PATH: BS | Business | Corporate Welfare

Iraq Government Wants Blackwater Out Of The Country

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[Military]
The Iraqi government said it would suspend the license of Blackwater, probably the most famous among the armies of private security contractors working inside Iraq, after an incident in central Baghdad in which government officials allege eight civilians were killed. The incident looks certain to rekindle the controversy of the wide role given to the contractors in the Iraq war, with critics saying that they operate outside the sorts of legal oversight and codes of conduct that restrict the behavior of soldiers in war zones.

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US "Invests In Peace" In Israel Via $30B Arms Deal

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US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns has signed a deal that will provide Israel with $30bn of military aid over the next 10 years.

The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, has said the aid will preserve his country's military advantage over other countries in the Middle East [while being the pawn in an elaborate kickback scheme to politically-connected American companies who profit from the Middle Eastern conflict.]

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Taxpayers/Government Get "Screwed" for more than $20M

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A small South Carolina parts supplier collected about $20.5 million over six years from the Pentagon for fraudulent shipping costs, including $998,798 for sending two 19-cent washers to a Texas base, U.S. officials said.

The company also billed and was paid $455,009 to ship three machine screws costing $1.31 each to Marines in Habbaniyah, Iraq, and $293,451 to ship an 89-cent split washer to Patrick Air Force Base in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Pentagon records show.

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Time-Warner Rewrites USPS Postal Rules and Rates

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For the first time ever in the history of the US, The Postal Regulatory Commission ignored a plan by the US Postal Service in favor of a rate-increase plan submitted by an outside corporation: Time-Warner, which involves a super-complicated scheme to allow their own publications to avoid paying higher postage, while sticking it to smaller publishers.

Go democracy!

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Court Confirms Katrina Damage Was Not "An Act Of God"

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Hurricane Katrina victims whose homes and businesses were destroyed when floodwaters breached levees in the 2005 storm cannot recover money from their insurance companies for the damages, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

While insurance may cover some "acts of God," the insurance industry had enough fine print to invalidate claims of flooding due to negligence on the part of the Army Corps of Engineers, which led to the majority of the city's destruction, and therefore, victims were not qualified to be covered under their insurance policies.

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Bush Wants To Sell Saudis $20 Billion Worth of Weapons

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Having not completely pinned the Irony and Incompetency meter, the Bush administration this week is pushing for Congress to approve the sale of $20B worth of arms to Saudi Arabia. You know, the Saudi Arabia that supplied 15 of the 19 men who crashed planes on 9/11. Yea, that Saudi Arabia.

The proposed package of advanced weaponry for Saudi Arabia includes state-of-the-art satellite-guided bombs, upgrades to its fighters and new naval vessels.

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The US Government Gave $1.1 Billion To Dead Farmers

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First they paid farmers to farm.

Then they paid farmers not to farm.

Then they took another step by paying non-farmers not to farm.

And just when you thought they´d run out of ideas, here comes the logical conclusion: Agricultural subsidies for the dead.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture distributed $1.1 billion over seven years to the estates or companies of deceased farmers and routinely failed to conduct reviews required to ensure that the payments were properly made, according to a government report.

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Chinese Toothpaste: Better For Your Car Than Your Teeth?

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The government warned consumers on Friday to avoid using toothpaste made in China because it may contain a poisonous chemical used in antifreeze.

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Sicko Opens Today, Michael Moore Responds To Critics

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[Movies]
As Michael Moore's new movie, "Sicko" opens today, all sorts of things are flying, from rumors that the Feds are going after the people whom he took to Cuba, to an interesting exchange in front of the NYSE, and we have the video, where Michael Moore, on the steps of the New York Stock Exchange talks about how to improve healthcare, urges fund managers to stop investing in companies that profit from denying people healthcare, and responds to critics of the movie's details.

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Has Dick Cheney Become Colnel Kurtz From "Apocalypse Now?"

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If you've seen the movie "Apocalypse Now" or read Joseph Conrad's book, "Heart of Darkness," you might be experiencing deja vu when seeing the antics of Dick Cheney and the Bush White House. It seems Cheney has definitely "gotten off the boat" and the White House is running its own little nation-within-a-nation that exists in a vaporous netherworld between the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative branches.

