Tag: government

August 14, 2013 / / WTF?
January 2, 2012 / / activism

By Guest Contributor Esther Choi, cross-posted from Some Thoughts …

I can’t stress enough that the following article only represents my opinions as an individual, and are not to be affiliated with any other person, organization or community.

December 15, 2011

Tonight was the march and vigil for Private Danny Chen, who was killed in the army on October 3, 2011. We don’t know how he died. The army is withholding all evidence, which it owes to the family, that could answer this question. What we do know is that he did not die in combat. We know he was constantly harassed and discriminated against by his fellow soldiers for being Chinese. We know some really twisted, violent hazing was committed against him by his superiors, right before he was found dead. We decided to hold a march and vigil because the army is currently carrying out an investigation, and we have to show them that the public is watching and that they cannot get away with another cover-up.

Just yesterday, board members of OCA-NY along with Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Council Member Margaret Chin went to the Pentagon to meet with high-ranking army officials, where they made demands that may fundamentally transform the way that hazing and bias crimes are dealt with in the military. We need them to know that the public and the media are watching, and that if they do not meet our demands, we will redirect our campaign to focus on our young men and women who are thinking of enlisting. These young people need to know before they enlist, the Army will not protect them from harm by fellow soldiers.

Before the vigil, we reached out to many organizations to support, and 36 signed onto our cause. We also reached out to Occupy Wall Street because justice and government transparency are in its mission, and we thought we could use the numbers and networks in OWS to bring out more support for our vigil, and we also wanted to show our solidarity with OWS.

So imagine my surprise when protesters from OWS showed up with OWS signs, not to stand with others lining up for the march to Columbus Park in support, but to stand in front of everyone, trying to direct them. These people, who had not, until that very moment, put in one bit of effort into organizing this action, who had no idea what the plan was, who had no idea who we were or who the family was, decided that they were going to make this an OWS event.

Conflict erupted when one of the OWS-affiliated protesters came with a giant Communist Party of China flag. This white man decided that he was entitled to represent us, at this protest for an American soldier, with a flag that has been used by this country to vilify the Chinese American community. When people began asking him not to demonstrate that flag because it was not the purpose of the event and we were in no way representing China or political parties, he began screaming at us about how we were ANTI-COMMUNIST and trying to take away his first amendment rights. We told him that Danny Chen was an American soldier and we wanted to respect the family and their wishes, but he continued screaming violent accusations at us at the top of his lungs and disrupting the event, until one of Danny Chen’s family members, on the verge of tears, finally convinced him to leave. Read the Post Private Danny Chen, and why I will never again reach out to OWS about something that matters to me

February 10, 2011 / / Voices
August 7, 2009 / / asian-american
July 28, 2009 / / media
June 18, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Latoya Peterson

According to the New York Times:

The Army official who managed the Pentagon’s largest contract in Iraq says he was ousted from his job when he refused to approve paying more than $1 billion in questionable charges to KBR, the Houston-based company that has provided food, housing and other services to American troops.

The official, Charles M. Smith, was the senior civilian overseeing the multibillion-dollar contract with KBR during the first two years of the war. Speaking out for the first time, Mr. Smith said that he was forced from his job in 2004 after informing KBR officials that the Army would impose escalating financial penalties if they failed to improve their chaotic Iraqi operations.

In a nutshell KBR, like a few other companies, were responsible for providing needed on the ground services in Iraq. In order to get these kinds of contracts, you have to bid for them and show your pricing and an estimated cost for the full job. The government then evaluates these bids and selects the one that will get the job done and save taxpayers the most money. (In theory, that is.) After the contract is awarded, the contractors must submit invoices to be paid. If the invoices are accurate, the payment is processed – if the invoice is incorrect or for a higher amount, the government can stop services and investigate why this is happening.

Unfortunately, that’s not quite what happened.

Army auditors had determined that KBR lacked credible data or records for more than $1 billion in spending, so Mr. Smith refused to sign off on the payments to the company. “They had a gigantic amount of costs they couldn’t justify,” he said in an interview. “Ultimately, the money that was going to KBR was money being taken away from the troops, and I wasn’t going to do that.”

But he was suddenly replaced, he said, and his successors — after taking the unusual step of hiring an outside contractor to consider KBR’s claims — approved most of the payments he had tried to block.

Other Army officials claim that they removed Charles M. Smith for other reasons. They also claim that disrupting service to KBR would have cut off needed services to the troops that would compromise operations. But KBR was warned well in advance of the issues with their invoices, as confirmed by an internal audit. And in situations like this, the government tends to hold the upper hand – a contractor who is not cooperating and does not provide accurate record keeping can be banned from bidding on any future government requests, which for most businesses could be devastating. Most contractors quickly come into compliance, or find their contracts terminated. So why wasn’t KBR scared?

Ever since KBR emerged as the dominant contractor in Iraq, critics have questioned whether the company has benefited from its political connections to the Bush administration. Until last year, KBR was known as Kellogg, Brown and Root and was a subsidiary of Halliburton, the Texas oil services giant, where Vice President Dick Cheney previously served as chief executive.

Oh, right. Read the Post A Quick Guide to Government Graft

June 2, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Latoya Peterson

Readers in LA – tomorrow, on June 3, you will have the opportunity to elect a L.A. Superior Court Judge – who wants to see you or your friends deported, even if you are an American citizen.

Reader Ike M. pointed us toward this Angry Asian Man post, which reads:

In the race for Los Angeles Superior Court judge, if you’re not careful, you could be voting for a bona fide racist—a racial separatist who once called for restricting U.S. citizenship to persons “of the European race” and deporting blacks, Asians, Latinos and others who don’t meet his racial criteria. The candidate is Bill Johnson: Stealth election.

Under the name James O. Pace, he wrote the racial exclusion as a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution and a 1985 book supporting it. That’s racist! But wait, there’s more. Under the name Daniel Johnson, he ran a losing race for Congress in Wyoming in 1989 with a Ku Klux Klan organizer as his campaign manager. As William Johnson, he ran losing race for Congress in Arizona in 2006.

Read the Post White Supremacist Wants to Take the Bench in LA