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Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.


Who Wants a Debate About Issues When You Can Smear?  | e-mail post

I had been looking forward to a good debate between Mssrs Cheney & Edwards, but if this piece from Reuters via the NYT is any indication, my hopes were misplaced. From the sounds of things, John Edwards. with hardly any track record of his own and running on a ticket with no clear direction for the future, other than, as if by magic, being better than the current administration, will make accusations of cronyism. I hope Cheney can keep his cool.

Of course that will be tough when you have Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa quoted in the NY Times making almost libelous claims like: "One of the reasons I think Cheney and Bush are fighting so hard is they are afraid that if we take over the administration and start looking at this stuff, there could be some charges filed. I refer to Dick Cheney as the Spiro Agnew of 2004." I would have expected more of Harkin's character, having spent my first 21 years in Iowa. I'm almost saddened I won't have a chance to vote against him.

For those of you who need the refresher, I have posted on this a couple of times: "Kerry's Halliburton Attacks: He Doesn't Get It" where Halliburton says they aren't going to rebid the contracts because they aren't making much money on them and then "Maybe Heinz Could Buy It" discussing the news that Halliburton is actually thinking about selling its KBR subsidary since it's costing more in PR and aspirin expense than it's making in profit.

For some more background, I'd suggest reading a little more about the history ofHalliburton's government contracting from the Center for Public Integrity, I chose the CPI because they should have unimpeachable cred even for the most left-leaning folk. A relevant portion:
"In 1992, Brown & Root was awarded the U.S. Army's first Logistics Civil Augmentation Program contract, an omnibus contract that allows the Army to call on KBR for support in all of its field operations, including combat, peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance. LOGCAP is a "cost plus award fee" contract, meaning that KBR is paid a fee above the cost of the service ranging from two percent to five percent, depending on performance. When the Army needs a service performed, it issues a "task order," a sort of minicontract that outlines the tasks the contractor needs to perform."

"When the United States joined NATO forces in the Balkans in 1995, KBR was deployed to the Balkans. KBR lost a second five-year LOGCAP contract—awarded to DynCorp in 1997— after the General Accounting Office reported in February 1997 that KBR had overrun its estimated costs in the Balkans by 32 percent (some of which was attributed to an increase in the Army's demands). Despite these findings, KBR was awarded a new contract for Balkan logistical support that ran through May 1999. In September 2000, the GAO released another report claiming the Army had not reined in contractor costs, placing the total cost of the Balkan contract at $2.2 billion."
I would go on, but the cynic in me is saying there's no point. People will either get it or they won't. I'll report more as there is more news.

I am just waiting for Edwards to ask "So, Mr. Cheney, when did you stop engaging in cronyism?"

e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Monday, October 04, 2004
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