Tuesday, December 23, 2008
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Monday, December 01, 2008
The Pioneer Press has run a story on Tony Rose, the Navy Veteran who has not been able to collect his social security pension for 2 years while being snared in a malfunctioning Homeland Security database:
The Office of Norm Coleman and the St. Paul Pioneer Press have also interviewed Mr. Rose in continuing efforts to focus attention to his problem.
Mr. Rose's case has not been re-opened by the St. Paul Office of the Social Security Administration and his lawyer is preparing affidavits in pursuit of hearings on the matter.
USA TODAY COVERAGE OF GOVERNMENT CONTRACTOR WASTE FRAUD AND ABUSE.
The following two stories detail the horrendous waste of taxpayer money in connection with federal contracts containing funds earmarked for support of the Iraq war.
The data points to the escalating demise of the Military Industrial Complex as covered in the following postings:
Saturday, November 08, 2008
BAKER AND ANIMAL CARE SPECIALIST
HONORABLY DISCHARGED AS A US CITIZEN FROM THE MILITARY,
PAID INTO SOCIAL SECURITY WORKING IN THE U.S. FOR 30 YEARS AND NOW CANNOT COLLECT HIS PENSION
As Veteran's Day approaches, 67 Year Old Tony Rose and his lawyer are wondering what additional rocks they have to look under to find his lawful Social Security Pension.
He was born in Canada and his family moved to New York when he was a child and became dual Canadian and US Citizens. After Tony's Navy discharge he worked in the US for over 3 decades, paying state and federal taxes and Social Security.
In 2006 when Tony applied for his pension he was informed that the US Department of Homeland Security had revoked his US citizenship and did not recognize his Canadian citizenship. He has attempted to resolve this matter for over 2 years and has been without a pension during that period.The Social Security Administration will not begin his pension payments until his citizenship issue is resolved. He has been trying to work this matter through a lawyer, the VA, his local representatives in government (congressional level) and directly through the Social Security Office.
No one seems to know what to do, who should take action and who has responsibility. Letters directly to the presidential campaign received no response. The Inspector General of the US has been notified and Tony has camped out in his local Congressional Representative's Office on numerous occasions and been turned away.
The veteran has lived in the United States since 1946 having moved from Windsor, Ontario, Canada to Detroit Michigan with his family that year at the age of 5 years old. He attained dual citizenship in Canada and the United States and received a valid US Social Security Number. Tony served in the Armed Forces of the US honorably and has paid state and federal taxes to include social security from 1963 to the present in the United States of America. He is still paying those taxes at his current part time jobs.
At this writing, Mr. Rose has been given no indication by the US Government that his case is being examined by anyone who can take a responsible course of action, schedule a hearing or otherwise determine the bottom line in this matter. His lawyer, who is working pro bono, is totally frustrated and each of the agencies involved has stated the other should be responsible to do something.
Tony lives at the Hastings Minnesota State Veteran's Home and works locally at the 2nd Street Coffee Shop and the Animal Ark.
Happy Veteran's Day, Tony - Such as it is.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Since the government database will not be visible to the public, POGO continues to publish this information from public records and has for many years as a non-profit organization. POGO has also pressed the government to assume responsibility for the information. That effort has now succeeded.
We applaud POGO's success.
POGO has published its most recent records at its web site:
The top 100 government contractor track records are shown as well as others. As POGO states in the analysis at its site, it should be noted that the most serious offenders continue to receive contracts from the very agencies that have prosecuted them for fraudulent activities.
POGO also points out that many of the top 100 contractors have no apparent instances of a negative nature or very few. It is possible to be a major player in the industry without resorting to waste, fraud and abuse.
The above table is POGO's latest data from public records on the top 100 federal government contractors. If you are interested in the details of these cases, go to the POGO site and click on the name of the company. A convenient summation of the government cases against the firm will appear.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Congress has just funded the MIC at only slightly less than the 700B now necessary to bail out the US Financial catastrophe. The MIC is monumentally dangerous and has led our country into a continuing series of costly, fraudulent wars since Korea. Eisenhower forecasted the danger in his departing speech:
The most recent MIC adventure is being fought in the memory of 3,000 dead civilians attacked by a terrorist the US created by not leaving the Middle East after the first Gulf War. That excursion has killed thousands of our finest youth and maimed the lives of countless others. The average American will pay for this ruin in decades to come through taxes supporting hospital care, social services and veteran's homes.
