ukraine will be over $69 billion in six months. That’s more than triple what the U.S. spent in Afghanistan in the first year of the occupation. It’s more than the State Department’s budget. And it equals what Russia spent on defense in 2021, Lautz adds.
This is all new funding, not taken out of existing funds for the Pentagon, for example. That means that Biden and Congress must borrow the funds. Lautz explains: “In fact, rising interest rates mean that the interest costs alone on this $69 billion in debt could be an additional $14 billion to $15 billion over 10 years, raising the taxpayers’ total tab for Ukraine assistance to as much as $84 billion.”
The escalating billions for the U.S.-NATO proxy war on Russia have gotten not even a whisper of objection in Congress. With all the electioneering that is going on and the coming congressional elections, the only negative comment was from Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), who said it wasn’t enough.
When it comes to Congress, the sky’s the limit for the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex.
Wall Street antics
Wall Street bankers and the military-industrial complex are calling the tune. And that can be seen in the antics of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is putting in performances at the centers of power.
On Sept. 6, Zelensky rang the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange, which was filled with the blue and yellow Ukrainian war flag. This was the day after Labor Day, which seemed to emphasize that Zelensky had recently imposed a martial-law condition on workers in Ukraine, outlawing labor unions for 80% of the workforce, banning strikes or picket lines, and tearing up existing union contracts. Zelensky signed the law in the last week of August.
Zelensky’s vicious anti-labor laws have been compared to the anti-labor repression of Chile’s fascist Pinochet regime.
Zelensky announced at the Stock Exchange a massive $400 billion state selloff, inviting Wall Street’s imperialist capitalists to exploit Ukraine’s resources and low-paid labor.
Zelensky is following the Wall Street appearance with a show prepared for a major U.S. military-industrial conference on Sept. 21 in Austin, Texas, hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA). Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s minister of defense, is also scheduled to speak.
NDIA includes defense industry giants like Raytheon Technologies, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics.
Eight defense contractors — including Raytheon, Lockheed and General Dynamics — attended an April Pentagon meeting to discuss how the U.S. could increase arms production for the Ukraine proxy war.
This should be sufficient to set the course for the anti-imperialist movement. The U.S.-NATO proxy war is being expanded. It can only be countered by organizing opposition to the imperialist war, the Wall Street bankers and the military-industrial monopolies behind it.
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