Saturday, May 24, 2008

Staggering Corruption & Waste

The current Bush presidency is proving to be the most shameful in our lifetime as our nation caters to the accumulation of ill-gotten wealth. Whether it's board members of bankrupt lenders raking in millions while shareholders lose everything and taxpayers provide the potential bailouts, to corrupted equity and commodity markets, to the on-going war-for-profit in the oil fields, this administration is perpetuating crony capitalism at its worst.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The Pentagon cannot account for nearly 15 billion dollars in payments for goods and services in Iraq, according to an internal audit which members of Congress blasted Friday as a "shocking" accountability failure.
Of 8.2 billion dollars in US taxpayer-funded defense contracts reviewed by the defense department's inspector general, the Pentagon could not properly account for more than 7.7 billion dollars.
The lack of accountability of the funds, intended for purchases of weapons, vehicles, construction equipment and security services, amounted to a 95 percent failure rate in basic accounting standards, according to the report.
"We estimated that the army made 1.4 billion dollars in commercial payments that lacked the minimum documentation for a valid payment, such as properly prepared receiving reports, invoices, and certified vouchers," deputy inspector general Mary Ugone told a Congressional committee Thursday.
"We also estimated that the army made an additional 6.3 billion dollars of commercial payments that met the 27 criteria for payments but did not comply with other statutory and regulatory requirements."
The Pentagon also was found to have given away another 1.8 billion in Iraqi assets "with absolutely no accountability," said Congressman Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
"Investigators examined 53 payment vouchers and couldn't find even one that adequately explained where the money went."
Another five billion dollars spent on supporting the Iraqi security forces could not be properly traced, according to a November 2007 inspector general report.
"Taken together, the inspector general found that the defense department did not properly account for almost 15 billion dollars," Waxman said.
The disclosures sparked outrage among legislators and concern that US taxpayers are deeply vulnerable to massive waste and fraud in the Pentagon's contracting system.
"The report has new shocking details of billions of dollars of American taxpayer money unaccounted for and likely wasted, which should be a wake-up call to Congress and the (President George W.) Bush administration that the status quo is unacceptable," Democratic senator and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said in a statement.
"American taxpayers are picking up the tab for Iraqi ministries, coalition governments, US and foreign contractors, Iraqi security forces, and Blackwater and other US security companies," Waxman said.
"In one remarkable instance, a 320-million-dollar payment in cash was handed over with little more than a signature in exchange."
The Pentagon to date has been appropriated 492 billion dollars to support Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to Ugone.

Also read: What Every American Should Know About Iraq


Saipan Writer said...

Very well written. And awful.

SteeleOnSaipan said...

Thank you ma'am but I only wrote the first paragraph, the rest is a news article cut-and-paste.
Minus daily power outages, the Bush admin. really makes graft and nepotism here look pretty minor league doesn't it?

Lil' Hammerhead said...

So you're "on board" for Obama then?

Jeff said...

The one thing that made sense to me about the Right Wing is the fiscal conservativism that used to exist. Those days are long gone.

Check this one Randy:

SteeleOnSaipan said...

Thanks Jeff, that's the one I was looking for but couldn't find. I read that back when you linked it on your site long ago.

Still undecided on Obama, Lilian. For me, presidential elections are like basketball season, I'm into it at the beginning of the season, then once my team, or candidate (Ron Paul) in this case, gets eliminated, I couldn't care less until the playoffs, or the debates in this case. Also, I'm part of the broken record crowd that whines about how the electoral college system sucks, existing only to eliminate the grass-roots guys and force a two-person, big-party-only race.
I want to like McCain but just can't get warm and fuzzy about him and can't support an Iraq plan that doesn't include an exit strategy. My jury is still out on Obama but I'm glad that he will be the candidate over Clinton.

Honesty. I'll vote for who reeks the most of honesty. The forgotten H word.

Lil' Hammerhead said...

