Cartoon for February 19, 2009

The U.S. military is offering citizenship to foreigners in exchange for service.

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26 Responses to “Cartoon for February 19, 2009”

  1. Phil Says:

    Awesome comic! I’m kinda curious what is being said by the various service members. 🙂

  2. Anonymous Says:

    This makes me want to see “The Last Remake of Beau Geste”, currently unavailable on DVD. Ahh, the futility. Dorme bene…

  3. Grouchy Says:

    Weird cartoon. But topical. There are more contractors in Iraq than U.S. troops, and they’re from all over the place. (Like all corporations in this “globalized world,” the contractors shop around for the very cheapest of personnel.)

    In the coming decades (during the opening resource wars), I think we’re going to see the U.S. armed forces largely superseded by private armies. It took 9/11 to really “cure” the American populace of the “Vietnam Syndrome,” and now, a scant few years later, everyone’s sick of war again.

    I hope the U.S. doesn’t suffer an outright coup d’Ă©tat by an entity like Xe (formerly Blackwater Worldwide, formerly Blackwater USA).

    I wonder if some of the folks who post here and love corporations would prefer this. It’s an possible (but I think unlikely) route that the Military Industrial Complex might consider. I’ll get worried if Northrop Grumman buys Haliburton (or vice versa)…

  4. Aggie Dude Says:

    The first mission of the United States Government is to protect the sovereignty of its borders and the security of its citizens. Outsourcing military operations to private corporations represents the first and most serious violation of the primary duties of this government. The reason is because it is only in government that citizens exert democratic control, and it is only through the ultimate use of legitimate authority (force) that they defend that. To outsource this into private hands represents a huge threat to democracy, because those private entities are not beholden to the same constitutional mandate as the government.

    In short, we are getting dangerously close to a point where a military coup d’etat would start to look like a reasonable alternative in order to reverse the wholesale theft of our country to multinational corporate interests. We are in uncharted waters here, people, this is scary.

  5. Aggie Dude Says:

    The first mission of the United States Government is to protect the sovereignty of its borders and the security of its citizens. Outsourcing military operations to private corporations represents the first and most serious violation of the primary duties of this government. The reason is because it is only in government that citizens exert democratic control, and it is only through the ultimate use of legitimate authority (force) that they defend that. To outsource this into private hands represents a huge threat to democracy, because those private entities are not beholden to the same constitutional mandate as the government.

    In short, we are getting dangerously close to a point where a military coup d’etat would start to look like a reasonable alternative in order to reverse the wholesale theft of our country to multinational corporate interests. We are in uncharted waters here, people, this is scary.

  6. badnewswade Says:

    Service guarantees citizenship!
    (Do you want to know more?)

  7. Grouchy Says:

    The first mission of the United States Government is to protect the sovereignty of its borders and the security of its citizens. Outsourcing military operations to private corporations represents the first and most serious violation of the primary duties of this government. The reason is because it is only in government that citizens exert democratic control, and it is only through the ultimate use of legitimate authority (force) that they defend that. To outsource this into private hands represents a huge threat to democracy, because those private entities are not beholden to the same constitutional mandate as the government.

    I’m with you here.

    In short, we are getting dangerously close to a point where a military coup d’etat would start to look like a reasonable alternative in order to reverse the wholesale theft of our country to multinational corporate interests. We are in uncharted waters here, people, this is scary.

    Yes, this is scary. Of course, I was talking about a coup d’etat as a move to consolidate corporate power. I doubt it’ll ever happen because the present government already functions so well for existing interests. I’m actually inclined to view the U.S. government as the public relations sector of corporate power.

    I suspect there are more than a few Eisenhower-type military people who are thinking about the possible necessity of a coup d’etat to restore democratic order…

  8. Grouchy Says:

    The first mission of the United States Government is to protect the sovereignty of its borders and the security of its citizens. Outsourcing military operations to private corporations represents the first and most serious violation of the primary duties of this government. The reason is because it is only in government that citizens exert democratic control, and it is only through the ultimate use of legitimate authority (force) that they defend that. To outsource this into private hands represents a huge threat to democracy, because those private entities are not beholden to the same constitutional mandate as the government.

