Is Homeland Security a party?

Your tax dollars at work:

[quote]Flat-bottomed rescue boats at double the retail price, $68,500 worth of unused dog booties, hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of computers that somehow disappeared and a $227 beer brewing kit.

These are just a few of the questionable purchases that Congressional auditors have found by digging through half a year of credit card records from the Homeland Security Department, including records for the months immediately after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita last year.


The result is that in the five months examined, the investigators found that 45 percent of purchases did not have appropriate preauthorization by supervisors and that 63 percent did not include documentation stating whether the goods or services had been received.

Congressional leaders, who requested the investigation, said they were once again disappointed at the lack of oversight of taxpayer dollars at the Homeland Security Department, which has already been blamed for up to $2 billion of waste and fraud related to the hurricanes last year.

“It seems no matter where we look at Homeland Security, we find a pattern of waste, fraud and abuse,” said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine and the chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.[/quote]

Looks like the Bush Administration has once again managed the near-impossible by overseeing yet another fiasco that arouses the outrage of the normally compliant Republicans in Congress.

I think it’s safe to say that “Homeland Security” can be replaced with just about any government organization.

And this is horseshit:[quote]
Looks like the Bush Administration has once again managed the near-impossible by overseeing yet another fiasco that arouses the outrage of the normally compliant Republicans in Congress.[/quote]

when you consider the amount of bipartisan PORK that gets through Congress each year.

Fraud waste and abuse is NOT a one sided issue. It ALL stinks.

I think it’s safe to say that “Homeland Security” can be replaced with just about any government organization.

And this is horseshit:[quote]
Looks like the Bush Administration has once again managed the near-impossible by overseeing yet another fiasco that arouses the outrage of the normally compliant Republicans in Congress.[/quote]

when you consider the amount of bipartisan PORK that gets through Congress each year.[/quote]

Except for a few inconvenient facts:

  1. Homeland Security is a department created entirely at the behest and under the supervision of the Executive Branch within the presidency of the current sitting administration. It’s not like a bunch of Democrats sat back and said: “Hey, in the midst of our pork swapping with the GOP, let’s agree to let the Secret Service buy a shitload of iPods and approve these other expenditures.” NO, this has happend on the Bush team’s watch – beginning, middle and straight up to now. Show me where any member of the Democrats approved any one of these bullshit expenditures, and I’ll cede the point. However, I think it’s horseshit to have you pretend this is bipartisan.

  2. The Republicans and their appointees dominate all three branches of government. If you’re going to bitch about what the Executive and Congress have done, at least grow a frickin’ pair and own up to the fact that the Republicans have some responsibility for the government currently being run by them. Democrats paid the piper in 1994 after a 40-year run in which they grew complacent, but the Republicans can’t take responsiblity when their day comes around?

  3. Homeland Security is just a touch more important than the average “bridge to nowhere” (Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens’ pet project) or “highway to nowhere” pork event. If you can’t acknowledge that and want to sit there figuring that it’s just the same-old-same-old stuff, then let’s just hope that the 2006 elections are about values. Keep in mind that in the latest AP poll, 2/3 of Americans want to vote the Republicans out of Congress.

I believe I did acknowledge this very thing. :slight_smile:

face it MFGR, you could start up a Dept of Good Karma and Love and it would be plagued with abuses and waste.

People are baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. :wink:

I believe I did acknowledge this very thing. :slight_smile:[/quote]

You did, jdsmith. Quite clearly.

So the question becomes whether you believe that belonging to one party or the other changes the basics of human nature.

Human beings are willing to sell-out to gain power, or to stay in power. If one believes that having an “®” or a “(D)” next to their name changes human nature, well… :loco: :idunno: draw your own conclusions.

The truth is that both major parties in the US contain many corrupt individuals. Corruption aside, the parties --on aggregate-- have have somewhat different stances on some of the issues. Vote on that if you want to.

The idea that you should vote for one party or the other because “That other party is composed of corrupt people, whereas my party is composed of non-corrupt people…” is more than a little naive.

[quote=“Hobbes”]
The idea that you should vote for one party or the other because “That other party is composed of corrupt people, whereas my party is composed of non-corrupt people…” is more than a little naive.[/quote]

More than a little naive. More like kindergarten.

[quote]Human beings are willing to sell-out to gain power, or to stay in power.[/quote]Way to generalizing for me.

[quote=“Hobbes”]So the question becomes whether you believe that belonging to one party or the other changes the basics of human nature.

