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It's like Shangri-La for the corrupt. "Kid in a candy store" doesn't even do it justice; kids at least have parents telling them "no." But for a politically connected contractor in Iraq ... whew, these are the salad days.

Not only do you get to charge whatever you want, not only do you sometimes get paid in cool-looking bricks of millions of dollars worth of crisp American currency, but if you actually committed fraud and demonstrable corruption? You are off scot-free.

And, best of all, the ruling party in the world's only super-power: it's got your back. Follow me below the flip for a story I'm surprised didn't get more attention on the blogs, what I plan to do about it, and, at the end, an action alert on how you can help ...   

Mind-boggling Corruption

First, let's go back a bit and talk about the case of Custer Battles. That's a company that got some contracting to do work in Iraq under the CPA, originally. Then, they got busted, with a couple of whistle-blowers detailing schemes that included shell companies in the Caymans, over-charging, painting old Iraqi forklifts they found and leasing them to the US government as their own, and many other abuses. Here's a Newsweek story:

Yet when the two whistle-blowers sued Custer Battles on behalf of the U.S. government--under a U.S. law intended to punish war profiteering and fraud--the Bush administration declined to take part. "The government has not lifted a finger to get back the $50 million Custer Battles defrauded it of," says Alan Grayson, a lawyer for the two whistle-blowers, Pete Baldwin and Robert Isakson. [...]

Why hasn't the administration joined the case? It has argued privately that the occupation government, known as the Coalition Provisional Authority, was a multinational institution, not an arm of the U.S. government. So the U.S. government was not technically defrauded [...] "I'll bet you $50 they will not show up," says Richard Sauber, a lawyer for Custer Battles, which is still operating in Iraq.

Before we move on, I want to draw attention to that last sentence. They are still in Iraq! And the arrogance of the lawyer, the fact that he was so sure the government wouldn't show up, it's very interesting. Also, the administration arguing the technicality there ... remember that.

At first, the plaintiffs won the suit and Custer Battles was forced to pay $10 million in fines. Then ... well, let's fast forward to last week and let TPMmuckraker take up the story:

On Friday, though, a judge overturned the decision because he said it hadn't adequately been demonstrated that the CPA was an arm of the U.S. government. It was "principally controlled" and funded by billions in U.S. taxpayer money, yes, but "this degree of control did not rise to the level of exclusive control required to qualify as an instrumentality of the U.S. government," the judge wrote in his opinion. Because "it was created through and governed by multinational consent," U.S. taxpayers can't get any of their money back from war profiteers.

So the judge gave the exact same reasoning the administration was arguing "privately." What a coincidence!

But look at the effect of this: Iraq contractors are completely above the law. They can't be sanctioned for anything in the courts in this country. And what they have done is truly mind-boggling in the amount of sheer corruption that has just run rampant through the entire enterprise. From The Guardian:

Pilfering was rife. Millions of dollars in cash went missing from the Iraqi Central Bank. Between $11m and $26m worth of Iraqi property sequestered by the CPA was unaccounted for. The payroll was padded with hundreds of ghost employees. Millions of dollars were paid to contractors for phantom work. Some $3,379,505 was billed, for example, for "personnel not in the field performing work" and "other improper charges" on just one oil pipeline repair contract.

At the same time, the IAMB discovered that Iraqi oil exports were unmetered. Neither the Iraqi State Oil Marketing Organisation nor the American authorities could give a satisfactory explanation for this. "The only reason you wouldn't monitor them is if you don't want anyone else to know how much is going through," one petroleum executive told me.

It's not just sheer corruption; there's sheer war profiteering as well. Tammy Duckworth, running for Congress in Illinois, has reported that when she was in Iraq, some units couldn't sand-bag their own facilities because Halliburton had the "sand-bagging contract". The gall of those very words stops me for a moment. Halliburton would pay locals pennies to do that and charge the US Government (in other words ... you and me) for a full labor rate.

And all of this while the soldiers, the poor kids in the Army and Marines, the older soldiers in the Guard and Reserve, all of them got paid little to walk around in a war zone, sometimes without adequate body armor and driving un-armored Humvees. For a veteran like me, it's especially infuriating.

And the Republican government has actively blocked all efforts at investigating this in any way.

The committees responsible in the House, especially the Armed Services Committee on which my opponent (John McHugh) sits, have, to my knowledge, not held a single hearing on this matter. Every attempt at even holding hearings gets bottled up in the Rules Committee in the House. The corruption is so obvious and blatant, and the efforts to block looking into it so complete, it's hard not to get the feeling that it's deliberate.

We can fight back

So, I'm making a central part of my campaign a call for a new Truman Committee to investigate all manner of war profiteering and corruption, modeled on the famous Truman Committee of World War II. There have been efforts on this in the past, most notably in the House John Tierney's (D-MA) effort to introduce legislation establishing this type of committee (co-sponsored, it should be noted with true respect, by Jim Leach, R-IA, as well as about three dozen Democrats, iirc), efforts that met with a party-line dismissal (with the lone exception being Mr. Leach). Tammy Duckworth and Jim Webb have also announced support for the idea in this election session, and there have been efforts in the Senate.

Today I am calling on all Democrats to loudly join in this effort, to make this an important part of this election season. I will be working with the other Democrats running in the districts surrounding mine to convince them of this. This is too important (and, frankly, too potent politically) to be ignored. This is the purest expression of a government completely run amok, with absolutely no concern for the soldiers, no concern for our money, no concern for doing the job right. We can't get so caught up in the right-wing led argument of "what would Democrats do in Iraq?" that we forget the basic function of Congress: oversight. To that question, we can answer: we'll look for the truth and clean up the parts of the mess that we can clean up. And work to put a Democrat in the White House in '08 so we can begin to clean up the rest.

Sure, there will be opposition; Ike knew what he was about when he warned of the military-industrial complex. But sometimes, people just go too far, and all decent people need to stand up and say, "Enough." And, in this case, things are so blatant and wrong that I believe--in fact, I'm sure--Americans will be with us. We can stand up and demand accountability.

So, I'm asking for a few things from you, the community I'm happy to be a part of now: first, please write letters to the editors of the daily papers on my district. They can be short, just mentioning your concern over this issue and mentioning my support for a new Truman Committee. It'll help enormously to get this issue on the radar, and, as I said in my diary last week, it's difficult to pressure the media here to break the silence on this campaign. You can submit one to the Plattsburgh paper here, or do an e-mail distribution to that paper (, the Syracuse Post-Standard ( and the Watertown Daily Times (

Secondly, please contact your local Democratic representatives and/or candidates and tell them of your concern over this problem and call of them to make this a major issue. A big hurdle we face politically is the feeling among Independents that "they're all the same" and "Democrats won't do anything differently." If we all speak with one voice on this issue, we can demonstrate that, yes, Democrats will do something differently.

Because spending money wisely is not a partisan issue. Because making sure people follow the rules is not a partisan issue. Because not undermining court cases brought against corruption ... that's not a partisan issue.

This Congress has abandoned its responsibility for oversight.  Why - because they are afraid of what they will find. The Republicans have failed us all, they have given up the basic duties of government in a bonanza of corruption. This Congress has abandoned its responsibility for oversight.  Why - because they are afraid of what they will find. It's time we called them on it, put the case to the people in a way that is easy to understand, and ended this disastrous experiment in extreme right-wing governance.

