Discussion in 'Current Events' started by wkmac, Nov 25, 2007.
If SAIC does half as good a job at what they do as Halliburton/KBR do at their jobs I will say it is money well spent. I would like to say a big thank you to KBR and Halliburton they make the lives of so many much better than it could be. The FOB I was at was not large enough or safe enough to have all the KBR amenities but they did bring us fuel and the last couple of months they brought laundry facilities. It was nice to not have to wash uniforms in a trash bag. I for one would not want the job of driving a fuel truck while dodging IED's. There were many times I got to visit other FOB's that had the dining facilities and they were outstanding also. No real point here I just wanted to say thanks to those guys it seems the get bashed enough.
If you want something that looks very bad to me.
Been there, done that got the t-shirt. If you only knew the whole story.
I'm sure there are some good employees at KBR who want to do the right thing. But let's not nominate them for sainthood. KBR tried to cover up a gang rape of and employee just so they wouldn't catch heat from Congress. Did we forget that???
While on a related subject, I just read this.
As I read this and I considered the current situation of not only our own economic market but the global market as well which was built mostly off the American Dollar model and the fact that the Fed. lowered rates by .75 yesterday in an emergency action. Word is in the normal scheduled meeting next month that the rate will drop again by a 1/4 of a point. Not sure who it was here that rang the inflation bell about a Fed. action in response to the current situation but I'm in agreement with them. In fact, I'd say we are in a lot worse shape than we'd like to admit or rather the democrats and republicans want you to realize.
Looking out across the span of history and then looking back at our time I wonder if the facts will read something like this.
A rag tag nomadic band of religious fantics committed numerous terrorist acts upon the great Lady of Liberty. They breeched the unforbidden by flying 3 planes into carefully targeted building within her homeland itself. Lady Liberty set her great strength into motion and it was one unmatched in that time nor across the pages of history. No civilization in the history of man could unleash such utter distruction upon an enemy and no one stood a chance going toe to toe. The rag tag band were also well educated even in the principles of the Great Lady and one thing they understood was economics and they also unstood the real weakness of the Lady was her pursue. This rag tag band whether planned and foreseen or by happen stance created the very situation whereas to cause the great Lady to react in such a way as to cause her to economically consume herself and thereby loose her strength and might to wage her own defense, even upon her own home soil.
A once great Satan of the north said of the Lady, "We will destroy you from within!" That great Satan consumed himself and is no more because a leader of the Lady caused them to spend themselves into bankruptcy in the late 20th century and the rag tag band having learned that by purpose or accident applied the same principle with false fears, ghosts and shadows exactly as the Lady's great leader had done. At the time it was called Star Wars and involved the militarization of space above the earth.
As the Great Lady entered the 21st century her economic house had become shakey and the strike at her heart began a cascade effect with some internal manipulation and the Great Lady fell from power. Her ability to stand in her own defense was lost as her consorts who were elected to protect her had so eaten of her foundation of wealth to fill their own pockets and thus with nothing to hold her up, she fell from the heavens of power as the Great King of Babylon had done before her and so had the mighty Rome to a rag tag barbarian horde from the northern forests.
Is that out story in the future? Don't know and I hope not but I'm not feeling warm and fuzzy either.
Many a society has fallen to warfare of arms but the great empires fall as a result of economics that have them so weak that a band of goths and visogoths then overrun it. Will history show we fell from the heavens as we consumed ourselves chasing a rag tag band of terrorists?
It's one thing to hire someone to wash a soldiers uniform but it's another to charge the army $100 per uniform washed. It's one thing to have someone present to help soldiers sign in to use computers to email home but it's another thing to pay that person a 6 figure salary. It's one thing to provide transportation to private employees of contractors but it's another thing to provide an almost custom luxury SUV that is leased and will cost the US taxpayer $200k plus each and they still get the vehicle back to the leaseholder at the end. It'd be cheaper to buy one here in the US outright, ship it over and give the employee the vehicle free and clear. Remember $1000 toilet seats and $700 hammers?
