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Defense procurement problems won’t go away

The Department of Defense (DoD) is taking a major step in stopping the waste of taxpayer dollars. POGO recently learned that DoD sent a legislative proposal to Congress to narrow the definition of a “commercial item” to mean goods or services that are actually sold to the general public in “like quantities.” This proposal is a huge improvement over the current definition, a broadly worded definition open to abuse because it includes good or services “of a type” that are “offered” for sale or lease

…Not surprisingly, the contracting industry is opposing DoD’s proposal, claiming that competition will suffer as certain companies won’t do business with the federal government because of stricter contracting rules… ~Scott Amey, General Counsel, POGO

Walter Pincus – (Washington Post) – May 2, 2012 – In June 1986, after a year-long investigation, then-President Ronald Reagan’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management — later known as the Packard Commission — filed a final report.

It was established to investigate Pentagon procurement after an enormous increase in defense spending and the discovery of the infamous $435 hammer and $600 toilet seat. The panel was chaired by David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Co., and deputy defense secretary in the Nixon administration.

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Who’s sorry now and other news

Deportation likely for porn man
Dan Oakes – (Sydney Morning Herald) – March 12, 2012 – An Australian man facing up to 10 years in prison for a child pornography offence in the United States could be deported to Australia after serving any jail sentence.

US legal documents obtained by the Herald show Christopher Mark King, 55, pleaded guilty to possessing hundreds of hardcore images and videos of young children being abused.

The documents show that King’Is employer, KBR (formerly Kellogg Brown & Root), contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation after the images were found on King’s work computer by IT personnel looking for viruses. (Click HERE for article)

Double sacrifice: Family loses sons in Afghanistan
Jeannie Nuss – (Associated Press) – PRESCOTT, Ark. – March 11, 2012 – When their older brother Jeremy died in Afghanistan, Ben and Beau Wise did what loyal brothers and soldiers do. They stood solemnly in uniform at his memorial, laid red roses in front of his picture, and Ben spoke bravely to a chapel full of loved ones who came to mourn.

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Your U.S. tax dollars at work supporting Iran’s nuclear program

U.S. Enriches Companies Defying Its Policy on Iran

By JO BECKER and RON NIXON

The federal government has awarded more than $107 billion in contract payments, grants and other benefits over the past decade to foreign and multinational American companies while they were doing business in Iran, despite Washington’s efforts to discourage investment there, records show.

That includes nearly $15 billion paid to companies that defied American sanctions law by making large investments that helped Iran develop its vast oil and gas reserves.

For years, the United States has been pressing other nations to join its efforts to squeeze the Iranian economy, in hopes of reining in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Now, with the nuclear standoff hardening and Iran rebuffing American diplomatic outreach, the Obama administration is trying to win a tough new round of United Nations sanctions.

But a New York Times analysis of federal records, company reports and other documents shows that both the Obama and Bush administrations have sent mixed messages to the corporate world when it comes to doing business in Iran, rewarding companies whose commercial interests conflict with American security goals.

Many of those companies are enmeshed in the most vital elements of Iran’s economy. More than two-thirds of the government money went to companies doing business in Iran’s energy industry — a huge source of revenue for the Iranian government and a stronghold of the increasingly powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a primary focus of the Obama administration’s proposed sanctions because it oversees Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.

Other companies are involved in auto manufacturing and distribution, another important sector of the Iranian economy with links to the Revolutionary Guards. One supplied container ship motors to IRISL, a government-owned shipping line that was subsequently blacklisted by the United States for concealing military cargo. Read the remainder of this entry »