Last week, the Pentagon signed the largest contract yet for America’s most expensive weapon, the Lockheed Martin F-35.
Despite being rated by critics as one of the “5 Worst Fighter Jets Ever Made,” and suffering huge cost overruns, the Pentagon will take $34 billion of taxpayer money to buy some 500 stealth F-35 jets.
Playing middle man for the military-industrial complex, the Pentagon agreed to also broker deals to sell some of the jets to other countries.
A spokesperson for the Pentagon, ignoring the facts of operational failures and huge cost overruns, stated, “This agreement represents our continued commitment to reduce F-35 cost aggressively, incentivize Industry to meet required performance, and deliver advanced capabilities to our warfighters at the best value to our taxpayers.”
Following the announcement, Lockheed’s stock rose 1.3 percent.
No “Power” to the People
While the American military budget keeps growing – from education to health care, from income to infrastructure – the nation keeps sinking lower.
For example, regarding the nation’s infrastructure, beyond pot-holed streets, deteriorating bridges, rotting highways, and third-world rail systems, wildfires continue to destroy hundreds of thousands of acres in areas of California.
Absent from most of the coverage of these massively destructive, year-after-year fires that killed hundreds, destroyed thousands of homes and buildings, forced evacuations, and ruined the lives of those who have been devastated from all they lost… the primary cause has been admitted but not addressed.
Combined with extensive droughts and high winds, sparks from poorly maintained, antiquated, above-ground power lines, mostly built in the early part of the 20th century is the cause.
Rather than addressing the above-ground power line issue, which will cost hundreds of billions to rectify (burying power lines and updating equipment to lessen the chance of additional fires breaking out), the utilities shut down much of the regional grid leaving about three million customers without power.
Back in 2013, despite a major drought increasing the chances of major fires, federal regulatory filings reveal PG&E, the most criticized energy supplier, continued to delay repairs and upgrades on older lines considered the highest risk.
In fact, California officials traced the cause of last year’s wildfire that destroyed 90 percent of the town of Paradise, killing 85 people and 19,000 buildings burnt to the ground, to faulty power lines originally built in 1921.
Over the summer, PG&E reported it had found nearly 10,000 serious defects in its 8,500 miles of power lines and transmitters, including broken circuit parts and damage due to corrosion.
Moreover, the CA State Utility Commission is reported to be understaffed and lacking the proper technologies to monitor the state’s power lines.
The commission is only willing to issue fines to utilities that do not meet proper safety standards after a problem has already happened, and then it takes years for the fines to actually get collected.
An attorney representing fire victims said, “When you’re looking at areas that look like they’ve been bombed in a war zone, and to know that can be prevented with enforcement and oversight, it’s widely upsetting.”
As of last weekend, at least 13 wildfires were burning around the state.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Among the excuses given for not burying power lines in California are earthquakes. It should be noted, however, that sewer and water lines are buried underground.
In reality, it’s the cost factor that targets the corporation’s bottom line, since throughout the U.S., in earthquake zones or not, power lines dominate the landscape.
Again, beyond this one issue, the U.S. total infrastructure is in deep decline.
Among our solutions to help repair it, is to “Occupy Peace.”
One of the key platforms of our action plan is to bring home the 200,000-plus troops based overseas and put them to work rebuilding America’s decaying infrastructure.
Giving the skills that are in short supply and well need, our “Troops Progress Administration” will be the 1930s version of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
Check out this cool song about the WPA by Louis Armstrong &The Mill Brothers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfIXFIImw7g