Privatizing War For Fun and (mostly) Profit

Blackwater USA: Turning The All-Volunteer Army Into An ‘Army For Hire’

"This week(March-2006) at a conference in Jordan, Blackwater USA vice chairman Cofer Black announced that the private security company is ready to shift from a security role to a more “overt combat role,” essentially becoming an army for hire.

The Bush administration has shown itself more than willing to call in Blackwater in place of U.S. troops.

In Aug. 2003, the Bush administration awarded

Blackwater a $21.3 million contract to guard then Amb. Paul Bremer. The average senior special operations officer makes $50,000 a year from the U.S. government. Employees in private security firms in Iraq often make more than $1,000 a day from government contracts. This arrangement is “depleting the ranks of the special forces,” luring them into lucrative private jobs.

Some military analysts initially welcomed the administration’s private security arrangement with Blackwater because it allowed “regular military troops to concentrate on fighting.” But Blackwater’s new proposal would shift some of the fighting to the private sector, further diminishing the role of the all-volunteer army."

Iraqi Facts:
In March of 2004, it was reported that Blackwater had flown a group of about 60
former Chilean commandos, many of who had trained under the military
government of Augusto Pinochet, from Santiago to its
training camp in North
Carolina. From there they were taken to Iraq.

In an interview with the Chilean newspaper La Tercera, a former Chilean army
officer, Carlos Wamgnet, 30, who was going to Iraq, said: "We are calm. This mission
is nothing new for us.

"In the end, this is an extension of our military career."

John Rivas, 27, a former Chilean marine, said the work in Iraq would provide a "very
good income" that would allow
him to support his family.

"I don't feel like a mercenary," he added.

According to Gary Jackson, President of Blackwater USA,

    "We scour the ends of the earth to find professionals - the Chilean
    commandos are very, very professional and they fit within the Blackwater
    system." he added, "We have grown 300% over each of the
    past three years
    and we are small compared to the big ones'

    "We have a very small niche market, we work towards putting out the cream
    of the crop, the best." (3)

The privatisation of security in Iraq has been growing as the US seeks to reduce
its commitment of troops. Since private companies pay experienced special forces
personnel far more than the armed services, a decline in re-enlistment has
resulted amongst the most highly trained troops. This has
created a cycle where
the private firms are continually taking over more duties once done by "regular"
military forces

According to Jackson,

    "The US military has ... problems," he said. "If they are going to outsource
    tasks that were once held by active-duty military and are now using private
    contractors, those guys [on active duty] are l
    ooking and asking, 'Where is
    the money? (3)

Frontline: Watch the full program:
Read the transcipt:

"The quality and range of services KBR provides to soldiers is impressive, but cost is a real issue. An audit by the U.S. Government Accountability Office of dining hall costs for one four-month period alleges KBR charged $88 million dollars for meals they never served. And Pentagon audits allege that KBR overcharged $108 million for fuel and billed the government $1.8 billion in other unsupported costs. The Pentagon terminated the fuel contract. As for meals, KBR says workers prepared food that just wasn't consumed. And the unsupported 1.8 billion, KBR says, is a paperwork issue that's being resolved."

MARTIN SMITH: [on camera] Retired military say, "You know, our soldiers don't need three flavors of ice cream. They don't need lobster," or "They don't need cordon bleu. What they need is a safe, secure environment."

Earth Day 2007

My how time flies. Sunday, April 22 marks the 37th annual celebration of Earth Day. As a ninth grader at Hudson Junior High, I participated in the the first Earth Day in 1970. Got out of school for a half day to go clean trash, tires and a variety of junk that littered the gullies of Hudson's parks.

I'm not sure we made the world a better place to live, but we sure had some big piles of trash to toss into the city dump trucks. Our clean detail was in Birkmose Park. Back then it would be a rarity to see a bald eagle flying over the St. Croix river. Now days it's a common site. In 1970, the sewer treatment plant was where it is today. Up till around 1950, the Hudson sewage was dumped straight into the river. Times change...and often for the better.

This Sunday, if you see some trash laying around, pick it up -- even if it doens't belong to you. If you can manage it, wake to the store instead of driving. Think about Mother Earth on your walk.

A side note to my participation in the Earth Day I. Myself and two other fellow friends had to pick up trash with our shirts turned inside-out. The three of us came up with this brilliant -- actually day-glo -- idea the night before that involved the alphabet. Parks painted an "FU" on the back of his shirt, McGree painted a "CK" on his shirt and I painted a big "U" on the back of my shirt. The letters where in an assortment of day-glo colors.

We met at the Vine Street grocery store for the walk up Vine to the junior high and are idea was met with much praise from our fellow students. Everything went fine till the librarian read our shirts as we sat together in three chairs at a table in the library. A visit to Mr. Shoemaucher resulted in a shirt reversal. He wasn't buying our story about a coincidence.

Check out the official site for International Earth Day 2007.


