The Navy Hasn’t Been This Small Since the 1930s

The United States Navy has been shrinking for decades and is now at levels last seen in the 1930s. Politicians on both sides of the aisle say they want to reverse that trend. But is a larger Navy really affordable?

Today’s Navy has 273 active-duty ships14 percent fewer than were afloat on 9/11. During his 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney proposed a plan to get the Navy to 350 ships. Many of this year’s Republican presidential candidates have called for rebuilding lost naval capacity as well. But making the Navy larger and stronger is actually a bipartisan position. The Obama administration’s budget calls for getting to a 308-ship Navy by 2022 and growing it to 321 ships in 2028.

This is not just politicians trying to sound macho. A strong Navy is necessary to deter bad actors and protect American interests around the world. The defense experts serving on the bipartisan National Defense Panel called for a Navy between 323 and 346 ships, and perhaps higher if threats continue to increase. The Heritage Foundation’s 2015 Index of U.S. Military Strength judged the number of ships needed to counter global threats at 346. Bottom line: strategic needs justify fielding a Navy of roughly 350 ships, and there is bipartisan support for the endeavor.

But the question remains: Is a 350-ship Navy affordable?

To answer that, we must first look at the current shipbuilding budget. The Fiscal Year 2015 shipbuilding budget is $16 billion, and the Navy has requested $16.6 billion for FY 2016. While a significant amount of money, this represents only 3 percent of the total defense budget and less than one half of one percent (0.41 percent) of total federal spending. From this perspective, the government should be able to manage its naval needs.

What would it take to get to 350 ships? The Navy plans to build nine to 10 ships per year. The Romney plan proposed 15 new ships per year—approximately 50 percent more. Assume that a 50-percent increase in shipbuilding would cost approximately 50 percent more. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Navy’s current shipbuilding will cost $18.9 billion annually (more than the Navy has budgeted). Using the CBO’s higher numbers, a 15-ship-per-year budget could cost as much as $28.4 billion annually.

Source: The Navy Hasn’t Been This Small Since the 1930s

If you want to get technical… we’re almost $19 trillion in debt. We can’t afford a can of soup right now.

Earnest: Congress ‘Scared’ of NRA

In the wake of the journalist slayings in Roanoke, Va., White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that similar acts of violence could be prevented if Congress would enact “common sense” changes in gun control legislation. “Until we see a sufficient number of people in this country stand up and make clear that this is something that they’re going to insist members of Congress act on, we’re probably not going to see the kind of common-sense changes that we believe should be put in place,” Earnest said.

Source: Earnest: Congress ‘Scared’ of NRA

I can’t link the video here, but click the link to see it.

Is this guy serious?

First of all, the NRA is funded by American citizens, those same gun owners they keep claiming are in full support of more meaningless gun control (regardless of how many times that apparent poll has been torn apart for being completely meaningless because it was read by gun grabbers as if you can just walk into a store and buy a gun with no background checks… and a lot of people out there believe that is true; yes, the majority of gun owners support background checks… like the ones currently in place… not universal background checks, which they were not asked about) that they want to enact instead of enforcing the laws already on the books.

Second, a lot of folks in the NRA are not happy with the NRA… because they aren’t doing enough. I am a life member of the NRA. I rarely get anything from them about what they are doing to secure our rights, current threats, etc. I only hear from them after a victory. And they seem silent on a lot of things gun rights advocates are actually concerned about. Otherwise, all I hear from the NRA is my monthly magazine and why I need to send them more money.

Basically, Congress is actually doing something the people want… they are supporting at least that portion of the Constitution. And they know when they stop, the voters – not the NRA – will have something to say about it on their ballots.

The FDA Targets Vegan Mayonnaise

Once again proving itself more national busybody than necessary defender of consumer safety, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on potentially misleading mayonnaise labeling. Specifically, the agency objects to Hampton Creek vegan mayonnaise, a condiment that mimics traditional mayonnaise without using egg yolks.

In a warning letter sent to Hampton Creek earlier this month, the FDA noted several “significant violations” of federal regulations. The first complaint is that Hampton Creek uses the term “cholesterol free” on the label of its “Just Mayo” products.

Hampton Creek Facebook

Nevermind that Just Mayo is, indeed, a cholesterol-free food. While the FDA allows foods with up to two milligrams of cholesterol per serving to bear claims that they’re free of cholesterol, this statement is forbidden on products “customarily consumed” in small amounts if they a) have more than 13 grams of fat per 50 grams and b) fail to “disclose the level of total fat in a serving of the product in immediate proximity to the cholesterol claim.”

