Third Party & Independents Archives

The State Department's Private Army: High-dollar, low expectations

How do you justify paying a contractor SIX TIMES what you pay a Soldier, Marine, Airman or Seaman? Funny how nobody in Washington today - Republican or Democrat - seems to accept the Rumsfeldian “You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you want” mentality that we were shoved into Iraq with in the first place.

And exactly how many more decades will the “Iraqi security forces” need to “train and prepare to provide their own security?” They’ve been “making progress” since 2003 and STILL can’t field so much as a standard battalion of capable soldiers. Does the Iraqi equivalent of the Pentagon have a “retards and incompetents only” policy in its recruiting stations? Or do they save that distinction for the diplomats?

The state department­’s new “private army” DOES NOT DESERVE ONE DIME MORE IN PAY OR BENEFITS THAN THEY’RE ACTIVE DUTY, RESERVE AND/OR NATIONAL GUARD MILITARY COUNTERPAR­TS GET.

There’s really nothing else that needs to be said about it.

https://garystlawrence.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/the-state-departments-private-army-high-dollar-low-expectations/

Posted by Gary St. Lawrence at December 13, 2011 11:38 AM
Comments
Comment #333021

But…but…but Gary they do six times the work of a gubbermint employee.

But…but… but Gary when we privatize we get the economy rolling cause it’s not a gubbermint job.


But…but…but Gary they aren’t unionized so it’s all ok.


But… but…but Gary we all know it is the gubbermint that overpays it’s employees not the private sector.


But…but…but Gary look how much Hollywood actors make.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 13, 2011 12:04 PM
Comment #333025


Although built to Texas scale, it was and very much is a bipartisan effort on behalf of the taxpayers. These bipartisan politicians need your support so they can continue the good works they have been doing for the people.

Will the Republicans get to impatient or will they allow the Democrats to take the slow road to privatizing the government.

In our new free the market society, everything is for sale, including the government.

Alms for the poor, blinders for the partisans.

Posted by: jlw at December 13, 2011 2:04 PM
Comment #333028

Yes, I completely agree.
What Gary, and j2t2, and jlw said — and I have nothing further to add.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 13, 2011 3:24 PM
Comment #333052

If administered/managed properly contracting can be highly beneficial to government. Example: you are a relatively small component and you need a spiffy piece of hi=tech equipment. Your component doesn’t have the wherewithall in manpower and technical expertise to deliver the spiffy thing at a reasonable cost, in a reasonable time period and meeting the spiffy tech requirements. All good so far.

But, it soon makes sense to the gov’t component to keep the contract going, indefinitely. Doesn’t ‘grow’ the gov’t in numbers, nice to have contractors at hand so you always have a good supply of any kind of tech person you might require, helps you to be more professional and if your component can be strong enough to help other weaker components from time to time you’ve got some clout with upper management.

Thus, more begets more … left to it’s own devices, over time the smallest contract will eventually grow to millions. Especially, if you throw a little success into the equation.

It is amazing that gov’t is/has taken contractors into foreign countries as a fighting force, carrying guns, etc.

But, the money thing, that’s political, gets into lobbying, the revolving door and all of that.

ONLY way to control that is to abolish corporate personhood, thus removing the influence of money from politics.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 13, 2011 10:24 PM
Comment #333054
These bipartisan politicians need your support so they can continue the good works they have been doing for the people.

I really hope this was meant to be ironic… :P

And I love how the left is ok with private military contractors now, I seem to recall that being a bone of contention with the previous (Republican) president…

OH, re-reading that last statement of mine I think I figured it out, nevermind.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 13, 2011 11:33 PM
Comment #333061

Rhinehold, surely you could see the sarcasm dripping off my comment. The giveaway is the but…but….but and “gubbermint”.

When private contractors started electrocuting US military personnel in the showers I was surprised they kept it going.