{I'm Bob Johnson and I'm running against do-nothing GOP foot-soldier John McHugh in New York's 23rd district. Contributions and volunteers accepted from all over the country ... you don't need to be in my district to volunteer}

Originally posted to DrBob on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 06:10 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (219+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Manhattan Dan, Alumbrados, paradox, sj, Ducktape, c2shiningc, matt n nyc, grollen, eleming, laurak, ollieb, AlanF, Pandora, RunawayRose, ETinKC, cotterperson, LynnS, baracon, rhubarb, kdub, younggoodmanB, pseudomass, musicsleuth, bumblebums, mataliandy, exNYinTX, givmeliberty, dinazina, zeitshabba, sardonyx, dpc, RubDMC, km4, opinionated, bronte17, Athenian, rktect, howd, dlcampbe, pondside, sfgb, highacidity, chuckvw, boilerman10, buckhorn okie, vmibran, AaronS, high5, roses, BuckMulligan, javelina, Fe, Swordsmith, Boxers, Jesterfox, arkdem, celticshel, Boris Godunov, ends with space, wader, cathy b, athenap, psnyder, Moody Loner, Miss Jones, Eddie in ME, pat bunny, MTgirl, mad ramblings of a sane woman, Chilufya, hoolia, BMarshall, a lynn, NYFM, arb, Black Maned Pensator, Penny Century, Sychotic1, wrights, sgoldinger, snakelass, strengthof10kmen, 2dot, inclusiveheart, rosel, walkshills, zerelda, KayCeSF, Steven D, jcrit, Little Red Hen, DrewDown, rickeagle, homogenius, vacantlook, realalaskan, Gowrie Gal, SteveK, madaprn, Bluesee, kingubu, i love san fran, bellevie, Elise, docangel, mjd in florida, PBen, PsychoSavannah, sap, kamarvt, JohnB47, INDem, Simplify, crimsonscare, Bad Cog, Cake or Death, terrypinder, ChemBob, stitchmd, stagemom, Brooke In Seattle, Simpletonian, reflectionsv37, marathon, Ex Con, sallyfallschurch, truebeliever, concerned, Mr X, dunderhead, annefrank, BobOak, SheriffBart, bmaples, gkn, bayside, HiBob, wiscmass, sbdenmon, dsteffen, Cory Bantic, Rogneid, npbeachfun, jeffinalabama, thiroy, RiaD, taracar, Prof Dave, occams hatchet, Coherent Viewpoint, mspicata, Progressive Liberaltarian, esquimaux, snazzzybird, The Crusty Bunker, Taunger, highfive, ama, BlueInARedState, maren a, ActivistGuy, Starseer, rl en france, Yellow Canary, revliver, Boojum68, Wary, dennisl, abstractgecko, irishamerican, kck, greenearth, Alexandra Lynch, Silent Lurker, Christopher Walker, Lashe, imabluemerkin, BalkanID, MO Blue, CTLiberal, gabriella, myrealname, anniethena, Josh or Con or Both, Turbonerd, scoff0165, MadMs, Lew2006, Delta Overdue, Land of Lincoln Dem, henna218, Leap Year, OHdog, nilajean, Reel Woman, AmericanRiverCanyon, ignatz uk, sephius1, J Royce, Papa Joe, YD, Cronesense, Guy Fawkes, whl, possum, WryCynic, kml0331, suburi, gloriana, fairleft, gustynpip, operculum, voter for sale, ilex, DWG, crispycreme, stax, ERyd, Jon Ferguson

    I'll be checking in throughout the morning to answer comments. Thanks.

    •  Recommended! (20+ / 0-)

      Custer Battles has been out of control for a long while, as has Blackwater.  It boils my blood that they acted like outlaw cowboys in a "shoot 'em up" western in Iraq and continue to steal taxpayer dollars.  Not only should they be held accountable for each and every dime they wasted and/or stole, but whoever awarded them contracts should be held accountable as well.

      When you check back in, you may want to correct

      Mind-boggling Corrution

      Best wishes in your race!

      •  The Cheney/Bushco cabal are not responding?? (24+ / 0-)

        Lets take a guess here!  Could it be because Cheneys/Bushcos no-bid companies such as KBR/Haliburton/Bechtel commit the same fraud and missing services against our troops and the poor people in Iraq and Afghanistan?  My Staff Sgt son and his guys returned from their year in Afghanistan last month and they did not re-enlist or only extended because of the corporate corruption against our troops and the poor citizens. They gave up 20 year National Guard plans and most had joined well before 9/11.  They wonder where in the hell our congresscritters and media are with investigating our stolen tax-payer monies thru totally missing security,supplies,equipment and especially infrastructure repair for the poor citizens.  They wonder why Pakistanis gets so many of the sub-sub-contracted services vs. the deserving Afghanis and why they, also, get away with stealing everything off a truck or contract as possible.  They also, wonder why Rummy/Bushco got away with ignoring Afghanistan for 5 years and then started bombing civilian areas this spring which immediately turned the populace against our soldiers?  Many in our military gave up their long-term military plans due to Bushco corruption and War Crimes against the populace.  (My sons best friend is a Warrant Officer camped outside of Baghdad and his only mission is keeping his guys alive until they return stateside in November.  They accomplish nothing to help the Iraqis.)  Where in the hell are the War Crime and War Profiteering charges against this corrupt, chickenhawk Bushco administration?  Our military, our country and our foreign neighbors deserve both to begin repairing our honor and respect!

        •  Don't get me started on Blackwater! (13+ / 0-)

          Are any American tax-payers aware of the independent soldiers running around the world acting independently from military rules?  They also, recruit from our real military and some sell their souls for the five-time payscale!

          •  MJD (12+ / 0-)

            Your running on a whole new different set of issues.  The Rise of Private Militaries is what your talking about.  J. Cofer Black the CEO of Blackwater has now stated that his firm has the ability to conduct peacekeeping operations in places like Darfur.  He said that this past spring.  Corporations in the future will have their own "hired guns" to defend their properties.  They are already rampant in Iraq.  If the documentary I saw on BBC in the UK when I was on R n R leave was any indication some of these firms bill the US Govt. 500 US dollars a day for their services provided by "each" soldier/mercenary.  Just to let you know- someone of my low grade rank and position makes 133 dollars a day including war zone entitlements.  Where is the waste?  Come on now?

            Yes, I am the brother of John Laesch the man who dares to tip Denny Hastert out of his congressional seat this year.

            by Peter Laesch on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 09:40:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  $500 a day seems low (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ama, greenearth

              It is more than the $133 a day, but I was thinking it would be at least twice as much per day for the mercenaries.

            •  It's worse than that, bro. (8+ / 0-)

              Now, Cofer Black's idea ain't going to happen. For a number of reasons. But you will see versions of it entering discussions on how to handle peacekeeping operations. (The PMC industry is relabeling itself as "Peacekeepers")

              Blackwater also has the Pentagon's former IG on the board of the parent company. They are hooked up.

              But I do think we should distinguish between private security detail and offensive combat. PSDs in Iraq are not engaged in offensive combat. If anyone knows of instances of PSD used by the USG for offensive combat, I want to know about it.

              The biggest two problems in Iraq are:

              1. No military discipline or chain of command for contractors. They are in a war zone providing security without any oversight.
              1. Not only is there no oversight of actions by PSDs, there is no oversight of the contracts either. This is costing us billions of dollars and it DOES NOT insure proper delivery of goods and services.

              I would add the other major problem is domestic. This war effort relies in great part on the private sector and their ability to hire third country nationals from all over. I find something wrong with security companies and reconstruction companies hiring from all around the world to get this job done. If the US, as a democracy, is going to fight wars and hold taken territory, we should be doing it with our citizens. Why? Because this is the CHECK on the government's decision to go to war.

