By BOB KERR
Walter Soehnge is a retired Texas schoolteacher who traveled north with his wife, Deana, saw summer change to fall in Rhode Island and decided this was a place to stay for a while.
So the Soehnges live in Scituate now and Walter sometimes has breakfast at the Gentleman Farmer in Scituate Village, where he has passed the test and become a regular despite an accent that is definitely not local.
And it was there, at his usual table last week, that he told me that he was "madder than a panther with kerosene on his tail."
He says things like that. Texas does leave its mark on a man.
What got him so upset might seem trivial to some people who have learned to accept small infringements on their freedom as just part of the way things are in this age of terror-fed paranoia. It's that "everything changed after 9/11" thing.
But not Walter.
"We're a product of the '60s," he said. "We believe government should be way away from us in that regard."
He was referring to the recent decision by him and his wife to be responsible, to do the kind of thing that just about anyone would say makes good, solid financial sense.
They paid down some debt. The balance on their JCPenney Platinum MasterCard had gotten to an unhealthy level. So they sent in a large payment, a check for $6,522.
And an alarm went off. A red flag went up. The Soehnges' behavior was found questionable.
After sending in the check, they checked online to see if their account had been duly credited. They learned that the check had arrived, but the amount available for credit on their account hadn't changed.
So Deana Soehnge called the credit-card company. Then Walter called.
"When you mess with my money, I want to know why," he said.
They both learned the same astounding piece of information about the little things that can set the threat sensors to beeping and blinking.
They were told, as they moved up the managerial ladder at the call center, that the amount they had sent in was much larger than their normal monthly payment. And if the increase hits a certain percentage higher than that normal payment, Homeland Security has to be notified. And the money doesn't move until the threat alert is lifted.
Walter called television stations, the American Civil Liberties Union and me. And he went on the Internet to see what he could learn. He learned about changes in something called the Bank Privacy Act.
"The more I'm on, the scarier it gets," he said. "It's scary how easily someone in Homeland Security can get permission to spy."
Eventually, his and his wife's money was freed up. The Soehnges were apparently found not to be promoting global terrorism under the guise of paying a credit-card bill. They never did learn how a large credit card payment can pose a security threat.
But the experience has been a reminder that a small piece of privacy has been surrendered. Walter Soehnge, who says he holds solid, middle-of-the-road American beliefs, worries about rights being lost.
"If it can happen to me, it can happen to others," he said.
(Bob Kerr is a columnist for The Providence Journal. E-mail email@example.com.)
File this story under "suspicions confirmed".
In Bush land they want to spy on us at home where it is safe comfortable and profitable
We have a local Congressman, Jeff Miller, who brags that Bush was totally proper in his spying activities and did not break the law. This is from the same Congressman who gets rich on a land deal while comcealing it from his constituents. The local good old boys love him because he is a Republican who carries a cachet of godliness and conservatism. Mr Soehnge could as easily live here and get harassed by a government approved of and voted for by solid citizens who think this disgusting President is a model of rectitude.
This kind of spying isn't new. I bought a vehicle in 1990 and wrote a check for it. The dealer had to record where I got the money because "the IRS wants to know the source of any payment in excess of a certain dollar amount." No proof required, just a statement. No idea what they did with the info.
So now it's starting to hit home to the older generation, many of them who have been voting loyal Republican or Democrat for years. Many of these same loyal, flag waving, "Four More Years!"
chanters. They are just beginning to see and understand what some of us have known since and even before 9-11.
Makes sense to me to stay low in the economy. Don't buy anything big, preferably don't buy anything new. Don't accumulate debt. And don't be politically active. Isn't this the exact population that a USSR takeover of the United States would have wanted?
I have always argued that Reagan didn't "defeat" communism, he just made it pointless. The exact guys that Russia would have put in puppet power were elected, so why bother to fight?
Americans are such fat, lazy, ignorant bastards. This bullshit would not be going on if enough people raised their voices.
And before some smart-ass questions me on it, yes, I do raise my voice.
So, when I get my large bills paid off caise I am gonna sell off my leave when I change jobs this summer, I am going on some homeland security watch list?
Fuctard bastard fascist pigs. Let em roast in their own gitmo fire!
X insults ALL Americans? Well, when you raise your voice, make sure it's not with such idiotic venom towards ALL of us. I raise my voice and am called abrasive. Yes, Iam. I want my rights as an American intact. Diminishing them will only lead to another American revolution. I'll be there, with my fellow Americans. By the way, with my mind and sensibilities intact.
well, x has a point. If your average American werent a fry short of a happy meal, we truly WOULD have more people who speak out. If you havent seen for yourself the consistant "dumbing down" of American society and culture, then you are simply not paying attention!
The NAZI's are here people. Better arm yourselves while you still can and remember, "Don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes."
Patriotic American who is sick of this crap!
shouldn't take so long as to affect your financial aspects for you to figure out that your "land of the free" is fading, and leaving fast because people were scared into the patriot act by 9-11; an event that the bush administration and republicans themselves were assisting.
hehe, dumbing down of american society... yeah thats probably true. theres also the general sum (not everyone of course) of americans takes what the gov't says for granted, until a movement, almost like a culture scene, begins against their govt's actions... it definetely shouldn't take THAT much for people to look around at what they've just awaken to.
about an american revolution... anyone up for it? they'll definetely try to shoot any patriot who tries to take back their gov't, which should give other people a good look at the american-loving people that are in office.
I know for a fact that the IRS must be notified for any cash transaction over $10,000.
But this is a bit off.
People refinance and pay down bills all the time.
who gives a crap as long as they get the technology good enough not inconvience you. I dont' have anything to hide.
The Nazi's aren't here, the revolution isn't coming, and there's at least 20 more years before we roll over.
Know how I know?
The salary vs. inflation ratio has been declining steadily since the start of the cold war. It has shown no change in this rate of drop since the end of it. 20-50 years from now, it will be at the same level as the Germans had when the Nazi party was formed.
So yeah, gear up, but take your time at it.
Man, stop dogging on Bush for all of this stuff.
If Kerry had been in office, the exact same thing would have happened.
This probably happened because larger than normal amounts of money always send up red flags. Y'know, the whole "hundred thousand from a Swiss account" thing. Sounds like the bar's lowering; if I only got six thousand for selling state secrets, I'd feel awfully gypped.
How many people voice-raising is 'enough', exactly? The literati have been in an uproar about this sort of thing for at least four years now. But the 'common folk'- that would be the majority, for those democratically inept- would prefer to sell their privacy and freedom for security. We live in a representative republic, and neither the majority nor those with the wealth to get elected wish to change the system. All that can be depended on is the inevitable pendulum of public opinion. The elected are, by and large, a bunch of invertebrates. Threaten them with lost re-elections, and they'll change. The question is, is this really how we want to run our country? It's only taken 200 years for the Constitution to be eroded into a shadow of its former self. Who can create a more lasting peace?
ahhh, this type of law is a result of the WAR ON DRUGS..
The cops convinced the FEDs that large cash transactions were evidence that the money could have come from drug deals or money laundering.
Plus the FEDS thought they might be missing out on TAXING the rich, so congress (I think under carter but it could have been under reagan) pushed through some laws to require reporting large cash transactions to the IRS.
BEFORE 9-11 the law was changed a bit so that banks could report suspecious activity regardless of the amount, then after 9-11, when everyone was rushing and yelling for "GOVERNMENT SAVE US" the law was changed even more.
This is surely something that the Feds dont' need to know about.. Afterall, if I'm gonna blow something up, I sure the heck aint gonna pay off the balance on a credit card before I DO IT...
You can blame congress for this mess and everyone rushing for government to save them, instead of taking responsibility for themselves..
Notification or not, the money should have been credited as quickly as any other payment. If any company jerked me around like that, I'd become an ex-customer as quickly as possible.
The department of homeland security is in charge of detering cyber attacks. Go to their site and read how they are in charge of protecting against identity theft. A large transaction like this is flagged to protect hard working people from having their cash stolen.
You can have an opinion or you can have an informed opinion. Choose.
I'm not one for big government A.K.A Big Brother interfering in an American citizens life. I think what happened to the people in this story is unfortunate. But, i grew up in Jersey City NJ, and those towers which i had looked upon from my bedroom window, for most my life coming crashing down. Had a huge effect on me.
So, i can see both sides of this issue. Anyone with an unbiased view, must admit that it's strange that a person in so much debt makes a payment of $6,500.00. Is it really so unreasonable for an inquery to be made as to why and how, such a large some of money suddenly was available?
I do understand the danger of citizens having any amount of privacy stripped from us. It's been said once you allow government to take a certian privacy away from it's citizen's, that the citizen's will never get it back.
But there is a first time for everything. If privacy can be reclaimed for citizen's , the best chance of it happening is in the U.S.A. Because "We the people" hold the power to elect our officals and hold them accountable... but we never do hold them accountable do we? we're too busy towing the part line, allowing ourselves to be divided and conqured by a two party system.
Read Mark Steyn's column today.
Companies claim "homeland security" or "patriot act" when they're the ones making the new rules.
I bet the delay in the credit going to the cardowners' account had nothing to do with any actual federal statute or regulation.
Ask the store to cite an actual federal statute (an actual code section cite - like, e.g., 42 USC 1001) or an actual regulation section.
They won't be able to do it.
I want a couple little things put into law.
At the beginning of each day's session of congress and the 50 state's assemblies, I want the legislators to have to get up and recite a pledge that goes something like:
"Today we spend money that isn't ours. It belongs to the people and our duty is to those people. The taxpayers ARE NOT our source of income. In addition, the Declaration of Independence says. 'We the people' so we will not protect the rights of corporations over the rights of the people."
Maybe that could slow down a little bit of the run amuck government...
That's just what you get 4 watching TV, driving SUVs, eating crappy fast food, longing for always more - in short: poisoning yourselves and your environment! Old Europe is just shaking heads and waiting for you dumb fat asses to blow up the whole place! Go right ahead, censor this posting, nobody's listening anyway! WW3 is wainting....
I know the 10K for cash is a real limit and has been for years. But it is only 10K when making a business purchase. You write a check to your nephew for 11K it is no big deal. You write a 11K check for a new car and it is a big deal.
This has been going on for decades, people. Don't blame it on Bush, blame it on yourselves, YOU ARE THE GOVERNMENT.
To reference the comment made by "Thinker". If an identity thief was going to pay off my credit card debt, I would let it be stolen as often as possible. But since thieves usually -- I say "usually" to accommodate any Robin Hood's out there -- increase your balance, not decrease it, I think this is obviously an invasion of privacy.