If you are thinking partisan blinders in lieu of sarcasm well then…

Posted by: j2t2 at December 14, 2011 9:33 AM
Comment #333062

The problem is that many on the left do wear those blinders… They will say how great it is that we are out of Iraq (when we really aren’t) isn’t Obama great! In fact, he is doing exactly what Bush was planning to do AND what many jumped all over McCain for saying…

I don’t know if you were aware of the lack of anti-war protests since 2009, but I haven’t seen very many, and the ones I have seen have been a handful of people, certainly not like they were before.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 14, 2011 10:20 AM
Comment #333065

Rhinehold,
I for one, do not wear those blinders. I am fully willing to admit that Obama has not done a great many of the things he said he would do — and that this has been disastrous for the nation. And, I no longer trust the Democrats or the Republicans to do what’s right for the vast majority of people of this country.

Case in point:
The Media’s Blackout Of The National Defense Authorization Act Is Shameful

If this Defense Authorization Bill passes both the Republicans and Democrats in Congress will be guilty of turning this nation into a military police state.
They must be stopped — and somehow, We the People must stop them.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 14, 2011 1:04 PM
Comment #333066


Rhinehold, partisan blinders are extremely popular, more so than any of our electronic gadgets and almost as popular as Facebook. The binders are sold at every Republican and Democratic party outlet.

Our government is a reflection of the quality of the American voters. Both parties are determined to do what they can to insure that the quality does not improve. Both parties are traveling the same road while arguing over the speed limit. Both parties are engaged in the biggest con job in human history and they are being compensated well for it.

Posted by: jlw at December 14, 2011 1:12 PM
Comment #333069

jlw that is the first totaly honest thing I’ve read on this blog in a long time.

Posted by: KAP at December 14, 2011 1:45 PM
Comment #333071
guilty of turning this nation into a military police state

Well, MORE of a military police state. Did you know that police departments are now using military drones in their work? That is after they have already militarized their police forces with no-knock raids, shooting first, etc…

For the Authorization Bill, I have been working on an article about it for the past couple of days, it should be up later tonight/early tomorrow (been working 3rd shift the past few weeks) that you might be interested in. The media doesn’t seem to want you to know about it, but that is why we have great organizations like the ACLU, Libertarian Party (both of which I belong to) and others getting the word out. Whether or not it does any good is anyone’s guess.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 14, 2011 3:20 PM
Comment #333072

BTW, the main reason it has taken so long to get to (the article) is that to be accurate about it I’ve had to slog through the whole darned thing (It’s a huuuuge piece of legislation) instead of just taking other’s words for it.

It has very little to do with Skyrim… Honestly!

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 14, 2011 3:22 PM
Comment #333074

Oh, and then there is this: http://reason.com/blog/2011/12/14/sometimes-us-citizens-are-detained-on-im

Exact numbers of Americans erroneously held by immigration authorities are hard to come by, since they are not systematically recorded. In one study, 82 people who were held for deportation from 2006 to 2008 at two immigration detention centers in Arizona, for periods as long as a year, were freed after immigration judges determined that they were American citizens.
Posted by: Rhinehold at December 14, 2011 3:35 PM
Comment #333075

Not to derail this too much, btw, but I found this interesting and wanted to share… you can ignore it and get back to regularly scheduled programming

http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/ron-paul-rising/?src=un&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fjson8.nytimes.com%2Fpages%2Fopinion%2Findex.jsonp

Most important, they represent two very different endpoints for the Tea Party movement. Paul, for all his crankishness, is the kind of conservative that Tea Partiers want to believe themselves to be: Deeply principled, impressively consistent, a foe of big government in nearly all its forms (the Department of Defense very much included), a man of ideas rather than of party.

Gingrich, on the other hand, is the kind of conservative that liberals believe most Tea Partiers to be – not a genuine “don’t tread on me” libertarian, but a partisan Republican whose unstinting support for George W. Bush’s deficit spending morphed into hand-wringing horror of “socialism” once a Democrat captured the Oval Office.

