To assist small businesses and other entities, the Federal Trade Commission staff will redouble its efforts to educate them about compliance with the “Red Flags” Rule and ease compliance by providing additional resources and guidance to clarify whether businesses are covered by the Rule and what they must do to comply. To give creditors and financial institutions more time to review this guidance and develop and implement written Identity Theft Prevention Programs, the FTC will further delay enforcement of the Rule until November 1, 2009.
The Red Flags Rule is an anti-fraud regulation, requiring “creditors” and “financial institutions” with covered accounts to implement programs to identify, detect, and respond to the warning signs, or “red flags,” that could indicate identity theft. The financial regulatory agencies, including the FTC, developed the Rule, which was mandated by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA). FACTA’s definition of “creditor” includes any entity that regularly extends or renews credit – or arranges for others to do so – and includes all entities that regularly permit deferred payments for goods or services. Accepting credit cards as a form of payment does not, by itself, make an entity a creditor. “Financial institutions” include entities that offer accounts that enable consumers to write checks or make payments to third parties through other means, such as other negotiable instruments or telephone transfers.
The FTC’s Red Flags Web site, http://www.ftc.gov/redflagsrule, offers resources to help entities determine if they are covered and, if they are, how to comply with the Rule. It includes an online compliance template that enables companies to design their own Identity Theft Prevention Program through an easy-to-do form, as well as articles directed to specific businesses and industries, guidance manuals, and Frequently Asked Questions to help companies navigate the Rule.
Although many covered entities have already developed and implemented appropriate, risk-based programs, some – particularly small businesses and entities with a low risk of identity theft – remain uncertain about their obligations. The additional compliance guidance that the Commission will make available shortly is designed to help them. Among other things,
Commission staff will create a special link for small and low-risk entities on the Red Flags Rule Web site with materials that provide guidance and direction regarding the Rule. The Commission has already posted FAQs that address how the FTC intends to enforce the Rule and other topics – http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/redflagsrule/faqs.shtm. The enforcement FAQ states that Commission staff would be unlikely to recommend bringing a law enforcement action if entities know their customers or clients individually, or if they perform services in or around their customers’ homes, or if they operate in sectors where identity theft is rare and they have not themselves been the target of identity theft.
The three-month extension, coupled with this new guidance, should enable businesses to gain a better understanding of the Rule and any obligations that they may have under it. These steps are consistent with the House Appropriations Committee’s recent request that the Commission defer enforcement in conjunction with additional efforts to minimize the burdens of the Rule on health care providers and small businesses with a low risk of identity theft problems. Today’s announcement that the Commission will delay enforcement of the Rule until November 1, 2009, does not affect other federal agencies’ enforcement of the original November 1, 2008, compliance deadline for institutions subject to their oversight.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.
Office of Public Affairs
… and we shall do what??…
Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry
AN ACCIDENTAL DISCLOSURE
Document was found on file-sharing network
By Ellen Nakashima and Paul KaneWashington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 30, 2009
House ethics investigators have been scrutinizing the activities of more than 30 lawmakers and several aides in inquiries about issues including defense lobbying and corporate influence peddling, according to a confidential House ethics committee report prepared in July.
Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry
PDF: Ethics committee statement on release of documents
7 on defense panel scrutinized
The report appears to have been inadvertently placed on a publicly accessible computer network, and it was provided to The Washington Post by a source not connected to the congressional investigations. The committee said Thursday night that the document was released by a low-level staffer.
The ethics committee is one of the most secretive panels in Congress, and its members and staff members sign oaths not to disclose any activities related to its past or present investigations. Watchdog groups have accused the committee of not actively pursuing inquiries; the newly disclosed document indicates the panel is conducting far more investigations than it had revealed.
Shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday, the committee chairman, Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), interrupted a series of House votes to alert lawmakers about the breach. She cautioned that some of the panel’s activities are preliminary and not a conclusive sign of inappropriate behavior.
“No inference should be made as to any member,” she said.
Rep. Jo Bonner (Ala.), the committee’s ranking Republican, said the breach was an isolated incident.
The 22-page “Committee on Standards Weekly Summary Report” gives brief summaries of ethics panel investigations of the conduct of 19 lawmakers and a few staff members. It also outlines the work of the new Office of Congressional Ethics, a quasi-independent body that initiates investigations and provides recommendations to the ethics committee. The document indicated that the office was reviewing the activities of 14 other lawmakers. Some were under review by both ethics bodies.
A broader inquiry
Ethics committee investigations are not uncommon. Most result in private letters that either exonerate or reprimand a member. In some rare instances, the censure is more severe.
Many of the broad outlines of the cases cited in the July document are known — the committee announced over the summer that it was reviewing lawmakers with connections to the now-closed PMA Group, a lobbying firm. But the document indicates that the inquiry was broader than initially believed. It included a review of seven lawmakers on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee who have steered federal money to the firm’s clients and have also received large campaign contributions.
The document also disclosed that:
– Ethics committee staff members have interviewed House Ways and Means Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) about one element of the complex investigation of his personal finances, as well as the lawmaker’s top aide and his son. Rangel said he spoke with ethics committee staff members regarding a conference that he and four other members of the Congressional Black Caucus attended last November in St. Martin. The trip initially was said to be sponsored by a nonprofit foundation run by a newspaper. But the three-day event, at a luxury resort, was underwritten by major corporations such as Citigroup, Pfizer and AT&T. Rules passed in 2007, shortly after Democrats reclaimed the majority following a wave of corruption cases against Republicans, bar private companies from paying for congressional travel.
Rangel said he has not discussed other parts of the investigation of his finances with the committee. “I’m waiting for that, anxiously,” he said.
– The Justice Department has told the ethics panel to suspend a probe of Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.), whose personal finances federal investigators began reviewing in early 2006 after complaints from a conservative group that he was not fully revealing his real estate holdings. There has been no public action on that inquiry for several years. But the department’s request in early July to the committee suggests that the case continues to draw the attention of federal investigators, who often ask that the House and Senate ethics panels refrain from taking action against members whom the department is already investigating.
Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry
PDF: Ethics committee statement on release of documents
7 on defense panel scrutinized
Mollohan said that he was not aware of any ongoing interest by the Justice Department in his case and that he and his attorneys have not heard from federal investigators. “The answer is no,” he said.
– The committee on June 9 authorized issuance of subpoenas to the Justice Department, the National Security Agency and the FBI for “certain intercepted communications” regarding Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.). As was reported earlier this year, Harman was heard in a 2005 conversation agreeing to an Israeli operative’s request to try to obtain leniency for two pro-Israel lobbyists in exchange for the agent’s help in lobbying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to name her chairman of the intelligence committee. The department, a former U.S. official said, declined to respond to the subpoena.