I heard a snippet of interesting news somewhere a couple of days ago. I think it was NPR, but I'm not positive. Anyways, it was about McCain's financing problem. Outside of all of the details of the serious straights he's in.. it was disclosed that through January 2008, Ron Paul was still outraising McCain 2 to 1 in campaign donations. Can you believe that? I'd think with that kind of money, he could plaster the networks with Ron Paul ads for months.. guess not.

KAP said...

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. Dwight Eisenhower

bigsoxfan said...

Happy Father's day, Randy. Hope you and lad enjoyed yourselves. Mark

Anonymous said...

SPAM sent before last election said...

Americans will soon take to the polls, each with a vision of Americas future, each with diverse views on strategies effecting economic growth and opportunity, prudent leadership, stable foreign policy, intelligence in international affairs, protections for human rights and personal freedoms, astute planning, and hope for our posterity. There is no question what each side represents, the only undecided is whose vision of America will carry the voter mandate. I thought it proper to analyze the two platforms and let common sense pass verdict on the present administrations performance.

Republicans will be supported by the affluent due to an economic theory that cutting taxes for the powerful will have a dramatic trickle down effect on the downtrodden of our society. Industry has invested heavily in blue ticket rhetoric as well because when you invest, one generally expects a return, in this case it would likely be in reduced environmental regulation, abridged rights, protections, and wages of the working class, and judicial branch protection. The Christian right is solidly in the republican camp, since the current president is a professed born again Christian that has promised support for prayer in schools, reversal of Roe vs. Wade, and is a crusader against gay rights. We can also add the ex- southern democrats under the elephant flag, even though they are predominately poor farmers and labors themselves, their bigotry runs too deep against African-American achievement of this generation to support the party of tolerance, opportunity for all, global awareness, environmental protection, and the architects of civil rights legislation. I think cowboys, gunslingers, and pro war activists will also vote republican.

Democrats will need high voter turnout for election success from the under privileged, urban ghettos, Appalachia, immigrants, minorities of all walk, contract workers, the elderly, field workers, union labor, Pacific islanders, middle income Americans disenchanted with the presidents war on terror, education and the well educated in general, the handicapped, and those Americans with English language deficiencies. Democrats favor one policy that alienates compassionate and moderate republicans, that they will tax the wealthy and corporations while increasing funding for social programs. They do not support deficit spending in government because the long-term effect of financing trillion dollar wars will widen the gap between rich and poor.

Let us first analyze the war.

Does anyone know why we moved against Iraq? Did we go there on the Presidents intelligence findings? Was it weapons of mass destruction? Was it revenge from 911? Was it to remove Hussein? Isn’t he dead? There was no clearly defined goal, reason for being there, or exit plan, not to mention the money. Historically, moving against a city is a bloodbath, so when the decision to make door to door war in Baghdad was hatched, it was either military ineptitude on the part of the commander in chief or a massacre. The death toll of Iraqi and Afghan children (13 and under) is nearly 100,000. This alone would rank Bush among histories infamous war criminals.

Why did we really move on Iraq? We set an example for other middle eastern countries to fear. Hussein was a brutal dictator using an absolute trade advantage with oil to advance his regime of Iraqi people. Do they have a right to charge us whatever they want for oil? Is the Middle East laden with natural resources other than oil? Should we invade every country with an oppressive dictator? Should we leave the brutal leaders that “play ball” with American business and this administration alone? This administration has entertained the thought of moving against Iran and what a storied past the republicans have with the former Shah! Commonsense tells me that America and the world would have benefited from a trillion dollars of our defense budget deficit being redirected toward alternative energy development.