    I’m with you here.

    In short, we are getting dangerously close to a point where a military coup d’etat would start to look like a reasonable alternative in order to reverse the wholesale theft of our country to multinational corporate interests. We are in uncharted waters here, people, this is scary.

    Yes, this is scary. Of course, I was talking about a coup d’etat as a move to consolidate corporate power. I doubt it’ll ever happen because the present government already functions so well for existing interests. I’m actually inclined to view the U.S. government as the public relations sector of corporate power.

    I suspect there are more than a few Eisenhower-type military people who are thinking about the possible necessity of a coup d’etat to restore democratic order…

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Rico’s Roughnecks!!!!!

  10. Anonymous Says:

    gahahaha

  11. Incitatus Says:

    Ah, the Legion Étrangère, another perfectly useless French idea being mimicked by the dying Empire. What are the Russian (?) and Chinese(?) guys saying, anyways?

    Grouchy, I know nothing about “loving corporations”, I just really, really, like the free market (not that there’s much of it) and I probably hate Xe, Halliburton and the like more than you. Then again, these corporations owe their existence not to the free market, but to a direct pipeline into the arteries of the taxpayer, thanks to the power of the state.

  12. Grouchy Says:

    Grouchy, I know nothing about “loving corporations”, I just really, really, like the free market (not that there’s much of it) and I probably hate Xe, Halliburton and the like more than you. Then again, these corporations owe their existence not to the free market, but to a direct pipeline into the arteries of the taxpayer, thanks to the power of the state.

    I never said you loved corporations. You’re not the only free-marketeer on here–unless you’re the one making all the anonymous posts.

    All corporations, not just the military industrial ones we’re talking about here, owe their existence to the power of the state. Look up the definition of “corporation;” you’ll find this: “A corporation is a legal entity separate from the persons that form it.” A “legal entity” exits only within the framework of law, i.e. government.

    And not only are ALL corporations creations of government, none of them could function without governmental services and protection.

    In exchange for the market stability, protection, services and legal legitimacy that government provides to the corporation, the government has the power to regulate the corporation’s actions and tax its profit. (This makes perfect sense because the corp. is itself a creation of the government.)

    You’re right about there not being much of the “free market.” But you say you “really, really, like” it. This is confusing. You like something that doesn’t exist. Maybe we should say that you like the idea of the free market. Personally, I find reality a much more compelling place to concern myself with…I like the idea of social democracy, as it actually exists in Western Europe.

    In the end, I don’t understand why you keep defending both the corporation and the “free market.” In the real world, the two ideas are mutually exclusive.

  13. Grouchy Says:

    Grouchy, I know nothing about “loving corporations”, I just really, really, like the free market (not that there’s much of it) and I probably hate Xe, Halliburton and the like more than you. Then again, these corporations owe their existence not to the free market, but to a direct pipeline into the arteries of the taxpayer, thanks to the power of the state.

    I never said you loved corporations. You’re not the only free-marketeer on here–unless you’re the one making all the anonymous posts.

    All corporations, not just the military industrial ones we’re talking about here, owe their existence to the power of the state. Look up the definition of “corporation;” you’ll find this: “A corporation is a legal entity separate from the persons that form it.” A “legal entity” exits only within the framework of law, i.e. government.

    And not only are ALL corporations creations of government, none of them could function without governmental services and protection.

    In exchange for the market stability, protection, services and legal legitimacy that government provides to the corporation, the government has the power to regulate the corporation’s actions and tax its profit. (This makes perfect sense because the corp. is itself a creation of the government.)

    You’re right about there not being much of the “free market.” But you say you “really, really, like” it. This is confusing. You like something that doesn’t exist. Maybe we should say that you like the idea of the free market. Personally, I find reality a much more compelling place to concern myself with…I like the idea of social democracy, as it actually exists in Western Europe.