Harman said that the ethics committee has not contacted her and that she has no knowledge that the subpoena was ever issued. “I don’t believe that’s true,” she said. “As far as I’m concerned, this smear has been over for three years.”
In June 2009, a Justice Department official wrote in a letter to an attorney for Harman that she was “neither a subject nor a target” of a criminal investigation.
Because of the secretive nature of the ethics committee, it was difficult to assess the current status of the investigations cited in the July document. The panel said Thursday, however, that it is ending a probe of Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) after finding no ethical violations, and that it is investigating the financial connections of two California Democrats.
The committee did not detail the two newly disclosed investigations. However, according to the July document, Rep. Maxine Waters, a high-ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, came under scrutiny because of activities involving OneUnited Bank of Massachusetts, in which her husband owns at least $250,000 in stock.
Waters arranged a September 2008 meeting at the Treasury Department where OneUnited executives asked for government money. In December, Treasury selected OneUnited as an early participant in the bank bailout program, injecting $12.1 million.
The other, Rep. Laura Richardson, may have failed to mention property, income and liabilities on financial disclosure forms.
The committee’s review of investigations became available on file-sharing networks because of a junior staff member’s use of the software while working from home, Lofgren and Bonner said in a statement issued Thursday night. The staffer was fired, a congressional aide said.
The committee “is taking all appropriate steps to deal with this issue,” they said, noting that neither the committee nor the House’s information systems were breached in any way.
“Peer-to-peer” technology has previously caused inadvertent breaches of sensitive financial, defense-related and personal data from government and commercial networks, and it is prohibited on House networks.
House administration rules require that if a lawmaker or staff member takes work home, “all users of House sensitive information must protect the confidentiality of sensitive information” from unauthorized disclosure.
Leo Wise, chief counsel for the Office of Congressional Ethics, declined to comment, citing office policy against confirming or denying the existence of investigations. A Justice Department spokeswoman also declined to comment, citing a similar policy.
Staff writers Carol D. Leonnig and Joby Warrick and staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.
There is a scummy asshole that sticks her ignorant head in every now and again to add some commentary (that I normally just delete). She had the audacity to call me a liar on a subject I never lied about, so I banned her worthless ass. But, her worthless ass still shows up every now and again to add some comment about Medicare in New York or that a Single Payer system would cost more than our current insurance controlled system. I am pretty sure the worthless bitch works in health insurance, so this is no surprise. But for the kettle to call the pot black is an amazing amount of hypocricy.
The problem is that there is no documented proof she shares, just the same old horseshit from a lying worthless bitch.
The fact is that the basic Medicare premium for New Yorkers is going to radically go up… to a whole $110.50/month. Yes, No-Slappz, you worthless, lying scumbag, bitch. I just left a plan that cost me and my family over $23K/year (BCBS). My premiums were $1,173/month (and this is not out of line with many others that I have spoken to). Add whatever out of pocket costs you can imagine to your imaginary lies and there is still no freaking way Medicare costs more than any insurance plan in this country.
You are a damned liar. And a bitch. (Not to mention your undeniable racism)
Single Payer, Not-for-profit healthcare, after removing the plight of the scumbag’s employer, health insurance companies, is the ONLY viable way to fix our healthcare system. Don’t let the likes of these fools such as No_Slappz lie to you.
h/t Mr Z
I understand that some people need some sort of sign that God is real, but seeing the Virgin Mary in bird shit?!?
The Pachuca’s say the image is more than a coincidence especially since it happened on the 12th.
The family says in Mexico, Dec. 12 is celebrated as the day of The Virgin Guadalupe.
Onlookers say the image is a miracle because the distinct colors and outline of the image on the truck match the image of Virgin Guadalupe.
The Pachuca’s say they will continue to welcome anyone who wants to see the image, because the image isn’t going to go away anytime soon.
“I think we’re going to just put it on a shelf outside, probably take off the mirror and keep it there cause its something special to us. I’m not going to wash it off,” says Cristal Pachuca.
I need an excuse NOT to wash my car and this one is as good as any other I have ever seen.
Ok, so no one read the Patriot Act but voted it thru– and here they say this was a ‘comprehensive plan’… and where exactly was the detailed plan written and read??? Hell I remain mad since 1965… ; so the stupid half ass fence and the missing billions on palettes in Iraq are nothing… just a fart in the f-cked up scheme of things we as citizens just allow to go by, but to our own detriment. Hell I am broke and tired and we are spending what! for what???
Border projects mostly met stimulus goal, DHS review finds
By Spencer S. HsuWashington Post
A spokesman for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said a new review by the department’s inspector general answers criticism by lawmakers that politics influenced plans to spend $680 million in stimulus funds on border security projects.
A report by DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner, required under the $787 billion relief package approved in February, concluded that U.S. Customs and Border Protection “generally developed practical, thorough, and comprehensive expenditure plans.”
The Associated Press reported in August that DHS allowed low-priority projects — such as a sleepy checkpoint in Whitetail, Mont., that received $15 million but only sees about three travelers a day — to leap-frog more pressing needs. The AP cited statements by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) boasting that he and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) successfully pushed for funds.
A border station in Nogales, Ariz., — Napolitano’s home state — received $199 million, more than any other site, while one of the nation’s highest-priority stations at Laredo, Tex., received none, according to the AP, which said DHS allowed it to review but would not publicize a list of most urgently needed repair programs.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), ranking Republican on the House Committee of Oversight and Government Reform, has called on Napolitano to disclose the border agency’s selection criteria. Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) wrote Napolitano saying DHS’s plan “lacks common sense and would represent a terrible waste of taxpayers’ money.”
According to Skinner, however, the border agency selected 23 checkpoints for improvements based on “operational priorities, facility assessments” and project risk, although investigators did not evaluate how the border agency set its priorities or determined its costs.
The 28-page report, which was released Friday to Congress for a 30-day review and obtained by The Washington Post, noted that the $420 million of DHS stimulus funds that were designated for border checkpoints could be spent on only the 43 of 163 stations, known as land ports of entry, that the department owns. The DHS-owned ports are primarily low-volume checkpoints on the Canadian border.
The other 120 ports, including the one in Laredo, Tex., are owned by the U.S. General Services Administration, which received another $300 million for upgrades. DHS officials acknowledged that both agencies coordinate improvements based on the same priority list.
Also, none of the DHS projects met the legislation’s goal to “quick-start” spending by using half the money for work that could begin in June, Skinner said.
A DHS official said the department would not release the list because it is “constantly changing.” Some projects may have been passed over because full funding was not available, or because they required potentially lengthy environmental or historical reviews and were not “shovel-ready,” the official said.
“The report released today demonstrates that [Customs and Border Protection] has effectively and objectively managed its Recovery Act projects, bolstering security while investing in local communities across the country,” Napolitano spokesman Sean Smith said in a statement.
