Sunday, April 5, 2020

Who Will Pay For This Screw-Up in Ashgabat? The 90 to 125 Million Dollar Question

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, city of white marble and straight lines


















This might be the most consequential screw-up in U.S. embassy construction since the Moscow debacle of the 1980s and 1990s. (For a summary of that long-drawn-out disaster, which nearly resulted in embassy construction responsibility being taken out of the hands of the State Department, see the embassy's website.) Anyway, that's the only other one I can recall in which we had to demolish a newly-built embassy.

If it weren’t for the COVID-19 emergency taking up all of Official Washington’s time and attention, we would surely see State getting thrashed by Congress and the White House over an OIG audit report for Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, that came out in February. No one seems to have noticed it yet, which is understandable given the pandemic health crisis. However, the report makes clear that there will be a follow-up, and quite possibly a formal notification to Congress of waste and mismanagement, so I don't see any way that my good friends in OBO will escape repercussions forever.

You can read all about it in Review of Delays Encountered Constructing the New Embassy Compound in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, a pedestrian title which gives no hint of the political dynamite inside the report.

The report is unclassified and uncontrolled, put out there on the internet for all the public and Congress to see. The OIG certainly isn't hiding it. They even put it in their Twitter feed on February 27. Hey, congressional oversight committees, you're missing a good one here.

The gist of the matter is that since 2016 OBO has been building a new U.S. embassy in Ashgabat, which is a city that imposes two absolute requirements on new buildings: they must have facades of white marble and they must be set back from the street a precise distance, which is referred to as "the red line." Well, we built the main embassy office in the wrong place. And now we will have to demolish it and build it again, this time in the place where the local authorities told us all along it had to go.

From the OIG Report:
[I]n July 2016, the Government of Turkmenistan halted construction of the NOB [New Office Building] because it was being constructed in a location that violated the city’s red line. This error occurred, in part, because OBO personnel failed to follow internal procedures that guide the planning of construction projects … Moreover, they did not require the Architectural and Engineering firm that prepared the project bridging design to deliver required planning documentation that would have alerted OBO about the proper placement of the NOB. In addition, the construction contractor, Caddell, failed to obtain required construction permits from the Turkmen Government prior to initiating construction. As a result, construction of the NOB was halted after approximately $26 million had been expended to construct the facility.

-- Snip --

The operational and financial implications from the improper placement of the NOB are profound. Specifically, because construction of the NOB has not been completed, embassy operations continue to be conducted from multiple locations. According to OBO’s FY 2014 Congressional Notification for constructing the NEC, this arrangement creates security and safety risks. In addition, OBO estimates that it will cost the Department between $90 million and $125 million to rebuild a new NOB in an approved location. This amount is approximately twice what was originally budgeted to construct the NOB.

So many fingers of blame to point at so many parties! And did they say we're going to pay twice the cost that was originally budgeted in order to get this project completed? Yes, well, that will happen when first you construct a building, then you have to tear it down and construct it a second time.

Keeping track, that’s $26 million in sunk costs – construction, design, contractor mobilization, project supervision – to build the wrongly-sited and unpermitted chancery office building, plus between 90 and 125 million in future costs to re-build the chancery on the correct side of the host government’s red line.

For some background on that red line, see The City of White Marble to appreciate how very, very, particular the host country’s government and its President - Protector of the Turkmen! - are about their architecturally eccentric capital city.

Ashgabat may be the strangest city anywhere outside of North Korea. Still, all they asked of us was a white marble chancery building that respected their setback distance from the street so as to keep our new embassy in geometric harmony with every other building in the neighborhood. That’s not so much to ask.

The dramatis personae in this story of – likely – waste and mismanagement include:
  • OBO’s first project manager, now retired, who failed to ensure that the local legal assessment report was properly filed away with OBO headquarters
  • The architectural firm OBO used to prepare the planning documents that guided the eventual design and construction, which failed to press with OBO the issue of the missing local legal assessment
  • The Office of Acquisitions Management and the Office of the Legal Advisor, who must now determine whether a screw-up by the first project manager relieved OBO's construction contractor from its contractual obligations, or whether that contractor is liable for damages
  • The construction contractor, Caddell, who failed to obtain a local building permit, or to verify that one had been obtained, before plunking that new chancery down right on top of the local red line; Caddell is now on the hot seat for paying big damages to OBO, or, just maybe, to boldly charge OBO even more money to compensate for the four years it has been required to suspend work on the chancery ('equitable adjustment for the cost and time impacts'), which I bet would be quite the bargaining chip in a possible settlement negotiation
  • The U.S. Congress, who will eventually wake up to this news, if not now, then in a few more months when they may well get official notice from the OIG that it has found a case of waste and mismanagement

There are also lesser players, like the OBO Director and his headquarters staff, and the Under Secretary for Management. I foresee a judge and jury getting involved, as well.

