Posts Tagged ‘single term limits’

Like the Patriot Act, There is Nothing Patriotic About the Raytheon Patriot Missile

November 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Raytheon Prisoner Produced Patriot Missiles

The prime contractor for the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System is Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, a component of the Raytheon Company that in 2010 banked some $14.8+ billion in U.S. military and other government contracts that we are allowed to know about:

And Raytheon’s Patriot missiles are not sold exclusively to defend the good ole Red, White and Blue.  Any country with a wad of cash and a wink from the State Department can stockpile them, including Arab nations like Kuwait and the UAE.  Osama Bin Laden’s Saudi Arabia homeland, for example, just ponied up $1.7 billion for a Patriot “upgrade”:

Yes, this is the same Raytheon that is working on HAARP (see video below).  And along with Lockheed Martin, Boeing Company, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics, it ranks perennially not only as a “Big 5″ defense contractor (ie. war profiteer) but also as a top offender in the Federal Contractor Misconduct Database (FCMD) maintained by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) – a toothless Washington watchdog:

And although historically Raytheon’s false performance claims, taxpayer overcharges and contractor kickbacks have not been focused exclusively on pushing Patriots out the door, even sans irregularities the cost/benefit ratio of their flagship missile program is a real eyebrow raiser:  Even using PRISON LABORERS paid as little as 23 cents an hour in their manufacture, each Patriot missile produced sports a price tag as high as $5.9 million:

Julian Zdzislaw Starostecki – the Polish-born principal designer of the original Patriot missile – was himself a prisoner in the Soviet Gulag before immigrating to America after World War II.  So in a sense it would be accurate to note with irony that this icon of “freedom” was both developed and produced by prisoners.  Perhaps that explains the constrained success rate of the optimistically-named “Scud Busters” in the first Bush Gulf War, when the probability of a Patriot missile (cost: $1 to $6 million) actually taking out a Scud missile (cost: $0.22 to $1 million) was only 9 percent.

In all fairness though, we should mention that a dozen years and many billions of taxpayer dollars later the Patriot missile’s targeting accuracy was significantly better in the second Bush Gulf War, although enemy identification continued to be an issue.  Confirmed kills included:  a British Panavia Tornado of RAF Squadron 13 and crew … a U.S. Navy F/A-18C Hornet and Texas pilot Lt. Nathan Dennis White … and perhaps dozens if not hundreds more friendlies and innocents recorded only as “Collateral Damage”.

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Who Actually Owns the Fed and Why That Must End

November 25, 2011 1 comment

Who Actually Owns the Fed and Why That Must End

Few questions of late have been asked more frequently or answered with less transparency than this one:


The domain name for the official website is, the “.gov” extension of which suggests that the Federal Reserve System (a.k.a. the “Fed”) is part of the United States government and therefore owned by the American taxpayers.  But that is not the case.  As the Fed itself states…

“The Federal Reserve System fulfills its public mission as an independent entity within government.  It is not ‘owned’ by anyone and is not a private, profit-making institution.  As the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve derives its authority from the Congress of the United States. It is considered an independent central bank because its monetary policy decisions do not have to be approved by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branches of government, it does not receive funding appropriated by the Congress, and the terms of the members of the Board of Governors span multiple presidential and congressional terms.”

Parts of that statement are true, sort of, and parts of that statement are not. provides a better answer:

“There are actually 12 different Federal Reserve Banks around the country, and they are owned by big private banks.  But the banks don’t necessarily run the show.  Nationally, the Federal Reserve System is led by a Board of Governors whose seven members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate…  The concept of ‘ownership’ needs some explaining here, however.  The member banks must by law invest 3 percent of their capital as stock in the Reserve Banks, and they cannot sell or trade their stock or even use that stock as collateral to borrow money. They do receive dividends of 6 percent per year from the Reserve Banks and get to elect each Reserve Bank’s board of directors.  The private banks also have a voice in regulating the nation’s money supply and setting targets for short-term interest rates, but it’s a minority voice. Those decisions are made by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which has a dozen voting members, only five of whom come from the banks. The remaining seven, a voting majority, are the Fed’s Board of Governors who, as mentioned, are appointed by the president.”

That’s a better answer, but not a totally complete or correct one.  Yes, there are 12 Federal Reserve Banks, all of which are owned by private banks, and all of which must pay dividends to their owners.  So contrary to what it claims, the Fed is not only privately-owned but a for-profit enterprise.  And yes, there *should* be 7 members of the FOMC appointed by the government and 5 appointed by the banks.  In fact, however, for unstated reasons and for some time now there have been only 5 people seated on the FRB Board of Governors, none of whom are celebrated consumer advocates…

…which means government appointees do NOT outnumber bank appointees on the FOMC, and you can rest assured that the private banks DO “run the show”:

So the question then becomes:


The Web is awash with lists and percentages on this one supported by nothing more than links that refer to other links that refer back to the original and often anonymous post.  A notable exception is the work of Jake Towne, who in March of 2009 applied an admittedly imperfect but plausible engineering approach to the problem and, after some extensive research and number-crunching, concluded the following:

“[The] top 4 banks – Bank of America (BAC), JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, and Wachovia – would control roughly 50% of the stock of the Federal Reserve Bank, and the top 10 banks, including Wells Fargo (WFC), HSBC (HBC), and the Bank of New York (BK), would control over 68% of the stock.”

