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There was no Oversight. NONE
Author: Raine    Date: 02/02/2009 13:16:10

Who could have seen this one coming?
A new commission examining waste and corruption in wartime contracts is getting a grim report from government watchdogs who say poor planning, weak oversight and greed combined to soak U.S. taxpayers and undermine American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, says U.S. taxpayers have paid nearly $51 billion for a wide array of projects in Iraq — from training the Iraqi army and police to rebuilding the country's oil, electric, justice, health and transportation sectors.

Some of these projects succeeded, Bowen informed the Wartime Contracting Commission at its first public hearing, according to his written testimony, but many did not. Violence in Iraq along with constant friction between U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad were also major factors that undercut progress.

The U.S. government "was neither prepared for nor able to respond quickly to the ever-changing demands" of stabilizing Iraq and then rebuilding it, Bowen said in his written testimony. "For the last six years we have been on a steep learning curve."

A lengthy study by Bowen's office, "Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience," reviews the problems in an effort the Bush administration initially thought would cost $2.4 billion.

Overall, the Pentagon, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development have paid contractors more than $100 billion since 2003 for goods and services to support war operations and rebuilding projects in Iraq and Afghanistan.[/quote
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109 comments (Latest Comment: 02/03/2009 03:30:40 by Mondobubba)

The head of Blago
Author: velveeta jones    Date: 02/01/2009 15:08:39

It started just before the inauguration of Barack Obama. The people of Illinois were the first to notice, but really, what can you say? It’s just too bizarre to contemplate.

On Dec. 9 of last year, the Governor, Rod Blagojevich was arrested at his North Side home on federal corruption charges that included plotting to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. Blagojevich immediately proclaimed his innocence. And this, many believe, is when it started.

Sure, there was the hair. That grand swell of well-coiffed jet black hair that would occasionally catch a puff of wind and billow like a plush black shag rug, strands glistening in the sun, as he stood outside his home in his black Puma jump suit. With that head of hair, it was hard to notice the change right away.
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43 comments (Latest Comment: 02/02/2009 03:21:56 by clintster)

Stuporbowl Sunday!
Author: TriSec    Date: 02/01/2009 15:06:49

It's 10am...do we have a hard deck on the weekends?

Anyway, here's a wee little stubby. You know what to do.

Donuts, coffee, and the Sunday Globe on the back table!


11 comments (Latest Comment: 02/02/2009 10:33:42 by trojanrabbit)

Election day in Iraq
Author: TriSec    Date: 01/31/2009 12:37:19

Good Morning!

For the first time in four years, Iraqis are heading for the polls today. (huh, a Saturday. Maybe we should look into that.) As the United States enters a transition phase in the Iraq war, there's some hope that a safe, fair election will greatly improve the image of the fledgling Iraqi democracy and may make it possible for us to extricate ourselves at a more rapid pace.

So far, the news is good.


BAGHDAD, Jan. 31 -- Iraqis streamed passed police cordons and barbed wire as they went to the polls on Saturday to vote in their first elections in four years, widely seen as a test of Iraq's stability as the U.S. role in Iraq diminishes.

The all-important provincial elections are viewed as a key indicator of whether the nation can build upon fragile security gains and address imbalances in power that still plague many areas. More than 14,000 candidates are running for 440 seats to lead councils that are the equivalent of state legislatures in the United States.

The elections are unfolding in all of Iraq's provinces except three in the autonomous Kurdish region and the province that includes the disputed city of Kirkuk, where ethnic groups were unable to reach a power-sharing agreement paving the way for elections.

The polls opened shortly after dawn following a heavy security clampdown launched on Friday that included the closing of Iraq's borders and airspace coupled with bans on vehicle traffic and the deployment of thousands of security personnel around polling stations. Polls are scheduled to close by 5 pm.

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18 comments (Latest Comment: 02/01/2009 04:38:53 by livingonli)

The times, they have a-changed
Author: BobR    Date: 01/30/2009 13:16:45

Today is the end of the first full week of the Obama Presidency. He campaigned on the promise of change, but I doubt anyone expected this much actual change so quickly. After 8 years of laissez faire "leadership" from Bush it's refreshing to have a president that actually does something.

