Thursday, October 31, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

One President's Halliburton is Another President's CGI Federal

One of the many things that made President George W. Bush one of the most hated Presidents ever among Democrats and others on the left was the use, and we felt THE ABUSE, of NO BID CONTRACTS going to friends, classmates, crony's and lobbyists who had an inside track into the Bush Administration.

Investigations into the NO BID CONTRACTS were a staple of the nightly news on the major networks, articles in The Huffington Post, blog entries in The Daily KOZ and conversations everywhere.

Ultimately the issue of no bid contracts became so large it was a major campaign issue for candidate Barack Obama.  There is no doubt in my mind that his promise to "END NO BID CONTRACTS FOR GOOD" was a major factor leading to his election.

The generally left leaning BUZZ FEED has even put up a montage of Obama's many speeches promising to end NO BID CONTRACTS.  Click on the link above to see them all or just check out the one I've republished below:

Of course now we find that Kathleen Sebelius' Health and Human Services Department awarded a four hundred million dollar ($400,000,000.00) to CGI Federal, a Canadian company with close ties to Barack and Michelle Obama and the Obama Administration with absolutely NO BID

What's worse, especially after listening to Barack Obama's speech above, there were actually four other companies who attempted to submit bids for the ACA (ObamaCare) contract and those bids were never opened or reviewed by the Administration. CGI Federal got exactly the kind of insider sweetheart deal given behind closed doors that candidate Obama PROMISED to end forever if he were elected President. 

But, as it turns out, CGI Federal is used to getting no bid contracts with a license to siphon off federal funds. The AP is reporting today about a major failure on the part of the government to distribute funds to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. 

Congress allocated $1.7 BILLION for Hurricane Sandy Relief and hired CGI Federal, without any bidding, as a consultant to aid in the allocation of the funds. Although 24,000 family is desperate need have filled out the applications for aid, only a paltry 1.2% of the money has ever been distributed. Everyone else is still waiting. 

In this case, the government and CGI Federal are a bigger disaster than the hurricane itself. 

Of course no one is ever held accountable in the Obama Administration. When quizzed, they all, from Barack Obama on down, admit "mistakes were made." But then they quickly add the important thing is to "look forward" and "fix the problem."  

Looking forward is Washington code for "spend even more money." 

Barack Obama is no where near our worst President ever. But he easily is the President who has consistently told the most outright lies when campaigning for office or campaigning for his pet projects. 

It's his own little version of a "no bid contract."  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Severe Pain

“Let me be exactly clear about what health care reform means to you. First of all, if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.”
                                                                  --- President Barack Obama, July, 2009

If only that were true. I don't think President Obama meant to lie. He just never bothered to read the bill he signed into law.

I am deeply saddened by the emerging details and near tragic consequences of The Affordable Care Act. Millions of Americans are now losing their insurance precisely because of The ACA.

You've likely noticed that all Liberals, Democrats and Progressives and the Main Steam Media now refer to the law as The Affordable Care Act or The ACA.  Only weeks ago all Democrats used to proudly call it "ObamaCare" as did President Obama himself during the election.  Now that it's all falling apart they can't run away from that name fast enough.  

I've seen the disaster coming in part because, unlike Members of Congress and unlike President Obama, I actually studied the bill.  I read it and studied it and I listened carefully to others who had great knowledge of the details and the likely consequences of what is now, unarguably, the single worst piece of legislation to ever emerge from Congress.

I've written again and again and again and again about the pain and suffering this law would cause, the almost unimaginable expense to both the government and to individuals, the dismantling destruction of our health care system and the impact on both doctors and patients.  I knew many, if not most, people would not be able to keep either their doctors or their insurance.

One of my friends commented last night that at least now I can say, "I told you so."

I would have preferred to be wrong.  I take to comfort in being right.  I take even less comfort in the fact that our intractable Congress is not currently up to the job of fixing the problems..... or even addressing the problems.

Millions of people will now lose their health care and their insurance because of President Obama's ego and stupidity (there is simply no other word to describe his failure to ever read the bill he claimed as his own). They will not be able to get substitute insurance under the unworkable system of insurance the law mandates.

Those who somehow can magically cobble together insurance to replace their cancelled policies and can somehow afford the staggering cost of premiums and deductibles will be very angry.  When they discover they can no longer see the doctor of their choice or use the hospital of their choice they will be very angry.

Many Democrats now see the handwriting on the wall.  Sadly, it's just too late.  Dems are quietly lobbying for a delay in implementation, but that might actually make matters worse.  People are receiving notices of cancelled policies today.  Their insurance ends on December 31st.  God forbid they need surgery on January 1st. Delaying the ACA won't help.

Here's my prediction: November of next year will be a bloodbath for Democrats. Republicans who shut down the government trying to stop ObamaCare will turn from goats into legendary folk heroes.

There is no excuse. This was all foreseeable.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Lesson We Liberals MUST Learn

The ObamaCare roll out somehow managed to be more flawed than the horrific law itself. As impossible as it seems, the initial introduction of President Obama's prize accomplishment from his first term is, so far, one of the biggest embarrassments in the entire history of our government.

And each and every day it gets worse.

The President's biggest allies for the first two weeks were the hapless Republicans who stole the spotlight from the ObamaCare introduction with their ill advised government shutdown.  President Obama ought to write Senator Ted Cruz a "Thank You" note". 

