Ungodly Politics

"Announcing your plans is a good way to hear god laugh." - Al Swearingen


Wednesday, December 31, 2003  

From Praesentia comes this reminder about the war (originally from Angry Candy). It infuriates me every time I watch it.

posted by lazarus | 15:34 | |
 

Telegraph | News | Hawks tell Bush how to win war on terror

Yep, they're at it again. "The manifesto, presented as a "manual for victory" in the war on terror, also calls for Saudi Arabia and France to be treated not as allies but as rivals and possibly enemies."

Oh, this was written by Richard Perle, who may be the most evil person to be walking the earth right now.

posted by lazarus | 08:08 | |


Monday, December 29, 2003  

I've heard that knowledge is power, but this is ridiculous: "The FBI is warning police nationwide to be alert for people carrying almanacs, cautioning that the popular reference books covering everything from abbreviations to weather trends could be used for terrorist planning"

posted by lazarus | 13:21 | |


Thursday, December 25, 2003  

So, once again the UK media finds a story that the so-called "liberal media" here in the states won't pick up. New details on Rumsfeld's backing of Saddam during the Reagan years, despite our knowledge of his now-condemned use of chemical weapons, is available here.

posted by lazarus | 10:02 | |


Sunday, December 21, 2003  

Why Saddam should get a fair a public trial: "Of one thing we may be sure. The future will never have to ask, with misgiving, what could the Nazis have said in their favor. History will know that whatever could be said, they were allowed to say. They have been given the kind of a Trial which they, in the days of their pomp and power, never gave to any man.

But fairness is not weakness. The extraordinary fairness of these hearings is an attribute of our strength."


Mr. Justice Robert H. Jackson (Chief of Counsel for the United States), Nuremberg, 1946"

posted by lazarus | 02:12 | |


Saturday, December 20, 2003  

Yahoo! News - French prosecutor examines possible Cheney prosecution: paper

No, it likely won't happen, as it would be a Good Thing, and Good Things rarely happen anymore, but this is nice to think about, isn't it?

posted by lazarus | 12:05 | |


Friday, December 19, 2003  

Tapes Show Abuse of 9/11 Detainees (washingtonpost.com): "Hundreds of videotapes that federal prison officials had claimed were destroyed show that foreign nationals held at a New York detention facility after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were victims of physical and verbal abuse by guards, the Justice Department's inspector general said yesterday."

But they hate us because of our freedoms...

posted by lazarus | 04:15 | |


Monday, December 15, 2003  

BBC NEWS | In Depth | Car bomb hits Iraq police station: "At least 17 people have died and 30 are wounded after a powerful car bomb exploded at an Iraqi police station."

But we got Saddam, so this is obviously just the liberal media reported bad things to make Bush look worse, right?

posted by lazarus | 01:10 | |


Saturday, December 13, 2003  

Christopher Hitchens is insane. I can think of no other way to describe it.


"Watching the towers fall in New York, with civilians incinerated on the
planes and in the buildings, I felt something that I couldn't analyze at
first and didn't fully grasp (partly because I was far from my family in
Washington, who had a very grueling day) until the day itself was nearly
over.

I am only slightly embarrassed to tell you that this was a feeling of
exhilaration. Here we are then, I was thinking, in a war to the finish
between everything I love and everything I hate. Fine. We will win and they
will lose. A pity that we let them pick the time and place of the challenge,
but we can and we will make up for that."

posted by lazarus | 09:54 | |


Friday, December 12, 2003  

Iraqi Protesters Oust Appointed Governor (washingtonpost.com)


"Yes, yes for elections!" shouted the protesters, a collection of students, clerics and middle-aged professionals whose ranks swelled to more than 1,000 on Thursday. "No, no to appointment!"


The Iraqis seem to have a better grasp on this democracy idea than we do, don't they?

posted by lazarus | 01:31 | |


Wednesday, December 10, 2003  

Raise your hand if you're surprised.