Napolitano has halted new border construction projects pending a separate, 30-day department review. A DHS official said the secretary expects to receive the results Friday, which she will review before making her own recommendations soon.
In an e-mailed statement, Issa spokesman Kurt Bardella said, “It appears that DHS followed their procedures properly in allocating stimulus funds,” but that officials were hamstrung by how the administration and Congress split the money between agencies.
Bardella said DHS “had to scramble to re-prioritize… projects based on this strictly artificial delineation of funding, the rationale for which remains non-transparent.”
Tester has said he had no role in the decision making.
Dorgan, in an interview, maintained that the spending was nonsensical, and noted that DHS declined an offer by Skinner to review why it was spending some $220 million on 22 Canadian border checkpoints, which Dorgan said on average saw four cars and one truck each per day.
“My point is, that’s way out of line,” Dorgan said. “I’m all for border security, but we can do it for much less than we’re spending.”
I have constructed a page dedicated to this need-to-view movie by Alex Jones.
Click Pic —————>
Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman?
Here we are all in the audience, watching the “Great Demdini” of political movements ooo and ahhh you with their bag of tricks and I am the guy sitting behind you saying, “Can’t you see the strings? He has doves under his cape. That hat has a rabbit already in it. Can’t you see?”
You see, these magicians are so used to being able to fool you because they have for so long that they don’t really care if many of us see the illusion. Apparently there are enough patsies to yell down the observant ones.
The let down for me is akin to having tickets to see David Copperfield, but he gets sick (or arrested) and I am forced to see Lance Burton (if you have seen these two, you know what I mean by the difference in the shows’ quality and the magicians, themselves). It is night and day difference.
I’m sitting here and all you folks think Lance Burton is “The Greatest Magician” to ever live, while I see every string, wire and false prop. I see every move he makes when he highlights his left hand, but I concentrate on his right.
The Great Demdini is pulling a snake from his sleeve, but it is one of those fake snakes that comes in a can. But you still wooo, ahhh, as if you are amazed.
I’m sitting here, yelling, “WTF is wrong with you people? Don’t you want your money back? This is a rip. I want Copperfield.”
But you are amazed and entertained and happy with the fact that you have just been had.
It is the trick that the Great Demdini is pulling. But it is so obvious that it is a canned, paper snake. It isn’t even a good rubber snake. Hell, it doesn’t even look like a snake, but a slinky with paper on it.
Kip Sullivan at PHNP calls it the “bait and switch” (which is sorta the same thing). Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is warning his constituents what I have been warning to everyone, especially the Ass Kissing Sycophants at C&L and every other Faux Liberal “Big Blog” that it is all sleight of hand… smoke and mirrors. They have you oooing and ahhing over something that is so watered down, bogus and set to make the Health Insurance even MORE money and still not offer a real, competitive value to the citizenry, that MILLIONS of people will fall thru the cracks.
Wyden is saying, in so many words, that “option” advocates, with help from the media and the blogosphere, have fooled the public into thinking everyone will be eligible to buy insurance from the “option,” and when the public finds out this isn’t true, they’re not going to be happy.
You ass kissers are enamoured by the lies that you look just like the Bushies who proceeded you in allowing this country to fall to the depths we have fallen. You ass kissers are precisely the same unthinking, gullible and complicit type of group. You want to know why I get mad at so-called “Liberals”. It’s because you are Bushie lites. You are intertwined and loving the fake two party BS. You have allowed the bad magicians to do shit that any blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other, normal person would have seen long ago.
Are you just stupid or intentionally a part of the screwing? Either way, you are not part of the solution.
But you will applaud when the words “Public Option” are thrown around, as if this is going to help all of us who see the reality of such a foolish ploy. You get angry because I am pointing out that Lance isn’t worth the price of admission and that we were duped.
I was not surprised by Wyden’s observation. I have written several papers warning the public that they have been the object of a “bait and switch” campaign by the leadership of the “option” movement. The “bait” in this campaign was the original version of the “option” promoted by Jacob Hacker. This version would have created an enormous public program that would have insured half the non-elderly population. Among several provisions of this first version of the “option” that would have ensured large size was one that said the “option” had to be available to all non-elderly Americans. The “switch” occurred when Democrats on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and three chairmen of House committees drafted legislation that would create a very small and weak “option.” One of the provisions in the Democrats’ legislation that ensured their version of the “option” would be weak was a provision limiting subsidies and eligibility for the “option” to a small fraction of the population, namely, the uninsured and employees of small firms.
I want Copperfield. Lance Burton pales in comparison.
Copperfield is the real magician who can provide Single Payer health care for all. Lance Burton is no more than a bad illusionist with a bad plan to rip even more
(Side note: I have seen both of these magicians on multiple occasions and it is clear that Copperfield’s set, and his performance is head and shoulders above Lance’s. Simply no comparison.)
I’ll admit it:
Tired of playing the game
Ain’t it a crying shame
I’m so tired
God dammit I’m exhausted
I read Cindy Sheehan’s piece yesterday and I can sympathize to a certain extent. No, I haven’t given my all to and for the cause. I never camped out at Bush’s dude ranch. I have not been arrested for my anti-war stance or protest. To be truthful, I am afraid to do what Cindy does simply because I am trying to balance raising my daughter and caring for my wife. There is not enough of me to go around (at least that seems like a good excuse).
But even more important is this nagging feeling I have that it appears that Americans are so far gone into oblivion, or more likely, are too caught up in their own life’s struggles to be able to care fully: hoping that what is apparent to many of us will work itself out and then we can move on with our consumer society and in-debt ourselves to the rest of the world even more deeply. Maybe you are watching more TV than spend time on the intertubes, so your view will be clouded by all their fluffy talk. But as George Washington points out, “Happy Talk, Can NOT Fix The Economy“.
This “Happy Talk” is bogus because the leadership (Big Money, not the pols, themselves, for the pols only do the bidding of Big Money). This is glaringly obvious if you simply do a cursory view of their campaign finances at OpenSecrets. Nobody takes the kind of money that Big Money gives these crooks without indebtedness. Guido the Enforcer doesn’t like it when the pawn Pols take money, then spit in the face of The Don. George lays out the procession of corruption below (although the grip of Big Money has had a handhold since way before Nixon):
Indeed, the government has been gaming the fundamental economic indicators with more and more blatant attempts to hide the true state of affairs from the public for decades:
- Nixon took the U.S. off the gold standard because the U.S. defaulted on its ability to pay debts in gold
- The social security trust fund was long ago raided
- The government has been cooking its books and hiding debt through various accounting tricks for years
- The government deletes the 2 most important classes of inflation (food and energy) from the “core” inflation figures, has suspended reporting of the M3 monetary supply, and uses the fake U-3 instead of more accurate U-6 employment figures
- The Fed has blown bubble after bubble with artificially low interest rates
The government has supsended mark-to-market, is letting banks cook their books, rolled out the fraudulent stress tests, and is engaging in every conceivable scheme to hide the true state of affairs.