Human beings are willing to sell-out to gain power, or to stay in power. If one believes that having an “®” or a “(D)” next to their name changes human nature, well… :loco: :idunno: draw your own conclusions.

The truth is that both major parties in the US contain many corrupt individuals. Corruption aside, the parties --on aggregate-- have have somewhat different stances on some of the issues. Vote on that if you want to.

The idea that you should vote for one party or the other because “That other party is composed of corrupt people, whereas my party is composed of non-corrupt people…” is more than a little naive.[/quote] :bravo:
This should be a sticky at the top of the politics forums.

I do think that some politicians start out with high ideals. But it’s the overwhelming desire to hold onto the power they have, and to get more power, that messes things up.

Saying it’s “bipartisan” in this particular instance does not reflect taking responsibility for it. It seems that you tried to equate a program that has been, since its inception, under a Republican presidency’s supervision and funded by a Republican-dominated Congress. As a U.S. citizen, I don’t find it funny at all to see from Katrina that 4 years after 9-11 we still don’t have any real disaster preparedness and crappy response times. I don’t find it funny at all that in a presidential administration that does not push for planning or accountability (“Heck of a job, Brownie!”), I don’t feel that my family or friends are any safer.

To me, it seems like mealy-mouthed BS that brings to mind the old Matt Groening “Life is Hell” cartoon in which a child standing in the shadow of his parents in a house that has become a disaster zone says: “Mistakes were made.”

What is clear is that you’re glad to try to share out the shitstink of this mess, which does stick something new to the old adage: “Success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan.” In the Republican world, that add-on would be: “… and where the motherhood is beyond doubt, try to find a father.”

Pork has existed for ages and has always involved some bipartisan BS, but this ain’t pork – this is misuse of government resources and corruption at Homeland Security. You want a pork discussion, that’s a mighty short talk.

Go ahead, play the party-line game of saying it’s a “bipartisan” problem. But I and the 2006 voters know it’s a crock of crap happening on Bush’s watch – and even the moderate Republicans like Collins know it’s horseshit.

[quote=“joesax”]
I do think that some politicians start out with high ideals.[/quote]Now that’s naive.

[quote]But it’s the overwhelming desire to hold onto the power they have, and to get more power, that messes things up.[/quote] No, I don’t think that many have an overwhelming desire to hold on to the power they have. There are deals you have to make, things you have to say, things you can’t say, toes not to step on, and have a lot of patience. DC politics isn’t something you go in with high ideas alone. You must enter with the reality that you are not only dealing with people who are in power but with people who have issues also. It takes a lot of tack to work with people who do have agendas, well meaning or not.

[quote=“Namahottie”][quote=“joesax”]
I do think that some politicians start out with high ideals.[/quote]Now that’s naive.[/quote]You don’t think that at least some politicians start out with high ideals? With a feeling that somehow they are going to change politics for the better?

[quote=“Namahottie”][quote]But it’s the overwhelming desire to hold onto the power they have, and to get more power, that messes things up.[/quote] No, I don’t think that many have an overwhelming desire to hold on to the power they have. There are deals you have to make, things you have to say, things you can’t say, toes not to step on, and have a lot of patience. DC politics isn’t something you go in with high ideas alone. You must enter with the reality that you are not only dealing with people who are in power but with people who have issues also. It takes a lot of tack to work with people who do have agendas, well meaning or not.[/quote]I don’t understand. You agree that holding onto power is an important issue, it seems. So is it the “overwhelming” bit you disagree with? I’m afraid that, for a great many politicians at least, power does become the central goal.

And the D of HS has existed for what? Ten seconds?

Are you surprised that fraud waste and abuse have entered the picture so quickly?

I’m not so sure what you are really angry about…although I can guess. Has ALL the F, Wand A been done by those dirty GOP partyliners?

I started a Pork thread months ago, and got no responses. Now THAT’s a shame.

Ok, so at least they’re being auditted. That’s a positive step. Are other cabinets being auditted as we speak? Yes? Good. No? Why not? FW&A are always there somewhere.

[quote]
The result is that in the five months examined, the investigators found that 45 percent of purchases did not have appropriate preauthorization by supervisors and that 63 percent did not include documentation stating whether the goods or services had been received.[/quote]

That’s fucked up. Who are the supervisors and why aren;t they doing their jobs?

[quote]
One employee of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is part of the department, spent $7,790 on a 63-inch plasma monitor, which sat for six months, unused, in its original carton.[/quote]

Stupidity at FEMA??? Color me shocked. :unamused:

[quote]
A Coast Guard cardholder bought the beer brewing kit, which officials explained was “a quality product for official parties attended by cadets, dignitaries and other guests,” but which the auditors called “abusive and questionable.”[/quote]
Stupid abuse. Corruption? Not in my book.

