Obama’s 2012 Military Budget Request: $671 Billion

[summary info source – US National Guard Article]Share

The president is asking Congress for $671 billion for FY2012
$553 billion DOD “base budget”plus $118 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.

Military personnel account for $142.8 billion of the base budget. Operations and maintenance is $204.4 billion, procurement is $113 billion and research and development is $75.3 billion.

Army portion of the base budget is $144.9 billion.

Navy and Marine Corps portion is $161.4 billion.

Air Force $150 billion.

Defense Department $96.8 billion.

2.3 million service members to receive a 1.6 percent pay raise.

Army strength 547,000

Marine 202,100.

Navy 325,000

Air Force 332,800.

All told, the department’s end strength will be 1,408,000 in fiscal 2012 if this budget is approved. In fiscal 2007, the end strength was 1,328,500

The budget includes $52.5 billion for the Military Health System. The system, which has 9.6 million beneficiaries.

The more than 600,000 civilians in the DOD work force will not receive a raise in calendar years 2011 and 2012 as part of the larger governmentwide freeze on wages. The department intends to hold the civilian work force at fiscal 2010 levels, though exceptions will be made for the on-going acquisition work force improvement strategy, officials said.

About 48,500 American troops remain in Iraq, and about 98,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan.

Most of the $117.8 billion in the overseas contingency operations fund — some $67 billion — goes to operations. Training Afghan forces consumes the next-largest amount, at $12.8 billion.

[updated – CARDILLY is FRAUD and NOT a legitimate business – Gift Cards NOT Received, Cardilly Security Certificate has been REVOKED.

DO NOT USE Cardilly.   GeoTrust has revoked their certificate.    Cardilly is a scam.

These clowns went under the name of “SG Marketing” operating via a bank probably in Etobicoke, Canada.     Note that there appear to be some places named “SG Marketing”  that are legitimate as well as the fraudulent Cardillians.

In December 2011 I’m informed by Citi Cards that they have permanently credited me back the $100.   I’ve sinced cancelled this card as well.

[well, it’s been about two weeks since they reported my order “shipped” and it’s not here, so I’m reporting Cardilly to the fraud department of my credit card company].

Still pretty confused about how blatant they have been with this approach, and not clear how they expect to make money, but certainly this is not a quality business and it’s probably a scam.

Yes, something seems very VERY fishy about Cardilly, but it also seems odd that scammers would be so persistent in the face of so much negative buzz.   How are they doing to avoid the fraud departments of all the credit card companies of the people they are scamming?     My tentative guess at this time is that this is a somewhat questionable  “gray hat” business, perhaps testing out something to see how it flies.   At worst I’m guessing they are sending out stolen or hacked discount cards.

I have yet to see somebody report they received their cards – definitely a red flag – but Cardilly has only been in biz for a month or so.  They seem to be using a Groupon style model which *might* explain the great deals.   Since they limit the number of cards per day it

As I noted in the earlier post Cardilly is either a scam or a very odd way to get huge, but negative, buzz for a new business.     Although many online are stating this is a scam, it appears to be a fairly profitless one since all these online charges are via Credit Cards and they’ll all honor chargeback rules.

I called Capitol One who advised me to wait to file any fraud actions until I fail to receive the promised cards – then they said they’d happily refund my money and initiate a fraud action.

I’ve inquired about my order status  (I “bought” two $100 Wal Mart gift cards for $50 each last week).    Cardilly replied:



Orders take 2-4 weeks to arrive. That’s 2-4 weeks from the time
you place the order. Your order will come with U.S.P.S. from Canada.
This is stated in your invoice, also in our FAQ.
In your confirmation email, you should see an estimated delivery date.
There is no tracking, but you will have to sign for the package. If
your not home, there will be a notice left for you. You can wait
for another delivery or you can pick up the package from the post
We thank you for your contact and appreciate your business.
Cardilly.com Support
This was support email email codes, which should enable tracking:
Delivered-To: jhunkins@gmail.com
Received: by with SMTP id c28cs168643bkv;
        Sat, 27 Aug 2011 15:35:34 -0700 (PDT)
Received: by with SMTP id w13mr6206623ibi.46.1314484533029;
        Sat, 27 Aug 2011 15:35:33 -0700 (PDT)
Return-Path: <support@cardilly.com>
Received: from cardilly.com (cardilly.com [])
        by mx.google.com with ESMTPS id g4si3908109wfe.41.2011.
        (version=TLSv1/SSLv3 cipher=OTHER);
        Sat, 27 Aug 2011 15:35:31 -0700 (PDT)
Received-SPF: pass (google.com: domain of support@cardilly.com designates as permitted sender) client-ip=;
Authentication-Results: mx.google.com; spf=pass (google.com: domain of support@cardilly.com designates as permitted sender) smtp.mail=support@cardilly.com
Received: from d24-150-156-14.home.cgocable.net ([] helo=DubbsPC)
	by sparkle.universehosting.com with smtp (Exim 4.69)
	(envelope-from <support@cardilly.com>)
	id 1QxRTO-00037E-2S
	for jhunkins@gmail.com; Sat, 27 Aug 2011 15:35:30 -0700
Message-ID: <6E1E003FAE76421C82A07BAC0A68FA46@DubbsPC>
From: "Cardilly.com " <support@cardilly.com>
To: "Joseph Hunkins" <jhunkins@gmail.com>
References: <CAN2zEZ3CzBwVk8ZkQS88YPmt+ocXvU7V+a6ep7BUcbqnw2oh_A@mail.gmail.com>
In-Reply-To: <CAN2zEZ3CzBwVk8ZkQS88YPmt+ocXvU7V+a6ep7BUcbqnw2oh_A@mail.gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Order status please
Date: Sat, 27 Aug 2011 18:35:02 -0400
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
Importance: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Windows Live Mail 15.4.3538.513
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V15.4.3538.513
X-AntiAbuse: This header was added to track abuse, please include it with any abuse report
X-AntiAbuse: Primary Hostname - sparkle.universehosting.com
X-AntiAbuse: Original Domain - gmail.com
X-AntiAbuse: Originator/Caller UID/GID - [47 12] / [47 12]
X-AntiAbuse: Sender Address Domain - cardilly.com

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

Content-Type: text/plain;
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

[updated] Cardilly is NOT a legitimate business. Security Certificate REVOKED. DO NOT buy from Cadilly!

Cardilly.com is either a scam or has a very unusual social media strategy going, since much of the buzz about Cardilly is very negative right now with many people insisting it’s a scam.   I think it’s probably NOT a scam   [update – I’m leaning to “scam” based on all the unaddressed negative feedback and undelivered cards], but surprised they are not addressing critics, and fast.   Is this all part of a strange  “negative news is still news” strategy?    If so, it’ll be interesting to watch the Cardilly saga play out.

After responding to an online advertisement  from what appeared to be a Google ad at a major site I wound up at the new website “Cardilly.com” that was offering $100.00  Wal Mart Gift Cards for … $50.00  .     Some would say that’s “too good to be true”, but in the online world it seemed to me this might indeed be a legitimate deal, especially in light of Groupon’s spectacular success and company valuation.   Seemed to me that Cardilly might be offering a handful of “loss leader” card deals in an effort to generate buzz and traffic.

Given this and their GeoTrust Certificate  (which I later learned  ONLY guarantees that the transaction is “secure” and not that the company is legitimate) I did make the purchase.     The long wait time is also a bit suspicious, but understandable because extending this time will increase their profits quite a bit on a big operation.

There’s a very active conversation about Cardilly online, with most people citing the red flags and asserting “Cardilly is a scam” without much evidence to support that claim.   [update:  Few (nobody?) has reported getting cards so the red flag is getting bigger each day]

This is an area where Google could do a much better job in my opinion – basically guaranteeing that anybody using them to advertise will have a physical address and complaints person identified online.    I’m always surprised how few people want to demand that kind of accountability from ISPs and other key online players like Google and Microsoft.     The solution to online fraud is fairly simple – you CANNOT sell online unless you provide a verified support contact.

The Civil War costs and benefits suggest Lincoln was wrong.

