Sunday, November 18, 2018

Slow Saturday Special: Pot, Protests, and Politics

Related: Slow Saturday Special: Politics and Protests

Gotta get through the smoke first:

"Massachusetts marijuana stores to open Tuesday" by Dan Adams Globe Staff  November 16, 2018

The wait will soon be over.

On Tuesday morning, the first recreational marijuana stores in the Eastern United States will open in Massachusetts, kicking off an era of legal cannabis sales after more than a century of pot prohibition in the state.

The state Cannabis Control Commission made the historic announcement at 4:20 p.m. Friday. The notices indicate that the firms, both of which operate as medical marijuana dispensaries, passed exhaustive inspections by state workers checking for compliance with a lengthy list of rules.

“This signal to open retail marijuana establishments marks a major milestone for voters who approved legal, adult-use cannabis in our state,” commission chairman Steven J. Hoffman said.

He noted that the companies “underwent thorough background checks, passed multiple inspections, and had their products tested, all to ensure public health and safety as this new industry gets up and running.’’

Massachusetts first made marijuana illegal in 1911 — and it stayed that way until 2016, when 1.8 million voters said “yes” to a ballot measure legalizing the drug for adults older than 21 and establishing a system of regulated sales.

Then the legislature had to get involved (after they got their own addiction out of the way, and Charlie either doesn't care or must think we have forgotten) and rewrite the whole thing while delaying implementation.

I don't say that as a supporter of recreational marijuana. I only point it out as another example of the total hypocrisy of state government and the myth of deep-blue Massachusetts.

Maine and Vermont are among the nine other US states that have also legalized marijuana amid the remarkable surge in public support for easing restrictions in recent years, though neither has opened any retail shops. Other New England states are now eyeing legalization as well, while at the national level, emboldened advocates and supportive elected officials are pushing to end the federal prohibition on cannabis. On their mind: the debut last month of legal pot sales in Canada, and an October ruling by Mexico’s highest court saying that country’s ban on the drug is unconstitutional.

In the end, it took Massachusetts lawmakers and regulators more than two years to implement the voter-passed measure, prompting frustration and cynicism among the public and marijuana business owners eager to get going; however, Massachusetts has largely avoided the messy and rushed rollouts seen in other states, which were marred by the closure of scores of semiregulated pot companies and a patchwork of local regulations.

Except it hasn't been like that at all, while the state has missed out on that all-important tax loot while they held the joint.

The commission, which has been hiring staff at a rapid clip, is currently processing 180 applications for retail, cultivation, processing, and other licenses. Additional retailers that have already won licenses are expected to get final go-aheads in the coming weeks, which should ease the expected supply shortages at the two initial retailers.

Now they are getting their butts in gear! 

Little too late for Christmas, but.... !!

Friday’s announcement prompted celebration by marijuana proponents “despite the vexing delays,” said Jim Borghesani, the former spokesman for the 2016 campaign to legalize marijuana here.

They must be high already then!

Beginning Tuesday, however, anyone 21 and older will be able to go to one of the two new stores and pick up a pack of joints or bag of THC-infused lozenges on the way home from work — the same way they’ve long been allowed to grab a six-pack of craft beer or a bottle of Chardonnay from the local package store.

With the rest of the world poised to walk into what had previously been a sacred space for those in the know, some advocates can’t help but feel a sense of loss even as they cheer the opening of stores.

“There’s been a big underground counterculture that’s evolved around marijuana over the last 50 to 60 years,” said Kamani Jefferson, the president of the Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council. “Now that it’s being legalized, that culture is being withered away.’’

A lot of that going around these days!

It was not immediately clear who might make the state’s first legal pot purchase on Tuesday. When sales started in Colorado in 2014, legalization campaigners staged a ceremonial first sale to medical marijuana advocate and Marine Corps veteran Sean Azzariti.

“The future is finally here,” said Kim Napoli, NETA’s director of diversity programs, at a press conference. “The future is now. We’re stepping into a new age and it’s an honor to be a part of it.”

(Blog editor then hears sound of toking inhale)

--more--"

What follows is the cost in the form of a cough:

"Another danger in California: Bad air; Even far from wildfires, smoke is taking a toll" by Julie Turkewitz   November 17, 2018

PARADISE, Calif. — The wildfires that have laid waste to vast parts of California are presenting residents with a new danger: air so thick with smoke it ranks among the dirtiest in the world.

On Friday, residents of smog-choked Northern California woke to learn that their pollution levels now exceed those in cities in China and India that regularly rank among the worst.

Yeah, but they aren't burning to the ground.

In the communities closest to the Paradise fire, an apocalyptic fog cloaked the roads, evacuees wandered in white masks, and officials said respiratory hospitalizations had surged. Nearly 200 miles to the south, in San Francisco, the smoke was so thick that health warnings prompted widespread school closings. Even the city’s cable cars were yanked from the streets, and researchers warned that as large wildfires become more common — spurred by dryness linked to climate change — health risks will almost surely rise. “If this kind of air quality from wildfires doesn’t get people concerned,” said Dr. John Balmes, a pulmonologist at the University of California at San Francisco, “I don’t know what will.”

Hmmmmm.

The links are tenuous despite what my agenda-pushing pre$$ infers, and using this as a way to advance that agenda $ure does $mell like $moke.

At fault, researchers say, is a confluence of two modern events: More people are moving to communities in and around wooded enclaves, pushed out by factors like the rising costs of housing and the desire to be closer to nature — just as warming temperatures are contributing to longer and more destructive wildfires.

The only problem there is temperatures have actually been cooling the last few years.

Wood smoke contains some of the same toxic chemicals that city pollution does. While humans have long been around fire, they generally inhale it in small doses over cooking or heat fires. Humans have not, however, evolved to handle prolonged inhalation of caustic air from something like the Paradise blaze, Balmes said.

I wonder what toxic chemicals were in the soil that they are not telling us about.

Research into the long-term health effects of large wildfires is still new, but a growing body of science shows how inhalation of minuscule particles from wood fires can nestle in the folds of lung tissue and do harm to the human immune system.

The body creates zealous responses to what it sees as an alien presence, and those effects can last for years by priming the body to overreact when it encounters subsequent lung irritation, said Dr. Kari Nadeau, a pediatric allergy and asthma specialist at Stanford.

They call them auto-immune disorders.

So whatever happened with the lights over Ireland anyway?

In short, researchers like Nadeau believe that a person’s short-term exposure to wildfire can spur a lifetime of asthma, allergy, and constricted breathing.