Jesus: The Prince of Piece or WWJC

Larry Pratt:
With Conceal and Carry, Would Cain Have Slayed Able?

Genesis 4: 6-11

And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?

And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.

And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;

According to Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America and a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, if there would have been conceal and carry rights when -- according to the Bible -- the only people on Earth were Adam, Eve, Cain and Able, Able could have taken out Cain. Had this been the case, the murder rate would have been the astronomical rate of 1 out of four. (Adam + Eve + Cain + Able = 4; less Able). Likewise, after Able's death, one out of three people were murderers.

Continuing on with the story of Genesis, it quickly becomes obvious that God is a bleeding heart liberal. Did God whip up Adam and Eve to go out and kill that murdering bastard Cain? No. In fact, He warned that anyone taking out Cain would pay big time. Read the following:

Genesis: 15-17

And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.

And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

(I'm not sure where Cain's wife came from. But Cain went over the hill and he began to multiply quiet prolifically. I'll leave off here, because we don't want to have to indoctrinate you children with sex education and have to explain all the begating that takes place for the next group of verses.)

Here's how Larry Pratt interprets the Cain and Able story:

The underlying argument for gun control seems to be that the availability of guns causes crime. By extension, the availability of any weapon would have to be viewed as a cause of crime. What does the Bible say about such a view?

Perhaps we should start at the beginning, or at least very close to the beginning--in Genesis 4. In this chapter we read about the first murder. Cain had offered an unacceptable sacrifice, and Cain was upset that God insisted that he do the right thing. In other words, Cain was peeved that he could not do his own thing.

Cain decided to kill his brother rather than get right with God. There were no guns available, although there may well have been a knife. Whether it was a knife or a rock, the Bible does not say. The point is, the evil in Cain's heart was the cause of the murder, not the availability of the murder weapon.

God's response was not to ban rocks or knives, or whatever, but to banish the murderer. Later (see Genesis 9:5-6) God instituted capital punishment, but said not a word about banning weapons.

Below is Genesis 9: 5-6, does anybody see any contradictions here?

And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man.

Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.


Read more by Larry Pratt on why God wants his followers to be able conceal and carry in church on Sunday. Obviously, it's alright, cause the Bible tells Larry Pratt so.

What would Jesus carry?

Republicans Identify More Wacko Global Warming Puppets

Obviously the Republicans would like to divert the attention away from the Iraq War and the Bush-Cheney miscalculation. What better issue to divert attention away from the present...

Pay attention Dino and Grover da Weasel

Republicans see global warming alarmism

WASHINGTON — House Republicans made it clear Wednesday they won't make things easy for Democrats trying to lay the groundwork for legislation on greenhouse gases and climate change.

At the first hearing of a special committee established by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to make the case for a bill, Republicans questioned efforts to paint global warming as a national security threat.

"Unfortunately, this debate hasn't been characterized by common sense. It's been characterized by extremism," said Wisconsin Rep. James Sensenbrenner, the senior Republican on the panel. "While this extremism hasn't done anything to produce effective solutions, it has created a lot of hot air, which hasn't been good for Congress' carbon footprint."

Sensenbrenner questioned "why global warming has suddenly become an issue of national defense" and afterward accused politicians and pundits of stoking children's fears.

Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., said Sensebrenner's remarks reveal also that "there's a lot of fear in Congress."

Read more.

Wisconsin Senate approves free beer samples

More sensible legislation from the Democrats

MADISON - Beer lovers of Wisconsin, rejoice!
Thanks to the state Senate, you're a step closer to getting a free (yes, free!) half-can of beer. The Senate approved a bill on an unanimous voice vote Tuesday that allows grocery and liquor stores to hand out samples of up to 6 ounces of free beer per day to people of legal drinking age. The Assembly was expected to take up the measure later Tuesday.

Current state law allows wineries, but not brewers, to offer up to 6 ounces of free samples. Sen. Pat Kreitlow, D-Chippewa Falls, home of the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co., is the bill's main sponsor. He said the measure is designed to help beer manufacturers compete with wine makers.


Democracy For Sale

America's corporate and political elites now form a regime of their own and they're privatizing democracy. All the benefits - the tax cuts, policies and rewards flow in one direction: up.
Bill Moyers

Existential Thought For the Day

If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe.
Soren Kierkegaard

The Journey and Destination

When we are driving, we tend to think of arriving, and we sacrifice the journey for the sake of the arrival. But life is to be found in the present moment, not in the future. In fact, we may suffer more after we arrive at our destination. If we have to talk of a destination, what about our final destination, the graveyard? We do not want to go in the direction of death; we want to go in the direction of life. But where is life? Life can be found only in the present moment. Therefore, each mile we drive, each step we take, has to bring us into the present moment. This is the practice of mindfulness. When we see a red light or a stop sign, we can smile at it and thank it, because it is a bodhisattva helping us return to the present moment. The red light is a bell of mindfulness. We may have thought of it as an enemy, preventing us from achieving our goal. But now we know the red light is our friend, helping us resist rushing and calling us to return to the present moment where we can meet with life, joy, and peace.

