I find it interesting that the ontheborderline.nut pretty much just whine about taxes. They never really do anything. If they really believed what they preached, maybe they'd stand up and actually protest with some action. Hey, if you think your property taxes are theft, don't pay them.
"Unfortunately, the Browns have turned this into more than just a tax case. By their continuing actions, allegedly, to obstruct justice, to encourage others to assist them to obstruct justice, by making threats toward law enforcement and other government officials, they have turned this into more than a tax case."
U.S. Marshal Stephen Monier
Here's a report on a couple in New Hamshire that do more than talk.
at 10/27/2007 Posted by Kitty
"When profit is obtained in a just measure, it is naturally legitimate and necessary for economic development. However capitalism should not be regarded as the only valid model for economic progress."
"When I say 'capitalism', I mean a full, pure uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism--with a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church."
"The Objectivist Ethics"
The Virtue of Selfishness
"Those seeking profits, were they given total freedom, would not be the ones to trust to keep government pure and our rights secure. Indeed, it has always been those seeking wealth who were the source of corruption in government. No other depositories of power have ever yet been found, which did not end in converting to their own profit the earnings of those committed to their charge."
at 10/27/2007 Posted by Sunny Badger
If you're a follower of local blog ontheborderline.nut for comic relief, like I am, you may have been surprised to see a another rambling cut and paste from the obscure Austrian Economist and Mentor to the OTBL radical Laissez Fair Capitalists/pseudo-entrepreneurs. But then again you probably expected it. In their latest mind numbing bag of wind article OTBL's Flash, aka Dr.Bill chastises the evils of Christian Socialism.
"The protagonists of Christian social reform as a rule do not regard their ideal Society of Christian Socialism as in any way socialistic. But this is simply self-deception. Christian Socialism appears to be conservative because it desires to maintain the existing order of property, or more properly it appears reactionary because it wishes to restore and then maintain an order of property that prevailed in the past. It is also true that it combats with great energy the plans of socialists of other persuasions for a radical abolition of private property, and in contradistinction to them asserts that not Socialism but social reform is its aim. "
and on and on......
Contrast this with the following:
Moral Values and Global Capitalism
John Paul II's Economic Ethics
By MARK ENGLER
Many commentators have highlighted the Pope extensive travels throughout the world and his use of advanced telecommunications to spread his message. Less noted is the fact John Paul's vision of globalization sharply countered the pro-corporate triumphalism spread by "free trade" boosters.
Reflecting on the process of globalization during his 1998 visit to Cuba, the Pope contended that world is "witnessing the resurgence of a certain capitalist neoliberalism which subordinates the human person to blind market forces." He claimed that "[f]rom its centers of power, such neoliberalism often places unbearable burdens upon less favored countries." And he remarked with concern that "at times, unsustainable economic programs are imposed on nations as a condition for further assistance."
Coming at a moment when protests against the type of "structural adjustment" mandated by the U.S.-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund were beginning to make headlines, the targets of John Paul's condemnation were not mysterious. Because of such economic policies, the Pope argued, we "see a small number of countries growing exceedingly rich at the cost of the increasing impoverishment of a great number of other countries; as a result the wealthy grow ever wealthier, while the poor grow ever poorer."
John Paul elaborated his arguments in his 1999 exhortation, Ecclesia in America. There he asserted that the increasing global integration of the current era presents an opportunity for progress. "However," he warned, "if globalization is ruled merely by the laws of the market applied to suit the powerful, the consequences cannot but be negative." He spoke out against "unfair competition which puts the poor nations in a situation of ever increasing inferiority."
The Pope's sentiments reflected the church's wider understanding of political economy. In a 2001 address to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, John Paul reiterated the faith's teaching that "[e]thics demands that systems be attuned to the needs of man, and not that man be sacrificed for the sake of the system." Furthering this idea, the Pope insisted on "the inalienable value of the human person" who "must always be an end and not a means, a subject, not an object, not a commodity of trade."
