Newsclipping of the Day :: Support the Troops? No, Support the Contractors!

Here is the first story I've seen on the latest installment of media circusesqueness surrounding the Walter Reed debacle, that actually says something. The CNN Headline Newsification of absolutely everything drives me nuts sometimes... i've heard the SAME three sentence sound byte on this story 29 times for like a week now (thanks NPR gee you're great). Until now. Thank goodness there are a couple of journalists still left that will dig behind the ubiquitous sound bytes. Seems that Clinton/Gore's "Reinventing Government" great idea--and it's complete hijacking and hostile take over by Bush and his insidious, endless roster of cronies--may be the culprit.

I can't imagine being a health care professional, just waiting for "Reinventing Government" efficiency experts with clipboards and stopwatches and MBAs to downsize my job away. I can't imagine working for the CDC or the National Park Service or the Department of Education, counting the hours, wondering when the other shoe will drop, when some "corporation" will be formed to completely nullify sane, sensible human services. The same sort of giving-everything-to-private-sector-fake-corporations is what is destroying our military and making us incapable and inept in the area of defeating teenagers with bombs and guns in the desert also, methinks. It's just a way to achieve Norquist's goal of 'drownding our government in the bathtub' while insulating the fake companies from responsibility as they collect the gargantuan windfalls.

I remember a little thing called common sense. I guess it is just not compatible with greed. Neither, apparently, is the health and well being of the men and women who've lost arms and legs and eyes while waging fake wars fought with hidden means over issues they--and we the public--have no right to know about. Why are we allowing our government to be "reinvented" by people who want to kill it? Would you drop your kids off at Jeffrey Dahmer Country Day School? it's just about that simple. People die and suffer--in quite large numbers--for the cause of "Reinventing Government."

In our name. With our tax dollars.

I just don't understand why most people aren't catching on to this?

Let's do a quick word-play visualization exercise, everyone:

U.S. GOVERNMENT, circa 1975: laws, policy, professional self reliance, publicly-placed competitive bids, contracts and oversight, purchase orders and checks, banks

U.S. GOVERNMENT, circa 2007: hidden agendas, beliefs, self aggrandizement and fake skills, secret awards, funnels, suitcases of cash

Play this game with me. What then/now comparisons can you see in how our government is being destroyed?


Bruce said...


The whole issue of government contracting to private institutions needs to be reevaluated. Such is the case not only with government contracts to private industry, where graft and corruption are the issues, but also with government contracting to private charitable organizations, where the purchase of constituancy support of government sponsored programs and the neutralization of dissent are the issues.

Even back in the mid 1970s, the government got the idea of contracting out social services to private charitable organizations, frequently church dominated organizations. The idea, expressed quite openly in negotiations between the government and these non governmental organizations (NGOs), was that they would provide not only the services, but also, since they were largely church dominated organizations, deliver the support of the religious communities for both the project and the political party of the administration. In short, instead of convincing these constituencies of the virtues of the governmental programs, the administration simply bought their support through giving contracts to the church sponsored organizations.

But this was only phase one of the government's using contracts to buy the support of the private sector. Phase two, which was well underway by the 1980s was to use these contracts to silence any opposition to government policy from the constituencies holding the contracts. In the 1970s the private charitable sector, through the constituencies it controlled, had a powerful influence on government policy. By the mid 1980s, most of these NGOs were so dependent upon government contracts they became noting more than "yes" men to the government officials. The private charitable sector became, by the 1990s, merely a screen for the government.

Sam said...

Hi Bruce, yes, I can't believe what a fever pitch this giving away and public services paralysis has reached. When I think about what happened in New York after 9/11, the coverups and the EPA clandestine pronouncements of safety, Katrina... not to mention the war. God help San Francisco when the big one arrives, or any of us when more blowback--otherwise known as a "terrorist plot"-- unfolds.

Steven and i are watching Audrey Tatou's Dirty Pretty Things right now. Gee London sure looks like a wonderful place to live. Wonder how hard it would be to get a job there...

Bruce said...


London is, most likely, the most vital and interesting city this side of the Atlantic. The big problem is that it is absurdly expensive. The apartment we just bought in Paris would have easily cost twice, if not three times as much in London.

Another problem is safety and integration of minorities. We are in a very central, but economically,ethnically, and racially mixed area in Paris. there is very little, if any tension between the groups (The problems you have read about are serious, but they are all in the suburbs; most people who can afford to live in the city have jobs, and therefore, are invested in society.) In London, because of the economic and ethnic mix, and because of the rigid British class system, these issues are felt, daily, within the city itself. It poisons the atmosphere somewhat, and does create a security problem that hardly exists in most continental cities. Also, the rigid British class system will, in fact, make it much more difficult for you to negotiate pleasant human relationships at various levels of the society.

As for Paris, the cliché goes that the Parisians are snobbish, distant, and unreceptive to foreigners. This is a misinterpretation: There are very strict social rules of civility in France; they are easy to follow, make urban life much more pleasant, and the French insist upon them quite rigidly. Follow them, and you will find the Parisians pleasant, helpful, and accomodating; ignore them, and you will be iced. It also helps to try to speak French, even if your French isn't too good. The French, for several reasons not all commendable, don't do very well with English.

Sam, if you are Steven are at all serious about relocating this side of the pond, e mail me your CVs, and perhaps I can give you a prognosis of what you can expect in Britain and in other places in Europe.

Sam said...

Bruce, it's just a pipe dream for now... but you never know what the future holds. There are also many places in Canada we love.

In our travels to London, we have not observed your observations. But, as tourists, that probably makes sense.

And Paris, Oh La La, we'd both love it. And we even know people there. We even stalked David Sedaris--to no avail--camping out at a cafe next to his metro stop, Odeon. Though my french is none too good, and Steven speaks none of it (he's hot to buy some cds for car work on his hour and a half commute, however. Just for fun).

Fight the H8 in Your State