              Over 600 contractors have been killed in Iraq. A lot of them are not American, but we would have passed the 3000 mark already had they been soldiers. This is important. Ghoulish as it my seem, these numbers have a lot to do with public perception of the war. And in addition, the contractors there represent soldiers who ARE NOT there. Poliltically, could Bush have put another 50,000 troops over there?

              Contractors give governments leeway in their actions abroad, delay the public's perception of the action, and ultimately obscure the action. It also gives the Executive branch room to exceed the Congressional allotment of troops anywhere. Disturbs the balance....

              Proper contractor reform will have to involve the Congress, proper oversight and public transparency. This is why the Obama/Coburn bill is so important.

              ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

              by Tirge Caps on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 10:10:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Before the 2004 election, I listened to (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mjd in florida

                an audio of a female interviewing mercenaries from  Blackwater.  These folks were providing security for an airport, maybe in Baghdad.  They acted as if they were the "Boss Kings" in that area, bossing the soldiers around as well.  

                I can't recall exactly why the "gun battle" took place in or near a hotel, but it seems they were shooting at anything that moved.

                There was a discussion on the audio regarding the four mercenaries who were killed and whose bodies were desecrated.  The gun battle took place after that horrible event, and I think the mercenaries were fearful as a result of the incident and over reacted to something.  That's the best I can do considering my brain cells ain't what they used to be.

              •  Speaking of Obama/Coburn... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tirge, do you have any idea how that "secret hold" business is playing out? Is that eventually lifted or is a secret stay permanent?

                It's pretty clear they don't want the public getting a good look at the contracting Gravy Train. As bad as Iraq is, the same kinds of abuse are rampant throughout the entire GSA, GAO system.

                Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

                by The Raven on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 12:57:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Private contractors have been (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mataliandy, mjd in florida, RiaD, ama

                one of my pet interests since the conflict in Iraq began. Once I realized that Paul Bremer's personal guard was provided by Blackwater and not US military services I started to pay close attention to reports concerning them.

                There's an interesting interview with the head of Blackwater on the CBC radio program The Current here.

                I heard an interesting aside on the subject the other day on the CBC as well - sorry I can't remember what program so I can't provide a link. Someone was talking about how the US military presence is feeding the insurgency and the person being interviewed said that the military contractors are playing a big part in that for several reasons - mostly that they are perceived as being belligerent mercenaries with no accountability.

                There's probably more than a grain of truth to that perception.

                "Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence; Conservatism is distrust of the people, tempered by fear" Wm. Gladstone

                by lcbo on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 01:26:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Do we know (0+ / 0-)

                precisely how many contractors?

                were American?
                Because I have seen all of those nationalities over here as "contractors" or sub contractors....but those are not the mercenary types...mostly truckers...a good portion of them have been killed.

                Yes, I am the brother of John Laesch the man who dares to tip Denny Hastert out of his congressional seat this year.

                by Peter Laesch on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 04:33:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  my Jaw drops (3+ / 0-)


          the next group to be "bled" from the ranks is what they call the "mid-careerist" (someone with 6-10 years active time in service)

          Yes, I am the brother of John Laesch the man who dares to tip Denny Hastert out of his congressional seat this year.

          by Peter Laesch on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 09:42:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Blackwater has not had a single case of fraud (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TaraIst, mjd in florida, sap, ama, Wino

        against them.

        They are security operators in a war zone and they get great contracts. That should be investigated, as well as their conduct, but the difference between them and Custer Battles is huge.

        My understanding is that Custer Battles is not in Iraq, rather they are referring to Danubia. What's the difference? Not much. I think Danubia got kicked out too.

        The judge's ruling in this case will not hold.

        The justice department is 100% negligent in prosecuting fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan and it is criminal. The bottom line for this is, "Because they have excercised zero oversight, the troops and the taxpayers PAY for this, some with money, some with their own blood and lives."

        The Pentagon cut their auditing staff by more than 33% under the Bush administration.

        And last, Alan Grayson is running for Congress in Orlando Florida. Can we get some front page action for this guy?

        Alan Grayson is someone we want in the House.

        ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

        by Tirge Caps on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 09:33:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No Kidding? (6+ / 0-)

          The pentagon did this?

          The Pentagon cut their auditing staff by more than 33% under the Bush administration.

          Who needs auditing when the government can just print more money and bill your children and their children for their flush millionaire namby-pamby buttocks.

          Yes, I am the brother of John Laesch the man who dares to tip Denny Hastert out of his congressional seat this year.

          by Peter Laesch on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 09:44:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  To be fair, it started under Clinton's Admin (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TaraIst, javelina, RiaD

            But the problem is far more endemic than that: The federal oversight of contracts, not only in the Pentagon but across the government, has been eviscerated. While the amount spent on federal contracts during the 1990s increased, the government eliminated nearly half the federal employees who serve as buyers, auditors, and contract managers, including 230,000 such workers at the Defense Department alone. At the same time, the government's procurement and contracting rules were changed, removing many of the oversight requirements. "The rules and the way they were changed allow you to do almost anything," says Angela Styles, Bush's former chief of procurement policy. "People shouldn't be shocked."


            That was the first link I could find that explains it, but, yep, as the contracts have gone up, the auditors have gone down. My understanding is that the agency that took the biggest hit was the Defense Contract Auditing Agency.

            If anyone is familiar with the extent to which things changed from Clinton to Bush, I am interested. I have heard that the Bush Administration's changes were drastic, but can't find data on it.

            ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

            by Tirge Caps on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 10:26:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Truman commission (0+ / 0-)

      there are so many voters today that have no idea what a truman commission is and what it does
      I strongly suggest finding another name for the body that will be responsible for doling out some accountability.
      I unfortunately admit to being a "well-educated" man in my mid-twenties that knows nothing about Truman commissions, but hates war-profiteering.  
      Give me a handle to pick up, and I'll help you swing the hammer!

  •  huge issue (37+ / 0-)

    I was doing research for Bob for this; it's just disgusting the level of corruption. I was actually shaking with anger over it. It makes the worst banana republic look like Iceland or Sweden for corruption.

    It's shocking, and it must end. I'm so happy Bob is fighting for this. Here's a chance to really make a difference in the country.

    •  research (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mataliandy, marathon

      Any sources you used that you can point us to?

      Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself. --Marcus Aurelius

      by arb on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:28:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  related corruption- non performance for real work (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mataliandy, sap, RiaD, imabluemerkin, ERyd

      The Times front paged a story earlier this year on the oil pipeline which couldn't really be dug through the type of rock it was to go through, yet the contractor was told to dig anyways.  After many failed attempts costing hundreds of millions of dollars, the inappropriate drilling method was abandoned in favor of a more conventional drilling process.

      The Fatah project went ahead despite warnings from experts that it could not succeed because the underground terrain was shattered and unstable.

      It continued chewing up astonishing amounts of cash when the predicted problems bogged the work down, with a contract that allowed crews to charge as much as $100,000 a day as they waited on standby.

      The way the contracts were written, work was paid for whether it was successful or not.

  •  The lawlessness in Iraq is clearly rampant. (22+ / 0-)

    American tax payers are paying billions of dollars to line the pockets of hucksters and thieves.

    If you want to get your tax dollars back into your community you have two choices I guess.  Go to Iraq and scam it from the government or elect a Congress that will do its Constitutional duty and provide the necessary oversight.