And that way any other cause can be dismissed and no corporations sued (well, maybe PG&E).

By Friday, the death toll from the Paradise fire, north of Sacramento, had reached 71 people, with more than 1,000 people still missing, according to Sheriff Kory Honea of Butte County.

The 142,000-acre fire was 45 percent contained, and officials said they expected to reach 100 percent by Nov. 30. Full containment does not mean that the fire is extinguished, only that firefighters were able to complete a perimeter around the flames and stop them from spreading.

President Trump was planning to visit the region Saturday, and the White House said he would tour the affected areas and meet with evacuated residents.

Already, research shows that fires can directly affect lung health. 

Shocking! 

Every try breathing in the smoke from a bonfire?

In the Bay Area, the National Weather Service said smoke would linger in the region into the coming week. The unhealthy air in Berkeley forced Saturday’s California and Stanford football showdown to be pushed back until Dec. 1, the first postponement of “The Big Game” since the rivals’ 1963 match was delayed after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Then this must be serious. They cancelled the football game.

In the communities around Paradise, air quality is considered hazardous for everyone, and the county health department is urging everyone to remain inside, but this has been difficult for evacuees. More than 81,000 people have been forced from their homes and many are sleeping outside in tents. 

Just what California needs, more tent cities.

“I’ve got 18 grandkids here,” said Jewel Taylor, 50, an evacuee from nearby Magalia, standing in a hotel lobby where she had managed to find a room for the previous night.

Taylor said she was most worried about her infant grandson, 1-month-old Evan, who had developed a cough. “What do you do when you see your kids like this?” she said, her voice catching.

I don't know. I've only had migrant kids waved in my face these last few months.

This week, some around Paradise said that when they inhaled, they could feel the particles cutting their throats. Others likened breathing to a persistent low-level anxiety attack.

“Let me put it this way,” said Becky Dearing, 66, who already has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, “you almost feel like you’re choking.”

“We’re like zombies,” she went on, “walking around, all the unknowns.”

Researchers say that climate change leads to ill health through wildfire, but also through prolonged pollen seasons, dust storms. and other events that affect air quality.

Yeah, forget the poisons all around you in everyday products and such.

Heck, let's just go nuclear!

“We’re setting up a tipping point in the immune system that leads to more inflammation and disease,” said Dr. Sharon Chinthrajah, a pulmonologist and allergist at Stanford.

“California,” she added, “is being reset to a new reality.”

And it's about to get even smoggier.

--more--"

Better get to a hospital and out of the cold then, and let's hope the trailer they gave you is okay.

{@@##$$%%^^&&}

"Protesters at Sanofi in Cambridge decry high price of insulin" by Allison Hagan Globe Correspondent  November 16, 2018

Two mothers Friday tried to deliver the ashes of their two diabetic children to the Cambridge offices of drug giant Sanofi to protest the high price of insulin, which the company manufactures. The women said their adult children died while rationing the drug to save money, after losing their health insurance.

Antroinette Worsham of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Nicole Smith-Holt from Richfield, Minn., were joined by about 75 protesters. According to the Brookline-based Right Care Alliance, a patient advocacy coalition that organized the protest, Paris-based Sanofi is one of three insulin manufacturers that in recent years have marked up prices by as much as 5,000 percent.

The protesters stayed across the street while the two mothers attempted to walk through the Memorial Drive parking lot with small containers holding the ashes, but company security officials ordered them off the property, said Aaron Toleos, a spokesman for Right Care. Toleos said police on the scene told the women that “if you choose not to leave, you will be arrested.” No arrests were made.

Did they make a stink about it?

“We continued with the protest and letting them know the price of their product is killing people when it’s intended to save their lives,” said Smith-Holt, whose 26-year-old son, Alec Raeshawn Smith, died last year.

Worsham’s daughter, Antavia Lee Worsham, 22, also died in 2017. Right Care said they, and one other diabetes patient, lost their lives because they were forced to cut back on their medication to save money.

Nicolas Kressmann, a spokesman for Sanofi, said the company is exploring innovative ways to reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients. He said the company’s security prevented the protesters from entering the company’s office because of safety concerns.

Do they have a pill for pharmaceutical babble?

“We want to ensure everything works as well as possible for employees and the protesters. We don’t want any accidents or any situation,” he said.

Considering the price increase, hollower words have never been spoken.

--more--"

All they did was ruin things for tourists:

"Visitor’s Bureau picks new chief executive" by Jon Chesto Globe Staff  November 17, 2018

The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau’s board on Friday picked Rhode Island tourism honcho Martha Sheridan to be its new chief executive, succeeding longtime chief Pat Moscaritolo in 2019.

Sheridan will join the Boston tourism bureau in January as CEO-elect from the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, which she has run since 2006, and officially take over when Moscaritolo retires on Feb. 14 after nearly three decades in the job.

“Now it’s on to Boston, a cosmopolitan hub full of iconic landmarks and attractions, diverse neighborhoods, vibrant culture, prestigious universities, and of course feverish sports fandom,” Sheridan said in a statement. “Boston’s blend of tradition and cutting-edge innovation creates a unique dynamic that is the essence of the city’s brand.”

The board originally had been looking to hire a chief operating officer who would become Moscaritolo’s likely successor, but after being criticized for not having any minorities on their short list of candidates, board members restarted the search process and also decided to search outright for a new CEO as Moscaritolo’s retirement approached.

Why that's absurd!

Sheridan was among the finalists in the first search and rose to the top after a second, more extensive round of vetting. The board used SearchWide Global, a St. Paul-based headhunting firm, to find candidates after restarting the search.

James Carmody, incoming chairman of the visitors bureau board, said the board also doubled the size of the search committee, from nine to 18, to diversify its membership, and the bureau considered a number of minority candidates during the second round, he said. Carmody said SearchWide and the committee narrowed a group of about 200 candidates down to seven, and then to two.

“We dramatically increased the diversity of the candidate pool,” said Carmody, who led the search committee. “It was a vigorous process. It was a diligent process.”

The political correctness is leading us to quotas.

Carmody, who is the general manager of the Seaport Hotel, said he was impressed with how Sheridan reached into Providence’s neighborhoods to find attractions to promote, going beyond the obvious choices. She also demonstrated political acumen, he said, an important trait for the job, and he was impressed with what her colleagues in Rhode Island said about her.

“One of the things I kept hearing about was the longevity of the service of her team,” Carmody said. “She had great loyalty. That speaks to an individual’s leadership capabilities.”

Maybe she should go work for the White House.

