http://www.globalresearch.ca/massive-cuts-in-social-spending-to-finance-the-pentagon-s-cybersecurity-gravy-train/24120Massive Cuts in Social Spending to Finance the Pentagon's "Cybersecurity" Gravy Train
by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, April 4, 2011
antifascist-calling.blogspot.com Call it another sterling example of corporate-flavored "bipartisanship."
With a government shut-down looming over a manufactured "deficit crisis," the World Socialist Web Site reports that the "Obama administration and congressional Democrats have offered to triple the amount of cuts in social spending for the remainder of the current fiscal year, from $10 billion to $30 billion, in ongoing talks with congressional Republicans that face an April 8 deadline."
Leftist critic Patrick Martin comments that these "cuts would be the largest ever imposed in a single year's federal budget." If passed, the "cumulative effect" of slashing social spending in FY2011 will be "much greater" over time. In fact, according to estimates, "the House Republican plan would result in social spending that is $1 trillion lower over ten years."Grand Theft Wall Street
While legislators in a score of states are slashing unemployment benefits, medical care and educational opportunities for Americans hit hardest by the crisis, Zero Hedge
reports that at the beginning of the 2008 financial meltdown the largest U.S. banks "scrambled to the Fed to soak up any and all available liquidity after confidence in the entire ponzi collapsed."
Hardly a shocker considering that investment banking giant Goldman Sachs, as McClatchy
revealed, "peddled more than $40 billion in securities backed by at least 200,000 risky home mortgages, but never told the buyers it was secretly betting that a sharp drop in U.S. housing prices would send the value of those securities plummeting."
As investigative journalist Greg Gordon reported, "Goldman's clandestine wagers" completed just before the overinflated housing bubble burst like a putrescent boil, "enabled the nation's premier investment bank to pass most of its potential losses to others before a flood of mortgage defaults staggered the U.S. and global economies."
According to Zero Hedge
, once the system entered full crisis mode, with share prices plummeting and pension funds, insurance firms, labor unions and overseas financial houses facing catastrophic losses and potential collapse, Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke mandated that the Primary Dealer Credit Facility be "downgraded to accept collateral of any type," and that the very institutions responsible for the crisis "had the temerity to pledge bonds that had defaulted (i.e. had a rating of D)." In fact, Zero Hedge
revealed, "the Fed would accept Defaulted bonds as collateral: or 'assets' that have no value whatsoever"!
Within a few weeks "this practice became pervasive, with virtually every banker pledging defaulted bonds in exchange for money good cash with which to pretend these banks were doing just fine (not to mention that $71.7 billion in collapsing equities represented nearly half the total collateral of $164.3 billion pledged to receive $155 billion in cash.)"
And whom, pray tell, with a wink and a nod from Bush, and now Obama administration "deficit hawks" gamed the system best? Why Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase of course!
It gets better. ProPublica
tells us that while teachers, nurses and other greedy public sector workers (you know, Leona Helmsley's "little people") have their rights stripped away, pay for bank executives "seems to have been immune to the recession and unaffected by the bailouts."
According to a report in American Banker
cited by the investigative news site, "in 2003, the banking industry's 1.3 million full-time employees took home $78.3 billion. In 2010, its 2.1 million employees took home $168.1 billion."ProPublica's
Marian Wang informs us "that the point here is the trend, not the actual average. The figure mixes the modest wages of bank tellers with the big bonuses for top execs and investment bankers."
"CEOs, of course," notes Wang, "are still pulling in millions." Bank of America for example "made headlines this week for what seemed to be a cut to CEO Brian Moynihan's compensation. But the $1.94 million he's reported to have taken home in 2010 doesn't include the more than $9 million in deferred compensation that he's due to receive this year."
A sweet deal if you can get it, which of course, you can't.
Instead, for misplaced loyalties to a system intent on grinding us underfoot and charging us for the privilege, The Wall Street Journal
reported that despite an alleged "improvement in the labor market, many workers are barely treading water as their wages fail to keep up with rising prices."
"Compared with a year earlier," the Journal
avers, "average inflation-adjusted wages have declined."
Unsurprisingly, "the weakness in wages comes amid surging corporate profits and continued productivity gains. With unemployment still high--8.8% in March--employers are finding so much labor available that they are able to keep a tight lid on wages."
These latest outrages come hard on the heels of reports that arms, nuke plant and media giant (can you say Fukashima Daiichi 1-6 and
NBC), General Electric, will pay no federal income taxes this year despite "earning" some $14.1 billion in 2010 profits. Under Congress' watchful eye, GE stands to rake in a $3.2 billion tax credit for offshoring U.S. jobs to low wage platforms in various managed democracies.
Rather rich considering that our Grifter-in-Chief, hope and change huckster Barack Obama, named GE's CEO Jeffrey Immelt to head the president's Council on Jobs and Economic Competitiveness back in January, Bloomberg News
No surprise here once you learn, as OpenSecrets.org
did, that GE doled out some $39.2 million in 2010 lobbying the best Congress money can buy.
The World Socialist Web Site
avers, with troglodytic Republicans demanding some $61 billion in social spending cuts at the behest of crazed Tea Party
groups bankrolled by billionaires, "progressive" Democrats have agreed to meet their henchmen half-way across the aisle, a process called "splitting the difference" that will result in "cuts of approximately $33 billion."
"A bipartisan group of 64 senators, 32 from each party, signed a joint letter to Obama," Martin observes, urging the president "to 'engage' personally in talks on long-term deficit reduction, which would include major cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the three most costly federal social programs."
Want to guess who's demanding more from an ever-dwindling federal pie, largely the result of multiple imperial wars to steal other people's resources, corporate bailouts, tax cuts for the filthy rich and a National Surveillance State that views the American people as their deadliest enemy?All Aboard the "Cybersecurity" Gravy Train
As Antifascist Calling
has frequently reported, with various cyber panics now supplementing secret state scaremongering over terrorist threats from a score of shady actors, more often than not off-the-shelf "irregular forces" who, when not murdering official U.S. enemies, i.e., leftists, human rights campaigners, trade unionists and other opponents of Empire, do a brisk business trafficking arms, drugs, human organs, women, whatever.
Orwell reminds us: "All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting." But that doesn't mean they can't make a killing when opportunity comes knocking. After all, as Market Research Media
reported, "with a cumulative market valued at $55 billion (2010-2015), the U.S. Federal Cybersecurity market will grow steadily--at about 6.2% CAGR over the next six years."
Panic sells, and once the terms of the debate have been set by interested parties adept at feathering their nests, well, it's all aboard the "cybersecurity" gravy train!
Last month, NextGov
disclosed that "protecting military networks" in FY2012 will "cost nearly $1 billion more than the Pentagon publicly reported last month, an increase that reflects the growing number of programs being re-categorized as cybersecurity-related, agency officials said."
When the Obama administration released its 2012 budget back in February, "the Pentagon announced it was requesting $2.3 billion to bolster network security within the Defense Department and to strengthen ties with its counterparts at the Homeland Security Department, which is responsible for overseeing civilian cybersecurity," reporter Aliya Sternstein wrote.
But as I reported
last year, "strengthening ties" amongst civilian and military cyber warriors means that the "Memorandum of Agreement
" [.pdf] struck between the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency will inevitably lead to a marked increase of Pentagon control, in profitable alliance with major defense and security firms, over America's telecommunications and electronic infrastructure.