[quote]
Auditors also found that officials from Customs and Border Protection spent $2,492 on rain jackets for use at a firing range, even though the firing range is usually closed when it rains.[/quote]

And they NEVER would have used them elsewhere??

[quote]
Russ Knocke, a spokesman for the department, said it would soon be issuing credit card rules, which he agreed were needed to avoid some of the problems.

We are still a young department, a little over three years old,” Mr. Knocke said, adding that the total value of the purchases questioned by the auditors represented only a tiny share of the amount charged on the government cards.

He also said that the department had found many of the more than 100 computers bought with the credit cards that investigators said had disappeared.


More resources have been spent on investigating these anomalies than the amount of resources actually lost,” he said
.[/quote]

So, only a tiny share, that means small, of the total (I’d like to know how much), so maybe it’s not that bad after all.

The PCs being misplaced is stupid, being stolen is fucked up. Find them. Prosecute those involved if theft occurred.

The last part is hilarious. Spending more to investigate than has been stolen or lost isfunny…albeit necessary. We should konw where the money is going. To imply that NO investigation should be done (not that Knocke did) because of the cost of the investigation exceding the cost of the stolen/missing goods is insulting.

Find out what happened.

But MFGR…must EVERYTHING be screamed off the top of buildings???

This thread is depressing

[quote=“joesax”][quote=“Namahottie”][quote=“joesax”]
I do think that some politicians start out with high ideals.[/quote]Now that’s naive.[/quote]You don’t think that at least some politicians start out with high ideals? With a feeling that somehow they are going to change politics for the better?[/quote] Sure they do, but it’s still naive and they know it.

Yes, many politicians do drive for power. But it’s the type of power they are driving for. Is it gonna be used for their own personal agenda or for the greater good. As of this moment, IMO think that many of the DC politics are doing it for personal reasons which would actually be EGO not power.

There are two waste problems going on here:

  1. The credit-card stuff that appears indicative of a culture of theft and frivolity tolerated within Homeland Security, a department that of all our governmental institutions should be taking its work seriously in the aftermath of 9-11. Of course, the culture for the organization has been set by the Bush White House, an organization with such low aims for excellence that Arabian horse show organizers are ideal candidates for the top FEMA position. In the Bush White House, competence and diligence are not expected – part of how no matter how much people screw up the only thing that has undone most officials has been loyalty issues.

  2. On a more practical level, does anybody really think that the U.S. is any more prepared than it was during Katrina? I’ve been watching for improvements but now, nearly 5 years on from 9-11, I think the Bush White House and the Republican Congress has done a crap job of protecting the U.S. in tangible, smart ways. Again, look at the results. 2-1/2 years into World War II, we were feeding and arming our troops plus those of our allies – trillions of USD in aid went over to the Soviets in the form of food, trucks and other military equipment, to the Brits to re-arm them in preparation for Normandy, etc. Nearly 5 years into the current wars, and we’re struggling to strap steel onto a few trucks and humvees and hearing lame excuses for why Bush’s horse-show appointees need to eat at their favorite restaurants instead of do their jobs.

Sorry mods, this is offtopic, but still interesting (to me, anyway!)

[quote=“Namahottie”][quote=“joesax”][quote=“Namahottie”][quote=“joesax”]
I do think that some politicians start out with high ideals.[/quote]Now that’s naive.[/quote]You don’t think that at least some politicians start out with high ideals? With a feeling that somehow they are going to change politics for the better?[/quote] Sure they do, but it’s still naive and they know it.[/quote]I don’t think they know it. I think that many politicians start out with the belief that they will somehow avoid the traps of ego and power that have ensnared all the others. Actually, what you wrote before seems to confirm this belief; that somewhere there are career politicians who still manage to keep the greater good uppermost in their minds.

Yes, many politicians do drive for power. But it’s the type of power they are driving for. Is it gonna be used for their own personal agenda or for the greater good. As of this moment, IMO think that many of the DC politics are doing it for personal reasons which would actually be EGO not power.[/quote]I can’t really think of any prominent politicians anywhere who consistently have the greater good in mind. Yet, as Hobbes said, there is a strong tendency for those involved in partisan politics everywhere to think that their team is all good, and the other team is all bad. I think it might be healthier and more productive for all concerned to step out of the game and concentrate on trying to do good on a local, personal level.