    Elections do Have Consequences.  Just look at all the consequences of electing a majority of Republicans: War and Occupation in Iraq; a Federal deficity spinning out of control; loss of American jobs and lower wages; a lawless unchecked Executive Branch; corporate protectionism at the exprense of the average American; soaring gas prices; Osama Bin Laden is still on the loose and the only place we are sure he is not is Iraq and the sad list goes on and on...

    •  consequences (24+ / 0-)

      You're absolutely right about consequences.  Elections are not sporting events.  The Yankees lose a game - what do you do -- turn of the TV, leave the ball park.  Life goes on.  
      Lose your health insurance, lose your life.  Lose your job, lose your home. Can't pay heating bills, freeze. Yes, elections do have real consequences. What boggles me is how many think this is a sporting event and you continue to vote for your "team" no matter how much it let's you down. That's a major problem up here in the North Country.  Of course it doesn't help that there is some much intimidation up here.  People register Republican to get and keep jobs.  But that's another diary.

      •  I am sure that you know that (11+ / 0-)

        "Elections have consequences" is a GOP meme - which I happen to think that people like you running in GOP districts should hijack along with a list of what your opponent and other Republicans have brought to this country.  The Republicans are systematically bringing this country to its knees.  It is time for a change.  :)

        •  Elections Have Consequences! VOTE for a Change! (15+ / 0-)


          Absolutely -- in fact, I think we should ALL hijack this meme, and then beat them over the head with it.

          Here's the thing -- when a candidate or party comes up with a catchy slogan, it often takes awhile and much repetition before it's firmly associated with them.

          Like it? Hijack it! Grab it, turn it to yours, and beat them over the head with it. Do it before they have a chance to repeat it enough to where everyone thinks of them when they hear it, and then suddenly, they're repeating your talking points if it even passes their lips.

          In the advertising world, when you're making a media buy, you calculate your Reach (how many people will see the ad) and Frequency (how many times a "reached" person will see the ad). Thirty years ago, when there was a lower noise level, we figured that if you don't achieve a minimum frequency of at least than 3.5x, it doesn't matter what your reach was -- no one would remember you. Or, at least, no one would remember enough to    know whose ad it was.

          A lot of Republicans may have said "elections have consequences," in the past. It's nice because it is a truism, not just a manufactured slogan.

          And boy, DO they have consequences! So, this year, let's take this meme as ours ... and add one more thing:

          Elections Have Consequences! VOTE for a Change!

          America will never again be the land of the free... Until she again becomes the home of the brave.

          by Ducktape on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:00:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  People register Republicans to steal (13+ / 0-)

        You have done a wonderful job in documenting the theft of taxpayer resources in Iraq.  To that, you could add contracting theft during the Katrina disaster, attempts by Republicans like Pombo selling off public lands to developers and energy companies, and stealing from future taxpayers with massive debt generated tax cuts for the rich and idiotic uses of the military.  Republicans are the most successful organized criminal organization in our nation's history.

        •  Katrina - another big problem with GOP (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mataliandy, sap, RiaD, greenearth

          government strategies.  I found out last night that the Federal government has allocated the federal dollars to the state governments to administer.  Guess what?  The State governments are acting very slowly in allocating the money.  The Mississippi State Legislature just pased a block grant bill within the last few days to send the money to small towns along the coast after sitting on the money since January.  The GOP believe in sending money to states rather than making direct contributions to towns and cities that are in need.  They argue that the states are in a better position to identify problems - same with Homeland Security money - they allow the states to allocate the money.  

          This policy results in the kinds of abuses that we have seen both in the aftermath of Katrina and with Homeland security money.  It allows the politics of the state to interfere with the objectives of the federal grants which is always a problem.  It is time for Congress to start to take back their responsibility for overseeing the allocation of federal dollars rather than leaving it to the states in every case.

        •  Absolutely (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mataliandy, hoplite9, 2dot, RiaD, ilex

          these folks are the backbone of the Republican party. Say what you want about the religious right (the congregational leaders of which have acted in every way just as these mercenaries have, stealing whatever they can) but these mercenaries are the backbone of the Republican party.

          And it's not just the military mercenaries and the religious hacks, it's also those who run the debt industry who are profiting hand over fist.

          An honest day's pay for an honest day's work - wasn't that supposed to be a principle of conservatism? My ass.

        •  Mike Battles in particular (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mataliandy, llywrch

          ran for Congress in 2002, lost, went to Iraq with only connections, got contracts worth over $100 million in 13 months. Pretty sweet. You know what his plan was...?

          Make enough money over there to be able to run for Congress back here without having to worry about contributions. I shit you not.

          ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

          by Tirge Caps on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 09:43:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I have been convinced... (16+ / 0-)

      ... for a while now that this was the primary reason for an invasion of Iraq.  A massive scheme for Republican donor corporations to simultaneously steal the natural resources from a foreign land and pocket billions in taxpayer dollars.

      And if the fail to deliver?  What are the little Iraqi pukes gonna do?  Sue?  HAhahahah!!!

      It makes me sick.  Thanks, Dr. Bob, for taking this on.

      "Like the tide is green with algae, and blue with blue-blood fuck-all..." -7.50; -6.21

      by sgoldinger on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 06:37:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wasn't there a law during (13+ / 0-)

    the Clinton Administration that all US contractors paid by our DOD were subject to all laws of the United States or the military laws or something like that but then right before the war use of force started, all contracts were run through the Department of the Interior to get around that?

    Does the devil wear a suit and tie, Or does he work at the Dairy Queen- Martin Sexton

    by strengthof10kmen on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 06:18:18 AM PDT

  •  This is a really big issue (21+ / 0-)

    that goes to the heart of the privatization afoot in virtually every federal agency. But it's especially obscene to have "military contractors" and I'd like us to call them what they really are: MERCENARIES who kill, or help to kill, for profit. They have no allegiance, no loyalty, and no accountability.

    The judgment that the American taxpayers can't get their money back is appalling. One of the things we must do if given the chance is to force all the warmongers, liars, and thieves to forfeit all their assets, hidden or open. Let them know their families will not be able to coast on their criminal gains. It may sound extreme, but it happens to drug suspects all the time. Surely this is even more critical when so many lives are lost or ruined.

    •  Money has no rights, fortiture laws can take (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiaD, snazzzybird, greenearth, J Royce

      anybodies money without one iota of evidence. I say take every dime these war profiteers have and then let them prove any of it was legally earned. We might even make a dent in the deficit. And send Bush and his cronies to the Hague for their war crimes against humanity. I hope the democrats have the balls, because we could actually bring some international credibility back to America.

      George Felix Allen Jr, Dumber than George W. Bush

      by ERyd on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:48:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah it's a terrible ruling (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Josh or Con or Both

      Just going to wikipedia we have the following:

      Garner's swift dismissal from his post by U.S. authorities came as a surprise to many within the CPA. In an interview with the BBC program Newsnight, Garner publicly stated that his preference was to put the Iraqi people in charge as soon as possible and to do it with some form of elections. Privately, there was intense pressure from the U.S. Government to begin a process of removing members of the Ba'ath Party from their positions within the Iraqi government and military. Garner's refusal to implement this "de-Ba'athification" of Iraqi society as a matter of public policy infuriated several senior members of the U.S. Government, and led directly to his dismissal.

      So... who dismissed Garner?  Who appointed Bremer to follow him?  It seems to me that labeling it an international organization is somewhat ridiculous given that the US can appoint who's in charge of it at their whim.  Name me another international organization where that's the case...  yeah, that's what I thought.

