Tag Archives: Defense Contractors

The Permanent War State And The Debasement Of The American Political System, Or How I Learned To Endure Trump And The Other Imbeciles

Amid the childish squabbling and juvenile name calling of the recent Republican debates, there was little discussion of what ails us as a nation and how to fix it. God’s name was invoked repeatedly, illegal Mexicans were demonized as usual, and all the obligatory Obamacare denunciations were uttered. It was a predictable and boring charade. The same empty platitudes, constructed to draw huge applause from the red-faced, red-voting, white-haired haters, polluted the arena. Meanwhile, huge debt and massive wealth inequality plague us, and the bully Trump and his cowardly subjugates made no mention of possible solutions. Indeed, there was no mention that these things were problems.

These snake-oil peddlers know better than to open the vipers’ nest. While they rage against big government and indolent takers, they refuse to acknowledge that the biggest takers are the richest among us. And the richest among us buy and sell these same gutless politicians like they’re banal commodities (which they are). Fittingly, then, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee and the rest of the jackals propose to lower taxes on the wealthy and further burden the middle class with our national debt. This policy will exacerbate income inequality, and they know it. But they couldn’t care less, because to be a Republican today means to do what benefits oneself and not the greater good. Rapacious sociopaths like Scott Walker will say and do anything to advance their own ends.

The rest of us are schmucks for letting them get away with it, but the American media are culpable too. Now fully owned and operated by multinational corporations, CBS, NBC, and ABC (I don’t even include the trash dump called FOX) are consistently silent on the source of inequality and debt. To wit, they do not tell us who pays taxes in this country and where that tax money goes. In short, since Bush and his cronies stole the White House in 2000, large corporations and super-wealthy individuals have paid less and less tax, while middle class tax rates have remained relatively level. Concomitantly, six of every ten tax dollars paid by all Americans goes to defense spending—to the Pentagon, to defense contractors, to war profiteers of all stripes. This pack of hawks includes the corporations who own major broadcast media. They, in turn, with their bloody profits, buy politicians who fund massive military spending projects like Iraq War II(at last count Halliburton made $39 billion on that one) and the F-35 fighter jet ($1 trillion and counting)…both of which were colossal wastes of treasure.

To justify this corrupt system, our leaders must invent and re-invent enemies. For 45 years it was the Soviet Union and the spread of godless communism around the globe. Before the dust had settled from the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and the USSR was no more, our leaders decided the new boogeymen were oil-rich Mideastern Muslims. George Sr. invaded Iraq in 1991; George Jr. twelve years after.  A decade on, radical Islam, to the great relief of the military-industrial complex, is still terrorizing the region.

We are in what writer Andrew Bacevich calls a permanent war state. In his book, Washington Rules, Bacevich writes of an “American credo” which he says calls upon the United States – and the United States alone – to “lead, save, liberate, and ultimately transform the world…which requires America to: to maintain a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projection, and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism.”

Australian writer Greg Maybury argues that this American war-state monolith unleashed its hell-hounds in the run-up to Vietnam. In 1963 the American military-intelligence-security state (AMISS) came to a crossroads. Faced with a President who dared to propose a permanent peace state, which would turn the economic construct of the country on its head, AMISS decided it was best to remove its commander-in-chief.

Maybury writes in “Pox Amerikana,” “Although it may not have been widely recognised at the time, in June 1963, just a few months shy of the Big Event [JFK’s assassination], President Kennedy in his American University commencement address delivered what is arguably the most significant oration of his short-lived, ill-fated tenure as commander-in-chief.

“In fact, it may well have been the most pivotal in American foreign policy in that era. Forget the unforgettable ‘[the] torch has been passed to a new generation….ask not what your country can do for you’ schtick; disregard the indelible ‘we choose to go to the moon because it is hard’…spiel!

“In this address, it appeared Kennedy was attempting to re-define the accepted notion of Pax Americana, to articulate a more inclusive, collaborative version, one that would bring folk with them willingly rather than dragging them kicking and screaming to the position. In almost all respects this wasn’t just a redefinition; he was attempting to turn the notion on its head. ‘Peaceful co-existence’ was decidedly the sub-text of his message. It appeared the baptism of fire he experienced in his on-the-job training as president thus far had changed him significantly.

