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» Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Under The Radar

Stories that get lost !
fatcat politicsWhen sensational stories like the second Indictment of DeLay and another nominee for SCOTUS take the spotlight, some important stories get lost in the shuffle.   If you really want to get the goods on Harriet Miers, check out her blog or Progress For America's Justice

With the Bush Administration one only wonders if smoke and mirrors is not one of their greatest weapons.   Just about everyone in America knows now of their cronyism and imcompetence which extollls us to stay that much more vigilent in documenting and opposing things they do in the background.

Did You Ever Wonder What 2000 Looks Like?

A presentation from "Bring It On! of a powerful statement of where we are in the reality of the world that Bush has created.   Sigh...   Torture, Treason, Corruption, Lies and Incompetence... By their works you shall know... The Republicans 2000 - 2008

Watch The Presentation …
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5% of the EPA Staff are planned to be outsoursed.   Cronyism Alert!   Nothing new for Bush especially when the power to overview the financing of the contractors is in contention.   Fox guarding the Hen House.
EPA to Outsource its Staff

According to Johnson, the positions that will be offered for contract replacement are administrative in nature, including financial and information technology slots. EPA employees contacting PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility) express concern that the new outsourcing targets affect -
• Enforcement. The agency's enforcement laboratory, called the National Enforcement Investigations Center, could lose as many as 78 specialists to corporate labs. The NEIC is the nation's leading forensic lab for environmental measurement and pollution compliance testing;

• Contractor Oversight. The agency's financial analysts now review reports and invoices from the billions of dollars in research grants, toxic cleanup projects and other contracts administered by EPA. Both the Government Accountability Office and the agency's own Inspector General have issued numerous critical reports about the agency's insufficient oversight of its current contracts. EPA's outsourcing plan, however, may result in one set of contractors overseeing the work of another set of contractors; and

• Workplace Diversity. Johnson's decision memo admits that plans to contract out administrative positions "will heavily impact minority employees." By way of mitigation, Johnson pledges to explore outplacement, training and "{early outs and buyouts" for affected minority staff. Nonetheless, EPA will become less ethnically diverse even if these steps are successful.

"This outsourcing plan is not about making EPA more effective or protective of public health, it is about politics: giving more government work to contractors who will presumably be grateful to the President and his party for the lucrative opportunities," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "In the Bush administration, protecting the public is always a job for the lowest bidder."
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There are too many links in this article to paste into this post. I post this because my older brother, a vietnam vet uses his benefits and like all vets, deserves to have them. Very informative article... In their frenzy to cut programs to get Katrina money, it is important that they do not let them dismantle the VA - fc
Dismantling VA

The Senator's aide chuckled rather loudly and said, "What VA? By the time this administration is done there won't be a VA." Our conversation had begun with a discussion of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA's) healthcare budget, and quickly came down to a single, simple point. VA is being dismantled.

Three reasons why the administration would want to dismantle VA immediately come to mind:

VA is a large-scale, publicly funded healthcare system that works: VA works so well it has been used as a model to push the case for nationalized healthcare; something that strikes fear in the heart of every Republican.

Recent studies by the Rand Corporation and the University of Michigan , working with UCLA, prove the point that VA is efficient and provides healthcare that meets the highest standards. If it can work for millions of veterans, it can work for millions of Americans. That concept is antithetical to current administration thinking.

In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina we learned that VA was the ONLY healthcare organization that managed to save ALL patient records. This is because VA uses a computerized system that was backed-up on a regional level and put back online in a matter of hours. Now that system is under attack by Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs . Rep. Buyer wants to eliminate regional control of the system under the guise of saving money.

VA is ripe for privatization: And that spells profits for private corporations. The latest move in this direction happened last week on Capitol Hill where the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs approved S. 1182 (see Sec. 10) which would spend money from VA's healthcare budget to study outsourcing jobs of VA healthcare workers. The study, with VA healthcare funds going to private consultants, could cost over $140 million and lead to the loss of up to 36,000 VA jobs. Democrats opposed it, but Republicans pushed it through.

VA is part of BIG government: And that's something this administration abhors. GOP strategist Grover Norquist says he wants the government shrunk down so he can “drown it in the bathtub.” The problem with this is that smaller government means fewer services as well as the much-touted lower taxes. And the jobs that are spared are outsourced and cost more to maintain because private corporations have to build in a profit margin.

So, while the concept of smaller government appeals to many, the economics fall into the “voodoo” category, and the social ramifications spell disaster for those who need the programs that are cut back or eliminated. In fact, smaller government gives less but costs more per person served. And I should remind Grover that 24.6 million veterans won't fit in a bathtub and the ones that do surely WILL drown.

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