In Boston, Sheridan will take over a tourism bureau with a staff of more than 40 people, and a $13 million-plus annual budget. The bureau had considered moving from its home at Copley Place, but it will remain there after recently agreeing to a new lease.

--more--"

RelatedFidelity names Steve Neff, top tech executive, to run asset management division

Well, there is diversity, and then there is diver$ity.

You want to bet on the discrimination?

"US, Mass. regulators fine Boston startup over cryptocurrency sale" by Andy Rosen Globe Staff  November 16, 2018

A Boston startup is at the center of the latest regulatory crackdown on companies raising money by selling digital currency, a case that could portend further trouble for a cryptocurrency market that has sputtered this year after a blistering 2017.

Airfox, which makes financial tools for people without access to banks, has settled cases with both the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Massachusetts Securities Division amid claims that its $15 million sale of digital tokens last year amounted to an illegal sale of securities. The sale is one of dozens of “initial coin offerings” that caught the eye of regulators amid an investment frenzy last year over cryptocurrency.

It's all about funneling you into their private central banking $y$tem of usury, folks!

Cryptocurrency means loss of control (unless they are controlling the cryptocurrency).

The company agreed to pay a total of $350,000 in fines, register its tokens as securities, and compensate buyers for any money they lost.

Matthew Walsh, partner at the Cambridge firm Castle Island Ventures, said Friday’s action by the SEC — which also fined a second company — could portend a bigger blowback against companies that raised money with cryptocurrency sales.

“I’d be surprised if we don’t see significantly more activity on this front,” said Walsh, whose firm focuses on the blockchain technology underlying bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies — but does not invest in coin sales. “I think many in the community were expecting this action. A significant majority of ICOs that I’ve seen fit the description of a security. To think that they wouldn’t be treated as such was always a bit surprising.”

Many companies that carried out such sales argued that their tokens were not securities because they made no promise of future value, and did not represent equity in the company. The value, they argued, was that the tokens could be used to pay for a service.

Airfox sold AirTokens as a way to finance a platform that allowed people to lend and borrow money over a mobile network. The tokens were to function as the medium of exchange on the platform.

The office of Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin, which oversees the state security regulators’ office, said it did not buy that argument.

And we know who he is looking out for.

Airfox is well-known around Boston’s tech community, and unlike many other coin sellers, the company was able to raise money through traditional means.

Co-founders Victor Santos and Sara Choi formerly worked for Google. They built the company at Harvard’s Innovation Lab, and they passed through the TechStars Boston startup accelerator. They have also raised money from investors including Project 11 Ventures.

In a statement, the company said settling the case would remove a cloud hanging over an otherwise promising business.....

--more--"

Yeah, you want to go through a traditional bank:

"Ex-Bank of America senior VP and husband sentenced for embezzlement" by Allison Hagan Globe Correspondent   November 16, 2018

A federal judge sentenced a former senior vice president for Bank of America and her spouse to prison time for embezzling $2.7 million from the bank in a kickback scheme involving several local nonprofits.

I $ee. 

You steal from rich people and you get jail time.

Palestine “Pam” Ace, 45, a former senior vice president of Bank of America’s global wealth and investment management team, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison and ordered to pay $2.8 million in restitution, according to a statement from the US attorney’s office in Boston.

First name is Palestine? 

That figures.

Jonathan R. Ace, 46, her husband, was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay $1.9 million in restitution. Both parties received two years of supervised release.

In February 2018, the couple pleaded guilty in Boston federal court on multiple charges, including conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, for their roles in a near five-year scheme in which they misappropriated funds from the bank’s marketing budget to make fraudulent donations to nonprofit organizations in Boston and Atlanta. The couple would ask the nonprofits to return some of the money to ensure future donations and then pocket the returned money.

--more--"

You can always head over to $tate $treet, I suppose.

{@@##$$%%^^&&}

"Trump says he answered Mueller’s questions ‘very easily’" by Jonathan Lemire and Catherine Lucey Associated Press  November 16, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Trump said Friday he had ‘‘very easily’’ answered written questions from special counsel Robert Mueller, though he speculated that the questions had been ‘‘tricked up’’ to try to catch him in a lie. He said he hadn’t submitted his answers to investigators yet.

Trump’s written response, though not yet delivered, signals a new phase in the Mueller probe, the year-and-a-half-long investigation that has produced guilty pleas and convictions from several top Trump aides.

The president’s remarks were fresh evidence of his return to the ominous rhythms of the Russia probe after spending heady weeks enjoying adulation-soaked campaign rallies before the midterm elections.

Despite Trump’s insistence Friday that he’s ‘‘very happy’’ with how things are going, his frustrations with the ongoing probe have been evident everywhere, from his overheated Twitter feed this week to his private grousing that the special counsel may target his family. Adding to his grim outlook has been the barrage of criticism he is getting over his choice for acting attorney general and late-arriving election results that have largely been tipping toward House Democrats.

I have to give them credit, they did a great job of stealing the elections this time.

After a relative lull in the run-up to the midterms, the Russia probe has returned to the forefront of Washington conversation and cable news chyrons. There has been widespread media coverage of two Trump allies — Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi — who say they expect to be charged.

They are going to start throwing stones again.

The president has expressed concerns behind closed doors that Mueller is closing in on his inner circle, including potentially his eldest son.

For months, Trump has told confidants he fears that Donald Trump Jr., perhaps inadvertently, broke the law by being untruthful with investigators in the aftermath of a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, according to one Republican close to the White House.

Trump has also complained about efforts in the Senate by his longtime foe, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, to introduce legislation to protect the special counsel, according to the officials and Republicans.

Additionally, Trump has told confidants in recent days that he is deeply frustrated by widespread criticism of his choice of Matthew Whitaker for acting attorney general, according to four officials and Republicans close to the White House who spoke on condition of anonymity. Whitaker has been a vocal opponent of the special counsel probe.

One argument against Whitaker was that he has not been confirmed by the Senate. Trump, in turn, contended that the criticism was unfair since Mueller also was not confirmed for his post. The special counsel position does not require confirmation, and the former FBI director was confirmed for that previous job.

The president also took note of news coverage of his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, arriving in Washington this week, potentially to meet with Mueller’s investigators. Cohen has pleaded guilty to a series of crimes and has said under oath that Trump ordered him to make hush-money payments to cover up an affair. He has undertaken an unlikely public relations tour as he looks to make a deal to reduce his prison sentence.....

So he will say whatever Mueller wants him to say!

--more--"

I think we all know where this is all going.