Schwarzenegger Retreats on Key Campaign Vows: "Retreating from two central campaign promises that helped make him governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday dropped his personal 'guarantee' that cities and counties would be compensated for billions in lost car-tax revenue and reversed his pledge to safeguard spending for public schools."

posted by lazarus | 14:40 | |
 

This would be a critical blow to our economy.

BTW, try comparing the increases in the stock exchange over the last year or so with the dollar's value. That'll let you know what's really happening.

OPEC may trade oil in euros to compensate for dollar decline : HindustanTimes.com

posted by lazarus | 00:59 | |


Monday, December 08, 2003  

Woo Hoo! Let's go to war some more!

Sheesh.

United Press International: Figures show 'hype' of terror war: "But of the 2,681 cases that had been wrapped up by the end of September 2003, some 879 were convicted of a crime and less than half of those -- 373 -- were sent to prison. Five received sentences of 20 years or more, which was actually fewer than in the two years before Sept. 11."

posted by lazarus | 17:02 | |
 

Russian Deputy Drug Czar: US Soldiers Becoming Drug Addicts in Afghanistan | RosbaltNews.COM

US soldiers are developing a drug addiction problem in Afghanistan, said Deputy State Drug Controller Alexander Mikhailov. He said that there have already been several occurrences of drug addiction among US soldiers in Afghanistan, but the US leadership is keeping it quiet. 'They don't have control of the situation. This should be a good example for our troops in Tajikistan,' said Mikhailov.


This'll be real fun, won't it? Maybe we can send Rush Limbaugh over for some "in-depth reporting".

posted by lazarus | 01:23 | |


Friday, December 05, 2003  

KRT Wire | 12/05/2003 | Denial of Purple Heart medals raises questions about casualty count


GULFPORT, Miss. - (KRT) - An influential Mississippi congressman has raised the possibility that the Pentagon has undercounted combat casualties in Iraq after he learned that five members of the Mississippi National Guard who were injured Sept. 12 by a booby trap in Iraq were denied Purple Heart medals.

The guardsmen were wounded by an artillery shell that detonated as their convoy passed the tree in which it was hidden, but their injuries were classified as "noncombat," according to Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss. Taylor, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, learned of the classification when he visited the most seriously injured of the guardsmen, Spc. Carl Sampson, 35, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

"How could no one have caught this?" Taylor said.



How, indeed. Many of us have felt for some time that the Pentagon is underreporting casualties in Iraq; this lends some credence to that idea.

posted by lazarus | 15:50 | |
 

The liberation of Iraq continues...


"When a group of U.S.-trained Iraqi policemen showed up, American soldiers loaded their weapons.
'The Americans asked us to come here to stop the demonstration,' said Iraqi policeman Mohanan Taha.
Asked if protests were illegal in the new Iraq, he told reporters: 'There are no human rights under the Americans. Nothing. It is all empty talk.'
'We miss the days of Saddam,' said Iraqi policeman Mohammed Shawki. "

posted by lazarus | 11:35 | |


Thursday, December 04, 2003  

Apparently, there was indeed a real turkey in the picture, but it was holding a fake picture.

Can't these people do anything without lying?

The Bird Was Perfect But Not For Dinner (washingtonpost.com)

posted by lazarus | 00:32 | |


Wednesday, December 03, 2003  

Okay, this is two months old, but I just ran across it, and I have to say, this is freaking ridiculous.

The Unbuilding of Iraq


'It seems that the State Department people were deemed to be Arabist
apologists, or squishy about the United Nations, or in some way
politically incorrect to the right-wing ideologues at the White
House or the neocons in the office of the Secretary of Defense. The
vetting process "got so bad that even doctors sent to restore
medical services had to be anti-abortion,"
recalled one of Garner's
team.'

posted by lazarus | 23:12 | |


Tuesday, December 02, 2003  

I would say this isn't just losses in personnel, but losses in the supposedly important War on Terra that Bush is waging. Yet another idiotic position being taken by the military.