Thich Nhat Hanh
Present Moment, Wonderful Moment


Luke Furthers His Education at Private "Ayn Rand School For Tots"

Ayn Rand "cameo" in The Simpsons.

"A Streetcar Named Marge" is just an all-around great episode, where Marge joins community theatre in a butchery of Tennesee Williams. In need of daycare for Maggie, Marge enrolls her daughter in the "Ayn Rand School For Tots". The proprietor, who is not supposed to look like Rand so much as Jon Lovitz in a dress, does not tolerate the use of pacifiers, and laughs at the idea of using a bottle.

"Do you know what a baby is saying when she reaches for a bottle?"
"She's saying, 'I am a leech'! Our aim here is to develop the 'bottle within'."

The Far (Right) Side

Scientist to CEI: You Used My Research To "Confuse and Mislead"

Competitive Enterprise Institute: Fact Twisting Coporate Ho's.
"The CEI ad "Glacier" quotes two studies in Science magazine, one as saying " Greenland’s glaciers are growing, not melting" and the other as saying "The Antarctic ice sheet is getting thicker, not thinner." That drew quick objection from an editor of Science and from the author of the Antarctica study.

Brooks Hanson, a deputy editor at Science, complained in a May 19 news release that CEI was misrepresenting both the studies and also the general state of scientific knowledge:

Hanson: The text of the CEI ad misrepresents the conclusions of the two cited Science papers and our current state of knowledge by selective referencing.

The lead author of the Antarctica study, University of Missouri professor Curt Davis, said in the same release that CEI was twisting his findings deliberately to mislead the public:

Davis: "These television ads are a deliberate effort to confuse and mislead the public about the global warming debate. They are selectively using only parts of my previous research to support their claims. They are not telling the entire story to the public."

And don't forget to get your daily dose of Junk Science from Steve Miloy also at CEI

Pew Research Center Survey Finds Big Money Walking

Pew Survey

"The Republican Party has traditionally garnered it strongest backing among wealthier voters. But the recent overall decline in Republican Party affiliation nationwide has taken a toll even on GOP support among affluent voters. The latest Pew surveys find Democrats pulling even with Republicans among registered voters with annual family incomes in excess of roughly $135,000 per annum. Overall, while remarkably high voter enthusiasm is undoubtedly the key factor in the Democratic Party's fundraising success in 2006 and thus far this year, the pool of potential campaign donors is also less tilted toward the GOP today than it has been in the past."

More Crazy Socialists Endorsing Global Warming Lie

(In an effort to expose all those crazy socialists like Al Gore who are trying to indoctrinate and brainwash the youth, adults and elderly of our nation with the "big lie" that such a thing a global warming exists, we will begin putting a special effort in exposing these crazy, socialist crackpots. Today we out the US Armed Forces as one those pushing the "big lie.")

Generals say...
Global Warming A Threat To National Security

April 16, 2007
Alaska Report

Washington, D.C. - Former military leaders have called on the pro-pollution Bush administration to make major cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

In a report, they say global warming poses a serious threat to national security, as the US could be drawn into wars over water and other conflicts.

They appear to criticize President Bush's refusal to join an international treaty to cut emissions. Among the 11 authors are ex-Army chief of staff Gordon Sullivan and Bush's ex-Mid-East peace envoy Anthony Zinni.

The report says the US "must become a more constructive partner" with other nations to fight global warming and deal with its consequences. It warns that over the next 30 to 40 years, there will be conflicts over water resources, as well as increased instability resulting from rising sea levels and global warming-related refugees.

"The chaos that results can be an incubator of civil strife, genocide and the growth of terrorism," the 35-page report predicts.

More stories...

CO2 - We Call It Death

White House Easter Egg Hunt

Seeking the light...

"Only the walker who sets out toward ultimate things is a pilgrim. In this lies the terrible difference between tourist and pilgrim. The tourist travels just as far, sometimes with great zeal and courage, gathering up acquisitions (a string of adventures, a wondrous tale or two) and returns the same person as the one who departed. There is something inexpressibly sad in the clutter of belongings the tourist unpacks back at home. The pilgrim is different. The pilgrim resolves that the one who returns will not be the same person as the one who set out. Pilgrimage is a passage for the reckless and subtle. The pilgrim--and the metaphor comes to us from distant times--must be prepared to shed the husk of personality or even the body like a worn out coat. A Buddhist dictum has it that "the Way exists but not the traveler on it." For the pilgrim the road is home; reaching your destination seems nearly inconsequential."

Andrew Schelling
Meeting the Buddha


Carbon Dioxide - Your New Friend

If the Big Oil corporate ho's at the Competitive Enterprise Institute had the last word on C02 emmissions, the next time you climb Mt. Everest or see grandma getting a little
wheezy, you'd reach for a great big bottle of C02....
Didn't you know C02 is life. Try some today: