Archive for November, 2012|Monthly archive page

Blood Money

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2012 at 6:46 pm

(cross-posted to Goldfinger Chronicles)

We’d seen his face often, on “the networks of NBC”, giving his expert opinion on what was needed for United States forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a “military analyst”, you couldn’t ask for much more.  After all, who better than a four star general to explain to the American People, and even to Congress, just what was needed to “support our troops”, and “win the hearts and minds” of Iraqis and Afghanis?  It never occurred to us to question whether or how much he was being paid to make those “news” appearances. Or who was paying him.  Some were shocked, years later, to find out he was being paid by the defense contractors whose weapons and equipment he pimped on the Today show, and NBC Nightly News.  In November, 2008, well after the quadrennial (s)election of  the new “Commander-In-Chief” of United States military forces, the New York Times described “retired general” Barry McCaffrey’s “post-service” career as “One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex”.  And for good reason.
After “rising to fame” as Bill Clinton’s “Drug Czar” (Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)) from 1996 to 2001, where he developed a program of paying millions in misappropriated tax money to five major television networks for adding anti-drug messages in their programs, including (but certainly not limited to) ER, Beverly Hills, 90210, Chicago Hope, The Drew Carey Show and 7th Heaven, he founded B R McCaffrey Associates, and became NBC’s most-frequently-seen military analyst, around the same time his company began representing defense contractors at the Pentgon, and in Congress.  And according to the graphic published in that New York Times article, he’s done quite well, joining the boards of eight defense contractors, and “advising” four more.
For one “tiny defense contractor”, Defense Solutions, Defense Solutions, hiring McCaffrey was a watershed. Within days the company had a 15 page briefing packet in front of recently “retired” CIA Director David Petraeus, then the US commanding general in Iraq. Of course, McCaffrey didn’t mention to Petraeus, or to Congress, that he had a financial stake in the company he recommended to provide 5,000 armored vehicles for service in Iraq.
Disturbingly, McCaffrey’s story is far from a rarity.  A report released by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the Brave New Foundation last week revealed that between 2009 and 2011, more than 70 percent of retired three-and-four star generals either took jobs with or became consultants for defense contractors.  Retired general James Cartwright took a paid position on Raytheon’s board of directors, and Admiral Gary Roughead went to work for NorthropGrumman, each while serving on the Defense Policy Board.
And that 70 percent? That was actually a decline. Between 2004 and 2008, while American fathers, sons, mothers and daughters, aunts and uncles were filling casualty lists, 80 percent of their “retiring” commanders became war profiteers, as consultants or executives of companies whose bottom lines rise in a sea of blood. Many began these lucrative activities before retirement, a practice the Pentagon supports.
The path from command to certain “defense” contracting jobs is laid out like paving stones. As put on AntiWar.com, “the last seven generals and admirals who worked as Department of Defense gatekeepers for international arms sales are now helping military contractors sell weapons and defense technology overseas.”
McCaffrey does just fine “on the home front”, though. VeritasCapital, described in the NYT article as “a relatively small player in 2001”, had announced, on Sept. 6, 2001, forming an “advisory council” including McCaffrey and other “well-connected retired generals and admirals”.  Veritas gave those advisers board seats on its military companies, profit sharing, and even equity stakes; attractive because Veritas intended to turn quick profits through I.P.O.’s.
That might have looked like a gamble at the time, since revenue growth is important to the Goldfinger entities that underwrite Initial Public Offerings, like Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers.  Five days later, the only question was just how big those increases would be.
McCaffrey’s banging on NBC’s war drum, his rants for ongoing increases in military spending, for a global campaign against terrorism, and for ever-greater spending for high-tech weapons, like the drones that local police agencies are increasingly encouraged to “buy” (with “Homeland Security” grants), has answered the question.
Oh, and those networks?  Imagine what they were paid for The Agency (first broadcast: September 26, 2001!); Alias (first broadcast: September 30, 2001); and even West Wing (first aired in ‘99).  But those are subjects for other posts. Maybe even another blog.

News You Won’t Get in America

In Uncategorized on November 23, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Is the Organic Matter About to Hit the Rotating Oscillator?

“The coming war will will be so severe that only one superpower can win, and that’s us folks. This is why the EU is in such a hurry to form a complete superstate because they know what is coming, and to survive, Europe will have to be one whole cohesive state. Their urgency tells me that they know full well that the big showdown is upon us. O how I have dreamed of this delightful moment.”


Deja Vu: Taxation Without Representation

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2012 at 1:39 am

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the resident population of the United States, projected to 11/21/12 at 23:50 UTC (EST+5) is 314,808,514. Nearly 315 MILLION people.

The Constitution says there shall be one representative for each State, but not than one for every 30,000 state Citizens. Divide 314,808,514 by 30,000, and you arrive at a quotient of 10,493.61. I kow, you can’thave “.61” people. Based on the math, they would have to round up, to 10,494.
So, how is it that there are only 435 “Representatives” for 314,808,514 people?

Well, according to the House of Representatives’ website:
“In order to keep the House at a manageable number, Congress twice set the size of the House at 435 voting Members—the then-existing number of Representatives. In 1911, Congress designated the number of Representatives to be 433, with provisions made for two additional Members when Arizona and New Mexico were admitted to the Union (see Act of August 8, 1911, ch. 5, 37 Stat 13). The 63rd Congress (1913–1915) was the first to have 435 Members. The Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929  [ read more at wikipedia.org] capped the Membership at that level, creating a procedure for reapportioning state delegations in the House under “the then existing number of Representatives” (see Act of June 18, 1929, ch. 28, 46 Stat 21).”

This means, in simple terms, that no one born (or naturalized) in this country since 1910 has been Constitutionally represented since the 1910 Census (except the first 30,000 in Arizona and New Mexico). And I’m not the only one to question the Constitutionality of this. William B. Bankhead (father of famed movie actress Tallulah Bankhead) and other opponents did, as well.

I’ll be investigating the Permanent Reapportionment Act of 1929. Just so happens I have Volume 46 of the United States Statutes At large.

Wish me good hunting.

Relax, Ye Tory Loyalists, There’s Still time

In Uncategorized on November 21, 2012 at 10:51 pm

While it might appears as if the nation is on the verge of crumbling, http://dailycaller.com/2012/11/14/white-house-secede-petitions-reach-660000-signatures-50-state-participation/ (notwithstanding the url, Daily Caller reports 675,000), fear not!

History (most of you will remember history, if at all, as a boring recitation of dates) shows that it took two years of “petitioning” George III (subjects, pleading to their “sovereign”, with historically predictable results), before the united (it was an adjective, then) States of America actually Declared Independence, e.g., seceded.

These “petitions” will go nowhere.  Nor should they.  Liberty, Mr. Henry’s “precious jewel”, is not “permissible”; it cannot be “permitted”.  And these “petitions”, presuming the power to grant, falsely legitimize a presumed power to revoke.

The current Resident, having committed to “respond” to such pleas if and when each gathers 25,000 signatures; who has taken upon himself the mundane duties of unilaterally adjudging the guilt and ordering the execution of those he, in his majesty, finds so deserving, will honor his pledge:  “Ah…no. You may not leave.”

When and if the time comes upon us, we must Take our Liberty, and our leave.