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Politics as ususal.(21 posts)

Politics as ususal.94Nole
Dec 31, 2003 5:37 AM

We all know if VP Cheney was never affiliated with this company, this would be a non-issue, non-story.

Maybe Haliburton will now be able to lay off a few thousand Americans and add to the Dems efforts and ability to destroy the American economy. Sorry, won't happen. Thank God that Americans are above this crap where the rubber meets the road.

Maybe the Philanderer has some business connections that could pick up these contracts and save America.
No, politics as usual was...dr hoo
Dec 31, 2003 5:49 AM
... admin talking heads saying, when this story broke, that there was no overBILLING. Which is different from overCHARGING. They tried to spin it, but that did not last for more than half a day. The president said if they overcharged, they would have to pay it back. They overcharged. Overcharging a client is good reason to lose business in MY book.

I also think that ANY no-bid deals are suspect. No-bid deals go counter to the logic of the free market. That's a deviation from core republican principles. Does that not bother you?

On a side note, I find it interesting that you, 94Nole, stopped posting on this board because of the "tone" of postings. However, since your return you seem to originate threads that are highly polarized and polarizing. Just an observation.
Cory, perfect example...bill105
Dec 31, 2003 7:20 AM
of AP bias. Even though they know it, AP suppresses the fact that the no-bid contract in question was on services that had to be performed in 24 HOURS. I guess you and WooHoo would have the troops pull up to Iraqi gas stations and wait in line with everybody else for gas in their Humvees. As I said below, when a liberal admits his bias, he can start taking steps to recovery or in your case, piling some more dirt on top so you cant see out. For fun, read this if you arent scared.

Monday, Dec. 29, 2003 4:13 p.m. EST
N.Y. Times: No Evidence of Halliburton Profiteering

A comprehensive investigation into Halliburton's multibillion-dollar contract to restore Iraq's oil infrastructure shows "no evidence of profiteering" by the Houston-based oil services company.

That's the verdict by the New York Times, which assigned its Whitewater sleuth Jeff Gerth and investigative ace Don Van Atta to lay bare all the tawdry details of how Vice President Dick Cheney's former company was reaping big-bucks profits from sweetheart deals imagined by Democrats.

One problem: Gerth and Van Atta found almost nothing for Dems to hang their hats on. In fact, not only couldn't the Times find any evidence that Halliburton was stuffing its pockets under the table – even the above-board revenue collected by the company hasn't been much to write home about.

"So far this year, Halliburton's profits from Iraq have been minimal," the Times admitted. "The company's latest report to the Securities and Exchange Commission shows $1.3 billion in revenues from work in Iraq and $46 million in pretax profits for the first nine months of 2003."

That's a slender 3.5 percent margin, hardly enough to make any self-respecting war profiteer look twice. No wonder this story hasn't been leading TV and radio news reports all day.

To be sure, Times editors did their best to make it sound as if something fishy was going on. The report's front-page headline – "Halliburton Contracts in Iraq: The Struggle to Manage Costs" – gave no clue to the exoneration that followed.

And subheadlines like "Little Public Disclosure" and "An Absence of Competition" hinted darkly of shady deals where Cheney's friends were lining their pockets with blood money.

But even the Times had to admit that Halliburton's original Iraq contract was won "in a bidding process in December 2001."

What about that widely cited report last month claiming the company had overpaid by as much as 100 percent for Kuwaiti gasoline? Turns out that news is pretty much a political bust, too.

Company spokeswoman Wendy Hall explained that the Army Corps of Engineers needed the fuel imported to Iraq within 24 hours – not much time to launch a competitive bidding process.

"There's a premium for getting it done fast," explained Gordon Adams, a military procurement expert at George Washington University.

Anyone who disagrees ought to try sending all their mail by next-day air and see what happens to their postage budget.

Another factor that sent job cost estimates through the roof: sabotage by terrorists.

"As the war wound down, more work came [Halliburton subsidiary] KBR's way, mostly because of acts of sabotage on pipelines and Iraq's oil facilities," the Times noted. "When security problems made the production of fuel inside Iraq even more difficult – leading to shortages – the government asked Halliburton to import fuel."