The FDA also claims Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo and Just Mayo Siracha are “misbranded” because they do not meet federal requirements for calling something mayonnaise. Under federal law, only foods 1) containing at least 65 percent vegetable oil, 2)vinegar and/or lemon juice, and 3) some sort of egg-yolk product may be labeled mayonnaise. It can also contain preservatives, salt, sweeteners, spices, flavoring, and monosodium glutamate, but only “provided it does not impart to the mayonnaise a color simulating the color imparted by egg yolk.” Any other ingredients are forbidden.

Want to sell mayonnaise with an egg substitute, lime juice, or slightly less vegetable oil? Too bad—the FDA does not think the market can handle such ingredient chaos.

Contrary the FDA rules, Hampton Creek’s mayo doesn’t contain egg yolks (or any other animal-based ingredients). It does, however, contain several ingredients that may up the nutrient factor compared to typical mayo, such as pea protein and beta-carotene. These ingredients are in violation of federal mayonnaise law.

Source: The FDA Targets Vegan Mayonnaise – Hit & Run : Reason.com

Salon: America Has Reached the ‘Gun Control Tipping Point’

Holyoak asserted that we are not “doomed to push to extremes forever and never reach agreement,” but he says that as Americans move down one path or another–a pro-Second Amendment path or an anti-Second Amendment position in this case–they continually pick up evidence, or so-called evidence, that reinforces their position, thereby keeping them on the path they have chosen.

And he highlighted secondary factors that many fail to take into consideration.

For example, Holyoak points to the role that “emotion” played in closing the door to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention involvement in gun control via public health studies. He indicated that their proposed involvement triggered the same kind of response as other “hot-button debates [like] climate change [and] the anti-vaccination movement,” and once emotion is in charge, facts one way or another are casualties.

Because of these things–the constant feed of evidence combined with the occasional surge of emotion–even a new and highly grotesque attack like the one Vester Lee Flanagan committed on film leaves Americans politically unmotivated regarding gun control. Supporters of the Second Amendment are heartbroken that two innocent people lost their lives at the hands of an angry former co-worker, but they understand that the number of defense gun uses per year far outweighs criminal uses, so they are not willing to curtail Second Amendment rights any further on a crime-by-crime basis.

On the other side of the coin, anti-Second Amendment Americans have reacted to the Virginia attack the same way they reacted to the attack on the Aurora movie theater or Virginia Tech University, pushing the same policy they pushed for both of those–background checks–completely oblivious that the gunman who killed Parker and Ward passed a background check for his gun.

So it’s a stalemate. And when asked if there is a chance that crimes on the level of Flanagan’s may cause more Americans to support gun control in the future, Holyoak said, “My conjecture would be on the pessimistic side.”

Source: Salon: America Has Reached the ‘Gun Control Tipping Point’ – Breitbart

Sorry, Clinton And Sanders, There’s No Such Thing As Free College

Candidates for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, have both promised that if elected, they would put forth legislation that would dramatically reduce tuition and student debt for public universities in one form or another. This opportunity is a lie in itself. In order for the federal government to pay for all these students, it would be necessary for more tax money to get funneled to students who hold no real obligation to complete their degrees, and a lot of students who should not have gone to college in the first place would get degrees they don’t know what to ultimately do with.

The first issue to bring up regarding this progressive scheme to attract millennial voters is the financing of this project. Lindsey Burke, a researcher at the Heritage Foundation, pointed out in her Daily Signal article, “Why Free Community College Is Anything But Free”, a fundamental issue with financing tuition free 2-year college alone:

“Once again, the administration is pursuing initiatives to subsidize rising costs, instead of working with Congress on policies that actually would address the driver of college cost increases: the open spigot of federal student aid. Over the past several decades, college costs have risen at more than twice the rate of inflation, thanks in large part to federal subsidies.”

By sending more grants and subsidizing higher education even more, that bad habit only creates the incentive for schools to drive up the costs, the ultimate reason behind soaring tuition rates. Because of this effect, every year students take out thousands of dollars in student loans to cover the cost of an education they can’t afford, in order to get a degree for a job that doesn’t exist or isn’t available, leaving them with debt and unemployment. This betrayal of the American people takes away from ways people can still invest in themselves without being slaves to debts owned by the banks.

readImageThe idea behind free community college alone isn’t about greater access to education. In today’s world, information is everywhere thanks to greater access to technologies and the internet, bridging the gaps between social mobility and economic opportunity greater than any point in human history. Looking at great sources like a local library or even the online Khan Academy alone shows just several ways people can access knowledge on their own accord. These resources are free and readily available to the entire public, the only thing that free community college would do is grow faux credentials by inflating the number of degree holders and promote more obtrusive, more burdensome, federal regulation.