The point is that they are using the “smoke and mirrors”, “sleight-of-hand” trickery to keep you in the dark. The Happy Talk is just some handsome devil whispering sweet nothingness in to your desirous ears.
We so much want to believe them (and many of us do).
But, as Mr Washington points out, as well, there are many economists and political scientists that are expressing a totally different tune than what you will hear in the MSM. This is no coincedence, but purposeful to keep you in the dark, for these folks believe we are already in a Depression:
- Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz
- The former Secretary of Labor
- Leading investment advisor Ray Dalio
- Well-known investment advisor Doug Casey
- And many others.
George goes on to explain that the following say what we are experiencing could be WORSE than the Great Depression:
So, keep in mind that the TV, by and large, is lying to you. Newspapers, by and large are lying to you. If you want to know the truth about the situation, you need to tap in to the sources that the MSM keeps out (many of the above publish in various places and/or have their own blogs).
Back to my initial point about being tired. How does this affect those who have been truly working to stop the shenanigans? What would end up being the outcome of trying so hard with so little results? Cindy asks the poignant question below:
It’s pathetic to me that so many people are apathetic about children dying at the hands of this monstrous military empire, but I can’t force people to care and we can’t physically drag people out into the streets with us against their wills.
I went into my very pregnant daughter’s room to lie next to her and with tears streaming down my face, I asked her for guidance.
She said: “Mom, you can’t stop wars, look how hard you’ve been trying for years and not one troop has come home. Maybe you can stop trying to kill yourself and just do your small part like everyone else.”
Maybe that’s good advice?
It does seem hopeless and perhaps she asks the right question.
I found out this morning that one of my own brothers reads here but apparently has never commented or told me before even after my invitations. My hope is that he will read this letter written to and for him.
Let me introduce you to the person most full of shit that I have ever met in all my life… my brother, Michael. He has told a number of people that he worked in politics, but I have figured out long ago that Michael can take just a thimble sized portion of truth from a situation and build it into an Ocean full of blatant lies and braggadocio (yes, Michael, you will need a Dictionary for this letter). Sorry, dumbass.
It is not over-reaching to say that virtually every person in our family knows you are a liar and a thief. The youngest brother has told me this, our sister and even our Mother (not to mention the countless acquaintances that have told me they would just as soon shoot you as look at you and the basic reason they don’t is in respect of me). Your wives and girlfriends have told me this. M
Even many of your “friends” have said so and avoid you like the plague.
Anyone who has read here knows I don’t take shit from anyone, especially those who call me a liar. If there is one thing that is true about this blog, I don’t lie. I have laid out many of my personal issues in full light for anyone to evaluate (and hopefully offer help in advice). This is not to say that I have written something that turned out to be incorrect (which a person that goes by no slappz found once, but instead of correcting a mistake, she boldly called me a liar and continued the shit until I banned her). That “lie” was about hanging black people in my hometown courthouse and how the police used that as a tactic to control young black folks in my town. I “lied” by not explaining how many people were actually hung (on record) in that courthouse, when the point was that it was used to threaten people.
Here is the fact of the matter and I wonder how many of you readers have a similar experience or thieving whore for a sibling. I have spent countless dollars taking care of this “man”. I have put him up for months on end until he was caught lying and was using my work PC to view porn and got some virus that wiped out my work PC. I have been the one he called when he was “going to commit suicide” and I was the one who helped him get the hospital help needed. I am the one who owned a house where he was invited to stay, but was caught (again) stealing my shit, so I told him to leave. I was the one who thought he needed a break in life, so I went into business (satellite installation/service) as a partner, only to have him take money from the account and blow it on drugs and women (and also tried to steal the PC, which I caught him a took it back) and then specifically denying the agreement that no illegal card hanky panky would be allowed. It was my wife that almost beat him to the ground (being pulled off by a mutual friend in that very business).
But me and my family are only one in a large network of his “circuit providers”. You see, he has a circuit of people that he mooches from and will move from one to another as he rips each off in some way, even if by overstaying his lying request (ask for a day, stay 3 weeks). In one of his circuit visits to my house (where he used his son as a pawn to get our graces) we allowed them to stay several days and he had this brainiac idea to go around and collect metal and sell it when scrap was so high a few years ago. To do this, he asked me if he could use my high dollar Makita reciprocating saw and I said yes, under one condition: he bring it back that evening and put it back in the tool shed.
Guess what, I didn’t see him again or the saw until I just happened upon it. Amazing, huh? He also stole a van that was taken back after he tried to hide it at my sister’s house, lying to her, telling her he bought it (until the repo person showed up and threatened a lawsuit). Praze Gawd!
So, about 6 months later I was visiting a mutual friend and we were out in Walter’s shop and I look up on the shelf and see my saw. I asked Walter point-blank, “Michael pawned that, didn’t he?”
You see, I knew. The thieving bastard can’t help himself. It IS what he does.
“Yes,” Walter said, “he asked me to give him $100 and I did. Is it yours? I figured it was somebody’s in the family.” He then asked if I wanted to pay him the $100 and I said no, that I would wait to see if Michael would make it right. 3 years later and the saw is still on the shelf (I’ve seen it about 6 times). I’m still waiting even when I have the $100 in my pocket.
If I were to have held my breath, I would have died 3 years ago. If I were to expect an “I’m sorry”, I would be a fool. A Con Man doesn’t apologize unless he is caught red handed and facing dire circumstances and then it is only a means of protecting oneself for a moment without any truth to the apology or sincerity in reason. What they call “CYA” (or cover one’s ass). But in Michael’s case, his narcissistic behavior causes him to be above all that and to this day he hasn’t apologized or offered to go back and get it (even tho I know precisely where it sits and he knows that I know).
Now, it is one thing to steal from your family with uncaring abandon, but it is wholly another to steal and mooch from your friends or temporary girlfriends. In a dysfunctional family as I have grown up in (and I swear it might be the book I write someday that could make The Tenenbaums pale in comparison), you come to expect the narcissistic personality disorder to raise its ugly head quite often (it becomes “the normal”). And that is really the point: a Narcissist only cares about how the world revolves around them and they will do anything… say anything to make their world rule. Stealing is no problem when you believe it will put you back on top of the world. Stomping on the ones you “love” is meaningless, just as long as you “win” at any and all costs. Because all you have to say (to reconcile it in your own mind) is, “I’d Die For You!”, as he has told everyone he has ever screwed. All the while he would let his very own child starve to death rather than get a damned job and provide for them. Hypocrite!
