Olympics As Corporate Feeding Trough

by lizard

It’s almost time for the Olympics. The missiles are positioned on rooftops, and the final price tag for London is only estimated to be 107% over budget, at 13 billion dollars.

Hmmm, I wonder if anyone might be a little peeved about that?

Security forces are busily militarizing the urban terrain. Olympics security officials recently unboxed the military-grade Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), an eardrum-shattering weapon that has been war-zone tested in Iraq. There are plans to station surface-to-air missiles on the roofs of London apartment buildings. The Royal Navy’s biggest warship will sit along the Thames. Typhoon jets and Lynx helicopters will be ready for action. Scotland Yard has stockpiled more than 10,000 plastic bullets. Police are constructing mobile stations to facilitate swift bookings. And “dispersal zones” have been set up where police can freely ban anyone they deem to be engaging in antisocial behavior.

None of this comes cheap. Londoners were told that the Olympics would cost £2.4 billion. Projections that include ballooning infrastructure costs are now looking at £24 billion, ten times the original bid’s estimate. They were told that the games would be funded with a “public-private partnership,” but the “private” end is now picking up less than 2 percent of the tab. In such an atmosphere, protest is inevitable, but the people coming out on July 28 are angry about more than militarization and debt. There are other issues drawing people into London’s privatized public square.

Olympics sponsorship has become a full-throttle, corporate cornucopia. London Games sponsors include icons of health and fair play like McDonald’s, British Petroleum and Dow Chemical. In the name of good health, McDonald’s is handing out “activity toys” for kids to play with after munching down their Happy Meals. BP is—no joke—an official “sustainability partner.” Dow Chemical’s prominent presence is a slap in the face to London’s large South Asian population, given the notorious gas disaster in Bhopal, India, that killed more than 20,000 people and left hundreds of thousands more suffering in its wake. In 1999, Dow Chemical merged with Union Carbide, the US firm responsible for the Bhopal nightmare.

Obscene. While the global economy continues its anemic stumbling, 98% of this insane cost is being extracted from the public of London.

Good thing Mitt saved this corporate pork project, so it could keep sucking down public funding in perpetuity, right?

Speaking of Mitt the savior, why was it these games needed saving in the first place? Oh yeah, because the fact the IOC was comprised of a bunch of corrupt assholes was bubbling to the surface.

I don’t think the Mitt as savior of the Olympics narrative has received a direct offensive yet from the DNC during our corporate games presidential election, but it will. In the DNC spot below, be sure to listen to John McCain rant about the porky price tag. And then there’s Mitt himself. Priceless.

Yes, blowing 37 million dollars for the opening ceremonies of the Salt Lake games is the epitome of fiscal responsibility, is it not?

Anyway, while the UK and the EU preach austerity, London becomes the latest city to to enact a billion dollar lock down to keep London “safe” for corporate sponsors like McDonalds—who profit from poisoning people with what they pass off as “food”—to associate their brand with, ahem, health.

Mitt Romney saved the Olympics by using the corporate feeding trough American taxpayer, and while he was busy doing that, he was getting 100,000 dollars from Bain for doing absolutely nothing.

I’m amazed millions of conservatives are going to vote for this guy for president.

  1. evdebs

    The Olympics’ opening ceremony will be in eleven days, on the 27th, with some competition starting that early.

    The London Committee budgeted almost 300 billion paid to a for-profit prison operator to provide security. However, it has only hired about half the number of employees they need, they’ve given them only one week or so of “training,” and a substantial percentage of their new hires are apparently convicted criminals.

    I guess we can breathe freely now.

  2. Steve W

    The fact that millions of conservatives are going to vote for Mitt is even more surprising to me than the fact that millions of liberals are going to vote for Obama.

    In fact, I intend to never ever let the posting entity known affectionately, casually, and colloquially as Little Big Middling Yohanson Swede Whoever live it down.

    Liberals fought damn hard to nominate Obama over Clinton, and it was the right choice given the circumstances. And we kicked ass and we have zero apologies. Yeah!

    Conservatives fought to the bone to nominate anyone but Mitt. And they failed miserably except for a couple of burps and some gassing.

    Then again, Obama is half black and Mitt is pasty colored and rich. My guess is peoples votes are far more dependent on stuff like that, and far less dependent on policy. I mean, I guess you should ask Large Johnstanton Iggypop entity about missles, Olympics, and honesty because apparently he’s voting Mitt and I can’t for the life of me come up with any good reasons why except those.