BTW, Gen. Wesley Clark fully supports allowing gays to openly serve in the military.

A Policy Translates to Losses (washingtonpost.com):


"Confronted with a shortage of Arabic interpreters and its policy banning openly gay service members, the Pentagon had a choice to make.
Which is how former Spec. Glover came to be cleaning pools instead of sitting in the desert, translating Arabic for the U.S. government.
In the past two years, the Department of Defense has discharged 37 linguists from the Defense Language Institute for being gay. Like Glover, many studied Arabic. At a time of heightened need for intelligence specialists, 37 linguists were rendered useless because of their homosexuality. "

posted by lazarus | 20:48 | |


Monday, December 01, 2003  

I hereby turn the blog over to my wife, Haele, for a post. There's been a lot of mention about the evil SAIC, due to their being asked to vet the Diebold machines for Maryland. She has this response:

"Y'know, this is getting to be too much; I work in government contracts and understand the process - it's obvious that there's a lot of people out here who are used to civilian-based work who are trying to spin a typical contracts driven company that began as an employee owned research and development service provider to universities and various government organizations into this big, bad organization that was formed specifically by the BFEE.

Yes, there are lazy, greedy, beltway bandit types in SAIC - that's a given, considering the nature of a company that has employed over a million people over the past thirty years in the field of government-funded research. From NASA to CDC, from NOAA to DOD and the State Department, from the EPA to OSHA or the CIA, SAIC goes where the contracts are.

From my understanding of the history of this company they no more support the Bush administration than they did the Clinton adminstration, or any other adminstration.
The critical thing to understand about SAIC and all of its subsidaries is that, like any other business that wishes to survive, they go where the contract and money are.

Their 'political support' shows it -

I checked at www.opensecrets.org -

SAIC - SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERN
WASHINGTON,DC 20024
4/24/2002
$25,000
NRCC/Non-Federal

SAIC - SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERN
WASHINGTON,DC 20024
INFO REQUESTED
10/31/2002
$10,000
NRCC/Non-Federal

SAIC SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERNAT
WASHINGTON,DC 20006
3/30/2001
$30,000
DSCC/Non-Federal Corporate

SAIC SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERNAT
WASHINGTON,DC 20006
3/28/2002
$25,000
DSCC/Non-Federal Corporate

SAIC-SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERNAT
WASHINGTON,DC 20024
3/30/2001
$10,000
NRCC/Non-Federal

SAIC
MCLEAN,VA 22102
6/10/1998
$20,000
1998 Republican Senate/House Dinner Cmte

SAIC
WASHINGTON,DC 20004
6/23/1997
$7,500
DNC/Non-Federal-Corporate

SAIC
WASHINGTON,DC 20004
10/10/1997
$2,500
DSCC/Non-Federal Corporate

SAIC
WASHINGTON,DC 20004
9/28/1998
$5,000
DSCC/Non-Federal Corporate

SAIC
MCLEAN,VA 22102
3/14/1995
$250
DNC/Non-Federal Corporate

SAIC
MCLEAN,VA 22102
6/15/1995
$15,000
DNC/Non-Federal Corporate

SAIC
MCLEAN,VA 22102
5/22/1996
$15,000
DNC/Non-Federal Corporate

SAIC
WASHINGTON,DC 20004
6/6/1996
$10,000
1996 Republican Senate/House Dinner

SAIC - SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERN
WASHINGTON,DC 20004
2/16/1995
$3,000
NRCC/Non-Federal Account

SAIC - SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERN
WASHINGTON,DC 20004
6/12/1995
$200
NRCC/Non-Federal Account

SAIC VOLUNTARY
SAN DIEGO,CA 92121
7/10/1996
$2,500
DNC/Non-Federal Corporate

SAIC-SCIENCE APP INTL CORP
WASHINGTON,DC 20004
7/8/1996
$10,000
NRCC/Non-Federal Account

SAIC-SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTL COR
WASHINGTON,DC 20004
7/7/1995
$20,000
NRCC/Non-Federal Account


My understanding is that Beyster himself, the corporate structure, and most of the board on average are moderate type Republicans with a few moderate Democrats thrown in, but as for the company, it's pretty clear that considering those "dinner donations", there's only about 5K difference in donations over the years between parties - and when considering "the price" of government contracts, looks as if more money went to the Dems to pay the price of admittance.