So, when I finally find out that this “changed man” (as he calls himself) has used up my sister who works slaving tables at a Ryan’s for $2.13/hour plus tips, forgive me if I get a little perturbed. It is one thing for me, the “brains” in the family (and that ain’t saying much), who was once considered the only “success” in the family in many perspectives (these aren’t my words for I feel as if I am hardly successful anymore), to be the fool and allow the revolving door of thievery and Shame to be opened on my family, it is another when he does it to the ones that can’t afford it.
So I have had all I can take and I am calling you out, Michael, you sorry low life. Here is what I wrote you once I read you writing/bragging about your success on the back of my sister, my mother and your new girlfriend (you ARE both married, btw, just NOT to each other: let me interject here with a hardly “Praze Gawd” and can I get a responsive “Amen”?). You are insinuating that you have done something worthy of all to bow and worship you. Remember, I am getting the rest of the story that the Facebook friends you brag to know nothing about (keep in mind that you selected the very same name for the business that you and I had years before and you didn’t bother to tell me, our sister or anyone as you were secretly doing paperwork, etc):
I heard. There better be no connection to me in this, whatsoever. If I find out there is, I will take appropriate measures to stop it.
This is all suspect because you don’t have two nickels to rub together, a driver’s license, much less a car to drive. Not to mention the fact that you are using some old bad blood names to continue and the connection bothers me.
Something is bogus.
You see, I know what callous, vampiric scumbags are capable of. I know there is no limit to the immorality and lack of conscious that you are capable of: something like use my SSN or old EIN#. I’ll be willing to bet a dollar to a donut that you are unwilling to use your SSN on paperwork because you are wanted for many reasons, in many places.
I also have witnessed countless times your “changed man” phenomena and can’t help but laugh at how many times you became religious when you were caught red handed with your hands in the cookie jar of life. Allow me to share with my readers the response, in all your “genius” (exactly the way you wrote it… CAPS and all):
FIRST OF ALL IS THAT YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. I HAVE A CAR,INSURANCE,LICENSE AND YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I HAVE IN MY POCKET AND HOW I GOT IT. I AM BEING ICNCORPORATED THROUGH THE STATE AND PASSED MY THE SEC. OF STATE. NOT TO MENTION A MEMBER OF THE SENATE IS THE CHAIRMAN OF MY BOARD.THE OTHER THING IS, YOU N-E-V-E-R WERE ON ANY OF MY LICENSE THAT I HAD IN A BUSINESS. I MAY HAVE A PAST BUT, I HAVE BEEN HUMBLED, FOUGHT DEATH, MY PAST AND ADVERSITY. I AM A CHANGED MAN AND YOU NOR ANYTHING CAN BRING ME DOWN. I AM RICH IN LIFE AND MIND. A REAL PERSON WOULD SHOW SUPPORT INSTEAD OF BEING NEGATIVE ALL OF THE TIME. ALL THE HIGH AND MIGHTY MOUNTAIN TOP SHOUTING YOU DO AND THINKING YOUR BRAIN IS BIGGER THAN THE WORLD HAS GOT YOU WHERE? YOU CAN CRTICIZE ALL YOU WANT BUT, YOU CAN NOT PULL ME DOWN. FURTHER MORE WHAT IS YOUR INTEREST IN WHAT VENTURES I TAKE. YOU NEED TO QUIT PLAYING FARMVILLE AND FIGURE OUT HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOU AND YOUR OWN. IS THIS DRIVEN BY ANGER OR JEALOUSY. ALL I HEAR IS VOMIT AND HATE IN YOUR POLITICS,FAMILY AND THE WORLD YOU LIVE IN. I HAVE TAKEN ENOUGH AND NOW IT IS TIME FOR ME TO PAY BACK. ATLEAST I MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND SEE WHERE MY MISTAKES ARE AND WHAT IT TAKES TO CHANGE THEM. I AM NOT LYING AROUND FEELING SORRY FOR MYSELF NOR PAST LIKE YOU AND SOME OTHER MEMBERS IN THE FAMILY. ALL GARBAGE. READ JAMES 3:14-18. MY HEART IS RIGHT. SEARCH YOURS. SORRY YOU FEEL THE WAY YOU DO AND IT ALL CAME TO THIS. I DO STILL LOVE YOU.
Yes, Michael, the love overwhelms me and the rest of the family (and your new “married” girlfriend who you scream at and manipulate to buy you shit and set up your business for you since you don’t have a pot to piss in of your own). I won’t delve into all the lies found in this little LETTER. And I take away one truth from it, I have the bigger brain. But when you actually speak to the ones involved and who have been conned by you, the story changes. This is no secret to many of the people who know you.
I was interested in the Bible Verses you pulled out of your ass:
14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
Now let us assume that all of this is true and a real world application for life. Should I be bitterly envious that you have been married three times (I think, for no one really knows if you divorced then remarried your current wife… you know, the one that is NOT your fiancée). Should I be envious of the fact that for the first three years of your son’s life you had little to do with him and a mutual friend raised him? Or the fact that you wouldn’t pay child support until the authorities came for you? Or the fact that you have carried on multiple acts of adultery and are in the very middle of one right now (Mr Preacher man, please). I wonder if my “selfish ambition” is that I can walk away from every responsibility I ever had, including your second child, to a very large extent, when I am the sole person in our entire family who has never been divorced and have held a consistent, albeit, rocky relationship for over 23 years… always able to work out the issue in time? Hypocrite, anyone?
I wonder who it is that has the unquenchable need to boast about their abilities and accomplishments, yet there isn’t a thing (car, money, house, in tact family, sound relationship, job or respect from hardly any of your family) that you have to boast about in reality? The only money you ever made went up your arm, nose or lungs or was spent on women while your family languished in need at their home that you had nothing, whatsoever, to do with providing? It appears to me that you are pointing your own finger at yourself with these verses, especially verse 16.
Maybe I should explain this to you, Michael: There is nothing “pure” about thievery and the con. There is nothing “peace-loving” about those who will take anything they feel they need no matter how it affects the gracious hosts who extend their help. Considerate? Laughable. Submissive? Never in a million years. Full of mercy, good fruit, impartial and sincere (negative, negative, negative and negative).
You have never encountered “righteousness’ in your life, unless you mean the righteousness that comes with taking your family’s money and sucking the life out of each and every person you have ever come into contact with. Then, yes, are one helluva righteous bastard.
I replied to him by telling him that the con doesn’t work on me:
I know all about you, asshole. I ain’t one of your patsies and neither is your sister.
Take your girlfriend and mother for whatever they will give you, but I know that you have never earned a damned thing in your life.
You wouldn’t know love if it slapped you in the head. Thievery, the con and mooching/sucking the life out of whomever will let you is all you know.
But does that stop a con man? Of course not, especially when they know they are caught in the mother of all lies. His reply was very long and FULL OF CAPS. He went on to tell me about how my sister, the one who had the idea for the business, put up the deposits for the power, rent, etc on the building, was “bringing him down” because she was going to hold him accountable and that all the secrecy would not be allowed if they were working together (I need to make a side note that she asked me to be involved in this business first and when she called me to tell me Michael was involved, I became livid, explaining that “Been there, done that” and that I would never again be a partner with that thief for any reason whatsoever).
She, believing him (AGAIN) decided she would work with him so that they could both do more with their lives. It was less than 2 weeks when she found out that he was secretly pursuing other business models and was going to make decisions without her knowledge or opinion. I believe that this is precisely where you will “find disorder and every evil practice” that he was preaching to me about.
Back to the scumbag: Do people change in life? Yes, I have witnessed it. But it comes with observable “good fruit” and “sincerity”. Just two of the areas you point to that are devoid of in your life. You then go on project your own failings and tactics on me, trying to build the proverbial strawman, when any and all facts about this are open in the family.
YOU GET DOWN AND NEED HELP SO, YOU CALL ON MOTHER. I HAVE NOT DONE THAT AND CAN BE PROUD OF IT. ONCE AGAIN, DO NOT COME TO ME WITH A HOLIER THAN THOU ATTITUDE. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU HAVE EVEN SAID JULIA WAS CRAZY.
First of all, what I said about my sister was that she was “out there” regarding religion. I shall not go into specifics. That is between her and her faith. However, I can say without equivocation that she believes from the bottom of her heart and lives it. This cannot be said about the you, the con man. All you have are the words with no deed whatsoever to show the masses that your faith is something more than rhetoric and down-right, serious bullshit.
AGAIN, YOU CANNOT GET ME DOWN BY YOUR VIAL TONGUE BECAUSE YOU DO NOT HAVE THE POWER TO AFFECT ME IN ANY WAY. I HAVE STRUGGLED BUT, I HAVE SURVIVED THE LAST 4 YEARS WITHOUT THAT GARBAGE FROM YOU AND WILL SURVIVE 40 MORE.
Cool. Mr Brilliant thinks I have a “vial” for a tongue (must be all those valium, Oxycontin, Ativan, Seroquil, or any number of “name it and claim it” vials that have caused this strange imagination). You think that it is YOU that disallowed your appearance in my home, when in fact, I have banned you from ever stepping foot in here (for fear that he would steal whatever wasn’t nailed down). That somehow it is YOU that put a stop to the thieving of my shit. Interesting perspectivelie.
I ALSO KNOW THAT I HAVE A TRUE AND PURE HEART AND HAVE NOT TAKEN ANYTHING FROM ANYONE. TAKING AN INVESTMENT FROM MY FUTURE WIFE THAT WILL RUN THE OFFICE SINCE SHE HAS A MASTER’S DEGREE IN ACCOUNTING IS THAT WE ARE DOING THIS TOGETHER, WILL HAVE INVESTMENT BACK IN LESS THAN SIX MONTHS WITH NO INTEREST AND WILL BE ABLE TO APPRECIATE IT MORE AND BE PROUD. WE HAVE NOT WENT TO THE BANK AND SHE HAS A $170,000.00 DOLLAR LINE OF CREDIT ON HER SIGNATURE ALONE. YOU CANNOT SAY THAT THOUGH CAN YOU.
No, I can’t say, that, Michael. But isn’t interesting that the man who says he is doing all this shit on his own is actually using his Fiancee’s money and credit to do it? Self-sufficiency, it is not, dumbass. Like I said, you have never earned a damned thing in your life. If so, list them here for me. Oh, and your “fiancée” is married with four children. Praze Gawd for love, huh? You hypocrite. How much do you love her, Michael? Enough to NOT “friend” her on Facebook, but enough to bed her and take her money? Wonder why, with all that love pouring out of your every orifice? Hypocrite.
WHAT DID YOU GET YOUR START FROM RAYMOND AND WHY DID IT GET PISSED AWAY. I HURT AND FELT SORRY FOR YOU BUT NOW, I SEE THAT MAYBE GETTING CLIPPED AT THE KNEES IS WHAT IT MAY TAKE FOR YOU TO FINALLY HUMBLE YOURSELF.
I got my start from paying my way through college (you dropped out of high school, barely passed the GED and then had your mother pay for your failing 2 semesters of thievery at college). Yeah, I remember seeing MY shotgun and that WWII sword you pawned and then tracked you down and beat you senseless in the parking lot of the dorm. Remember, Michael, I know you better than any person alive today.
Whereas, I worked, played in the band for a scholarship, then actually graduated and made a shit load of money for decades. Lets compare financial statements, Michael. I dare you. (Oops, can’t do that in case the IRS realizes that you are still around and comes back to take what you owe… or the delinquency of your child support, expressing what a wonderful Dad you are… or the fact that you have been running from the law for years due to your unscrupulous activities.)
Which reminds me, is there anybody missing some wire? Michael may know where it is. He has contacts, you know. Even a Mississippi Senator and ex Governor that he is “tight” with. Um-hmm
THE THIEF AND CON YOU ONCE KNEW IN ME, DIED A LONG TIME AGO. AFTER MY NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE. I REALIZED THERE WILL NEVER BE A FUTURE IN IT AND ALL I WANT IS TO DO RIGHT BY OTHERS AND GOD.
Yes, Michael, Praze Gawd for all his blessings, huh? Remember, I was there for your “near death experience”. Remember how I came to the hospital because I was worried to death you were about to die, having finally succumb to a lifetime of abuse and who knows what? Remember how you would talk to the nurses and yell at your sister and mother? Remember how I had to leave because the “changed man of God” was treating everyone like shit, including the abuse you were giving the nurses? Your Godly change was inspirationally hypocritical. Period.
I HAVE GREAT HELP,SUPPORT AND A HARD WORKER FROM WHOM IS GOING TO BE MY WIFE. WHAT ABOUT YOU? CAN YOU SAY THAT?? I WOULD SUGGEST YOU GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT BEFORE COMMENTING ON ANYTHING ELSE AGAIN. ESPECIALLY ABOUT ME. YOU HAVE MORE ISSUES THAN A WAL-MART SALES PAPER.SO, NOW I AM GOING TO DO YOU LIKE YOUTUBE DID. CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION.
Maybe you need to get a divorce first. I dunno, but polygamy is a felony in Mississippi, isn’t it? And maybe your fiancée needs to get a divorce first, too, just to be on the safe side of things. I’m sure you have worked all of that out with God and all.
And then you banned me from your Facebook friends list, etc. Ouchee.
Look here, Michael. I know the Real You. I know what a conniving scumbag looks and acts like. Even if he is my brother.
So, from the bottom of my heart… Fuck You.
In my lifetime, I have had the Hong Kong Flu, strep, pnuemonia [both types]… and a variety of many other not so nice illnesses. Being 61 years old I would think that my system has developed ‘some’ resistence to some things. I am still trying to decide about getting this ‘live’ innoculation. I am leaning towards ‘not’.
