The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Pigs at the trough

RollingStone has an article this month about the incredible graft and corruption that is happening in the Department of Vaterland Security:

The most glaring example of the for-profit marketization of DHS came on September 26th, barely a month after Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, when some 300 corporate lobbyists and lawyers assembled for the Katrina Reconstruction Summit to learn how they could cash in on the federal effort to rebuild New Orleans. Such how-to sessions are nothing new in Washington, of course, and private firms certainly have a major role to play in relocating the 1.5 million people uprooted by the worst natural disaster in American history. What was extraordinary about this particular summit, however, was that it was held not in some conference room at a Beltway hotel, but in an office building of the U.S. Senate. It was a seminar on profiteering, held on the grounds of the very institution to be plundered.

Bill Hoagland, a senior aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, was on hand to address the corporate consultants in the Hart Office Building that morning. Katrina spending, he told the assembled group, was likely to total no more than $100 billion. But spirits were running high, and the contractors had bigger dreams. Two hundred billion was more like it, said a representative of a D.C. law firm that specializes in federal contracting. Two hundred fifty billion, said another man from the same firm -- and "we all recognize that that might be a low estimate." But hell, why put a number on it? "Trust me," declared Edward Badolato, executive vice president of the Shaw Group, one of the nation's largest engineering firms, "there's going to be plenty for everybody down there."


The boundaries between business and government had been effectively erased in 2002, when Bush created the Department of Homeland Security. Although the administration initially opposed the idea of an umbrella agency to oversee domestic security after 9/11, it wound up staging a political coup by approving DHS on the condition that it be conducted as a massive merger-and-acquisition deal. In what amounted to a hostile takeover, the self-proclaimed "MBA president" stuffed twenty-two federal agencies and more than 183,000 government employees into a single, gigantic department committed to shifting as much work as possible from the public to the private sector.

Bush appointed inexperienced friends to top posts, outsourced essential government services to the party's corporate backers and gave anti-terrorism programs priority over everything else, including disaster preparedness. Homeland Security became the only federal agency ever designed to hollow out government and enrich an administration's corporate cronies. "It was a brilliant tactic," says Don Kettl, a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania. "The Bush administration used DHS to seize power."

You can read the rest, if you can stomach it. For my friends who have been warning me about government "outsourcing" to private industry for some time, you were absolutely right.


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