So let's recap:
*Paying your debts gets you on a watch list. *Copying a CD you legitimately paid for is both illegal (DMCA) and legal (fair use) at the same time.
*Losing a home in New Orleans gets you a new trailer...in Arkansas.
*40 billion can send the entire armed service to Iraq and house them there. 80 billion can't put a New Orleans resident in anything more than a tent.
*Shooting someone in the face gets you an apology from the victim (???).
*In the game of 'nam draft dogers vs. people who actually went, the vet is the one painted as the coward.
*Doing less than any President before you gets you voted in with a bigger majority than you got the last time. And you think Jesus talks to you.
OK. Seriously. If someone doesn't get a handle on this soon, we are all very, very screwed.
I get a kick out of all the people posting here who think they actually know the large $$$ amount reporting mechanism.
1-If you write a $11k check to your nephew, just where do you think he is going to deposit it? duh, in a bank. that throws up the red flag and will be checked.
2- I've seen reports from banks where a customer saw the teller filling out the reporting form for $9000. He asked what the teller was doing, she told him, he stated "that ain't the govt's business", took his money back and went elsewhere. she still filled out because it fit the definition of a "strange transaction"
How do I know this? gee, I only used to audit banks and see these types of reports!
Unless you are running strictly on cash, NOT CHECKS or bank drafts, there is no way you can avoid reporting to the man. in addition, if the IRS runs an audit against your returns, they may say, "how is it you own all this expensive stuff without the transactions appearing anywhere?". yes, it's been known to happen.
so as you can see, you are well and truly f*cked! and, no I did NOT vote for Bush jr. Those of us living in Austin TX already knew what a dumbass he was/is.
To those of you who voted the Republicans into office, FU very much!
To address Mark, according to the Supreme Court, a Corporation IS a person. Therefore a Corporation has the same "Freedom of Speech" that any other person has. They can donate money to political campaigns, lobby the government for redress of grievances, and act in every manner as if they were a citizen of the United States, even though they are, in effect, an agglomeration of shareholders. The concept of Corporate Personhood is one of the only remaining political issues which has any meaning today. The right has no real interest in abortion, religion, family values, welfare, or taxes. These are just fodder for the masses; convenient emotional red herrings that resonate with people. The fusion of corporation and government is the ultimate goal of the right; it is a powerful combination as all the rightist governments of the past have taught us. An effective method of governing large groups of people and maintaining the status quo. From Silesian Steel to Halliburton, we see the same pattern. And there's plenty more to come!
I recently withdrew about 5500 dollars out of my savings account so I could take it to a supermarket that does Moneygrams (in turn, was sending a Moneygram to my out-of-state lender to pay off my car loan). The teller at my bank whipped out a form of some sort stating "since 9/11 blah blah blah Homeland Security Dept blah blah blah". I was like WTF? I complied of course. The supermarket had a similar form I had to fill out stating personal info including purpose of the Moneygram. In my case, fortunately, the payment was applied to my loan immediately with no delay.
"They call it the land of the free, but they're trying to make a prisoner out of me"
Somebody above posted, "Don't blame it on Bush, blame it on yourselves, YOU ARE THE GOVERNMENT." This might have been true in the past, but the time of representative government in America is over. Political campaigns are handled just like any other advertising campaigns, using the same proven psychological techniques, evolved since the 1950s, which trained Americans to spend money they don't have on crap they don't need. Once you figure out how to convince masses of people to make stupid decisions without realizing it, controlling the population becomes a matter of raising more advertising money than your opposition. National political campaigns are almost entirely fundraising competitions, and our elected representatives divide their time between writing laws to pay back their financial sponsors, and convincing the rest of us that it's for our own good. The Nazis are indeed already here, they just haven't reared their ugly heads by persecuting a domestic enemy. They're so totally in control that they don't have to. For now they can get by with terrorists, terrorists, terrorists. But when a distinctly recognizable group of people oppose the program strongly enough to present a legitimate threat to the throne, that's when people will start disappearing off to "undisclosed locations," which we will eventually discover are mass graves. I think the poster who said the Nazis are still decades in the future was right, in the sense of when they will become recognizable, but the bastards are already well in position. The history of 21st century America has largely been written already.
I wouldn't put it past a credit card company to use the "Homeland Security" excuse to deflect the fact that they might have just been waiting for the check to clear.
It is very difficult for someone who has too much credit card debt to shop around for better creditors. He is at their mercy, and it sounds like they chose to make him wait until they were sure he actually had the cash.
We recently took a second morgage and payed off all our accounts...well, mostly all. Anyway, it would have been going from minimums or nothing (for some of the no interest/no payments accounts to full payments... so I wonder why we didn't get a visit from Homey Landy. Probably because the checks weren't from our account but from another bank.
having a go at the yanks in general is pretty lame. You are saying how dumbed down THEY are getting? Well, me bucko, being an Australian like you, as you obviously are from your comment, I would say have a look around yourself before you go slinging off at other countries. Australia is really in the crapper when it comes to education. I teach at a TAFE and all I can say every day is "f%^k me dead"(quietly and to myself that is). They don't give a f^%k about education - just profit and thoughput of (very low level)passing students. Australian's lack of education standards, sports promotion, and fear mongering - pollies love it. I am going to send John Howard a crow bar so he can get his nose out of George junior's arse crack.
When it comes to loss of civil liberties - Well how about AU coppers telling art photographers off for taking pictures near a refinery for F%^Ks sake. Let's get past this terrorist bulls*#t, devisive, politically expedient, crap, and get back to picking on each other for sensible stuff like skin colour.
I'll go first: being a light translucent pale bluish color (bog irish decendency) I think anyone who get get a tan is a complete bastard - So piss off.
Good American, if you truly have nothing to hide, please post your full name, date of birth, mother's maiden name, and social security number
I know you will not.
There's a difference between privacy and secrecy.
Don't use the tired old "nothing to hide" line unless you're willing to back it up.
Rubbish. $6,000.00 is not anywhere near above normal. How many times have people transfered $25,000.00 to $200,000.00 recently time and time again and nothing? I know I have.
""The department of homeland security is in charge of detering cyber attacks. Go to their site and read how they are in charge of protecting against identity theft. A large transaction like this is flagged to protect hard working people from having their cash stolen.""
Oh, give me a break. The ones who monitor accounts for identity theft and unusual transactions are the credit card companies. There is no reason "Homeland Security" (so much for 'small-government' republicans), should be given someone's financial records unless that person is under investigation.... and then, only with a warrant issued by a judge.
If you've done any online gmbling you'ld know that the reporting limit is now down to $800 dollars US. Like many tech exec's say, "If you think you have any privacy you're deluding yourself" The advent of some of the newer technologies just makes eavesdropping easier, just try making a large cash purchase without doing some serious discussion about whether or not they need to 'procure some liquidity'
By far the funniest and most pointed comment seems to have gone over the heads of y'all. Some guy up above chimed in with that "I have nothing to hide" nonsense, and just in case anyone missed the sarcasm, he signed himself "Good American".
There are, alas, all too many real "Good Americans", just as there were far too many passive, submissive "Good Germans" when Hitler took power.
Good Americans, what will you tell them when they ask, "What did you do to stop it?"
Well, I recently similarly paid off a credit card, and had no such problems. But it doesn't really surprise me in today's world. It SHOULDN'T happen, and I think it's reprehensible that it does, and I think that we need to all lobby our representatives to have laws like these repealed.
But, it does seem endemnic with the Bush doctrine. In previous State of the Union speeches, he promoted a 'spend, spend, spend! It's the American thing to do!' policy that has gotten the American people into debt over their eyeballs. (Heck, even refi plans to get you further in debt make light of this fact.) So it doesn't really surprise me that being truly fiscally responsible would raise some Red Commie flags. er... Red Terrorist flags.
Is it just me, or have we returned to the paranoid '50s, only to replace every instance of 'Communist' with 'Terrorist'?
I have paid off all my credit cards, and I even canceled one. By the way the card company reacted, you would think I was committing financial suicide. Now that I am debt free, I am a risk to our national security. Why? I am refusing to participate in the creation of credit and money, and support the banks. And anyone who tracks my future cash only transactions can just dream on, because the national statistics say they probably have 9 credit cards with 10K in debt. Freedom is not owing anyone.
I come from the land downunder.
We are experiencing the same erosions of
personal freedom - terrorism is just an
excuse for our governments to tighten their
reins .It will be near impossible to get these
freedoms back once they are gone - write to
you politicians let them know you are angry
about it .Do not let them do it without a fight.
I do not politicaly agree with the US (it is just
way to greedy and capitalist for me ) but their
Constitution is (was) sound and there is hope.
If people stand and be counted - It made a
difference in the '60s it can make a difference
The article is funny. The comments are even funnier. It's the headline that brought me here. And now I see it's irresponsible journalism, and even dummer people spouting off. Oh, by the way, I like the disclaimer on the frontpage that this website is an experiment, non-partisan, blah,blah,blah. This is one site I will not be back to. Have a nice day retards.
I dare the editors not to publish this. It will only prove my point. But then again, maybe you will. Haha. LOL.
They count your money orders at the post office, anything over $3,000. form time.
Deposits into you bank account over 9,999.99 even if it's direct deposit from your work, form time.
I'm done waiting to find out what the end result will be, Canada in the spring, I'll pay the exhorbinant taxes to breathe a little without watching my back.
America makes me sad, it used to be such a great place to be proud of.
Lesson 1: debt is patriotic.
Lesson 2: Whether Nazi, Comunist, Democrat or Republican, they are all governments. Their highest priority is gaining and holding power.
Lesson 3: Fear is the flip side of power.
I am a relic from the 60’s, too. Fact is we lost the revolution back when we traded it in for consumption. Now we have technology but no theology. The very things we accused our parents of: materialism, egotism and xenophobia have gained the upper hand.
This story reminds me of a quote by Benjamin Franklin "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." I think that quote applies more to this time in history than any other, and it certainly applies here.
Screw them. I say make erratic payments all the time just to send up red flags constantly and drive them nuts. If millions of people start doing this purposely all the time, how can they possibly keep pace with all of it?
Seriously in shock of the knee-jerk reactions.
Let's take a look at the facts:
1) They made a transaction that was significantly different from the norm.
2) Citibank checks this sort of thing regularly, and automatically prevents your account from making that transaction until they're convinced it's legit.
2a) This is not a fact, but one can infer that most other bank companies do this as well.
3) There are a number of reasons why this transaction would be held up and Homeland Security notified. Not everything is about the War on Terror.
Occasionally, it may just be a precaution on behalf of the company to protect your assets, and to make sure that it's really you paying that much money.
