Aka: Bureaucracy of Checks and Imbalances Or The Lost and Fund Departments;
Although the war and spy agencies are listed separately they overlap in their work. Notice on the list for instance that the military intelligence components dominate the spy bureaucracy. Author and journal editor Clay Risen noted in 2009 that “Military snooping on civilians, which escalated in the turbulent 60’s, never entirely went away and is back again.” Well, Mr. Risen, when you thought it was partly gone I’d say it probably had partly gone underground for a while before resurfacing.
Knowing how organizations really are versus how they should be organized and run is one of my specialties. But it doesn’t take any specialty to see the obvious. The above list depicts an organizational structure of the worst kind, the classic hierarchical and bloated bureaucracy, which is not atypical of government or corporations.
If all of the people involved in one way or another with America’s warring and spying were moved to a new city out in the desert it would instantly become the fourth largest city in the U.S., which would make it easier for the rest of America to gather up enough nerve to close it down.
According to Mr. Masnick, House members hustled on the average $1,689,580 each and Senators on the average $10,476,451 each I didn’t do the math from those figures because I simply learned elsewhere that for the 2012 election cycle campaign contributions from all industries to candidates for Congress and the White House totaled about $6.2 billion. A sizeable portion of the money paid for expensive advertising costs charged by the corporatized TV media that freely and very profitably uses airwaves that should be publicly owned and operated.
Being the secretive spy industry that it is makes it next to impossible to find out how much money that industry has spent on campaign contributions on any given election cycle. At a minimum the amount would start at $9.7 million. That’s how much of a slush fund Senator Diane Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee got for the 2012 election cycle. That’s a hefty contribution, but totally understandable because of her influential position. She’s certainly not the exception, though. One reason members of Congress salivate over getting an influential committee assignment is because of that sluice fund.
Any doubts about what the spy business gets in return for its campaign finance spending ought to be erased by just this one fact: “Lawmakers who upheld NSA phone spying received double the defense industry cash.” That fact’s description happens to be the title of an article.
Legislating to Make War and Spy
This is where the true story of the “touts” comes in. Touts are what Winston Churchill called lobbyists. When any of them comes through a Capitol Hill door the public’s interest in getting legislation and budget allocations for the common good gets thrown out the window.
Funding Wars and Spying
Then there are the thousands of vets who struggle with “PTS” daily and somehow manage to get to the next day. There are thousands of vets with estranged or lost personal relationships. There are thousands of vets who are homeless.
William Boardman, five-term elected sitting judge and distinguished author, tells about a group of veterans going to the VA headquarters “to talk to officials there about veteran suicides, veteran homelessness, veteran joblessness, and other veteran struggles. No one from the department would talk to them.”
Shameless, shameless, shameless VA! I’m sure you have your side of the story, and part of it would probably be that you are woefully understaffed because Congress starves you of funds. So shame on Congress, too!
The Make-Believe Courts
It seems nothing legal can break the two habits of warring and spying while everything illegal sustain them. The government devilishly created two systems of “make-believe courts” to rubberstamp illegal warring and spying activities and to detain and punish military whistleblowers and suspected terrorists. One is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that rubberstamps requests from the spy agencies to do illegal spying. The other is the U.S. system of military tribunals and courts. It is a military tribunal that detains people at the Guantanamo encampment and allows them to be inhumanely treated, including that of torture. It was a military court that rendered such a harsh verdict on and sentencing of the whistleblower Bradley/Chelsea Manning.
1. The Two Industries Get their Pawns and Patrons Elected
The industries donate millions of dollars in campaign contributions. The main focus is always to ensure that members of Congressional committees important to these two industries get reelected.
The industries’ lifelines and profit bonanzas come from contracts awarded by influential and courted members of Congress. Locating facilities in their Congressional districts and States helps ensure that contracts will be steered to them. Few things make a member of Congress more anxious than the prospect of a facility moving out or a member more pleased than a facility moving in. If I’m not mistaken there are one or more military and/or spy contractor facilities in every state of the union. I call it the “spread your employment security blanket.”
3. The Two Industries Swarm Capitol Hill with their Touts
In one year alone millions of dollars were spent to send about 1,000 touts up Capitol Hill to cash in on all those campaign financing bribes from the sector by telling their elected officials to keep boosting the federal budget for the sector, what and how to legislate and regulate the sector’s business, and to peddle its products and supplies. Trade associations are clusters of touts concentrating on a particular kind of war/security business and thus represent not one but all of the corporations in that business. These associations include the Aerospace Industries Association, Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems, Intelligence and National Security Alliance, International National Defense Industrial Association (INSA), and the Submarine Industrial Base Council.
By the way, want to know a funny story about INSA? Two days after publishing a paper on cyber security the top spy trade association discovered its website was hacked.  I imagine it’s embarrassing, not funny to INSA.
4. The Two Industries’ Representatives Come and Go Through the Revolving Door
There are actually three sets of revolving doors. One is for industry executives and lobbyists who go through to appointments in key government posts to ensure industry interests aren’t denied by the American people. There’s the government-to-industry door through which public officials, having gotten experience and valuable contacts from the inside in keeping public interests at bay, go to the industry and parlay their experience and contacts into furthering industry interests in exchanges, usually private, with the government. And finally, there’s the government-to-lobbyist door through which former legislators, their staffs, and executive-branch officials pass on the way to lucrative positions in lobbying firms to lobby their former colleagues.
This true story about a drone trade show illustrates quite well I think the flow of money and favors between government and industry.
If the two were not tied together at the groin and all parts above and below, you would expect the show to be held at a private facility, like say, a big arena rented by the “Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). But this is a true story, not fiction.
The event, publicly masked as a “science fair,” was held in the large foyer of the Rayburn House Office building adjacent to Capitol Hill. The host was the U.S. House Unmanned Systems Caucus (USUMSC), a bunch of politicians who care more about robots than people, except of course, themselves and their kind of people. I’m not sure which name came first, but I would guess that AUVSI did and then convinced “the industry's man on Capitol Hill” ---to start an Unmanned Systems Caucus---.” And as fast as a knee jerk its members have since been “showered ---with cash.”
Hawkers “in suits, polo shirts or military garb” from companies like those listed in Appendix D were showing “the hottest new drones, robots and mini blimps.” Well, they weren’t the real thing obviously, just toy replicas.
The author of this story, John Amick, director of Brave New World Foundation’s “War Costs” project, concluded the story with this witty remark, “The toy du jour for this [marriage] is the drone. New technology, same game.” And the game is endless. A trade show for each new toy. The story John told was just his “drone edition.”
Who is getting more screwed than the marriage of drone lovers who never get out of bed? You got it, the taxpayers who are not even in the house, let alone in the bedroom. Truth is indeed stranger and definitely more deadly and costly than fiction