|If you believe the hype, sequestration is going to deal a catastrophic blow to the politically powerful defense industry.[...]
The truth? We’re watching a political magic trick. Right now, we’re at the part of the show where it appears Congress and the President sawed through Pentagon contractors. They’re moaning and complaining – giving the audience a good show – but fear not, contracts will be just fine.
This is largely because of the rock solid foundation the industry is standing on. Every year for the last five years the Pentagon has doled out at least $360 billion to contractors. In fact, every year since the war in Afghanistan began contractors have received more than half of the Pentagon’s total budget. In other words, contractors have received more taxpayer money than the Department of Defense’s civilian employees and nearly 1.4 million active duty military personnel combined.
All that money has really added up. So much so that Pentagon contractors are sitting on a backlog of contracts worth nearly as much as the entirety of Pentagon sequestration.
In other words, even if contractors absorbed all of the Pentagon sequestration cuts, they’d still be on track to receive more than $300 billion a year in new contracts, which is more than double what any other country in the world spends on its military.
Does any of this sound catastrophic?
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008—The FBI: Retroactive blanket immunity in action:
|The Justice Department's Inspector General published a report (PDF) today on the FBI's continued abuse of National Security Letters. However the IG postponed reporting on the abuse of "blanket" NSLs. We learned about the existence of these only today from the NY Times. They're an example of how the Bush "administration" actually employs retroactive immunity to shield its own lawbreaking.
In 2006 the FBI, having issued truckloads of warrantless NSLs illegally, decided it needed a way to make all of them legal retroactively. So it did what any agency would do under this "administration" - it waved the magic wand handed over to it by Congress, and presto! The FBI simply issued "blanket" NSLs to each of the telecoms in question to justify after the fact all the records it had previously scooped up.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin built on the narrative of guns as a public health issue, and brought word of Team 26's arrival in DC. Today's #GunFAIL included the story of a robber shooting himself in the nuts. Always a crowd pleaser! The Senate is stuck on another filibuster of a motion to proceed, this time to the House-passed CR, and the NLRB will appeal the recent DC Circuit ruling on recess appointments. Armando joined us on that, and a separation of powers issue in the Ryan budget. We wrapped up with the conclusion of Robert Parry's "Rethinking Watergate/Iran-Contra."