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Ask Yourself, What Is At the Top Of All That?
by Sudhama Ranganathan
01 May 2013
So many promises we have heard from both of the only two current parties we are allowed to vote for and seriously hear from. There have been so many solemn oaths of what candidates from both will do if we put our trust in them. They have made so many guarantees regarding what they would or would not do after we elect them. They swear to us they will be this kind of person, and will never be that.
We elect them, and after election day things change. It's like having a great time dating, and enjoying the person. You know what they choose to disclose about themselves, and what they choose to show you. The same goes for them and what they know about you and what you choose to show them.
Then you move in together (they take office). Once that happens you cross that line, where you begin to learn about and see all the things they never told you, and those things they chose not to show you, previously. Of course the same goes for what they learn about you. From then on, the charm kinda sorta starts 2 rub off and the picture you had in your mind before moving in starts to get additional colors added to it. Those new colors serve more to take away from the original image, than they do to enhance and/ or improve the picture. From that point, things don't improve the more time you spend with them.
In the case of a person you're dating, that usually has no outside influences on that happening, not directly. Most of the time it merely has to do with who you are as individuals, plus the trove of personality quirks and seemingly mundane habits the two of you possess, and of course any potential inability to resolve the differences between the two of you.
In the case of our current political system and the people we are given to choose from, as offered up by both parties, there is another entity as the source of the things that occur after the person elected takes office, that are the cause of what was once a great relationship eventually souring. In the case of elected officials, under our current political system, wealthy corporations that have donated to the elected office holder's campaign are typically to blame for the agenda they take up after taking office.
Take military spending for example. Moneyed defense contractors and wealthy corporations from the petroleum industry, dictate how, where and the amounts of taxpayer-funds that get spent on it. We get told we need vast military complexes overseas to fight "The War on Terror." Elected officials tell us this as though we were idiots that can't put together what we read about and see in the news.
The majority of Taliban and Al Qaeda senior members are not taken out by large numbers of troops in Afghanistan or Iraq. We already know there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq prior to our invasion. In fact all the intelligence we have tells us Saddam Hussein pretty much loathed Osama Bin Laden, for different reasons than us of course, and felt Al Qaeda would be a destabilizing force in Iraq. He kept them out. (What folks would have guessed we could have avoided blowing all those tax dollars and losing all those American lives by following Saddam's lead on anything?)
Most of the decision makers, in terms of terrorist organizations, were taken out by Special Forces and drones. We don't need vast complexes for drone strikes and deployment of teams of Special Forces. The Taliban in Afghanistan, are no longer based out of Afghanistan. They occupy the Waziristan region of Pakistan, and crossover to attack, then retreat safely across the border. In Waziristan they live quite well. In fact, they have their own quazi-government set up; they even have construction crews tending to the roads in the area. (http://m.npr.org/news/front/126536285?page=1)
Instead of spending all those years waffling back and forth in terms of our commitment in Afghanistan, we could have bombed the heck out of them in Waziristan, taken them out quickly and been home in time for fruitcake, Christmas of 2002.
But the defense contractors, oil companies and mining concerns that donated big money to our elected officials had other plans. There was no money in a quick war. The people that donated big dollars to get officials elected wanted a return on their investment, and they wanted taxpayers to foot the bill in getting them set up to reap billions and beyond in the Middle East.
It's so out of control, that even when the Army, after having their experts analyze a given situation, says they don't need any more of a certain military tool, vehicle or weapon, Congress will actually vote to still give them more of it. Why? It's so the defense companies that donated large dollars to campaigns of various Democrats and Republicans can soak up large amounts of tax dollars. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/28/abrams-tank-congress-army_n_317)
For example, "Built to dominate the enemy in combat, the Army's hulking Abrams tank is proving equally hard to beat in a budget battle.
"Lawmakers from both parties have devoted nearly half a billion dollars in taxpayer money over the past two years to build improved versions of the 70-ton Abrams.
"But senior Army officials have said repeatedly, 'No thanks.'
"It's the inverse of the federal budget world these days, in which automatic spending cuts are leaving sought-after pet programs struggling or unpaid altogether. Republicans and Democrats for years have fought so bitterly that lawmaking in Washington ground to a near-halt.
"Yet in the case of the Abrams tank, there's a bipartisan push to spend an extra $436 million on a weapon the experts explicitly say is not needed.
'"If we had our choice, we would use that money in a different way,' Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army's chief of staff, told The Associated Press this past week.
