Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A TV Ad Honoring Our Soldiers Is a Travesty

And it’s enough to make one retch when you know what and who is behind it. First, it talks about how all the people in the armed forces and particularly those who have died ensuring our freedoms are always in the hearts and minds of the sponsor of the ad. Okay...that sounds very upright and righteous. But the sponsor of the ad is Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin is owned by the Carlyle Group. The Carlyle Group is the biggest war-profiteer the US has ever known. And if you don’t know about the Carlyle Group, read the Ratbang post of May 15th.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Good Job, NY AG Cuomo, But It’s Just a Start

This morning, the New York Times reports that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s inquiry into the Carlyle Group’s shenanigans in public pension funds will end because the Carlyle Group has agreed to pay a $20 million settlement and make broad changes to its practices in order to end the inquiry. Need we say that the Carlyle Group’s practices of bribery, extortion and war-profiteering have been farshtunken for years and all persons connected with The Carlyle Group are lucky they are not in jail. Chief Person-of-Interest, of course, being Dick Cheney. Let me reprint a Ratbang column from Sunday November 21, 2004. It was titled: “Is It Okay That the Carlyle Group Owns the GOP? Filmmaker Michael Moore (Fahrenheit 9/11) and author Craig Unger (House of Bush House of Saud) have fully documented the number of government officials--present and former--who are involved in the management of the Carlyle Group and that the Carlyle Group runs the United States. But let me recap, in case you’ve forgotten. The Carlyle Group provides investment capital for companies, it is the brains behind management-led buyouts (MBO’s) and it pimps the sales of weapons between defense contractors and governments all over the world. Its directors and advisors have been former President George Herbert Walker Bush, former UK Prime Minister John Major, former US Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci (now Chairman Emeritus), former Jimmy Carter policy adviser, David Rubinstein (now Carlyle managing director), former White House chief of staff, James A. Baker, former head of the Office of Management and Budget Richard Darmen, recently resigned Secretary of State Colin Powell, former head of the SEC and the American Stock Exchange, Arthur Levitt and the ubiquitous Bin Laden brothers. This is disturbing because anyone connected with the Carlyle Group is in a position to profit from its weapons contracts between companies like Halliburton and the US government (and other governments). Not to mention the ugly thought that shareholders and directors profit from medical supplies of anti-chemical warfare inoculations which are pimped between manufacturer and the US government by the Carlyle Group. It was the Carlyle Group that acquired Caterair, a catering company for airlines. And it was David Rubinstein who talked to Caterair about a ne’er-do-well rich kid whose name would be an asset for Caterair’s management. The rich kid was George W. Bush. The kid never did anything for the company but tell bad jokes, goldbrick and collect a salary. Finally Rubinstein told him he should probably find another career. But the Bush name has never done the Carlyle Group any harm. And the rich kid did find something else to do. We can thank the Carlyle Group and Daddywarbucks Bush. Throw a dart at the map and you will find a Carlyle Group company in that region distributing arms, selling weapons, buying defense companies and in general, affecting the economy and safety (or ensuring the lack thereof) of that region. The Carlyle Group effectively runs the GOP and GOP policy. And it is not Okay. It is monstrous and it is corrupt. War is just another business to the Carlyle Group, but war is its biggest profit-making business. And the business of war is putting a lot of money in GOP pockets. The Big Three is not George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Condi Rice. The Big Three is Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and the Carlyle Group.” And from Ratbang’s January 29, 2005 post: GOP Bows to Carlyle Group, USA Screwed (Again). "Yesterday, the Lockheed Martin Corporation, whose web site calls itself “an advanced technology company” beat out Connecticut-based Sikorsky Aircraft for a $6.1 billion Navy contract for 23 security helicopters for the President's presidential fleet. So what...that’s business. The so what is that Lockheed's partners are based in Europe and the main transmission, the rotor blades and several other components for the helicopters will be built in Europe. The so what is that the Bush administration has out-sourced a six billion dollar contract to a company that has never built a helicopter in its long defense contract life. In January, 2004 Sikorsky proudly announced its bid for the helicopter contract. Sikorsky listed its “all-American team” and said, “Our company has a 45-year track record of safe and outstanding service to the President of the United States, and these are the American companies we have selected to help us extend that record for another generation." Sikorsky Aircraft has built the presidential fleet since 1957. Ah yes, but Sikorsky didn’t count on the clout of The Carlyle Group. Some of the most powerful figures in Washington have worked for The Carlyle Group, including former Secretary of State James Baker, former President George H.W. Bush, former Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci and former FCC Chairman William Kennard. The Center for Public Integrity investigation into Department of Defense contracts found that the Carlyle Group, a Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm was the ninth largest Pentagon contractor between 1998 and 2003. The Carlyle Group doesn’t manufacture anything. It offers no services directly to the Pentagon, and has no defense contracts. It manages investments. According to its web site, it has more than $18.9 billion under management from 600 individuals and entities in 55 countries. The Carlyle Group was founded in 1987 when it began investing in defense and national security companies. By taking over companies with billions of dollars in defense contracts, it became a top US military vendor. After September 11, it cashed-out many investments when the price of stock of defense companies rose. The Carlyle Group also made huge profits from the defense buildups for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It other words, the Carlyle Group is a war profiteer. It was former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci (Carlyle Group managing director from 1989 to 1993 and chairman from 1993 to 2003) who made the small private equity firm a mega-force among defense contractors. It’s interesting that Carlucci and Donald Rumsfeld went to college together. And here’s some dandy info about the Carlyle Group’s Thomas A. (Tom) Corcoran, straight from the Carlyle web site. “Thomas A. Corcoran is a Senior Advisor to the aeropsace and defense group. Mr.Corcoran assists Carlyle in developing strategy and identifying investments in Washington, DC. In addition to his role as a Carlyle Senior Advisor, Mr. Corcoran is President of Corcoran Enterprises, LLC, a management-consulting firm. Prior to joining Carlyle, Mr. Corcoran served as President & Chief Executive Officer of Gemini Air Cargo where he led a successful business restructuring. Before Gemini, Mr. Corcoran was President and Chief Executive Officer of Allegheny Teledyne Incorporated. Prior to that, he was President and Chief Operating Officer of Lockheed Martin’s Electronics Sector from 1995 to October 1999. Prior to the 1995 merger of Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta Corporation, he was President of the Electronics Group of Martin Marietta, a position he assumed in 1993 following the sale of GE Aerospace to Martin Marietta. He began his career in 1967 at General Electric Company where held various senior management positions. He joined GE Aerospace in 1983 and, in 1990, he was elected as corporate officer and rose to the number two position as Vice President and General Manager of GE Aerospace Operations.” Thanks to investigative reporter Leuen Morel, a wonderful factoid appeared in the San Francisco Bay View on November 7, 2004. “Lockheed Martin Marietta is 70% owned by the Carlyle Group”. The stench coming out of the Bush administration is becoming overpowering. This latest collusion between the Carlyle Group and the Carlyle-bought-and-paid-for GOP would be beyond belief if the proof weren’t so blatant and damning.” UGH! And Double-UGH!! So...way to go, Andrew Cuomo, but the mother lode is still under the surface.