"How the Trump administration stepped up pursuit of WikiLeaks’ Assange" by Julian E. Barnes, Adam Goldman and Charlie Savage New York Times  November 17, 2018

WASHINGTON — Soon after he took over as CIA director, Mike Pompeo privately told lawmakers about a new target for US spies: Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

Intent on finding out more about Assange’s dealings with Russian intelligence, the CIA last year began to conduct traditional espionage against the organization, according to US officials. At the same time, federal law enforcement officials were reconsidering Assange’s designation as a journalist and debating whether to charge him with a crime.

This is interesting. 

I'm sure the pre$$ will stand up for him just like they did Acosta (who wants a medal for it, and remember when Obama threw out a reporter and everyone cheered), right?

Pompeo and former attorney general Jeff Sessions unleashed an aggressive campaign against Assange, reversing an Obama-era view of WikiLeaks as a journalistic entity. For more than a year, the nation’s spies and investigators sought to learn about Assange and his ties to Russia as senior administration officials came to believe he was in league with Moscow.

Only problem is, there aren't any -- unless you want to count the Clinton channels that ran through the U.K. and which came up with Steele's jar of piss.

Their work culminated in prosecutors’ secretly filing charges this summer against Assange, which were inadvertently revealed in an unrelated court document and confirmed Friday by a person familiar with the inquiry. Taken together, the CIA spying and the Justice Department’s targeting of Assange represented a remarkable shift by both the US government and President Trump, who repeatedly lauded WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign for its releases of Democratic e-mails, stolen by Russian agents, that damaged his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

What it tells you -- along with the CIA leak fingering MbS before briefing the president -- is the Deep State is firmly in control of this f***.

Beyond that, the lie is repeated that the e-mails were hacked and stolen when they were leaked by disgruntled DNC insiders appealed at the Clinton machine stealing the nomination from Sanders. 

You expect nothing more or less from the NYT these days, but you get tired of seeing it, too.

On Friday, one of his lawyers said Assange will not willingly travel to the United States to face the sealed charges, foreshadowing a possible fight over extradition.

A prosecution of Assange could pit the interests of the administration against Trump’s.

But there is no Deep State.

Assange could help answer the central question of the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller: whether any Trump associates conspired with Russia to interfere in the presidential race.

He's already answered that and said no.

If the case against Assange includes charges that he acted as an agent of a foreign power, anyone who knowingly cooperated with him could be investigated as a co-conspirator, former senior law-enforcement officials said.

Oh, we are heading into conspiracy territory now.

Justice Department officials on Friday did not disclose the charges against Assange, prompting speculation around Washington about their nature. The case might be tied to the hacked Democratic e-mails, which are part of Mueller’s evidence of the wide-ranging election interference personally ordered by President Vladimir Putin of Russia. The charges could also be related to WikiLeaks’s publication last year of CIA tools to penetrate computers and mobile devices, the Vault 7 disclosures.

You know, the CIA hacking tools that can leave the fingerprints of others to frame them.

Really makes you want to cry, huh?

National security officials have long viewed Assange with hostility and considered him a threat. “He was a loathed figure inside the government,” said Andrea Kendall-Taylor, who served as a deputy national intelligence officer for Russia under the director of national intelligence until May.

Some argue, with some validity, that he was a USraeli honey pot.

Here is Exhibit A:

He first raised the ire of the US government in 2010 when Chelsea Manning, then known as Army Specialist Bradley Manning, began feeding classified documents from military computers in Iraq to WikiLeaks.

The U.S. government then so tortured and abused that kid that they convinced him he was/is a woman.

US law enforcement officials began seriously investigating the ties between WikiLeaks and Russia after Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who revealed closely held intelligence secrets, escaped to Russia in June 2013. Law enforcement officials wanted to know what role WikiLeaks played in brokering Snowden’s asylum in Russia.

Now there is a name from the past.

He's down the pre$$ memory hole because it conjures up all sorts of wrongdoing by the Obama administration (they spied on foreign leaders, remember?) which would then lend credence to the attempted infiltration, spying, and unmasking of the Trump campaign and transition team.

A year later, FBI and CIA officials began arguing internally that Assange was an information broker, not a journalist, former officials said.

That way he can be an enemy of the people, right?

Inside the Justice Department under Obama, however, some officials expressed reluctance to pursue Assange because he could be construed as part of the news media.

Like bloggers.

Assange seemed to have crossed into uncharted ground by 2016 with the publication of e-mails stolen from the Democratic National Committee’s servers and Clinton’s campaign chairman, former FBI officials said. He was deliberately attacking Clinton over Trump and coordinating with Russian intelligence operatives, wittingly or not, to maximize the damage to her campaign.

They print it as if it is a fact.

The web version kept downloading:

Pompeo, then a Republican congressman from Kansas, initially praised the WikiLeaks disclosures, but once he took over the CIA, his rhetoric hardened.

Deep State.

His first speech as director came a month after WikiLeaks published the archive of hacking tools stolen from the CIA, seriously eroding the agency’s ability to conduct electronic espionage.

We are told only enemies do that!

Pompeo laid down a gauntlet. “WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service,” he said last April.

Then it must be Mossad.

To support his assessment, Pompeo cited how the group had encouraged followers to join the CIA and steal secrets, and how “it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States while seeking support from anti-democratic countries.”

The vetting process in that much of a shambles over there?

The speech by Pompeo, who has since become secretary of state, and other efforts were intended in part to pressure the Justice Department to intensify its reassessment of Assange, an intelligence official said.

Federal prosecutors began working on a sealed criminal complaint this summer, a former law enforcement official said. It was not clear whether the Justice Department declared that Assange was not a journalist or whether prosecutors gathered sufficient evidence to charge him without resolving that issue.

--more--"

Also see:

"President Trump on Friday recognized a major Republican Party donor and six other ‘‘extraordinary Americans’’ with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor the nation reserves for a civilian. Miriam Adelson is a doctor, philanthropist, and wife of Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate considered one of the nation’s most powerful Republican donors. The Adelsons donated $30 million to Trump’s campaign in the final months of the 2016 race. They followed up by donating $100 million to the Republican Party for last week’s midterm elections. Trump also honored retired Minnesota Supreme Court justice Alan Page, who played with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears before transitioning to a career in law, and Roger Staubach, the Hall of Fame quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. Posthumous honors were given to Elvis Presley, baseball’s Babe Ruth, and Antonin Scalia, the conservative Supreme Court justice. Six of the nine justices currently serving on the US Supreme Court, including newest member Brett Kavanaugh, attended the White House ceremony....."

