Fascism is the union of government with private business against the People.
"To The States, or any one of them, or to any city of The States: Resist much, Obey little; Once unquestioning obedience, at once fully enslaved; Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, ever afterward resumes its liberty." from "Caution" by Walt Whitman

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fascists enact streamlined Federal government, composed primarily of Clandestine and Military objectives, for more war, less social services

The Federal Government Shutdown of 2013 was orchestrated by monopolist investors and their politicians in the Federal House of Representatives, especially those politicians who are openly part of the various "Tea Party" networks, whose ideology is to dissolve government spending on welfare, services, and regulatory agencies, and to devote all Federal resources to a military which acts as mercenary for the protection of the projected futures for the monopolist investment firms and holding companies who are funding the Tea Party networks.
Therefore, one would expect the Federal Shutdown to not affect the Military, private mercenaries, and contractors, while instead affecting to destroy and disrupt anything related to contractors who work for the public good, including environmental protection, housing and aid!

"DNI Clapper Backs Cruz: Fund Intelligence Services Piecemeal"
2013-10-02 by Ben Shapiro from "Breitbart News" [http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/10/02/Clapper-fund-intelligence-alone]:
In consonance with the Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) strategy of funding the government piecemeal and forcing the Senate to vote up or down on specific funding for specific branches of the federal government, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Wednesday endorsed the notion of standalone funding for the intelligence services. Citing Congress’ movement on funding the Defense Department in standalone fashion, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) asked Clapper, “Have you recommended to the President that he recommend to the Congress that we do something similar for the intelligence services? If this is, as you put it, a dream land for our enemy here, wouldn't that be appropriate?” Clapper answered, “I certainly think it would be. And, of course, the support to the military particularly in the case of DOD involves three combat support agencies, one of which is NSA, who are although funded in the national intelligence program, are providing support to military day in and day out, so I would be a strong supporter.”
Sen. Cruz followed up: “I don't believe President Obama should be playing politics with this. He shouldn't be refusing to negotiate or compromise. He should be stepping forward to correct this problem right now….If God forbid we see an attack on the United States because the intelligence community was not adequately funded, every member of the committee would be horrified. So I hope that issues of partisan politics can be set aside and we can all come together and pass right now, by the end of the day, a continuing resolution to fully fund the Department of Defense and the intelligence community. I hope President Obama, I hope Majority Leader Harry Reid hear and respond to the candid and heart felt recommendation, Director Clapper, that you presented here today.”

"Domestic Violence Programs Brace For End Of Federal Funds After Friday"
by Bryce Covert from "ThinkProgress" [http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/10/04/2732211/domestic-violence-shutdown/]:
Domestic violence programs across the country say they have received letters from federal offices that dole out grant money informing them that after October 4, if the government is not reopened, they will cease operations and the programs won’t be able to draw down the funds they normally rely on. While some may be able to weather the storm, small, rural programs and those that rely heavily on federal money are looking at layoffs and disruptions in service.
On Thursday, a reader who runs a domestic violence and rape crisis center in Northern California shared a letter with Andrew Sullivan received from the Office of Justice Programs, which disburses funds from the Violence Against Women Act [http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/10/03/the-view-from-your-shutdown-3/]: "Office of Justice Programs (OJP) have sufficient resources to remain operational through Friday, October 4, 2013. This means that OJP staff will be available to assist grantees and OJP payment systems and services will be available through October 4, 2013. Should funding not be restored by October 4, 2013, OJP will cease all operations and California will not be able to draw down funds and reimburse your invoices."
Other programs confirmed they had gotten similar letters from OJP and other agencies. “The whole country has been told the same thing by the Office on Violence Against Women,” Kim Gandy, president and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, told ThinkProgress. “We also have coalitions across the country that have been unable to draw down their reimbursements from FVPSA [Family Violence Prevention and Services Act] for funds already expended, which means they don’t have operating funds going forward. Some are already discussing layoffs.”