The current U.S. Ambassador and his predecessor come off pretty well, since the OIG makes clear that they both tried to talk sense to Washington while headquarters officials dithered in the four years since Turkmenistan authorities ordered a halt to construction, refusing to bite the bullet and just demolish that offending chancery.
“By January 2019, the U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan informed OBO that he saw no realistic chance the Turkmen Government would allow the building to be completed in its current location, and he advised OBO that the only path forward was to demolish the NOB and rebuild it in accordance with the Turkmen Government’s red line requirement. In June 2019, the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador met with the President of Turkmenistan and again attempted to find a solution other than demolishing and rebuilding the NOB. In response, the Turkmen President reiterated that the red line is Turkmen law and must be upheld.”

But instead of accepting that Turkmen reality, OBO tried to wriggle off the hook. It proposed adding a massive fig leaf – an earthen berm – to make the chancery’s red line intrusion harder for passersby to see, but the locals authorities didn’t go for that. It explored a partial demolition of the unfinished chancery, but that was not a viable option. It even asked the locals if they would be open to a cost-sharing arrangement to pay for the full demolition and reconstruction of the chancery, but no such luck.

To me, that dithering and wishful thinking is the greatest fault in this sad story. It should not have taken four years to face the facts and understand there is no way out of this dilemma other than knocking down that partially-finished chancery. The sooner you do it, the faster this will be over and the fewest dollars will have been wasted.

Now, having dragged the problem out for four years, not only does OBO still have to rebuild the chancery, but State has a major legal problem and financial exposure on its hands if it tries to fix responsibility on its construction contractor, Caddell. After all, it was Caddell that failed to obtain a construction permit for the new embassy, which is a huge oversight, to say the least. So doesn't Caddell own this 90 to 125 million dollar problem? Maybe. But what equitable adjustment does OBO owe Caddell for the four years since it ordered Caddell to stop work on the biggest part of its Ashgabat contract? The answers will depend on how a judge sees contractual orders of precedence and other matters of procurement law.

Finally, let’s not forget the staff of the U.S. Mission in Turkmenistan, who will continue to have their operations split between multiple locations, some of them highly deficient in both security and safety (in particular, seismic safety) for years to come.

More to come on this, for sure.

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow TSB! That is a lot of constructive  blundering. Here in WA all construction was halted 2 weeks ago, unless you are "FOG", my term for friends of the governor. But back to the virus!!  Bojo has been admitted to the hospital for "further tests" which after 10 days probably means that was just the lull before the storm. Average recovery time after ICU admit is 4-6 weeks.
gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/THATSALL.jpg?itok=03PR-Ef_
One of the only "un-bought" candidates in American history has bowed out after getting sucker punched by his own party for the second time. He was thrown under the bus by everyone he had hoped would support him and they will also end up loosing in the process.
I think he did pave the way for the 1st woman President in 2024, Tulsi Gabbard who is also "Un Bought" She won't be a Democrat by then but the enemy of both the military and the political establishment and their backers. Bernie will be there to support her nomination at the convention. gwb

TSB said...

I'm disappointed Bernie gave up before the convention. Usually, someone with a good-sized number of pledged delegates can trade them for a prime speaking spot and thus go out on a high note.

He went more Woke than Marxist this time around, and that, I think, did not serve him well. I liked the old left-populist borders-defending illegals-drive-wages-down Bernie.

Anonymous said...