So according to Jake, whoever ultimately controls these ten banks thereby also controls the Federal Reserve:

Bank of America Corp.
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Wachovia Bank (subsequently acquired by Wells Fargo)
Wells Fargo N.A.
US Bank
State Street Corp.
Suntrust Bank
Bank of NY Mellon

TO RECAP…  The Federal Reserve System that has used its debt-based currency to exploit our economy since 1913 is a private banking cartel consisting of 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks.  Each of those banks are required to pay dividends to their shareholders, which makes them for-profit enterprises.  Those shareholders are all private banks and obviously also for-profit enterprises that exist not to maintain the welfare of humankind – or even the American subset thereof – but rather to maximize the wealth of their shareholders.


Keep tracing your way up the ownership pyramid, and you may find some have (in)famous names like Rothschild, Rockefeller or Buffett.  Others in this global elite we collectively refer to as “the 1%”.  Either way, their interests align with those of the rest of us – “the 99%” – only in the same manner as those of shepherds and the sheep that they shear in good times and slaughter in bad.

This must end.  And that is why the Fed must end.

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At Boeing, Pay-to-Play is the Rule of the Day

November 25, 2011 Leave a comment

At Boeing, Pay-to-Play is the Rule of the Day

“Boeing is the world’s top manufacturer of commercial airplanes, including the 767 and the 747.  The company is also a leading military supplier, making fighter bombers, transport planes and the Apache helicopter.  The company regularly lobbies Congress to increase defense spending and to win military contracts, although it lost the $300 billion Joint Strike Fighter contract to rival Lockheed Martin in 2001.  Boeing has also supported expanding free trade, especially in Asia, where it hopes to sell more commercial aircraft.  The company also pushed for Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, which gives loan guarantees to businesses.  In 2001, Boeing got $2.5 billion from the bank.”

“Defense aerospace contractors concentrate their political donations on members of the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees that allocate federal defense money.  Prime targets of defense aerospace money also include members of the Armed Services committees, who influence military policy and have the power to create demand for this industry’s commodities…  During the 2008 election cycle, the industry donated more than $7.5 million to federal candidates, splitting their contributions almost evenly between Republicans and Democrats…  Boeing placed a close second to Lockheed in campaign contributions for the 2008 cycle, at more than $2.1 million. Of that, 56 percent went toward Democrats and 43 percent to Republicans.

“The federal government’s selection of Boeing to build the next generation of Air Force aerial refueling tankers comes after years of contentious fighting that’s resulted in sky-high lobbying spending and accelerated campaign contributions to key politicians….  [ In 2010 alone, ] Boeing spent more than $17.8 million on lobbying expenditures, placing it first among companies in the defense aerospace industry…  During the 2010 election cycle, Boeing’s political action committee spent more than $2.91 million, donating more than $2.1 million of that amount to federal candidates…  Much of this money has gone toward members of Congress who stand to benefit politically from the KC-X tanker program:”

This is not the first time Boeing used payola to pocket an Air Force tanker contract.  But thanks to the United States Supreme Court “Citizens United v. FEC” decision, corporations can now make grease payments over the table that used to slide under.  Consider, for example, how Boeing won and lost its previous tanker contract:

“In May 2003, the United States Air Force announced it would lease 100 KC-767 tankers to replace the oldest 136 of its KC-135s.  The 10 year lease would give the USAF the option to purchase the aircraft at the end of the contract.  In September 2003, responding to critics who argued that the lease was vastly more expensive than an outright purchase, the United States Department of Defense announced a revised lease.  In November 2003, the Air Force decided it would lease 20 KC-767 aircraft and purchase 80 tankers…  Buying one KC-767 outright costs $150 million.  The contract called for 100 aircraft being purchased or leased at an aggregate price of $26b, or $260m per plane.  Therefore, the contract, if it had been executed, would have forced the DOD to pay Boeing much more money for each plane than it would have had to if the aircraft were purchased individually…  In December 2003, the Pentagon announced the project was to be frozen while an investigation of allegations o!
f corruption by [Pentagon purchasing agent] Darleen Druyun (who had moved to Boeing in January 2003) was begun.  Druyun pleaded guilty to inflating the price of the contract to favor her future employer and to passing information on the competing Airbus A330 MRTT bid (from EADS).  In October 2004, she was sentenced to nine months in jail for corruption, fined $5,000, given three years of supervised release and 150 hours of community service.  She began her prison term on January 5, 2005.  She was released from prison on September 30, 2005.  The ramifications extended to Boeing CFO Michael M. Sears, who was fired from Boeing, and Boeing CEO Phil Condit resigned.  On February 18, 2005, Sears was sentenced to four months in prison.  Boeing ended up paying a $615 million fine for their involvement.  According to The Federal Times, Darleen Druyun will still be receiving a federal pension.”

CBS News called this “the biggest Pentagon scandal in 20 years”, but for Boeing it was just one of many:,73,221,html?ContractorID=13&ranking=2

And as far as Pentagon scandals go, this one was a drop in the bucket compared to Donald Rumsfeld’s adeptly timed confessions of 10 September 2001:

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