The impact of the loss of funds for those who serve and support victims of violence will vary depending on how much they rely on federal money and how their budgets are structured. Joyce Grover, executive director of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, said that after the drawdown system closes on Friday, “it will be a day to day question, especially for very small programs.” Grantees have been drawing down whatever funds they can before then, but “disruption in services may happen in the shutdown goes on for a significant time,” she said. “Most programs receive funds on a reimbursement basis, so building a reserve is very difficult.”
Some programs ThinkProgress spoke to are the lucky ones that have a bit of a cushion to keep operations going. While the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence has received the letter from OJP and “our other federal funds are also in limbo as a result of the shutdown,” Executive Director Deborah DeBare said, “we have at least a month of funding in reserves to keep our programs open for the immediate future.”
Julie Bornhoeft, director of development and community relations for WEAVE, a dual service agency serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Sacramento, said that because the organization has been able to diversify its funding to the point where less than half is federal money, it will have “greater flexibility and stability.” But she warned that “for an organization that is predominantly funded through federal grants or federally derived grants, even temporary disruption in cash flow will be detrimental.”
That seems to be the case for the Sullivan reader. “I run a small, rural domestic violence and rape crisis center in Northern California,” the reader wrote. “We are the only provider of this kind for the entire county and we are supported through funds from the Violence Against Women Act.” This will have severe consequences. “I can tell you with some certainty that many of the rural domestic violence shelters (who don’t have wealthy communities to draw from) will not be operational should the VAWA funding not be rolling down as scheduled.”
Domestic violence programs have been grappling with severe budget cuts for some time. Even before sequestration, nearly 80 percent of shelters nationwide reported getting less funding from the government, and 43 percent said that lower funding would result in pulling back on services. Sequestration meant a $20 million reduction in funding that was predicted to result in 70,120 fewer victims getting access to recovery programs and shelters.
But more and more women have been seeking help as the same economic troubles caused by the recession and stagnant recovery have increased and intensified abuse. Eight in 10 shelters report an increase in women seeking help, and nearly 60 percent say the abuse is more violent than before the crisis. Meanwhile, nearly three-quarters of women are staying longer with their abuser for economic reasons. After sequestration, many programs told ThinkProgress that the likely consequence of budget cuts would be more abuse and, ultimately, more deaths. Those consequences are likely to intensify while the government remains shut down.

2013-09-30 "Shutdown exemption for military pay becomes law"
2013-09-30 by Rick Maze from "Navy Times" [http://www.navytimes.com/article/20130930/BENEFITS/309300034/Shutdown-exemption-military-pay-becomes-law]: Military pay and the pay of some federal civilians and contractors will be exempt from delay during a government shutdown, under a law signed late Monday by President Obama In one of the few agreements lawmakers have been able to reach in weeks of tense negotiations, the threat of military members, including the Coast Guard, missing their mid-October payday was resolved with a new law that appropriates whatever sum of money is needed to cover military payroll costs. Obama signed the bill after it easily passed the House of Representatives on Sunday and the Senate early Monday afternoon. There may be a similar effort to exempt veterans benefits from the effects of a shutdown. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent who is chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, introduced a bill Monday aimed at preventing the Veterans Affairs Department from running out of money to pay for veterans’ disability, survivor and education benefits. Without the military pay bill, troops would work during a government shutdown and accrue pay but would not receive it until government funding is restored. The Oct. 15 payday is the first date when a shutdown could have an impact. The bill, HR 3210, applies to pay and allowances of active-duty members, including reservists on full-time active duty, plus pay and allowances for Defense Department and Homeland Security Department civilians and contractors who are determined to be “providing support to members of the armed forces.” Decisions about which federal workers and contractors would receive pay would be left to the defense secretary or homeland security secretary. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., a former Marine Corps and Army veteran who served in Iraq in 2006, is the chief sponsor of what is being called the Pay Our Military Act. “I fully understand the stresses that our men and women in uniform face on a day-to-day basis, particularly when we are still a nation at war,” Coffman said. “When things do not go well at home, the stress that our deployed men and women are already under is multiplied, particularly if their families go without an income and suffer financial hardships due to a government shutdown.” Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, one of the lawmakers fighting to include restrictions on health care reform in any government funding bill, said service members don’t need to be caught up in the political battle. “The current fight in Washington is about whether or not Congress will act to protect the American people from Obamacare,” Lee said. “Our differences on that issue should not put at risk payments to our military. They should be fully funded immediately.”