It's not the destination that set up the red flag, people. Get a clue. It was that a large amount of money *left* the account that was much larger than the standard payment. They're just making sure that it was all there, and it was all authorized. Is that such a sin?
In 1933 all of the German people laughed at the antics of that “silly little fool” Adolph Hitler.
In 1936 all the German people stopped laughing… or were shot.
If we don’t learn from history, we are bound to repeat it.
Can any of you see any parallels between then and now?
In reference to "Cliff Trap": There's plenty of information that both Bush 'elections' were bought, thus fraudulous. Although the American people left it close enough for Bush to get away with it, they are not really the government.
Land of the free home of the brave?
Scared and oppressed is more like it. Dont really have the same ring to it though, do it?
I'm glad that i don't live in the US nowadays.
In the Netherlands only cash transactions of € 20.000 and larger are reported.
And if I want to buy a house there is no way that my bank transaction is reported to the financial authorities.
The thing is, that there is more freedom in Russia nowadays than in the US.
And yes, this is really hurting the US economy.
Large firms are leaving the US like rats fleeing a sinking ship.
Something similar also happens in England. They didn't quote that reason, but I found out recently that smaller payments clear days quicker than larger payments. No reason was given. I found out after querying why a large payment I made did not make it onto the account in the time that they also did in the past.
gee- i hope they hold my credit till they get to bill me for late fees
as always, the loony leftists scream about Bush/Republicans while ignoring the fact that it was them who loosed this out-of-control government on us, back in the 1890's when they co-opted liberalism into incorporating socialist ideals -- the core of which is the idea that government can and should be used to "improve" society. To *any* end.
Hey Left: It's your beast. You set it upon us. The conservatives have merely learned to use the machine you helped build. It's a bit late to start complaining about it now.
Frankly, I don't mind if the government has limited access to certain non-critical financial records. As long as government employees don't go around stealing my credit card numbers and committing identity fraud, I don't really care. It allows for easier identification and arrest of criminals.
Granted, stopping transactions until it has been checked out is probably annoying, but it doesn't really matter that much.
Secondly, all of you who were advocating rebellion and revolution are fools. What chance do you have, with shotguns, rifles, even SMGs against military APCs. In the near future it will get even worse, with the FFW (future force warrior) systems, XM107 1 cal. HMGs, and advanced small arms. Frankly, some civilian rebellion doesn't stand a chance, so stop being idiotic.
Sorry, typo: XM307, not XM107
If the reporter had checked the facts before offering them up for public consumption he would have found that there is no requirement to report every $3,000 transaction to Homeland Security. Please, stop and analyze this as only a practical matter. There are millions and millions of transactions above that amount in the U.S. every day - no government agency could manage or analyze the data flow.
The actual reporting requirement is to report cash in excess of $10,000. That generates 13 million filings per year. There is also a requirement that banks support suspicious activity. As described in the article, there is nothing about this transaction that would have mandated a suspicious activity report(SAR). Even if there were, the bank employee would have been prohibited by law from telling the customer about the report. (There are about 700,000 SAR filings every year.) Currency transaction reporting has been in place since 1970. Reporting criminal or suspicious activity has been in place since 1996.
The principal lessons to be learned here are 1)sometimes reporters are irresponsible and 2) the "big lie" travels fast. This same story appears on the London Times web site.
Sometimes people in business, perhaps a bank clerk in this case or a car salesman in the anecdote mentioned above, just make things up when they don't understand their own responsibilities. While it's a safe bet that decisions made by government are often stupid, don't assume the information you get from others is always accurate.
Sure would have been nice if the guy who wrote this took the time and had the honesty to add some facts ! Banks have been reporting these kinds of transactions for decades! In the past anything over ten grand by law had to be reported to the feds. This new twist is no different but this article is bull.
RE:Post from Trench.
Two hundred thirty years ago a bunch of farmers and blacksmiths and brewers etc. won a revolution against the most powerful, well equipped armed forces in the world. Remember, our military is still volunteer also. Not to say a revolution is at hand, but too much faith in technology is just as idiotic my friend. Remember the past while gazing into the future.
RE:Post from Trench.
Two hundred thirty years ago a bunch of farmers and blacksmiths and brewers etc. won a revolution against the most powerful, well equipped armed forces in the world. Remember, our military is still volunteer also. Not to say a revolution is at hand, but too much faith in technology is just as idiotic my friend. Remember the past while gazing into the future.
Send in 100 checks for 65.22 each. No alarm bells.
Who uses checks anyway these days?
One would think that the Homeland Insecurity Department would be engaged in securing the homeland, which it is not. It is simply the republican version of the SS.
The director of the department claims there is nothing going on at the southern border, while the drug dealers, supported by Mexican military units, make armed incursions into the United States with impunity. I wonder who else is on the payroll? Looks pretty obvious to me.
If I had the available cash I would make constant large purchases and payments to trigger this crap. When they inquired about it I would simply say "It's to give you guys something to do. You don't seem to be doing anything else..."
Ya'll git yer ass to church!
What all these people who are so grief-stricken about this humongous loss of liberty fail to recognize is that there was no loss of liberty here at all. A transaction was held to make sure that it was legitimate, nothing more. Nobody lost any money, and nobody was deprived of anything.
Maybe we should stop to think about how money laundering is accomplished, as it involves converting one type of payment into another. Doesn't it stand to reason that the people whose job it is to monitor such things might understand what a suspicious pattern looks like?
I'd hazard a guess that those who are so quick to trash this type of analysis will be the same people that, upon the next successful attack, scream things like "Our government didn't do enough to protect us!" and "How could they miss this?!?"
Analysis and vigilance and paying attention to things that match a pattern is not invasion of privacy.
Hasn't anyone ever heard of a mistake? Yes, its possible that there was miscommunication between the credit card company AND the rules and regulations set forth by the government. Considering I work in the financial industry and I don't have to report anything that's over 9,999.00, and that's ONLY if its suspicious. I think this was a matter of misunderstanding on the credit card company's part and the client got the short end of the stick.
However, it would be just too logical for anyone to actually LOOK INTO the rules and regulations before spouting off like the typical uninformed liberal maniac that we're used to hearing
I used to live in Rhode Island, and I recall that Bob Kerr (the author of the piece in question) writes a nice human-interest column. He's not an investigative reporter. Hence, you may have noticed that he seems to have made no effort to contact Homeland Security or anyone else who could have provided some helpful facts. He simply retold a story that was told to him by a frustrated retiree. It's an interesting story, and we feel empathy for the old man. But there simply is not enough information provided to form an opinion. All we have is one elderly gentleman's version of what his credit card company told him. It's not exactly the sort of stuff we should be using as fodder with which to attack one another. If you feel sufficiently concerned about the story, then do some research and find out whether there is any reason to be alarmed.
I am glad to hear the government is watching. Clearly before 9/11 terrorists moved money without anyone noticing. In all transactions, we have to wait while money "clears" since it often clears quickly, we expect it to do so all the time. However, sometimes as in this case, it requires further investigation. The investigation is not soley on whether the funds are available, but whether they are legitimate.
The delay is valid as is the fact that our government is protecting us. Had this turned out to be a terrorist we would have been hopping mad if the funds had been used to purchase equipment needed in an attack because we didn't track it. Then we would hear screams that Bush knew!
Some of you people need to re-read this article, and stop with all the "bank" comments. It wasn't the man and wife's bank that threw up the red-flag, it was their credit card company, and it did so upon receipt of their payment. All this crap about what amounts of money banks are required to investigate on behalf of this agency or that agency and so on are pointless. Why? Because no one with any amount of intelligence sends $6500 in CASH through the mail. This was NOT a CASH transaction. So, your "bank and $10K cash" argument just sank like the Titanic. *Blub blub*
Furthermore, most of you arguing that such "hold-ups" or investigations are commonplace within financial institutions, should also be aware of the trend among consumers to get "debt-free." These institutions are seeing such large-sum payments more and more often. Why'd this institution flag this particular payment? Only they can answer that question, and they did so directly to the customer, pointing to some instruction that has been passed down to them by the Office of Homeland Security. Why?
That is the question we should have answered, yet no one has done so. Simply pointing out that similar things happen in different circumstances is hardly an answer as to why this happened. All that serves to do is provide another fine example of someone passing the buck.
I saw this article linked to by Andrew Sullivan via another blogger last week and almost responded. Quite frankly I think either the whole story is bogus in how it was related to Mr. Kerr or that the Bank is interpreting the regulations incorrectly. This is not to say, by the way, that there may be too much zeal on the part of the Feds.
From what I have read: Only cash or cash equivalent transactions are under possible scrutiny. Cash equivalent trenasctions do not include checks unless the checks are made out to the “bearer”.
Even if the transaction is flagged by the bank, I think the bank is supposed to process it and not hold it up, they are simply supposed to file the report.
Finally, we recently refinanced (15 year rate fixed) and paid off much more stuff similar to this chap and all of our “unusual” transactions went through with no problem in a timely fashion.
There is more to this story than meets the eye and I suspect over reaching by either the bank (most likely) or a consumer who makes out checks to the “bearer” and sends them in the mail (not too likely).
Bank/credit card company - These are usually one and the same thing. I understand the point the commenter is making that it was the credit card company but both are held to the same regs in this matter and my point above remains valid.
Let me see if I understand the story...the Soehnges wrote a check to pay off a bill. The Soehnges, assuming they know how to balance a checkbook, now know they can not spend the money that the check covers. The credit card company has the check and is just waiting for "Big Brother" to clear it. The article does not state whether the credit company continued to bill the Soehnges based on the balance before the check or not. So if they are not being billed anymore for the amount paid, and they know they can not spend that money...what exactly is the problem, and how is anyone hurt?
I do not like "Big Brother" snooping around in my life, but neither do I have anything to hide. If by checking into "suspicious" financial activities the Feds can, with little to no inconvenience to the general public, help prevent another 3,000 civilians from dying a fiery death…why not?
By the way, the $10,000 reporting limit is not $10,000 at all. It is much lower than that, maybe even as low as $5,000.
As someone who works for a credit card agency, this is the first I have heard about Homeland Security being notified when you pay off large sums of money on a credit card; however it does not surprise me. When people pay off larger amounts than they normally do it does send up an alert for possible money laundering but that's not very common at all. What is common that I hear everyday from working in the collections field is people refinancing their homes or getting a consolidation loan that pays off their credit cards in full. As far as I know that is not reported to "Homeland Security". It is reported to the IRS however.
With Bushy and his crew up on capitol hill anything is possible so I do not dismiss the claim. I do find it amazing though that so many of the republicans in the area I live have changed their views our President and his agenda. I've never supported him and never will. This President is going to run our country into the ground. People all over the world call our country the next Rome. And you know what? Rome fell.