IMHO, this has nothing whatsoever to do with if we should or should not be in Iraq but rather whether or not the US taxpayer is being ripped off knowingly by politically well connected contractors and thus adding to the economic bleeding that has our gov't borrowing vast amounts of money and economically enslaving our children and grandchildren and where does the gov't go when the tax dollars aren't there for Social Security and Medi-care that has been promised to millions of Americans. One of the first orders of conservatism is fiscal responsibility and IMHO that fact is totally lost on the folks who call themselves conservative today. Just look at what was done by the party who calls itself the party of conservatism? No wonder Reagan democrats and Reagan independents are staying home.
At what point does the pressures become so great that taxes are needed and then at what rate? "I never raised taxes" the politician sez but he set the table for the next generation to come to be forced into that situation so in my book, he did raise taxes but it's either me in my older years on fixed income or my children who will be enslaved with that burden. How much of my future 401k will the gov't demand in taxes when I'll need that money the most?
And also they have our gov't who has borrowed so much from our own resources that private companies who need cash are having to seek non-American sources of finance and thus you folks who so dislike and distrust the foreigner will have them owning the very companies you do business with daily. We already finance the very people you say are out to defeat us as we pay ransom fees for their oil so how long before they buy up our farmland and grocery stores for pennies on the dollar at bankruptcy sales and we then pay ransom for our food? The Chinese makes all our clothes! Not much else left is there?
Waging war with economics is far better than weapons because the rebuilding process is a matter of title change and some bookkeeping details. Armed warfare involves a massive cleanup process and several years before a return on investment. You know, like Iraq's oil was suppose to pay for all of this but it just never happened now has it? I guess Bush slept through the part in class on return on investment and how to quickly get it.
What is your point? My point was simple the good far outweighs the bad.
His point is profit = bad, government = good. We all know the government provides services and produces products far superior to that of the free market and private enterprises.
There is a thread on here where everyone is complaining about corporations not paying enough money. Now we have your complaints of a company paying to much money. I say we are not paying them enough. We are getting a bargain with these services at this price.
Well, as for corp. not paying enough money as in taxes, you'll never hear me say that as I'm one of those folks who believe the income tax at any level is wrong and should have never been in the first place. Also and I know people will argue all day but all taxes at whatever level are considered a cost of doing business and therefore that cost is in some shape or form buried into the cost of any goods or service.
As for paying these contractors for services, nothing wrong with that either but where I have a problem is charging way over just because you can. Ultimately because I am taxed at the federal level, I'm the one having to pay this bill and the way our current gov't is going about this war, my children, grandchildren and maybe even great-grandchildren will have to pay for this war so yeah, when a company is geting $100 a pop for washing a soldiers uniform my ears go up on the question of fair value. My UPS uniforms (don't read this EZ as I've want to maintain an illusion with you) cost UPS on rental and cleaning about $12 a week. Instead of having KBR or Haliburton do the job why not let Cintas? I mean for $12 a week I not only get all the uniforms washed but they throw in the 5 sets of uniforms a week to boot! You say you are a free market type so let's have some free market here!
Also when a soldier himself complains of this as outrageous and then he decides on his own to help save public money and instead handwash his own uniform but is told it's a violation and he must use the contractor, yeah I'm a bit miffed and concerned.
President Eisenhower in the closing days of his Presidency warned of the potential perils of what he called the "Military Industrial complex" and having looked back at the pages of history I think Ole' Ike knew exactly what he was talking about. I'll all for vastly limited federal gov't and I'd venture to say a whole lot more than some of you chestbeating conservatives would venture to even think about and let the market itself fill a whole lot of the void but at the same time we know have a gov't run as a perferred monopoly of positioned companies and they view the American taxpayer as a conscripted (read enslaved) customer on whom they can pillage. That my friend is not in any way shape or form true laissez-faire or what we also call a free market.
At best this corporatism has more roots in the Mussolini governmental model or you could harken it more to mercantilism of the 16th to 18th century Europe that led to the European Empirialism of those times and the many wars from it even into the first half of the 20th century. This mercantilism led such economic notables as Adam Smith and other classical economists to change economic thinking that resulted in the grand experiment known as the United States and free market capitalism. Now we have those of our day who paint themselves as "originalists" or "Constitutional Conservatives" who in fact are nothing of the sort but rather pure empirical tories. IMHO you guys had you lived 200 plus years ago would have sided with the monarch in England as the very system you want and support today is very much the same system of the King in those days. As my forefathers who fought "your" forefathers back in the day called you "lobsterbacks" referring to supporters of the redcoats, so hence forth I shall call you. You like labels of communist, liberal, socialist, etc. so I'll play the game.........