If the Times' report on Cheney's old company is the best the Democrats can do, it's time for Terry McAuliffe to begin searching for a new campaign boogeyman ASAP.
so wait.....rufus
Dec 31, 2003 8:17 AM
'But even the Times had to admit that Halliburton's original Iraq contract was won "in a bidding process in December 2001."'

we were giving out contracts to rebuild iraq within months of 9/11? before there was even a hint of public proclamations that we would have to go to war against them? before there was any talk about WMD's, enforcing UN resolutions, or freedom for the iraqi people?

who says that a war against iraq was't pre-ordained? this administration was gonna do it one way or another. 9/11 just gave them the opportunity.
I don't think it was that specific,TJeanloz
Dec 31, 2003 8:29 AM
I don't know, I haven't seen the contract, but I don't think KBR's contract was Iraq-specific. I believe it was a general contract for providing a variety of services to forward-deployed troops, wherever they may be. This contract is mostly about mundane services like chow halls and laundries - not the more exciting oil and gas supply that we hear so much about.

But I could be wrong. Maybe there was a big conspiricy.
me either, but the problem I see is a lack of principled actiondr hoo
Dec 31, 2003 8:59 AM
Free trader imposes illegal protectionist steel tariffs on flimsy premises for political reasons. Free market party in power gives no bid contracts.

From a machiavellian standpoint I understand it. But I hope for more principled action. Starting from principles and developing policy I can respect. Claiming principles in word, but not using them in action I do not see as noble or praiseworthy.
Dec 31, 2003 9:14 AM
Legal contracts that did not subvert the UN Oil for Food program and were clearly above board have been awarded to subsidiaries of Haliburton based in other countries since the beginning of time.
Ease up, Bill. Have a burger on me.Cory
Jan 1, 2004 6:18 PM
Can't be anything to those mad cow stories. Sheesh, AP was all over them....
I don't know, man--you seem to be complaining because the queen of the liberal mainstream media, the accursed New York Times, investigated a report of malfeasance, found none and said so in a story. Granting that looking for the truth and acting accordingly is very much a liberal virtue, what's the issue here?
when it suits AP...bill105
Jan 2, 2004 5:50 AM
they run a story. they HAVE to run mad cow. i expect and want them to run mad cow. even then, its as they see it through their eyes which are usually clouded and completely based on their bias. the issue now is you said ap wasnt biased. i say they are. the issue earlier was you suggested your readers review a chapter from a book that was written by a completely biased source. i asked if you were going to run a retraction to your specific example of e coli stats which you floated as legitimate cristcism raised in the book. if truth is a virtue that you have, then half truths like those stats arent good enough.
You're probably correct in your assessment.94Nole
Dec 31, 2003 10:13 AM
I'm just sick of this constant battle. Just as I said, it was the Cheney connection that even makes this a story. If there is truly an issue, that's fine. But if I overcharge or bill a client, he or she doesn't call the NY Times, they call me. Needless to say, I am not looking forward to this coming year of bickering and crap that will be associated with the November election.

I do have to challenge your statement regarding over-Billing and over-Charging. What is the difference? If I work for a client for 4 hours at $150 per and bill 8 hours at $150 have I over-"Billed" or over-"Charged"? I assume that you would assert that I have overbilled as my rate is what we agreed-to, so what I charged "per hour" was correct. I would say that I have done both in the grand scheme? It's these technicalities in one's thinking that I believe is a big waste of time and gray matter.

If they overcharged, then get the money back or make sure they provide services in the future at no additional charge. What is so difficult about that? Is Halliburton the best company for the job?
Overbilling vs. Overchargingdr hoo
Dec 31, 2003 10:45 AM
This was not my distinction, but the use of the language raised a red flag for me, and obviously for many.

As I understood it, listening to Rumsfeld talk, there were "procedures" in place to make sure there was no "overbilling" that involved accounting oversights, checking paper work, and that sort of thing. So, and this is from memory, an example of overbilling would be if the same "thing" were billed more than once. So, say, 20 people are sent to Iraq, and while there they build 3 houses. The bill for each house included the costs of transporting the workers. That would be overbilling.

Overcharging involves placing prices on products or services that are out of line. $300 hammers.