In reply to above and my previous, I too am well aware that credit-card companies are commonly also banks. I'd simply like to point out that in this case, the credit-card company was the recipient of a payment in the form of a personal check issued from another bank. They were not acting as a bank normally would in this case, depositing money for safekeeping or making a payment, they were acting as a seller who was being paid for a service. Why did this recipient decide to (or have to?) contact HomeSec instead of simply putting the payment through, leaving the task and responsibility of reporting the transaction to the bank from which the check was issued, which would OBVIOUSLY have a paper trail regarding from where the money came?
Wow, no shortage of loons on this comment page.
Bush sucks, he took it way to far. He's overstepping his bounderies. You know what the funny thing is? I'm republican...at least i was untill Bush. Bush is a retard
The IRS is different than Homeland Security. Your credit card company is different than either one.
If your credit card company flags something internally because they think it's good business, that's their business. You are welcome to change companies.
If the bank reports a large "cash-like" transaction to the IRS, that's about taxes and it's been on the books forever. You can be pissed about it, but it's nothing new; it has nothing to do with Bush or Homeland Security or our recent loss of privacy under the "all in the name of 9/11" meme.
However, if Homeland Security really has muffed up their reporting requirements such that some bank/cc company felt obligated to file a report for this, then we've got bigger problems than losing our privacy. What a waste of time, time and resources they could be using to prevent terrorism. AND what an invasion of privacy. This, if true, WOULD be new and WOULD be something to be upset about.
So, let's see the real question answered: Was this the credit card company over-reacting or is it a fact that Homeland Security has some ridiculous regulation like this that both invades our privacy AND makes us less secure.
"They that would sacrifice essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither." -- Franklin
Then there was my friend's dad that cashed every SS check and put it in a box, along with his pension and other checks. When he hit 81 he gave $175,000 cash to each of his 3 children. He died at 82 with only a house as his listed assets.
"They that would sacrifice essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither." -- Franklin
The 'I don't have anything to hide so it's all good with me' people are missing the point.
When you start the day with a cake and someone takes away a big chunk of it, you don't end the day with a full cake. The issue at hand is the continual eroding of privacy and individual rights of the American people by our 'government'.
When you don't stop someone from taking away a right you once had, and raise no voice of protest, that someone in most cases will continue taking away more and more of your rights, more and more till one day you will wake up and wonder what happened. It's a gradual process just as the marginalization of Congress has been over the past 15 years or so.
Not to make this a partisan issue since both parties have been guilty, but the current administration is more and more circumventing the representatives of the people and legislating away freedoms... Witness the completly 'secretive' ports deal currently popular in the press (which only after much bipartisan furor recieved the -required- 45 day security review), and remember this is just one thing in a long list.
It's not an issue of 'I am clean so poke into my life all you want' it's an issue of former inalienable rights to privacy that are allowing the governemnt to slowly become more and more invasive into the lives of its citizens.
I pay my taxes for roads, infrastructure, public works, and to ensure my rights to live and let live are guaranteed. I don't need someone watching over my every move and determining what I can or cannot do in matters such as my personal finances...
The same people who are complaining here about the government watching out for terrorism are the same folks who bitterly complain after an attack that the government hasn't done enough to keep us safe. You can't have it both ways. I learned a long time ago in economics class that there is no such thing as a free lunch. You want security? Then be prepared to put up with some incovenience.
I have nothing to hide, but I hide it anyway. The cops are on the take, they'll fake the evidence to justify your execution. As for the voice of the people, the ones that didn't disappear or cop out went to Canada a while ago.
The American people who know better are underground where the spies can't hear us or see us. Aa you watch the disintegration of your frail veneer civility, consider that all we did was stop protecting the incompetent from the consequences of their actions.
You can join us: when they ask for a sacrifice, demand it be they who sacrifice to you, otherwise get off the hamster wheel and enjoy each moment of every beautiful day God has given you. Find a better motive than illusive money and you will be free of their game.
Whose policy is this? JC Penney's? That little tidbit is left out of the story, because it could surely change the story's intention, which is to make people paranoid about the DHS.
Let's get ALL the facts before we start the lynch mob, m'kay?
I am curious as to what you Liberals think Bush should do. The greatest thing about this country is our freedom. The biggest danger to our country is our freedom. You run around yelling "Bush Sux! Bush Sux!" and frankly, unless you threaten him, you are well within your rights. If you ran around Iraq before 9/11 and yelled "Saddam Sux! Saddam Sux!" you would be arrested. Standard procedure would be for your wife and any daughters and possibly sons to be raped and sodomized while you watch. They would be possibly be killed while you watch. Then they castrate you to "wipe your seed from the face of the earth." How can you say we shouldn't have freed these people and gotten rid of Saddam.
I am also curious as to how you expect our government to catch terrorists before they act. If someone has been making $100 or so payments on their credit card and suddenly make a larger one, it is a legitimate quest to wonder where they suddenly got the money. People are approached every day by terrorists that offer to pay them well to do some obscure task. I don't particularly like being monitored that way but what is the alternative? Allow terrorists free reign in our country? That would be brilliant...
Anyone who says that there are any problems with Guantanamo should consider the conditions there are far better than the conditions from which they came. The United States treats its prisoners better than any other country in the world. They get their choice in food. They get special times to pray. So some of them were humiliated a little. Big deal, it beats what they would do to YOU if the tables were turned.
You can call Bush a lot of things, but you can't say that he doesn't do waht he says he will do.
I guess you can complain about all the terrorist attacks that have happened in the US since 9/11, but... hey wait... There haven't been any??? Maybe Homeland Security works!
"Land of the Free!" hahaha
1972 Banking Act declares that any financial transaction over $5000 be reported to the govt. 2 years later it was ammended by document that has since been clasified. Holding money is a new thing.
Has anyone ever read "A Road to Serfdom?" Well, here's the children's version: http://www.mises.org/TRTS.htm you should all page threw it. Too bad it's not required reading.
Before I start my rant, I want to remind everyone what a "Government" is because many of you seem to have forgotten. A government is a simple social contract between citizens to give up some freedoms for their safety. What freedoms for how much safety is to be determined by the citizens and their chosen officials.
Now that we all know what a government is, I'd like to look at our Constitutional DUTIES. Thats right, the duties, not our rights. First off, the government must allow these only to those who perform their duties. That's not to say that others cant have them; it just means that the government doesnt HAVE to let them. There are 3 duties which are outlined by the constitution.
The most important one is voting. If you do not vote, your voice is not heard. If your voice is not hear, even if you believe its a loosing battle, then you take the stance that you dont care what the government does.
Prehaps the most resented duty is that we are to defend our country. This does not mean that have to go off to fight in a war (ie: Iraq). However, this does mean that should we come under attack, no matter the party, then we should stand our ground and fight. This is as simple as killing or capturing anyone who is a threat to America or American. However, when we are faced with a large scale enemy (ie: terrorism or other countries) it means that those who are able should join the military. To those that can not or will not join the military, it falls on them to support the military and, in the event that the military fails, form a final resistance against aggresors.
The final and most overlooked duty is that if we believe the government is abusing its power, not holding up its end of the bargin, or not doing its job in any way we MUST revolt. This is not saying that we can revolt, but that by the Constitutional Law, we have to revolt. Just to be clear, Revolt does not mean sit around and discuss the problems or talk to those in power. It means form an army and kill, capture, or convert every official in the offending government.
If you skipped on performing ANY of this duties, then your rights do not have to be given to you. Futhermore, I'd like to say that Benjamin Franklin was wrong. If people do not give up freedom for security, then we will live in a state of anarchy. For example, in order that I do not get killed, I gave up my freedom to kill other people.
I hate to say "I told you so..." but do you regret voting for Bush yet?
I do so love it when people say "There haven't been any attacks, so the stupid security checks by TSA/the Ministry of H.S./Bush's war on terror" is working." By the same faulty "post hoc ergo propter hoc" reasoning, the fact that no polar bears have taken over planes and flown them into the headquarters of, say, Exxon-Mobil can *also* be attributed to the effectiveness of the same policies.
If you think there's no alternative to being monitored, you're welcome to be monitored. But how ~would~ we catch terrorists if we didn't? First, by having intelligence agencies that did their job and were competent at it. (That tends to rule out almost everyone we've got working for us at the moment, it seems.) And second, by spending time looking at the sources of terrorism and stopping things there, which rules out everything else we've been doing so far.
But please spare us the idea that prisoners are being treated "better" than they would be. So we don't torture them *as much* as they might torture us. So we don't humiliate and degrade them *as much* as they might. So we don't feed them food *as bad* as they'd feed us. This smacks of the changes on confessions during the Inquisition, when the RCC decreed that prisoners couldn't be tortured for more than an hour at a time. It was an improvement over the extant policy--up to several hours at a go--but if you were the one being beaten, crushed, or burned, I'm sure it really didn't seem to make much difference. Sorry, Jim, but that's not what we're supposed to be about. If we're morally superior, it's a fine time for us to show it.
One more thing: you can't say "Bush sux!" indiscriminately. There are now "free speech zones" that keep protesters away from Bush, Cheney, and the other goons when they speak. Sorry, the America I signed up for, the America you think we're still living in, *is* a free speech zone.
The Bush administration is nothing but a bunch of cheap con men, petty thugs, and pimps. The sooner everyone in this country figures this out, the better.
John Hedtke: I love it when people say "sources of terrorism".
How do you define a terrorist?
The most popular criteria is the size of the army and the damage it causes. So if a couple of of people bomb a few buildings, then they are terrorists. If a huge army bombs a whole country, then its a peace keeping/democracy restoring operation.
So unless Bush keeps out of other peoples countries, terrorists will always exist.
In order stop terrorists you don't have to give up any liberties. You just have to stop messing with other peoples liberties.
Unless it makes financial sense, isn't it? Just ask Bush & co.
Interesting view, the government would however brand this new army as terrorists threatening the US (even though it was made up of US citizens). It would be broadcasted by the news as a plot by terrorist uncovered and that the government's new laws (that consistantly rape our freedoms) are working. Maybe that's why we haven't seen the flyers on where to enlist in this new army to overthrow the bastards. As ex-Army, I am all too familiar with the brain-washing that goes on in our military. You would have better luck making a brick wall walk down the street as to get the members of the US military to assist in getting rid of the politicians.
Jebus. While all the various screeds you folks are pimping here are NOT required reading, almost everyone has read ( and if he/she hasn't then i pity 'tha fool) the father of your country proclaim on the matter:
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Essential liberties, natural rights are NOT guaranteed by any government. YOU are the only guarantors of these rights; now rememeber this?