Great if you think you can get Cintas over to a war zone for 12 dollars a week to clean uniforms. Of course there is no power, water, washing machines, or buildings. Of course you will also have a difficult time getting employees to go to a combat zone for 10 bucks an hour. They lost quite a few employees in the early going. Trust me it is no violation to wash you own uniform in Iraq. I know it sounds good in your little video. You know if you have time more power to you. I also would like to see where you get one of these "luxury" SUV's for under 200k. I think some of the electronics in them cost close to that. Bottom line is you, Cintas or whoever else cannot provide food, housing, logistics, fuel, phone service, and technical support to a military in a combat zone. These guys have been doing it for years and are very good at it.
WHAT! But you told us all of that had been taken care of. The media was hiding all the good things going on over there you have been saying. You mean in 5 years we still are unable to have power and water? No wonder those people are revolting in the streets and it took them a couple of years to do so? I'm impressed. I'll bet we wouldn't last a week before we went off the civil unrest deepend over here!
Well had we taken a different approach and maintained as much of the old civil gov't structure in place to keep better order instead of our guys playing policeman and not have knocked down power and water, do you think we might have instead of taken US civilian contract personal over, we might have gotten the locals to do these task at less costs and also infused money into their economy putting people back to work and getting some order of civil society back up and running. I mean what better way to promote free enterprise and open democracy with the passing of the all mighty dollar instead of the almighty .223 or .308!
Oh, shame on me, I forgot these are ignorant towels heads steeped in radical religious beliefs and are all card carrying members of Al Queda. Didn't someone of position in the gov't finally give an actual number of how many there were. Had to be in the millions I'm sure!
Well according to one soldier that was the case. Maybe a different location than you were. Looking at the financials of these companies somebody was doing something and it's the American taxpayer being the one washed. Also when you consider the amount of debt ceiling increases by the Fed. gov't since Iraq there sure is something amiss.
I got one and well under $200k. Cost to ship overseas? You can get a sea going container for example to Africa for $1800 and you can load a SUV and a lot more in it. I know this because a former UPS manager was doing just that and shipping a lot more to West Africa to set himself up and now has left to live in Africa. He even bought a water purification system capable of 20k gallons a day (one business he established over there)and shipped it over to Africa and the total bill was $27k.
But it's Iraq you say. True enough so ship it into Kuwait and then drive it into Iraq. Gov't Contractors get special treatment concerning tariffs and taxes in a war zone so this ain't a problem. No roads in Iraq to drive on you say? 5 years after occupation this is still the case? Even with Haliburton and KBR on the job? I thought this had been handled. I thought the surge took care of the violence on the roads. The news I see daily sounds pretty good to me about what is happening over there and some good progress has taken place. Are you saying now we don't have the truth? Patreus has been lying? Bush lying too? WOW! I would have never guessed this.
As for the electronics. OK, some vehicles I could see that but what need for a contractor adminstrative clerk to have an SUV with that level of electronics? You are talking military type electronics aren't you? If you're talkin' stereo, DVD, etc. Dude, we gotta talk as I can hook you up for a lot better than that and I'm talkin' ground pounding sound too!
Look AV8, I 'm not trying to diminish your service to our country, you are a true American hero regardless the public policy of Washington DC. Although I object to the policy and how we arrived at it and yes I do believe history will prove Iraq was as much if not more so as ill advised as Vietnam, at the same time I don't like various corporations coming in under the pretense that they can stiff the American taxpayer at any cost under an illusion of this is the way it is and we are your only option. Makes even worse when you realize the level of connection to gov't officials these companies have. Could you imagine the hue and cry at UPS if it was learned that some UPS manager had an inside position with someone at a vendor UPS does business with. We scream when we hear this in private business so why if gov't business any different?
I'm sorry but before I'm gonna believe it costs $100 to wash a load of clothes, you are gonna have to prove that one to me by giving me a breakdown cost analysis. Until then, sorry pal but D, Ez and the rest who decry free markets as a den of thieves because of your vaulted system (and I can understand their doing so) and the illusion you paint of that being laissez-faire, free markets when in fact they are no such thing and are in reality closed loop monopolies of the selected privildged based on poltical connections, what were once called titles of nobility that were outlawed by our constitution. IMO they don't understand completely true free markets and there are areas I'm a bit fuzzy on but they do see fraud and waste under the guise of such and therefore like any thinking person just come away with the most obvious conclusion and that is free markets bring forth fraud and evil.
Gather you friends of Brett, Big and whoever and call me whatever you want as I'm sure you will but the first principle of American free market economics 101 is fiscal responsibilty with the peoples money and absolute transparency of which neither party is giving IMO to be honest. If the so-called libs have no right to waste my tax dollars on their giveaway programs froth with waste and fraud, then neither do you!
I really would like you to link to where I said all our FOB's were using Iraqi utilities. I promise you I did not say that. Someone may be logging in under my screen name or you may have just made that up. We do have a few that use power although not many for multiple reasons not the least of which are tactical. Potable water is bottled outside the country and shipped in. Some of the very large bases have water purification teams but that water is not used for drinking water. A big reason of this of course is tactical.
I do not have lots of time so I will go back to the vehicle thing. I know you want to take the average cost of the vehicles charged back to the government and apply it to the cheapest vehicle you can find in Kuwait. I will play that game with you and take one of the most expensive vehicles. You say you bought an SUV and can ship it over for 1500. Really? Is it fully armored? Did you pick up that red/green warlock at you local electronics store? What about the MERLLIN light system? I guess you just went to the MERLLIN light store and picked that up huh? I rode in one of these "luxury" SUV's and did not feel safe at all. It was much safer than your SUV would be over there. Where is all this extra room in the suburban that you speak of?
It is shocking that you found a video with an E-4 complaining. No not really. It happens all the time it is part of their job.
You are right about one thing. We do not live like the Iraqi's.
Ok here is the real story on laundry services. I remember they were trying to get this at our FOB, but were not able. I called our SGM and asked him about this. He said they charge a flat fee for laundry not by the load. Your FOB has to have a minimum number of personnel and he thought that number was 1100 it could have been more but we only had 800 and were far short. If you fall below that number the Army will pull the services from your FOB. He said if they had the services they would encourage their use. These services are a limited resource and great for the Soldiers. He said the basic service was no charge to the Soldiers but there was a premium type service available for a small charge to the Soldiers. He thought it was overnight. The value of having someone else clean the blood out of your uniforms would be hard to put a price on.
I guess if you consider cronyism good. Well ok then.
It's so nice to have someone who thinks they can read my mind. I'll clarify your thoughts for you.
The US armed forces have been doing these jobs from the Revolutionary War to Operation Desert Storm. It's funny how all of a sudden the Army fogot how to cook food and do laundry. Or could it be some Bush "pioneers" who got him elected with millions of dollars to his campaigns would like to have their corporation do the job for 3x the amount of money that a GI is getting pay.
Oh hell its just taxpayer money.
By the way profit is not bad. Fleecing the taxpayer is. And I always thought conservatives believed in cutting spending. Guess they're not really conservatives are they?
No really not that funny. The military size and budget were cut years before this war. It is cheaper to subcontract these services than to keep a standing Army that size with all the equipment. It is funny how these log pack contracts have been bid out for years and now all the sudden some of you think it is fleecing the taxpayer. I guess what is really funny is how you liberals forget that and somehow decide that these contracts were suddenly bid out to make someone rich.
Getting back to my point, you aked:
I never said you did say that. No one is logging in under your name so calm down. I was having a little fun with your comments.
BUT! you knew that was coming didn't you What I was driving at was some time back there were several news stories being posted that were all bad news about the efforts over there. You and some others objected that the news was skewed and that there were good things going on and weren't being reported as widely as the bad news. Well, you were right and I would agree. I have several friends over there/have been over there and I hear lots of good news all the time and I hear some bad news as well. War is always a mixed bag but war is where Iraq is different. It's not a war anymore, it's an occupation in the truest sense of the word IMO.
Bush declared victory several years ago and some went nuts about it. Now I'm no fan of Bush at all but he was 100% right in saying what he said. The war was over, the goal was to remove Saddam from power and that was completed. Now the mission changed to occupation, pacification and democrazation being the goal. The surge is about pacification in order to move further into the democrazaton plan. But that's another thread.