HOW DO I KNOW?
I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 misguided years working in the defense industrial complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak. Given a clearly defined mission and the best armaments and systems in the world, I believed that another Vietnam could be avoided for the American Soldier.
I was wrong.
I live in a Veteran's home, having recently undergone treatment through the VA for PTSD and Depression, long overdue some 40 years after the Tet Offensive that cap stoned my military 2nd tour in Southeast Asia with a lifetime of illness:
Politicians make no difference. I saw this on a daily basis from inside the MIC.
The chart at this posting illustrates the historical % of our national debt to our GDP. That % is on a precipitous rise with the current US warfare mentality and imminent Wall Street bailout:
PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGES OR DOWNLOAD TO ENLARGE
Other countries will not tolerate our on-going presence, decreasing value on world market and shortsighted vision, based exclusively on stockholder profits. The Wall Street financial tower has fallen. The MIC will be next.
ABOUT THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
It is corrupt and driven by corporate influence:
It is broken and riddled with incompetence:
The MIC, like Wall Street, will go bust and then be re-scaled, fixed and re-designed to run efficiently and prudently, just like any other big machine that runs poorly or becomes obsolete or dangerous. The situation will right itself through yet another trauma.
A government ENRON is on the horizon, with an associated house cleaning. The next president will come and go along with his appointees and politicos. They will try to fix the financial mess and become pawns of corporate America in widening our military influence attempting to mend corporate bank accounts. But the MIC tower will implode as well - the next big event in government you will watch is the collapse of that establishment.
Non-profit visionaries and small business know the course that must be taken and they are taking it:
These "Action People" are not in our government. They are more practical than that. They are the communicators, the true venture capitalists setting up worldwide non-profit foundations (Gates and Buffet for example). They are like the Bill Moyers, perpetually exposing waste fraud and abuse and then going one step further to fix it from the inside. They are the young inspirational members of the small business base in this country that will be tasked with picking up the pieces and re-inventing the future so our government can follow along.
As a volunteer counselor, handling 30 cases a week through SCORE I see every form of unique small business inventiveness imaginable - efficiently created, using technology to the max and not seeking financing to the hilt - only the opportunity to succeed:
The US GDP is still the largest in the world.
Our high technology cannot be matched.
We have enough weapons systems and science to beat all our competitors and solve our problems.
We need to come home.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Now renewed emphasis has been placed on the matter by the GSA and the Veteran's Entrepreneurship Task force (VET-Force) with the signing of an agreement on Tuesday,19 August 2008. Under the memorandum of agreement, VET-Force will use its network of veterans to expand training and information on federal opportunities for these firms.
VET-Force is composed of more than 200 organizations and affiliates -- many small businesses -- representing thousands of veterans. It was organized in 1999 to lobby for the Veterans' Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act, which became law, and provide assistance to veterans who are starting businesses.
"GSA welcomes the opportunity to work with the VET-Force and other organizations committed to helping veterans and service-disabled veterans who are entrepreneurs," said GSA acting Administrator David Bibb. "This is a point of honor, but it is also a point of common sense. When we expand economic opportunities for veterans, we're drawing on men and women who know teamwork, discipline, cooperation and mission accomplishment."
In fiscal 2007, GSA spent 2.2 percent of its procurement dollars on businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. In announcing the agreement, officials said preliminary data for the third quarter of fiscal 2008 shows GSA has increased that figure to 3.2 percent, surpassing the statutory goal.
The agreement was part of GSA's 21 Gun Salute initiative, led by the agency's chief of staff, John Phelps. GSA works with other agencies, veterans and industry to meet the 3 percent spending target.
GSA also drew up the first government-wide acquisition contract set-aside exclusively for small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.
The Veterans Technology Services GWAC, through which agencies can procure systems operations and maintenance and engineering services, was the first contract vehicle reserved for service-disabled veterans. The contract was awarded in 2006 to 44 businesses and has a $5 billion ceiling.
Veteran's can obtain assistance in the details of entering federal government contracting at:
For additional information on the disabled veteran's contracting initiatives please see the following links:
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Friday, August 01, 2008
He chose not to be treated when advances in care became available in the mid 1980's, driven by a need to keep his security clearances in the defense industry. That dilemma is described in his book," Odyssey of Armaments" and is a story for another time.