Their wall crumbled.

"Stacey Abrams says she won’t win Georgia race, but also plans a lawsuit" by Bill Barrow and Kate Brumback Associated Press  November 16, 2018

ATLANTA — Democrat Stacey Abrams ended 10 days of post-election drama in Georgia’s closely watched and even more closely contested race for governor Friday, acknowledging Republican Brian Kemp as the victor while defiantly refusing to concede to the man she blamed for ‘‘gross mismanagement’’ of a bitterly fought election.

Remember when Democrats filleted Trump for saying he wouldn't accept a loss?

The speech Abrams delivered at her campaign headquarters Friday evening marked the close of the 44-year-old attorney and former lawmaker’s unsuccessful attempt to make history as America’s first black woman governor. Since Election Day her campaign fought on, insisting efforts to suppress turnout had left thousands of ballots uncounted that otherwise could erode Kemp’s lead and force a runoff election.

Kemp, the 55-year-old businessman who oversaw the election as Georgia’s secretary of state, will keep the governor’s office in GOP hands as the state’s third Republican governor since Reconstruction. He responded to Abrams ending her campaign by calling for unity and praising his opponent’s ‘‘passion, hard work, and commitment to public service.’’ 

Took the high road, did he?

The kind words came just days after Kemp’s campaign spokesman derided Abrams’ efforts to have contested ballots counted as a ‘‘disgrace to democracy.’’

After going low.

Abrams made no such retreat from her criticisms of Kemp, saying she refused ‘‘to say nice things and accept my fate.’’ Instead, she announced plans to file a federal lawsuit to challenge the way Georgia’s elections are run. She accused Kemp of using the secretary of state’s office to aggressively purge the rolls of inactive voters, enforce an ‘‘exact match’’ policy for checking voters’ identities that left thousands of registrations in limbo and other measures to tile the outcome in his favor.

‘‘Let’s be clear: This is not a speech of concession,’’ Abrams said. ‘‘Because concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true, or proper. As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede that.’’

The race grabbed the attention of the nation, with Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey campaigning for Abrams in the final days, and President Trump holding a rally for Kemp.

Unofficial returns showed Kemp ahead by roughly 60,000 votes out of nearly 4 million cast on Nov. 6. Kemp declared himself governor-elect the next day and stepped down as Georgia’s secretary of state, although thousands of absentee and provisional ballots remained uncounted.

Abrams, meanwhile, sent volunteers across the state in search of voters whose ballots were rejected. She filed suit in federal court to force county elections boards to count absentee ballots with incorrect birthdates. Her campaign even planned for possible litigation to challenge the election’s certified outcome.

They just couldn't find enough ballots to fill out.

Abrams didn’t take that route. She said she had concluded ‘‘the law currently allows no further viable remedy.’’ Instead, she said she would fight to restore integrity to Georgia’s election system in a new initiative called Fair Fight Georgia.

That is what this is all about: changing election laws making it easier for Democrats to steal elections.

‘‘In the coming days, we will be filing a major federal lawsuit against the state of Georgia for the gross mismanagement of this election and to protect future elections from unconstitutional actions,’’ Abrams said, though she gave no details.

Kemp tried to move past the contentious campaign even if his opponent wasn’t willing.

‘‘The election is over and hardworking Georgians are ready to move forward,’’ he said. ‘‘We can no longer dwell on the divisive politics of the past but must focus on Georgia’s bright and promising future.’’

The pre$$ will do that for you.

Kemp had been secretary of state since 2010. He was backed by and had embraced Trump as he tried to maintain GOP dominance in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat to the governor’s mansion since 1998.

Kemp stormed to the GOP nomination with ads featuring everything from the candidate cranking a chain saw and jokingly pointing a gun toward a teen male suitor of his daughter, to Kemp’s offer to ‘‘round up criminal illegals’’ himself in his pickup truck. He’s promised a tax cut and teacher pay raises and pledged to continue Georgia’s refusal to expand Medicaid insurance under President Obama’s 2010 health care overhaul.

Abrams’ campaign sparked huge energy across the state and she became a national Democratic star. Election turnout among both sides’ energized bases nearly equaled that of the 2016 presidential vote.

And yet Kemp barely won?

Aides close to Abrams said that since the election she had been wrestling with competing priorities: She wanted to advance her assertions that Georgia’s elections process — which Kemp managed as secretary of state — makes it too hard for some citizens to vote, but she also recognized that a protracted legal fight would harm that cause and potentially her political future.

The sore loser charge that has made everyone from Nixon to Kerry to concede?

Kemp’s victory is an important marker for Republicans ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Kemp’s narrow margin already suggests that Georgia, a state Trump won by 5 percentage points in 2016, could be a genuine battleground in two years. Trump bet big on Kemp, endorsing him ahead of Kemp’s Republican primary runoff and campaigning for him the weekend prior to the Nov. 6 election. Now, Trump will be able to return with an incumbent governor as he seeks a second term.

Abrams’ political future is less certain. She made believers of old-guard Democrats in Georgia who didn’t think a black woman could compete in a general election, and she emerged as the party’s clear leader, but the party also has plenty of other ambitious politicians who will want to take advantage of the path that Abrams’ has charted. The next big shot for Democrats is a 2020 Senate race with Republican David Perdue making his first reelection attempt.

All about changing election laws so Democrats can steal that Senate seat in 2020 and turn its electoral votes blue.

--more--"

They are going to go to ranked-choice voting like in Maine.

Related:

"I’ve joined with an international group from across the ideological spectrum in launching the Renew Democracy Initiative. Founders and supporters include acclaimed writer Mario Vargas Llosa, world chess champion Gary Kasparov, Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Tribe, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, human rights activist Natan Sharansky, African-American studies scholar Henry Louis Gates, historian Jon Meacham, and Washington Post columnists Max Boot and Ann Applebaum. The group’s purpose is to unite the center-left and center-right in opposition to the forces of autocracy, hatred, tribalism, and unreason that threaten liberal democracy worldwide — the dystopia personified, but hardly originated, by Donald Trump. Our mission statement says, we “are still joined by a broad set of common values, including respect for free speech and dissent, a belief in the benefits of international trade and immigration, respect for law and procedural legitimacy, a suspicion of cults of personality, and understanding that free societies require protection from authoritarians promising easy fixes to complex problems.” Equally fundamental, we believe in compromise, civility, diversity, mutual respect, and a politics which appeals to the best in us. Only through such values can America renew its sense of purpose and Americans recover our sense of common citizenship. We hope you’ll consider joining us....."