My real point of my comedic remarks to your's was the fact that you so rabidly objected to news coverage and some of that objection was understandibly justified and also your political side if you will had their own spin machine going that painted a picture in some sense matching what I was making fun of. Need a case in point? How about your commander in chief who on 12/7/05' to a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations (yeah I got the place bugged a funny for alex jones) when he said the following good things about Iraq:
Sustaining electric power remains a major challenge. Construction has begun on three new substations to help boost capacity. Boost capacity? Boosting capacity means to increase what is already there and adding substations means you are expanding the reach of the grid.
Because there's a shortage of clean water, new water treatment and sewage units are now being installed. He didn't say there is no water but there is a shortage of clean water meaning there is some available. Adding treatment and sweage units means more to come in the near future.
Najaf is now in the hands of elected government officials. An elected provincial council is at work drafting plans to bring more tourism and commerce to the city. Political life has returned and campaigns for the upcoming elections have begun with different parties competing for the vote.
One man from Najaf put it this way: "Three years ago we were in ruins. One year ago we were fighting in the streets. Now look at the people shopping and eating and not in fear." Shopping and eating? I would think you'd need power and water to do that.
One of the largest projects was the rebuilding of the Najaf teaching hospital, which had been looted and turned into a military fortress by the militia.
Thanks to the efforts by Iraqi doctors and local leaders, and with the help of American personnel, the hospital is now open and capable of serving hundreds of patients each day.
Here's a transcript of the complete speech itself:
OK, I know that was 2005' and much happened over the last 2 years but here's my problem. Things in fact did go bad after this speech and yet when some folks here posted and discussed those facts, you and some others objected and some here may feel my use of the term objected for your reactions is way to nice but I'm cool with it! Plus, even though we disagree on some issues I admire your loyality no matter what.
Now a video emerges concerning the actions of private contractors and you seem to paint a picture that things are so bad over there we need these guys. That may well be true in gaining back what was lost since Bush's speech but I ask why a private contractor who has an adminstrative assistant (new PC name for a secretary) needs a $200k plus luxury SUV (as thisis how the video reported it)and you come back as though I thought armored and military electronic equipped SUV's were unnecessary in that area. Depending on the job, obsolutely but for a secretary for her own personal use? Is that fiscal responsibilty to equip a private secretary with such but then have have our own US military personal shorted of armored equipment? I say our soldiers come first and foremost but maybe you have a different belief there.
Remember these stories: http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2004/041220-armored-vehicles.htm
OK, it's a 2004' story but here's one more current: http://rawstory.com/news/2007/With_shortage_of_armored_humvees_soldiers_0808.html
Granted this story doesn't revolve around an in-theater shortage but the fact remains a shortage of humvees exist and what happens if we have to esculate in Afghanistan, Pakistan or the worse happens with Iran or even Syria? See my point? What happens if we've over spent in-theater with private contractors shorting our own forces for the future?
I have a hard time believing that you watched all 10 parts to this video which totals 76 minutes in lenght. The video never questioned the reason for being in Iraq nor IMO did it question the use of private contractors but rather are we being ripped off in some areas with excess and over charging that in the normal business world would never be tolerated.
AV8, wars of the past were financed by the spoils of victory or some means among the victorious population to pay tribute or taxes to pay for the efforts. WW2 for example was paid in many ways by war bonds and the Victory Tax Act which became the income tax on wages through withholding that we have today. It was codified in the 1954' Tax Act that gave us the Income Tax code of 1954'. Some felt Iraq would pay for itself in oil, yes AV8, read some of the policy wonks and oil was very much in this picture. Not the driving force but it was the "gravy on the biscuit" so to speak. This has never emerged where Iraq oil on the global markets would send downward pressures on pricing plus pay first and foremost for the new Iraq but we still must pay for our efforts over there as it goes right now and the price tag is getting costly in light of other domestic issues.
This war is being paid for with a Uncle Sam "Home Equity" loan and we've maxed out the limit. We keep getting the limit raised but we are beyond the value of our total asset worth and are in real danger of economic meltdown. You and I and the rest here are on the hook to pay the tab and if the majority want to prosecute a military occupation then my point in all of this is to do so with fiscal responsibilty and to make sure all waste is dealt with. You can give nice SUV's to the private contractors and BTW they are described as "Luxury" SUV's and not "Armored" SUV's so I'm questioning the luxury and not the armored type, but at some point when you run out of money and the ability to borrow is gone, what will you buy bullets and bombs with then? If you were Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, would you attack now or would you mouth off to keep the flames up and wait for the foreclosure notice to go up and then do something dramatic?
