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Thread: Banned contractor still wheeling and dealing in Iraq.

  1. #1

    Banned contractor still wheeling and dealing in Iraq.

    Gee, the contracting industry has more than its fair-share of scumbags, but this is a new low.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050612/...aq_contractors

    Custer Battles employees have also been accused of firing on unarmed Iraqi civilians, of using fake offshore companies to pad invoices by as much as 400 percent, and of using forgery and fraud to bilk the American government. Two former associates have filed a federal whistle-blower suit, accusing top managers of swindling at least $50 million.
    Meanwhile, some soldier making $1000 a month gets his head blown off during the latest insurgent attacks.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    Soldiers get paid $1k a month? Youch.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    Soldiers get paid $1k a month? Youch.
    Low ranking soldiers don't make much in cash money. But the bennies are very solid and if you have a family, the compensation can let you live comfortably on one income -- something rare in America today. Most folks do an extremely poor job of trying to compare and understand the compensation package of the military with the civilian pay scale. That soldier has free medical, free room and board, gets discounts from a lot of restaurants and such for flashing his ID, has tax-free stores to shop at on base that have no goal of making a profit and the prices there are typically lower while the customer service policies are more service-oriented, etc.

    For example: More than 50% of bankruptcies in America today are due to high medical bills (for example: from cancer in a family member), and this holds true whether the family has medical insurance or not. The year that I was bedridden for 4 months, my sister was on the tail-end of chemo and radiation. She and I compared our procedures, etc. She provided me with civilian figures for some of the tests I had and I looked at the paperwork for other things. We estimated that I had upwards of $25,000 or $30,000 in medical care that year. My out of pocket direct costs: a few co-pays for special order drugs not carried at the pharmacy on base. In contrast, she had "good" civilian insurance and she is still paying off her medical bills from that time -- while racking up new ones for a second battle with cancer. I recently tripped across an old receipt from the pharmacy: more than $1200 in pills and my co-pay was under $40. (I think it was a co-pay of $36 for $1239 in pills. )

    And what do I wear? A designer sweater that I bought for 98% off ( I think I paid $22 for it) and silk skirts and blouses that I bought on clearance for about a tenth their civilian price.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    Very nice arrangements, then - the dollars certainly seem to stretch nicely, given the systems in place. I have to wonder if that sort of built in "credit" (as in, the dollars have more value if spent within the military retail system) has anything to do with trying to keep soldiers in the military by making it difficult for them to save money that could be used in the "normal" market.

    *shrug*

    Still, pretty nice benefits, indeed.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    Very nice .... benefits, indeed.
    Oh, you have to shop the sales and know how to work the system. A lot of folks who are IN the military underestimate the value of it but my husband and I are both "army brats" .

  6. #6
    Remember that out of that $1000 a month that low ranking soldier does NOT have to pay for food, clothing, rent, boarding, medical, education, insurance........ that is free and clear $$$. Not a bad deal for a 18 year old.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian nuovorecord's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planificador Urbano
    Remember that out of that $1000 a month that low ranking soldier does NOT have to pay for food, clothing, rent, boarding, medical, education, insurance........ that is free and clear $$$. Not a bad deal for a 18 year old.
    Nor will they have to pay for a prosthetic leg...or a funeral.
    "There's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right with America." - Bill Clinton.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Yeah the military life was a great deal.... under Clinton.

    SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planificador Urbano
    Remember that out of that $1000 a month that low ranking soldier does NOT have to pay for food, clothing, rent, boarding, medical, education, insurance........ that is free and clear $$$. Not a bad deal for a 18 year old.
    Some young single soldiers blow all their money within a few days of payday -- party their butts off, buy a new stereo, travel over a long weekend, etc -- and then go to the mess hall for all their meals until payday again because they literally have no money for food. Single soldiers usually prefer to not eat in the mess hall but many of them will as a means to economize and not end up putting stuff on credit cards after the cash is gone.

  10. #10
    I served 4 years active and 7 in the reserves Air Force. I'm not sure what Nuovorecord's comment means???... but as a veteran I can tell you that there is an implied risk being in the military...

    I do not know of anybody who does not "Support Our Troops" But for all those who have died lost limbs remember it was for the WMDs!

    Do I think they shouyld make more money -NO, but we do have a responsibility to the soldiers when they get out.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planificador Urbano
    I do not know of anybody who does not "Support Our Troops" But for all those who have died lost limbs remember it was for the WMDs!
    I was being sarcastic. "Support our troops" was made into an euphanism for refusing to question Bush's wars, when in fact his wars have made life a living hell for many of our troops.

    Under Clinton, military life meant getting college paid for and seeing the world while you're young. Under Bush, it means nightmares, missing limbs, and death.

  12. #12
    Good point Jordanb! I agree!

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Under Clinton, military life meant getting college paid for and seeing the world while you're young. Under Bush, it means nightmares, missing limbs, and death.
    Funny, that isn't how I understand it. The military viewed Clinton as evil. He had never served and tended to prostitute the military to his political whims. There were very high deployments to obscure little wars (like Bosnia) under Clinton -- higher deployments than there had been in many years. It was just sort of quietly done. The military generally hates Clinton and when my husand recruited under Clinton, there were people who told him to his face "I am not joining while Clinton is in office. Come back and ask me when is gone."

    Which is not to comment on Bush at all. So please don't misinterpret it as "support" for Bush.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Yes, Michele Zone I was around many military types during the Clinton years and am aware of the almost visceral hatred they had towards him. And I think that makes the change in military life all the more ironic. Why did they hate Clinton? Base closings, shrinking budgets, liquidation of equipment, unnecessary deployments.

    Well, you've got all that (with the exception of shrinking budgets) under Bush as well, but at least Clinton's deployments were very nearly bloodless. How many soldiers died in combat in the entire eight years under Clinton? A few hundred? I'm probably overestimating. I knew plenty of people who joined under him and none even considered the risk of dying, unless in an accident. Getting deployed meant plenty of hazard pay. Some of those people are still in (a few because of stop-loss) and doing everything they can to try to get out.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian nuovorecord's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planificador Urbano
    Good point Jordanb! I agree!
    Yes, Jordanb pretty well summed up my point.

    Another point to add to this...military recruitment numbers are waaaay down. Since the military has traditionally been a means for those in the lower income classes to get a college education, not only are we going to run short of soldiers to fight Bush's war, we're also decreasing the opportunities to move up in the world for those who need them the most.
    "There's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right with America." - Bill Clinton.

  16. #16
    It is a fallacy that the Repulicans own the military. Look at General Wesly Clark. By the way not a SINGLE US soldier lost their life in Bosnia... not one. Although, there was a Sargent who was sent to prison for raping and murdering a 12 year old local girl though. During a speech Pres Bush gave at congress a few months ago several generals and admirals sat on the Democrats side of the house and did not applaud during his speech.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Yes, Michele Zone I was around many military types during the Clinton years and am aware of the almost visceral hatred they had towards him. And I think that makes the change in military life all the more ironic. Why did they hate Clinton? Base closings, shrinking budgets, liquidation of equipment, unnecessary deployments.

    Well, you've got all that (with the exception of shrinking budgets) under Bush as well, but at least Clinton's deployments were very nearly bloodless. How many soldiers died in combat in the entire eight years under Clinton? A few hundred? I'm probably overestimating. I knew plenty of people who joined under him and none even considered the risk of dying, unless in an accident. Getting deployed meant plenty of hazard pay. Some of those people are still in (a few because of stop-loss) and doing everything they can to try to get out.
    You know, I am not ever going to understand accusations about a President being evil because joining the army involves going to war. That is what the army exists for: to go to war. And people who go to war have nightmares, physical damage (sometimes less obvious than losing a limb but still debilitating) and sometimes even die. Yes, some wars should not have happened. No, I am not "for" the war in Iraq. I have said that repeatedly. My dad was career military. My husband's dad was career military. His grandfather was career military. I simply will not ever understand the huge objection to this. I think civilians are cry-babies who do not adequately appreciate what they have which military personnel suffer to protect with their lives. I don't think I can even discuss this with civilians. American civilians so arrogantly think their safety is some god-given right. I have foreign friends. The security that American civilians so take for granted doesn't exist elsewhere -- and not because of "American Imperialism". The security partly grows out of the enormous wealth we have -- which partly grows out of the fact that no significant war has occured within our borders since the civil war. Countries that get invaded and fight wars on their own soil -- gee, that negatively impacts business and agriculture.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    [snip] He had never served and tended to prostitute the military to his political whims.[snip]
    Sounds framiliar? Sounds like someone else I know...
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN
    Sounds framiliar? Sounds like someone else I know...
    I assume you mean Bush -- which means you conveniently snipped and disregarded my closing line. My commentary on how military personnel view(ed) Clinton isn't intended to in any way imply anything about Bush. I do not agree with the war in Iraq. Please twist someone else's words to your own purposes.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    You know, I am not ever going to understand accusations about a President being evil because joining the army involves going to war. That is what the army exists for: to go to war. And people who go to war have nightmares, physical damage (sometimes less obvious than losing a limb but still debilitating) and sometimes even die. Yes, some wars should not have happened. No, I am not "for" the war in Iraq. I have said that repeatedly. My dad was career military. My husband's dad was career military. His grandfather was career military. I simply will not ever understand the huge objection to this. I think civilians are cry-babies who do not adequately appreciate what they have which military personnel suffer to protect with their lives. I don't think I can even discuss this with civilians. American civilians so arrogantly think their safety is some god-given right. I have foreign friends. The security that American civilians so take for granted doesn't exist elsewhere -- and not because of "American Imperialism". The security partly grows out of the enormous wealth we have -- which partly grows out of the fact that no significant war has occured within our borders since the civil war. Countries that get invaded and fight wars on their own soil -- gee, that negatively impacts business and agriculture.
    All good points-which means that MY argument-that we should not be using the military for the petty, commercial/mercantile reasons that we now use them for-is even stronger. Because endless wars on behalf of Haliburton and the like ultimately reduce our security.

    BTW: The old elitist chestnut "only the warrior class truly understands our sacrifice"-that way lies fascism, and this way of thinking should be countered wherever possible.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    I assume you mean Bush -- which means you conveniently snipped and disregarded my closing line. My commentary on how military personnel view(ed) Clinton isn't intended to in any way imply anything about Bush. I do not agree with the war in Iraq. Please twist someone else's words to your own purposes.
    I regarded what you had said about Bush, and I knew exactly what you were saying about Clinton.
    As for twisting your words, maybe I will not be lazy next time and write them myself. I just borrowed words you had written and used them to make my own point about Bush.
    I don't understand what the deal is here...
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  22. #22
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    I simply will not ever understand the huge objection to this. I think civilians are cry-babies who do not adequately appreciate what they have which military personnel suffer to protect with their lives. I don't think I can even discuss this with civilians. American civilians so arrogantly think their safety is some god-given right. I have foreign friends. The security that American civilians so take for granted doesn't exist elsewhere -- and not because of "American Imperialism". The security partly grows out of the enormous wealth we have -- which partly grows out of the fact that no significant war has occured within our borders since the civil war. Countries that get invaded and fight wars on their own soil -- gee, that negatively impacts business and agriculture.
    Please don't generalize all civilians. We aren't all "cry-babies", as you characterize us. Some of us do not come from military families, but that does not make us less capable of being thankful for the sacrifices military families make on a daily basis. We do not take our freedoms and safety for granted, or at least we should not. To refuse to discuss this with civilians is to refuse to allow us the opportunity to understand more fully the sacrifices that are made, and to be more grateful of them. It is also to make the blanket assumption that we are incapable of empathy towards fellow humans. My best friend is a Marine, who has served in Iraq. Every day he was gone, every hour, I hoped he would come home safely. Don't presume that I don't know what sacrifice is. Perhaps not as much as if he had been my father or husband, but still. I realize as a mere civilian I'm going to be attacked for this, I'm only suggesting that by refusing a dialogue, you're refusing the chance to make us understand.
    I don't dream. I plan.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN
    I regarded what you had said about Bush, and I knew exactly what you were saying about Clinton.
    As for twisting your words, maybe I will not be lazy next time and write them myself. I just borrowed words you had written and used them to make my own point about Bush.
    I don't understand what the deal is here...
    The deal is that I specifically said I don't want my comments to be used in exactly the fashion you used them -- which implies that I agree with Bush, back the war, etc. and that is akin to "slander". If you want to quote me and make your point about how you feel about Bush, fine. But the way you did it disregards my request to not be personally dragged into it as if my comments about Clinton ...um....whatever. I don't care to beat a dead horse.

    Thank you.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Plannerbabs
    Please don't generalize all civilians. We aren't all "cry-babies", as you characterize us. Some of us do not come from military families, but that does not make us less capable of being thankful for the sacrifices military families make on a daily basis. We do not take our freedoms and safety for granted, or at least we should not. To refuse to discuss this with civilians is to refuse to allow us the opportunity to understand more fully the sacrifices that are made, and to be more grateful of them. It is also to make the blanket assumption that we are incapable of empathy towards fellow humans. My best friend is a Marine, who has served in Iraq. Every day he was gone, every hour, I hoped he would come home safely. Don't presume that I don't know what sacrifice is. Perhaps not as much as if he had been my father or husband, but still. I realize as a mere civilian I'm going to be attacked for this, I'm only suggesting that by refusing a dialogue, you're refusing the chance to make us understand.
    I have no desire to generalize all civilians. But I don't want exactly what you are doing: attacking me for not wanting to open myself to attacks. There is a LOT of criticism of the war in this forum and many of the things that get quoted here make completely erroneous assumptions about the military and its members and benefits etc. And if someone who has first hand knowledge of the situation tries to correct these erroneous assumptions, they are likely to be in hot water for doing so and held up as war-mongering, etc. people.

    Your assumption that I will attack you falls in that category of attributing evil motives to military people. Instead of being offended, assaulting me for using the term "cry babies" and making all kinds of cutting remarks about me and defensive remarks, it would be possible to say "I am sorry you feel so unsafe opening your mouth around civilians. I do appreciate what the military does...(etc)" (I.E. you could be supportive and compassionate instead hostile towards me.)

    Which is not to attack you or start a fight. But the opening post for this thread makes the same ridiculous assumptions about the "lack of adequate pay" about the military that I hear constantly. And any time I have countered such assumptions in this forum with facts about the value of the benefits, I have been attacked -- apparently for being "evilly pro military", which has nothing to do with it. I consider it to be propoganda based on lack of knowledge and understanding of the facts when that old saw gets hauled out for the umpteenth time and civilians then conveniently turn a deaf ear to the fact that the compensation in the military is structured differently and you simply can't measure it on the same scale as civilian compensation.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    The deal is that I specifically said I don't want my comments to be used in exactly the fashion you used them -- which implies that I agree with Bush, back the war, etc. and that is akin to "slander". If you want to quote me and make your point about how you feel about Bush, fine. But the way you did it disregards my request to not be personally dragged into it as if my comments about Clinton ...um....whatever. I don't care to beat a dead horse.

    Thank you.
    First time I have been accused of slander. I don't see where it said to not quote you, or that what I did meant you supported Bush or whatnot. Next time I'll ask permission.
    I'm staying out of this thread now.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

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