" When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. "
how about this?
"...But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
Give up? It's from your declaration of independence. 'Tis a pity that you have chosen to abdicate the responsibility for your and your childrens' future, but as the father of your country says "[You]...deserve neither liberty nor safety". You've got what you asked for, quit 'yer bitching.
I think that it would be more effective against terrorism to HAVE LESS ENEMIES. Most of your recent governments have foreign policies that make most of the rest of the world... how should I put it... not love the US very much. It's sad, because US people, like most of other people in the world, are good human beings.
I have to laugh at the "I have nothing to hide" comments . We all have things to hide from government scrutiny . One of those things is what we do with our legally earned income . The IRS has a responsibity to ensure we are paying our fair share of taxes on income so it monitors large transactions of monies . So far so good . The Patriot Act empowered the government to expand this power to include sifting through financial records to search for patterns of transactions indicating flows of monies to terrorist organizations . Still so far so good . The problem seems to be that paying off a credit account somehow indicates an illegal activity on the part of an otherwise unremarkable American citizen . I am baffled by the logic at work there . Is it now so unusual for us to want to be debt free that the government views this as possibly illegal ? Or is this just one more indicator that the Patriot Act is another example of a Congress in knee-jerk mode ? As a generally law abiding citizen (99% of us violate traffic laws each day) I have to wonder how we got to the point that we are ready to surrender one legitimate right after another for a false belief that we are 'safer' . We are not safer . We are simply less free to conduct our business and personal matters as we see fit without government intrusion . Our government is always ready to restrict the rights of its citizens . We must be vigilant of our rights or else we lose them .
How soon we forget. We forget that this country is but a couple of hundreds of years old and that WE fought a war with the "homeland" to be the country we are. I'm sure a vast majority of the common folk of England thought us "rebels" were the most evil group on earth. When England came to forcefully deter us, we fought a war - a war many would say (at the time) which was against our own country. That war was for many reasons, among them to have the right NOT to have soldiers enter our homes without cause or warning, the right NOT to be taxed without representation, etc. So here's my question: Are those who believe the U.S. is now the "English overlords" wrong? Is the Michigan Militia or Montana Militia a bunch of redneck, violent malcontents? Or are they equivalent to the George Washingtons and Paul Reveres of the 18th century? I'm getting pretty sympathetic with these guys' message, as radical as it might have seemed to me five years ago. Very sympathetic.
Are you certain that the relevant legislation was not the 1970 "Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act" (aka. the "Bank Secrecy Act")?
The Bank Secrecy Act covers filing Currency Transaction Reports and Suspicious Activity Reports to FinCen. Furthermore, unauthorized disclosure of the mere existence of, or any other information about, a SAR is a federal criminal violation.
These "anti money laundering" provisions have been in effect for 35 years, but have been enhanced by the USA PATRIOT Act.
It pays to remember that when it comes to "Bank Secrecy", it's all about the banks keeping secrets from you (not consumer privacy protection).
It is so sad to see both deomocrates and repblicans caught in the matrix of non-reality. The US government does not exist and has not for a very long while. What remains is a corporation (incorporated in 1871 according to federal law and numerous supreme court rulings) that went bankrupt in 1933. The international bankers have been administering this bankruptcy ever since. Through adhesion contracts they have mad you and I liable for their debts. We no longer have real money. What we have are federal reserve notes. Participation in the banking system contractually allows them to monitor and question anything you do with their currency.
What amazes me is the people who vote in Presidential elections actually think they are voting for the president of the USA the republic under the Constitution. They CAN NOT. Only delegates from the State government can do this. What these folks are voting for is the dictator of the democracy known as Washington DC and it federal territories under article 1 sec 9 clause 17 of the Constitution.
As for the events of 9/11. A little research will show who the real care perpetrators are.....
I find it interesting that a man from a state that often sides with the Red Party is being investigated for such an "evil" act. "No honor among thieves," I suppose?
Spiker: yes, you're right, I could've been clearer, but it was early and pre-coffee. Sorry. :)
IMO, one of the biggest sources of terrorism other than religious fundamentalism--anyone's; I have no love for fundamentalists of any stripe, b'lieve me--is the combined effects of poverty, ignorance, and lack of opportunity. (Yes, I'm oversimplifying; go with it.) Had we spent the $500B or whatever the price tag for this stupid exercise in jingoism in Iraq is on the US, we could've have been a different country with an unbelievable standard of living all around. There would've been so much that everyone could keep making as much money as they like and there'd still be enough to go around. Instead, we once again went for the Small Minds image, with people grabbing for what they could. Our economy and our society don't t have to be zero-sum games; there is room for enormous growth and development in both. But the idiots in this administration are just empire builders, no different than any other two-bit thieves.
The US is the most policed nation on earth comparable to China and Saudi Arabia. So much so that it has a higher percentage of its population behind bars than any other country and a higher percentage of its population engaged in policing the rest of society.
The trick is to make people believe that they are free. Feed them a dose of planted stories in the media (similar to ones done by the Pentagon in Iraq but on a much more intricate and massive scale) and over time, people will start believing anything. The freedom to do business is the only true freedom in the US and even then, the businesses are forced to be the spy over its customers on behalf of the government.
Welcome to 1984 in disguise.
Its time to take our country back from the Fascist pigs; I say its time for a revolution and oust our government; Its the only way- you think going to the corrupt government voting machines is going to help? Get real........ and start hiding your weapons
Yadda, yadda, yadda. Please stop trying to equate redneck radicalism and homegrown conspiracy/idiocy with what the fathers of your nation did. That dog won't hunt, monsignor.
The basic freedoms we're talking about cannot be reduced to the extent of the second ammendment. If you doubt this, plerase recall that in most middle east authoritarian cleptocracies weapons are easier to obtain than in the land of the free. Iraqui arabs and kurds have pretty much always had unfettered access to firearms, so do the pushtun in Afghanistan or folks throughout africa.
The implicit right to arm bears has not stopped those places from being unfit for civilized habitation. Guns != freedom. Guns just pretty much = guns, so you can take all of your various misguided "militias", roll them up in some datasheet and smoke them for all the difference it'll do ya. It's what you, with guns or without, that matters.
What is missing isn't the magic of the second ammendment but some plain old education, breeding and culture. Intestinal fortitude, balls, dedication to the cause of liberty as understood by those evil old white men, those sodbusting literate gentlemen. Is there anything like them in the US today? I seriously doubt it.
Official Statement from the WhiteHouse(Because i can't speak for myself)
I like Waffles. Mmm delicious.
This is just an idea, but considering the overwhelming amount of evidence to support the idea: How does the American public accept "Homeland Security" invasions so willingly when it's obvious their own government was if not entirely, then in part, responsible for 9/11.
Several months ago I was written a check for completing some work on a customer's house. I took it to a branch of his bank to cash it. the inside had just closed, the drive-through was open. I needed this money for the weekend. The two 19 year-olds at the drive-thru refused to cash the check, because I "needed to thumb-stamp it". Well, little thumby-ink-things go through the drive through as well... I have 2 ID's, etc. They claimed it was "homeland security", part of the patriot act. I demanded a statute reference. They couldn't give one. I shut off my car and refused to leave the bay, saying "you are REFUSING to honor one of your customer's checks?" I got on the cell and got the homeowner, who was EQUALLY irate, to drive to the bank. MEANWHILE, just as he pulled in, THREE COP CARS SHOWED UP. The manager of the bank had already left. The owner and I ended up leaving, we went to a grocery store where he wrote a check for cash to give me a few hundred to get through the weekend. After, the following monday, getting no satisfaction from the bank management, this same homeowner then removed all his assets from the place he'd banked for thrity years- a sizable amount, he is a recently retired tenured professor- and put it all in a credit union and other places. This is the only type of thing that gets their attention.
I operate ONLY in cash- which means I rent, and some "freedoms" are thereby curtailed- like I have to have a friend rent cars or do anything that requires a credit card- I don't have a bank account, etc. If I ever get married, I'll probably have to come above ground if I want to buy a house. I'm 37 years old, make around 40k a year, and filed my first tax return two years ago. I will NEVER make more than the poverty line on the books. I leave NO paper trail, dealing with cash almost exclusively, doing contracting, etc. (If some guvmint scumbag is reading this and takes it as a challenge, go ahead, pig. This post is the only evidence you'll be able to use to make your case, and I'll claim I was high when I posted it.) IF you people want to continually bitch- yet DO NOTHING, you only make it tougher for those of us willing to take a stand and defend freedoms. What would happen if you all were willing to sacrifice just a LITTLE security to make similar points? These assholes wouldn't be able to count on your compliance, and all the coercion in the world doesn't work if the populace is in open refusal... just like the underground economy in the Soviet Union before it fell.
And to all you idiots who claim "duh, I've got no problem with all this- I got nothing to hide" That ain't the point. If someone hasn't already pointed it out above...
"THOSE WILLING TO SACRIFICE FREEDOM FOR SECURITY DESERVE NEITHER". -Some hippy-commie-terrorist bleeding heart named Tom Jefferson.
I work for a bank in Virginia, and the regs are:
* $10,000.01 or more in CASH IN or CASH OUT transactions aggregated in one business day triggers a Currency Transaction Report.
* Structuring or attempted structuring (reducing transactions below $10,000.00 reporting requirement) trigger a Suspicious Activity Report.
* Purchases of negotiables (money orders, cashier's or teller checks, etc.) with $3,000.00 or more of cash in one business day triggers paperwork similar to the CTR (I forget what this stands for).
Yes, we can file SARs on you for "suspicious" transactions but generally we tellers don't care unless you are genuinely suspicious, like, e.g., you bring in a plastic bag filled with a couple grand in $1 bills, and you are unable to offer a reasonable explanation for the money.
Holds on deposited checks/negotiables are governed by your financial institution's policy (read your account disclosure) and the UCC.
The regs are there to double check unusually large or suspicious cash transactions that may be money laundering or drug dealing, etc.
A. There are no Polar bears trying to hijack planes and fly them into buildings. Even if given the opportunity, a polar bear would not do so. There ARE terrorists who would gladly give their life to be able to crash a plane into a US building. They have not been able to do so since 9/11
B. The torture you speak of is loud music and sleep deprivation... Nothing more. This is what the UN found when they inspected Guantanamo. This is why they say it should be shut down. There is no physical torture at Guantanamo.
C. Bill Clinton had just as many "protestors" removed from his photo ops. Every President wants to look good on camera. The protestors from either President were not beaten and castrated as would have been by Saddam.