Swine Flu Characteristics Becoming More Evident
Links to Pneumonia, Rapid Effects on Young Noted
As swine flu continues to spread around the globe, a clearer and in some ways more unnerving picture of the most serious cases has started to emerge, indicating that the virus could pose a greater threat to some young, otherwise vibrant people.
The virus can cause life-threatening viral pneumonia much more commonly than the typical flu, prompting the World Health Organization on Friday to warn hospitals to prepare for a possible wave of very sick patients and to urge doctors to treat suspected cases quickly with antiviral drugs.
Experts stress that most people who get the H1N1 virus either never get sick or recover easily. But some young adults, possibly especially women, are falling seriously ill at an unexpectedly rapid pace and are showing up in intensive care units and dying in unusually high numbers, they say.
Although why a minority of patients become so sick remains a mystery, new research indicates that H1N1 is different from typical seasonal flu viruses in crucial ways — most notably in its ability to penetrate deep into the lungs and cause viral pneumonia.
“It’s not like seasonal influenza,” Nikki Shindo of the World Health Organization said at the conclusion of a three-day meeting of more than 100 experts the WHO convened in Washington to review swine flu. “It can cause very severe disease in previously healthy young adults.”
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that vaccine production was proceeding more slowly than hoped, due to the vaccine being a ’live’ vaccine. Officials had predicted that about 40 million doses would be available by the end of October, but that projection will probably fall short by about 10 million to 12 million doses, said Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
“Eventually, anyone who wants to be vaccinated will be able to be, but the next couple of weeks will continue to be a slow start,” she said. So far, 11.4 million doses have become available and states have ordered about 8 million doses, but the vaccine will not become available in large amounts until November, she said.
The WHO’s warning came as U.S. health officials reported that the number of states reporting widespread flu activity was up to 41, including Maryland and Virginia, and that the death toll among children had climbed to 86. Maryland has reported 10 deaths and Virginia health officials say eight people, including one child, have died. There have been no reports of deaths among District residents.
So far, the virus does not seem to sicken or kill people more often than the typical flu. But the pattern of people getting seriously ill is far different than in typical flu seasons. The elderly, who are usually most vulnerable, are generally spared; children, teenagers, pregnant women and young adults are the most common victims.
Officials have been closely monitoring the virus for signs it has mutated into a more dangerous form, and they have also been testing animals for the virus because of fears that infected livestock could cause more-lethal mutations.
Federal agriculture officials said Friday that pigs from the Minnesota State Fair had tested positive for H1N1, which would make them the first documented pig infections in the United States, if follow-up tests confirm the results. But there are no signs that the pigs were sick or that the animals had infected any humans. Children staying near the fair had gotten the virus, but there was no sign they were infected by the pigs.
Seasonal flu viruses tend to infect primarily the upper respiratory system. But recent animal studies and autopsies on about 100 swine flu victims show that H1N1 infects both the upper respiratory tract, which makes it relatively easy to transmit, and also the lungs, which is more similar to the avian flu virus that has been circulating in Asia.
“It’s like the avian flu on steroids,” said Sherif Zaki, chief of Infectious Disease Pathology at the CDC. He noted that unusually large concentrations of the swine flu virus have been found in the lungs of victims: “It really is a new beast, so to speak.”
About a third of patients who required intensive care had bacterial pneumonia, but H1N1′s proclivity to infect lung cells makes it more likely than seasonal flu to cause viral pneumonia, which can lead to life-threatening lung damage.
“Remarkably different is this small subset of patients that presents very severe viral pneumonia,” Shindo said.
One of those patients was Karen Ann Hays of Sacramento, Calif., an otherwise healthy nurse whose hobby was tackling grueling triathlons. Despite desperate measures to keep her alive, Hays, 51, died in July within days of coming down with swine flu.
“I have seen more cases like this in the last three months than I have in the last 30 years,” said Peter Murphy, director of intensive care at the Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael, Calif., who tried to save Hays.
Although it remains unclear how frequently the virus makes people seriously ill, recent reports from Mexico, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand indicate that perhaps 1 percent of patients who get infected require hospitalization. Between 12 to 30 percent of those hospitalized need intensive care, and 15 to 40 percent of those in intensive care die.
While about two-thirds of U.S. patients who were hospitalized in the spring had other medical conditions, the CDC reported this week that an analysis of more than 1,400 hospitalized victims found perhaps half had no serious health problems.
About one-third of those around the world who have died or became seriously ill from swine flu appear to have been vulnerable because they had heart or lung disease, chronic kidney problems, or other ailments that usually put people at risk. But others had conditions that many may not immediately associate with frailness, such as mild asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.
“Many of these people look just like you or me,” said Anand Kumar, an associate professor of critical care and infectious disease at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, which was hit hard by the pandemic’s first wave last spring.
There appears to be no way to predict with certainty who may suffer serious, life-threatening complications, since some victims have had no other health problems.
For instance, Stacey Hernandez Speegle, 30, of Madison, Calif., who died in July, “was in great shape. She was on the softball team. She had two young children. She was renovating her house,” said her mother, Tamara Brooks. “It’s just so hard to believe.”
Although it has been well publicized that pregnant women appear to be at increased risk, some evidence has started to suggest that being female may itself be a risk factor, for reasons that remain unclear.
“There’s no question that women, and particularly young women, are getting hit disproportionately,” said Kumar. He noted that women tend to have more fat tissue, which can help stimulate a dangerous inflammatory response to infections.
And some of those who develop serious illness deteriorate soon after starting to feel ill. They require oxygen masks, ventilator machines to pump oxygen into their lungs to keep them alive, and drastic, often rarely used measures to try to save them within days of the first fever, ache or cough.
“The rapidity of it is striking,” said Andrew R. Davies, deputy director of intensive care at Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.
Some of the cases in Australia and New Zealand were so severe that doctors resorted to a much more aggressive, less commonly used treatment known as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). It involves siphoning patients’ blood into a machine to remove carbon dioxide and then infuse it with oxygen before returning it to their bodies.
“It’s quite an extreme form of treatment,” said Steve Webb, a clinical associate professor at the Royal Perth Hospital in Australia.
Other doctors have tried administering nitric oxide and putting patients in a bed that turns them upside down to help their lungs work better. “Our back was against the wall,” Murphy said, adding that after the deaths of patients such as Hays his hospital is working to make ECMO available.
“It’s very difficult to get this double-barreled message out that: ‘Yes, most cases are mild, but in a small percentage of cases these cases are disastrous,’ ” Vanderbilt University’s William Schaffner said. “But the message is: Don’t underestimate H1N1.”
Of the at least 86 Americans younger than 18 who have died from H1N1, 11 deaths were reported in the past week. About half of the deaths in the past month were among teenagers, Schuchat said. Since Aug. 30, 43 pediatric deaths have been reported, including three in those younger than age 2, five among those ages 2 to 4, 16 in those ages 5 to 11, and 19 among those ages 12 to 17, she said.
“These are very sobering statistics,” Schuchat said, noting that only about 40 or 50 children usually die during an entire flu season.
Virginia Health Commissioner Karen Remley said Friday that although the majority of H1N1 cases in the state are “mild and moderate,” significant numbers have become seriously ill.
In Maryland, at least 257 people have been hospitalized with confirmed cases of H1N1 since June, health officials said.
At least 2,914 Americans have died from flu-related illnesses since the H1N1 began, the CDC said.
Staff researcher Madonna Lebling and staff writer Michael Laris contributed to this report.
Military Seeks Money For Afghan Construction
While the Obama administration weighs whether to send additional troops to Afghanistan, the U.S. military is spending billions of dollars on construction projects to ensure the country’s infrastructure can support American and coalition personnel in 2010 and years beyond.
While the Obama administration weighs whether to send additional troops to Afghanistan, the U.S. military is spending billions of dollars on construction projects to ensure the country’s infrastructure can support American and coalition personnel in 2010 and years beyond.
The military has already spent roughly $2.7 billion on construction over the past three fiscal years. Now, if its request is approved as part of the fiscal 2010 defense appropriations bill, it would spend another $1.3 billion on more than 100 projects at 40 sites across the country, according to a Senate report on the legislation.
At the main U.S. base in Afghanistan, Bagram, the military is planning to build a $30 million passenger terminal and adjacent cargo facility to handle the flow of troops, many of whom arrive at the base north of Kabul before moving onto other sites. Under the proposed schedule, those facilities will not be completed until late 2010 and go into operation early in 2011, according to military sources.
Officials say such projects are absolutely essential given the inadequate and dilapidated nature of the existing infrastructure.
“The current facilities are inadequate to support the daily volume of approximately 1,000 passengers and 400 short tons of cargo each day,” Lt. Col. Dan Krall, 455th Expeditionary Aerial Port Squadron commander, said in a statement.
With the transit of service personnel expected to grow to 1,650 a day, Krall said the terminal needs 1,000 seats in the terminal for personnel awaiting space on flights. Currently, the terminal has a 250-seat capacity.
Rear Adm. Hal Pittman, director of communications for U.S. Central Command, noted recently that many of the older military bases in Afghanistan were primarily made up of several small cement or mud buildings.
“Afghanistan is totally different from Iraq, where you had facilities that could be modernized,” he said.
Pittman recalled that Bagram Air Base had cement block buildings constructed by the Soviets in the 1970s and ’80s. When U.S. forces began to arrive in December 2001, most had to be put up in tents. While some troops are still housed in the Soviet-constructed buildings, close to $500 million has been spent to upgrade the base, which has 32 acres of ramp space, four large hangars, new barracks and an improvised terminal.
Now, there’s a touch of America at the base, including fast-food options including Burger King and Pizza Hut.
Still, military officials say the upgrades hardly mean troops have all they need, and the construction at Bagram is far from complete. Last week, the Corps of Engineers put out notice of a new project at Bagram that could cost more than $25 million. It includes expansion of the paved aircraft parking area to hold 18 fighter aircraft.
The squadron that runs the area unloads cargo from Air Force C-5s, C-17s and other aircraft and has to reload much of it onto smaller carriers for deliver to forward operating bases, according to Capt. David Faggard, base spokesman. “With the completion of a new parking ramp supporting the world’s largest aircraft in spring 2010, it is anticipated that an increase in cargo volume will result due to the increase in airlift aircraft parking capacity,” he added.
Bagram is far from the only U.S. base being upgraded. The military is also spending hundreds of millions of dollars constructing facilities for the Afghan army and police. The U.S.-led coalition recently announced the opening of a $68 million, U.S.-financed forward operating base near Farah, in the western part of the country bordering on Iran. The base will house 2,000 Afghan soldiers and an American mentoring team.
Such bases can take a long time to build. The original solicitation for contractors on the Farah garrison project was dated Dec. 29, 2007. A proposal for an additional phase was offered in March 2008, and 18 months later, almost two years after it was first solicited, the garrison at Farah was opened.
Col. Thomas E. O’Donovan, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Afghanistan Engineer District, told reporters last March that his multibillion-dollar construction program is providing “underpinnings” for efforts at establishing security and stability across Afghanistan.
This redneck from Alamogordo, NM would like to announce to your folks that he has returned from Afghanistan this summer and made a short documentary film on why there should be no troop escalation, but an escalation of civilian aid. Below is the film description, but more important, anyone can put this on their own local public access TV station just by emailing the station manager the following link and asking them to run it. It’s running on lots of stations and we want to keep it going:
PEGMEDIA DOWNLOAD PAGE FOR STATION MANAGERS (MPEG2 file)
You can find your public access TV station here (email to station manager or chief executive)
Basically we found out that most of the so-called Taliban is just 20 year-old kids fighting because the Taliban pays eight bucks a day and there is 40% unemployment. Everyone pretty much hates the Taliban, but it’s the only job in town. Like the old saying goes, you might not like the work, but that’s who’s hiring. Your readers can view the 26 minute film online at this link:
View online “Afghan Marshall Plan: Winning With Jobs, Not Guns”
It is our hope that by pushing this out from the Internet and waking people up to how this war is a creation of the military-industrial complex, to quote that good Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, the troop escalation will be only in the politicians’ dreams and all the people in Afghanistan we met who have no problem with Americans can start seeing us as friends, not just more people bombing them, as their history is full of.
Keep up the good work saving the South from the Neocons!
co-founder, Jobs for Afghans
FILM DESCRIPTION: “Afghan Marshall Plan: Winning With Jobs Not Guns” (filmed in Kabul)
“In the midst of the superheated debate over the course of the war in Afghanistan, independent film-makers Ralph Lopez and Najim Dost, the latter an Afghan citizen, release this provocative look at the underside of an insurgency. In a country with 40% unemployment, they talk to those whose voices have been missing: ordinary Afghans. See and hear them up close in the squares where they gather by the thousands looking for work, and struggle to feed their families. Ranked as the fourth poorest nation in the world, many have never even heard of 9/11, nor the Twin Towers. But someone is always hiring at a good daily wage: the Taliban. The documentary reveals that a civilian solution to stability would cost but a small fraction of the present occupation. Troops in Afghanistan are counterproductive. Help for Afghans is not. (26 minutes)”
Alternatively, we can mail you a DVD to give to your local station.
Contact our awesome Yankee assistant:
10 Cascade Rd.
Worcester, MA 01602
More good links:
Baltimore Sun Op-Ed, “Winning With Jobs Not Guns in Afghanistan”
“An Exit Strategy for Afghanistan”
Film poster (for library bulletin boards and such)