Sunday, January 03, 2010

How Do You Like Your Change So Far?

How about the change in our "Defense" Department?

As for the significance of “The Danger of Keeping Robert Gates,” that early decision by President-elect Obama was the first clear indication that he would not diverge dramatically from President Bush’s national security policies. It also revealed that Obama had no intention of challenging Washington’s false narrative of the preceding Republican-dominated decades, since Gates had been a key figure in many of those scandals, including Iran-Contra and politicization of CIA intelligence, both important precursors to Bush’s disastrous decisions this decade. Instead, by retaining Gates, Obama made clear that he would avoid the kinds of conflicts that might have put the United States on a dramatically different course.


Gates’s history as […] a senior CIA official in the 1980s under Reagan […] broke the back of the CIA analytical division’s commitment to objective intelligence. In a recent book, Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA, former CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman identifies Gates as “the chief action officer for the Reagan administration’s drive to tailor intelligence reporting to White House political desires.”


On January 21, 2009, Obama signed an executive order that issued more stringent ethics rules, prohibiting lobbyists from serving in agencies they have lobbied in the previous two years. Just two days later, on January 23, the White House announced that its tough new ethics rules wouldn’t apply to the nominee for Deputy Defense Secretary, William Lynn. Lynn was senior vice president for government operations and strategy at the defense giant Raytheon, and a registered Raytheon lobbyist until July 2008. [...] In fiscal year 1999, the Department of Defense reported that it was missing $2.3 trillion. In fiscal year 2000 the Department reported missing another $1.1 trillion. In total, that’s $3.4 trillion in “missing” taxpayer money. This happened under the watchful eye of the same William Lynn that now passes through the revolving door between the Department of Defense and the Defense industry.


The issue [is] not just the missing $3.4 trillion from the Dept. of Defense but the fact that this [is] business as usual for an out of control government that, even with a change in the White House residency, continues to steal from its own citizens.

  Project Censored

The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics has calculated that more than 151 members of Congress have up to $195 million invested in major defense contractors that are earning profits from the US military occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  Project Censored

I’m surprised there are any who don’t. “Defense” is guaranteed to be a money-maker from here on out.

Lawmakers with the most money invested in companies with DoD contracts include Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass), with up to $38,209,020; Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), with $49,140,000; Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC), with $37,105,000; Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis), with $7,612,653; Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif), with $6,260,000; Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich), with $8,360,000; Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WVa), with $2,000,002; Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis), with $5,800,000; Rep. Kenny Ewell Marchant (R-Texas), with $1,163,231; and Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), with up to $5,000,000.

Forty-seven members of Congress (or 9 percent of all members of the House and Senate) in 2006 were invested in companies that are primarily in the defense sector. The average share price of these corporations today is nearly twice what it was in 2004.


Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) and House Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), two of Congress’s wealthiest members, were among the lawmakers who earned the most from their investments in defense contractors between 2004 and 2006, with Sensenbrenner making at least $3.2 million and Kerry reaping at least $2.6 million. The Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees both have members who are major investors in Defense companies. Chairs of other defense-related committees are similarly invested. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, had at least $51,000 invested in defense companies in 2006. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had at least $30,000 invested in defense companies.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

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