"Will contractors receive back pay for the government shutdown?"
2013-10-08 by Josh Hicks and Marjorie Censer,  "Federal Eye: Keeping tabs on the federal government" from "The Washington Post" [http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2013/10/08/why-contractors-dont-receive-back-pay-for-shutdowns/]:
The House on Saturday unanimously passed a bill to pay all federal employees retroactively for the government-shutdown period, however long it might last.
If the Senate approves that legislation, hundreds of thousands of public servants will be compensated for time they were forced off the job during the funding lapse.
But what about the army of contractors who provide a long list of services for the government ranging from safeguarding computer networks to building military machines?
A number of factors affect whether private-sector workers remain on the job during a shutdown, including whether they support “essential” government functions and whether their duties are funded through past appropriations or scheduled for payment with future funding bills.
The House legislation does not authorize back pay for contractors, meaning firms must decide for themselves whether to provide compensation for personnel affected by the shutdown. Most will either pay the workers, let them take paid leave or place them on furlough, according to industry experts.
Connie N. Bertram, a partner at Proskauer Rose who specializes in labor and government contracting issues, said private-sector employees who go unpaid aren’t likely to be compensated when the shutdown ends. “In most instances, [the firms] will not, because they’re only paid for the hours the employees work,” she said.
Put another way, businesses cannot bill the government for hours they didn’t work — even though federal employees would be able to do so under the House bill.
Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council, said large firms are better suited to keep employees on their payrolls during work stoppages, but he added that such moves can only last a few weeks in most cases.
“The smaller the company, the more difficult it is,” Soloway said. “Absent revenue, it almost doesn’t matter the size of a company at a certain point.”
It is unclear how many private-sector employees could be affected by the lapse in congressional appropriations, but the federal government spent about $518 billion on contracting in 2012. To put that in context, the amount has nearly doubled since the mid-1990s after adjusting for inflation, according to federal procurement data.
President Obama signed a bill last week that requires the Defense Department to continue paying civilian personnel and contractors who give “support for members of the armed forces.” The Pentagon has interpreted that rule loosely, ordering nearly all of its 350,000 civilian employees back to work on Saturday.
That’s a positive sign for defense contractors, many of whom may be kept on the job and compensated on time under the military-pay bill.
Bertram said she’s seeing more agencies, particularly the Pentagon, bringing back their contractors after determining their work is essential. Contractors who support non-defense agencies are less likely to be so fortunate.
(Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Stan Soloway as president of the Partnership for Public Service instead of the Professional Services Council).

"Pentagon will order almost all furloughed civilian employees back to work" 
2013-10-05 by By Zachary A. Goldfarb, Craig Whitlock and Jeff Simon from "the Washington Post" [http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/pentagon-will-order-almost-all-furloughed-civilian-employees-back-to-work/2013/10/05/10d2ad3c-2dda-11e3-8ade-a1f23cda135e_story.html]: The Pentagon announced Saturday that it would order almost all of its 350,000 furloughed civilian employees back to work this week, a surprise move that could substantially reduce the impact of the government shutdown. Pentagon officials said more than 90 percent of the employees who were told to stay home are expected to return to work, under a decision made by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that the workers are needed to support the readiness of the military. The action, supported by members of both parties, will leave about 450,000 of the federal government’s 2.1 million civilian employees on furlough. In a rare Saturday session, Congress also took steps to relieve the financial concerns of workers who are facing a government shutdown with no end in sight. The Republican-led House unanimously passed a bill that would offer them full pay for the time they are not at their jobs during the shutdown. While belittling the vote as a distraction that would offer employees “paid vacation,” Democrats who control the Senate said they would pass the bill early next week, and President Obama has said he would sign it. As a practical matter, the actions taken by the Obama administration and Congress on Saturday ease the burden of the shutdown on the federal workforce. Under a law passed passed by Congress just before the government shuttered last week, active-duty military personnel and civilian Pentagon workers on the job will receive paychecks on time. Other federal workers — whether on furlough or on the job — will see their paychecks delayed until the government shutdown ends, squeezing workers without a financial cushion. Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said the House bill “will not address the serious consequences of the funding lapse, nor will a piecemeal approach to appropriations bills.” As a political matter, the actions Saturday did not offer clarity on whether Congress would vote to open the government soon, or if the White House would accept a piecemeal GOP approach to funding the government. The debate over the shutdown will likely blend this week with discussions about how to raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling. Republicans are looking to craft a series of demands, perhaps including entitlement reforms and changes to the tax code, to make in exchange for lifting the debt limit, the legal cap on federal borrowing. The Obama administration warns that it may not be able to make all payments past Oct. 17 unless Congress raises the debt ceiling. Obama says he will not negotiate on either opening the government or raising the debt ceiling, saying those must happen with no strings attached. On Saturday, the two sides appeared as far apart as they have been. Neither the House nor the Senate plans to meet again until Monday afternoon, meaning the shutdown will have lasted at least seven days. Much of the federal government shut down at midnight Monday after Republicans said they would not vote to fund agencies without significant changes to Obama’s health-care law, a significant element of which also launched last week. Since then, the White House has maintained that opening the government is as simple as a vote by lawmakers; Republicans continue to demand concessions to open the government, while pressing various strategies for reducing the harm of the shutdown.
“It’s really cruel to tell workers they’ll receive back pay once the government opens and then refuse to open the government,” Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said Saturday on the floor. After the House vote, Republican leaders called on Democrats and the president to extend the same courtesy to other groups of Americans hurt by the shutdown. “If it’s important to ease the pain for [federal employees], what about the vets?” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said. “Do the Democrats not feel it’s important to ease the pain on them?” “What about the sick children who need access to clinical trials?” Cantor continued. The House has passed several bills to fund the National Institutes of Health and other agencies. The Senate has rejected each, insisting on a measure to reopen the whole government. It wasn’t always clear whether Republicans would back the measure to ensure pay for furloughed employees — which has been the tradition in past shutdowns. Last month, some Republicans expressed skepticism about paying workers while they’re off the job. Since last week, however, the GOP has embraced a strategy of trying to lessen the harm of the shutdown, while pressing forward with a campaign of using the shutdown to try to force Obama to make concessions. On Saturday, the president again rejected that approach, saying he will not negotiate on what he regards as the simple task of reopening the government. “There’s only one way out of this reckless and damaging shutdown: Pass a budget that funds our government, with no partisan strings attached,” the president said in his weekly address. Republicans insist they want the government to be open but say a negotiation is the only way to do it. “What normally happens when the two parties disagree on policy is a negotiation,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said Saturday. “Each side gives up a little and gets a little, and you wind up with a bipartisan compromise.” The Pentagon decision to recall most employees was based on a liberal interpretation of the Pay Our Military Act, a law passed last week that ensures that uniformed members of the military will not have their paychecks delayed by the shutdown. The bill includes general language exempting Defense Department civilians from furlough if they provide direct support to the military. After consulting with Pentagon lawyers and Obama administration officials in recent days, Hagel decided he could justify recalling most of the Pentagon’s furloughed workforce based on that provision. Those who will most likely receive a green light include people who provide health care to troops and their families; buy, repair or maintain weapons systems; work at commissaries; or acquire other supplies for the military. Those who might not be covered include auditors, employees who work in public affairs or legislative affairs, or civilian employees of the Army Corps of Engineers, according to a Pentagon memo. Workers can expect to hear from their managers starting over the weekend about whether they can return to their jobs. The Pentagon’s announcement will affect a vast global workforce, with 86 percent of the department’s civilian employees working outside the Washington metropolitan area. Hagel’s decision could bring some relief to thousands of private contractors who work for the Defense Department but had faced the threat of layoffs because of the government shutdown. On Friday, for example, Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin said it would furlough about 3,000 employees this week and expects that number to grow if the budget standoff doesn’t end soon. “I expect us to significantly reduce — but not eliminate — civilian furloughs under this process,” Hagel said. “We will continue to try to bring all civilian employees back to work as soon as possible. Ultimately, the surest way to end these damaging and irresponsible furloughs, and to enable us to fulfill our mission as a department, is for Congress to pass a budget and restore funds for the entire federal government.” Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, praised the Pentagon’s decision. “I am very pleased to see so many of our national security workforce will be able to return to work. Congress gave the Executive Branch broad authority to keep our armed forces and dedicated defense civilians working throughout the government shutdown. Though I do not believe the law required these hundreds of thousands of workers to be furloughed in the first place, it is welcome news.”