So what sort of change has come to America? In just the last few days we've seen:
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222 comments (Latest Comment: 01/31/2009 05:59:22 by Mondobubba)

So this is what it's like... Strange feeling.
Author: Raine    Date: 01/29/2009 13:28:28

Is it a new day? Yesterday we learned that after removing the 2 biggest objections to the stimulus package - grass and condoms - the entire Republican side of the aisle in the house voted against it. ALL of them. 244-188. 11 Dems voted against the package as well, and it STILL passed.
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130 comments (Latest Comment: 01/30/2009 04:31:27 by livingonli)

Snake Oil - the Republican Economic Stimulus Plan
Author: BobR    Date: 01/28/2009 12:09:59

The battle has been heating up over what the economic stimulus plan should be. Although there are differences between Obama's vision and that of Congress in general, the real battle lines are drawn along party affiliation. As in most things economic, the Republicans are wrong yet again.

The Democrats want to create jobs and work projects to get the economy moving again, ala the Roosevelt model during the Great Depression. The Republicans want to use tax rebates, tax cuts, and tax credits to put more money into people's hands. What's wrong with the Republican plan? Let us count the ways...
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122 comments (Latest Comment: 01/29/2009 06:40:47 by livingonli)

Ask a Vet
Author: TriSec    Date: 01/27/2009 11:37:20

Good Morning.

Today is our 2,141st day in Iraq.

We'll start this morning as we always do, with the latest casualty figures from the 'war on terror', courtesy of Antiwar.com:

American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03): 4236
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 4097
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3775
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3378
Since Election (1/31/05): 2798

Other Coalition Troops - Iraq: 317
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 641
Other Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 421
Contractor Deaths - Iraq: 446


We find this morning's cost of war passing through:

$ 591, 782, 200, 000.00



In this first post-Bush week....little has changed except for some posturing, so we here at "Ask a Vet" will continue to soldier on.

To that end, our friends at IAVA have penned a letter to the new president...and they're asking all of us to sign on.

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119 comments (Latest Comment: 01/29/2009 02:53:14 by MMB)

RIP Mr. Thomas
Author: Raine    Date: 01/26/2009 13:16:13

Are any of us this dedicated? On Friday, after sitting in front of the White House, under yellow tarp and board filled with flyers and posters asking for a peaceful end to American Nuclear Activities, William Thomas has left us. Many of you have seen him, or his ramshackle hut, in front of the White House. He and his wife, Ellen, were there for 27 years. He protested thru peace and non-violence.
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100 comments (Latest Comment: 01/27/2009 07:04:54 by livingonli)

The Great Velveeta sees all, tells all.
Author: velveeta jones    Date: 01/25/2009 15:27:16

Dear readers, Velveeta has a gift, several really, but one in particular that humble modesty prevents her from displaying unless it is called for in desperate times such as these.

Why, you ask, are these times desperate? After 8 years of the oppressive bush/cheney regime shouldn’t these be the potentially good and hopeful years?

Many of you are filled with anxiety over what President Obama may (or may not) do, while others are already feeling “buyers remorse” at their selection. Take, for example, the nomination of William Lynn as Deputy Secretary of Defense. Lynn is a former lobbyist for Raytheon, and his nomination forced Obama to make him an exception to the newly released Ethics Guidelines that our Super Hero President instituted just the day before!

An exception to the new rule, already? And, he may not be the only one, hints Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

We expected Obama to enter the White House and install sweeping changes right away, and he certainly seemed to be doing just that. That is, until this snag. This is the kind of mind-numbing hypocrisy we endlessly saw from President Doofus. You know, like signing a law to help rescue and shelter companion animals one day (PETS act); then threaten to veto a bill to help homeless veterans (H.R. 3329) the next.
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22 comments (Latest Comment: 01/26/2009 03:40:56 by BobR)

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