    In the end, I don’t understand why you keep defending both the corporation and the “free market.” In the real world, the two ideas are mutually exclusive.

  14. Grouchy Says:

    My last post here was a segue into our “profound discussion on ‘externalization of cost,'” Incitatus.

    You said:
    We can have this profound discussion on “externalization of cost” any time you ant it, in another thread. It’s obvious that business (and not only corporations, as you would have it) pass on cost to their customers: they’re not charities. It’s also obvious that negative externalities, by their very flimsy definition, are hard to measure and to account for, especially dealing with so-called common goods.

    Yes, “negative externalities” are often difficult to place a monetary value on. That is exactly why business needs to be regulated. Corporations’ actions must be scrutinized to make sure their effect is a net positive for society as a whole. Remember, they’re legal entities, and exist because of government, which in turn exists because of the social contract with the people governed. If you’re living in a democracy or a republic, this means the corporation exists only by the will of the people. In exchange for the legal legitimacy we grant to corporations, we the people are perfectly entitled to regulate and tax them.

    I absolutely agree that some things in life have no price tag. That is not the case with the time, knowledge and skill of a doctor or a university professor (the stuff you were referring too), unless they’re working pro bono, so to speak.

    Am I saying that doctors and professors shouldn’t be compensated for their work and expertise? No. Are you saying that a unskilled worker (or someone who’s self-employed or working multiple part-time jobs) doesn’t deserve health care or an eduction if the “market” decides that what they contribute isn’t worth much money? What about their children? I think we’ve already established that the “market” isn’t (and shouldn’t be) the only device used to give something value.

    What I’m saying is, that in a rich country, every person–regardless of what their profession is–should have health care, a social safety net and a university education (if they want it). It’s a legitimate part of the social contract in the modern world.

    The current system works quite well for the wealthy–in exchange for letting this system continue, we are certainly well within our rights to demand that the beneficiaries of capitalist economics have a portion of what they make used to provide for the common good.

    In western Europe, there’s an understanding that without this redistribution, there’d be a revolt and smashing of the government/corporate power structure. The business class surely doesn’t want that!

  15. Anonymous Says:

    we are certainly well within our rights to demand that the beneficiaries of capitalist economics have a portion of what they make used to provide for the common good

    No actually you aren’t. A person has a right to keep what they earn and they don’t need to help anyone if they don’t want to.

  16. Grouchy Says:

    No actually you aren’t. A person has a right to keep what they earn and they don’t need to help anyone if they don’t want to.

    Bullshit. Nobody really “owns” the earth or its resources. It’s a human conceit that is only sustained and legitimized by governmental force. Beneficiaries of capitalist economics wouldn’t be able to earn anything without the support and protection of the government. If a government is democratic, then the people get to decide on what terms they allow corporations to exist.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Grouchy,
    The government serves the people, not the other way around.

    And people do actually own things (well those of us that earn more then 30k/year). They are ours, not yours. If you want your own “things” earn them yourself.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    Grouchy,
    The government serves the people, not the other way around.

    And people do actually own things (well those of us that earn more then 30k/year). They are ours, not yours. If you want your own “things” earn them yourself.

  19. Grouchy Says:

    The government serves the people, not the other way around.

    I don’t think this describes reality, but it’s an ideal worth fighting for.

    And people do actually own things (well those of us that earn more then 30k/year). They are ours, not yours. If you want your own “things” earn them yourself.

    Wrong. You fail to understand the very basic structure of society.

    Propriety ownership is only maintained by force. If you didn’t have the government to protect your stuff, you’d spend the majority of your time sitting around guarding it with a gun (assuming you could maintain the industry to have ammo). And you could forget about being an absentee landlord unless you were able to establish some sort of feudal order. Conversely, if you wanted to talk your neighbors into helping you guard your stuff, you’d have to share it with them–but your head might explode because that’s socialism!