D. There was a question about what a terrorist is. Terrorists attack innocent civilians in order to strike fear in the populace. American soldiers are under strict orders to minimize civilian casualties. Americans are the kindest soldiers on the face of the earth... and the baddest!
Prove it to me: have any terrorists tried to hijack planes since 9/11? How about the number of terrorists the TSA has caught who would actually have caused loss of life or property? I believe the number to be 0, but I will defer to actual facts. Could the TSA actually find their butts with both hands? My own experience suggests that the results vary widely from "not a chance" to "yes, definitely," with the average being 2/3 of the way toward the bad end of the scale. The Israelis tried to send us experts on airport screening right after 9/11--they know how to do this pretty well--and Bush refused. Hell, the Brits have people in their airports who I take really seriously because they look like they're carved from teak or something and have very real looking weapons and they take themselves seriously. Most, though not all, of the TSA staff looks a lot like gov't security guards you'd see in a post office somewhere. Not scary, not threatening, not very bright, and hard to take seriously.
Yes, the torture that the UN was shown was loud music and sleep deprivation. We have many additional reports of other tortures, all of which are designed to humiliate people. (The Talmud says that to humiliate a man is to murder him--I like the analogy, as humiliation stays in the soul.) But even if it's "only" loud music and sleep deprivation, this is not "kind" torture. I think there are a number of American prisoners who have said that they experienced this (the Pueblo? the Mayaguez?) and it was still torture even if it left no visible marks. Torture is torture. Not breaking the skin doesn't mean much. Keeping someone sleep-deprived for days at a time leads to a psychotic break. This hardly seems like the kindler, gentler American democratic ideal. Nor does it seem like the kind of model we'd like to establish. But okay, okay, let's set a standard: American prisoners will never, ever be beaten, burned, or strung up again. They'll just be played loud music and kept in a state of sleep deprivation, but it won't be torture, and I'm sure they won't mind it either. They'll appreciate your kindness.
Neither Bill Clinton nor any previous president to the best of my knowledge created "free speech zones" nor made it a crime to do anything considered "protesting" in the sight or earshot of the Prez or VP or other Administration official. There's a case in Eugene, OR, right now over this that may set some interesting precedents for executive authority. While it's entirely true that protesters might've had their balls handed to them by Saddam, the same could be said of a wide variety of other nasty dictators that the US supported and still supports in many countries. I fail to see the difference or the justification, or even the relevance unless your point is that "we don't know how good we've got it here because look how much worse it could be!" Yup, could be worse. Could be a fuck of a lot better, too: we might actually have the rights we grew up with, like habeas corpus, freedom of speech, and the right to due process.
"Terrorists attack civilians in order to strike fear in a populace." That sounds like us, too. With ~30-35,000 Iraqi civilians dead plus more dying daily through a lack of facilities and a lack of order, I'd say we're more of the "We destroyed your country in order to save it" types. "Americans being the kindest soldiers on the face of the Earth" is just marketing. Prove it.
Strange. The reporter did not cite any sources. I'd really like to see that portion of the Bank Privacy Act that requires this alleged action.
Please cite it, or I will be forced to believe that the reporter is making things up. And lets face it-there is enough REAL crap going on without making things up.
Where do you get your numbers? The burden of proof is on you. I do not know that 30,000 - 35,000 Iraqi civilians have died. You prove it. I do know that my brother in law was in the naval reserves and was called up to work for homeland security right after 9/11. He told me that there were numerous attempts at espionage during his tour after 9/11. Like I said, they don't publicize it because it would educate the Iraqis. Being in the military, my brother in law has many friends that went to Iraq. The story they bring home is far different from what you are describing or what is described in the media. Most of the Iraqi people want us there. They are thankful for their freedom. If the Taliban or whatever wants us gone, it would be easy. Just quit the suicide bombings and such for about 6 months and we would leave. As long as they keep attacking civilians (and it is the terrorists that kill the civilians, not the US soldiers) we will stay.
I keep hearing this banter about if we just leave them alone they would leave us alone. We were not bothering them at all when THEY ATTACKED US. We were minding our own business. I guess they could have been mad about the aspirin factory that Clinton bombed to take focus away from Monica, but I think it goes much deeper than that. And the funny thing is that it is Hollywood that makes them hate us. They see Madonna and Britney Spears shaking their goods on television and this offends them deeply as does any sort of immorality. This type of thing is what fuels their hate for us, yet these Hollywood leftists are the very people that tell us that if we leave them alone, they will leave us alone. I think that theory was disproven on 9/11.
I guess it is not so different from you and I. There is nothing I can say that will convince you that George Bush is doing a good job on the War on Terror. There is nothing you can do to convince me otherwise. The people in Guantanamo want to kill us. There is nothing you or anyone else can do to change that. If we turn them loose and leave them alone, they will try to kill Americans. No questions asked. You can say that somehow its our own fault, but that really doesn't matter. I simply want myself, my family and my fellow countrymen (including you) to be safe. I have trouble feeling sorry for someone who loses a little sleep that would kill me (or you for that matter) just because we were born in the United States or maybe just because we are not muslims. The people in Guantanamo will not like us if we start being nice to them. They will see it as weakness and will use it against us.
This story reminds me of a quote by Benjamin Franklin "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
Just for your information, Franklin sat out the war in France as a diplomat. He was never face to face with having to make the choice he spoke so eloquently about.
Now, it has been brought to my attention that the reporter that posted this hasn't posted an article for the paper he's reported to work at since March 31, 2005. The site promoting it has it in the "op-ed" section and not in the "news" section.
Also, a search of more reputable sites like cnn and msnbc, etc, comes up with nothing about this issue.
Can you say "Little Red Book"?
That's what happens when you let the elite lie to you and push us all into a Hollywood-led war. Maybe some of the voting adults in this country should better look into the backgrounds of some of who they elect in.
To the person who said they want to see the Bank Privacy Act stipulation, if you don't believe this can happen, do me a huge favor. Go buy a new car cash. Doesn't matter which one, as long as it is not used and costs a substantial amount of money (no less than 10K). Then come back and tell us you don't have investigators looking at you to see how you paid that much up front. That is an automatic red flag. They do this because they are looking for drug runners and underground kingpins. They have been doing this for many years now.
I gave the Toyota dealership a $25,000 cashiers check and another $3,000 personal check in September for my Prius and nobody batted an eye. Perhaps some form was filled out by someone that noted the transaction was all cash, but if it happened, no one involved me or interrogated me or sent me mysterious mail afterward. I asked the dealership how many Priuses were being sold for cash and they answered about half of them. Perhaps buying a Prius for cash is a transaction already "approved" by the goons as something only corroded liberal filthy-rich tree-huggers do so it doesn't trigger questions.
On the other hand I got dragged into a back room and was questioned for five hours beneath a bare 100 watt lightbulb when I asked where could I find the milk in a corner liquor store, but I don't think it was the gov't that was asking the questions and they all had Italian accents. Anyway they all apologized afterward when they finally understood that the "two percent" I wanted wasn't an attempt to horn in and skim the store profits.
So, by your logic, you can just invade any country you like (cause maybe they knew someone, that a cousin of his, was related to someone that might know something about 9/11). Then you ask the people that live there not to try to react to their slavery for a few months, else they are terrorists. After you sell half their country to business you own or have interests in, you can leave and all is ok.
Oh, and about the people that wand to kill Americans, picture this if possible: "I'm sitting in my living room, watching a film on my 42" plasma screen and listening to the 7.1 DTS audio through my JBL sound system. After its finished, and the kids are in bed, i ask my wife: do we have anything planned for tonight, or shall i go out with a few friend to kill some Americans and kill myself as well? Cause they love freedom, and they have too much of it and i can't stand free people."
And don't forget i live on the opposite side of the Earth (the planet the US is located on).
Bottom line: If anyone is willing to risk his life (or worst: die for sure) for a cause, then he has a very serious reason for doing (No, hating free people is not a valid one). Just read american history.
Note found near a murder scene at the Scuitate Village, Rhode Island JCPenny:
OSOBAHMAH FOLLOWERS UNITE TO DESTROY AMERICA!!!
OSOBAHMAH claims responsibility for this latest terrorist attack on your financial centers and we will attack you pigs again! You stinking pigs will comply with our requests or we will surely strike the heart of your most beloved treasures.
You cannot escape our operations within your suburban sprawl. We will attack your shopping areas, strip malls, boutiques and even your Super Petsmarts will not escape! Target will have a whole renewed meaning! We will do this all with our new method of usurping your so called trusty home of land security organisation.
We are a foriegn splinter cell, black operations terrorist group operating within the JCPenny in Scuitate Village, Rhode Island. For the past two (2) years we have been secretly soliciting blue haired ladies and retired schoolteachers at the mall with our terrorist plans to overtake the United States of America by employing our new stealthy techniques. You cannot escape! You better follow our every order.
We don't care about the birthday and Christmas presents you have to buy for your grandchildren. Do not even try to make another move! We don't care if your little Timmy needs a new pair of sneakers and some jeans or one of those newfangled computers! We know you don't know nothing 'bout no computers! You are not even a computer person! We know that! We don't care about little Timmy's education requirements. You will secretly and covertly payoff your creditcard at the Scuitate Village, Rhode Island JCPenny. Then, we will secretly sneak into the the Scuitate Village, Rhode Island JCPenny impersonating you and buy all of our specialty bomb making equipment and supplies. What is little Timmy gonna do without those new quickstarts, eh? Don't worry about it. Because if you resist us or falter for one moment in following each and every request we make by the door at the adjoining movie theatre in the bushes next to the dumpster... Oh brother, you don't want to know what we are going to do to you next!
Should you take any steps to resist us by calling the authorities or informing your little home security organisation, then all of your Walmart Cards and all of those little Grocery Store value cards on your keychain will not be able to function any longer. You will not escape our master plan. Your OfficeMaxPerks for business card number will be deleted along with your OfficeDepot Advantage Member ID Number!!! Muahahah! Next we will prevent you from using your various hotel point cards and the no lates fees from Blockbuster Membership card will no longer apply! If you do not comply with our plan to takeover the United States, we will retroactively cancel your Sam's Club card causing you indefinite, unrepayable pain! Should you continue to resist us, we will attack your beloved Skymiles and American Express Rewards Points.
You will go directly to our secret jail. You will not pass go. You will not collect $200 from our mail in rebate offer that is only good for the next 24 hours from the time of your purchase! You will be required to send it to our attention by facsimile!
Bow down to us. We will disrupt you! You will obey us. We will control your mind and even your credit card for two (2) whole days! Bow down, I say, Bow Down! Do not resist! Obey the mighty Osobahmah. OBEY! We will destroy you pigs!