Privatizing the War on Terror: America’s Military Contractors"
2012-01-16 by John W. Whitehead [https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/privatizing_the_war_on_terror_americas_military_contractors]: “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes… known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”—James Madison America’s troops may be returning home from Iraq, but contrary to President Obama’s assertion that “the tide of war is receding,” we’re far from done paying the costs of war. In fact, at the same time that Obama is reducing the number of troops in Iraq, he’s replacing them with military contractors at far greater expense to the taxpayer and redeploying American troops to other parts of the globe, including Africa, Australia and Israel. In this way, the war on terror is privatized, the American economy is bled dry, and the military-security industrial complex makes a killing—literally and figuratively speaking. The war effort in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan has already cost taxpayers more than $2 trillion and could go as high as $4.4 trillion before it’s all over. At least $31 billion (and as much as $60 billion or more) of that $2 trillion was lost to waste and fraud by military contractors, who do everything from janitorial and food service work to construction, security and intelligence—jobs that used to be handled by the military. That translates to a loss of $12 million a day since the U.S. first invaded Afghanistan. To put it another way, the government is spending more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety. Over the past two decades, America has become increasingly dependent on military contractors in order to carry out military operations abroad (in fact, the government’s extensive use of private security contractors has surged under Obama). According to the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States can no longer conduct large or sustained military operations or respond to major disasters without heavy support from contractors. As a result, the U.S. employs at a minimum one contractor to support every soldier deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq (that number increases dramatically when U.S. troop numbers decrease). For those signing on for contractor work, many of whom are hired by private contracting firms after serving stints in the military, it is a lucrative, albeit dangerous, career path (private contractors are 2.75 times more likely to die than troops). Incredibly, while base pay for an American soldier hovers somewhere around $19,000 per year, contractors are reportedly pulling in between $150,000 - $250,000 per year. The exact number of military contractors on the U.S. payroll is hard to pin down, thanks to sleight-of-hand accounting by the Department of Defense and its contractors. However, according to a Wartime Contracting Commission report released in August 2011, there are more than 260,000 private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than the number of ground troops in both countries. As noted, that number increases dramatically when troops are withdrawn from an area, as we currently see happening in Iraq. Pratap Chatterjee of the Center for American Progress estimates that “if the Obama administration draws down to 68,000 troops in Afghanistan by September 2012, they will need 88,400 contractors at the very least, but potentially as many as 95,880.” With paid contractors often outnumbering enlisted combat troops, the American war effort dubbed by George W. Bush as the “coalition of the willing” has since evolved into the “coalition of the billing.” The Pentagon’s Central Command counts 225,000 contractors working in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Between December 2008 and December 2010, the total number of private security contractors in Afghanistan increased by 413% while troop levels increased 200%. Private contractors provide a number of services, including transport, construction, drone operation, and security. One military contractor, Blackbird, is composed of former CIA operatives who go on secret missions to recover missing and captured US soldiers. Then there is the Lincoln Group which became famous for engaging in covert psychological operations by planting stories in the Iraqi press that glorified the U.S. mission. Global Strategies Group guards the consulate in Basra for $401 million. SOC Inc. protects the US embassy for $974 million. Unfortunately, fraud, mismanagement and corruption have become synonymous with the U.S. government’s use of military contractors. McClatchy News “found that U.S. government funding for at least 15 large-scale programs and projects [in Afghanistan] grew from just over $1 billion to nearly $3 billion despite the government's questions about their effectiveness or cost.” One program started off as a modest wheat program and “ballooned into one of America's biggest counterinsurgency projects in southern Afghanistan despite misgivings about its impact.” Another multi-billion-dollar program resulted in the construction of schools, clinics and other public buildings that were so poorly built that they might not withstand a serious earthquake and will have to be rebuilt. Then there was the $300 million