    Anarchy (an idea I’m willing to consider in a different time and culture) is often what libertarians and free-marketeers are really espousing. But anarchy and market capitalism are mutually exclusive–and libertarians are being either ignorant or dishonest when they don’t address this fact. An informed libertarian who is also a corporate apologist is the worst type of hypocrite.

    Go read a book about the “social contract.” It might be enlightening to ponder the legitimacy of any given form of government…

  20. Angelo Says:

    incitatus,

    1)Halliburton makes the US its bitch because the government is too “strong”?

    2)The US probably should copy France, but first we need to be educated.

    3)Copying Chile is a bad idea, and, predictably, has not worked out very well for the US.

    These points are all related, of course. The pattern is iron clad:
    Strong states have populations with higher standards of living and life expectancy, weak states are made into stooges for private interests and external pressures.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    There’s no laboratory test you can run on a soil sample that can determine which barking ape “owns” a particular polygon of land. You have to drag all the arguing apes into a “courtroom” and the “judge” picks one of the apes as “owner.” If the other apes don’t go along with it, special uniformed apes will shoot them.

    Your “property” is a social construction, and it depends on political support, including violence, from other people. Many of those people will demand concessions in return, above and beyond aesthetic appreciation of an abstract economic doctrine they don’t actually care about.

  22. Incitatus Says:

    Angelo,

    1) Would you call weak a government that starts unconstitutional foreign wars, based on flimsy and irrelevant “evidence”, before doling out those contracts? Perhaps we can agree on calling it dishonest.

    2) Would that copycat involve turning a blind eye or even reverting current American legislation if Accenture bribes foreign officials (hint: lokkup Allstom, Siemens).

    3) Unless you’re comparing Gitmo to Pinochet’s dungeons, I don’t know what you’re talking about. If you’re rehashing the same old harangue about “Chicago boys” in the 70s, that North American and Western Europeans love so much, I have to tell you you’re sadly misinformed about South America, like 99.99% of Americans, left or right-wing. I understand. Central Asia is so much more interesting than these backwards countries in your backyard.

  23. Incitatus Says:

    Grouchy,

    You went well beyond the call of online appatchik duty by posting the Wikipedia’s first paragraph on corporations. If you bothered to paraphrase it,though, you might have enlightened us on what the “legal construct” of a corporation (Sociedád AnĂłnima, SocietĂ© Anonyme, AG) really is, which is a way to limit liability of investors to the capital invested, and not other property laid out as collateral, in case things go south. Of course a corporation is a “legal construct”, just like an LLC is, or, for that matter, the Executive branch of your Federal government. The fundamental mistake you and a few anons make is to think that government exists in a vacuum before law. Otherwise, one could make the case that slavery, should there be enough support from the populace would also be a legitimate “social construction” erected into law.

    You’re also mistaken if you think socialism is about “sharing” anything. Socialism (mild form as in Sweden, or real deal as in the case of strong states that passed under Angelo’s radar, like Cuba or North Korea) is really about forfeiting everything and getting some crumbs back.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    Anarchy (an idea I’m willing to consider in a different time and culture) is often what libertarians and free-marketeers are really espousing.

    I cannot speak for libertarians or “free-marketeers”. I can tell you that conservatives espouse federalism. The federal government has very few in numerated powers; the rest are left to the states.

  25. Angelo Says:

    1) Milton Friedman said free markets undermine political control. The US is a weak state. That is why our government is bought and sold by private interests. This should be obvious to anyone.

    2)Copy France because they have better, longer lives than Americans. Again, should be obvious.

    3)Free markets undermine political control. That is Friedman on Chile.

    hope this helps.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    > I can tell you that conservatives espouse federalism. The federal
    > government has very few in numerated powers; the rest are left to the states.

    This is what they say, when it's convenient. But then whatever powers and functions they want the feds to stop performing, they then don't want the states to do either. Funny that.

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