“But as James Douglass has observed, when Kennedy uttered these words, ‘the priests of our national security state saw him as a heretic.’…from the Brass Asses in the Pentagon bunkers to the winkle-pickered wolf-pack down on the Langley Farm to the righteous, pointy-headed foreign policy and national security wonks in the Beltway think-tanks and the hallowed halls of Ivy League academia and even a few within his own administration, [JFK’s peace state] came across as touchy-feely, appeasement-sounding – indeed naïve, unadulterated – nonsense. This was not in the brochure, and quite a few would’ve been spitting hollow points at the wall.

“Whereas Kennedy at least openly contemplated a path to presidential greatness via a Grand Peace, Bush like many presidents before him saw the only path to a glorious presidential legacy [was] through war, one he ‘knew’ the American people would support him in. As impaired as Bush’s vision may have been, one is tempted – at least with hindsight – to suggest that his was the more pragmatic and realistic, and the one most in sync with America’s true ‘manifest destiny’. Jack’s didn’t stand a ‘snowball’s’!”

Like many other American black plagues, the permanent war state can trace its origins to the streets of Dallas, November 22, 1963. Within three days of the brutal murder, LBJ reversed his predecessor’s National Security Action Memo 263 which laid out Kennedy’s bold plan to withdraw America completely from Vietnam in his second term. Even establishment-approved historians (read lying toadies), like Doris Kearns Goodwin, Robert Caro, and Robert Dallek, grudgingly admit that LBJ’s NSAM 273 wiped out JFK’s peace-state dream, opened the door to a decade of war in southeast Asia, and ushered in the permanent war state.

In the three-card monty game run by the American capitalist war state, we are the suckers. Despite what the traveling Republican clown show tells us, it is not social welfare programs that have busted the budget. It is not spending on education that needs to be cut. And it is not Planned Parenthood which is sucking the federal teat dry. It is the trillions we spend on needless, murderous war and its weaponry and its installations and its co-conspirators—the Pentagon and its blood-sucking contractors—that is holding us hostage at gunpoint. As right-wing blowhards try to convince us that welfare cheats and minority takers and do-gooders and public schools and infrastructure rebuilding are keeping us in debt, remember this: if we cut military spending and corporate welfare by just one-half, we could build all the new roads and bridges we need; provide free education to every student; feed the hungry; subsidize the jobless; fund Social Security and Medicare for good; and provide free health care for all citizens.

When someone in the Republican circus speaks to this truth, maybe I’ll sit up and listen.

http://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Mortician-Tim-Fleming/dp/098882907X

We’re Trapped in a Neo-Fascist State and There’s No Way Out

Good-bye, America.  It’s been nice knowing you.

That’s right; according to an Ivy League study which I cited in a previous post, we no longer live in a democracy.  To refresh your memory, two researchers at Princeton University, Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, have found that “…over the past few decades America’s political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.”

Compiling data from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2008, Gilens and Page conclude that rich, well-connected individuals now control the direction of the country, regardless of the will of the majority of voters. “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy…while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

Extrapolated to its logical conclusion, America is now controlled by a very small cabal of wealthy and powerful elites, mostly with extreme right-wing political views, who have literally purchased the judicial and legislative branches of the U.S. government and are spending billions to recapture the executive branch by 2016. In my previous post I described this type of system as an oligarchy, but it is even worse than that.  It is fascism.

What is fascism?  Benito Mussolini, an expert on the subject, defined fascism as the merger of the state and corporations to form a corrupt government which services only the needs of the elite few.  In order for fascism to work, government officials need corporations to fund their political ambitions without restraint or judicial oversight.  The recent Supreme Court ruling allowing unlimited political donations took care of that. But fascism needs much more to thrive.  Shockingly, these elements are coming together in American society today.

1) A compliant, reticent, and wholly subservient media are necessary to look the other way.  Investigative journalism in America is dead.  Why?  Because all major media outlets are controlled by large corporate conglomerates and are run for profit, not for truth-telling.  We already know that FOX is not a real news network, but merely the manifestation of one sick man’s (Rupert Murdoch’s) pathological right-wing propaganda machine.  But what is even sicker is that supposedly legitimate news organizations such as CBS (Westinghouse) and NBC (General Electric) are corporate subsidiaries unlikely to report on how America is becoming a neo-fascist state.  [Note: GE contributes millions to right-wing candidates each election cycle.]