Paul’s rigid consistency can be a vice, and Gingrich’s flexibility a virtue. (Its disastrous ending notwithstanding, his term as speaker included genuine accomplishments that wouldn’t have been possible without a willingness to deal and compromise.) But for a movement that conceives of itself as a rebuke to the grubby compromises of Washington business-as-usual, the Texan congressman should represent a beau ideal, and the former speaker of the house should represent the enemy.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 14, 2011 3:39 PM
Comment #333082

Rhinehold,

I really look forward to reading your article — although you might need to change it since there’s been a new development in this today. It still bears our watching closely to see what happens, but it looks like they’re going to be taking some of the most blatantly objectionable provisions out of this bill.

Even so, I still find it an incredibly frightening fact that these things were even proposed at all! And let’s be clear, this was done by members of BOTH parties. John McCain and Carl Levin as well as Lindsay Graham should all lose their jobs for promoting this BS. There really is no excuse for them trying to slip such horrible fascistic crap into that bill.

Btw, I also completely agree that police all over this nation have now been ridiculously militarized, and are far too ready to unleash totally unnecessary, brutal and vicious force on our population.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 14, 2011 7:23 PM
Comment #333084

If anyone reading here thinks that Rhinehold and I are exaggerating when we say that America has been turned into a Military Police State, all they need to do is watch this video:
People being arrested at the Jefferson Memorial

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.
— Thomas Jefferson Posted by: Adrienne at December 15, 2011 12:18 AM
Comment #333097


So what? Who cares? The people obviously don’t. They keep electing the same people. When the job is complete, a large majority will go along to get along, allowing the Police State to concentrate on the dissenters.

Fear is the most powerful of emotions and can be used to manipulate the people quite successfully.

I remember when we were discussing the Patriot Act and the creation of the Dept. of Homeland Security. The general response from the right was, if you are doing nothing wrong you have nothing to fear.

Is Obama warning the country about this? Are the Democrats?
Are the Republicans warning us about it?

Ron Paul has, but he blames it on the size of government. It has little to do with the actual size of government and far more to do with the people allowing their government to use their tax dollars in such a manner. And, it has everything to do with the powerful people who basically own and control this government and this country.

Our divided government had few problems in just passing, in a bipartisan manner, a 662 billion dollar defence appropriations act and that represents a little over half of what the tax payers are forking over for defence related issues.

If I am not mistaken, that mercenary army will be paid out of the State Department budget, Hillary’s budget.

I watched one of those gun maker shows last night and they were mounting smoke grenade launchers, a fragmentary grenade launcher and a large highly efficient machine gun on a 32 foot patrol craft used by a Louisiana County Sheriff’s Department. They will be cruising the waters searching for alligator poachers and terrorists. Homeland security budget?

Posted by: jlw at December 15, 2011 1:42 PM
Comment #333104
So what? Who cares? The people obviously don’t. They keep electing the same people. When the job is complete, a large majority will go along to get along, allowing the Police State to concentrate on the dissenters.

jlw - you care about this, and so does Rhinehold, so do I. Personally I actually think lots of Americans care — but so many simply don’t know what to do about it. Many who do know have to be willing to get arrested (like those people did) in order to call attention to what police and various “security forces” have been doing — in the hope that eventually enough people will join them in standing up and speaking out, and maybe even be willing to put their own safety on the line on behalf of their fellow Americans.

To be honest, I was expecting at least a few folks here to have already rushed to the cop’s defense over what they did to those people in that video. Yet no one has — well at least they haven’t yet. Could this be a sign that many people are finally waking up?

And let’s face facts. The video spells out a Military Police State very clearly and concisely. Here are a bunch of cops who have decided that they can simply make up some BS laws limiting or curtailing people’s First Amendment rights right out of thin air. And in a public space which is paid for by every American (including those they were arresting), who also happen to pay those cops salaries.

But Dancing is free speech. Peaceably assembling in a public place is every American’s right. And now the cops seem to think they can make laws against these things and violently arrest people for doing them? Who there at the Jefferson Memorial was being harmed in any way by those people dancing? Is dancing considered “terror” now? Does free speech now call for mass arrests or even one? Does public dancing truly call for slamming people to the ground and putting them into choke holds?