Further Reading on a just economy:
"In 1993, John Paul II would provoke mocking headlines when he criticized Poland and other post-Communist countries for accepting pure market economics from the West and thus abandoning the "grain of truth" in Marxism. Although many thought the pope was reversing himself, he was in fact using almost the same words he had used forty years before in class lectures and in his book, and had been using ever since.
Wojtyla separated Marx's analysis of economic exploitation, which he largely accepted, from Marx's solutions, which he rejected. "The Catholic social ethic," he wrote in 1953, "agrees that in many cases a struggle is the way to accomplish the common good. Today...a class struggle...is the undeniable responsibility of the proletariat." Not only is classconscious revolution compatible with Christianity, he argued; it is sometimes necessary to Christianity. What is incompatible is Marxism's subjugation of the individual human spirit to a grand economic design after the revolution.
In Catholic Social Ethics, Wojtyla set down rules for social struggle that are strikingly similar to those that would be enunciated less than a decade later by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., in the United States. Wojtyla and King each believed the struggle should be aimed at persuasion, not at violent, Marxist-style upheaval. Wojtyla wrote:
Demonstrations, protests, strikes, and passive resistance - all these are means of class struggle that need to be considered appropriate. The struggle for rights, after exhausting all peaceful means...is a necessary act of justice that leads only to the achievement of the common good, which is the goal of social existence....
It is clear that from the view of the ethical assumptions of the Bible, such a struggle is a necessary evil, just like any other human struggle.... It is also evident from the Bible that struggle itself is not the opposite of love. The opposite of love is hate.
A struggle in a specific case does not have to be caused by hate. If it is caused by social and material injustice, and if its goal is to reinstate the just distribution of goods, then such a struggle is not [hatred].... Social justice is the necessary condition for realization of love in life...."
at 10/26/2007 Posted by Andy Rand
"... I, personally, have written hundreds of anonymous articles and I would challenge Dennis, or anyone, to point out purposeful mistatements of fact, unwarranted "vitriol," obscenities or purposeful ad hominem."
"Comment #10379 by BobZiller on 10/23/2007 @ 3:22 pm
"Now I can add another attribute to anonymous bloggers - lying."
at 10/26/2007 Posted by Andy Rand
Wisconsin AG accused of being too liberal
Van Hollen says he places law above beliefs
...gee what a terrible concept to embrace!
J.B. Van Hollen says he's a true-blue Republican. But his bridges with the GOP faithful could be smoldering. Almost 10 months into his term as the state's attorney general, Van Hollen has taken a number of stances that run counter to traditional Republican philosophy.
He bagged an investigation into Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's fundraising. He issued legal opinions that say Wisconsin's ban on partial-birth abortion is probably toothless and the University of Wisconsin System can legally consider race in admissions. Just last month, the Justice Department canceled plans for a prayer at a state Capitol service for murder victims after the Freedom From Religion Foundation objected. Van Hollen insists he's conducting business as promised, placing the law before his personal beliefs.
"Some are getting it. Some just don't want to get it," Van Hollen said. "A lot of people aren't accustomed to having somebody who's willing to put the law above their personal opinions."
It could be costing him support. Conservative talk show hosts in Milwaukee have questioned whether Van Hollen has "gone native" in liberal Madison.
"I think for a lot of conservatives, he's still on the bubble. He has a, perhaps, different approach and philosophy than some conservatives were expecting," WTMJ's Charlie Sykes commented after interviewing Van Hollen on his "Midday with Charlie Sykes" show in August.
Read more @Pioneer Press.
at 10/25/2007 Posted by Sunny Badger
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A congressional committee investigating the performance of Blackwater USA questioned whether the private security firm may have evaded paying millions of dollars in taxes.
By classifying workers in Iraq as "independent contractors" rather than employees, Blackwater appears to have engaged in an "illegal tax scheme" that avoided an estimated $31 million in employment-related taxes in the last year of its contract alone, said Rep. Henry Waxman on Monday.
Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, also accused the North Carolina-based company of preventing a guard who discovered the practice "from contacting members of Congress or law enforcement officials."
"It is deplorable that a company that depends on federal tax dollars for over 90 percent of its business would even contemplate forbidding an employee to report corporate wrongdoing to Congress and federal law enforcement officials," the California Democrat wrote in a letter to Blackwater founder and CEO Erik Prince.
Blackwater denied the allegations in a s
The man in charge of security for US diplomats in Iraq has resigned after heavy criticism of how foreign private security firms in Iraq are supervised.
US state department official Richard Griffin did not mention the issue in his resignation letter.
But he left just a day after the department moved to strengthen government oversight of the firms.
The changes were prompted by the deaths of Iraqi civilians in an incident involving the Blackwater company.
At present, foreign private security contractors have immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law but the Iraqi government is reportedly preparing a bill to make them accountable locally.
This week's state department report said there have been serious lapses in how the firms are supervised.
It is clear it was September's incident in particular, and the questions it raised in Iraq and the US, which led to Mr Griffin's sudden departure after 36 years in government service, our correspondent says.
at 10/24/2007 Posted by Andy Rand
Red Scare At Night, Mr. Peanut's Delight
After reading another flaccid expose by our loco blogging comrade Mr. Peanut at ontheborderline.nut, I decided to do some dark-of-night investigating to find out more about this communist in New Richmond. The communist from New Richmond continues to bemoan the fact that billionaires in our state are continuing to bribe simple-minded Republicans who get elected and in true puppet-like fashion vote YES to eliminate progressive income taxes, public education and reduce the size of the middle class to size where it can be drowned in the gilded hot tube of any of our state's billionaires. At first, I thought it was Bob Z, a frequent OTBL.nut commentator who occasionally sheds a ray of common sense and gets called a communist because of it. After finding the perimeter of Bob Z's yard guarded fortress-like with "Vote Yes for New Richmond School" signs and "Goldwater-Miller in '64" signs, I realized it was the other communist in New Richmond Mr. Peanut was referring to.
Not knowing exactly where the NR commie lived, I drove around and accidentally ran into Bolsheviks Boulevard. Not knowing which way to turn, I took a hard left and drove through the darkness. The street suddenly dead-ended into a street called Marxist Way. I knew I was getting warm so I took another hard left.
Under the cover of darkness, I slowed the beat-up Toyota my wife bought me and looked for a house that could pass for the local NR communist king pin. Suddenly I came upon a huge mansion bathed in red light. Sitting in front of the garage was the big gold Cadillac the New Richmond Communist drives to the NR government school board meetings. The vanity plates are a dead give away. I parked down the street, got out of my car and put on my undercover, secret investigator disguise -- a slime green sweat band on my follically-challenged head with a generous strip of duct tape across my lips. Those who know me will tell you that I have a hard time keeping my big mouth shut. The duct tape helps to keep the crap from trickling down on my Grover Norquist for President t-shirt.
Disguise in place, I crept through the darkness across the lawn of the NR Commie's mansion. A like was glaring in a window by the corner of the house so I eased myself up to get a look at what was going on in the room. In the room at a desk sat the wife of the NR Commie. True to form she was fat and ugly, as all women are who work for the government school system. She was reading something that I couldn't quite make out, so I pulled out my Mr. Peanut telescope that I got from a can of dry roasted nuts when I was a small boy named Harito Alger.
I could hardly believe my beady eyes! She was reading something titled "The New Richmond School Guide To Cadillac Benefits!" As I looked around the room, I noticed overstuffed, gunny sacks with money leaking out of them. I strained to see the wording labeled on the sacks. Some sacks were labeled "money stolen from the taxpayers with the threat of confiscation of the personal property" and other sacks were labeled "money from the school district and teachers' union." Suddenly, Mrs. NR Commie got out of her chair, dumped the contents of one of the money bags on the floor, laid down and started rolling in it.