2) The greater good must be downplayed by a self-absorbed, distracted citizenry. Witness the rise of vacuous enterprises like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Take a good look at what passes for information on these sites and you will be appalled at the narcissistic trivia.  Fascists want a society that is self-involved.  Fascism cannot thrive under a system that is concerned with the greater good.  Thus, those right wingers (neo-fascists) who attack Social Security, Medicare, and affordable health care are doing their masters’ bidding.

3) War or the threat of war must be constant.  Fascists control their citizens when the citizens are constantly cowering in fear of being overrun by hordes of foreigners.  This fear more easily facilitates the next factor in the fascist formula–

4) The system must be rigged.  Check.  Sixty percent of our tax dollars go to defense contractors who, in turn, buy politicians who, in turn, continue to authorize military spending.  It is a never-ending cycle; it is an out-of-control beast which cannot be killed.  America runs on defense; it is a hugely profitable industry, and most American corporations feed at the pig trough.  Naturally these corporations are going to buy politicians who will continue this system.

5) Truth must be trashed; pseudo-science must be elevated to fact.  We see this in climate change denial and the elimination of evolution education in public classrooms.  Under a fascist system the truth is malleable and for sale.  Corrupt idiots like Republican Senator James Imhofe will regurgitate any sort of lie to keep their cushy jobs.

6) Minorities must be demonized and marginalized.  The old fascist methods of mass murdering minorities (i.e., the Holocaust) are outdated; the new slaughter comes in the form of denigrating the worth and dignity of African-Americans and Latinos (largely liberal voters on the lower socioeconomic rungs).  Right-wing pyschopaths who listen to the daily rants of Limbaugh and O’Reilly can easily justify in their deranged minds the voter suppression, welfare denial, even murder of minorities.

7) Dissent is forbidden.  The media restrict real debate of issues, and left-wing advocacy is virtually non-existent on over-the-air TV, radio, and newspapers.

Had enough?  I’ll leave you with one more bit of warning.  The following quote is from a member of Ronald Reagan’s cabinet.

“Americans have given up the rule of law that protected their liberty. The silence of law schools and bar associations indicates that the age of liberty has passed. In short, the American people support tyranny. And that’s where they are headed.”

–Paul Craig Roberts, inventor of trickle-down economics

http://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Mortician-Tim-Fleming-ebook/dp/B00I6GNPD4

Who Killed Kennedy And Why? It’s Uglier Than You Think

It is a sad fact that Americans must often seek out foreign sources for the truth about world events.  The corporate-owned US media just will not touch certain topics.  For instance, rarely discussed is the immense wealth and power wielded by defense contractors, even though their vast empire controls out political system, our news outlets, our entertainment venues, our government agencies, oil prices, and…yes…even our history.  In other words, the single most influential faction in our daily existence as a nation is ignored by the media.  Why is this?  Well, it’s a long story, and you have to read about your real history to find out.  A good place to start is the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963.  For it is there that the Secret American Empire began consolidating its immense power.

That leads me to a shameless plug for my book The President’s Mortician.  (Please note, there are many other fine works on the true history of the Kennedy assassination, but I’ll let those authors do their own shilling.)   One must leave the realm of America’s fraudulent press to find a genuine review. British Journalist Garrick Alder had this to say about my book–“…it’s a compelling and intriguing narrative…it tantalised me so much that I want to pick up the phone and hammer the Internet until I have tracked down his primary sources.  Researchers will find this book a thought-provoking and stimulating read…it deserves to be read by anyone interested in this aspect of the assassination controversy.”

Why are there no American mainstream journalists who will endorse the book?  It’s too dangerous, and strikes too close of the dark heart of the American empire.  Those who would have the power to promote the veracity of my book are also the very people who stand to have the most to lose from its wide acceptance.