This journal has been a powerful catalyst in Ken's recovery. It combines thoughts as he worked his way through a traumatic past with favorite photos of nature taken in his odyssey. The resulting marriage of written word and visual expression permitted resolutions to issues that haunted him.
Although the journal is still a work in process, it is published here in the hope it may educate and perhaps assist others like him who have suffered from PTSD to come out of the darkness and into the light.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Above book is free to interested readers at:
5 Questions for the American Voter
1. How well does the candidate you are considering understand the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) that now consumes 60 cents of every tax dollar you pay?
2. How subject to influence by the MIC Lobby will your candidate will be?
3. Does your candidate have the skills, inclinations and abilities to rebuild the MIC when it derails?
4. Can he or she manage the newer, smaller, leaner and more business-like organization that will have to replace the bloated, misguided enterprise we call the Pentagon and its industrial component today?
5. Will your candidate know when to ask the hard questions, put the brakes on the billions being spent on outmoded weapons and autocracy and know the difference between a real threat by a real enemy and a political show?
The men and women you elect will decide how the new machine will be designed and run. Below is additional information on this vital issue for 2008 and beyond :
Sunday, June 01, 2008
The federal government will contract in excess of $80B to small businesses in the next fiscal year. There are over 50 agencies or "Departments" in the federal government. Each of these agencies has a statutory obligation to contract from small business for over 20% of everything it buys. Contracting officers must file reports annually demonstrating they have fulfilled this requirement. Not fulfilling the requirement can put agency annual funding in jeopardy. Small business has a motivated customer in federal government contracting officers and buyers.
Large business, under federal procurement law, must prepare and submit annual "Small Business Contracting Plans" for approval by the local Defense Contract Management Area Office (DCMAO) nearest their headquarters. These plans must include auditable statistics regarding the previous 12 month period in terms of contracting to small businesses and the goals forecast for the next year. The federal government can legally terminate a contract in a large business for not meeting small business contracting goals. Approved small business plans must accompany large business contract proposals submitted to federal government agencies. Small businesses have motivated customers in large business subcontract managers, administrators and buyers.
There are set-aside opportunities available for small entities, veterans, disabled veterans, women and minorities. All it takes is navigating the system, persistence, asking questions, registering, and marketing, teaming and working hard.
Small Business America is good at that.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Mr. Sharon does not pull any punches regarding how our collective heads of state, our citizen attitudes and our war machine in recent years have placed this country in a precarious position economically, strategically and environmentally.
But he holds out hope and begins to detail how the US will be forced to respond as it always has during times of extraordinary challenge in the past; waiting too long to take action but with a genius for finally getting it right after a substantial sacrifice and a heroic effort.
"Getting to the Next Level to Solve Problems
By Bill Sharon Tuesday, April 15, 2008 4:37 PM /Techinsider/Next gov.com
No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.
We hear a lot about consciousness these days. This attention to a new level of awareness has increasing numbers of people checking their egos, performing acts of kindness and attempting to inject a greater level of civility into our daily discourse. All of which is welcome indeed, but it is less clear how the expansion of consciousness will have any impact on the very serious issues we all face in the world of politics, business and the economy. Einstein’s quotation gives us a hint.
Regardless of whether we protested or agreed, we have all lived in a political and social context over the recent years that operated on two fundamental principals: We could have war without cost and profit without value. On their face, these principals make no sense. We all knew they made no sense. Now we are beginning to experience the reality that they make no sense and the potential consequences from an economic perspective look worse every day. Just when the latest mortgage backed securities write-offs by UBS were supposed to mark the end of that crisis, we discover that the financial turmoil has seriously impacted GE, a stalwart performer whose stock price dropped nearly 15 percent last week. So much for the theory that the credit crisis would only affect the financial services sector of the economy.
The cost of the war, at $3 billion a day, also has finally come into our awareness. We can do the math in our heads to know that the amount spent in Iraq could have a significant impact on education, health care and the state of our infrastructure. Since we haven’t taxed ourselves to pay for the war, we have borrowed the money and grown the debt to astronomical proportions. There is a new context – an understanding of what we have done and the choices that we have made – even though those choices were in many ways a decision to let someone else decide.