No, in America people are supposed to have rights, and what they were doing is supposed to be protected. It is the cops who were violating the law there — and doing so in an outdoor memorial dedicated to Thomas Jefferson — a guy who would have been completely outraged by the tyranny being displayed and the gestapo tactics being used on American citizens had he been standing there in the flesh.

Jefferson wrote:

Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

It’s clear that We the People now need to throw off our own government for the “long train of abuses and usurpations” that is reducing us “under absolute Despotism”, exactly as Jefferson and our founders once saw and understood.

And it’s not just because of what took place in that video, or with the mass arrests and brutality we’ve seen directed at OWS protesters, or being subjected to virtual strip searches and sexual assault at our airports.

No, members of both political parties, Senator’s John McCain and Carl Levin, just demonstrated how thoroughly despotic our government now is by trying to slip a provision (crafted in secret) into the Defense Authorization Bill that would have declared it legal for the military to round up an American citizen (in complete violation of The Posse Comitatus Act), permanently and completely deny them all legal representation (in complete violation of Habeas Corpus), and hold that citizen in a military prison for the rest of their lives.
And Senator Lindsay Graham also declared his full support for that despotism with these words:

“The homeland is part of the battlefield and people can be held without trial whether an American citizen or not.”

It couldn’t be more clear, right? As Jefferson informed us, it’s our right and our duty, to throw off such government and to provide new guards for our future security.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 15, 2011 4:29 PM
Comment #333136


Adrienne, yes, it could not be more clear and that is why the primary concern for both political parties is to sow confusion and division among the people.

Having a huge majority of the people thinking the Congress is against them, and that the country is on the wrong path is no big problem for the politicians. Having a forum where the people can find common ground for a consensus for doing something about their concerns must be avoided at all cost.

Posted by: jlw at December 16, 2011 5:31 PM
Comment #333160

jlw,
Guess what? Anonymous just served Congress a notice.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 17, 2011 4:19 AM
Comment #333178


Obama will probably give Anonymous some praise or recognition while signing the bill into law. I see he is in the process of changing back into the Great Progressive Hope.

Imagine that, it only took 70 years for Congress to pass a law making it legal to incarcerate Japanese Americans for an indefinite period of time.

Anonymous just got bumped up on the Congressional most wanted list.

Congress is certainly going to have to address the Internet as well. It’s potential for disrupting the status quo is growing in leaps and bounds.

Posted by: jlw at December 17, 2011 4:43 PM
Comment #333281

Obama said he would veto this law, did he?

Posted by: Phil at December 19, 2011 11:21 PM
Comment #333350


Nope.

Posted by: jlw at December 20, 2011 8:17 PM
Comment #333392

Funny how my post about grotesque bloat in Pentagon contracting and the systematic privatization of America’s nation-building efforts has been morphed and sidetracked into yet another “us vs. them” crapola-festival by the usual partisan miscreants.

Heaven forbid that a problem be actually addressed on it’s face value instead of the partisan “interpretation” nonsense because face value doesn’t jibe with either side’s political agenda or cookie-cutter talking points.

Posted by: Gary St. Lawrence at December 22, 2011 12:46 AM
Comment #333406


Gary, I do apologize, but we don’t solve problems on WatchBlog, we rarely reach a consensus.

The military industrial complex has had it’s way since the Second World War and the Cold War. We have been privatizing aspects of the military for at least two decades. Privatization of our nation-building efforts is a part of the natural progression.

No Congress and no President, Democratic or Republican has addressed these issues and people, outside of government, who raise these issues are attacked as weak on defence.

I believe a majority would like these issues addressed, but they vote the people into office who aren’t going to do that. No one has to justify paying a contractor six times as much, only why they did or did not support abortion, did or did not support gay marriage, did or did not support a tax cut.

Obama has the power to stop the privatization of our nation-building efforts. He has the power to derail the military procurement gravy train. At the very least, he has the power to force Congress to override his veto’s to keep the gravy train rolling.

Every president since Truman has had that power. None have exercised it.

In the last presidential election, I voted for a candidate that would have addressed these issues, Ralph Nader.

Posted by: jlw at December 22, 2011 6:57 PM
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