I think the excerpt from The Presidents Mortician I have printed below will illuminate my meaning.  It is a concise outline of who killed JFK and why:

“In the time that has passed since the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was murdered, the topic has been addressed by hundreds of books, countless documentaries, numerous investigations—both public and private, and even a courtroom battle.  The evidence in the case has been hashed and re-hashed many times over, yet the years (nearly 50 now) and the analysis overkill have not dulled the world’s fascination with the subject.  Nor has time diminished America’s conviction that a conspiracy was afoot to take Kennedy’s life on November 22, 1963.  Since the early 1970s the numbers have remained consistent—three in every four citizens believe that either accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone, or he did not act at all…rather, he was likely just the ‘fall guy’ or the patsy.  Moreover, among people 27-39 years of age as of 1980, upwards of 85% were pro-conspiracy (1).  In other words, all reasonable people with even a passing knowledge of the events and aftermath of JFK’s assassination suspect that an organized, far-reaching plot took the president’s life that day in Dallas.

“Who killed JFK?  The easy answer is that rogue CIA operatives planned, orchestrated and covered up the murder.  But this solution is too pat, too simplistic.  For it does not take into account the other elements that played their parts in the drama—Texas oilmen, Mafia associates, future presidents and corrupt politicians, ambitious lawyers, Secret Service traitors, the military hierarchy, and wealthy defense contractors.  Taken together, these elements form a Secret American Empire.

“Born of the anti-communist fervor which inflamed the nation in the 1940s and ‘50s; fed by the enormous wealth of oil and weapons makers; protected by ambitious, greedy public servants; and enforced by violent, pathological criminals, this Secret American Empire possesses what amounts to its own foreign policy, its own air force, its own militia, its own economy, and its own rules.  It is not subject to the laws of the land.  It is rich and powerful enough to operate outside the laws that restrict all the rest of us.  As Haroldson Lafayette Hunt, one of its high ministers, once said, ‘I am the richest man in the world.  I can do any damn thing I want to do.’  This empire existed before JFK’s murder, but it had never before pulled off anything so outrageous and brazen as the crime it committed on November 22, 1963.  In fact, some of the participants feared for their own apprehension and left the country before and after the execution.  Their fears were unfounded, however, because the fix was in.  The new president, Lyndon Johnson, was the Empire’s boy, and soon he cut off all legitimate investigations and appointed his own fraudulent commission made up of the Empire’s most ardent protectors.  Once the perpetrators knew they were safe, America became their playground.  They were free to romp through the public trust, trample the Constitution, start an unnecessary and catastrophic war, have free reign over domestic and foreign policy, and invoke immunity from crimes committed.  The JFK assassination taught the Empire that it could get away with anything, and in the years subsequent to 1963 it has coalesced its power and consolidated its reign over democracy.  Its candidates have been elected, by hook or crook; its power base has expanded; its wealth has grown unchecked.  It has smugly, almost defiantly, moved on to evermore audacious, outlandish covert operations—the removal of Richard Nixon from office, the subversion of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, the narcotic trafficking necessary to fund covert operations, and the overthrow of foreign governments.  In short, the Secret American Empire, while waving the flag in our faces and clamoring to high heaven about the land of the free and the home of democracy, has done everything it can to undo the processes and the restraints that would impede it under a true democratic system.  We are living in, and have been since 1963, a neo-fascist oligarchic state, where only wealth and power matter, where the ways and means of a free press are stifled, where the people are propagandized by disinformation and half-truths, where our elected officials represent their own greedy interests and the interests of the Secret Empire, rather than the interests of those who elected them.

“Would it have been different if JFK had lived?  Emphatically, yes!  Kennedy, a conventional cold warrior when he took the oath of office, had transformed into a startling advocate of world peace by 1963.  His landmark address at American University, in June 1963, laid out a revolutionary vision of America and its place in the world, one that made him a lot of deadly enemies.  A world without endless war?  An America free of what Eisenhower called ‘…the unwanted influence of the military-industrial complex?  A pullback on the power of the intelligence community?  JFK became a marked man.  He wanted to eradicate our presence in Vietnam.  He wanted to negotiate a settlement to the Cold War and live in peaceful co-existence with the communist world.  The Secret Empire was not going to tolerate such a radical paradigm shift in domestic and foreign affairs.   That was the entire point of the assassination.”

