'Your papers, please' must never be heard in America
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
The heat is rising on Planet Earth.
The 21st century is a hard sell to a culture that prefers the 8th. The Europeans, loosely defined, keep trying in Afghanistan. It's 12 years and counting since the Americans replaced the Russians, and a lot longer than that since the British decided they had had enough, and beat it back to London.
During the first State of the Union address of his second term, President Barack Obama stretched the facts a bit to make himself look better on an issue central to all Americans: the economy.
The government's chief watchdog for Afghanistan reconstruction said that billions of dollars continue to be lost due to corruption and fraud, and expressed concerns that U.S. funding is unwittingly helping Iran.
While American companies expect to pay taxes to Uncle Sam and the states where they operate, they weren't exactly ready to face levies from states where they aren't physically located.
Warning of an increasingly intractable budget crisis, the Pentagon’s No. 2 official has ordered military chiefs to begin making drastic spending cuts ranging from freezing civilian hiring and eliminating all temporary jobs to canceling ship maintenance, the Washington Guardian has learned.
The government owns thousands of federally-owned, historic structures across the nation. Maintaining those buildings, however, presents costly problems as diverse as the structures themselves.
The Veterans Affairs Department doesn't know whether it has enough staff at its medical facilities to give veterans the quality care they need, failing to comply with a decade-old law despite several prior warnings, the agency's internal watchdog has concluded.
Congress showed us anew over the last year that an earmarking system that secures federal money for political pet projects is alive and well -- despite a promised ban by lawmakers. In fact, such funding even can live on after the sponsoring lawmaker has died.
As the nation hung perilously close to the fiscal cliff and the Pentagon faced its steepest budget cuts in history, the military was spreading around New Year's cheer at taxpayer expense.
Most Americans have never heard of the Risk Management Agency, but the obscure U.S. Agriculture Department office spreads good cheer and millions of dollars in grants each year to industry trade groups and universities in the name of promoting economic stability in the farming industry by reducing risk.
The State Department has spent nearly $1.4 billion over the last decade trying to win over allies in the war on terror, providing equipment and training to friendly nations on how to combat extremism.
An independent investigation into the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Libya that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans concluded that the State Department suffered from "systematic failures" in leadership and security that left the consulate vulnerable to a terrorist attack in the unstable city of Benghazi.
Beneath the expressions of grief, sorrow and disbelief over the Connecticut school massacre lies an uneasy truth in Washington: over the last few years the Obama administration and Congress quietly let federal funding for several key school security programs lapse in the name of budget savings.
Inside a Pentagon loaded with drones, laser-guided missiles and bunker buster bombs, grease drip pans are hardly a sexy procurement item. But right now, the Army is paying a Kentucy company about $17,000 each for the pans designed to catch dripping lubricants from its Black Hawk helicopters.
"The Inspectors General have done a superb job in investigating and auditing the Recovery program. The IGs, in coordination with the Recovery Board, attempted to prioritize work in high risk areas. Many of the IG reports that you have reviewed point to programs where funds could be put to better use or that have potential control problems that the agencies need to address," he added.