And if not? 

Did you see the PNACers in there?

{@@##$$%%^^&&}

"Baker calls state’s opioid addiction ‘a relentless foe’" by Felice J. Freyer and Matt Stout Globe Staff  November 17, 2018

During his 20-minute talk Friday at a forum on the opioid crisis hosted by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, Governor Charlie Baker emphasized the far-reaching nature of the crisis, noting that it undoubtedly affects the business leaders attending the event.

They actually quantified it for them in terms of lo$t productivity.

“To all the employers in the room, if you think that there aren’t people in your company who are dealing with this issue, if you have more than 20 people working for you, you’re wrong,” he said. “Just don’t think about this in terms of the people who are actually directly dealing with their own addiction. Because this affects husbands and wives and brothers and sisters and sons and daughters and neighbors and co-workers.”

Great time to be opening pot shops, huh?

--more--"

Related:

Michael Dukakis rode around in a rusty Hudson to drum up support for the North-South Rail Link

No bonus — yet — for MBTA general manager

He is eligible for a bonus of up to $32,000, on top of his $320,000 yearly salary.

Now if only the trains would run on time.

"Wall Street capped a day of volatile trading with a late-afternoon buying spree that sent U.S. stock indexes to a mostly higher finish Friday. Large retailers and media and communications companies were the laggards....."

The rig job that is the market bid itself up late Friday because a loss would have ruined their weekend.

Stan Lee helped trap us in eternal adolescence

Stan Lee knew representation was a modern marvel

Stan Lee, colorful catalyst for comic-book industry’s rise, dies at 95

The Globe has kind of become a comic book, when you think about it.

Caroline Rose Hunt, 95; turned inheritance into vast wealth

William Goldman, screenwriting star and Hollywood skeptic, dies at 87

{@@##$$%%^^&&}

Speaking of deaths:

"Khmer Rouge’s slaughter in Cambodia is ruled a genocide" by Hannah Beech   November 16, 2018

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — On Friday morning — four decades after a total of at least 1.7 million people, a fifth of Cambodia’s population, were culled by execution, overwork, disease, and famine — an international tribunal for the first time declared that the Khmer Rouge committed genocide against the Muslim Cham minority and ethnic Vietnamese.

The panel also issued guilty verdicts against the two most senior surviving members of the regime, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, now 92 and 87 respectively.

In dry legal prose that did not camouflage the violent class struggle waged by the Khmer Rouge, the verdict repeated certain words: murder, extermination, enslavement, imprisonment, torture, persecution on political grounds, and other inhumane acts against human dignity.

Detailed instances of forced labor, such as the building of dams and dikes at the threat of death, were enumerated, along with forms of torture ranging from suffocation by plastic bags to the extraction of toenails and fingernails.

For some, the verdict felt like a marginal footnote to a murderous history that has made Cambodia a byword for genocidal mania. Still, a verdict of genocide in Cambodia, no matter how delayed or limited in scope, carries implications for future prosecutions of crimes against humanity, such as in the cases of Sudan or Myanmar.

Oh, for a moment there I thought we were going to have the coterie of western war-criminal leaders charged, from Bush and Bliar to the various Israeli cabinets and so on.

“We need to show the world that even if it takes a long time, we can deliver justice,” said Ly Sok Kheang, the director of the Anlong Veng Peace Center and a researcher in peace and reconciliation efforts.

Why must we wait that long in this day and age?

For more than a decade, the UN-backed tribunal, called the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, has sifted through hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, called hundreds of witnesses, and heard in exhaustive detail how the Khmer Rouge ran its killing fields.

The entire effort has cost more than $300 million. 

All worth it.

Yet the court has convicted just three senior Khmer Rouge leaders of crimes against humanity: Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, and Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, who commanded a prison camp where at least 12,000 people were tortured and ordered to their deaths.

Only five top Khmer Rouge leaders have been arrested and put on trial, but as the court’s deliberations dragged on, the other two elderly defendants died.

Is that why they wait so long?

With Friday’s judgment, Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia has made clear he would prefer the tribunal to cease its high-profile work, but others would like trials to extend to many lower-ranking officials who are believed to have carried out some of the Khmer Rouge’s most horrific crimes.

I say start at the top.

Hun Sen, a onetime Khmer Rouge cadre who has ruled Cambodia for more than three decades, had opposed the formation of the tribunal in the first place. Rather than put Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea on trial, he said in 1998, they should be greeted with “bouquets of flowers, not with prisons and handcuffs.”

“This trial has frequently been a disgrace and a farce,” said Sophal Ear, a professor of diplomacy and world affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles, whose family fled the Khmer Rouge. “The message is that you can be held to account, if you live long enough.”

Khieu Samphan, head of state during most of the Khmer Rouge years, and Nuon Chea, Pol Pot’s aide-de-camp and chief political strategist, were arrested in 2007, after having spent years living freely in the country’s north.

When handed life sentences in 2014 at an earlier trial for other crimes against humanity, both men denied responsibility for the regime’s brutality, even though they were among its highest leaders.

I'm thinking Yemen.

Friday’s genocide conviction comes more than 40 years after the Khmer Rouge imposed its reign of terror on Cambodia. In 1975, Pol Pot and his communist forces marched into Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, and declared it “Year Zero.”

The aim was a classless agrarian society. People were executed for the slightest of crimes: wearing glasses, speaking French, or liking ballet.....

Yeah, somehow leftist utopias end up that way.

--more--"

Related:

"Cambodia election poses challenge for West" Washington Post   July 31, 2018

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The party of Cambodian strongman Hun Sen is likely to take every available seat in Parliament after Sunday’s election, a spokesman said Monday, predictably cementing one-party rule in a vote widely dismissed as illegitimate.

Sok Eysan, the spokesman for Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party, said the country would move forward ‘‘under the umbrella of peace and political stability.’’

Although 20 parties contested the election, the only one with the popularity and organization to mount a real challenge, the Cambodian National Rescue Party, was dissolved last year by the Supreme Court.

The CNRP said that following the ‘‘sham election . . . what was left of a democracy in name only has been replaced with an outright dictatorship.’’

The challenge now for Western governments that have backed Cambodia’s experiment in liberal multiparty democracy over the last quarter century is to figure out how best to respond without alienating the country, punishing its poorest, or pushing it toward China.

The White House said Cambodia’s elections ‘‘were neither free nor fair and failed to represent the will of the Cambodian people,’’ and warned that it could expand visa restrictions against those who have undermined democracy.

--more--"

Well, you can see what it's all about.

Also see:

Head of disbanded Cambodian opposition party denied bail

Cambodia opposition leader released from jail

They are behaving like North Korea, aren't they?

"North Korea deports American even as it boasts of new weapon" by Associated Press  November 17, 2018

SEOUL — North Korea on Friday said it will deport an American citizen it detained for illegal entrance, an apparent concession to the United States that came even as it announced the test of a newly developed but unspecified ‘‘ultramodern’’ weapon that will be seen as a pressuring tactic by Washington.

The two whiplash announcements, which seemed aimed at both appeasing and annoying Washington, suggest North Korea wants to keep alive dialogue with the United States even as it struggles to express its frustration at stalled nuclear diplomacy.

North Korea in the past has held arrested American citizens for an extended period before high-profile US figures traveled to Pyongyang to secure their freedom. Last year, American university student Otto Warmbier died days after he was released in a coma from North Korea after 17 months in captivity.

On Friday, the Korean Central News Agency said Bruce Byron Lowrance, an American, was detained on Oct. 16 for illegally entering the country from China. It said he told investigators that he was under the ‘‘manipulation’’ of the US Central Intelligence Agency. It was not clear if the North’s spelling of the man’s name was correct, and past reports from Pyongyang have contained incorrect spellings.

In any case, he is undoubtedly an agent.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday expressed appreciation for the cooperation of North Korea and the embassy of Sweden, which handles consular issues for US citizens in North Korea, ‘‘in facilitating the release of an American citizen.’’ His brief statement provided no further details.

They are such jewels.

A short KCNA dispatch said North Korea decided to deport the American but did not say why and when.

The North’s decision matches its general push for engagement and diplomacy with the United States this year after a string of weapons tests in 2017 — and a furious US response — had some fearing war on the Korean Peninsula.

In May, North Korea released three American detainees in a good-will gesture weeks ahead of leader Kim Jong Un’s June 12 summit with President Trump in Singapore. The three Americans returned home on a flight with Pompeo. Weeks after the summit, North Korea returned the remains of dozens of presumed US soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War.

The United States, South Korea, and others have previously accused North Korea of using foreign detainees to wrest diplomatic concessions.

Some foreigners have said after their release that their declarations of guilt had been coerced while in North Korean custody. Warmbier and other previous American detainees in the North were imprisoned over a variety of alleged crimes, including subversion, anti-state activities, and spying.

Like the confessions of KSM and others the U.S. has tortured?

The latest detained American is probably a man that South Korea deported last year, according to South Korean police.

In November 2017, a 58-year-old man from Louisiana was caught in South Korea after spending two nights in the woods in a civilian-restricted area near the border with North Korea. The name written in his passport was Lowrance Bruce Byron, said police officers at Gyeonggi Bukbu Provincial Police Agency.

That is CIA agent activity!

Before his deportation, the man told interrogators that he ‘‘knows lots of people in the Trump administration so that he wants to work as a bridge between the United States and North Korea to help improve their ties worsened by Warmbier’s death,’’ said one of the police officers who investigated the man. He requested anonymity citing department rules.

Earlier Friday, KCNA said Kim observed the successful test of an unspecified ‘‘newly developed ultramodern tactical weapon,’’ though it didn’t describe what the weapon was.

It didn’t appear to be a test of a nuclear device or a long-range missile with the potential to target the United States. A string of such tests last year resulted in unusually high tension before the North turned to engagement and diplomacy.

Still, any mention of weapons testing could influence the direction of stalled diplomatic efforts spearheaded by Washington and aimed at ridding the North of its nuclear weapons.

Or running A1 stories regarding secret missiles bases could, too.

Experts say the weapon test was probably an expression of anger by North Korea at US-led international sanctions and ongoing small-scale military drills between South Korea and the United States. It’s the first publicly known field inspection of a weapons test by Kim since he observed the testing of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile in November of last year, according to South Korea’s Unification Ministry. 

If it even happened at all.

‘‘It’s North Korea-style coercive diplomacy. North Korea is saying ‘If you don’t listen to us, you will face political burdens,’ ’’ said analyst Shin Beomchul of Seoul’s Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

Must have learned it from the U.S.!!

Earlier this month, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry warned it might bring back its policy of bolstering its nuclear arsenal if it doesn’t receive sanctions relief.

Well, we will just have to live with it.

--more--"

"American missing in Mexico was killed by drug cartel member, officials say" by Megan Specia   November 16, 2018

An American teacher whose baffling disappearance in Mexico last month set off a social media campaign to solicit information was killed by a drug cartel member, Mexican authorities said Thursday.

The teacher, Patrick Braxton-Andrew, 34, went for a walk on Oct. 28 outside the remote town of Urique, in Mexico’s northern state of Chihuahua, and never returned.

Authorities say that Braxton-Andrew was killed that day by José Noriel Iran Gil, a member of the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel, which is active in much of the country, according to a Facebook post on the official page of Javier Corral Jurado, the governor of Chihuahua state.

“Under the progress in the investigation, I can say that it was a cowardly and brutal murder, of a totally innocent person, a clean man whose misfortune was to cross paths with this rascal,” Corral wrote Thursday.

Authorities said they are searching for the killer, but have not revealed how they determined Braxton-Andrew had been murdered. His body has not been found.

Corral has vowed to bring justice to his family and lauded him as an “explorer who loved Mexico and its people.”

The Sinaloa cartel, one of Mexico’s most powerful drug-trafficking rings, is active in many parts of the country’s north, exerting influence and control through violence, kidnapping, and targeted killings.

The U.S. struck a deal with them.

Although the town of Urique is not saturated by tourists, it is known as a destination for the famed El Chepe train, which passes through the stunning natural landscape of the Copper Canyon.

Braxton-Andrew, who was from Davidson, N.C., was an algebra and Spanish teacher and had backpacked extensively throughout Latin America.

Fluent in Spanish, he had been traveling alone in northern Mexico on a break from his job as a part-time teacher in a private school in North Carolina. He had traveled by train on El Chepe and gone hiking alone in the Urique area. He had planned to meet up with his brother in Mexico City later in the month, his family said in a statement. When he failed to do so on Oct. 30, family members knew something was wrong, they wrote on a dedicated Facebook page.

Don't ever travel alone in Mexico. Be part of a caravan instead.