Again, the issue to remember with SAIC is that they make their profits through the amount of work they can get and the amount of full time employees they can keep. It is imperative to them as a business to insure that they can do what they contract to do, and if they can't, provide a solution to the reasons that keep them from keeping their customer happy (for the most part). SAIC does not get money from outside shareholders and other investors who drive bottomline profits; their "stock" is all internally issued - when an SAIC employee quits or gets laid off, they have to sell back their stock.
Example, when Telcordia had to lay off 500 employees ago due to restructuring and SAIC was hit with the loss of several critical contracts to Carlysle companies two years ago, all SAIC employees and subsidieries suffered - and they still haven't really recovered. See, even though there's a lot of irons in the fire, as it were, SAIC has very few "sole source" contracts with stable funding - the majority of the work they have with the government is on bid work where they are regularly audited and unless there's a major award rate bid into the contract upon completion, they generally just break even.

More SAIC divisions are losing contracts in this Bush administration, contracts than they did during the Clinton administration. It's common knowledge that in this administration, a company has to pay to play - and the word I've heard is that they aren't at all happy dealing with the crooked budgeting and contracts that the federal side is coming up with. (Hey, a crook would rather deal with an honest man rather than another crook, right? - same issue in business in the federal governments contracts side...)

From what I understand, the inside word is that many of the higher-ups at SAIC would actually support a Clark or Dean administration, where they could highlight the ability SAIC specializes in - to provide "solutions" in terms of cleaning up the messes that this administration is creating.
Again - SAIC doesn't really "create" anything physical or does any tangeble, physical hands-on type government work that would be useful in, say, a war - they make money where the contracts are, and it doesn't matter who's in charge - for this company, there's actually more money to be made in evaluating, research, and support, with the rare installation and/or maintenance - work for a customer - than there is in actually producing the end product or being a customer.

Look at the type of work they do. For every contract like this -



http://www.saic.com/news/dec02/news12-02b-02.html
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 02, 2002
SAIC Port Security Simulation System Provides Versatile, Portable Tool for Homeland Security
(ORLANDO, FL) – SAIC today announced major enhancements to its port security training system, including the ability to train under changing weather conditions and respond to possible terrorist attacks involving chemical and biological weapons. The system is being demonstrated at the Interservice/Industry Training Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., from December 2 to 5. SAIC is located in exhibit space 1242.


there's items like this:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 04, 2002
SAIC Teams with EPA at Research Triangle Park
SAIC Team of Scientists Help EPA Spur Demand for High Performance Computing and Scientific Visualization Support
(RALEIGH, NC) – Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) announced today that its newly-opened branch office in Cary, N.C, will support the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) high performance computing and scientific visualization efforts at Research Triangle Park. SAIC's Systems Development Center (SDC) scientists will provide systems engineering solutions to EPA's National Computer Center, the National Environmental Supercomputing Center, and the Scientific Visualization Center.
"EPA has made significant investments to perform these complex operations that will support the scientific community in assessing global climate change impact, toxic impacts on the human respiratory system, and other elusive, but potentially significant, cause-and-effect relationships," said Mark Day, director of EPA's Office of Technology Operations and Planning. "We are convinced that we have the computing power to meet the demands of the environmental community, and we look forward to SAIC's scientific and systems engineering support in helping design and implement the software applications sought by that community."
or -
http://www.saic.com/news/dec98/news12-16-98.html
SAIC and Business Leaders Present BusinessLINC Report to Vice President Al Gore
(WASHINGTON) – Today Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and other participants of the Clinton Administration's BusinessLINC Initiative presented Vice President Al Gore with a report that profiles successful business-to-business programs fostering economic development in distressed communities. At a reception hosted by the Department of Treasury, company CEOs were recognized for their involvement in revitalizing these communities by providing support and commitment to small business development.


