While Duncan and Obama continue to tout the $4.35 billion Race to the Top fund as a historic piece of legislation, the US Department of Defense doled out up to $12 billion in defense contracts on December 24th, 2009 for "a tailored logistics support program for fire and emergency services for military installations" located across the United States. Here's the announcement of these Christmas Eve contracts, courtesy of Defense.gov.
Okay, okay - so the money is going to fire and emergency services programs, which is far more benign than most of the projects funded with our massive military budget. How about these projects?
- $168,700,000 for the H-60 weapons system.
- $159,500,065 to Raytheon for the Block IIA Standard Missile 3 cooperative.
- $17,607,407 to General Dynamics Land Systems to convert some tanks for Saudi Arabia (wouldn't this money be better spent on, say, the Detroit Public Schools? GDLS is located in MI).
- $14,592,978 for "air terminal ground handling services at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy and Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy." This contract could run as high as $124,866,662. In Italy.
- $317,966,076 to Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.
- $175,376,000 for 400 mine-resistant ATVs.
- $163,800 to Sikorsky Aircraft Corp for four anti-submarine/anti-surface warfare jets.
- $266,055,622 for Predator/Reaper drones, which have been used in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
- $263,581,484 to Boeing for the C-17 weapons system.
- Up to $750,000,000 for construction projects in Washington.
And those are just ten projects among many that have been awarded by the military-industrial complex in the last month alone (you can see plenty more here).
Between the massive bailouts for Wall Street and the truly obscene military budget, it's no wonder the public schools are starved for resources, roughly 50 million Americans go without healthcare, unemployment hovers around record levels, and childhood poverty is on the rise.
The silence is deafening; organized opposition is nowhere to be found. The truly progressive - those willing to stand up for a national agenda that puts education, peace, children, and healthcare first - are fragmented, dispersed, and crushed by the agenda of Obama and the Democrats (or they're already so overburdened by the day-to-day grind of teaching, providing health services, or working to craft a better world that political actions and community organizing just don't happen). We're supposed to cheer on the President as he sends more troops overseas (is Yemen next?), we're supposed to compete for a slice of $4.35 billion in competitive grants for education, and we're supposed to shut-up about single-payer or a public option in healthcare? Please. Even the most optimistic and Hope-drunken must have expected more.