The F Word

It's not polite to use the F word.  I personally would rather win an argument without resorting to insults and name-calling.  But some of what I see happening does tempt me.

In Michigan, the Governor is pushing for authority to declare martial law and remove local elected officials.  He would then appoint corporate interests to run city services in their place.  Taxpayer dollars will flow to these private corporations.  Surely this is F word in spades! 

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the duly constituted military forces of the US, under the authority of the elected Commander in Chief, have been largely replaced by for-profit corporations like Haliburton and Xe (formerly Blackwater).   Over a TRILLION in taxpayer dollars have already been spent.  Couldn't I use the F word here?

Since the launch of the "global war on terror," the administration has systematically funneled billions of dollars in public money to corporations like Blackwater USA , DynCorp, Triple Canopy, Erinys and ArmorGroup. They have in turn used their lucrative government pay-outs to build up the infrastructure and reach of private armies so powerful that they rival or outgun some nation's militaries.
"I think it's extraordinarily dangerous when a nation begins to outsource its monopoly on the use of force and the use of violence in support of its foreign policy or national security objectives," says veteran U.S. Diplomat Joe Wilson, who served as the last U.S. ambassador to Iraq before the 1991 Gulf War.
The billions of dollars being doled out to these companies, Wilson argues, "makes of them a very powerful interest group within the American body politic and an interest group that is in fact armed. And the question will arise at some time: to whom do they owe their loyalty?"
Precise data on the extent of U.S. spending on mercenary services is nearly impossible to obtain -- by both journalists and elected officials--but some in Congress estimate that up to 40 cents of every tax dollar spent on the war goes to corporate war contractors. At present, the United States spends about $2 billion a week on its Iraq operations. Source

Under No Child Left Behind, more and more public schools are becoming "failing" schools.  By 2014, the law would in fact define all public schools that way.  On that date, 100% of students (including ESL and special education students) must be able to pass rigorous state tests or the school will be designated failing.  And what happens to failing public schools?  Their public dollars flow to such profitable ventures as Sylvan tutoring and for-profit charter schools.  In some cases, whole districts are contracted out to corporate interests.  Does bring the F word to mind, I'm afraid.

In 2008, the banking industry spent $48 million to lobby my elected officials in Washington.  They donated an additional $38 million to those officials' campaign war chests.  They received $750 BILLION of your taxes and mine in return, not to mention tax breaks, weakened oversight and regulation and federal judges who would rule in their favor.  That's a 1000 times return on investment.  I'm choking down that F word.

On April 15th, I sent my required citizen contribution to Washington.  I don't mind contributing to public services or to the costs of running an imperfect but democratic system.  But I don't like to think that someone I don't get to vote in or out in a three piece suit is waiting in the IRS lobby to cash my check.   I don't like him running my government -- not locally, not nationally.

The F word can be summoned to mean many things -- domineering authoritarian government, militarism, intolerance or ultra-nationalism.   When government and powerful corporate interests are working lock-step together though, would it still be impolite to use the F word? 

In general, apart from the nationalizations of some industries, (F word) economies were based on private property and private initiative, but these were contingent upon service to the state.  (The F word) operated from a Social Darwinist view of human relations. Their aim was to promote superior individuals and weed out the weak. In terms of economic practice, this meant promoting the interests of successful businessmen while destroying trade unions and other organizations of the working class.  Historian Gaetano Salvemini argued in 1936 that (the F word) makes taxpayers responsible to private enterprise, because "the State pays for the blunders of private enterprise...Profit is private and individual.  Loss is public and social."  (F word) governments encouraged the pursuit of private profit and offered many benefits to large businesses, but they demanded in return that all economic activity should serve the national interest. Source
You are familiar with this F word, right?  I know only rude and crude people are allowed to use those words.  You know, the ones who draw Hitler mustaches on our President and insist he's some sort of alien.  The ones who shouted down Congressmen last summer.  You remember those guys?  I hate to stoop to those levels but sometimes I just can't stop the associations.  

If the word passes my lips, I'll just claim to have Tourettes.