    Mitt was the first to implement Newt’s Obama-care idea. Yet Humongous Norse Pugilist entity likes to vote for them (Mitt Newt) both, respectively, reportedly. Is that voting pleasure derived from a policy perspective? I think not.

    Because if we voted on policy nobody (OK 1% + the bribable) would vote for either Mitt or Obama. Seriously.

    What’s really important politically is I’d rather have a beer with Obama than with Mitt. Mitt doesn’t drink beer and I might feel uncomfortable, even if he wasn’t such a big asshole, which he is.

    Ok fine. I’d rather have a glass of orange juice with Obama than with Mitt. I’d rather play ping pong with Obama than with Mitt. Mitt is almost as unlikeable as Newt and he seems far less authentic.

    Newt can pull off right-wing-crazy while Mitt looks like he’s convinced he’s conning you effectively with his amazing techniques all the time no matter what he’s saying.

    Big Schwede Yahoosen will cast his vote for that guy Mitt, but he will pay for eternity on the intertubes because we will know what he did. Schwede will sell his soul to the New World Order aka Mitt.

    Sorry Inge, somebody had to tell you. Nothing’s for free. You should know better. If you trusted Ron Paul your party wouldn’t be committing suicide in slow motion.

    But see Liz, the Big Swedinski don’t know any better. Missiles Schmissiles are lots of grey and this election is really about black and white. That’s how so-called conservatives can vote for their plastic fantastic lover. That’s what my gut tells me. They will vote for a liberal over a black man every time.

    • Big Johansson

      If ya gotta live in someone’s head, live rent free.

      I look at this contest thru an old foreman’s eyes.

      The old foreman called in the new kid one day. He said, “Son I’m afraid we’ll have to let you go”.

      The youngster fired back, “Your just firing me cause I’m black!”

      The old foreman leaned back in his chair and said calmly, “We hired you cause your black, we’re firing you cause you ain’t worth a shit.”

  3. Dave Budge

    Lizard, I have a proposal for you. It’s easy to pick a single issue and claim that conservatives should vote for A because of X or liberals shouldn’t support B because of Y. It’s a much more difficult to look at a race and say for example: Here are the reasons conservatives should vote for Obama or here are the reasons progressives should vote of Romney.

    In modern rhetoric there is an often used test of one’s knowledge of how the other side views an issue. Bryan Kaplan calls this The Ideological Turing Test.

    Mill states it well: “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.” If someone can correctly explain a position but continue to disagree with it, that position is less likely to be correct. And if ability to correctly explain a position leads almost automatically to agreement with it, that position is more likely to be correct. (See free trade). It’s not a perfect criterion, of course, especially for highly idiosyncratic views. But the ability to pass ideological Turing tests – to state opposing views as clearly and persuasively as their proponents – is a genuine symptom of objectivity and wisdom.

    Up front I’ll admit that I often fail this test and fall to my biases and lazy stereotypes (something that is as rampant at ECW as it is here, IMHO).

    So, given that as a prerequisite, I think we should have an extended debate that frames the election as thus: Here is a reason why conservatives should vote for non-conservative X and here is a reason liberals/progressives should vote for non-liberal/progressive Y.

    Notice that this argument does not include reasons “not to vote for __” Those arguments are too easy and succumb to intellectual laziness. Arguers need to provide positive reasons for their ideological opponents to change their minds thus, by necessity, take The Ideological Turning Test.

    We could do between ECW and here.

    Whadday think? Game on?

    • lizard19

      I think that’s a fine idea, Dave, but I’d suggest Pete might be a better choice for something like that, because there’s no way I’m voting for Obama, so I’d be hard pressed to explain why conservatives should consider voting for him.

      what I wanted to show with this post is how the Olympics is a microcosm of the corruption that exists (set up to enrich corporate interests) and the proscribed fix when things go south is public money to the rescue!

      both candidates have records of deceit, and neither, IMHO, are trustworthy. not much of a choice, if you ask me.

      one of my problems in criticizing the positions of the right is the positions I go after are sometimes the caricature of the position, as messaged from the other side.

      for example, when I wonder how conservatives could vote for Mitt based just on this issue of the Olympics, I’m relying on the sloganeering that constantly expresses the right’s hatred of the federal government because of how it extracts and spends our tax dollars. from that perspective, I can’t imagine how Mitt’s “saving” of the Olympics can be seen as a positive reason for conservatives to vote for him.

      anyway, I’m getting out of dodge for the day for some much needed R&R, so I won’t be responding to comments until this evening.