We did not enslave Iraq. We set them free. For the first time in centuries, they elected their own government. Now they have to chance to be free. They have a cnace to live their lives as they wish. They can grow and prosper. Women are no longer treated like cattle. They can go to school and learn to read. They can run for office. All of this is possible because we went in there and removed the dictator that was oppressing them. And so far as them being half a world away... it didn't keep them from blowing up the WTC and the Pentagon.
The reason they attacked us is that our lifestyle offends them. As outrageous as it may seem to you, the way a man lives and his moral values are THE most important thing to these people. They believe it is their duty to God to rid the world of Infidels. This and the fact that they are promised 72 virgins if they die for Islam. Makes for a very scary mixture.
People may think this is scary but this is nothing. The reason why it looks suspicious is because identity theft is the fastest growing crime in this country. Albeit they don't usually pay down debt, but any large online transactions get flagged and scrutinized these days because they need ot make sure it's actually you using your account. Be it to give or take away money, too many people today are not smart enough to not get scammed online and have their personal information stolen, so they need some safe guards like this. Unfortunate, but very true...
Jim, Jim Jim. Do you really believe that? Do you honestly believe that people are killing Americans or whoever because they're promised some virgins? Would you? Would your neighbor? If Falwell went on the air and said that good Christians should no longer suffer homosexuals to live, would you expect to see the church groups in your town arm up and set bombs at fashion shows and dance clubs?
I'll buy that there are a very few that think alonog those lines. And I'll believe that thier religion is very important to them.
So, where were they before we began meddling in the mideast? Before all of it. Before the pictures of Bush Sr. shaking hands with Saddam. Before the arming of many of the terrorist-affiliated warlords in the area? Before, essentially, US money and US weapons turned an land of some strife into a land of atrocities? I'm not laying the blameon us alone. Many of the political parties operating in the mideast are every bit as corrupt and violent as they seem.
But people are not blowing up embassies for hot virgin sex in the afterlife. We all need a little more perspective.
You tell me why they hate us some much. I say that they think they are following the Koran to the letter. The virgin thing is simply a side note. They think we are infidels and need to be wiped from the face of the earth. That is what they believe. They believe it so strong they are willing to die for it as long as they take a few of us with them when thye blow themselves up. If you are going to try and shoot down my explanation, you are going to need to provide an alternative. What are some examples of this meddling? Don't say oil, because it only benefits a country to have a consumer that needs it products.
Well, think about it in terms of our industry. Back in the days of US steel and the energy trusts.We had child labor, death-sentence workplaces (look at the coal mines, for cryin' out loud!) and the companies that were perpetrating these evils were basically in charge. If you complained, made a stink - that was it. You'd be blacklisted. Never find another job.
Now, imagine if these conditions had existed in a time of serious political instability. eventually, striking workers and unions had legesltions passed that protected the average Joe. The govenment, upon hearing the outcry, was able to fix the problems and enforce the new laws.
What if that government was too busy being invaded? What if the government was a puppet of some other nation, or a military Junta? Would our workers just shut up?
No, they would have fought. And they would have fought against whatever they saw as being the cause of the problems. They probably would have started with the companies they were working for, makes sense. Lets say those companies were connected. Very connected. Senators and law enforcement. Lets say that the law was in fact on thier side(the coms). The workers would be foced to continue working under the same conditions, and the fight would go underground for the most part. There wouldn't be as much substance to the riots and protests because the smart workers would be usinfg these as a smokescreen. They'd cut deals with people and other governments. Crime lords, wealthy anarchists, religious groups - whoever had money and influence.
They would fight to remove the things that were:
A: Causing the disruption of thier State.
B: Giving power to thier enemies (corrupt Coms, maybe the military)
C: This one is very important. they would not want to destroy what little structure was left to thier own society. Not completely. Remember, we all loved our country, we just thought things were out of hand.
I hope you see where all that is going. I'm simply saying that the people 'over there' aren't different from you and me. They;re confused, angry, and opressed. They've been used and shat upon not just by thier own government but by many others. And many of them are intelligent enough to know who put Saddam in power.
Can you really blame them for being mad?
Now, the 9-11 attacks are inexcusable. Most terrorist actions are. But, if you ever took a history class, there are a great many inexcusable things that have been done in the name of a greater good.
The important thing is to only do these things, these horrible things, when you have no other choice. We, as Americans, have a choice. It is what makes this country so great.
I am still curious as to why they hate us. We have never, to my knowledge, had a puppet government in Iraq. We had one is Iran, but that is a whole different story. What exactly has the United States done to these people in recent years other than set them free from their dictator. We are giving them freedom. We letting them make their own choice as to who governs them. What is so wrong with that? Anyway, I would like a list of issues that lead up to 9/11 that were our fault.
Well, thats what sucks about international politics. There isn't any one person to blame.
We did in fact set them up with Saddam. When Saddam turned on us, we cut him off and eventually removed him. (after all, this war was not actually about 9-11. That was just he political catalyst, like Pearl Harbor for WW2) Now, many people in Iraq are wondering what it is we intend to do with them now. As we know, setting up an election is meaningless when the candidates are chosen by us.
And they are, make no mistake. This is why the powerful church leaders over there are not simply running for office. There are candidates that are good for our interests and some that are middle of the road, but how many of them are running on the "Get the US out of our country" platform? And, if there are any, how are they being treated?
Are they being considered terrorists?
I'd like to put forward the iedea that perhaps the Iraqi people distrust us and our motives more that they actually hate us. This would explain all those conflicting news stories. (You know, theres one article about an Iraqi family that is thankful for the policing that the occupatuion forces are doing, and then one page later there is another Iraqi lamenting the loss of her family, or just saying go home, or whatever.) Of course our troops are generally being decent to people - that is usually how these things go. The soldiers are just men and women wearing uniforms.
But the Iraqis see what they represent. That, I believe is what they hate. The potential for further harm to be done to them.
Unfortunately, mesopotamia has been in such a sorry state for so long that many have grown up effectively at war with one another. Judgement gets clouded. Look at how we ourselves view the outside world! We don't really think of them as us, but in relation to us. How they affect us. But, honestly - as sappy as it sounds - they are all us. We all live on one planet. We are all driven by the same basic needs. We all experience the same emotions for the same reasons.
So. If you thought that the most likely outcome of all this electoral ballyhoo was going to be a more easily conrolled Saddam, and you were going to have to live there...
What would you do?
The Iraqi people need assurances. They need to be truly the masters of thier own fate. we cannot go and have a revolution FOR them. That is arrogant and stupid. They need to change things. Not us. Them.
We can and should help them. But not with soldiers and bombs. Economic power, above all, makes or breaks anything in human society.
I really don't disagree with anything you said except that you try to minimize the fact that they had a national election. This is something they haven't had in their life times. I am not for sure how Saddam came to power. The first I remember hearing about Iraq is when they fired a French Exorcet Missile at the USS Stark back in the 1980's. I am sure that many of them want us out of Iraq and I am sure that even George Bush wants to get our troops out. The simple fact is that we cannot leave as long as there are people trying to overthrow the elected government. I would like to see us out of there, but if we pull out amid the turnoil that exists now, then the terrorists will basically murder the current government and take over again and everything our soldiers died for there will be for nothing.
The original question was what did we do to make the Al Quaeda members hate us so much that they would give their lives to fly planes into the WTC and Pentagon?
Well, I've been trying to answer that. I don't think it is a question of hate at all. Did we hate the people living in Bagdad? No, we were at war with them. Al Quaeda was at war with us. A clash of ideals. Al Quaeda is a fringe group. Extremists. They're the ones that really do believe they are fighting a holy war. It wasn't a question of hate, it was simply a show of force. When we did it, it was called shock and awe tactics. Remember that? Same thing. Al Quaeda was using force and the threat of further force to get us to meet demands. It was not a purely malicious act, as our president would like us to believe.
The same game is being played by the other side, though. We do not actually hate them, yet they (groups such as Al Quaeda) use thier media to tell a different story. Its called propaganda. Take something essentially true, and change the words around. Anger becomes hate - they can mean the same things, but hate goes so much further, don't you see? Especially here in America, where we "hate" everything. We aren't just angry about the long line; we hate it. We do not act on our anger, it fades, and we all know that you didn't really hate the line. Just a figure of speech. But if you had acted on your anger, people would naturally assume that you really DID hate - even if you didn't. Even if you were really just robbing the store. You see?
When it comes to politics, you (not the angry hater, but the one robbing the store) know better than to do the act yourself. Rather, you find the one guy in a million who really does hate those lines, and is unhinged enough to do something about it. You give him access to a gun. You nudge, cajole, talk constantly about how irritating those lines are. You give a sympathetic ear.
And then, that poor manipulated bastard goes and kills a bunch of people, having been built up by your endless agreeing and pats on the back.
I'm starting to drift. Do you see my point, though?
And you're right: the election is an excellent thing. The trouble is that the system is one we put in place. If the French had written the declaration of independence and the Constitution for us, do you think they would have had the same weight? Of course not. They have to do it themselves, or it will not stick.
Good American if you said to my face what you posted here I would be compelled to kick your ass.
You're asking the wrong qustions, jim. This war is about economics, not hate, and in any event hate is the easiest and the least dependant motivation of a fighting man.
Iraq was perhaps the most successfull, wealthy and developed of all the middle eastern baathist states. Iraq is now the asshole of the midle east, thanks largely to the gulf wars I and II. It is very american of you to overlook the fact that this happened as a direct result of american influence and arms peddling in the middle east.
Of course there are other reasons - frustrated national pride ( you may call it patriotism), desperation over the fact that what so many have spend their lives building was recently destroyed by americans ( like pretty much the entire industrial and service infrastructure of Iraq), the 10-odd years of embargo which impoverished the country & its people - you really don't have to look far for answers.
Iraq was also one of the most Militaristic nations in the Middle East. You can discuss the whys and where for's, but the truth is that they invaded Kuwait and took them over. This was a hostile unprovoked act. Regardless of who was behind it or who OK'ed it, it was wrong. We went in and freed the Kuwaiti people. It was the right thing to do. The sanctions were as a result of Saddam not allowing UN inspectors to make sure he was not rebuilding his military. It was plain and simple... once he quit letting the inspectors in, the sanctions started.
As far as the new Constitution is concerned, it was ratified by the Iraqi people. If I remember right, the only thing we made sure was in there was laguage to protect personal freedom. And heck, who knows... The French might have helped write the Constitution. Ben Franklin was the main author and Paris was his favorite hangout.
I love Jim's reasoning in his March 8th posting about Iraq invading Kuwait.
Iraq invaded Kuwait to get it's oil facilities and reserves. Sounds sorta familiar to the current occupation by the US of Iraq now doesn't it!
It wasn't ok for Saddam to do it but it is ok for Cheney (um sorry....Bush) to do it.
Cheney has you guys so smoked that you don't even see that he's the power and Bush is the useful idiot.
I have seen this coming since Lyndon Johnson was President but no one was interested back then.
The annoying thing about the Walter Soehnge story is not so much the ridiculous bureaucratic wheels grinding his credit card transaction through their grist mill (I admit that part is disturbing) but rather the fact that he ran up an astounding $6500 to JC Penny. That's a lot of socks and tee shirts.
That's more likely the reason homeland security tagged him for investigation; he might have been outfitting an army.
Jim. Your questions were, if I recall correctly, along the line of " why do these people hate us", not "why the average american thinks it's okay to invade another country". Even if you buy the rationale that Iraq was a naughty arab country, this in no way answers your question.
Are you suggesting that citizens of a bonafide evil dictator led state ought to feel relief and joy at the prospect of having their lives & country destroyed by the forces of a freedom-lead coalition?
The US is an aggressor state, do you think you or your neighbors woud welcome soviet occupation troops with open arms? How about after they've bombed most of the US flat? Whould you, regardless of what the US did to earn such a response, support a soviet planted government?
Really, Jim, what world are you living in?
I personally work for the company that underwrites the JC Penny branded cards and will report back on Friday my findings. My bullshit detector is telling me that he was lied to to simply get off the phone (note: when you ask to speak to a manger, you are passed off to another lackey who works the escalated desk, I generally find them to lack broad concepts). More than likely his cheque and subsequently, his payment, was held to mitigate risk to the company. The payment systems automagically put a hold on his payment being applied until the money has safely been transferred to our greedy little mittens.
THE NAZIS ARE COMING! THE NAZIS ARE COMING!
Get a gripppp people...
Sure, the Patriot Act allows the FEDS to overstep their old boundaries, but if you have nothing ILLEGAL to hide, then you have nothing to worry about. So what if you're $6,500 check was held up for a few days, if the basic cause behind the action of double-checking your "questionable financial transfer" helps to SAVE LIVES, would it still bother you that much? Besides, how many people with that much debt on just one card can afford to mail out $6,500 checks?
And as far as the Nazi comments go.. Not only is that an insult to America, but it is an insult to the Germans and all of the Nazi's innocent victims. America isn't even close to that kind of state. Do you people even know what the word "NAZI" means?
BOTTOM LINE: If you have nothing (illegal) to hide, then you have nothing to worry about people. How about ya stop whining so much about individual rights and start contributing to SOCIETY?
We did not go into Iraq for oil. The only thing the United States ever does is go into countries and free the people then leave. Its what we did in Europe, South Korea, Kuwait, Bosnia, Afghanistan and several other places. We even rebuild the infrastructure of countries that we defeat. That is what we do. The Iraqi people may be suffering now, but it is not at the hands of the United States. It is at the hands of the terrorists that are runnning around blowing up schools, mosques, and busses. The Iraqi people deserve a chance to be free. We are trying to give them that chance.
Wake Up people! You are all monetized sureties against the national debt which is now in default of the Congressional limit. America was incorporated and changed to the "United States" in the late 1800's and the privately owned Federal Reserve Bank began creating credit in the name of the applicant and stealing all sweat equity through inflation and interest control. If you invest in dollars, eventually all of your dollars will be gone due to inflation.
Social Security is a Ponzi scheme,
911 was perpetrated by our own government for fear control,
the dollar has lost almost all of its buying power and is no longer being recognized as the default currency for oil by many countries,
our national debt could not be paid off in the next 6 generations, even if we started now, which won't happen, since we have gotten so soft and demanding of our creature comforts and living beyond our means,
And we keep allowing our elected officials to remain unaccountable to our laws!
We as a whole have the power to stop government from continuing to hurt good people, but most of us are delusionally afraid of the corporate leviathan known as the Federal Reserve and its collection agency known as the Infernal Revenue Service, which has never in its history ever explained its highly technical code rules to any one or anything, yet it demands you testify under penalty of perjury every year that you are in fact an expert at determining your "taxable income" and that you are volunteering that information to them, which is all the power they as a private company need to enforce their corporate rules on you as you have contractually agreed.
The sheeple among us cannot emotionally carry the awesome burden of knowledge we know as the "truth". They are hopelessly indoctrined and refuse to be unplugged. The revolution will be fought by only a small percentage of us. So choose you patriotic associates well, because all the rest are potentially your freedoms enemy and will seek to drown you if you try to save them all.
Ignorance and Apathy are destroying this once great God loving country, but now ALL mediums of influence, from church to cnn have been manipulated by the servants turned masters. When we gave up our gold and accepted paper in its place, we gave the central bank the ability to loan us paper in return for collateral of intrinsic value and thus eventually gained ownership of everything in the corporate UNITED STATES. Why do you think you have "certificates of title" and a "birth certificate" instead of an actually "title" or "certificate of live birth"?
This country has no more credibility with the other world markets than what it can artificially control through a currency created of debt. All federal reserve notes are notes of debt. All promissary notes are notes of debt. Which begs the question, "when you are loaned credit, who funded the loan, the bank that monetized your signature and then sold the promissary note or you when you allowed the bank to create inflationary credit on your behalf?"
However, the other nations of the world are beginning to lose faith in the United States debt based system and are seeking to replace the reserve currency of oil to the Euro. This act will in short spell the end of our stable debt based ecomomy, as our inherent value as a nation will no longer be recognized.
The recent war in Iraq is a direct result of Saddam Hussein declaring that Iraq would no longer accept dollars for oil. Now Iran is creating an oil bourse the first quarter of this year and will allow oil to be traded for all competing currencies, thus eliminating the need for any other country to hold Federal Reserve Notes in their banks.
I could continue, but for the sake of the emotionally inept and the educationally impoverished I will only admonish all of you that are able to seek further research into these topics. For the rest of you, please stay out of our way. We will try to save as many of you as we can but the most of you will only get in the way of true christian liberation from our ever increasing tyrannical government.
Patriots who welcome the burden of truth can continue their search for knowledge at suijuris.net. We welcome you to the real world.
To answer Jim and others simply:
What did we do to Iraq? Killed 2,000,000 people with sanctions, 700,000 children. This is NOT a secret. Madeline Albright said the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi kids by 1996 was "worth it" to tweak Saddam. Sure it was. NAZI!
There is also a copy online of IRAQ WATER TREATMMENT VULNERABILITIES (spelled wrong), a Pentagon document predicting that IF we bombed all of Iraq's civilian infrastructure, including water and sewage, a war crime per the Geneva Convention we signed on to, and IF we prevented them from being rebuilt, exactly how much and how quickly diseases like typhoid and cholera would spread and become deadly epidemics .. actually "natural" bio-warfare.
Next, we both bombed them and blocked basic parts (2 UN admins quit, refusing to oversee genocide), and those epidemics broke out, just as the Pentagon said. That's two, but there's more.
But what about our REASON, our CASUS BELLI, cause for war?
Well, I learned a few years ago that April Glaspie gave Saddam the "green light" to invade Kuwait. More recently I learned that her assistant JOSEPH WILSON (yes, Valerie Plame's husband) negotiated directly with Iraqi authorities on behalf of James A. Baker III (sec. state) and told Saddam he SHOULD "rectify his border dispute" in which Kuwait has usurped much land, and even taunted Saddam about "wimp" Arab leaders who would not defend what was rightfully theirs.
However, just prior to that, Brent Scowcroft working for Nat. Security not only pushed Kuwait into taking Iraqi land and stealing $14 billion in oil by "slant" horizontal drilling, but even SOLD KUWAITI EMIRS the Santa Fe Drilling Co. owned by Scowcroft for $2.3 billion.
At some point the word "set-up" comes to mind.
I guess ABC, NBC, CBS forgot to mention that when they were busy running VNR's produced by Hill and Knowlton and Rendon for $20 mil.
Like some people who posted above, you must be heard by youre congress man/ woman. This is johnson and nixon era homeland security. we are not safer, we are just more watched, because the safest place in the world is a jail cell. VOTE THEM OUT!!
Comparing the USA to the Nazis is idiotic and the ones who make such a comparison are acting stupid through their gross manipulation of historical events to color their opinions more favorable.
The Nazis killed ten million people in concentration camps and a further 30 million died in the second world war through direct and indirect damage.
The USA has killed thousands of Iraqi soldiers directly and thousands of Iraqi civilians through collateral damage. The USA has hundreds or thousands of civilians in detention camps where they are interrogated or executed before most of them are set free.
The Nazis left a continent in ruins and many peoples and nations decimated, not least of all the Jews whom they persecuted with near unparelled hate throughout world history. The Nazis were masters of genocide and wicked experiments that involved children, old men, the weak (mentally or physically retarded). Nazis cut the skin of people while they were still alive and used it to dress lamps.
The USA has backed cruel dictators in the past but none whose caliber approaches that of the Nazis. The USA has also sustained and formed western democracy and eastern democracy in Korea and Japan as it is today. The Marshall plan stands as one of the greatest american achievements of the twentieth century. America has, ethics and morality issues aside undoubtedly got financial motives for invading Iraq.
Comparing the Americans to the Nazis not only completely invalidates a point but also brings to bear the emotion immaturity of the writer in question as it serves as a reminder that he or she can not be trusted to keep perspective.
Ah, paranoia, antiestablishmentarianism, media-fueled passion. Gotta have some "them" to lash out at as a scape goat.
"Them" doesn't care about your personal life; "them" are regular working people with a job to do, and the job is to protect your necks. Not only are they too busy to care about your purchases and such, it's boring anyway.
The politicians didn't make up these law changes from ideas they pulled out of the air. It's the "them" folks that have the behind-the-scene jobs of trying to keep up with terrorists. You see, terrorists use our own privacy legal limits against us to pull off purchases, funding, fund raising, laundering, etc. under our noses. "Them" realizes that this stuff is being missed, and begs for more access. It's a pretty strong case: "If we could see/hear X we could find Y, put him and his friends in prison, and shut down their operation. Otherwise, they keep going, and Z blows up next year without anyone the wiser".
Then it's up to the elected folks to give the spies and enforcers more power or not, via law.
Where the privacy lines should be drawn, I do not know, and won't debate. Frankly, I don't care if my transactions are scrutinized for the purpose of finding Y. I do care if Z blows up and the economy tanks. My transactions won't matter then.
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