Why Are Americans Paying to Be Searched, Spied On, Shot At and Robbed Blind by the Government?
By John Whitehead
"If they can just take from you what they want, when they want, and then
use it however they want, you can’t claim to be anything more than a
serf in a land they think of as theirs. This was the case in the
colonial era, and it’s the case once again."
The State Department wants $400,000 to purchase a fiberglass sculpture
of a camel looking at a needle for its new embassy in Pakistan
. They’ve already spent their allotted $630,000 to increase the number of “likes” and fans on their Facebook and Twitter pages
. The NATO
ambassador for the U.S. needs $700,000 for landscaping and gardening
, the National Science
Foundation would like $700,000 to put on a theatrical production about climate change
, and the Senate staffers need $1.9 million for lifestyle coaching
. Also, Yale University researchers could really use $384,000 so they can study the odd cork-screw shape of a duck’s penis
I promise this is no belated April Fools’ joke. These are actual line
items paid for by American taxpayers, whose tax dollars continue to be
wasted on extravagant, unnecessary items that serve no greater purpose
than to fatten the wallets of corporations and feed political graft
(such as the $1 million bus stop
complete with heated benches and sidewalks which can only shelter 15
people and provides little protection from rain, snow, or the sun).
Case in point: despite the fact that we have 46 million Americans living at or below the poverty line
, 16 million children living in households without adequate access to food
, and at least 900,000 veterans relying on food stamps
, enormous sums continue to be doled out for presidential vacations ($16 million for trips to Africa and Hawaii
), overtime fraud at the Department of Homeland Security (nearly $9 million in improper overtime claims
, and that’s just in six of the DHS’ many offices), and Hollywood movie productions ($10 million was spent by the Army National Guard on Superman movie tie-ins
aimed at increasing awareness about the National Guard).
This doesn’t even touch on the astronomical amounts of money spent on
dubious wars abroad. Consider that since 2001, Americans have spent $10.5 million every hour for numerous foreign military occupations
, including in Iraq
and Afghanistan. There’s also the $2.2 million spent every hour on maintaining the United States’ nuclear stockpile
, and the $35,000 spent every hour toproduce and maintain our collection of Tomahawk missiles
. And then there’s the money the government exports to other countries to support their arsenals
, at the cost of $1.61 million every hour for the American taxpayers.
Then there’s the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in McCutcheon v. FEC
which reinforces a government mindset in which the rights of the
wealthy are affirmed by the courts, while the rights of average, working
class Americans are routinely dismissed as secondary to corporate and
governmental concerns. Under the guise of protecting free speech, a
divided 5-4 Court did away with established limits on the number of
candidates an individual can support with campaign contributions.
In doing so, the justices expanded on the Court’s landmark 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. FEC
which not only gave unfettered free speech rights to corporations but
paved the way for corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money
promoting candidates, especially presidential candidates. What this
does, of course, is turn the ballot box into an auction block, wherein
those who are “elected” to public office are bought and paid for by
those who can afford to support their campaigns–namely, lobbyists,
corporations and high-dollar donors. (Then again, perhaps it will remain
status quo. According to a 2013 study by Trinity University
U.S. Senators do not take into account the opinions and wishes of their
lower class constituents. Rather, their voting was aligned with their
upper class constituents. This dismissal of lower class opinion held true for both Republican and Democratic Senators, themselves made up of millionaires.)....MORE HERE.