It was too much for me to watch this. I stepped away from the window and went around the side of the house. Did I mention she had red hair?
Around the side of the house, I stopped to catch my breath. I was shaking violently and knew I wouldn't be able to write any threat letters later in the evening. It was then I notice a red glow coming from the back of the house. I slinked my way towards the light.
I creept up to the window and there in a big, red over stuffed chair sat the NR Commie himself. Like all husbands of public school teachers, he was fat, disheveled and obviously lazy and had worn out many a Lazy Boy chair paid for with money stolen from the taxpayers. He was watching the American League baseball championship on his HD Jumbotrone. In his hand was a bottle of Leine Red. On the table next to him was half a bottom of Johnny Walker Red. Next to the bottle was a well worn original copy of the Communist Manifesto. One of the Red Sox hit a grand slam and the NR Commie jumped to his feet cheering like he was in Red Square in 1917.
He had a fire going in his fire place and walked over it. Where you'd usually expect to see pieces of wood for the fire, there was a stack of books. He picked up a book and through it into the fire. With my telescope, I checked out the titles of the books. The titles included "Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith, "The Road to Serfdom" by FA Hayek, "The Price of Sin," "Ayn Rand's Guide to Self Love," "The Free Marketeers Guide To Community Isolation," "Masters of Deceit" by J. Edgar Hoover and a host of other books I've heard about on the Ludwig von Mises website. On his wall was a pinup poster of Nancy Pelosi wearing a red bikini standing between Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, who was doing a Bill Clinton imitation with a cigar.
The NR Commie then went over to his CD player and started looking for a CD to play. With CDs by groups like Simply Red, Red Sovine, Red Knuckles and the Trailer Blazer and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, it was clear to me why he was being labeled a communist. He put on a CD and cranked it up and it was "Panama Red" by the New Riders of the Purple Sage, a San Francisco band from the 1970s.
He then went back to the fire place and grabbed the copy of "The Price of Sin" and tossed it into the fire. Being that the wind was carrying the smoke from the fire place over by me, it was the smell of total bullshit that suddenly engulfed me as the "Price of Sin" sizzled like a fresh turd on the grill at last year's Badger Blog Alliance Bash. It was then I realized I had spent way too much time on this assignment and would be late of a late night Tea Party in Ellsworth.
I slinked back to my car, started it up and headed out of town. As I drove by the New Richmond school administration building, I noticed a dumpster along side the building and had thoughts of stopping by and digging through it for some incriminating evidence about the profits from the school pop fund. But by then it was too late and I knew I'd better get my ass home before the wife came home from winning the daily bread and started asking me how the Internet entrepreneuring was going.
I settled into the drive back to OTBL.nut headquarters and spent the drive listening to Glenn Beck on KTLK FM talk radio. As he reminded me how Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Rachel Carson, tree huggers, government employees, Jesus and everybody who didn't agree with me was a communist, the shaking started to dissipate. Suddenly a baby rabbit appeared in the other lane and I took out my AK-47, stuck it out the window and turned that bunny into a mist of bone and blood. I screamed "What would Jesus do?" in my best Ted Nugent voice and reached over and took handful of moldy peanuts from the Mr. Scrooge Christmas tin on the passenger seat.
at 10/23/2007 Posted by Kitty
From the darkside of the borderline:
"I've always given you the benefit of doubt and understand that your position in New Richmond is first that of a husband and father. Your endorsement of the $93 Million dollar boondoggle was because of your son, who is employed in the the district and your wife, who wears pants in the family as well."
Audit: ‘Disarray’ on $1.2 billion Iraq contract
U.S. can’t account for DynCorp performance in training police, report says
You don't here ontheborderliners whining about this tax waste, do you?
By Aram Roston
Updated: 5:49 p.m. CT Oct 23, 2007
Just as the State Department is trying to work its way clear of its Blackwater troubles, a scathing federal audit released Tuesday exposes a glaring lapse in oversight of another federal contractor in Iraq, DynCorp. DynCorp was supposed to train and equip Iraqi police, but the report says the State Department doesn’t know how most of the money in the billion-plus-dollar program was spent.
The State Department "does not know specifically what it received for most of the $1.2 billion in expenditures under its DynCorp contract for the Iraqi Police Training Program," the audit says. The federal watchdogs, with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, or SIGIR, said that they even had to suspend their audit because there wasn't enough data to check the books, which were in “disarray.”
Read More at MSNBC
Dynacorp not new to controversy:
Alleged Human Rights Violations and Fraud
The company is not short on controversy. Under the Plan Colombia contract, the company has 88 aircraft and 307 employees - 139 of them American - flying missions to eradicate coca fields in Colombia. Soldier of Fortune magazine once ran a cover story on DynCorp, proclaiming it "Colombia's Coke-Bustin' Broncos."
US Rep. Janice Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, told Wired magazine that hiring a private company to fly what amounts to combat missions is asking for trouble. DynCorp's employees have a history of behaving like cowboys," Schakowsky noted.
"Is the US military privatizing its missions to avoid public controversy or to avoid embarrassment - to hide body bags from the media and shield the military from public opinion?" she asked.
Indeed a group of Ecuadoran peasants filed a class action against the company in September 2001. The suit alleges that herbicides spread by DynCorp in Colombia were drifting across the border, withering legitimate crops, causing human and livestock illness, and, in several cases, killing children. Assistant Secretary of State Rand Beers intervened in the case right away telling the judge the lawsuit posed "a grave risk to US national security and foreign policy objectives."
One of the contractors chosen with DynCorp to provide litigation support to DOJ was CACI, the leading provider of Geographic Information Systems to the federal government. Richard Armitage, a high-ranking official at Defense during the Reagan Administration and at the State Department during the Bush II Administration, was a consultant and member of CACI’s board from 1999 to 2001.
After DynCorp personnel were later the subject of several lawsuits related to pedophilia and sex slave trafficking in partnership with local mafia in Eastern Europe, Armitage as a senior official at the U.S. State Department would write a letter in support of large new sole source contracts to DynCorp based on the theory that a company should not lose contracts as a result of the conduct of a few employees.
In short, sex slave trafficking and pedophilia in its ranks did not prevent DynCorp from winning significant new contracts, including a $500 million sole-source contract to run police, enforcement, courts and prisons in Iraq.
ATBL, a not for profit blogging antagonist to the right wing fanactic lunacy of ontheborderline.nut is seeking a shadow administrator for an immediate opening. The successful candidate should have a working knowledge of the Right Wing politics of hate and destruction engaged in by ontheborderline.nut.
Familiarity, with Ayn Rand's psuedo-philosophy and Ann Coulter hate speech a must.
A plentiful repetoire of Ludwig Von Mises humor a definite plus.
Duties will include satirical graphic design and composition of mocking and insightful written commentary exposing the destructive extremist propaganda agenda of ontheborderline.nut.
Devotion to the teachings of party leader Chairman Mao required.
WEAC membership optional.
Candidates with sharp and intelligent wit and artistic vision are encouraged to apply. Classical Liberals and Objectivist resume's will be will be diposed of and recycled at New Richmond Communist Party Headquarters.
Benefits include long hours of research for no pay and no recognition.
If you meet these qualifications call 1-666-Socialist today.
An Equal Opportunity Employer
Rocky Mountain News and Christianity Today Reports:
Less than twelve months after students named Andrew Paquin faculty member of the year, the administration of Colorado Christian University dismissed the popular professor. Paquin believes his concerns about free enterprise led to the administration's May decision.
The school, which does not offer tenure, declined to discuss Paquin's dismissal, but Paquin said CCU president William Armstrong wrote him a letter several months before his release, warning that Armstrong found it "deeply troubling to hear you say that capitalism is inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus." Armstrong has said that supporting free markets is part of the school's mission.