Now that we are at the beginning of this awareness, many are clamoring for a “solution” to the many problems that face us. More regulation, say some. Less regulation, let the market sort itself out, say others. Withdraw immediately, say some. Remain for the foreseeable future, say others. These are all reactions in the same “consciousness” that created the problems. Reactive change is never resilient change and despite some transient upward ticks in the stock market, any of these actions are unlikely to have a prolonged effect.
To move to the next level of awareness it is becoming clear that we will need to experience a more detailed understanding of what we got ourselves into. The unraveling of the financial system will happen in due course. This is far beyond the supposedly normal process of a business cycle. The issues we need to deal with have to do with the corrosive effects of debt and the worthless nature of many “structured financial products." Those who cheer at the collapse of companies and financial institutions are foolish indeed; there has been and will continue to be much suffering.
But we can also see the beginnings of the new consciousness that Einstein suggests impacting both the economic and the political realities. Energy generation from what we now call “alternate” sources is beginning to come on stream in a significant way around the world. We will likely see these energy technologies develop both at a local level with individuals and municipalities deploying them and at a macro level as companies like Shell and BP continue to invest in them. The fundamental difference here is that the source of the energy (wind, solar, ocean currents, etc.) is essentially free. The economics will revolve around acquiring the devices to harness the free energy, and we will likely see significant changes in the economic structure of the current liquid fuel industry. This is not futuristic babble – the technologies exist today. It is well within the realm of the probable that our children will see the fossil fuel economy the same way we saw communism – seemingly impregnable and immovable and then a dusty memory. In any event, who with any sense and a blank piece of paper would choose to base an economy on an energy source that was limited, increasingly hard to find, dirty and located in some of the most unstable regions of the world?
Managing risk in this new environment or consciousness will be a challenge but it will be a welcome change from the defensive posture of the last several decades. We have been operating in the economics of scarcity and we are now entering the economics of abundance. Instead of looking at the world from the perspective of a country that constitutes 5 percent of the global population and consumes 30 percent of the world’s resources, we can conceive of a reality where, from an energy standpoint, an unlimited supply is achievable. Creating economic models that allow for the construction and deployment of the machines necessary to harness these energies has already begun.
So we are in the process of a tremendous change, one that seems unachievable and one that will cause a good deal of suffering even in the best scenarios. Einstein’s quotation provides us with a signpost of the direction that we need to move toward. We need to take the risk.
About Bill Sharon
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Strategic Operational Risk Management Solutions
Bill has 25 years' experience in the financial services and marketing and communications industry in a variety of C-level positions and consultancies. As the chief operating officer of corporate real estate at JP Morgan, he was a key player in its transformation from a commercial bank to an investment bank through the development and construction of high-tech offices in 23 markets that reflected a new organizational culture. Bill went on to develop cross-functional risk management processes for penetrating markets and establishing products. He also created the first proactive operational risk management process designed as a vehicle to communicate opportunities as well as hazards.
At Price Waterhouse, Bill established the North American operational risk management practice, which focused on the upside of risk — the choices an organization has to make to stay competitive. Most recently, as the chief information officer at McCann Worldgroup, Bill developed a global collaborative system as the foundation for supporting the cross-discipline business strategy of demand creation.
Bill holds a clinical degree and for the first 10 years of his professional life worked with adolescents in the South Bronx and East Harlem, an experience that taught him the difficult skill of how to listen. "
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
More than 60 companies have spent millions marketing, forming teams and preparing proposals for this program. It is now likely that it will be totally re-competed.
The federal court agreed with the protesters that the past performance award criteria for the Alliant contracts was fatally flawed. At the heart of the protest is the performance of a polling firm contracted by the GSA to conduct past performance ratings. The firm turned out to be totally unfamiliar with the Alliant Program Technology and delivered results the GSA foolishly trusted and the court ruled were unfair.
The GAO has also noticed a disturbing trend in government outsourcing of proposal evaluations to outside firms who have serious influence conflicts in performing objective determination of winning companies as revealed in this Next Gov Article:
IBM has been suspended from further federal government contracts, apparently due to violations of the Federal Acquisition Regulation tolerated by the EPA under IBM’s contracts valued annually in excess of $1.5 B per year.
Add the above to the sorrowful performance history of federal government contract administration in high technology, homeland security and Iraq military support projects that this blog has covered in detail and there is one inescapable conclusion:
Our domestic procurement contracting agencies are woefully lacking in expertise to administer the billions entrusted to them.
