| Mr. Truman or: How I Learned to Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb

Taxpayers United of America’s Executive Director, Jared Labell, wrote an article featured on regarding the 71st anniversary of President Truman’s devastating atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, discussing the costs incurred by US taxpayers in terms of squandered tax dollars, lives lost, and the horrors of nuclear proliferation.

The pilot of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress flying above Hiroshima August 6, 1945 named the bomber he commanded after his mother, Enola Gay Tibbets. Just as she delivered him into the world, Colonel Paul Tibbets gave birth to the Atomic Age when he released a nearly five-ton atomic bomb over Hiroshima at 8:15 that morning. Codenamed Little Boy, the bomb exploded above the city with an energy ofapproximately 15 kilotons of TNT, incinerating or injuring more than one-hundred thousand civilians in a city of a quarter million people. The pilot denied the immorality of the atomic bombings until his death in 2007, dismissing criticism as “hogwash.”
Sixteen hours after the atomic bombing, President Harry S. Truman made a public statement to announce the result of having “spent two billion dollars on the greatest scientific gamble in history – and won.”
“What has been done is the greatest achievement of organized science in history. It was done under high pressure and without failure,” Truman said.
He accomplished detonating the first atomic bomb in war, and the second scorched Nagasaki three days later, which is perhaps an even greater atrocity for various reasons. But his deadly enterprise was not without failure, contrary to Truman’s claim.
The proliferation and use of nuclear weapons is one of the greatest failures of the State, but more precisely, in terms of dollars and lives, it is the costliest threat to civilization that the State has ever produced.
The National Priorities Project calculates that in 2016, U.S. taxpayers will pay $2.19 million every hour for nuclear weapons and their maintenance. In July, Robert Scher, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans & Capabilities testified that it will cost taxpayers somewhere between $350 and $450 billion to modernize the Department of Defense’s nuclear triad, and incorporate the $400 billion F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter boondoggle into the mix to replace older F-16s.
The fact that almost everything was true in Stanley Kubrick’s unrivaled 1964 satirical black comedy, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, is a reality that should frighten every individual unprepared for and opposed to a worldwide nuclear holocaust.
Governments and their officials across the globe have nearly initiated scenarios not unlike what was captured for entertainment purposes in Dr. Strangelove. Kubrickbecame interested in the subject once he had reviewed a copious amount of material covering nuclear weapons research, use, and its bureaucratic deficiencies, realizing the folly and unintentional sardonic comedy of governments and complex weapons systems triggering the extinction of humanity.
But the American tradition isn’t endless war and arms proliferation. Perhaps that’s the legacy of the State, but not the individuals surviving under its ever-dwindling authority. That ain’t my America, to borrow from the eloquent front-porch anarchist, Bill Kauffman, author of an extensive account of anti-imperialist inclinations in American history.
Isabel Paterson, one of the most influential women on the foundation of the modern American libertarian movement, authored the profound 1943 individualist book, The God of the Machine. She was no cheerleader for Empire.
Among other distinguished women of the time, like Rose Wilder Lane and Zora Neale Hurston, Paterson opposed Allied “obliteration bombing” as senseless carnage, fought against the bankrupt economic policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, and called into question FDR’s cozy relationship with wartime playmate and thug Josef Stalin.
Paterson condemned Truman’s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for employing science “to fry Japanese babies in atomic radiation.”
Renowned author Zora Neale Hurston wrote in July 1946 to the founder of the Associated Negro Press, Claude Barnett, unequivocally voicing her opposition to Truman’s actions in Japan.
Hurston (emphasis her own) wrote, “Truman is a monster. I can think of him as nothing else but the BUTCHER OF ASIA. Of his grin of triumph on giving the order to drop the Atom bombs on Japan…Is it that we are so devoted to a “good Massa” that we feel that we ought not to even protest such crimes?”
Historian and Independent Institute fellow Anthony Gregory masterfully lays out the case against Truman in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the US Terror State. His further reading recommendations on this and related subjects, discussed in Libertarians and War: A Bibliographical Essay, include Murray N. Rothbard’s War, Peace and the State, the Future of Freedom Foundation’s The Failure of America’s Foreign Wars, and the incomparable work of Robert Higgs, Depression, War, and Cold War.
Another terrific source is the antiwar chapter of a book by libertarian attorney Jacob Huebert, Libertarianism Today, powerfully emphasizing the deleterious nature of warfare in general, as well as this period of time in particular. Huebert succinctly explains principled opposition to nuclear weapons, condemnation of Truman’s use of them, and why abolition is required. But he also points to the use of conventional weapons with equal or greater destructive results than the atomic bombings, like the firebombing of Tokyo that followed the nuclear strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In Dr. Strangelove, Gen. Buck Turgidson attempts to comfort President Merkin Muffley and allay his fear of nuclear annihilation by informing him that “…an unofficial study which we undertook of this eventuality, indicated that we would destroy ninety percent of their nuclear capabilities. We would therefore prevail, and suffer only modest and acceptable civilian casualties from their remaining force, which would be badly damaged and uncoordinated.”
President Muffley rejects this military response, eventually exclaiming, “You’re talking about mass murder, General! Not war!”
Gen. Turgidson collects his thoughts and responds to his president without any cognizance of his own hubris, “Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say…no more than ten to twenty million killed. Tops!”
Truman’s own attitude was not much different, except Truman actually approved the order to mass murder the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Those Japanese civilians were no more responsible for the Pearl Harbor attack than those individuals working in Lower Manhattan in September 2001. They were not their government. Truman apologists should be ashamed.
This horrifying anniversary is a perpetual testament to the worst consequences of governments and war. If it exists, Harry S. Truman is burning in the hottest depths of Hell.
Burn, Harry. Burn.