      --- The path to hell is paved with good intentions. Bush invaded Iraq based on good intentions. Thus we are staying the course on the path to hell.

      by sterno on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 12:44:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What, like you think this money could be used (9+ / 0-)

    with more effect in other places, say New Orleans and Mississippi? C`mon - those places aren't Free-Fraud Zones, just Disaster Zones.

    17. Ne5

    In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

    by Spud1 on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 06:43:33 AM PDT

    •  did you mean "fraud-free"? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      though i kind of like your version too.  iraq and the gulf coast are now free-fraud zones which is kind of like a free-fire zone i guess.

      i can just see the pentagon brass saying: "mr custer, mr battles, you may defraud at will!"

      l'audace! l'audace! toujours l'audace!

      by zeke L on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:57:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  From the Newsweek article: (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TaraIst, 2dot, BobOak, RiaD, J Royce

        The administration's reluctance to prosecute has turned the Iraq occupation into a "free-fraud zone," says former CPA senior adviser Franklin Willis.

        Yes, the monetary equivalent of a "free-fire" zone.

        17. Ne5

        In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

        by Spud1 on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:01:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the GOP: turning disaster into opportunity! (7+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TaraIst, javelina, Spud1, BobOak, RiaD, J Royce, ilex

          gotcha.  nice phrase, whoever came up with it.

          but yes, the gulf coast is now very much a free-fraud zone.  i don't know if you've been down there to see the reconstruction over the past year.  the only people doing honest work are americorps and various church groups.

          oh, there's lots of government money being sent down there - it just never seems to arrive in the form of actual help to actual people.

          and even among the church groups i think there are wolves in the fold.  i encountered one "ministry" that seemed to be very well-funded and stocked, but didn't seem interested in actually getting volunteers in to fix anything.  i suspected that they were a front organization to suck up "faith-based initiative" money.

          l'audace! l'audace! toujours l'audace!

          by zeke L on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:31:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  How is/was the cash physically imported into (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rogneid, imabluemerkin

    the U.S.? Aren't there tough restrictions now trying to find terrorists? Or is it was deposited into Iraqi banks and then wired, wouldn't SWIFT spying have picked it up?

    17. Ne5

    In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

    by Spud1 on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 06:46:28 AM PDT

  •  Outsourcing corruption (17+ / 0-)

    What a horrible rationalization. Multinational consent? No, its US taxpayer money. It was one entity, the Bush administration that has controlled the game and whose friends and backers are playing the citizens of this country for fools.
    Thanks Dr Bob for your efforts.
    Follow the money (where did I hear that before?) The R's will surely be close by. Why has there been no investigative body? What are we getting for the money being spent in Iraq? What are the costs, now and future?
    Please demand answers. Lets all keep questioning.

    Mr Bush, why have you blocked all inquiries into graft and corruption regarding contractors in Iraq? Why has there been no punishment for those companies already to have been shown to be profiteering? Have you no shame, sir? Just a few suggestions.

  •  Custer Battles (9+ / 0-)

    is currently barred from DoD contracts, but it looks they've morphed into new companies.  See here:

    lime rick Grover Norquist's in the bathtub. What to do?

    by mspicata on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 06:50:39 AM PDT

  •  The Co's name is "Custer Battles?" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    javelina, Rogneid, RiaD, maren a

    Shouldn't that have been a clue right there?

    If I'm redoing a bathroom, and look down the list of contractors in the yellow pages, I would probably not even call a biz with that name, along with "Aaaardvark Contractors," or anything with too many flags in their ad.

  •  Typo (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Mind-boggling Corrution

    "[T]hat I have no remedy for all the sorrows of the world is no reason for my accepting yours. It simply supports the strong probability that yours is a fake."

    by Heronymous Cowherd on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 06:58:34 AM PDT

  •  Case is ongoing (9+ / 0-)

    Alan Grayson, lawyer for whistle-blowers Robert Isakson and William Baldwin, said he would appeal. He faulted the Bush administration for creating the CPA in a manner that essentially allowed it to act as a money launderer for unscrupulous military contractors.

    lime rick Grover Norquist's in the bathtub. What to do?

    by mspicata on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:04:01 AM PDT

    •  And If You Read the Ruling . . . (8+ / 0-)

      . . . it's pretty clear that the judge in no way held that Custer Battles could not be held accountable here.  The key point, as noted in the TPM Muckraker story, is that the CPA was technically an international entity, not part of the U.S. government (its creation was, in fact, the result of a UN action and was authorized as such).  Thus, the federal False Claims Act would only apply if the faulty invoices and records were passed along to a U.S. entity, such as the Army, which was covering these particular bills.

      The judge had previously noted that prior to trial, plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate whether the invoices had gone up the chain:

      Moreover, relators were given fair warning that the denial of defendants’ motion for summary judgment . . . did not relieve them of their burden of proving the element of presentment.12

      12See Feb. 2, 2006 Tr. at 12 (“THE COURT: You do I think, understand, Mr. Grayson, that I did not make a finding under Rule 56 that [presentment of claims to government officials] occurred.”); id. at 31 (“THE COURT: I don’t think Mr. Grayson disputes that he has to show presentment. This is just a part of that. Is that right, Mr. Grasyon? ATTORNEY GRAYSON: Yes, your honor.”); id. at 45 (“THE COURT: [T]his does not absolve the relators from showing other aspects of presentment, who got the claim, where did it go, and so forth.”).

      So plaintiffs were on notice that they needed to show that the false claims had gone on to a U.S. government entity.  The court's ruling two weeks ago was that no such evidence had been presented, and thus the trial verdict would need to be overturned.  Plaintiffs have asked the court to amend this judgment, and a hearing is scheduled for this Friday, September 1.

  •  Another reason for a Democratic majority (14+ / 0-)

    Henry Waxman gets to investigate this.  

    lime rick Grover Norquist's in the bathtub. What to do?

    by mspicata on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:10:14 AM PDT

  •  When they are prosecuted (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rogneid, Gorette, bonesy, ilex, ERyd

    for Enron'ing our country, let's be sure they make restitution.

  •  Anyone (9+ / 0-)

    who runs on an anti-corruption platform has my immediate and full support.

    Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself. --Marcus Aurelius

    by arb on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:25:51 AM PDT

  •  On the anniversary of Katrina ... (4+ / 0-)

    ... this is especially painful.

  •  This fight is one of our most important. (10+ / 0-)

    The toxic relationship between GOP and corp. is at the very heart of why they are unable to govern.  Pay-for-play legislation, no-bid contracts, campaign contributions, cronyism and well-orchestrated corporate/government officer placements is the fuel for the engine by which the Republican party is eliminating the middle class.  

    Failures in national security, healthcare, infrastructure, foreign policy, education and abiding by the law, the Republicans have been successful at one thing:  opening our bank accounts and transferring money to their well-connected corporate sponsors and friends.

    I earn my paycheck and hand a large portion over in taxes.  Rather than using that money to make my country a shining beacon of hope, democracy and human rights, the GOP money machine lines the already-fat coffers of its enabling interests.

    Rant over - for now.

    "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by Five of Diamonds on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:44:34 AM PDT

  •  My no-good, do-nothing congresscritter (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Five of Diamonds, RiaD, bonesy, ERyd

    is John Kline. I would like nothing more than to see that *%&# voted out of office, too.

    To that end, I'd like a little help.

    Kline is another member of the Armed Services committee. Do you have any links to information about votes or media articles about the stonewalling going on with regards to that committee or Republicans have had about this issue? In particular, I'd like more information regarding that vote to set up a committee like the Truman committee you talk about in your diary.

    "We must love one another or die." - W. H. Auden

    by marathon on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:45:53 AM PDT

    •  what marathon said, and ditto on (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiaD, ERyd

      "more information regarding that vote to set up a committee like the Truman committee"

      *a hundred years from now, the future may be different because I was important in the life of a child*

      by bonesy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:50:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can only hope that this issue is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiaD, bonesy

        used nationally in 08'.
        I don't understand why it isn't now.

        Fraud is a tax increase.
        War is a tax increase.
        Corporate welfare is a tax increase.

        This is simple message.
        If you want to get technical it's tax expenditure increase

        Remember those in prison as though you were there with them. -7.88,-9.49

        by Kujo AAR on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:39:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I've just done some poking around (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        llywrch, BobOak, imabluemerkin, bonesy

        I have found inconsistent information.

        On the web site, there is a press release from John Tierney that says, in part:

        Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on the final version of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for FY 2005 (H.R. 1268). As part of the vote, Congressman John F. Tierney (D-Salem) and his democratic colleagues fought to include an amendment to create a Truman Commission to ensure that tax-payer dollars are being judiciously spent in Afghanistan and Iraq. The vote on the amendment failed on a near party-line vote of 224-to-196

        But on the web site, when I looked for amendments to H.R. 1268, the amendment relating to setting up an oversight committee, this is the last that I could find relating to that amendment:

        The Acting CHAIRMAN (Mr. Terry). The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Tierney).

          The question was taken; and the Acting Chairman announced that the noes appeared to have it.

          Mr. TIERNEY. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.

          The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Tierney) will be postponed.

        It looks to me like there wasn't any recorded vote on that amendment and that it was removed from the bill through procedural means.

        Regarding the modern-day Truman Committee, John Leach [IA-2] sponsored H.R. 116 on 2/16/2005 (last year) to set up such a committee. The bill has 39 cosponsors. And it's sitting in the House Rules committee.

        "We must love one another or die." - W. H. Auden

        by marathon on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 09:23:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Talked to a Tierney staffer about this (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marathon, bonesy

          (statement to the FEC): staffer called me from his own phone after business hours ;-)

          They brought it back on procedural grounds. It's really tricky to find the vote (I couldn't), but he told me there were three votes by the full house, the last two of which were using the "previous question" parliamentary maneuver. The only Republican to vote "yes" was Leach. McHugh was definitely present for all three, and the numbers (191-236, for example) means that most did vote (around 20 non-voting members). So, there's an excellent chance that if your guy's a GOPer, he voted against ... but your mileage may vary slightly.

          I'll try to follow up and find out if I can find the actual listing somewhere, but the staffer told me it wouldn't show up on Thomas ... I don't know enough about parliamentary rules to know why ...

          •  Thanks for the info (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I would be shocked if Kline happened to have missed a chance to vote against this.

            But I would like to find records of votes against common-sense ideas like "accountability in government" so I could point them out to unsuspecting voters.

            "We must love one another or die." - W. H. Auden

            by marathon on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 11:25:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  thankyou marathon (0+ / 0-)

          I don't know about you, but to me this Truman Committee is moving too slow, or not moving at all, thanks again.

          *a hundred years from now, the future may be different because I was important in the life of a child*

          by bonesy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:20:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Just when you think, you've heard it all (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simpletonian, ERyd

    we get smacked in the face again by this money grubbing oil loving, killing machine of innocent people,war mongering, pain in our asses President and his yes men, and woman administration. Great diary recommend.

    *a hundred years from now, the future may be different because I was important in the life of a child*

    by bonesy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:46:40 AM PDT

  •  Who's surprised? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Of course the Republicans won't do a damn thing to stop it- this is precisely how they believe business should operate.

    Money for Food, not for Bombs

    by Pope Guilty on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:46:48 AM PDT

  •  Waste and corruption all around (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geotpf, 2dot, RiaD, Gorette, imabluemerkin
    The waste in the military is staggering, too.  A couple of weeks ago I talked to a National Guardsman who had just returned from Iraq and he said the amount of money and equipment floating around over there is unbelievable --  trucks full of cash, laptops for everyone, Iraqi soldiers tossing $3,000 night vision goggles out of observation towers when they get tired of wearing them, etc.  He said it was like Christmas in July.
  •  "no controlling legal authority" (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2dot, BobOak, RiaD, snazzzybird, carolita, ERyd

    is that their defense now?  that US courts just don't have jurisdiction?

    if that's the case, i guess we'll just have to hand custer battles and their ilk over to the international criminal court for trial.

    for that matter, i guess paul bremer and all the CPA officials will have to report there too.  apparently they are not an instrumentality of any official government.  i guess that would make them a rogue subnational like hezbollah.

    l'audace! l'audace! toujours l'audace!

    by zeke L on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:54:24 AM PDT

    •  Bu$hcos already got a law protecting Americans (0+ / 0-)

      from the ICC. There's another diary that speaks to this, but I don't recall which. I still think Bu$hco should all be sent to the Hague to answer for there war crimes.

      George Felix Allen Jr, Dumber than George W. Bush

      by ERyd on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:06:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  i know (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BobOak, imabluemerkin, ERyd

        that's one reason i said this.

        if their position is that we don't need the ICC, they need to ensure that our courts have authority over all activities by our government and citizens that aren't covered by another jurisdiction.  conversely, if these activities aren't covered, then some authority needs to have jurisdiction, and that would then be the ICC if there's no one else.

        certainly those law & order conservatives couldn't seriously be suggesting that the world should have huge cracks between jurisdictions big enough for terrorist organizations and drug cartels to host billion-dollar operations, could they?

        (actually, that is exactly what they want, but that's a topic for a whole other diary.)

        l'audace! l'audace! toujours l'audace!

        by zeke L on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:25:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Perhaps the Iraqi Courts (0+ / 0-)

      sould like to investigate where all the money to rebuild their country went?  Somebody has jurisdiction.

    •  I think the logic here is as follows... (0+ / 0-)

      ...since the Coalition Provisional Authority isn't a US entity, anything they do that is stupid and/or evil isn't the US's fault and the US isn't liable.

      Since they plan on making that argument, they can't turn around and say in another venue that it is a US entity.  So Custer Battles (who probably knew this was the plan) gets to steal with impunity.

  •  The Feds (0+ / 0-)

    Has anybody heard about, or have any info about a Chief Federal Judge in Albany Georgia being sued for violating 11 Federal Statutes? Any info would be apprecciated  Thanks Tyro

  •  Waste (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BobOak, RiaD, ERyd

    implies an attitude of sloppiness. There is nothing sloppy about the many schemes of this government as it conspires with its profiteer supporters. This is completely purposeful.

    The situation here is very similar to the anomalies which have been evident in several elections using non-verifiable touch screens. All the "flukes" break one way - for the neocons - the same way that all the unearned Iraq profits flow to Bush friends who didn't even have to go through a bid process. It's all for them.

    The very fascist neocons now in control have placed themselves and their friends above the law - and they absolutely intended to do that. We are approaching the point where traitor trials are in order...

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:03:23 AM PDT

  •  Glenn Greenwald identified two great frauds (9+ / 0-)

    Of the Iraqi occupation:  the false pretenses for going in, and then the total fraud in stating everything was fine as the country went up in flames for two years.

    Glenn missed the third great fraud of the Iraq war, the incredible graft, corruption and stealing of US funds in the "reconstruction."

    How many billions are simply missing, gone forever, let alone the ripoff numbers we know of? $8 billion?  I can't remember if it was that or $3 billion, sorry.

    Think Progress has the workup of that amazing speech that felon Rumsfeld gave yesterday in Nevada.  Stay the course or be wussies, to use the polite term.

