The Providence Journal – 28-FEB-06:

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.

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.

They were told 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.

  1. Carl Trimble says:

    What in the Fark is going on with this government? Are we going to change our name to “The USSR” soon. This is insane. What happened on 9/11 was and is a very horrible thing. BUT what is happening now is worse! OUR FREEDOM IS BEING COMPROMISED!

  2. walkerk says:

    You have a problem with this, comrade?

  3. Milo says:

    “And the money doesn’t move until the threat alert is lifted.”


  4. jasontheodd says:

    No Carl, our freedom is not compromised. That assumes we have gained somewhere and lost somewhere. We have LOST our freedom. You have a very valid point about 9/11, but I would pose to those who disagree with us. Did the 9/11 hijackers bother to obey the law? If not, what do you think they care about credit card debit or any other monetary matter? They do plan to die don’t they? Think the worry about breaking laws, a few days before committing mass murder?

  5. Floyd says:

    We seem to gotten to the point where becoming debt-free is somehow questionable and perhaps Un-American.

  6. Matt says:


    Do it soon or soon you’ll be doomed!

  7. James Hill says:

    Six posts until a crackpot comes out. Well done, Matt.

    Back on topic, how does the government determine when a payment is “odd”? Is it any large payment outside of our usual bills, or is it something more specific?

    And if its the later, how the hell could you buy it on a Penny’s card?

  8. Sounds The Alarm says:


    I take it Bush is still your personal god, eh?

  9. Sounds The Alarm says:

    It’s a well know fact that crappy police and like crappy orgs deliberately target people who are basically law abiding because we don’t shoot at them.

    The real hard core guys will shoot back – if you’re a lazy cop or agent why take them out when you can kick a citizen around and get at most a 30 day suspension?

    Thank God that the crappy guys are a small minority. Most cops, like most people, attempt to do the best they can.

  10. Dave Drews says:

    Transport truckloads of explosives and weapons, take flying leasons and not be interested in learning how to land, buy a truck and barrels of fertilizer with cash, have a grandmother sneak a pen knife onto an airplane, of course, strip search them and check them out. But what terrorist or terrorist organization provides money to someone to pay their Penny’s credit card bill?

  11. Improbus says:

    I couldn’t have said it better Wayne. RIGHT ON!

  12. Ivor Biggun says:

    (Donning flame-retardant NASCAR suit)

    Folks, if you want a change for the better in government, the ONLY way to do it is to vote Libertarian. Republicans and Democrats are functionally the same party with only a few ultra-minor differences. Please check out the link first before turning on the torches.


  13. Susanna Chan says:

    I concur.

  14. meetsy says:

    But, Libertarian is such a dumb word…..just doesn’t roll off the tongue right. Maybe if they found a better name for the group. Sounds like a religion of librarians.

    In face even something as stupid as Whig would be better!

  15. Improbus says:


    How about we call them Liberals? Oops, that name has already been taken and co-opted. How about the Liberty Party? That sounds really patriotic and subversive all at the same time.

  16. T.C. Moore says:

    Don’t you think it’s amazing that we have gone 5 Years since 9/11 without a Madrid or London like bombing?

    Why attack our allies if you could get at the real deal?

    I take everything this administration says with a healthy dose of salt, but there are lots of sources that say terrorist attacks have been interdicted.

    Seems to me that all these terrible violations of our “constitutional rights” have actually kept us safe.

    The credit card payment thing is over the top, but how much did the guy really suffer?

    I know it’s a slippery slope, but some people think we have prudently marched down the slope a little way and stopped, while the rest of you think we’re picking up speed and about to fall off the abyss into 1984 at any moment!!! Gimme a break.

    These kinds of ridiculous and meaningless alerts and surveillance are exactly the thing the FBI was complaining about. Flooding them with meaningless noise. Surely this nonsense will be curtailed by administrative fiat, so DHS and FBI can concentrate on truly suspicious behavior. No reason to get your panties in a bunch.

  17. Improbus says:

    If we don’t get our panties in a bunch now we will fall off into the abyss. At this point I am pretty much resigned to the fact that it will happen. The sheeple in our country just want to be safe. They care not for liberty. I guess we get what we deserve.

  18. joshua says:

    The large transation thing is actually pre-9/11…..but it mostly had to do with banks and money transfer’s and deposits of cash, back then it was due to the drug problem.
    But this one has me laughing, it’s just so damn stupid to think that a terrorist is using a Penny’s card to bring down the U.S. goverment.
    The sad part is that the computor program that was set up to do this had to be installed by a human……just what kind of drugs was this person on?
    Personally, if I was Homeland Security, I would be watching people and their Home Depot cards.

  19. 2xbob says:

    Libertarian is a nice idea but what animal do they have on their pin? Oh well, I’ll get back to singing now

    *ahem* “For the land of the safe, and the home of the OMG TERROR LEVEL ORANGE”

  20. moss says:

    Steve, tonight, over supper, I mentioned this to my wife the stodgy banker. Her reply — in proper financial language — was “this is total bullshit!”

    Transactions like this are handled by the thousands every day. What do you think happens when people take out a home equity loan — or even just switch to another credit card with a payoff offer? The anti-racketeering regs only concern cash.

  21. Eric Phillips says:

    I wonder if that $263 million check to Halliburton will be held up by Homeland Insecurity.?

  22. AB CD says:

    I don’t think this has that much to do with Homeland Security and the Patriot Act per se, only that 9/11 caused people to stop objecting to the banking ‘Know Your Customer’ regulations that got held up for awhile when Clinton was President.

  23. Mr. Fusion says:


    While at JC Penny’s, didn’t you notice their new line of self-igniting shoelaces and the complimentary line of big bang shoes? The matching handbags, with the hidden box cutters, look just fabulous. They were all out of the color coordinated turbans the last time I was there.

    I wasn’t impressed by their display of Weapons Grade Plutonium though. Tractor Supply has a much better selection. Also Tractor Supply gives “do it yourself” wiring guides with every 10 pounds purchased, with detonator. The staff seems more knowledgeable too.

    I bought a copy of “Anthrax Recipes for Dummies” and “The Everyday Book of Ricin and Castor Oil for the Home Maker.” Highly recommended.

  24. Mr. Fusion says:

    Wayne, moss

    Good posts guys

  25. BOB G says:

    Wayne Bienek I feel the same way when they announce the # killed in iraq. Now strart the flame

  26. oldfox says:

    This is what Penny’s said:
    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.

    Isn’t that just an excuse? Another way of saying “your out-of-state check didn’t clear yet.” That is what Penney’s said. That doesn’t mean it is true at all.

    –Tom Ridge


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