TSB: Dr. Fauci Says US COVID-19 US Deaths Could Be As Low As 60K After Warning "Millions Could Die" Like I said, Jack Up The Panic, Then Celebrate The Relief. gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: Kim Iversen is doing a great job of following the research on Cov-19.
14% Immunity in German Town. 0.37% Mortality Rate https://youtu.be/Db0h6ehWJao
Nicholas Christakis, a German researcher doing antibody tests on a large % of the population found 14 % of the population had antibodies and were immune and the death rate was very low. The implications are also that for about 30% of people it is NOT EASY for them to get the virus, requiring prolonged close contact with someone who has it. It looks like shopping, picking up something someone else has touched, door knobs etc account for very few cases (grocery workers), dining facilities are the same. But sports, concerts, singing, dancing is more problematic. So, it looks like the Germans are going to be in good shape soon. Winco this am was 75% masks
and very light. froemd; friendly traffic during geriatric hour! gwb

TSB said...

"Geriatric hour." Very good!

Anonymous said...

TSB: Well, I got a job offer in the mail today from some tele-med outfit in Boston that is "desperate" to get any kind of medical professional to do Cov-19
Checks by video. From their letter it is clear that the whole country is way behind in getting any kind of stuff related to the virus because it's all made in China who just put an embargo on all of it.
They say that the demand for testing will only grow thru 2021 and into 2022. I'm going to stick with the beach and trying to help my more stressed out relatives this summer. It looks like the company I work for is close to being out of business. Lots of bikinis and happy dogs and kids at the beach today. 1 sailboat and no ships. gwb

TSB said...

Tele-med will probably be the next big thing in that field. Don't be too quick to pass up an opportunity!

Anonymous said...

TSB: I'm too old school to be able to enjoy that. My wife and Dinlaw yesterday got 2 masks from a neighbor (free) that are see through and cover your face and eyes. All the doctors in Mexico want them now because they stop all viruses. Got to find out more about them. Evidently cheap and fast to produce. I doubt if those seeds I ordered are ever going to come for this year.
Shocking Report Shows Half The Homeless At Boston Shelter Tested Positive For COVID-19: And None Had Symptoms Funny how almost no one got Cov-19 at Disney World in Orlando til they closed it down and now Florida beaches are pretty much wide open. Lots more people from Europe went to FL than to NYC. I'm thinking the "beach" is going to do me a lot more good than working. Have a fun Sunday! gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: Former Playboy Playmate Dead at 33: Ashley Mattingly committed suicide on April 15th. I thought that name was familiar until I realized that 2 of my 4 girlfriends are named "Ashley I" and "Ashley II" at the bank. I haven't seen or heard from them for months except at the drive thru which is just not the same. gwb Maybe it was Ashley Madison?
https://www.newsmax.com/thewire/ashley-mattingly-playboy-playmate/2020/04/21/id/963905/?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=mixi&utm_campaign=newsmax

TSB said...

Names do tend to run in generational clusters, especially girl's names. I remember being in classes where it seemed every third woman was named Jenifer. I'm sure there was a famous Ashley - singer, actress? - twenty-something years ago who inspired those banking Ashleys' mothers.

Anonymous said...

Well gwb,
Enjoy the beach until some government busy body decides it's too dangerous. I think this will be called (among many things) the end of the "Age of Experts".
Sennacherib

TSB said...

"The End of the Age of Experts" makes a very nice name for it, suitable for textbooks. That phase immediately precedes the Rise of the Populists, the same way - if you've read Anatomy of Revolution (Crane Briton) - the "trahison des clercs" failure of the intellectuals precedes the collapse of the old regime.

A quote from Lenin: "all revolutions are the kicking in of a rotten door."

You know times are getting strange when I quote Lenin in an approving way.


Anonymous said...

TSB,
I've probably babbled this here before, but that's never stopped me before. I really think we are at a period like say around 1450. Then the world changed dramatically, feudalism to the Age of sail, exploration, and reason. We are at a similar conjunction, I really don't know where exactly we are going, but I think space for one thing. Just like in the age of sail it all started out government backed then the private sector jumped in. I think space will be the same way. GWB I hope you enjoy the beach really I do.
Sennacherib

Anonymous said...

TSB Who Gains From Ratting On BoJo In Bombshell British Report? ... A bombshell report at the weekend revealed the British prime minister had declined to attend five emergency cabinet meetings in the lead-up to the Covid-19 crisis. He is accused of “sleepwalking” Britain into disaster.
So now Michael Gove along with Murdock's London Times is using the power vacuum created by BoJo to try to get him thrown out for gross negligence + stupidity. In the US it's sort of the inverse. We have stupidity on the winning side (Trump) and Senility on the loosing side with corruption shared by both. The result is both an economic and public health disaster of epic proportions for both. https://www.zerohedge.com/political/who-gains-ratting-bojo-bombshell-british-report gwb

TSB said...

Now, now, BoJo is my man! Those meetings were of the Cobra emergency management group, not the cabinet, and the PM does not necessarily attend them, certainly not all of them. They're a task force with attendance from multiple agencies as the circumstances dictate.

BoJo is most distinctive among the leaders of major west European nations, not least because he has children, unlike his French, German, and many other counterparts. In fact, BoJo is so fecund that he doesn't even know for sure how many kids he has, and his current girlfriend is pregnant.

For the cherry on top, he kind of looks like a Trump impersonator, what with the wild hair.

Anonymous said...

TSB: Looks like my message is getting through to Californians.
Now I'm jealous!
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8255763/Thousands-Californians-flock-open-beaches-despite-Gov-Newsoms-pleas-stay-home.html
gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: Kim Tracker: https://twitter.com/mbizfreak/status/1253985785885233153/photo/1

Looks like he's recovering well! gwb

TSB said...

https://twitter.com/BillFOXLA/status/1253845305365196801?s=19

GWB: The LA Sheriff is promising to fight the beachgoers with everything he has. The battle will be joined on the PCH. It's anyones guess how this ends.

Anonymous said...

TSB: https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/top-manhattan-er-doctor-commits-suicide-after-treating-coronavirus-patients
ER docs are used to trauma of all kinds but they aren't cut out for this kind of problem where you aren't sure what to do and you have to deal for extended periods with a frantic patient that might also kill you in the process. In 9 years of ER's I had 7 deaths and everyone of them took a toll.
Most of the critical one's were sent on to trauma centers. This is going to get a lot more common unfortunately. gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: Besides the fact Newsom is caving and says "beaches could be open withing days", this story warms the cockles of my cold, dead heart: Thousands of healthcare workers are laid off or furloughed as coronavirus spreads
Just to point out one example, a very experienced middle age hospital cook with an annual salary of $66,000 has been cut back to half time with only half of that paid because the large hospital cafeteria where she works is only feeding 40% of the usual since March. She now can't afford her mortgage, the $$ she uses to support her aging parents. This is hitting California doctors and staff just as badly throughout California. I think the woman I referred to lives and works in Temicula, CA where the hospital hasn't seen a single virus case. So many people have lost their health insurance they aren't going for medical care. Big incomes become small incomes really fast. gwb
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-02/

Anonymous said...

TSB: Well, they finally got their story straight. Nobody on the Cov-19 taskforce will be allowed to testify before congress. I mean, that would be like accountability! That is not on the table. gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: They got rid of Tulsi! They got rid of Bernie! But thank goodness they couldn't stop the Supreme Court from ruling that "Stripping is an Art Form" .
The Bare Necessities: Federal Court Rules That Strip Clubs Are Entitled To Pandemic Loans! I will gladly give up my federal bailout so these young girls can keep their jobs. And a Michigan security guard was shot in the head by the husband of a woman who was not allowed to enter a Dollar Store after she refused to wear a mask and started a ruckus. That poor guy had a wife and 4 kids. gwb

TSB said...

GWB: Dr. Fauci will testify, but to the Senate, not the Democrat-controlled House.

Regarding strip clubs, even they are under considerable economic stress in these times. Let them have their stimulus money, and not just in grubby singles and fives. Anyway, I wouldn't want the government to decide which particular forms of dance have artistic legitimacy.

Anonymous said...

TSB: You were right about Fauci testifying to the Senate Health Committee. I'm wondering if we will find out who approved the "enhanced function research" in 2018 and why it was suddenly cancelled on April 24, 2020?
Over the weekend a brilliant U of Pittsburgh scientist was "offed"
by his friend and mentor in an apparent murder suicide. Seems like his research into Covid-19 was getting a little too close to the truth?
gwb Researcher On Cusp Of COVID-19 Breakthrough Killed In Bizarre Murder-Suicide https://www.zerohedge.com/health/researcher-cusp-covid-19-breakthrough-killed-bizarre-murder-suicide

Anonymous said...

TSB: Re: Justice Ginsburg has a benign gallbladder condition and plans to participate in the oral argument teleconference tomorrow from the hospital, according to #SCOTUS. I'm rooting for Ginsburg! If I had a benign gall bladder condition it would probably bankrupt me which is why I'm only eating veggies this week and going to the beach every day. That woman is amazing! gwb

TSB said...

GWB: That murder-suicide looks to be of the common garden variety. https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2020/05/04/ross-township-murder-suicide-bing-liu-police-elm-court/stories/202005040082. I'm sure the Pittsburgh PO-lice will learn more about the motive.

And the ghost of Ruth Bader Ginsburg continues to hover over the 2020_election season, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

TSB: Turns out I was correct. Dr. Martenson WAS delisted last night by the algorithm on Utube. See the first 35 seconds of tonite's video: This is a stark reminder the lengths the gub-mint will go to keep the truth from coming out about just about anything the rich guys don't want you to know about. gwb

https://youtu.be/c1723Bkv_Kk (Fuzzy little kittens and a ball of twine)

Anonymous said...

TSB:1996 Court Filing Corroborates Biden Accuser's Claim She Was Harassed
I haven't heard much from the Democrats except total support for creepy joe
on this which says a lot about the "year of the women" folks from 1992 and the OJ Simpson era. But it's also when this woman got married and her 1996 divorce
sure could be directly related. "Polly want a lie detector Joey?" gwb
https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/1996-court-filing-corroborates-biden-accusers-claim-she-was-harassed

TSB said...

YouTube - like its parent company, Google - is a ruthless abuser of free speech and it ought to be regulated as a public utility and held to a strict standard of liability for its possession of personal information about its clients, says I. But it isn't the government. The government only *wishes* it could interfere with speech the way Google, et al, do.

Regarding Joe Biden's problem, today's news was another drip adding to the trickle of Tara Reade's substantiation, which just might combine into a rivulet of trouble for him by the time of the Democrat convention. Will it then burst into a wave that carries him out of contention? Maybe.

Anonymous said...

Well the last 24hrs have been very interesting news wise.
Sennacherib

TSB said...

News is about all we have in these days of pandemic lock-down. Enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

TSB: Juan Cole always has some bright ideas on the latest news. What if Trump and Pence both ended up in the ICU before the election and Nancy Pelosi had to take over as President? She could team up with Creepy Joe. Who would the Republicans run? Probably Ron De Santis?? Since Florida has had only 1/20th of the deaths and cases as New York. gwb
https://www.juancole.com/2020/05/emerging-coronavirus-epicenter.html

TSB said...

Hope springs eternal for the never-Trumpers, but I wouldn't bet on COVID-19 felling Trump. He seems by far the most robust of the 70 and 80 year-olds in the top ranks of government. Joe would surely be the first of them to fall. He's barely fogging a mirror now, politically speaking.

Anyway, I don't think Pelosi would want the full spotlight of a Presidential campaign turned on her. You know: is she getting her Botox top-offs in a socially distant way? What about that billionaire she's married to and all his business dealings? Is she sharing the fancy ice cream in that $24K freezer with the homeless? And so on and on.
Check her speech patterns sometime, and tell me whether she doesn't sound not far behind Biden in vocal weirdness.

Hey, maybe this pandemic is Bernie's chance to steal a base on Biden and get nominated?

Anonymous said...

In memory:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJW-XQtycmw

Anonymous said...

I did the Little Richard thingy, Sennacherib.

TSB said...

Little Richard, the self-proclaimed King *and* Queen of Rock and Roll! I liked some of his stuff, especially Long Tall Sally. He certainly had a long and very productive life.

Anonymous said...

TSB: This is why I send so many comments to you. Nobody else understands them.
Summarized by William Banzai: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2020-05-10/vaccine-nation gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: Toldja! Dr. Anthony Fauci won’t show up in person in the Senate after all.,,, I'm sure someone will send a strongly worded Tweet about this!

TSB said...

Nobody else understands them? That's high praise!

Regarding Dr. Fauci, isn't he semi-quarantining himself after a staffer tested positive? I'm surprised the Senate can't work out an on-line option for his testimony.

Anonymous said...

TSB: The Zoom family reunion went great! It was dominated by my sister and my 84
yo art instructor cousin from New Mexico. I was naturally sidelined by technical
incompetence. My sister told everyone that I was, as usual, not working much but making "tons of money playing the market". (I'm up $2500 in 3 years so I hope they were impressed) Everyone was bored, tending their gardens and power cleaning their houses on a daily basis. They all had cancelled vacations to the usual spots: Hawaii, Alaska, Isreal, Vegas, Canadian Maritimes from NYC, Montana
Rockies. My sister looked the healthiest of the bunch and my Psychiatrist cousin from Portland described doing Psychiatry from home for people he's never met with only a picture and medical records to go by. (I think EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING is what he said.) Bottom line: I'm glad I never worked much and never made any money. This pandemic is tons of fun so far. It's just like 9/11 and nobody cares who started it. These "Pre-Boomers" just want to get back to their routines. gwb

TSB said...

That sounds like a great socially-distant family reunion! Especially the psychiatrist who is working remotely, that has got to be a hoot. And I wonder whether his patients might not be more candid on line than they would be in person, what with their habit of anonymity anytime they're on a computer. Virtual treatment might become a new standard of practice.

Anonymous said...

Kind of like Woody Allen playing a show biz agent for a stuttering ventriloquist.

Anonymous said...

I think it was "Broadway Danny Rose".
Sennacherib

TSB said...

I just hope he didn't pay full price.

Anonymous said...

TSB: "Quid Pro Quo Joe" signs a deal with "PoreshenkO to fire the Prosecutor in leaked phone conversations. https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/phone-calls-between-quid-pro-joe-biden-and-ukraines-poroshenko-leak-explicitly-details

These two guys are men of there words! And now Joe is "the new FDR". Whaddya think Bernie?
gwb

TSB said...

Joe as the new FDR? Well, FDR did, after all, conceal his disability from the public, so there could be something to that comparison. But then, FDR got elected four times while Joe has dropped out of three of his four attempts for the nomination.

If I were Bernie I'd signal my Sandernistas to go all out for a stalemated convention.

Anonymous said...

TSB: My sister and her husband just got their $1200 checks and he is going to buy a $3,000 router to replace his 40 year old one. I guess they wear out after awhile. She is going to replace her 12 yr old windows 7 computer. He headed out to the rifle range with his 78 yr old buddy Al. No sympathy for me who gets no check and could never afford the 3 doctors appts they had yesterday. That conversation was 90 minutes of fun! gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB!! Cleo is back! and only $22. https://www.zerohedge.com/health/masks-clothes-first-strip-club-america-reopens
Who would have thought it would be Wyoming? Only 10 deaths in Wyoming, one of the lowest in the nation. They aren't getting any student loan relief but at
least those pole dancers can feed the kids and the jobless hubbies. gwb

Anonymous said...

The Left has badly misplayed the last 3.5 yrs and arguably before, but the last 3.5 yrs are really bad from their standpoint. Though they will not stop for they either are certain they are right (caught in the loop of their own media telling them they are right) or they perceive Trump as the mortal threat to them that he is. What they truly do not understand is that they themselves are the engine of their own destruction. They thought that if they captured the media,government, and culture they could have their way, what they didn't understand is that it is they who are captured.
Sennacherib

TSB said...

Your brother-in-law made a good choice going to the rifle range. I wish my local range was open, but my state doesn't allow that yet. Being 78, your BIL might be a spring chicken at the range; the last time I went shotgun shooting there was a 100 year-old gentleman there shooting wobble trap with his 90-something year old buddy, both of them spry and having no trouble swinging their guns on target.

Strip clubs I leave to others. But, I'm always happy to see people employed and getting a paycheck.

Anonymous said...

TSB: It took my sister to inform me why WA leads the nation in new unemployment claims. Turns out we are also funding a lot of unemployed Nigerian claims to the tune of hundreds of millions of $$.

WA un-employement level jumped from 5.4% to 15.4% in one month. Fortunately I got my drugs refilled yesterday with exactly the same prices as a year ago. My bookie is out of business though. gwb https://www.zerohedge.com/economics/washington-state-loses-hundreds-millions-nigerian-unemployment-claims-fraud-scheme

W.Dan Davenport MD said...

TSB: I think we have found the root of the problem: "Suzan Gail LeVine (born November 17, 1969) was sworn in as the United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein on May 30, 2014 and took up her position in Bern on June 2, 2014.[1] Reflecting her work in technology, LeVine took her oath of office while placing a hand on a Kindle containing the U.S. Constitution and, thereby, became the first U.S. official to be sworn in on an e-reader.[2][3] She resigned her post in Bern on January 20, 2017.[4] On July 9, 2018, she joined Governor Jay Inslee's cabinet as the new Washington State Commissioner for the Employment Security Department.[5]...In 2006, she and Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum co-founded The Kavana Cooperative, a post- … looks like she purchased her Ambassador post and instituted a great "sanctuary state policy" for Inslee.

TSB said...

So, those Nigerian Princes who were behind all the emails and faxes for so many years have finally struck it rich in Washington State benefit fraud. Wow, that was so much easier than retrieving lost trunks full of cash, like in the messages they used to send me.

Anonymous said...

TSB: We have all the details we need now on the epic unemployment fraud in WA and six other states by the "Scattered Canary Gang" https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/times-watchdog/how-missed-red-flags-helped-nigerian-fraud-ring-scattered-canary-bilk-washingtons-unemployment-system-amid-coronavirus-chaos/
Turns out in 2017 WA paid $44 million to upgrade it's system that allowed claimants choices about how to be paid and contacted. That led to a lot of excess calls and mixups so they settled on a simpler ID system. Now they are having to go back and investigate everybody to see if they were over payed which is holding up payments to everyone in the system in 7 states. My guess is "hundreds of millions" will turn into "a billion or two" but I hear the vaccine is going to be FREE! gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: The constant CV-19 politicized hysteria has 2 basic flaws: 1.flu deaths have long been hyped in the US to boost flu vaccinations. (Way fewer people actually die from influenza than those reported. A lot of them are actually pneumonia. If you add flu to the cause of death the payment is $14,000 more.) 2.The CDC from Feb. 6th counted all deaths that tested + for CV as CV deaths. A big share of these were nursing home cases that were "end of life" types who also tested + for CV.
Bottom line is that CV-19 is at least 6-7 times deadlier
than the flu, very easily transmitted in lockdown and antibody tests are not useful for predicting when somebody is safe to return to work. Scientific American: https://youtu.be/Tw9Ci2PZKZg Most to blame are (D) governors who neglected nursing home spread or even forced it. gwb CDC definitely lying on a daily basis on lab origin.

Anonymous said...

TSB: I'm predicting "problems" with the SpaceX launch at 3:22 today based on what fm pointed out last time and again today. https://youtu.be/TTNz1jBjCWw
gwb

TSB said...

That SpaceX launch went off without a hitch, I'm glad to say. Funny thing struck me: the last time I watched a space launch was in the Moon race era, and we were having riots in the cities then, too. Odd kind of coincidence.

That nursing home disaster really ought to be the biggest lesson learned and the biggest cause for blame in the entire COVID-19 emergency. New York's Governor ordered them to take COVID patients regardless of the risk to other - especially vulnerable - residents, prevented the nursing homes from using the two huge and empty emergency hospitals that the Feds set up, and now is blaming the nursing homes for following his orders. He'll get away with it, but in a just world he'd be removed from office and sued.

Anonymous said...

The protests (riots) will essentially start disappearing Sunday night. It has not worked out as some had planned. One hope was to keep people shut inside ala the pandemic. Somebody misplayed this badly, I will leave it to the readers to guess who.
Sennacherib

Anonymous said...

TSB: Good evidence from Italy that newer cases of the virus are much less virulent than 6 weeks ago and viral loads are much less in these people, symptoms much milder. Chris Martensen says this may be an indication that insertions done in the lab in Wuhan over time have become unstable and if so this virus might just disappear before long. US justice dept may be preparing a criminal case against those involved with creating the virus. They are refusing to release documents from the State Dept. over why Danz or Ganz suddenly had his funding cut off. Many scientists are now saying that this looks like a lab created virus. gwb

TSB said...

Sennacherib - The DC riots are for sure petering out, helped by a massive federal presence, but those in NYC and some other places are still going strong. Mayors and Governors who don't use the National Guard are really rolling the political dice. After the 1968 race riots and fires, Republicans won five of the next six presidential elections.

Anonymous said...

TSB: Looks like Wikipedia never heard of Brother Frank Biden, 66. Atlantis is evidently one of the biggest "rich" magnets in Florida right now and the area where Pam Bondi lives. What a shyster! gwb

TSB said...

I confess I'd never heard of Frank Biden either, until the British tabloids ran with him. What a sleazy character! He'd make a perfect Presidential younger brother screw-up in the tradition of Roger Clinton and Hugh Rodman.