9-11 rememberance
        Oct. 2, 2005
It's who you know

It's not what you know, it's who you know.

Is cronyism effecting our safety and security?

Helping out the people who put you in office has been and always will be a part of politics.  Past administrations have done it and future administrations will do it, but has it gotten to the point that it is effecting the safety and security of the citizens of the United States?  Some recent examples are: Michael Brown and FEMA, Julie Myers nominated to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and no-bid contracts for disaster recovery.

The FEMA fiasco and Michael Brown is one of the latest examples of cronyism.  He didn't have a clue about what a REAL emergency was.  He blamed the city, the state, the Department of Homeland Security and even the Bush administration.  It was every bodies fault except his!  He says the city and state did not do enough to get the people out of harms way soon enough.  OK.  Maybe that is that is true but even if it is, shouldn't FEMA be ready to cope with whatever the situation is?

Are terrorist going to tell us before they explode a dirty bomb so we can evacuate the city?  No!  Are we going to have any advance warning before a 8.0 earthquake that devastates the western United States?  Maybe and maybe not.  My point is FEMA should have been prepared for those situations, that just happen!  They knew about Katrina well in advance and they should have been prepared for the worst case scenario.  If the government can not be prepared for something that they know about what can we expect when something suddenly happens, like a terrorist attack.

Julie Myers was nominated to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement, this is the department that oversees our borders and the security of the United States.  Only 3 days after the resignation of Michael Brown the Bush administration nominates the 36 year old special assistant to President Bush.  She barely meets the 5 year minimum requirement for experience working in law-enforcement management.  She is going to manage 20,000 government employees and a $4 billion budget and she has previously only supervised 170 employees with a $25 million budget.

Her resume may be short on experience and qualifications but she has an impressive list of connections.  She has just recently married Michael Chertoff's chief of staff.  Julie Myers worked for Homeland Security secretary, Mr. Chertoff  briefly as chief of staff at the Justice Departments criminal division.  Her uncle is Air Force General Richard Myers, the outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She is described by coworkers as impressive, very efficient, assertive, strong and smart.  I think that is great but I do not think that and her limited experience qualify her to head such and important agency.  This agency is responsible for the security of the borders of the United States and in these times I would like somebody with more practical experience in charge not somebody who got the position because of who they know.

Contracts awarded in Iraq where given to companies we have all heard of, Halliburton and Bechtel Corporation.  These same companies were given no-bid contracts for disaster recovery after hurricane Katrina.  And these are the same companies and their leaders that supported President Bush in the elections.

"Halliburton alone has earned more than $US9 billion. Pentagon audits released by Democrats in June showed $US1.03 billion in "questioned" costs and $422 million in "unsupported" costs for Halliburton's work in Iraq." - Reuters

Congress and the Government Accountability Office are aware of these contracts and say they will scrutinize them.  With one party controlling Congress and the White House it is like having the fox watch the hen house.  Hopefully with the media attention on this and some politicians coming up for re-election in another year, will get these contracts the attention they deserve.  I want to see my tax dollars helping those in need not lining the pockets of those with political connections.

It is the President and his administrations responsibility along with Congress, to put the BEST possible person in charge of important government departments.  It is the governments responsibility to spend our taxes wisely, not line the pockets of their friends and associates.  Instead they are rewarding the people that supported them and got them in office.  Unqualified people are getting positions in the government, that they are not qualified for.  The government leaders are spending our tax dollars on no-bid contracts to companies, that they have been associated with.  This has cost us money and more importantly American lives, in the case of Katrina.  If this type of cronyism does not change it will cost us more money and more American lives in the future.


Oct. 2, 2005