diesel power plant that was built despite the fact that it wouldn’t be used regularly “because its fuel cost more than the Afghan government could afford to run it regularly.” RWA, a group of three Afghan contractors, was selected to build a 17.5 mile paved road in Ghazni province. They were paid $4 million between 2008 and 2010 before the contract was terminated with only 2/3 of a mile of road paved. Mind you, with the U.S. spending more than $2 billion a week in Afghanistan, these examples of ineptitude and waste represent only a fraction of what is being funded by American taxpayer dollars. (Investigative reports reveal that large amounts of cash derived from U.S. aid and logistics spending are being flown out of the country on a regular basis by Afghan officials, including $52 million by the Afghan vice president, who was allowed to keep the money.) Yet what most Americans fail to realize is that we’re funding the very individuals we claim to be fighting. The war effort has become so corrupt that U.S. taxpayers are not only being bilked by military contractors but are also being forced to indirectly fund insurgents and warlords in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the Taliban, which receives money from military contractors in exchange for protection. This is rationalized away as a “cost of doing business” in those countries. As the Financial Times reports, the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan “found that extortion of funds from US construction and transportation projects was the second-biggest funding source for insurgent groups.” Despite what one might think, the boom in contracting work in the war zones isn’t necessarily aiding U.S. employment, given that large numbers of contractors are actually foreign nationals. For example, over 90% of the private security contractors in Afghanistan are Afghans. One contractor, Triple Canopy, most of whose guards are from Uganda and Peru, has a $1.53 billion contract with the State Department to protect its employees. ArmorGroup North America (AGNA), which is contracted to secure the US embassy in Kabul, hires many Nepalese (known as Gurkhas) whose English is not proficient. “One guard described the situation as so dire that if he were to say to many of the Gurkhas, ‘There is a terrorist standing behind you,’ those Gurkhas would answer ‘Thank you sir, and good morning.’” The practices employed by the military contractors also reflect poorly on America’s commitment to human rights—both in the way that they treat their employees and in their employees’ behavior. For example, Triple Canopy houses its employees in overcrowded shipping containers. In addition to soliciting underage Chinese prostitutes, AGNA contractors have also been described as “peeing on people, eating potato chips out of [buttock] cracks, vodka shots out of [buttock] cracks (there is video of that one), broken doors after drnken [sic] brawls, threats and intimidation from those leaders participating in this activity…” This behavior is not reserved to lower level employees, and has been observed and even encouraged by upper level management. Blackwater employees have also been accused of weapons smuggling as well as cocaine and steroid use. Despite all this, Blackwater—which, as the New York Times has reported, “created a web of more than 30 shell companies or subsidiaries in part to obtain millions of dollars in American government contracts after the security company came under intense criticism for reckless conduct in Iraq”—still won a cut of a $10 billion contract given out by the State Department in 2010. Despite the high levels of corruption, waste, mismanagement and fraud by military contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. government continues to shield them, resisting any attempts at greater oversight or accountability. War, after all, has become a huge money-making venture, and America, with its vast military empire, is one of its best customers. Indeed, the American military-industrial complex has erected an empire unsurpassed in history in its breadth and scope and dedicated to conducting perpetual warfare throughout the earth. What most Americans fail to recognize is that these ongoing wars have little to do with keeping the country safe and everything to do with enriching the military industrial complex at taxpayer expense. It’s the military industrial complex (the illicit merger of the armaments industry and the government) that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us against more than 50 years ago and which has come to represent perhaps the greatest threat to the nation’s fragile infrastructure today. Unfortunately, Americans have been inculcated with a false, misplaced sense of patriotism about the military that equates devotion to one’s country with supporting the war machine so that any mention of cutting back on the massive defense budget is immediately met with outrage. Yet the military-industrial complex is engaged in a deadly game, one that all presidents, including Obama, foster. And the consequences, as Eisenhower recognized, are grave: Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children...This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

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