........

Here's another SAIC company - SAIC/Fredrick...


http://www.biospace.com/company_profile.cfm?companyID=87104

SAIC-Frederick, Inc., a subsidiary of SAIC, is the Operations and Technical Support (OTS) Contractor for the National Cancer Institute at Frederick (NCI-Frederick) a federally funded research and development center. The mission of SAIC-Frederick, Inc. is to provide scientific, technical, management, administrative, and logistical support to National Institutes of Health (NIH) intramural laboratory research and development related to the causes of and cures for cancer and AIDS. Intramural research is that conducted by Government scientists operating within various units of NIH, principally the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the largest institute of NIH. We also conduct basic and applied research in cancer and AIDS; operate and manage the Advanced Biomedical Computing Center (ABCC), the world's only supercomputer devoted exclusively to biomedical research; and conduct large drug and natural product screening programs.



There's also wildlife ecologists, alternative energy consultants, and NOAA oceanographers tracking global warming and weather patterns employed by SAIC and their subsidiaries.

Yeah, SAIC is a big company. But again, it's employee owned, and ultimately, it's the ability to remain employed and keep getting contracts based on a halfway decent reputation that drives the company, not getting profits and cheating customers. There's a certain amount of long-term thinking that goes on. While many of their employees tend to follow contracts around, allowing the occasional Hatfill wandering in on the coattails of a contract SAIC qualified for to end up employed, usually those folks end up out on their can once it's seen that there's a problem with either their program, their work habits, or their ethics.

......

Also a little bit of correction here - you got the AMSEC "LLC" information off the SAIC website, correct? And from what I can see, you seem to imply that this was a construct developed strictly for that particluar partnership...
Unfortunatly, a lot was left out of that snippet - like most of the other subidaries of SAIC, AMSEC was a established company that specilized in hiring former Navy personnel as systems experts (rather than depending on engineers who had never been out on the water other than on the occasional fishing trip) before they were approached by SAIC to be a subidiary, and the Newport News "partnership" was due to the original AMSEC leadership developing working relationship with the shipyard to provide services. From the AMSEC website - "Prior to the creation of the LLC, AMSEC had been a wholly owned subsidiary of SAIC since 1987 and has been in existence since 1981."

AMSEC did not restructure, nor did they change any of their work procedures when they gained their "LLC" status.

As for the work they do, again - what do you expect? They started out as a military contractor - as many other small businesses started up by military veterans in San Diego, Long Beach, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Virginia Beach/Norfolk, et all - and that's their specialty, for good or for bad. Again, for these thousands of people, to stay in business and keep employed, they have to keep working on their contracts. For many of them, it's a choice between this type of employment, or hoping to make it up to manager at a local RadioShack while one is sending out resumes in fields over-run by graduates of National University and ITT tech.

.......

Yes, I work for an SAIC subsidiary, and I can tell you this from experience - my division has lost over $3 million in revenues the past two years because of "war", and SAIC has lost far more than that, even as they are bidding for "Homeland Security".
Unless there's a sole source contract that has mandated funding, most contracts money dries up and the company has to let people go when things happen such as the fleet deploys to go to war, federal departments consolidate, programs aren't funded, contracts put on hold, or bases close.

SAIC's bosses might suck up to whomever is in charge whether they approve of them or not, just as all CEO types do to get the money flowing. Currently, in the federal government contractor world, the word is out - unless you're on the bandwagon, you get whatever is left over. So unless one wants to lose more contracts, one bites the bullet and hopes that someone more sane will take over soon.

Haele



posted by lazarus | 20:11 | |
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