Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Decade's Biggest Scam

That's the title of one of Glenn Greenwald's latest articles in Salon. I haven't checked in with Greenwald lately--chalk it up to the ridiculous number of things I try to keep up with on the Web. Fact is, he's almost always better than good, but he tends to write long articles that have a way of discouraging one from perfect attendance. But this one grabbed me.

He takes off on an article in The Los Angeles Times which "examines the staggering sums of money expended on patently absurd domestic 'homeland security' projects: $75 billion per year . . . ." Surely Glenn Greenwald and I cannot be the only people east of the Rockies who find absurd and maddening the ginormous sums of money this country is pissing away on equipment and training that supposedly renders all of us more secure from those big bad terrorists who are lurking out there just out of sight from wherever it is you live. 

The fact is, there's a huge pile of money out there for little bitty locales all over the country, like Keith County, Nebraska, to come sup on. In this case, to protect a lake from terrorist attack, we taxpayers supply the county with a Zodiac boat with side-scar sonar and other items for security to the tune of over $42,000. That's just a drop, a teeny drop, in the bucket. But as we know, absurdity and irrationality in spending far from being a deterrent seem almost to be a requirement for defense and homeland security spending. 

Greenwald takes issue with the LA Times on the reason for all the spending. It's not, he says, vast inefficiency at work with the goal of fighting terrorism. No, it's all about feeding the beast.
National Defense Magazine today trumpets: "Homeland Security Market ‘Vibrant’ Despite Budget Concerns."  It details how budget cuts mean "homeland security" growth may not be as robust as once predicted, but "Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing and Northrop Grumman . . . have been winning more contracts from DHS"; as a Boeing spokesman put it: "You’ll still continue to see domestically significant investment on the part of the government and leveraging advances in technology to stand up and meet those emerging threats and needs.”
Yep, boys and girls, the same people with their immense snouts in the war trough are the ones who have a vested interest in keeping the entire country afraid cause they've got their snouts in the defense of homeland trough as well.

There's a lot more to this story, but the bottom line is situation is normal: the fat cat corporations are getting richer on the backs of all the rest of us blokes who are staggering around trying to keep ourselves from going under. What a boondoggle for them! Almost as good as a nice endless war such as our Afghanistan adventure.
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