"Why are the tank dollars still flowing? Politics." (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/28/abrams-tank-congress-army_n_317)
President Obama promised to do something about wasteful military spending when campaigning for office in 2008. Yet, as of 2011, if we took all the nations in the world, added up the amount each spends on its military and then broke that final sum down by nation, we would find that out of that total pie, the USA alone accounts for 41% of all of that spending. (http://cdn1.globalissues.org/i/military/12/country-distribution-2011.png) What a joke.
Though that sort of spending was happening long before he was sworn in, that's still your money. That money was sucked straight out of your paycheck, and could have been in your bank account. Has all that spending of tax dollars kept us safer than France? Has it kept us safer than England? Has it kept us safer than Sweden? Has it kept us safer than Germany? Has it kept us safer than Canada? The world's police? Really? What a farce.
Not only is that money wasted by politician's pet projects, it's wasted by the military itself. Right now, the US military has golf courses overseas so large that the annual maintenance costs alone run beyond the million dollar mark. (http://www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com/golfcourses.html) While they are wasting your money, by their own choice, and that of Congress, on redundant spending, wasteful decadence/ luxuries and pet projects, they haven't even spent money on records keeping. I submitted a FOI request to the military for records pertaining to arrests for prostitution when doing research on the connection between tax dollars and overseas human trafficking. The Navy and the Air Force both sent me what they had, yet the Army hemmed and hawed telling me they had no system set up to track arrests and convictions base to base. (http://www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com/militaryprostitution.html)
I thought they had to be stalling. I mean, any cop in any small town, USA, can access extensive records on criminal backgrounds, vehicle records, etc right from their patrol cars. They can get records from all over the United States. Surely the Army had a simple computer network where they could pull up record on any service member's criminal records from their time in the service. What did I find? They don't at all.
They spend half a million on tanks they do not need using your dollars, and MP's can't even pull up records at one base on a service member that just transferred in from another base. They spend millions on golf balls, caddies and fairways in the desert that do not keep our nation safe, yet they can't haven't bothered to be able to track rapists, child molesters and serial spousal abusers within their own ranks. Yet they tell us they are making every effort to deal with such issues. How will they do this when they don't even have computers that can talk to one another?
Next, I plan to request an accounting of all the funds spent on private security corporations, defense contractors and intelligence contractors via the CIA Act of 1949. It will be interesting to watch the tap dance show that gets put on when that gets put into effect. The golf courses, btw also equal huge dollars for contractors, and provide an ample amount of jobs for locals in the various foreign nations those military golf courses are located in. Your tax dollars in action. How those mortgage payments comin? Price at the pump goin down for your convenience? After all, you pay for the guns pointed at the oil fields, cheap labor factories and mining operations that you will never receive a penny from in compensation. Receive a check from any German, Japanese or Italian contractors doin work on our bases? No? You should, after all you're payin for their profits and salaries, portions of which go to pay taxes in Germany, Japan and Italy.
And the generals allowing this and looking the other way? Well they get the cushy six to seven figure jobs when they retire, at defense contractors and other such firms, advising those companies on how to best get their hands on your dollars. They ought to know how. It's so common, in fact, there's a nick name for the practice - "rent-a-general." (http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2010/12/26/defense/)
Again, at the top of that heap is wealthy corporations. From 2009 - 2011 the wealthy had a 28% boost in their net worth. The lower entire 93% of Americans had a -4% loss in net worth. Who was responsible for most of the money that went into the bailouts? Who benefited most? Both Democrats and Republicans are no longer really public servants when you look at it. They serve a very tiny sliver of the American populace and do just enough to either convince us what they're doing is actually in our best interests, keep us distracted or just blatantly and transparently bulldoze our cash into corporate America's bank accounts. If that stuff trickled down we would not have lost -4% net worth between 2009 and 2011.
Actually, it didn't just happen during that time period. Starting at the end of the Clinton Administration, and worsening all though the Bush administration, we, the majority of Americans, saw our personal financial positions worsen significantly, while the wealthy became far wealthier. (http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/21/news/economy/middle_class_income/index.h) Democrat or Republican, neither side has worked hard to help our lot and save us having to give our taxpayer dollars to the wealthy. In fact, they've been so self-focused, that after being shamed by a TV news piece exposing the fact that the nation's elected officials in Washington have made it illegal for you or I to participate in insider trading, but made it legal for themselves to do so, they made it illegal for members of government to do so also. Then when we were no longer looking, they quietly reversed themselves on that just recently. (http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50145793n)
Anybody know where I can find the new revised definition of public servant? Because, I'm pretty sure the old definition doesn't apply anymore.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.
This work is in the public domain