I’ve just finished watching Ken Burns “The Civil War” and (as usual) I think I’d argue a very unusual position in terms of what the North and South “should” have done given the massive cost in lives and prosperity and pride.    It seems to me that:
The South was reckless to secede.   They should have realized they had little or no chance of winning a war, and even if they’d won they would have been a weak and poor new country even if the North had agreed to engage in much trade with them – a questionable proposition at best.    Slavery was a morally bankrupt institution and the moral hypocrisy was particularly glaring given the South’s emphasis on the principles of Christianity.
Lincoln was irresponsible to prosecute the war so early.   After Fort Sumpter Lincoln should have pressured Virginia (or at least the West Point Graduates) to stay neutral rather than immediately calling for a massive army, an act that clearly pushed many Virginians toward secession.   Without Virginia’s wealth, military, and brilliant commanders like Jackson, Lee, Forest, Stuart, and more the war would have been over very quickly with far fewer dead and far less destruction.   Reconstruction would have worked well rather than ushered in a long era of exploitation and corruption.
Lincoln should have considered a “no war / no recognition” policy.   He would have allowed the deep south to go about their secessionist ways, courted Virginia to stay in the Union or stay neutral, and then enacted laws and policies to thwart secession non-violently such as no trade, no return of escaped slaves and active support of the underground railroad.   This would have undermined the secession efforts without the massive death and destruction of  infrastructure via Sherman’s march, and probably led to an eventual return of those states to the union when the economic challenges of secession started to bring greater and greater hardships to the people.
There seems to be a prevailing view in history circles that the war was justified because it preserved the union and ended slavery. I agree that slavery was so diabolical you can make a case that no cost was too high to bear to end it, but I think it could have been ended at a much lower cost both then and in terms of future fights for civil rights.  Innovation and industrialization combined with the growing moral outrage and demands of poor immigrants (who didn’t want to compete with slaves) would likely have eventually ended slavery soon even in the deep south.
In terms of preserving the union, I think the case for the Civil War is extremely weak – largely irrational in fact.    You simply cannot make a reasonable case that the cost of the Civil War – 625,000 dead, millions disabled, South destroyed and demoralized – justified simply keeping the deep South states in the union.   “A House Divided Against Itself” did not stand – one side crushed the other with consequences that last even today in terms of the lower living standards in the deep south.    A cost benefit analysis of the Civil War would show it was not worth fighting.
Comments very welcome as always!

USA Debt Rating Downgrade to AA+ is from our failure to cut defense and entitlements

S&P’s decision to downgrade the US debt rating from AAA to AA+ is very unwelcome news but it should not surprise anybody, especially in Washington where neither party has been willing to tackle the deficit or the debt in a responsible manner.

It’s time to cut the only two things in the budget that really matter – the bloated portions of Defense and Entitlements.    Even estimating (and then cutting back) the bloat at 10% – absurdly low given how recklessly this money is spent – we could solve all deficit and debt problems in less than a decade.   DO IT, DAMN IT!

The Tea Party’s was right that debt and deficit are major concerns, but their approach to solving the problem has been almost infantile, lacking in strategy as well as substance.    They won’t cut defense – clearly required to solve this problem unless you raise taxes which as they correctly note brings a host of other problems into the mix.   Defense spending is so high it’s become counterproductive, creating blowback and international tension which is mostly a function of our own reckless big spending in hostile territory.

One does not have to be an isolationist to see that it’s time for a much more strategic spending focus.   Troops can be paid well and protected – these portions need no cuts, but operations and maintenance budgets in each of the services are where the big money lies, and where the big cuts won’t create trouble for policy or troops.

The solution is pretty obvious to many of us out here in the real world, where two things are crystal clear:   1.  Entitlements are out of control.  The prosperity the USA has enjoyed for over a century as the kingpin of the  industrialized world is winding down in favor of spreading the wealth around the globe, especially to the developing countries of China and India.   This prosperity allowed us (and by “us” I mean everybody – from poor to rich) to enjoy health, welfare, education, and retirement benefits the rest of the world could only dream about.      Liberal middle class folks are whining too much about how they might lose benefits they never paid for – much of this in the form of “defined benefits” where their contributions won’t match their benefit so it’ll have to come from future taxpayers.   Social Security has this problem, but it’s easy to solve by lifting retirement age a few years for those who can afford the wait  OR doing a ” means test”  OR taxing higher income beneficiaries.   If we do nothing the Social Security trust fund will run out in under 20 years according to most estimates.      The fund is actually growing now but demographics in the form of fewer workers and more recipients will soon overwhelm the system.   Unlike a well managed system, Social Security has promised more benefits than incoming payments can support.

Summary:   Simple solution is to cut bloat in the two big ticket items of defense and entitlements.    Problem solved, AAA restored.  DO IT.