Part I - Did the Army overlook an off-the-shelf effective system to combat RPGs (Rocket Propelled Grenades) in favor of a multi-year development contract which, if everything worked correctly, could be deployed years from now?
According to an NBC News investigation...
"Earlier this year, the U.S. Army awarded one of its favored defense contractors, Raytheon, a $70 million contract to develop a new system to combat rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), which have killed nearly 40 Americans in Afghanistan and more than 130 in Iraq."
"The Army insists that Raytheon won the contract fair and square based on its 'systems engineering expertise and the
discipline which they used in analyzing requirements, threats and potential solutions.'”
"But an NBC News investigation of the contract selection process reveals that at almost every turn, Raytheon was given a significant competitive advantage over other defense contractors, including an Israeli firm whose system was extensively tested and found to be highly effective."
Assuming that there are no "classified" issues with this procurement, both the politicians and the military remain unchallenged as to why our government doesn't simply purchase the effective system now and then integrate it into our battle plans. However, something political appears to be afoot...
"Video obtained by NBC News shows that Raytheon’s system was not tested under the most trying of conditions. It was mounted on a test stand, not on a moving vehicle."
"By contrast, a different Pentagon division, the Office of Force Transformation (OFT) tested a competing Israeli system — called Trophy — and found it at least 98 percent effective against RPGs in near-battlefield conditions."
This seems to clearly demonstrate either command negligence or budgetary malfeasance. Where are the democrat's investigation. Oh, I forgot, they are busy investigating the trivial and legal Alberto Gonzales matter. I really do not give a damn whether or not Gonzales lied to Congress, but I do care why our troops are exposed to RPGs and dying!
Part II - Why does a billionaire need a $2 million addition to a department of defense appropriations bill for a controversial medical institute headed by his wife?
According to Bloomberg, Susan Samueli, wife of Broadcom Billionaire Henry Samueli (195 on Forbes 400 list with 2.3 billion dollars) has been slated to receive a $2 million earmark for her controversial "Institute of Information Biology."
And apparently, according to Bloomberg, this is not the first time that Samueli's Institute has received funds attached to a defense appropriations bill.
"Projects with names such as MIL-CAM and VET-HEAL received about $15 million in earmarks in earlier years. The White House budget office this year identified Samueli's institute as the recipient of three grants, worth $5.6 million, in the 2005 defense bill."
"Visclosky isn't the institute's only legislative patron. Representative James Moran, a Virginia Democrat whose district includes its headquarters, requested an additional $1 million in the fiscal 2008 defense bill for its Center for Research on Integrative Medicine in the Military."
What angers me is that these earmarks are being attached to an almost veto-proof House Department of Defense appropriations bill.
Why are we funding research into yoga, "bioenergy" and alternative medical treatments when the democrats are loudly claiming that we are not supplying the right equipment to the troops?
Hypocrisy, corruption or both...
I am not so much interested in the application of alternative medicine, however useful, but in the fact that the Department of Defense budget and the American taxpayer is being shortchanged by politicians obviously catering to special interests -- all while they are claiming the military is not receiving the appropriate equipment.
Claiming that the Institute's research is valuable to the military or individual soldiers does not constitute demonstrable proof that the Institute should receive taxpayer funds. The Samueli family has contributed at least $50 million to charity -- $30 million to UCLA, $20 million to UCI (Irvine) -- as well as other contributions. So why would they turn to government handouts to fund their Institute?
Something stinks -- and it appears to be American Politics...
There is no doubt in my mind that the system is broken. That politicians are receiving financial and operational support from special interest lobbyists, acting on behalf of their clients having business before these various politicians.
What angers me is that Pelosi, Murtha and other democrats who loudly blame the administration for their shortcomings are seemingly blind when it comes to pursuing the ethical lapses of their fellow democrats.
Let Henry Waxman (D-CA), who is so fond of investigations, call for a Senate Ethics investigation of Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) who has been alleged to influence Department of Defense spending to the benefit of her husband who had investments in companies doing business with the military.
"Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has abruptly walked away from her responsibilities with the Senate Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee after a report linked her votes to the financial well-being of her husband's companies, which received billions of dollars worth of military construction contracts she approved."
What can YOU do?
Decide enough is enough. These bastards don't need tax increases, they need to curtail spending -- especially in the area of special interest support projects which either fail or return no value to the American taxpayer.
Do not elect any candidate or elected official who seems to surround themselves with unsavory or "connected" associates with ties to lobbyists and others who come to Washington with their hands out.
Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security and sovereignty of the United States for personal power, prestige or profits.
There is no doubt that much of our tax money is being spent with little or no results, inappropriately allocated to companies who hire lobbyists to present their case for sucking at the public teat. The answer to "we need more money" should be "show me the corresponding budget cuts." What agencies can be eliminated? Which political patronage positions can be de-funded?
And make no mistake, the chaos and corruption exists on both sides of the congressional aisle and in the current Administration which is headed by Rockefeller Republicans" rather than conservative "Reagan Republicans."
A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…
The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius