Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for the ‘outsourcing’ Category

This Is Interesting

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 4, 2009

Drive-time AM radio this morning has been pushing a variant of this Matt Apuzzo AP story from last Wednesday questioning the job creation effect of the stimulus package.

Meanwhile, a similar version of this theme seems to have made its way from the Indian press to The Raw Story and was picked up by Avedon Carol at The Sideshow — the key change being to state — or at heavily imply — that Obama’s policies were sending green jobs overseas (especially to India) instead of creating them here at home.

So what’s this all about? Well, I suspect that some US-based multinational corporations (such as, perhaps, Microsoft?) don’t like the fact that banks and other entities taking TARP bailout money can’t keep importing and using dirt-cheap H-1B workers instead of American workers, and so they’re doing some pushback.

Another angle is that Obama also wants to crack down on offshore tax havens — something else that his critics (particularly those on the right) say is impossible and which can lead to undesirable effects, even though a new study, which you almost certainly won’t hear as much about on the evening TV news or drive-time radio as you will the other news stories I’ve mentioned, shows how Bush policies that enabled tax-haven junkie corporations to continue their tax-dodging ways wound up costing America tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of jobs since 2004. (h/t to Scholars and Rogues for this.)

If the people who want to preserve the tax-haven option can get the masses to seriously doubt the efficacy of the stimulus plan, then they can stop the plan to shut down the tax-haven option. And if they can use a story from the Indian press (which has a big ol’ dog in this fight) about green jobs allegedly fleeing the country under Obama to smother a much better sourced and detailed story about how Bush tax-haven-enabling policies touted as job-savers actually cost tens of thousands of jobs, that’s also something that helps the protectors of the tax havens.

Now, granted, many of these stories I’ve mentioned may well have groundings in reality. But the timing is, as I say, interesting.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, 111th Congress, 2008, 2012, big money, media, our tax dollars at work, outsourcing, President Obama | 1 Comment »

Canada Puts US On Torture Watch List

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 18, 2008

Here’s another thing you won’t be seeing on the evening TV news here in the US anytime soon:

Omar Khadr’s lawyers say they can’t understand why Canada is not doing more to help their client in light of new evidence that Ottawa has put the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on a watch list for torture.


Canada’s new focus on torture was ordered by the inquiry into Maher Arar’s nightmare in Syria. U.S. authorities sent Arar — a Canadian of Syrian ancestory — to Syria after he made a brief stopover in New York in 2002. They wrongly accused him of having links to terrorism in large part because of information provided by the RCMP.

Arar was sent to a Syrian prison where he was tortured for nearly a year. An inquiry into the Arar affair ordered a new focus on torture, and CTV News has learned that, as part of a “torture awareness workshop,” diplomats are now being told where to watch for abuse.

The aim of the workshop: to teach diplomats who visit Canadians in foreign jails how to tell if they’ve been tortured. It also listed countries and places with greater risks of torture. The list includes Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, and China. But surprisingly, it also included the United States, Guantanamo Bay, and Israel.

It notes specific “U.S. interrogation techniquies,” which include “forced nudity, isolation, and sleep deprivation.” The U.S. has repeatedly denied allegations by international groups that it tortures prisoners captured in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. However, U.S. officials have refused to comment on the Canadian list.

Don’t forget that much of the torture done overseas is outsourced there on behalf of the US.

However, it looks like Stephen Harper may be backing down in deference to his big brother Bush:

But it appears that Ottawa may have had second thoughts about being so explicit. After the documents were released as evidence in a court case relating to Afghan detainees, the government tried to get them back. Sources say that Ottawa apparently wanted to black out sensitive parts that may anger allies.

Posted in abuse of power, Afghanistan, Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, BushCo malfeasance, international, Iraq war, outsourcing, terrorism, torture | 1 Comment »

The DHS Henhouse

Posted by MEC on October 17, 2007

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The Department of Homeland Security has so many contractors that the contractors are even deciding which contractors to hire.

Across several of DHS’s most troubled projects, including delayed programs to replace the Coast Guard’s fleet and to issue secure credentials to port workers, contractors are so enmeshed in DHS’s work that they oversee other contractors. Some are assigned work that involves awarding future business, setting policy or drawing up plans and reorganizations, according to the Government Accountability Office, Congress’s audit arm.


In their study, GAO investigators found that of 117 contracts issued by three large DHS agencies, the Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration and the Office of Procurement Operations, more than half called for outside firms to support inherently governmental work.

This quotation from John Jaeger, president of Your Recruiting, one of the contract firms running the DHS, reveals the underlying problem:

Citing decisions since the 1990s to shrink the federal workforce, Jaeger said, “Don’t blame contractors for stepping in and filling a void that cannot be filled by government employees because there aren’t enough of them.”

The government didn’t shrink. There are obviously just as many jobs to do as ever, but government responsibilities have been shifted from the Civil Service to contractors.

Which is good for the contractors, not so good for the country. The purpose of government is to govern, not to generate profit. And when the contractors are deciding whether to hire contractors and which contracts to award, who’s going to prevent profiteering and corruption?

Contrary to claims of the privatization zealots, outsourcing government jobs does not lower the cost:

The average annual cost of a contract employee is $250,000, almost twice that of a federal employee, according to an estimate recently cited by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

As Paul Krugman tells us,

The Times reports that “fewer than half of all ‘contract actions’ — new contracts and payments against existing contracts — are now subject to full and open competition,” down from 79 percent in 2001. And many contractors are paid far more than it would cost to do the job with government employees: those CACI workers processing claims against other contractors cost the government $104 an hour.

And as our own Phoenix Woman has said elsewhere, “outsourcing and privatizing government functions actually leads to their being done worse, slower, and pricier than before, and makes them easy prey for corrupt persons.”

The real reasons for outsourcing are insidious: breaking the federal employee unions by replacing federal employees’ jobs with outsourced jobs, hiding the true cost of government, funneling money from the U.S. Treasury to political cronies. It’s long past time to get the profiteers out of our government.

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, capitalism as cancer, corruption, DHS, our tax dollars at work, outsourcing, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The DHS Henhouse

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