‘Are we the Baddies?’

Think about it america.


“A contractor fails to follow requirements, leaving unsafe, unfinished, unusable, or unwanted buildings but yet gets paid in full.”

These are comments from a speech given by the SIGAR to a Georgetown audience. If you are unfamiliar with the way “our” wars work, these frank comments will, frankly, blow your mind. To those of you who know (broadly) how the corrupt contracting of private corporations works (and to a certain extent has always worked), this speech offers no surprises, but is well worth reading anyway. Without further ado, your tax dollars – $104 Billion just for the small piece he’s talking about here – at work:

(Click any of the following text to read the full speech)

“Congress created the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction or SIGAR in 2008 to provide independent and objective oversight of the U.S. reconstruction effort in Afghanistan.”

“I was stunned when senior state department officials on my first trip to Kabul suggested how we should write our reports. They even suggested changes to our report titles and proposed that we give them our press releases in advance so they could pre-approve them. Little did they know that by law IGs are independent of the agencies and SIGAR by statute is more independent than all other IGs.”

“There’s no real benefit in setting up projects or programs that the Afghans cannot or will not sustain once international forces depart and international aid declines. Unfortunately, Afghanistan is a case study in projects and programs set up without considering sustainability.”

“Corruption is another enormous inter-agency challenge facing reconstruction in Afghanistan. The consensus among everyone I speak with is that if corruption is allowed to continue unabated it will likely jeopardize every gain we’ve made so far in Afghanistan.”

“Directly tied to corruption is the final inter-agency challenge I wanted to talk about today countering the growth of the drug trade. This challenge is no secret to anyone; the U.S. has already spent nearly $7.6 billion to combat the opium industry. Yet, by every conceivable metric, we’ve failed.”

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Henry Giroux on the Rise of Neoliberalism: An interview with Henry Giroux

Rise Up Times

Henry Giroux discusses the increasingly negative impact of neoliberalism across the world, politically, socially, economically and in terms of education, and he offers some suggestions for what we must do now.

By Michael Nevradakis   Truthout.org | Interview  19 October 2014

Rise of Neoliberalism(Image: Hand selects, world map via Shutterstock)

Michael Nevradakis for Dialogics: Let’s begin with a discussion about some topics you’ve spoken and written extensively about … neoliberalism and what you have described as “casino capitalism.”

How have these ideas taken hold politically and intellectually across the world in recent years?

Henry Giroux: I think since the 1970s it’s been the predominant ideology, certainly in Western Europe and North America. As is well known, it raised havoc in Latin America, especially in Argentina and Chile and other states. It first gained momentum in Chile as a result of the Chicago Boys. Milton Friedman and that group went down there and…

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Sheldon Wolin’s the reason I began drinking coffee

Corey Robin

Sheldon Wolin‘s the reason I began drinking coffee.

I was a freshman at Princeton. It was the fall of 1985. I signed up to take a course called “Modern Political Theory.” It was scheduled for Mondays and Wednesdays at 9 am. I had no idea what I was doing. I stumbled into class, and there was a man with white hair and a trim white beard, lecturing on Machiavelli. I was transfixed.

There was just one problem: I was—still am—most definitely not a morning person. Even though the lectures were riveting, I had to fight my tendency to fall asleep. Even worse, I had to fight my tendency to sleep in.

So I started drinking coffee. I’d show up for class fully caffeinated. And proceeded to work my way through the canon—Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, along with some texts you don’t often get in intro theory courses (the Putney…

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Chris Hedges: The Imperative of Revolt

Rise Up Times

The endless election cycles, he said, are an example of politics without politics, driven not by substantive issues but manufactured political personalities and opinion polls. There is no national institution in the United States “that can be described as democratic,” [Wolin] said.

  Protesters chant as they are arrested at the intersection of Wall Street and Broad Street in New York on Sept. 22. The protesters, many of whom were affiliated with Occupy Wall Street, were pointing to the connection between capitalism and environmental destruction.AP/Seth Wenig

By Chris Hedges   Truthdig.com   October 19, 2014

TORONTO—I met with Sheldon S. Wolin in Salem, Ore., and John Ralston Saul in Toronto and asked the two political philosophers the same question. If, as Saul has written, we have undergone a corporate coup d’état and now live under a species of corporate dictatorship that Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism,” if the internal mechanisms…

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