  4. Dave Budge

    You’ll notice that I didn’t include either Obama or Romney and instead used X and Y but it would just be silly to think that we should stop our normal style when talking to our ideological allies when talking about say, vote for Gary Johnson instead of Romney.

    But that wouldn’t preclude me arguing why progressives might support Johnson over Obama or you arguing why conservative should support whoever the green candidate over Romney.

    And you surely could use The Turing Test to argue about anything. I just think that if were looking at an intramural Montana blogger debate we should kind of frame it under the left right Turing Test.

    It would offer us the opportunity to see if our conceptions of how the other side view things matches with reality. You know, we risk that we might actually get to know one another.

  5. Dave Budge

    And one more thing. I don’t think it matters who you would vote for. There still might be compelling arguments for me to say that liberals should vote for Romney even if I decide to vote for Johnson. Again, this is about trying to state an argument with your intellectual counterparts view.

  6. Montana could figure very prominently in November, not only by rejecting a Republican candidate for president, but as a state where Democrats will sweep the constitutional offices.

    Voters like lizard looking for reasons to go to the polls need only look to former NM Gov. Gary Johnson. He needs to poll at least 15% to participate in debates with President Obama and alleged felon: white, wimpy, wildly unpopular, Willard Romney.

  7. Big Johansson

    Tonight only at the re-education camp, Jonny Cashless!

  8. The first thing that The Great Leader did after he was elected was to try to get the 2014 Olympics for Chicago – except that the IOC wasn’t impressed, and voted Chicago down on their first ballot, despite Obamas divine appearance.

    Maybe he should have taken the teleprompter ?

    I don’t recall you blogging about that incident Lizard, so what gives ?

    • JC

      2014 Olympics? Huh… the 2014 Winter Olympics were selected for Sochi, Russia in 2007.

      Chicago would be a weird place to have Winter Olympics. Maybe they could build their downhill runs on some garbage heaps.

      Of course, Ima jes’ foolin’ ya, cause I knows you have a problem with factuals.

      And them there factuals would show you that Chicago was selected to the short list of four cities on June 4th, 2008 — 5 months before the election. So, Chicago made the first cut (which I suppose invalidates your claim they were cut in the first ballot, but who ever thought you’d get even that assertion right?).

      And so it would be during your man Bush’s term that all of the prep work on the Olympic bid would have been done. Final Candidature files were presented to the Olympic committee on February 11th, 2009 — just a few weeks after Obama took office, while the initial questionnaires were presented in January, 2008.

      But I understand your desire to propagate your Obama ascendency claims, as you really need something strong to whitewash the debacles of the Bush era.

      And as to your jab at lizard, he wasn’t even blogging for 4&20 in 2008-9, so how could he write about it? Again, don’t let the facts get in the way of building a pathetic strawman.

  9. Oh – I had a typo – the 2016 olympics.

    Apparently, Obama takes the Olympics very seriously.

    No strawmen – I simply put out here that lizard is willing to bash Mitt Romney for his Olympic efforts, yet ignore Obamas olympic aspirations and failure.

    • lizard19

      Eric, your attempt at redirection is pretty sad. anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows how much criticism I direct at the Obama administration, and subsequent flak I’ve received from the party faithful for doing so.

      the reason Mitt’s Olympics deserves scrutiny is the fact it’s one of his crowning achievements being put forward by his campaign for why we should elect him as president.

      if you would like to address this post, and Mitt’s role in the most expensive Olympic games up to that point, with Mitt celebrating how well he squeezed the federal government for our money, then please, go right ahead.

      for those on the right who miss no opportunity to peg the big spending label on Democrats, here is your chance to show that you’re principled enough to criticize your guy for big spending with American tax dollars.

      or, you could continue proving you’re just an unprincipled partisan by ignoring the substance of this post. your choice.

  10. ECB’s “Montana’s mini-Solyndra” offers a current example of corporate feeding at the public trough with plenty of potential to debate the full spectrum of ideologies relating to the “jobs/’green’-energy/GSE” issue. DOEnergy, DOAg and DOCommerce all have a piece of this action, and want much, much more. The local media and general public is clueless.

    Sadly, it received only one comment.

  11. Chuck

    I suspect that Mitt is scared to death of the Church seeing all of his tax returns for the past 20 years. Messina needs to be all over it.

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