The biggest error the President made was letting the shutdown be settled.  Two weeks was not long enough to fix the flawed website design. And once the shutdown ended, the press and blogosphere turned its full attention to ObamaCare.

Speaking of mistakes, President Obama's second largest mistake was not to accept the Republican DEMAND that ObamaCare's mandates be delayed a full year.  He needs that time (which could have easily buried the issue past the 2014 election) to fix this mess.

Actually biggest problem is the ObamaCare Law itself, but that is for another blog entry in a few weeks.  Today we, as Liberals, need to learn one critically important lesson: The Government Should NEVER Do Anything EVER!

If we love people, if we want fairness, if we demand the folks get full value with no waste, programs like Universal Health Care need to be turned over to the private sector. We can legislate universality, fairness and value and we can hire inspectors to make certain the law is accomplished, but GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT RUN THE PROGRAM.

We, the taxpayers, spent $680,000,000.00 on bad code, poor design, insane logic, zero testing and no results.  By contrast Facebook's website was started at less than $80 million. Twitter at less than $300 million. And there are countless other examples.  And they all work.

The problem lies in government management, the bidding process and the sheer bureaucracy that permits no innovation and allows no decision to ever be made. 

Megan Neal pointed out over on the Motherboard Website (not a political site, but an IT site) that the bureaucratic morass of bidding on government contracts guarantees no qualified company will ever win a contract or even bid on one.  
     The "procurement" process of government contracts is so labyrinthine, the administration has to hire firms that are adept at the process, even if that means they're not sufficiently adept at the actual task. As a result, despite a government budget of $80 billion a year for information-technology services, federal web services wind up clunky and glitchy like they're stuck in the dial-up age.
Today many are calling for HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to be fired for incompetence. Indeed she is totally incompetent and ought to be fired. In any private company she would have been long gone, years ago. But politics, not competency rule Washington.  And that is exactly why programs should always be delegated to the private sector.  Yes, private companies will make a profit but, like Amazon, they will get the job done for less taxpayer dollars with better results.

As Liberals we hate giving profit for needed services to the private sector.  Yet we waste many times the money for vastly inferior services.  We must learn to Legislate and Regulate, instead of trying to Implement the program in the systemically incompetent government sector.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

A Very Sad Day for America

Walter Pruden writing in The Washington Times:
[The Barack Obama Administration] has closed Washington down as tight as [they] dare, emphasizing the trivial and the petty in making life as inconvenient as he can for the greatest number. It’s all in a noble cause, of course. Access to most of the memorials is limited, and often in curious ways. The Lincoln Memorial is easy to reach, with the streets around it remaining open. But the Martin Luther King Memorial is made difficult to reach, relegating it, you might say, to the back of the bus. Not very nice. 
The Park Service appears to be closing streets on mere whim and caprice. The rangers even closed the parking lot at Mount Vernon, where the plantation home of George Washington is a favorite tourist destination. That was after they barred the new World War II Memorial on the Mall to veterans of World War II. But the government does not own Mount Vernon; it is privately owned by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. The ladies bought it years ago to preserve it as a national memorial. The feds closed access to the parking lots this week, even though the lots are jointly owned with the Mount Vernon ladies. 
It is important to note that NONE of this was ever done during any of earlier government shutdowns.  No previous President ever wasted the hundreds of thousands of dollars it has taken to inflict this personal pain on the American citizens.

Mike Flynn, writing for FOX NEWS:

Just before the weekend, the National Park Service informed charter boat captains in Florida that the Florida Bay was "closed" due to the shutdown. Until government funding is restored, the fishing boats are prohibited from taking anglers into 1,100 square-miles of open ocean. Fishing is also prohibited at Biscayne National Park during the shutdown.
The Park Service will also have rangers on duty to police the ban. Of access to an ocean. The government will probably use more personnel and spend more resources to attempt to close the ocean, than it would in its normal course of business.
This is governing by temper-tantrum. It is on par with the government's ham-fisted attempts to close the DC WWII Memorial, an open-air public monument that is normally accessible 24 hours a day. By accessible I mean, you walk up to it. When you have finished reflecting, you then walk away from it.
At least that Memorial is an actual structure, with some kind of perimeter that can be fenced off. Florida Bay is the ocean. How, pray tell, do you "close" 1,100 square miles of ocean? Why would one even need to do so? 
This is not, most assuredly, the America I grew up in. America has become a divided country filled with hate, vindictiveness and envy. People no longer help one another. They look for the advantage, the opportunity to profit from other's loss, to win at any cost. 

I'm not talking about big corporations here, although they can be greedy, too.  I'm talking about people, citizens, individuals.  People putting politics above morality.  People no longer loyal to each other, to their communities and their country, but loyal only to their political party, their so called leader.

It is the kind of personal animosity, hatred of those who might believe differently from you, that has driven the middle east into constant, centuries old conflict. Northern Ireland suffers from the same mindless hatred. Serbia, the list goes on.

How much of this petty vindictiveness comes right from the personal instructions of Barack Obama and how much comes from "the folks" who think they are doing what he would want I can't say.  But I do know Barack Obama could stop it instantly if he wanted.  Clearly he wants divide, class envy, pettiness and hatred. 

If the Republicans are the cause of the shutdown (and that can be argued), President Obama is certainly responsible for this temper tantrum of implementation, as he is for similar acts during the sequestration. This is a sad day indeed.  I pray our next President will actually work to bring this country back together.