Monday, February 25, 2008

Outsourced DHS contracts are just plan theft

First there was Iraq, then aid to Katrina reconstruction contractors (Note: I did not say residents, or former residents, of New Orleans because they did not received much aid from DHS) and now we have the border fence along our southern border.

This article in the Texas Observer is primarily about the rather selective methods that the contractors working out of the SBInet office of the DHS are using to determine where to put the fence. It seems the ideal locations for the fence have more to do with the net worth, and political connections, of the land owner than any other possible rationale.

But the article also states that all of the money allocated to build the fence, is being handled by a DHS office called SBInet. SBInet is described in the article as
a consortium of private contractors led by Boeing Co
which includes the following private contractors
DRS Technologies Inc., Kollsman Inc., L-3 Communications Inc., Perot Systems Corp., and a unit of Unisys Corp.
That sure is a funny way to described a government office, a consortium of private contractors.

Henry Waxman, chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has this to say about the SBInet project.
"As of December, the Department of Homeland Security had hired a staff of 98 to oversee the new SBInet contract. This may seem like progress until you ask who these overseers are. More than half are private contractors. Some of these private contractors even work for companies that are business partners of Boeing, the company they are supposed to be overseeing. And from what we are now learning from the department, this may be just the tip of the iceberg."
"virtually every detail is being outsourced from the government to private contractors. The government is relying on private contractors to design the programs, build them, and even conduct oversight over them.”
This is government the Republican way. ( I should note that many Congressional Democrats are also firmly in support of the privatization of our Government) It provides very little in the way of services to it's citizens, protects the interests of the rich, and is a spigot that can be turned on to let our treasury be drained into the hands of campaign contributors.

If you question whether these programs don't deliver the services they are set up to provide. This project is being funded by the Secure Fence Act which passed in 2006. The bill
mandated that 700 miles of double-fencing be built along the southern border from California to Texas.

On August 10, 2007, Chertoff announced his agency would scale back the initial 700 miles of fencing to 370 miles, to be built in segments across the southern border. Chertoff cited budget shortages and technological difficulties as justifications for not complying with the bill.

Now that is efficient. Chertoff is not talking about spending less money. DHS will use all of the money appropriated by the bill they will just deliver half the product. If you define efficiency as siphoning off public money to private individuals and corporations with the least amount of effort, than DHS is the most efficient branch of government we have. Congrats to Chertoff on his perfect implementation of the Bush Administrations goals.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

More proof that McCain is Bush all over again

John McCain is trying to opt out the spending restrictions that he agreed to when he opted into the Federal public financing system last fall. TPM has a complete run down of the details.

The problem is that the head of the FEC has ruled that since he used the public financing as collateral for a loan he is bound by his spending commitments until the general election. The general election starts for Mr. McCain after he is officially nominated as the Republican candidate at the Republican convention.

Mr. McCain's response is one that you would expect from our current President. He does not like the verdict so McCain claims he is not bound by the decision since it is just one man's opinion. We can call this the McCain principal, it will extend the Bush principal of Presidential prerogative to Presidential candidates as well. According to the Bush principal, the President, and any member of his executive branch, can legally do any thing it wants as long as a member of the Justice Department writes a legal opinion stating that the said activity is legal. I'm sure that McCain has some member of his legal team writing an opinion right now that states that McCain can tell the FEC to take a flying fuck. So McCain, as a Presidential candidate with a legal opinion in hand is free to break the law with impunity.

Odds are that if McCain becomes President, the lawyer writing this opinion will be our next Attorney General.

It is truly ironic that the law he wants to break is one that his maverick alter ego passed. But, that was only supposed to apply to others, not this exalted "straight shooter".

I truly hope that the FEC runs his sorry ass through the ringer. But, more importantly I hope the American electorate sees him for the fraud he is, and does not elect him President. I do not much faith that a Democratic President will repeal and/or rollback many of the executive excesses of the current President once they have the power to use them. But, this incident shows that McCain will have no compunction against using these new powers to the fullest, and will expand them where possible.

If our laws are to have any meaning at all, this shit has got to stop.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Deep Peets Coffee Thought of the Early Mourning, er, morning

Hillary has become the John the Baptist figure played out ironically even as the Black Jesus dons the crown of thorns -- awaiting persecution and crucifixion by the Repuglicans and racist amurika.

Hillary -- the Sign, the First Apprehension -- lays groundwork for the Woman Messiah to triumph in the future. And who will the goddesses send? Donna Edwards? There's a day's worth of poetic thought...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Olbermann speaks the truth, again

Olbermann hit another one out of the park with last nights Special Comment.

He not only rightly called President Bush a fascist, he called on us not to fear Bush or his idle threats. He pointed out that Bush threatened to, and in effect did, veto a Protect America Act extension because it did not include immunity for the telecoms. As Bush was vetoing the House bill he claimed that to not extend the law and to let it expire would put countless American's lives in danger. So, if Bush is to be taken at his word, then he, Bush and Bush alone, is perfectly willing to put American lives at risk to protect the telecoms.

What does that tell you about the man which claims to be the leader of the "free" world.

Thank you Keith, it's good to know that there is at least one person on television who is willing to tell it like it is.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

You guys wouldn't've been carrying a nuke with you by any chance?

"Two employees of Pakistan's atomic energy agency have been abducted in the country's restive north-western region abutting the Afghan border, police say."