Showing posts with label Fraud Waste and Abuse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fraud Waste and Abuse. Show all posts

June 18, 2020

Freedom But Disparity

America is a great country.

The freedom, rights, and opportunities we have is exceptional and enviable in the world and history.

But the disparity between rich and poor, majorities and minorities is grotesque.

On one side of the street are the mansions, and on the other are the slums.

One on side of the train station are those going off to work, and on the other side are the homeless lying in the gutter.

On one side of the scale are people fat with money and power, and on the other side are people hungry and decaying.

Wealth is overflowing for those that are the fortunate, but also corruption runs systematically deep.

This isn't an issue of political party, but one of the righteousness of men's hearts.

G-d watches and man disappoints, but the the future is still wide open.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 22, 2020

We Just Magically Found $2,000,000,000,000

It's amazing how we can magically find $2 trillion for a Coronavirus "Rescue Plan."

This after we already wasted over $6.4 trillion (and thousands of our dead and wounded) through 2017 in unexplainable and endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with no known or lasting benefits to this country (while archenemy, Iran continues their pursuit of nukes unabated). 

And for decades, we haven't been able to find money for:

- Decent healthcare for all Americans.

- Ensuring our national security, including adequate planning and disaster preparedness for things like Coronavirus, cybersecurity, WMDs, EMPs, and for critical infrastructure protection. 

- Repairing our aging roads, bridges, and infrastructure

- Fixing our broken public education system.

- Helping our countless of homeless and needy lying the streets of our nation. 

- Restoring our space program to get a man on the moon again or put another shuttle into space. 

When politics are in play, there is plenty of money to go around. 

But when the nation needs proper care and feeding, there are no adults in the room. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 25, 2020

Corruptocrats

I heard this new term that I thought was worth sharing:
Corruptocrats

Refers to corrupt politicians. 

Couldn't believe it's actually in the dictionary. 

Not all of them are, obviously. 

Could it be a whole "political party" too? lol

If only everyone was pure of heart and intention. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal, and note that no disrespect intended to anyone)
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June 18, 2019

Beautiful Architecture, Washington DC

Check out this beautiful exterior architecture.  

This fine exquisite pattern is all around this building by Metro Center. 

I think this must've been restored over the last few years, because I don't remember it being this colorful and awesome in the past. 

Civilization can still create some amazing works...whether technology, medical cures, and even beautiful pieces of artwork. 

Now we just need to proceed with the positives of creativity and productivity without destroying ourselves with indifference, dysfunction, and mismanagement in the process. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 14, 2019

Unbridled Government Spending

I liked this notion from Margaret Thatcher:
The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money. 

And from the Wall Street Journal:
The problem with resisting socialism is that until the money runs out free-spending progressive politics are remarkably seductive. 

In other words, we love to spend what appears as "free" government money--more and more entitlements, bigger and bigger government...basically, we can't resist the candy in the candy store.

But the problem is that the money eventually runs out and by then we have gone too far and are left eating our own flesh. 

 Why can't we spend our precious money and scarce resources prudently and also save wisely for a rainy day--why do we have to act like pigs in the poke?

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 15, 2018

The United Nations At Work For You!


In case you wondered why the United Nations is always so full of sh*t?

- When the U.N. is done aimlessly sitting around watching on the sidelines while weapons of mass destruction proliferate, millions are being killed, maimed or made into refugees, and genocide and war crimes are occurring...

- When the U.N. is done elevating dictators, sponsors of terrorism, and human rights abusers...

- When the U.N. is done denigrating and making endless anti-Semitic resolutions against the democratic and Holy Land of Israel...

- When the U.N. is done laughing at the President of the United States and his accomplishments...

This is what the UNjust United Nations spends our valuable time and dollars on. 

This photo of a U.N. garbage truck say it all.

Perhaps, this is the only thing that the U.N. is actually good at!

(Thank you to a good friend for forwarding this photo to me)
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August 23, 2017

Dirty Laundry Usually Doesn't Get Aired

The way to fix problems is to first identify and acknowledge them.

Only then can you focus on them, commit to them, really address them, and make things better.

The BIG problem though is fear. 

Usually dirty laundry doesn't get so easily aired. 

Generally, people don't want trouble. 
"The nail that sticks up gets hammered down."
And who wants to be the one to get hammered flat and for of all things, doing the right thing?

We don't encourage transparency.

And we certainly don't reward transparency. 

As I once overheard:
"Uh, you better keep it in the family!"
So things get kept in the family, and the big burly husband is a drunkard bum and the wife is abused and the kids are abused, and the sh*t goes on. 

Shhh...

Open door policies, hotlines, and other mechanisms are helpful, but don't go far enough. 

Bosses need to ask point blank and with full and honest assurance of confidentiality and non-attribution or retribution:
"Tell me what's really going on here."
When there is smoke, there is fire, and where there is skunk stink, there is skunk.

The only way to know the truth and make a difference is to get to the truth.

In life, is anyone willing to "do the dirty" and finally get to clean? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 3, 2017

The REAL Problem Is NOT Healthcare

Why can't all the really smart people in this country solve the healthcare crisis?

The democrats tried and it didn't work out to well. 

And now the republicans are trying and sort of the same thing so far.

Is it politics?

Sure, that is what it can easily look like. 

One side wants to give more to these folks and less to someone else, and the other side vice versa.

But I don't think that is the truth!

Wouldn't we all like to give health coverage to every single man, woman, and child in this country!

Seriously...doesn't everyone have a heart and soul somewhere in there.

And we all know and/or fear what it's like to be at risk, without proper coverage, and without the medical care and medicine that can be lifesaving!

So here's the real problem folks:

It's not healthcare, nor any of the other social or national security issues we face--whether the military, space exploration, environmental concerns, jobs, or anything else. 

This is what it is...

It's called the national debt, which stands art $20,000,000,000,000

And that doesn't even include ANOTHER 127,000,0000,000,000 of unfunded liabilities for things like social security and medicare etc. 

This is a nation that collectively doesn't save--it spends--and it spends not only it's current purse, but it's future one too!

In fact, total U.S Household wealth in aggregate of $90,000,000,000 is eclipsed by our overall national debt!

True, this doesn't include trillions of dollars of other significant business or national assets, but it does point to the overall severity of our highly-leveraged financial position.

So where does this leave us?

We can't really solve healthcare or any of our other problems--if we are BROKE, busted, and a debtor nation. 


Yes, it takes money to invest, and money to pay for solutions for now and for the future. 

But how can you possibly solve anything, if your pockets are not only empty but have a big f*ckin' hole in them. 

So folks, the lousy decisions of the past and present are coming back to haunt us. 

It's a tidal wave, a tsunami of debt--of unbelievable corruption and kicking the can down the road--of fraud, waste, and abuse--of shortsightedness and lack of real leadership--and the time is coming to pay the piper!

If you think the political infighting--liberal and conservatives--tea party and progressives--alt left and alt right--socialists and dictators--is bad now?

But unfortunately, unsolvable problems lead to accusations and recriminations--finger-pointing all around--calls for impeachment--calls to let the other party or some independent lead us out of this mess.

Do you think being in such a challenging situation could also lead us to make rash and stupid mistakes or even go to war? 

In the end, how do you lead us out of a dead-end caused by generations of recklessness with our country's finances?

Some say perhaps we can grow ourselves out of the debt--maybe we need to go back to school and all get our MBAs and start the whole messed up story all over again?

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 14, 2017

I Met The Swamp And It Is Us

So with the election came promises (and hope to some) to "drain the swamp" in Washington, D.C. and beyond. 

That means redefining the size, scope, and purpose of federal government.

It also means reducing regulations that stifle American business and competitive advantage, placing restrictions on lobbying, and imposing term limits on Congress.

Presumably, it also means addressing mounds of fraud, waste and abuse in the system (many examples of each are out there).  

So here is a funny true story from when I was traveling recently...

A gentleman is riding with me in the elevator and he turns to me to make chit-chat. 

He says, "Good morning. Where you from?"

I smile and respond, "Washington, D.C.," and add proudly, "the nation's capital!"

He then asks, "What do you do there?"

Feeling a little perky that morning and with the elevator ride about to come to a stop at the lobby, I quickly blurt out, "Oh, cleaning up the swamp."

To which, the man responds with the sarcasm galore and probably a good dose of disdain, "Yeah right!" 

There was something so comical about this scene in which I sort of baited this guy and at the same time found the reaction that is all too likely throughout America.

Do people believe and are they committed that we really do the following:

- Change the status quo of big stumbling government

- Right the wrongs done by those who take advantage of the system, its power and big money

- Restrain the ginormous national debt that threatens to consume all of us

- Fairly and compassionately address the nation's priorities including those for national security, prosperity, and well-being

- Drain the swamp from the horrendous creatures that dwell and thrive therein

And the capital is not built on a preexisting swamp, but it did come and grow, man-made, dark and deep, as a result of the greed and fear that drives too many, far too far. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 20, 2017

Nuttiest Duck In DC

Just when I thought I'd met all the nuts in this town (Washington, D.C.)...

I ran into this one in the Capitol Reflecting Pool on the Mall. 

Check this out!

The duck is head first waddling away it's feet in the air like a lost puppy.

Reminds me of too many folks who don't want to deal with the many consequential problems that our nation faces (fortunately, there are also many good folks that do!).

From the imminent dangers of North Korea, Iran, and ISIS to our staggering national debt (all of which I wrote about yesterday) along with other critical issues such as healthcare, immigration, and jobs, jobs, jobs. 

Then there are the all too frequent projects that are out of control and funding that is flushed down the proverbial $4,000 toilet. 

A history of dysfunction, fraud, waste, abuse (along with an assortment of personality disorders) have ripened for the picking in the election famous "Swamp"--that we've been promised will be drained!

Maybe that's what this duck is wading into...and what do you think he will find? 

This nation can no longer afford to go head in the sand unless we are looking to be a good-for-nothing dead duck rather than a thriving democracy and beacon of freedom to the world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal
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April 14, 2017

Inspector Inspects Starbucks

This was the first time that I have ever seen an inspector in Starbucks...

See the lady in the white lab coat with hair cap and gloves...

Ah, she stands out like a saw thumb in contrast to the other staff person in the traditional green Starbucks apron. 

So I would imagine that she's not a doctor moonlighting as a barista!

She was checking here, there, and everywhere. 

At this point, she was taking out the milk and looked like she had some thermometer like device to make sure it was cold enough and not spoiled. 

Honestly, I was impressed that they have this level of quality control in the stores. 

We need more of this to ensure quality standards as well as customer service -- here and everywhere in industry and government. 

There is way too much dysfunction, inefficiencies, politics, power plays, turf battles, backstabbing, bullying, lack of accountability, unprofessionalism, fraud, waste, and abuse, and mucho organizational culture issues that need to be--must be--addressed and fast!

Can the inspector that inspects do it?

Of course, that's probably not enough--it just uncovers the defects--we still have the hard work of leadership to make things right--and not just to checklist them and say we did it.

I wonder if the Starbucks inspector will also address the annoying long lines on the other side of the counter as well? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 3, 2012

FOIA Making Us Stronger

To commemorate 46 years since the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was passed on July 4, 1966, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) came out with a infographic showing the significant progress that has been made in government transparency and areas they still see for possible improvement. 

Similarly, Government Executive Magazine ran an feature article in June 2012 called "The Truth Behind Transparency," calling progress with open government as "tough to gauge."

The basic idea of FOIA as the website for Sunshine Week put it is: "the public's right to know about its government."

Obviously, as GovExec points out, one of the main questions over the years with FOIA is "how quickly and fully do agencies respond to FOIA requests?"

To much and too soon, and do you perhaps put at risk various sensitive information, jeopardizing elements of the functioning of government itself?

Too little and too late, and then is the opportunity for mismanagement, waste, fraud, and abuse simply an after fact?

As Beth Novek, former deputy chief technology officer for open government, described it, open government is a "shorthand for open innovation or the idea that working in a transparent, participatory, and collaborative fashion helps improve performance, inform decision-making, encourage entrepreneurship and solve problems more effectively."

Transparency can aid in accountability by shedding a light on leadership and its performance management. It can also be a great opportunity to bring new ideas and opinions to the fold, perhaps leading to better decisions and results, at the end of the day, for all. 

The challenge for government is to guard against any information risks to the safety and security of our nation.  

An informed nation, is a stronger nation--to me, it is a foundation of a government "of the people, by the people, for the people."

Government and the people working together, duly informed, to confront our toughest challenges and solve our greatest problems.


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July 13, 2012

Putting Children Above Ourselves

Folk_festival
What a distorted editorial this morning in the Wall Street Journal called "What's Really Behind the Entitlement Crisis."

Oh, thank goodness (NOT) that we have these pundit-types to tell us what's "really" happening and feed us their self-serving "proofs."

Anyway, the author, Ben Wattenberg, contends that we all are suffering a decline in standard of living because we don't have enough children. 

He actually advocates that we have more children to bear the burden of our waste, fraud, and abuse and inability to live within our means.

The author writes: "Never-born babies are the root cause of the 'social deficit' that plagues nations across the world and threaten to break the bank in many."

Never mind that current world population of over 7 billion people is anticipated to rise above 9 billion by 2050, and we continue to spoil and deplete our world's limited resources already.

The author selfishly contends that "Declining birth rates mean there are not enough workers to support retirees."

Unfortunately, the author ignores that if current and prior workers and politicians did not spend down the balances in social security to finance other pork-barrel political initiatives, then each workers savings would still be there to support their retirement, and we would not have to rely on future generations to make up the difference by spending their savings to support our prior excesses and waste. 

Wattenberg ends by saying that "The real danger for the future is too few births."

Like a glutton, he advocates that we eat more in order to keep trying to satiate our insatiable spending needs. 

When I was a kid, my father used to joke about eating too much and say we should do some push-ups--push the the table (with all the food) away from us!

No, like teenagers on day time TV shows, who contend that they want to have children because they feel it is their "way out" of their problems and only then they will be loved and be able to love, and the TV show host puts them in a program with a fake baby that cries and makes at all the inconvenient hours of the day and night, does the teenager realize that having (more) children is not the answer to their problems, but actually may only increase their problems. 

Having more children as a nation--we already average about 2 per family--in order to finance our retirements and entitlements through the development of another generation of a slave labor pool is completely misguided. 

Have children for the right reasons--out of genuine love and a commitment to give--not to receive. 

Mr. Wattenberg does not seem to care if children are brought into the world of broken families, poverty, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, molestation and incest, homelessness, and separation and divorce, because Wattenberg's standard of living is at stake. 

Bring children into a world that is giving, loving, and sustainable.

Safeguard life, but don't recklessly encourage birth. 

Birth is a privilege of the young, not an entitlement for the elderly.

(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

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July 10, 2012

The Broom Flag

This was a strange sight today...

A blue broom stuck in a flag pole holder from the second floor window of this building.

I wasn't sure if this was someone just trying to be funny (probably)--and hopefully they meant no disrespect to our honorable stars and stripes.

However, this being Washington, D.C., I wondered whether this blue broom standing in the pole holder was more of a (subtle) message about it being time to:

1) Clean up waste, fraud, and abuse and do the right thing for our citizens and our nation.
2) Wipe away our national deficit and right our fiscal ship.
3) Address our environmental and sustainability issues leaving our water, air, and land in "broom clean" condition.
4) Sweep through and resolve our sizable and challenging national and global problems.
5) Brush under our differences and partisanship and instead, unite together as Americans for the cause of freedom and human rights.
6) All of the above

Maybe I am reading too much into a blue-brushed broom flying over the skyline, but I like the message anyway and hope you do too.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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