A former U.S. senator, Armstrong joined the suburban Denver college in 2006. Shortly thereafter, he unveiled a new set of "strategic objectives," stating that the college promotes free markets, limited government, compassion for the poor, Western civilization, and the "original intent of [the] Constitution."
Christianity Today describes Armstrong as follows:
"Armstrong, a successful Colorado businessman, served in the Colorado Legislature, U.S. House of Representatives from 1972 to 1978 and in the United States Senate from 1978 to 1990. He was a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senate Banking Committee, and Senate Budget Committee. For six years, he also served as Chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee. Photo: William L. Armstrong
Deciding not to seek reelection in 1990, Armstrong returned to Colorado. He is currently Chairman of Cherry Creek Mortgage Company—one of the state’s largest lending institutions—and of Greenwood Capital, also a mortgage banking firm, and Blueberry Systems, a software development company. In addition, Armstrong is Chairman of the Denver-based Oppenheimer Fund. Previously he has been a director of six public companies and the owner/operator of 13 private companies including radio and television stations, a daily newspaper, a real estate brokerage company, and title insurance and investment firms."
Paquin, hired the year before Armstrong, assigned books by Jim Wallis (author of God's Politics -Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It) and Peter Singer in his classes. "I wanted my right-wing students to see that the left wing has some validity," he said. But Paquin insisted he is no enemy of capitalism. His ministry, the 10/10 Project, funds microloans for Kenyans to start their own businesses.
Armstrong fired Paquin from a position teaching global studies at the end of the spring semester amid concerns that his lessons were too radical and undermined the school's commitment to the free enterprise system.
How ironic when Armstrong expresses his strong conviction toward a belief in the First Amendment on the Blog For Growth
"..I AM a fan of first amendment rights. I happen to think freedom of speech and publication, particularly on political topics, is absolutely fundamental to a free society. As a practical matter, groups like Colorado Club For Growth and others are about the only way a lot of people have to forcefully express their political opinions and preferences. With tight limits on contributions to candidates, independent expenditures (and groups) represent one of the very, very few opportunities for citizens to counter the overweening power of incumbents and the media. The right of citizens to express their point of view on any subject – particularly about candidates and political issues – is just basic. It’s civics 101. It’s The American Way."
I guess that's only for Americans that don't question Armstrong's views on economics and when "Free Speech" helps fill the coffers of Republican candidates. Buried somewhere deep in the Constitution's "original intent", college professors must have been excluded from having First Amendment Rights.
Funny how Armstrong seem to be living up to his surname too.
"I think capitalism is an efficient and effective economic system," Paquin said, "but I won't deify it as an essential part of Christianity."
Paquin also stated, "Adam Smith, the 18th century Scottish philosopher associated with capitalism, wrote that the individual pursuit of wealth brings economic growth, improving everyone's lot, Paquin notes. But Jesus, he said, taught that the common good is served by pursuing the interest of others."
On Paquins blog, he clarifies his position on capitalism:
"My stance on capitalism is this... it is obviously a very efficient and pragmatic economic system that has produced the largest and wealthiest country the world has ever seen. It also can be exploitative, lead to human greed, and leave vast populations behind in its wake. It can turn citizens into consumers. Adam Smith writes that the common good is served by the individual pursuit of self-interest. Excuse me if I believe that the pursuit of my own self-interest might be in contrast to the life of Christ that exemplifies the pursuit of the interest of others. This is my tension. I have a house, two kids, two cars -- the American Dream. I also work in the slums of Africa, trying desperately to generate markets and enterprise so that people do not have to be mired in stupid poverty. If and when capitalism works - I'm all for it. But the tenets of my faith are bigger than the political economy of the West.