Illinois News Network|Lawsuit against Rep. Duckworth costs taxpayers

Taxpayers United of America’s Executive Director, Jared Labell,was quoted by Illinois News Network about the lawsuit against Rep Duckworth and it’s impact on tax dollars.

It’s the case that just won’t go away for U.S. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, and it’s Illinois taxpayers who keep footing the bill.
The cost to defend Duckworth in a recent worker retaliation case goes beyond the $26,000 settlement.
Duckworth was sued by two women who said she retaliated against them when she was the head of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.
A court ruled in June that no laws had been broken, but brokered a settlement with the state that included the costs of the workers’ attorney fees.
Last week the women said they would try to have the settlement voided because they claimed Duckworth broke the agreement by disparaging them publicly, though Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who defended Duckworth, has said the agreement should stand.
Jared Labell, executive director of Chicago-based Taxpayers United of America, said whatever the final outcome, it will be state taxpayers who will be the ones paying for Duckworth’s legal defense.
“In this case, in particular, it cost taxpayers $26,000 to settle with the two employees that had brought the case against Mrs. Duckworth,” he said. “Only government institutions can pay out (settlements); therefore, they’re paying with taxpayer dollars.”
He said there are other costs involved, too — like the cost of Madigan’s office defending the case.
“With some cases that go on far longer, that actually reach trial, costs can be into the millions depending on the different fees and court costs and attorneys’ fees as well,” Labell said.
He said the bill can grow to astronomical amounts when it’s a long-simmering, complicated defense. It can cost even more if the state loses or, in specific cases, fail to appeal.
“And then, of course, depending on what the case is actually concerned with, if taxpayers, so to speak, lose in the case, that can cost millions of millions of dollars,” Labell said.

Kankakee Times|Report: Union employee payment practice costs taxpayers

Taxpayers United of America’s Executive Director, Jared Labell, was quoted by Kankakee Times about unions, pensions, and the CSRA.

A recent report reveals that the legal practice of “official time” — under which government agencies pay staff on a full-time basis to work for a labor union rather than for taxpayers — comes with a hefty price tag.
“Although the record keeping isn’t perfect … the estimates of costs to taxpayers range from roughly $1 billion in the last 20 years at the federal level alone, to numbers approaching $1 billion annually when state and local employees are included in the totals,” Jared Labell, executive director of Chicago-based Taxpayers United of America, recently told the Record.
Labell said the Civil Service Commission instructed government agencies to authorize the practice of official time beginning in 1976. The practice became law in 1978 under the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA).
He said the fight for transparency is as old as the CSRA itself.
“In recent years, the Bush administration finally required detailed reporting of official time and the activities conducted, but that was just as the administration was preparing to vacate the White House, and the Obama administration’s Office of Personnel Management ceased to report data,” Labell said.
The Americans for Limited Government Foundation produced a summer 2016 report titled “Full-time Official Time: A Special Report Exposing Taxpayer-Funded Union Employees.” The report said that 490 individuals had been disclosed as a result of Freedom of Information Act requests as working full-time for a union using taxpayer dollars.
Specifically, the foundation reported the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the U.S. Department of Transportation is paying 26 full-time official time employees a total of more than $3.6 million, with 24 of those employees earning annual salaries in excess of $100,000.
The foundation reported the U.S. Postal Service disclosed 274 of its employees are on full-time official time status, at a total cost to the agency of $16.5 million; the Department of Agriculture is paying 29 official time employees more than $2.2 million; the Environmental Protection Agency is paying 73 official time employees more than $8 million and the Small Business Administration is paying two official time employees a total of $199,644.
Also, the foundation reported the General Services Administration pays 17 salaried official time employees a total of more than $1.6 million; the Department of Energy pays two official time employees a total of $304,701; the Department of Education pays three official time employees a total of $286,115; the Department of Labor pays 17 official time employees a total of more than $1.6 million and the Department of Commerce pays four official time employees a total of $373,055.
Finally, the foundation reported the Department of Homeland Security pays 39 official time employees more than $2.7 million and the Department of the Interior pays three official time employees $263,873 in total.
The most recent report published by the Office of Personnel Management in 2012 revealed the federal government had spent more than $157 million on salaries of official time employees.
“The figures referenced above are but a small piece of the total cost associated with the practice of federal agencies providing labor unions with free employees,” the foundation said in its report. “This is a large problem.”
Labell said 47 state constitutions currently prohibit using public expenditures to aid private entities and that some lawmakers have proposed legislation that would enact a federal gift clause to prohibit similar issues.
He said the only benefit for agencies that pay employees to perform union work is a political one.
“Taxpayer-funded salaries should not enable government unions to grow their power and influence to further extract tax dollars from the public, yet that’s exactly how the system works,” Labell said.