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unhappycamper

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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 11:12 AM
Number of posts: 60,364

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Xerox Successfully Lobbies for Veterans Department to Fire Veterans

http://www.republicreport.org/2012/xerox-lobbying/

Xerox Successfully Lobbies for Veterans Department to Fire Veterans
Matt Stoller 2.13.2012 at 11:41 AM

One of the basic pay to play schemes we see in most states and in the Federal government involves the privatization of government services to third party contractors who then kick back money through campaigns or lobbyists for increased privatization. It’s a transfer of state power from the public, which elects the government, to private actors, who increasingly control the data, the hiring standards, and the purchasing decision of the Federal bureaucracy.

Sometimes the kickback scheme is direct, and that’s illegal. But more often than not, it’s indirect. A firm, through subsidiaries or parent companies, hires a bunch of lobbying firms staffed by ex-officials. Then those ex-officials go to work to get the government to award contracts to the firm doing the hiring. The money flows in a nice circle of corruption.

This is just the latest example of indirect and legal bribery.

~snip~

In this case, it’s profitable to these people to have the Veterans Department fire its veterans so it can award the contract to a subsidiary of Xerox. So that’s what’s happening.
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Feb 13, 2012, 12:51 PM (1 replies)

Report: Pensions at top 18 contractors cost government $3.3B in 2010

http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20120210/ACQUISITION03/202100304/1001

Report: Pensions at top 18 contractors cost government $3.3B in 2010
By SARAH CHACKO | Last Updated:February 10, 2012

Taxpayers contributed more than $3.3 billion to the pension programs of 18 of the biggest federal contractors in 2010, according to estimates by the Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) watchdog group.

The government reimburses contractors for payments they make into their employee pension plans, regardless of whether the company's pension investment decisions earn or lose money, the group said in a report released Friday.

The CAGW estimates the government reimbursed Lockheed Martin Corp., the largest federal contractor, $988 million in 2010 for its pension payments. The figure for Raytheon was $667 million, and for Northrop Grumman Corp., $529 million.


"This can lead to moral hazard and higher federal spending, making it a challenge for all government agencies to meet their core mission and responsibilities, while at the same time using taxpayer money to subsidize investment decisions made by some of the most profitable corporations in the United States," the group said in the report.




unhappycamper comment: This is another reason why all the crap we buy is even more expensive (think of the pension payments as an 'added bonus').

FWIW, the price tag of the F-35 is creeping up to the $243 million dollars I've been saying for a long time:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/12/us-usa-budget-pentagon-idUSTRE81A0IF20120212

Exclusive: Pentagon budget eyes $178.8 bln for R&D, procurement

~snip~

The plan for the 2013 fiscal year, which begins on October 1, requests $9.17 billion for the Pentagon's biggest weapons program, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, down slightly from $9.25 billion requested in fiscal 2012.

That includes $2.7 billion for ongoing development of the radar-evading supersonic jet, and $6.15 billion to pay for 29 jets, down from $6.33 billion for 31 jets in 2012.

6.15 billion dollars / 29 F-35s = 212,068.965.51 per copy

Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Feb 12, 2012, 09:16 AM (9 replies)

Memo on PTSD costs sparked Army review

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/02/07/138095/memo-on-ptsd-costs-sparked-army.html


Memo on PTSD costs sparked Army review
By Hal Bernton | The Seattle Times
Posted on Tuesday, February 7, 2012

SEATTLE — In a lecture to colleagues, a Madigan Army Medical Center psychiatrist said a soldier who retires with a post-traumatic-stress-disorder diagnosis could eventually receive $1.5 million in government payments, according to a memo by a Western Regional Medical Command ombudsman who attended the September presentation.

The psychiatrist went on to claim the rate of such diagnoses eventually could cause the Army and Department of Veterans Affairs to go broke.

"He (the psychiatrist) stated that we have to be good stewards of the taxpayers' dollars, and we have to ensure that we are just not 'rubber-stamping' a soldier with the diagnoses of PTSD," stated the ombudsman's memo.

~snip~

The Army Medical Command's investigation is being monitored by Sen. Patty Murray, who chairs the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. She said that doctors should not be taking financial considerations into account as they make a mental-health diagnosis.

Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Feb 8, 2012, 07:52 AM (8 replies)

U.S. Militarization in Libya

http://watchingamerica.com/News/140983/u-s-militarization-in-libya/


U.S. Militarization in Libya
Juventud Rebelde, Cuba
By Jorge L. Rodriquez Gonzalez
Translated By Kate Wheeler
1 February 2012
Edited by Jes­sica Boesl

They didn’t become involved in Libya to avoid the damage and death that they experienced in their ranks in Afghanistan and Iraq. But, with a powerful air war, the United States, France, the United Kingdom and the partners of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) destroyed an independent and sovereign nation in the name of a hypocritical worry about democracy, without having a single one of their soldiers leave Libya in a coffin. But now, given the difficulty facing the new authority — put in place by the Western powers — to establish and administrate the “new” Libya, Washington has decided to take action.

The chaos impacts one of the major African oil producers. The armed groups that responded to the National Transitional Council (NTC) — the NATO land army in the war against Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, have spent months fighting for the control of strongholds with a force that requires the NTC to be partial to their interests. Because of this the armed groups reject offers to integrate themselves into what would be the new Libyan armed forces.

~snip~

For this reason, the North American superpower began to establish a military presence in Libya, in an elusive manner thanks to the silent response from the major media powers that accompanied the imperial war against the North African nation.

Since late December, the Pentagon began installing a military base in Wau Al Kebir (900 km southeast of Tripoli and 240 km north of the border with Chad). And in the last few days, various media outlets have reported the movement of American soldiers — some say 6,000, others say up to 12,000 — from a military base in Malta to Brega — a strategic Lebanese city where petroleum is refined before it is sold on the world market.
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Feb 6, 2012, 08:18 AM (1 replies)

When war comes home: Crime surge among veterans suggest some didn't leave horrors behind

http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2012/02/05/1151825?sac=fo.military

When war comes home: Crime surge among veterans suggest some didn't leave horrors behind
By Greg Barnes
Staff writer
Published: 01:49 AM, Sun Feb 05, 2012

~snip~

When Fayetteville firefighters showed up to investigate a report of a fire in an apartment building last month, they didn't know that the Fort Bragg soldier who lived there was armed and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

~snip~

The shootout with Eisenhauer is the most public of what appears to be a surge in violent behavior and suicides among Fort Bragg soldiers and combat veterans in recent months.

Like Eisenhauer, many of those soldiers suffer from depression, PTSD and other mental health problems brought on by the stresses of war and multiple deployments.


Fayetteville police Sgt. Steven Bates said he has seen the increase in violence firsthand.




unhappycamper comment: Perhaps some of the DoD weapons money could be channeled into taking care of damaged soldiers?

Naaaah, keep building F-35s.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Feb 5, 2012, 09:07 AM (9 replies)

Retired Generals Get Wall Street-like Pensions

http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/story/2012-01-26/military-officers-pensions/52939598/1

Some top military brass making more in pension than pay
By Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY

A change in federal law to keep experienced officers in uniform allows top generals and admirals to make more in retirement than they did on active duty, Pentagon and congressional records show.

The new pension rules were part of the 2007 Defense Authorization Act to address concerns that the military would lose too many experienced generals and admirals during wartime.

Previously, the maximum annual pension was based on an officer's pay at 26 years of service. Now, a four-star officer retiring in 2011 with 38 years' experience would get a yearly pension of about $219,600, a jump of $84,000, or 63% beyond what was once allowed. A three-star officer with 35 years' experience would get about $169,200 a year, up about $39,000, or 30%.

~snip~

The highest pension, $272,892, is paid to a retired four-star officer with 43 years of service, according to the Pentagon. Before the law was changed, the typical pension for a retired four-star officer was $134,400. The top pay for an active-duty officer is capped at $179,900; housing and other allowances boost their compensation by another third.

Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Feb 3, 2012, 11:31 AM (4 replies)

Afghanistan War: U.S. Troops To End Combat Role Next Year




http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/01/afghanistan-war-panetta_n_1247910.html

Afghanistan War: U.S. Troops To End Combat Role Next Year
ROBERT BURNS 02/ 1/12 09:31 PM ET AP

BRUSSELS — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta laid out the administration's most explicit portrayal of the U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan, saying Wednesday that U.S. and other international forces in Afghanistan expect to end their combat role in 2013 and continue a training and advisory role with Afghan forces through 2014.

Panetta's remarks to reporters traveling with him to a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels showed how the foreign military role in Afghanistan is expected to evolve from the current high-intensity fight against the Taliban to a support role with Afghans fully in the lead. The timeline fits neatly into the U.S. political calendar, enabling President Barack Obama to declare on the campaign trail this year that in addition to bringing all U.S. troops home from Iraq and beginning a troop drawdown in Afghanistan, he also has a target period for ending the U.S. combat role there.

~snip~

"Hopefully by the mid to latter part of 2013 we'll be able to make a transition from a combat role to a training, advise and assist role," he said. He added that this "doesn't mean we're not going to be combat-ready," but rather that the U.S. and other international forces will no longer be in "the formal combat role we're in now."

~snip~

"One of the things we'll be discussing (in Brussels) is what the size of that (Afghan) force should be, but a lot of that will be dependent on the funds that are going to be put on the table in order to sustain that force," he said. "That's one of the things, frankly, I'm going to be pushing at this (meeting)."




unhappycamper comment: "One of the things we'll be discussing (in Brussels) is what the size of that (Afghan) force should be, but a lot of that will be dependent on the funds that are going to be put on the table in order to sustain that force," he said. "That's one of the things, frankly, I'm going to be pushing at this (meeting)."

". . the funds that are going to be put on the table. ."

What does that mean? Currently the United States is paying 75% of NATO's cost of occupation and around 100% of the Afghan Army. We have to pay more to keep this charade going? Is Leon the new Henry the K?

Does this remind anyone of Vietnamization? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Do we have any adults in Congress with the balls to cut of the money spigot? I doubt it.

Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Feb 2, 2012, 08:39 AM (0 replies)

Taliban Poised To Retake Afghanistan With Help Of Pakistan, Leaked Nato Report Concludes

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/01/taliban-poised-to-retake-afghanistan_n_1246131.html

Taliban Poised To Retake Afghanistan With Help Of Pakistan, Leaked Nato Report Concludes
First Posted: 1/02/2012 09:32 Updated: 1/02/2012 09:40

Pakistan is actively helping the Taliban retake control of Afghanistan, a leaked Nato report has concluded.

The top secret document seen by the BBC and The Times sets out the Western alliance's belief that the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, is "intimately involved" in the fight against coalition troops in the country. It says the Taliban is poised to retake the country once Nato departs.

"ISI is thoroughly aware of Taliban activities and the whereabouts of all senior Taliban personnel. Senior Taliban leaders meet regularly with ISI personnel, who advise on strategy and relay any pertinent concerns of the government of Pakistan," the report is quoted as saying.

The document is reportedly based on interrogations with more than 4,000 captured Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives at the US Bagram airbase in Afghanistan.




unhappycamper comment: This sounds like Vietnam all over again.

Can someone please tell me why we are staying until at least 2014?
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Feb 1, 2012, 09:02 AM (6 replies)

U.S. Military Envisions More Bases Like Djibouti Facility

http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/dotmil/2012/01/30/us-military-envisions-more-bases-like-djibouti-facility

U.S. Military Envisions More Bases Like Djibouti Facility
January 30, 2012

A little-known U.S. military facility in the Middle East is a model for the kind of American bases President Obama's new defense strategy suggests soon will pop up around the globe, a senior Pentagon official said Monday.

The U.S. commandos who swooped into Somalia to rescue two aid workers who had been kidnapped by pirates operated from an American base in Djibouti, said Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy. She called the facility a prime example of the kinds of facilities from which the U.S. military will launch the "small-footprint operations" across the globe that are discussed in the Obama administration's new national defense strategy.

The Djibouti base is called Camp Lemonnier, according to a State Department fact sheet. Pentagon and other U.S. national security officials believe Washington needs more Lemonnier-like bases.