Let me say it this way. In Christ, you and I are set free, not for the individual pursuit of happiness, but set free for the collective pursuit of holiness. We are called by God not for ourselves, but for the glory of His Kingdom, and for the service of others. We, the fortunate ones of this great country have somehow forgotten that it is impossible to serve others while at the same time believing we are better than the others we are called to serve. Selfishness, greed, gluttony - these are epidemic in our culture. These might be the real threats to our way of life, but because they stare at us in the mirror, we are reluctant to say so. Instead, we write off the prophets among us as "liberal", "radical", or even "anti-American."
One of Paquin's students, Trevor Simmons, said CCU's strategic objectives "nearly incorporate a political agenda into the curriculum."
Pres. Armstrongs view is,
"Like Colorado Christian, most evangelical colleges and universities expect professors to adhere to confessional tenets. Yet few adopt statements on political or economic systems."
"There is no connection between free markets and Christianity," Armstrong said. "But we teach other things that aren't rooted in Scripture, like that H2O is water."
Academic freedom at a Christian university, he said, is "freedom for Christian scholars to explore the great ideas of history in light of the mission of the university and with respect to its denomination."
What do other Colorado Christian University Students say?
A petition to have Paquin's contract renewed has been started and is available here:
Support Panquin's 10/10 project.
Watch Bill Moyers Interview with Jeremy Scahill.
See Full Transcript:
JEREMY SCAHILL: "What I see in the bigger picture here is what the real revolution is in terms of U.S. politics is that they're taking billions of dollars in public money. And they're privatizing it.
You know, the Pentagon can't give campaign contributions. The State Department can't give campaign contributions. Blackwater's executives can give contributions. DynCore's, Ratheon, Northrop Grumman. And so what they're doing is, they're taking billions of dollars. And it's making its way back into the campaign coffers of the very politicians that make the meteoric ascent of these companies possible. I really view this through the lens of it tearing away at the fabric of American democracy as well."..............
JEREMY SCAHILL: What I see in the bigger picture here is what the real revolution is in terms of U.S. politics is that they're taking billions of dollars in public money. And they're privatizing it.
You know, the Pentagon can't give campaign contributions. The State Department can't give campaign contributions. Blackwater's executives can give contributions. DynCore's, Ratheon, Northrop Grumman. And so what they're doing is, they're taking billions of dollars. And it's making its way back into the campaign coffers of the very politicians that make the meteoric ascent of these companies possible. I really view this through the lens of it tearing away at the fabric of American democracy as well.
JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, right now in Iraq, there are 180,000 contractors operating alongside 170,000 US troops. So it's effectively a doubling or more than doubling of the occupation force. What this does is it subverts the citizenry in the United States. You no longer have to have a draft. You don't have to depend on your own citizens to fight your wars. You can simply hire up the poor of the world to work for American and British companies occupying another country.
BILL MOYERS:: What do these private contractors, their guys, make compared to American soldiers on the ground?
JEREMY SCAHILL:Well it varies widely depending on the company, depending on their role, depending on their nationality. If you're a former Navy Seal or a Delta Force guy working for Blackwater, you can make about 600 dollars a day for your work in Iraq. I mean, we're talking six figure salaries. Some of these guys working for private military companies make as much as-- as General Petreyas if not more.
BILL MOYERS:: Which is?
JEREMY SCAHILL:He makes about $180,000 a year. Average troops in the ground, some of these kids are being paid forty thousand dollars a year to be in the exact same war zone as Erik Prince's men from Blackwater. And they're wearing the American flag on their shoulder, not the Blackwater logo. ........................
BILL MOYERS: The thought was, you know, suppose we had a national emergency. Suppose the terrorists struck again. And a President, President Hillary Clinton, or President Barack Obama declared marshal law in order to try to deal with this threat. And there was a private army of twenty thousand soldiers that I could call upon to throw a ring around the capital and make sure that the Congress didn't leave town or didn't get back to the capital if-- how far fetched is that?
