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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 02:17 PM
Original message
Close Friend Of Bush At Center Of Coast Guard Contract Fiasco

Close Friend Of Bush At Center Of Coast Guard Contract Fiasco

Donald Boysie Bollinger, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Bollinger Shipyards, has been a friend of George W. Bush for a quarter century. CQ Today reported in 2004 that Bollinger has known Bush since 1980″ and has twice served as Bushs Louisiana campaign chair. In 2004, Bollinger became a Bush Super Ranger after bringing in more than $300,000″ for the campaign.

Bollinger Shipyards is part of an emerging scandal over the costly Coast Guard fleet-building program. Four years ago, the Coast Guard in an astonishing abdication of responsibility handed off the $17 billion program to Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to plan, supervise and deliver the new vessels and helicopters. (The program is now foundering as the estimated cost of the program has ballooned to $24 billion. Continuing problems have delayed the arrival of any new ships or aircraft.)

Bollinger Shipyards is a business partner of the two military contracting giants, and Bollingers company is responsible for some of programs worst mistakes:

Even before the refurbishing began in 2003, though, Coast Guard engineers expressed doubts that the boats could bear the extra weight the changes would impose. You could have buckling of the structure of the ship, Chris Cleary, of the Engineering Logistics Center at the Coast Guard, said he recalls pointing out. But Bollinger Shipyards, a business partner of Northrop and Lockheed, insisted the conversion would succeed. <>

Bollinger, it turned out, had overestimated how much stress the modified boats could handle, a miscalculation it cannot fully explain. The computer broke for some reason, said T. R. Hamlin, a senior Bollinger manager. Whether it was a power surge or something, who knows? The cursory oversight by the Coast Guard meant the mistake was not caught in time.


In Iraq, lax government oversight and incompetence or profiteering by contractors have disabled reconstruction efforts, the New York Times wrote yesterday. Now the same disease is undermining our coastal defenses.


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Virginia Dare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 02:19 PM
Response to Original message
1. Quid Pro Quo...
it's happening in every government agency, hopefully Waxman et al are all over it very soon.
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AndyA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 02:21 PM
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2. Everything Bush touches, everyone he knows. SHIT. All of it. SHIT.
The man is a walking disaster for the United States. Perhaps we'll all get some relief when he flees federal agents and moves to Paraguay, or whereever the hell he just bought all that land. Let them deal with his sorry ass for a while.
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mnhtnbb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 02:22 PM
Response to Original message
3. Heckuva job, Brownie. Why am I not surprised with this?
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intaglio Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:04 PM
Response to Original message
4. Who does T R Hamlin think he is fooling?
“The computer broke for some reason,” said T. R. Hamlin, a senior Bollinger manager. “Whether it was a power surge or something, who knows?”

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha
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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 04:24 PM
Response to Original message
5. Key West has lost 15% of its cutters because of criminal greed.
In one of the most strategically important areas in the nation for maintaining security, the insatiable greed of Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Bush buddy Donald Boysie Bollinger of Bollinger Shipyards rears its ugly head once again in a mammoth shipbuilding scandal.


Is there anyone else left who thinks any of these Bush cronies are remotely concerned about our national security?



Coast Guard Suspends Converted Patrol Boat Operations

December 4, 2006


The U.S. Coast Guard suspended normal operations of eight converted 123-foot patrol boats assigned to Coast Guard Sector Key West, Fla., due to additional structural damage recently discovered in the hulls.

snip

The Coast Guard suspended operations today following a comprehensive analysis of the 123-foot patrol boats structure, including metallurgical examination, full-scale testing using an instrumented cutter, laboratory analysis, computer-based structural analysis, and a third party review from the designers of the original hull form.

Following the discovery of significant buckling in the structural members underneath a main engine aboard one of the eight cutters, Rear Adm. Dale Gabel, the Coast Guards chief engineer, personally inspected five more of the 123-foot patrol boats in Key West November 16. He found similar deformations, as well as other signs of hull weaknesses, aboard all five cutters.

snip

The Coast Guard maintains a fleet of approximately 250 cutters and nearly 200 aircraft around the country. A total of 52 cutters and 39 aircraft are assigned to the Coast Guards Seventh District.
The Coast Guard is exploring options to address operational gaps due to this decision, including temporarily assigning assets from other operational areas to Sector Key West and employing the crews of the 123-foot cutters to augment other vessels.



The details in this recent NYT article are sickening.


Billions Later, Plan to Remake the Coast Guard Fleet Stumbles

By ERIC LIPTON
December 9, 2006


The initial venture converting rusting 110-foot patrol boats, the workhorses of the Coast Guard, into more versatile 123-foot cutters has been canceled after hull cracks and engine failures made the first eight boats unseaworthy.

snip

That has compromised the Coast Guards ability to fulfill its mission, which greatly expanded after the 2001 attacks to include guarding the nations shores against terrorists. The service has been forced to cut back on patrols and, at times, ignore tips from other federal agencies about drug smugglers. The difficulties will only grow more acute in the next few years as old boats fail and replacements are not ready.

snip

And instead of managing the project itself, the Coast Guard hired Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, two of the nations largest military contractors, to plan, supervise and deliver the new vessels and helicopters.

Many retired Coast Guard officials, former company executives and government auditors fault that privatization model, saying it allowed the contractors at times to put their interests ahead of the Guards.

This is the fleecing of America, said Anthony DArmiento, a systems engineer who has worked for Northrop and the Coast Guard on the project. It is the worst contract arrangement Ive seen in all my 20 plus years in naval engineering.




And an editorial synopsis:

Ships That Dont Dare to Sail, December 14, 2006


The Coast Guard, supposedly our first line of defense against water-borne terrorists and drug smugglers, has been staggered by a shipbuilding scandal of enormous proportions. A long-term modernization program to replace nearly all of the Coast Guards ships, planes and helicopters begun four years ago in the wake of 9/11 is foundering while its projected costs are skyrocketing. In Iraq, lax government oversight and incompetence or profiteering by contractors have disabled reconstruction efforts. Now the same disease is undermining our coastal defenses.

snip


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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Oh, c'mon, this happens all the time.
You know, every time there's some catastrophe where a shopping mall collapses and kills 376 people and the blame falls on the contractor who cut financial corners to line his own pockets or the government building inspector who took bribes from the contractor.

Or there's an earthquake and structures that were supposed to be "earthquake proof" crumble anyway and trap thousands, and the later investigation shows the engineers didn't do their work and the contractor cut corners and the inspectors were bribed.

Or a dam fails and thousands are killed in the ensuing flood, and the later investigation shows the inspectors were on the take and the engineers fudged their numbers and the contractors were using the "savings" to pad their bottom line and pay off the inspectors.

I mean, c'mon, folks, this goes on all the time in the third world. . . . .Why should we be surprised it's happening here?

:sarcasm:

I guess maybe booooosh and his pals have turned the U.S. into a third world country?


Tansy Gold


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Miss Chybil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:15 PM
Response to Original message
7. They're trying to run this country the same way they run Iraq.
Right into the ground.
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:46 PM
Response to Original message
8. Are there any scandals NOT connected to Bush?
Ever notice that there's rarely more than two degrees of separation between Bush and the crook in some scandal?
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