The Obama administration's defense strategy, released this month, says smaller annual Pentagon budgets "will require innovative and creative solutions to maintain our support for allies."



unhappycamper comment: Evidently no one told Admiral Robert Willard: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/27/us-usa-asia-bases-idUSTRE80Q1XF20120127
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Jan 31, 2012, 10:56 AM (0 replies)

The US may be getting out of Afghanistan earlier than 2014

On January 27, 2012, the Washington Post said:

France will speed up troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by one year
By Edward Cody and Karen DeYoung, Published: January 27

PARIS — France announced Friday that it will pull its combat forces out of Afghanistan one year ahead of the scheduled NATO withdrawal and said it would urge the rest of the alliance to do the same.

President Nicolas Sarkozy made the unexpected proposal in concert with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at a news conference here. “We have decided . . . to ask NATO to consider a total handing of NATO combat missions to the Afghan army over the course of 2013,” Sarkozy said.

The move dramatized growing uncertainty, in Afghanistan as well as in NATO countries, over the future of the U.S.-led military campaign against the Taliban. It could also complicate the Obama administration’s deliberations over the pace of withdrawing U.S. troops.

The 33,000 “surge” troops President Obama sent to Afghanistan in 2010 are due to be home by the end of summer. The military believes that the remaining 68,000 should stay until the end of the 2014 summer fighting season to maintain and expand what they say are gains against the Taliban. Reopening NATO discussions on an end date would probably strengthen the hand of administration officials who envision a faster, phased drawdown that would save money as well as U.S. lives.




On January 28, 2012 the Washington Post sez:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/afghan-lawmaker-criticize-early-french-withdrawal-says-2013-nato-pullout-would-be-mistake/2012/01/28/gIQA7AtAXQ_story.html

Afghans criticize plan for early French withdrawal, say 2013 NATO handover would be ‘mistake’
By Associated Press, Updated: Saturday, January 28, 8:58 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan — France’s plans to withdraw its combat troops from Afghanistan a year early drew harsh words Saturday in the Afghan capital, with critics accusing French President Nicolas Sarkozy of putting domestic politics ahead of Afghans’ safety.

A wider proposal by Sarkozy for NATO to hand over all security to Afghans by the end of next year also came under fire, with one Afghan lawmaker saying it would be “a big mistake” that would leave security forces unprepared to fight the Taliban insurgency and threaten a new descent into violence in the 10-year-old war.

Sarkozy’s decision, which came a week after four French troops were shot dead by an Afghan army trainee suspected of being a Taliban infiltrator, raises new questions about the unity of the U.S.-led military coalition.

It also reopens the debate over whether setting a deadline for troop withdrawals will allow the Taliban to run out the clock and seize more territory once foreign forces are gone.



On January 27, 2012, the Associated Press said:

France, Karzai now want expedited NATO exit
Friday, Jan. 27, 2012
By JAMEY KEATEN - Associated Press

PARIS -- France and Afghanistan agree NATO should speed up by a year its timetable for handing all combat operations to Afghan forces in 2013, President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday, raising new questions about the unity of the Western military alliance.

Sarkozy also announced a faster-track exit for France, the fourth-largest contributor of troops in Afghanistan - marking a distinct break from previous plans to adhere to the U.S. goal of withdrawing combat forces by the end of 2014. The proposal comes a week after four unarmed French troops were killed by an Afghan soldier described as a Taliban infiltrator.

Sarkozy, alongside Afghan President Hamid Karzai who was in Paris for a previously planned visit, said France had told the U.S. of its plan, and will present it at a Feb. 2-3 meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. He said he would call President Barack Obama about it Saturday.

~snip~

A sense of mission fatigue has been growing among some European contributors to the 10-year allied intervention in Afghanistan. The new idea floated by Sarkozy would accelerate a gradual drawdown of NATO troops that Obama has planned to see through until the end of 2014.




unhappycamper comment: It's about time adults took over the situation.

Don't know if you were aware of it, but the Pakistan border closure a few weeks ago adds about another $100 million a week to the supply costs.

We would save at least $100 billion dollars were we to get out of Afghanistan in 2013.

Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Jan 28, 2012, 11:20 AM (1 replies)
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