http://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Mortician-Tim-Fleming-ebook/dp/B00I6GNPD4

Here’s Why America Is Broken: $1.5 Trillion Spent For Useless Plane

Now that the holidays are over and I no longer have to quarrel with my crazy conservative relatives, I’ve had time to reflect on some of their outrageous, FOX-fed lies and wild misconceptions. Their most absurd claims were that America is going broke because of social welfare programs (though none of them want Social Security or Medicare cut). The fact is that relatively very little of the country’s spending is allocated to food stamp recipients, unemployment compensation, and other Republican bugaboos. The majority of spending goes to sacred Republican corporate cash cows–defense contractors.

Figures for 2014 aren’t available yet, but in 2013 alone nearly half of taxpayers’ money, over $1 trillion, was spent on defense. Defense is a large umbrella under which falls categories like Operations and Maintenance, Procurement, Personnel Salaries and Housing, Construction, and Research, Testing and Evaluation. That last nebulous category is responsible for the biggest boondoggle is US history: the F35 fighter jet. The F-35 was designed to do everything except perform oral sex on its pilots; instead it has been a useless project that has wasted $1.5 trillion over many years of research and development. That’s more than the entire defense budget of 2013. And yet, according to defense industry critic James Fallows, “…the aircraft can barely do anything: it has trouble flying at night, its engines have exploded during takeoff, and early models suffered structural cracks. There’s no end in sight, either.” This is great news for no one except Lockheed Martin, manufacturer of the defective plane, which has profited immensely at taxpayers’ expense.

But Lockheed is not the only corporate pig feeding at the public trough. The list of US defense contractors includes nearly every major corporation in America. The obvious culprits are Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Halliburton, the Carlyle Group, Bechtel Corporation, Exxon, Shell Oil, General Dynamics, Remington Arms, Smith & Wesson, Springfield Armory, KBR (Kellogg, Brown & Root), Rockwell Collins, and General Electric. But also on the list are companies one might not suspect: IBM, Johns Hopkins University, Carnegie-Mellon, MIT, Nextel, Ernst & Young, Motorola, Mitsubishi, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Humana, Israeli Aerospace, and the University of Texas are all receiving lucrative government handouts. The entire list of organizations receiving government money for defense projects runs into the thousands, and you can bet that each one of these entities is cajoling, financing, and schmoozing its favorite congressmen to ensure that the money keeps flowing. That’s how our system works. Those who have money and power have a voice in government and how it spends our money. Those without a voice–the old, the poor, the weak–have very little say; thus, they are the ones whose funds are constantly imperiled. The right-wing, corporate propaganda machine called FOX News disseminates its lying filth long enough and loud enough to make even the most intelligent conservatives believe that social welfare programs are bankrupting the country. But you won’t hear a peep out of them about defense contractor waste and corruption, like that surrounding the F-35.

Despite the fact that America is not at war anywhere in the world, defense spending continues to rise. That’s because the system itself is too powerful to stop. Those who get rich from the defense cash grab have the wherewithal to spend freely on their preferred political candidates. Once in office these candidates continue to publicly rail against the poor, the frail, the defenseless, the “takers,”; all the while, behind the scenes, these politicians keep directing our dollars to their corporate benefactors. But there’s more to this charade; the threat of war, terror, and impending doom must convince the citizens that defense spending is necessary. The tactic of scaring us into turning over our tax dollars to corporate greed is as old as US wars themselves. And we are alone in the world in wasting our treasure on worthless military spending.

The 2012 American defense budget was 6–7 times larger than the $106 billion military budget of China, the next closest military spender. The United States and its close allies are responsible for two-thirds to three-quarters of the world’s military spending (of which, in turn, the U.S. is responsible for the majority). The US also maintains the largest number of military bases on foreign soil across the world. Why do we have bases and outsized military presences in far-flung places across the globe? If you don’t know the answer to that, you haven’t been paying attention.

So next holiday season, when your crazy conservative relatives try to convince you that social welfare is killing America, knock them over with the facts. The story of the F-35 alone will probably do the trick.

http://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Mortician-Tim-Fleming-ebook/dp/B00I6GNPD4