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Obama admin. plans defense cuts that nearly top GOP’s entire first-year austerity pledge

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Defense Secretary Robert Gates surprised lawmakers Thursday by announcing that the Pentagon would cut spending by $78 billion over the next five years.

The cuts will force the Army and Marine Corps to reduce the number of troops on active duty and eventually freeze military spending for the first time since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“The surprise announcement from Gates was a reminder for the military establishment – which has benefited from a gusher of new money over the past decade – that it will not remain exempt from painful austerity measures that federal lawmakers say will be necessary to control the soaring national debt,” The Washington Post‘s Craig Whitlock noted.

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The $78 billion comes in addition to $100 billion in cuts that Gates directed the Pentagon to find in May. In a Thursday news conference, the defense secretary said that the armed forces had successfully found $100 billion in savings over the next five years and the Army, Navy and Air Force would get to reallocate that money to combat-related projects.

As a part of the cuts, the Pentagon is expected to end the Marine’s Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, a 40-ton amphibious landing craft being developed by General Dynamics Corp.

A ground-launched missile system being developed by Raytheon Co. is also on the chopping block.

The number of Marines will be cut by 10,000 to 15,000 and the Army will reduce its forces by 27,000, Gates said.

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Republicans had an immediate negative reaction to the announcement.

“We are fighting two wars, you have China, you have Iran: Is this the time to be making these types of cuts?” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) told The Hill.

The savings nearly equal the $100 billion in spending cuts promised by Republicans this year. However, GOP sources told The Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman that the real goal is to cut about $30 billion.

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CLARIFICATION: (Edited to provide further details.) The $78 billion in defense cuts are separate from $100 billion in “efficiencies” identified by the Pentagon. The $100 billion will be reinvested into other Pentagon programs and will not result in spending cuts; the $78 billion will be cut from the Pentagon’s budget over a five-year period beginning in the 2012 fiscal year. Because the Pentagon originally projected budget increases for these years, the cuts won’t mean that the Pentagon’s budget will shrink in total dollar terms — only that the rate of growth will slow. The fiscal year beginning this year will see a base Pentagon budget of $553 billion, up from $549 billion last year.


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‘Anyone who tried to impact outcome of election should spend life in jail’: Lewandowski

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On Tuesday, Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, testified before the House Judiciary Committee. Lewandowski's appearance before Congress was significant because Donald Trump reportedly told him to tell Jeff Sessions to limit the scope of Mueller's Russia probe.

Lewandowski was defiant in his opening statement, slamming the investigation as biased and knocking Hillary Clinton. He also declared that any entity that tried to meddle in a U.S. election should be in prison.

He said that he handled as many as a thousand emails. "And unlike Hillary Clinton, I don't think I ever deleted any of those," Lewandowski said. "Many of them were either responded to with one-word answers or floated to other staff for additional follow-up. But throughout it all, and to the best of my recollection, I don't recall ever having any conversations with foreign entities, let alone any who were operating to manipulate the outcome of an election."

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‘Ranting toddler’ Doug Collins gets clobbered online after he turns Lewandowski hearing into a ‘clown show’

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Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the ranking Republican member on the House Judiciary Committee, was brutally mocked on Tuesday after he unleashed a bizarre rant during the testimony of former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

Collins began his testimony by blasting Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) for hauling Lewandowski before the committee.

"Here we go again," Collins complained in an animated opening statement. "We had Mr. Mueller here, and long day, and it did not go well for what you have proclaimed for over one year and nine months, and what you claim is impeachment criteria. And now, the members have said that the president should be impeached, and so why are we investigating?"

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American neo-Nazis now see 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden as a role model: report

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A new report from Vice claims that white supremacist organizations are increasingly viewing Osama Bin Laden, the late mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as a role model whose actions can influence the future of their movement.

The report finds that neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division has recently started using Bin Laden's image in its propaganda while also promoting Islamist extremists' willingness to commit mass murder in the name of their religion as something that should be inspiring to American white nationalists.

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