The Hightower Report

Blackwater's Reward; and Who Benefits From Cloning?

BLACKWATER'S REWARD

If a gang shoots down 17 people, those gang members are headed to jail ... or worse. But if the gang belongs to a corporation, the perpetrators don't even get charged, and the corporation gets a multimillion-dollar government contract.

Welcome to Bushworld and the special treatment of Blackwater USA. Last fall, this notorious gang of privatized warriors was deep in hot water. The corporation, hired by the Bushites to provide security for state department officials in Iraq, fostered a culture of arrogance and violence, and some of its freelance Rambos had gone on a rampage at a Baghdad intersection, gunning down 17 civilians.

Outrage erupted, investigations were launched, justice was promised, and reforms were proposed. Six months later, however – nothing. Not a single charge has been filed against the gunslingers, and it is said that Blackwater itself will face no prosecution. Meanwhile, the Bush White House is working to kill a bill that would make such for-profit mercenaries liable for their actions in future cases.

All of this would be insult enough to our sense of justice, but now comes an outrageous capper for this sordid saga: The Bushites have handed Blackwater another contract to stay in Iraq. Crime does pay!

Even worse than the awarding of this contract is its rationale. The under secretary of state for management showed how badly Bush & Co. have mismanaged its war by flatly declaring, "We cannot operate without private security firms in Iraq." Excuse me? With all the might of the U.S. military deployed there, the administration is claiming that it can't protect its own diplomats without resorting to paying a corporate thug? The under secretary then added, "If the contractors were removed, we would have to leave Iraq."

If America is in that bad of shape, let's get out of there, pronto!

WHO BENEFITS FROM CLONING?

Once again, science marches on – trampling right over us in the false name of progress and efficiency.

The latest advance of science is the cloning of animals. "We can make every cow precisely like its progenitor," exult the lab techs working for corporate cloners. "This eliminates uncertainty in meat production, for every cut can be the exact same texture, taste, and composition. We have achieved the efficiency of the assembly line inside the animal itself!"

Yeah, well, what about the little oddity of cloned animals having a startlingly high propensity to die before birth or shortly after? What about the abnormal rate of birth defects and health problems that clones have? Do we really want our families eating that?

"Oh tut-tut," retort the clonists. "Don't you know that the Food and Drug Administration has now declared meat and dairy products from cloned animals to be safe? Don't worry, pal, the Bush administration has given the OK for meat and dairy corporations to market the cloned stuff to you – without even labeling the product as cloned. Trust us!"

Now I really am worried.

Besides – we are lucky to have an abundance of meat and dairy products with a wide variety of flavors and textures produced by unique environments, farmers, and artisans all across our country. Why would we give up all of that richness for a cloned uniformity that pushes our food supply from the creative hands of family producers into the labs and factory systems of corporate profiteers?

There is a useful Latin phrase that we all should repeat whenever corporate science and government team up to push another technological "advance" on us: cui bono, which means: Who benefits? Cloning has nothing to do with helping consumers, farmers, or the economy – and certainly not the animals. It's just another shortcut to concentrate profit and power in corporate hands.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Blackwater, Bush administration, cloning, corporations

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