They MUST be different things, because for ~6 hours administration people were using one word consistantly, but then changed to the other word. I have not heard the word "overbilling" since.

Now, as for this:

"If they overcharged, then get the money back or make sure they provide services in the future at no additional charge. What is so difficult about that? Is Halliburton the best company for the job?"

Suppose you went to a good auto mechanic, and they screwed you over. As in they charge you $2000 for parts that you find out later cost $500 at every other shop in town. AFTER you catch them, they say "oops", and give you a refund.

Do you want to do business with that mechanic again, even if your car runs perfectly?

On it's own, imo, this issue is a small matter. But many small matters make for a larger pattern, and it is the pattern that is worrisome.
there is no "pattern". (nm)bill105
Dec 31, 2003 11:30 AM
Honestly, I WOULD do business with him/her again.94Nole
Dec 31, 2003 1:06 PM
Now, I believe that your example is somewhat extreme (2000 vs 500 is a huge difference) but if the merchant righted the mistake, he's not likely to try it again, at least not with me, as he would expect that I would be watching very closely. If he is the best in town, that's the guy I want to hire, depending on the service of course. It is my responsibility to see that I am getting, in my opinion, what I believe to be a fair service for a fair price.

Now, I don't want my reply to draw the "what about the others he is screwing" crowd. Discerning fairness or accuracy in pricing vs. the purchased service or product and choosing whether to do business to begin with or again (or not) is as much the responsibility of the patron (in this case, those in the governmental accounting offices responsible for the H contracts) as it is the merchant/contractor.

Now, I believe in the market that people will vote with their dollars or their feet. In your example, they'll either challenge the price and get a reduction or refund, or they will walk to a lesser cost option. If H overbilled or overpriced, fix it and move on. My question is why does it have to be international news?

Pattern my butt. Dr. Hoo, you know through the many hours that you obviously pour through research that you could very easily find a couple dozen other companies guilty of the exact same practices. No, it doesn't make it right, but it definitely shows the political reason for the H news. That was my point in posting the article.
Great. Wanna buy some real estate?dr hoo
Dec 31, 2003 1:42 PM
It's a REAL good deal! Primo location, great price.

The pattern I refer to is not contracts. It is the Bush administration acting contrary to it's own stated core principles. Non-conservative conservatives. Non-free market free marketeers. I have refered to the pattern in several posts in the last couple days, but was not clear enough about that here. Sorry about that.

Yeah, I'm calling politicians hypocrites. Big suprise. But there ARE some principled politicians out there who stick by their principles even when the going gets tough. I do wonder where Cheney has been of late, since he has been mostly incommunicado. Not very principled action in my book.

Why does it have to be international news? I don't know that it is, since the link you posted was from Yahoo, and is US centric. It certainly did not "bubble up" to the top on the news filters I use.

Rather I would ask how MUCH coverage it has gotten, and compare the level of coverage to michael jackson, or kobe bryant. Then ask yourself which is more important for the NATION to know about: an isolated crime against an individual, or issues that involve OUR money being wasted?

Ask yourself if it is part of a larger story, that of the privatization of many important services for the military, and consider what the use of all these civilian contractors MIGHT be doing to our military preparedness and capabilities, especially in places where things get "hot".
funny that..bill105
Dec 31, 2003 2:10 PM
all the dems are now concerned with spending when it never was a priority before. as far as private contractors in the military, i'm not in so i cant say but it doesnt look like there are any major failings as the result of the military using civilians for some services. remember, practically every gun, boot, bullet, airplane and humvee is built by the private sector.

but if youre saying the u.s. government needs to take back services from private contractors, then youre advocating more spending. so which is it, do you want to spend more or less?
And not surprising that you don't remember...dr hoo
Dec 31, 2003 2:45 PM
... Clinton talking about the deficit. To remember that you would have to have a connection to reality.

Making product and providing field services are two different animals. I did not say it was bad now, just that it was something to consider and something to pay attention to going forward.

So, all the money that the government pays to private contractors is NOT spending? It might be less than if the government took over, it might be more. There are examples I could cite that cover each case.

But I am not going to bother digging them up. It would serve no purpose. You, bill105, are not worth any more of my time. I am going to do my best to ignore you and your cluelessness from this point forward. I've been looking at your ramblings less and less over time, and I kind of like it. It makes this place better for me.

Considering that I still see value in Live Steam, and have not even *considered* ignoring him, this should pretty well let you know my opinion of you. If this board had an "ignore" function, I would put you on my list. I will defend myself from certain actions, should you commit them and I become aware of them, but that's it.

Have fun.
And not surprising that you don't remember...bill105
Jan 2, 2004 5:54 AM
Making product and providing field services are two different animals. I did not say it was bad now, just that it was something to consider and something to pay attention to going forward.

thanks for pointing out the obvious as usual. please, please, please reconsider responding to my ramblings. please, oh god you have to, what will i do?
You want to talk about "Politics as ususal"?Dave_Stohler
Dec 31, 2003 9:26 PM
I was watching coverage of the recent ruling banning ephedra. Before the other day, it was a legal substance. Yesterday, the FDA commissioner Mark McClellan said "we intend to shut you down", in reference to the manufacturers of said substance. He also said it in a rather nasty tone, as if he were talking about crack dealers.

Why the hate? True, it isn't the safest stuff in the world, but nobody ever manufactured it with the intention of getting people addicted or deliberately harming them, so why the "Mr. Tough-Guy" act?

Well, the reason is simple: Politics. Mr. McClellan is politically ambitious, and he's trolling for soundbites. The modern media has turned the majority of Americans into brainless zombies, just waiting for the next 'outrage' to pounce on. We have become a herd of media-sheep!
Why the hate?czardonic
Jan 2, 2004 12:42 PM
People are dead.
Jan 2, 2004 8:40 PM
People die from improperly using alcohol, too. What about cigarettes? True, you don't die as fast, but could you imagine what would happen if he told tobacco farmers that he was "going to shut them down?"

C'mon-what the hell ever happened to perspective?

Here's what happened: the internet came along, offering a soapbox to every half-@$$ed demagogue who had an internet connection. He who screams the loudest gets noticed. People with opposing viewpoints scream louder. Polarization happens as each side takes a more extreme position just to get the notoriety. Each side sinks a bit lower with every new trolling for exposure. In the end, our society will become a bunch of brain-dead idiots incapable of seeing the full spectrum if ideas and opinions, having been blasted for years with just such "black vs. white" propaganda. Politicians pander to this phenomena, since yelling louder than the next guy for attention is what politics basically is.

Yeah, a few people have died using the stuff. Most of them used it improperly, but even I agree that the stuff isn't safe and should be taken off the market. What I was commenting on (and this seems lost on you-I fear you are part of that section of the population I have just mentioned...) was the way that the notice was publically handled. When the FDA announced that they were going to ban saccharine, I don't remember anybody threatening to "shut down" Coca-Cola or Pepsi, likewise when MBTA was recently banned in gasoline, there were no threats to "go after" any oil companies. One would assume that intelligent herbal supplement manufacturers would undestand that "illegal" means just that; should you ignore the law, then yes, you'll be prosecuted. No, all that Mr. McClellan did was to state the blatantly obvious, but did it in such a way that he looked like a savior for all those poor, unfortunate people who were somehow threatened by the mere existence of the supplement ephedra. Pure politics-do little, take credit for work done by others, and sound like you are a big shot.

FWIW, consumer advocates have been trying to ban ephedra for 10 years. The republican house has been around for as long, and has always blocked it. Now a famous athelete dies, gets noteriety (because the media loves healty, good-looking white people who die unexpectedly..), and suddenly our elected officials see the light. Give me a break.
Don't know where you've been pal,Starliner
Jan 3, 2004 12:42 AM
but IMO I hope you stay awhile. Being a Libra myself, I appreciate those who look at things in a neutral, detached fashion which for me, doesn't often earn myself any packmaster points. Some issues are just not open for exploration without judgements and labels being hurled around which squelch any attempts at reaching a higher level of understanding.

There's a lot of BS out there on both sides of issues, too many sacred cows, and too much emotional manipulation going on. So please keep on cutting through the crap thru speaking up with reason and thought on things.