    That's all that stops our dear Democrats, some felon calling them names as billions are wasted, along with everything else.  How far the race and the country have progressed.

  •  I am so happy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simpletonian, BobOak, RiaD, J Royce

    to see a diary that details some of the offensive corruption taking place right under our noses.  Better yet it's by someone running for office that will take his concerns with him when he is elected (good luck).  Don't let upon this issue, this needs to be detailed and corrected.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."-George Orwell

    by Babsnc on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:16:11 AM PDT

  •  The CPA dissolved (6+ / 0-)

    on June 28, 2004, so that particular gravy train has come to the end of the line.  One would think that it was set up especially to shield the BushCo croney companies from charges of war profiteering.  Also helpful to BushCo was that it was temporary.  Who wants to go after an organization which doesn't exist anymore?  Like, the past is past.  Move on, right?  

    Besides, war profiteering is such an harsh term.  BushCo preferred to think of it as laying out the honey for the entreprenurial flies who would descend upon the war-torn Iraq and transform it into a free-market eutopia.  To the unbeliever, the flies and honey metaphor applied to Iraq might bring forth the image of maggots in a bloated corpse, but that's only because we're stuck in that silly reality-based community.  Maybe they really meant wood and termites... or something.

    In any case, our only recourse is to win back congress and get that subpoena power.  If we can't get our money back, at least we can crush the ideology that gave it all away.

    Pumped and ready for "the rough and tumble competition of the memetic marketplace."

    by sagra on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:31:52 AM PDT

    •  Iraqi's called it the "Can't Provide Anything" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TaraIst, sagra, RiaD

      --that CPA.....

      I think Bremer should be investigated.

      "....nobody would believe....that any group of leaders could be this incompetent, and catastrophically blind to reality." - Al Gore

      by Gorette on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 09:02:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bremmer's 100 Orders are still in effect, I (0+ / 0-)

      think, as Iraq still does not have a functioning government. Many of these Orders are incredibly favorable to foreign contractors.

      17. Ne5

      In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

      by Spud1 on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 09:15:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  $20.01 from Fl retiree to Dr.Bob (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BobOak, RiaD, trashablanca, old wobbly

    I pray that all the criminals and their henchmen in elected office are indicted and prosicuted to the full extent of the law. If this does not happen when the change happens in the Senate and House then maybe this country should revert to a vigilante form of justice.

    "a smart man knows what he doesn't know" Sister Mary Loraine Hialeah 1951

    by flafran on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:34:36 AM PDT

  •  Mind-boggling Corrution (0+ / 0-)

    correct the spelling

    Thom Hartmann or Stephanie Miller for President, alternatives to the wonks and whimps

    by fairleft on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:42:58 AM PDT

  •  CPA was just a cover (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TaraIst, BobOak

    A "sheepskin" if you will.

    Okay, maybe it's just tinfoil fears, but I think that the "conservative" radicals intended our nation to be embroiled in Iran by this time. The assumed patriotism and chaos would then prevent our TeeVee nation from investigating the theft and addressing it.

    Their timetable is off.

    THANK YOU for this diary. This is a vital issue and one that crosses ideological lines. In time the military will understand they were double-crossed and cynically used.

    •  I think the whole (0+ / 0-)

      privacy bit this government pushes is a cover.  They can do whatever they want and claim they are not responsible because it was a private company.

      The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. - 9th Amendment

      by TracieLynn on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:20:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I used to work for a government contractor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BobOak, RiaD

    We weren't allowed to have vendors or potential vendors buy us lunch.
    We weren't allowed to receive business holiday presents and holiday greeting cards were highly suspect.

    A company-wide meeting was called to howl about the horrible injustice and thievery that an employee committed by putting her stamped bills into the mail bins.

    What changed?

    •  Me too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      And in Defense, no less.

      The incredible, obscene porkage and wastage and abuse was nothing short of mind-boggling. At the level of corruption I was witnessing, most of it transpired at the Request for Proposal, Request for Quote, Statement of Work and the eventual contract the subsequent billing procedures.

      To that end, I'm likely to post a diary shortly titled, "Gov't Contracting for Kossacks" or similar to detail just how the scams work. But here's the thing: Whenever Bush and Rumsfeld and the gang gives us lectures about democracy and cutting and running and patriotism and standing by the troops, they're lying.

      The way they seem to perceive the matter is that government is "serious, grown-up business that the public doesn't and can't understand." The purpose of government is to reward administration cronies with large multi-million and multi-billion contracts. That's what government is, to the Bush administration. Of course they don't want oversight and they'll resist it every step of the way.

      Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

      by The Raven on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 12:53:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Remember Bunnatine Greenhouse? (7+ / 0-)

    The military procurement officer who dared to question Halliburton and companies?

    You can donate to her defense fund here.

  •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

    This is about as disgusting as it gets and a great issue to run on.

    It has the war itself, corporate profiteering, and finally how privatization hurts the United States even to the point of being unable to win it's military objectives (regardless of what one thinks about them).

    It's about time someone confronted this and make it a campaign issue.

    Thanks for standing up!

    by BobOak on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 09:19:38 AM PDT

    •  It's worse than this (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TaraIst, javelina, BobOak, trashablanca

      The NY 23rd district encompasses Fort Drum which is the major economic engine of a good portion of the western part of the district. It is also McHugh's (the incumbent) major claim to legitimacy. He is always creating the illusion that it was he who saved Fort Drum from the BRAC last year. We all know that isn't true, but it doesn't stop him or his supporters from trying to reap the benefit of Fort Drum.
      Lately, and with Lieberman's defeat, I have heard from far right Republicans up here that my objections to the war will only harm our economy and cause Fort Drum to shrink.  So not only are major defense contractors skimming off the top, but now the local population is being fed yet another fear story and another bogus (if not disgusting) reason to continue the war.  The power brokers up here aren't crass enough to make such a public pronouncement, but it's being spread non-the-less.  It gives new meaning to blood money.

      •  ugh (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I hope you take it on head first.  I'm not in your area, do not know your local issues and in fact just went to your website.  Of course that never stopped me from commenting.  ;)

        They need to realize that privatization has more implications for Forts and local military bases being closed than being supported.  The more DoD $$ is siphoned off to these corrupt privatization corporations, plans and schemes,  the less there is for local bases and defense.  The more this war bankrupts the US, the more possibility their base will be closed.

        National security, border security on the other hand, to me would imply the base would stay open considering the locale.  How's your opponent's voting record on that one?

        Just this diary made me check out your site and realize you are an exceptional candidate who deserves much more support out here in blogger land.

        by BobOak on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 10:28:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm doing a poll for your campaign.. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        javelina, RiaD

        And most people have answered that your posititon on this makes it much more likely they will vote for you..

        A little knowlege is a dangerous thing. So is a lot. Albert Einstien

        by wrights on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 02:14:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Y'all make it sound like this is the first time (0+ / 0-)

      something like this has happened. This is really peanuts to Trading with the Enemy.

      17. Ne5

      In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

      by Spud1 on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 10:36:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sandbagging (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TaraIst, Spud1, 2dot, llywrch

    Dr Bob,

    You said Major Duckworth said this:

    It's not just sheer corruption; there's sheer war profiteering as well. Tammy Duckworth, running for Congress in Illinois, has reported that when she was in Iraq, some units couldn't sand-bag their own facilities because Halliburton had the "sand-bagging contract". The gall of those very words stops me for a moment. Halliburton would pay locals pennies to do that and charge the US Government (in other words ... you and me) for a full labor rate.