We must downsize the agencies in charge of these wasteful boondoggles, reform federal government acquisition, reassess our priorities and establish qualified professionals in the government ranks who can be trusted to spend public monies professionally and autonomously.
The best way to do this is to pull the budget purse strings shut until an agency can demonstrate the expertise, the plans and the objectives that Congress mandates. It may grind the government to a halt in certain quarters but a pause is in order before the machine collapses from waste, fraud, abuse and incompetence.
Why continue to drive a broken vehicle until it collapses and runs us into the ditch?
Saturday, March 01, 2008
"Have you ever wanted to find more information on government spending? Have you ever wondered where federal contracting dollars and grant awards go? Or perhaps you would just like to know, as a citizen, what the government is really doing with your money.
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act) requires a single searchable website, accessible by the public for free that includes for each Federal award:
1. The name of the entity receiving the award
2. The amount of the award
3. Information on the award including transaction type, funding agency, etc
4. The location of the entity receiving the award
5. A unique identifier of the entity receiving the award"
CLICK ON THE BELOW LINK TO ACCESS THE DATA DISCUSSED IN THE ABOVE ARTICLE:
Friday, February 01, 2008
OFFERING SOME "INTELLIGENCE" TO THE CIA - THE WASHINGTON THINK TANKS - AND THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX (MIC)
Defense Industry Daily reports that General Electric gobbled up Smith's Industries for $4.8B.
Let's look at these developments for a moment and do our patriotic duty by reading along with the CIA (after all, they have announced they are reading this blog).
1. The new CIA approach comes exactly at the formation of the agency’s new "External Advisory Board", which consists of the following:
* A former Pentagon Chairman of the Joints Chief who is now a Northrop Grumman Corporation Board Member
* A deposed Chairman of the Board of Hewlett Packard Corporation (HP)
* A Former Deputy Secretary of Defense who now heads up a Washington think tank with Henry Kissinger
2. Northrop Grumman Corporation and Hewlett Packard are two huge government contractors in the Pentagon and CIA custom software development arena. Their combined contracts with the government just for IT are in the multiples of millions. I wonder what the advisory board is filling the CIA's ear with?
3. Washington "Think Tanks" are fronts for big-time lobbies, sophisticated in their operations, claiming non-partisanship, but tremendously influential on K Street. If a lobby cannot buy its way in, why not sit on the advisory board?
4. GE already has the military aircraft jet engine market sewn up. In buying Smith's, it takes one more major defense corporation out of the opposition and further reduces the government's competition tools. GE now joins the other monoliths such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon with tremendous leverage in the $500B +++ per year defense market.
5. Note the synergy that now exists between the Pentagon and the CIA. Note the influence by the major corporations and the think tanks.
6. Also note the balance in your bank account and your aspirations for future generations. Both are going down.
7. The huge Military Industrial Complex (MIC) continues to march. Taxes and the national debt are marching straight up the wall to support it.
8. Do you have any "Intelligence" to offer the CIA, the MIC and the Think Tanks?
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Interestingly enough, the article splits the blame for the difficulties right down the middle, stating the government typically has problems defining what it wants as an end product or outcome and looks to contractors to define it for them. More than willing to do so, the contactors detail specific end products or outcomes, set schedule milestones and submit competitive proposals.
The winner is selected based on what the government thinks it needs at the time to fullfill its requirement and a contract is negotiated. Once underway, the government decides it wants something else (usually a management-by-government committee phenomina with a contractor growing his product or service by offering lots of options).
The resulting change of contract scope invalidates the original price and schedule, so a whole new round of proposals and negotiations must occur with the winner while the losers watch something totally different evolve than that for which they competed. The clock keeps ticking and the winner keeps getting his montlhy bill paid based on incurred cost or progress payments.
The link to the GCN ariticle is below and is yet another indication of how government keeps getting bigger by incompetancy:
Latch onto the 1980's HBO Movie, "The Pentagon Wars", a humorous but remarkably true story of the design and development of one of the costliest weapons systems ever to grace the Pentagon Budget, the "Bradley Fighting Vehicle". The movie starred Kelsey Grammer as the Pentagon General who led the government establishment sponsoring the vehicle program. The profusion of design and performance specification changes and other difficulties which plagued the program for years was hilariously but accurately portrayed in the film. It was nominated for an Emmy.
Further details on The Defense Industrial Complex see the following posting: