Monday, March 31, 2008



Yesterday we met, briefly, a 22 year old hustler in Miami who the Bush Regime felt should be showered with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of contracts to supply the military with ammunition all over the world, including to front-line troops in Afghanistan. His "company," AEY is now being investigated by the FBI for fraud. Much of the ammunition was obsolete or so deteriorated as to be worse than useless. Republicans call this privatization and the miracle of a free and unregulated market. It isn't unrelated to the Bear Stearns crisis or the mortgage crisis or to the wreckage of an economy 7 years of Bush/Republican misrule is leaving the country.

This morning's CongressDaily features a story by George Wilson called "War Pays," which details how the Bush war economy has been geared towards a few very well-off companies and their executives, many of whom are major donors to Republican Party activities. This is also the major theme in John Cusack's incredible new film, War, Inc, which takes Bush's privatization policies to it's logical-- and catastrophic-- conclusion. [See the movie.]

If the economy isn't quite working as well for you and your family as you'd like it to-- and 46% of Americans say their own household financial situation is getting worse (as opposed to 7% who say it's getting better)-- consider yourself fortunate that you're not one of the 28 million Americans forced into the Food Stamps program by the miracle of Bush economics, the highest number ever since the program was started in the 1960s.

Now, if you're a defense contractor (like so many cronies of this regime, starting with the vice president)... happy days are here again. "Bush's war in Iraq," the article begins, "has been good for defense contractors."
The Pentagon's own figures, along with published stock prices, document that firms like Halliburton and Humana Inc., which provide the military with services rather than weapons, have done especially well during the five years of the Iraq war.

Among the big questions the next Congress and president will have to answer is whether this subcontracting out to private firms of everything from G.I. meals to construction to protecting the American ambassador to Iraq has gotten so out of control that new laws must be passed.

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman tells horror stories about Halliburton contracting in arguing that the gouging of taxpayers must be stopped.

The Pentagon issues annual reports-- which Congress and the mainstream press largely ignore -- telling who in the military industrial complex is getting how many of the taxpayers' defense dollars.

Unfortunately, the reports lag far behind the awarding of contracts but do show authoritatively that the defense business under Bush became like an oasis of prosperity in the midst of what has now become a harsh economic desert for much of the rest of America.

Warnings the Pentagon numbers shout out to lawmakers and the next administration include these:

*The biggest bucks are going to contractors whose super weapons are soaring above predicted costs and have little to do with winning battles against terrorists who specialize in asymmetric warfare. Terrorists blow up American armor with bombs dug into roadways and kill soldiers and allied civilians with belts of explosives hidden under their clothing. They don't use planes, tanks or warships...
*The Defense and State departments are turning over so much of their traditional work to private contractors that the tail threatens to wag the dog with controversy.
Congressional protests against no-bid contracts awarded to Halliburton, which Vice President Cheney headed before he became Bush's running mate in 2000, and Iraqi charges of murderous conduct by the State Department's hired guns supplied by Blackwater USA are two examples of this.
*Healthcare costs for military people are skyrocketing and will remain high long after the Iraq and Afghanistan wars end, as veterans receive physical and mental care at government facilities...

The cost of caring for military people long after the shooting stops is a major reason behind Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz' recent prediction to the Joint Economic Committee that the Iraq war will end up costing in excess of $3 trillion.

Lockhead Martin scooped up the most dough from the Pentagon in 2006-- over $26 billion. A couple years like that and they'll be in fat city. Their stock has soared and the recent downturn in the market hasn't hurt them at all. Halliburton was the 6th biggest recipient of Pentagon largess, up drastically since Cheney-- whose still receives gigantic compensation from the company-- started running the show (in Washington). I'm not saying Lockhead Martin and Halliburton are as sleazy as AEY-- just that, in terms of war profiteers, way, way slicker and more successful.

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At 1:57 PM, Anonymous IludiumPhosdex said...

As for the "trailer trash" trying to find work in a state of major big socioeconomic dislocation, expect their Vocational Guidance Counsellors (f/k/a Welfare Case Managers) to recommend online "rebate processor" and other "work-from-home" schemes of dubious merit....

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