    There is much confusion on the KBR "sand bagging" contract.  When we initially got to Iraq in November we had some trouble finding sand for our Hesco's.  We were initially told that the reason they couldn't be filled right away is that there is a difference between "hesco" dirt and "Barrier" dirt.  The distinction being between dirt piled up to form a barrier and dirt being inserted into "hescos" I guess.  We also had a run in with "local hire" sandbaggers our first two weeks on ground.  One night, later that evening after the "local" workers had gone home from filling sand bags, an RPG was fired within 25 meters of "their" work site.  Needless, to say in that case these "sandbaggers" were not brought back.  I don't know for certain if KBR did or does draw a distinction in the two kinds of dirt, but I did have Joe McKeown who is the field manager for John Laesch file a FOIA.  I don't believe he has gotten anything back.

    on a side note-Aren't you going to represent Fort Drum area next year?

    Yes, I am the brother of John Laesch the man who dares to tip Denny Hastert out of his congressional seat this year.

    by Peter Laesch on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 09:33:05 AM PDT

  •  No Coverage By SCLM (0+ / 0-)

    Remember the endless "scandal" over allegations of (GASP)Iraqi corruption in the UN Oil-for-Food program? Why, Saddam was actually skimmming some small fraction of the money! This was even given as one of the excuses to invade Iraq.

    Remember the breathless attention given to the non-story that Annan's son had worked for a company that got a UN contract in Iraq? Never mind that he was already gone from the company when the contract was awarded - Annan was obviously personally responsible for any and all corrution in ALL UN programs in Iraq and should RESIGN.

    But when politically connected US companies openly steal Iraq and US taxplayers blind -
    When a contractor who carries THE VP OF THE UNITED STATES ON ITS PAYROLL gets lucrative no-bid contracts, fails to perform, and GETS PAID ANYWAY -
    When politically connected contractors undermine the US-supported Iraqi government by torturing and murdering innocent Iraqis -

    >> sound of crickets chirping<<</p>

    Why am I not surprised?

  •  I noted with irony yesterday (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annrose, javelina
    when Dear Leader, Bush, was doing major photo ops in New Orleans, that his answer to questions about the slow delivery of relief funds for the area was vague and ambiguous, trailing off with:  "...those who're in charge of distributing this money want to make sure it gets to the right places!" [emphasis mine].

    All I could think in the moment I heard that was:  "Hell, Mr. President, why can't we have this level of such oh-so-careful and stringent accounting of where and how our funds are being spent in Iraq and Afghanistan??   If it's so damn important that every bean penny be counted and accounted for before it gets "distributed" for the relief and rebuilding in the Katrina disaster areas, why can't we get the same careful level of oversight of our taxpayer dollars being spent in Iraq?  Why, Mr President??"

    How do you think he would answer that?   Don't tell me, lemme guess:  "Chertie, you're doin' a heckuva job!"

    Thanks for this diary entry today.  We have to keep this issue of taxpayer treasury looting by the Bush Admin cronies in full view all the time until we get some Congressional oversight.   Yes, I do remember that concept in our government...

    •  He doesn't care (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sockpuppet, RiaD

      Bush, like his Republican congress don't care about us.  I think the most compelling scene in Moore's Fahrenheit 911 where Bush was talking to a $5000 per plate dinner.  If I recall, he said something to the effect "some say you are the elite, I say you are my base."  What could be more telling than that.  I just hope when I get there, that I will only take my money from individuals - everyday Americans - rather than all the special interests.  
      In the end, we need public financing of federal elections without the opt out to accept money.  

  •  fuck this administration and the worthless media (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the news media are like a bunch of puppets.  the corruption in this administration is mind boggling.

  •  DrBob will you Pleeeeease (0+ / 0-)

    run for President in 2008?

    Netroots: TRUTH and enthusiasm conquering spin, greed and treachery - one AMERICAN at a time! (-8.33,-6.77)

    by RiaD on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 01:53:05 PM PDT

    •  Flattery gets you everywhere (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You know, the usual pathway in politics is to start at dog catcher and work your way up.  That what most of these professional politicians do.  They then wait around until it's "their turn."  So running for third highest federal office without having paid your dues is a feat in itself.  Thanks.

      •  everything you've said here- 'we can fight back' (0+ / 0-)

        is how I want my prez to feel/think. Actually I hope everyone I have to vote for has some inkling of this value inside them somewhere. As soon as you are in office please work towards this and transparent voting! These two issues ARE the changes needed ASAP to begin to reclaim our democracy.
        And a tiny pet peeve: We are ALL Americans, the Democrats want change for American citizens not just for democrats! We are the INCLUSIVE party, after all.

        Netroots: TRUTH and enthusiasm conquering spin, greed and treachery - one AMERICAN at a time! (-8.33,-6.77)

        by RiaD on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:43:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A late note (0+ / 0-)

    To say - well-researched and very important. Thank you!

    The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. - Thomas Paine

    by javelina on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 02:39:12 PM PDT

  •  This administration and bi-partisan Congress... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiaD corrupt beyond all belief and reason. I’m not really sure the country cans survive such a mother load of bought up, sold out, steal anything not nailed down bunch of sham publicly elected officials.   They have rigged campaign finance laws, districting, and are so greased by corporate America and it’s corporate state controlled press that these people do not fear retribution at the polls or in the courts for crimes against the citizen taxpayer and they are with out shame or ethics.

    The administration and the Congress are responsible for law making and enforcement. I don't give anyone in Congress a break on the corruption we are seeing, majority or minority member. If I were there I'd be up on my feet constantly screaming about the corruption and threatening to stop all progress on the floor of either house until these obvious case of corruption, mal and misfeasance were punished with jail sentences so stiff it would be a cold day in hell before another brooks brothers suited crook purloined even a buck from the taxpayer.

    Everyone who has been paying attention knows about the mountain of graft and corruption the hellhole of Iraq has become under this corporate America sponsored and run government. The corporations nowadays think, avoiding taxes, cheating the taxpayers on contracts, dummying up their books, moving our heavy and light industey offshore, and a thousand other thing private citizen would be jailed for is doing business as usual and all right if nobody will enforce laws. I’m sorry to see the bastards have bought themselves a judge. That sorry arsed bastard ought to be lynched by a mob of outraged taxpayers.

    A lynch mob in a country that has become completely with out law and laws to govern the crimes of powerful and politically connected is certainly not out of place. Perhaps lynch law is the only way to control a society where those charged with setting an example and enforcing the nations laws are themselves lawless.

    Some days I think their excesses are so egregious that they are in fact truly criminally insane, driven that way by greed one supposes.

    Integrity is the doing what is right in the absence of witnesses and with no other gain in mind.

    by Bobjack23 on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 03:56:53 PM PDT

  •  Change Starts Here: Locally and 1 Seat At a Time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It is great to get home from a hectic day and find some hope amid these pages, some belief that my children might grow up in a country that lives up to its promises, ideals, and foundational values. Reading this, I am reminded of MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech where he compares the broken promises to a bounced check. We have to stand up and say "no more." We have to work together for change.

    We CAN do this, one seat at a time, until our cries are as a river that swells even the highlands. We can do this. It all starts with us. One vote at a time.

    Vote Dr. Bob. Stop the insanity.

  •  federal judge violation of 11 criminal statutes (0+ / 0-)

    There is a federal judge in Albany Georgia that has had a lawsuit filed against him for violating 11 criminal statutes. If anybody is interested the case is #1-06-CV-118 (CDL). Additional info can be had by e-mailing  Thanks Tyro

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