JEREMY SCAHILL:Well, I mean, I was in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. And I think we saw a real window into the possible future. You know, I was standing on a street corner in the French quarter on Bourbon Street. And I was talking to two New York City police officer who had come down to help. And this is just a couple of days after the hurricane had hit. And this car speeds up next to us. No license plates on it, a compact car. And three massive guys get out of it. And they have M-4 assault rifles, bullet proof vests, wearing khakis, wrap around sunglasses, baseball caps on. And they come up and they say to the cops, "Where are the rest of the Blackwater guys?" And my head sort of started, you know, I didn't even hear the answer. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Where are the rest of the Blackwater guys? So, they get back in their vehicle and they speed off. And I said to this cop, Blackwater? You mean the guys in Iraq and Afghanistan? They said, oh, yeah. They're all over the place down here. And so, I said, well, I'd like to talk to them. Where are they? And they said, you can go either way on the street, implying that they're everywhere. So, I walked a little bit deeper into the French quarter. And sure enough, I encountered some Blackwater guys. And when I talked to them, they said that they were down there to confront criminals and stop looters.
BILL MOYERS: Who called them in?
JEREMY SCAHILL:And-- well, this is an interesting story. Erik Prince sent them in there with no contract initially. About 180 Blackwater guys were sent into the Gulf. They got there before FEMA. I don't even know if FEMA's there yet. But they got there before FEMA, before there was any kind of a serious operation in the city at all.
BILL MOYERS: On Prince's own decision?
JEREMY SCAHILL:Well, so Prince sends them in. Within a week, Blackwater was given a contract from the Department of Homeland Security Federal Protective Service to engage in security operations inside of New Orleans. At one point, Blackwater had six hundred men deployed down there stretching from Mississippi through-- from Texas through Mississippi and the Gulf. They were pulling in $240,000 a day. Some of these guys though had just been in Iraq two weeks earlier guarding the US ambassador. Now, they're in New Orleans. They say, oh, we do this sort of as a vacation. One was complaining to me that there wasn't enough action down here. And when I talked to them, they told me they were getting paid 350 dollars a day, plus a per diem.
BILL MOYERS: By homeland security?
JEREMY SCAHILL:Well, they were being paid by Blackwater. When I got Blackwater's contract with the Department of Homeland Security, it turns out that Blackwater billed US taxpayers 950 dollars per man per day in the hurricane zone.
BILL MOYERS: A profit margin of 600 dollars.
JEREMY SCAHILL:Well, I mean, the math on this stuff is always complicated. And Erik Prince and his men are very good at drawing up charts and sort of, you know, just saying, well, there's this detail and this detail. The Department of Homeland Security then did an internal review and they determined that it was the best value to the taxpayer, at a time when the poor residents of New Orleans were being chastised for how they used their two thousand dollar debit cards that often didn't work, the ones provided by FEMA. But what was even scarier than seeing the Blackwater operatives on the streets of New Orleans was, I encountered two Israeli commandos who had been brought in by a wealthy businessman in New Orleans and set up an armed checkpoint outside of his gated community. And they were from a company called Instinctive Shooting International. ISI, which is an Israeli company. I mean, and I went up and I talked to them. And they tapped on their automatic weapons and said, you know, over in our country, when the Palestinians see this, they're not so afraid because they're used to it. But you people, you see it, and you're very afraid. They were almost proud of the fact that I was sort of in awe seeing Israeli commandos patrolling a US street, operating in fact an armed check point.
BILL MOYERS: I mean, once upon a time, companies and others hired Pinkerton guards, private guards. But never on this scale, right?
JEREMY SCAHILL:No. I mean, you know, it was like Baghdad on the bayou down there in New Orleans. And-- I mean, this is the point I'm making. The poor drowned. They are left without food. They're called looters when they take perishable goods out of a store when they've been systematically neglected. The rich bring in their mercenaries to guard their properties or their businesses or their hotel chains. And I think it's a window into what happens in a national emergency. And in this country, the poor are left to suffer and die and the rich bring in their mercenaries.
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at 10/21/2007 Posted by Andy Rand