The problem behind the average $29,000 student debt in America is obvious, and the reason why Sanders and Clinton don’t want to talk about it is because its extremely easy to win votes by promising to give people something by taking the money, and resources from other people, by use of the government in order to provide it. Burke brings about a common sense solution to address this madness:

“Allow markets in higher education to work by limiting federal subsidies instead of increasing them, and costs will fall for students attending colleges of all types.”

The second point is that the two candidates assume that there will be jobs waiting for the influx in college graduates. In a speech Sanders gave on August 11th:

“It makes no sense to me that when we need nurses, we need doctors, we need dentists, we need more people involved in healthcare, that when people leave school, for the crime of wanting to be involved in healthcare, they have enormous debts. That makes no sense… I will fight to implement as president, that will make every public college and university in America tuition-free.”

Source: Sorry, Clinton And Sanders, There’s No Such Thing As Free College | FreedomWorks

I do believe something needs to be done with schooling in this country on the college level. Debts are extremely high because the cost of college is astronomical. I just spent 8 months in a vocational school and have $20,000 in debt to work off. That was just an 8 month long vocational school. And I didn’t qualify for scholarships or grants because I already have a Bachelor’s degree from a four year college.

But I don’t believe making it “free” is the answer. We keep hearing about European countries with “free” college, but no one talks about their sky high taxes. We always look towards Europe and highlight all the good parts of their various policies, but we bury the bad, and in most of these policies that get highlighted on any topic you want to pull, there are plenty of bad side effects.

And let’s face it… yes, a lot of folks would take it seriously. Many, though, would not. Which means you are paying for someone else to go to school to major in underwater basket weaving or something. Let’s focus on sending people to vocational schools. Not universities, not community college… vocational schools. This way they are forced to choose a course of study that will have an outcome that makes them a contributing member of society (you can do so much in vocational schools. I went for IT. But you can also become a paralegal, an accountant, a welder, you can move up in the construction business, teacher’s aids, day care, data entry, all kinds of things).

And it shouldn’t be “free.” “Free” means “useless joke” to a lot of people, which is why we have parents looking at schools as baby sitters and kids not taking their education seriously. Should we be working with the schools to find out why the rates are so high? I would assume in a lot of major universities the pay of the coaches etc. for their sports teams plays a roll on top of the things mentioned in the article above. We could discuss some of this and find out what can be done and bring down the costs for folks. You could set up work/study programs so people could work off their educations and pay some of it as well. And some of that could be done through employers – you do work for this employer and they pay part (in some cases, you could work out a pay plan where they pay you a salary and then cover part of your tuition. The salary wouldn’t be very high in this case, but it would be something) or all of your tuition according to what you do for them and how much time you spend. That helps pay for your education and gives you real world experience. You may have to pledge time to the company once you leave school to make up for it, but at that point you would be regular salary. A lot of places that currently offer tuition help already do this… we’ll help you pay for school, but we expect you to give us this amount of time here.

There are ways of helping people getting training for work that don’t mean raping the tax payer. And it would put out people who are ready for an actual field of work, in many cases with extremely well paying jobs. You’d give people a sense of pride in their accomplishment, teach them personal responsibility, give them real world skills and experience, and actually do something for them.

Comedian Jim Norton Compares Media Coverage of Two Similar Shootings — Then Goes Off Over the One Thing ‘They Won’t Talk About’

Language warning. No real video, just a sound clip.

Source: Comedian Jim Norton Compares Media Coverage of Two Similar Shootings — Then Goes Off Over the One Thing ‘They Won’t Talk About’ | TheBlaze.com

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Obama orders 1.3 percent military pay raise next year

President Obama informed Congress Friday that he’ll follow through with plans to cap military pay raises at 1.3 percent next year, as part of an effort to keep down mounting defense spending.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Obama called the move unfortunate but necessary.

“As our country continues to recover from serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare … we must maintain efforts to keep our nation on a sustainable fiscal course,” he wrote. “This effort requires tough choices, especially in light of budget constraints.”

The president noted that administration officials do not believe the lower-than-inflation pay raise will hurt the military’s ability to recruit and retain servicemembers.

If it stands, the 1.3 percent raise will be the third consecutive year of increases that fall short of estimated private-sector wage growth, and widen the gap between military and civilian salaries to around 5 percent by some estimates.

Congress has not yet weighed in on whether or not to override the president’s pay plan. House lawmakers have voted for budget plans that would provide a 2.3 percent pay raise for troops — keeping in line with private-sector hikes — but Senate proposals so far have backed the lower 1.3 percent plan.

Source: Obama orders 1.3 percent military pay raise next year