Do you feel safer today? The answer is absolutely not. Given that the US has sent a quarter million people to meet their god, including 100,000 children, do you think America now has more enemies or less? History would confirm that blanket bombing villages will create more terrorists, not less. The Commander-in-chief’s brilliant idea of spending billions (or trillions) of dollars to scan airports is equally absurd and is the strategic military equivalent of putting a bubble over the mainland US to contain bird flu. Bush has recently bragged about the programs success since 911, but given the state of the union, surely he jest. The US has now dropped 1,500 tons(or 3 million pounds) of depleted uranium on Iraq, nearly half that inside the city limits of Baghdad! Use of depleted uranium has made Iraq a wasteland and their innocent children and citizens did nothing to deserve that, not to mention the exposed, uninformed US soldiers. This is clearly an egregious crime against humanity covered by Geneva and world history will have no mercy holding Bush and his supporters to blame. Our planet and all future life will suffer the consequences of this terrible decision. The president did not sign the Kyoto Accord after Al Gore orchestrated this vital environmental legislation. When Bush nixed signing, China followed suit, and thus, the president adds to his list of crimes against humanity

Who is fighting this war? The valiant and courageous American soldier is following orders and he has been handcuffed and put in harms way. The brave American soldier has been assigned the unachievable task of seeking out terrorists door to door in a metropolitan city, making him a constant and open target for sniper fire. The republican party is spouting propaganda to suggest they (meaning republicans, not soldiers) are the defenders of our freedoms. History would never not substantiate that. A closer look at history would prove the soldiers in the trenches, covered in blood, were poor intercity youth, the sons of farmers, factory workers, teachers, recent immigrants, and they were not the sons of senators that used their political connection to dodge service. There are over three thousand dead American soldiers, times three wounded, and countless exposed to DU.

Who is paying for it all? Bush inherited the first economic surplus in a half century. Bill Clinton inherited the first one trillion dollar debt and turned around the one trillion dollar debt into a surplus while expanding social services. The US is currently trillion in debt. China picked up 4.2 trillion of the note, making them the actual financier of record for Bush's War. According to the comptroller for the US (a Bush appointee) speaking in Texas October, 2006, he said the 8.7 trillion dollar debt could be 46 trillion within several years, and if that happens, the US would be the poorest country in world history. Americans have never experienced the runaway inflation that numerous other nations have. Can you imagine 40 dollars to 1 peso or 4,000 bucks for a Euro? Already the US doesn't provide health care for its citizens, the worlds only industrialized country with that distinction. The reason the US does not provide health care is due to the control corporations have on American workers and the gratitude republican officials are indebted to corporate America. Americans, for the most part do not have passports, so without national health care, are virtually chained to their jobs and few can afford the freedom to travel. The bottom line is that Bush has spent trillions of our dollars shooting buzz bombs at children when he could have used it so much more wisely.

Why would the administration cut taxes and finance social programs? So they can come back to our most uneducated voters and claim these programs are bankrupt, unfunded, and must be eliminated. I can not imagine cutting social security, aid to dependant children, educational scholarship programs, food stamps, and school lunches while cutting taxes for the wealthy.

How did Bush sell such a plan? First, he told his least worldly Southern and Midwestern voters that their problems were due to immigrants, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, gays, and the ungodly liberals. Secondly, he sent a message of fear throughout the US, the like of which has not been seen since McCarthy’s witch hunt for communists. Bush has terrified the elderly with tales that he is protecting them against terrorists at home and abroad. Why would Bush want to protect the elderly against terrorists, given his position on privatization of social security?

Do Americans hold prisoners without charging them of a crime? Does America torture the innocent and guilty alike? Do we condone torture in our behalf? The situation in Cuba and other CIA and military holding facilities is indefensible and makes the president again guilty of high crimes against humanity. In my America, even the most disturbed criminals receive fair treatment, proper representation, trials, and are never tortured. This is reminiscent of the Kings and Queens justice of the past and I can’t believe all Americans are not as outraged as I.