Warfare is fought as much if not moreso with economics as it is with guns and bombs. Besides, keep going and the Mideast "RICH" radical nutjobs can just buy us for pennies on the dollar and they've got tons of pennies thanks to our oil monopolized economy thanks to gov't policy via healthy tax revenue ie gas tax! Hard to tax solar and wind isn't it? Hint! hint!
And I'll bet you the world if the mideast buys us up there will be a Halliburton, KBR and CACI international headquaters somewhere in the mideast still doing bidness as usual. These guys or rather their ilk have been around as long as there's been warfare and they switch sides at the blink of an eye!
I'm just tring to use the first principle of traditional conservative gov't and that is fiscal responsibilty and you want to question and debate me for doing so. And you wonder why Hillary or Obama may get elected come Novemeber and why Rush Limbaugh sez he may not vote for a Repub. or Demo. come Novemeber. Hey Rush, to quote a fantastic ole' tune, "Welcome to My World" I been living since 2004'. Should have listened to those in the know who in the summer of 2000' sounded the warning bells when Gipper picked Bush 1 as his #2. That ended everything right then but it took me till after the 2002' elections to realize it!
As to the first part about taxpayer money, EZ take what I'm about to say as a compliment and see it as a dig towards the lobsterbacks. I use the term lobsterbacks instead of Neo-Cons as someone hollers foul or anti-semetic and the term lobsterback was what the tories were called in revolutionary times as they were loyal to the King and to empirical rule and agression! Since they have their monarch in our own King George and want American empire, I figure the term is a dead on match!
OK, now to my point.
GEEZ, this coming from a "LIBERAL!"
You lobsterbacks should be ashamed!
Nice job there EZ!
As to the point about conservatives being about limited gov't and cutting spending? You are correct, true,traditional conservatives are that way and they aren't about creating a market with the gov't through force via a monopoly and turning it over to a private concern either as we see these days.
That said you might take some time to investigate further the beliefs of what is called paleo-conservativism or early on classical liberalism (same thing) or constitutionalist thinking and then compare that to what is called conservative today. Today's conservatism has more in commom with the nationalism of fascism and the economics of Trotskism IMO. The authocratic rule of nationalistic Wilson/FDR was married with the economic beliefs of Leo Strauss via Irving Kristol and other former Trotskites via the politics of Nixon, the highjacked Reagan era via Bush 1 and of course our own disasters of Clinton 1 and Bush 2. Yeah, IMO Clinton was more Neo-Conservative than a paleo-liberal in the democrat party tradition.
Odd as it sounds, lots of paleo-liberals and paleo-conservatives (both favor individual liberty, against American empire and as your are showing the belief in fiscal responsibilty) have found each other and a kindred friendship in the Ron Paul camp and this scares the be-Jesus out of the party heads as this disease could grow in the elections ahead into a full manifestation. Paul's campaign is not about winning the WH but about setting alliances as the 64' Goldwater campaign did which set the table for Reagan to emerge in 76' and then get elected in 80'. That's why Ron stays the course! Not championing Ron but rather pointing what to look for in the future as the 2 dynastic parties merge together in policy and an underground political swell of traditional opposites join forces and come out ready to fight as a team!
I told some of you Ron wasn't out to get elected but being principled he can take a defeat now knowing he may set the table for those in 20 years. That's why he stays in the game.
OK D, where are you at? to quote a fav. wrestler from my youth years, Dusty Rhodes.
Again, way to go EZ on the above comments! Keep em coming! I might even not try and sell you beach property in Kansas!
So I guess it's a coincidence that Halliburton got the bid and low and behold the Vice president was the CEO and still owns boat loads of stock. And how is it cheaper? Every time these truck convoys of Halliburton goes down the road it has to escorted by US Troops. Imagine how these soldiers feel. They make approximately $30,000. And they have to protect these contractors that make $100,000.
Its called war profiteering. Look it up. When Harry Trumann was a Senator the democrats were in the majority and he held hearings and prosecuted war profiteers. Not this government.
Separate names with a comma.