The news media is finally perking up and digging deeper into the enigma that is the Vice President of the United States. It seems Dick Cheney claims he's not part of the Executive branch of the government, won't tell anybody what he does, who he sees, or even who is on his payroll...

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Nearly One-Third of Congress Has Family On Payroll

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[Get-Rich-Quick]
If you think only Rep. "Dollar" Bill Jefferson was an anomaly, for creating shell companies to siphon political money to his family, you'd be wrong. Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics have released an extensive study of one branch of Congress showing more than two-thirds of our leaders are exploiting their position to ensure their family is in the lap of luxury.

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Michael Moore Lectures Government on Healthcare Reform

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Michael Moore came to the California Capitol on Tuesday and seemed to succeed on two fronts: promoting his new documentary on the ills of the American health care system, and rallying for a proposal to do away with health insurance companies and create a system in which government pays all medical bills, no questions asked.

Check out the video. It is very compelling!

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DuPont's $63 Million Dollar Plane You Bought That Can't Fly

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[Faulty Products]
Congress has spent more than $63 million on an experimental aircraft that has never flown more than a few feet and that the Pentagon has repeatedly rejected.

Designed as a plane that can take off straight up and then fly at 700 miles per hour, the craft has never attained a height of more than a few feet in prototype tests before crashing to the ground.

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AT&T Has A Problem With Net Neutrality

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AT&T chief Ed Whitacre handed the keys over to his replacement Randall Stephenson yesterday, but not before giving a rousing pep talk to fellow executives in the company’s San Antonio board room. We just received exclusive video of the AT&T chairman’s parting speech.

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Your Money At Work: $592M US Embassy In Iraq

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Construction of the U.S. embassy in Iraq, set to open in September, is projected to cost $592 million, with a staff of 1,000 people and operating costs totaling $1.2 billion a year. It will be a 104-acre complex, which is the size of approximately 80 football fields, featuring tennis courts and a swimming pool and a cabana.

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CNN: The Most Trusted Name In... Corporate BS And Misinformation

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[Environment]
According to MediaMatters, CNN has crossed the line. On Wednesday, the self-proclaimed "Most Trusted Name in News" aired an hour-long special on Global Warming that was anything BUT news.

The special, "EXPOSED: The Climate of Fear," on CNN Headline News was hosted by Glenn Beck, whose long history of factual distortions on Global Warming have been well documented...

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Government Contractors Owe $7.7 Billion In Back Taxes!

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A recent Government Accounting Office inquiry reveals that about 113,800 contractors working for a variety of federal agencies, including the Pentagon and the General Services Administration, have built up $7.7 billion in unpaid taxes. This matches untidily with a March GAO report saying that more than 21,000 doctors, health professionals or medical suppliers, collecting billions in federal Medicare dollars, simultaneously owed more than $1 billion in federal income taxes.

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Faith Based Initiatives Blow Fed Money On Big Screen TVs

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A contractor getting paid $3,500 a day to oversee faith-based initiatives for needy Ohio families spent some of the federal welfare money on downtown parking, big-screen televisions and a glowing report on the job it was doing, a newspaper reported Saturday.

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Bush To Appoint Industry Shill To Consumer Product Safety Comm.

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Insiders say that Michael Baroody, chief lobbyist for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), a powerful trade group that opposes aggressive product safety regulation, is President Bush's choice to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Subcontractors Are Becoming A 4th US Government Branch

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In June, short of people to process cases of incompetence and fraud by federal contractors, officials at the General Services Administration responded with what has become the government's reflexive answer to almost every problem.

They hired another contractor.

It did not matter that the company they chose, CACI International, had itself recently avoided a suspension from federal contracting; or that the work, delving into investigative files on other contractors, appeared to pose a conflict of interest; or that each person supplied by the company would cost taxpayers $104 an hour. Six CACI workers soon joined hundreds of other private-sector workers at the G.S.A., the government's management agency.

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