Are Americans mixing religion and politics these days, or perhaps confusing politics and religion? This fanaticism leads to prejudice and the central message of the holy scripture is peace, love, and tolerance. The last US presidential election was decided over gay marriage, prayer in schools, and abortion, and voters made a horrendous choice. The issue of gay marriage is not globally important to world affairs, who other people sleep with is neither my business or the governments. I would have no problem with prayer in schools if the beliefs of little children of all faiths and colors were respected and they were not intimidated by the majority. Most people who are “pro” prayer in schools are white conservative Southern or Midwesterners who assume the children are protestant. As a long time public school teacher, I think the freedom of religion should be respected and separated from schools as our wise founding fathers insisted. Abortion is a matter for the court, certainly not this president. This president has adversely impacted the balance of the Supreme Court though, and American freedoms will be compromised for a generation to come.

How can industry elect a candidate with a majority of working class citizens? It is a sad history of the world that still impacts many third world countries. Lie to the sheep and change the focus from their real tribulations to something other than their own economic struggle. The struggle of people throughout history has never been between the black and white, Muslims or Christians, it has always been between the powerful and the weak, or the rich and the poor. This administration has been cunning masters at disguising the worlds complex problems and selling the simple “traditional American values” plan. Could anyone tell me what these values are? We have a complex world and need talented leadership, not slogans and deceit.

Who carries corporate Americas message? Americans have been plastered with GOP propaganda from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and FOX News. While the never ending “war on terror” wages on, corporate America supports deceitful news reporting to pander hate and point fingers in every direction except the proper place. This media blitz has aliened our allies abroad and left a black eye on our character that will take generations to heal.

Has this president protected your freedom? We Americans have a conservative history. Throughout the 19th and the early part of the 20th century, the American workers were sheep. US television was previously censored by the FBI, CIA, and US military. The only reason we know this fact is because the cultural revolution of the 60’s and 70’s spurred progressive change that passed civil, voter, and women’s rights, not to mention the Freedom of Information Act, which empowers individuals to monitor their government and public officials. The republican party not only opposed the Freedom of Information Act, but they imposed the Patriot Act, which gives the president broad powers of surveillance and espionage against our civilian population. In my America we encourage diverse opinions and respect dissident thought, we do not persecute minority ideas.

Do you think the president is a Christian? He says he is. The president has earned countless votes boasting that he is a born again Christian. This is the most shameful claim and political ploy I have ever heard and this president is not only a shameless liar, he, his vice president, and their cronies have profiteered on the blood of innocent. Do you really think this regime will be welcomed by Jesus at the Pearly Gates of Heaven? I do not! The assault on Iraq was an act of vengeance, greed, and abuse of military and political power, and vengeance, according to my understanding of the scriptures, does not belong to George W. Bush.

Would 911 have taken place if Al Gore were elected president in 2000 (a completely separate charge of unethical election misconduct and obstruction of justice)? None of us will ever know for sure. The tragic conspiracy was meticulously planned and order given to proceed after the ill fated election. I have never been convinced this attack was on America as much as on this corporate regime.

Lately, republicans are sarcastically asking what suggestions or strategies democrats have in Iraq, implying that there is no answer for their current chaos, so why not stay with futile leadership of the past. I think we do have an option.

When this country needed leadership the most, we elected instability. When our planet needed an environmental protector, we supported a callous man without vision or wisdom. When humanity needed solutions for a better way to distribute our worlds limited resources, the people found no conscious or mercy. When the world needed someone to tear down walls of prejudice, religious fanaticism, and nationalism, we found a tyrant whose actions warrant justice.

If a newly elected United States Congress impeached the president and he was internationally tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity, I predict the Islamic world would give up Bin Laden and Al Qaeda would lay down their arms. Can you imagine the feeling of fairness the families of incinerated and disabled children in the middle east, the entire international community, and families of dead and maimed American soldiers would derive from Bin Laden, Hussein, and Bush squirming on the same gallows? I would call that common sense and justice, American style.

Saipan syndicate said...

ps NMI Lt Gov Tim Villagomez was arrested in NY Sat by federal authorities.