--more--"

"Early elections look likely in Israel with Netanyahu’s coalition on verge of collapse" by Loveday Morris and Ruth Eglash Washington Post  November 16, 2018

JERUSALEM — The right-wing coalition of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, edged nearer to collapse Friday as officials close to the country’s education minister said that he saw no point in continuing with the current government, making early elections look increasingly inevitable.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, which holds eight seats in Israel’s parliament, had demanded that he be appointed defense minister after the surprise resignation of Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday in protest over a cease-fire agreement with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza, but a meeting between Bennett and Netanyahu ended with no agreement Friday. An official close to Bennett, whose party holds three Cabinet posts, said that it had become clear that ‘‘there was a need to go to elections as soon as possible.’’

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing deliberations, cited the decision of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to veto Bennett’s taking over the role.

Analysts have long speculated that Netanayhu would call early elections to win a new mandate as allegations of corruption and the potential for indictments drew close. However, his popularity has taken a blow in recent days because of what has been seen as a soft stance toward Gaza. Israelis from border communities near the territory demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Thursday night, expressing anger over the cease-fire with Hamas, which came after militant factions in the Palestinian enclave fired more than 450 rockets toward Israel in the worst bout of cross-border violence since the 2014 war.

Some 74 percent of Israelis are dissatisfied with Netanyahu’s handling of Gaza, according to a snap-poll by Israel Television News. The poll suggests that Netanyahu’s Likud would win the most seats if elections were held today, but would drop to 29 seats from its current 32.

--more--"

So when is the invasion?

Related:

"Claus Dalsborg, who bought the baubles earlier this year, says he understands why they are being removed from the site. Dalsborg said the baubles, featuring a swastika and the symbols of Nazi Germany’s notorious Waffen-SS, ‘‘were so grotesque that I had to buy them’’ when he found them at a flea market....."

They ‘‘have now chosen to exclude Nazi items’’ because they ‘‘may seem offensive.’’

Also see:

"Drunk man shouts 'Heil Hitler, Heil Trump,' does Nazi salute during Baltimore performance of 'Fiddler on the Roof'" by Christina Tkacik, Sarah Meehan and Lillian Reed, The Baltimore Sun  |  November 17, 2018

A man shouting “Heil Hitler, Heil Trump” during a performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” in Baltimore smelled of alcohol and told police he was motivated by his hatred of President Donald Trump.

Anthony M. Derlunas, 58, told an officer he “had been drinking heavily throughout the night” before the outburst at the Hippodrome Theatre on Wednesday night, according to a police report, but before details of the police report became public in the early evening, the incident rattled many already anxious about a recent spike in anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Maryland and nationwide.

Audience member Rich Scherr said the outburst, which happened during intermission, sparked fears of a shooting like the one in a Pittsburgh synagogue last month that killed 11 people.

“People started running,” Scherr said. “I’ll be honest, I was waiting to hear a gunshot. I thought, ‘Here we go.’”

Samit Verma was seated in the balcony when he heard shouting and saw a man holding his hand straight up in a Nazi salute, he said in an email Thursday. Ushers rushed over to the man while audience members quickly made their way out of the theater and into the hall, Verma said.

“The people around me appeared to be quite shaken by the incident,” Verma said in the email. “There were some people in tears.”

According to the report, Derlunas said that the final scene of the play before intermission had reminded him of his hatred for the president, which is why he shouted. He was confused when people around him became angry. The officer deduced “that his intention was to express his dislike for President Donald Trump.”

Excuse me. I need a drink if I'm going to buy this deliberately staged provocation and rather lame covert story.

Baltimore Police were called and security escorted Derlunas out a few minutes later, a police spokeswoman said, and the show continued.

According to the police report, Derlunas was “calm and compliant” during the interaction and returned to a hotel where he was staying with his girlfriend in the area. Witnesses told The Baltimore Sun that the audience applauded as the man was removed.

Police issued a stop ticket to the man, but he was not arrested, police said. A stop ticket is the least severe measure police can take when responding to a complaint, followed by citations and arrests. Stop tickets do not carry any fines or other penalties and do not require follow-up from the recipient.

Oh, STINK!

“As reprehensible as those words are, they are considered protected free speech because nobody was directly threatened,” police spokesman Matt Jablow said in an email.

Now was a report filed because I heard there wasn't one.

Derlunas, who could not be reached for comment, was permanently banned from the Hippodrome. He has no record of criminal violence.

“More should have been done,” said Dana Vickers Shelley, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.

While such speech is protected under the First Amendment, the man could easily have been charged with disorderly conduct for the act of disrupting the play, Shelley said. Instead, he was given, she said, “what sounds like a ticket for jaywalking — or less.”

“Fiddler” tells the story of a Jewish family as it faces persecution in tsarist Russia. It’s based on “Tevye the Dairyman,” a series of fictional stories by author Sholem Aleichem, originally written in Yiddish. The play opened Tuesday and runs through Sunday in Baltimore.

The outburst occurred during intermission, immediately following a scene that depicts a wedding interrupted by a pogrom — an attack on Jewish people which can range from destruction of homes or property to outright massacre.

Well, Trump is far from that. He's supporting Zionist Jews as they do that to Palestinians.

For some, it was an eerie moment of life imitating art. Audience member Theodore Casser said the incident made the following act all the more poignant for him as a person of Jewish faith.

“It is a story inherently about Jews being made not to feel welcome, and here is this bozo who decided to express that he felt we should not be welcome here either,” Casser said.

Cue the frikkin' violins!

The Pittsburgh shooting remains fresh on the minds of many. Witnesses there said the gunman shouted “All Jews must die,” before opening fire.

It was a staged and scripted crisis drill that DHS filmed back in April, but it does advance the endless narrative of Jewish victimhood.

Scherr, 49, said it was hard to focus on the play after the outburst.

“My heart was just racing,” he said. “I didn’t even really pay attention to the second act.”

In a statement, Hippodrome officials apologized to patrons and said they would not tolerate such behavior. They emphasized that a full team of security is always on-site during live performances to check bags and screen patrons, as well as monitor cameras throughout the venue.

Welcome to the surveillance society.

“Our venue has a proud tradition of providing shared experiences to people from all walks of life, right in the heart of this wonderfully diverse city, and we intend to continue that tradition in the spirit of bringing people together, not dividing them,” the Hippodrome’s statement said.

Uniformed police will be stationed at the Hippodrome for the remaining “Fiddler” shows through Sunday, Jablow said. Their presence was not requested by the theater, he said.

Jablow also said police did a background check on the man who shouted the salute, and found that he wasn’t a threat to public safety. Police are not monitoring him further, he said.

Hippodrome President Ron Legler declined to comment.

A spokesman for the “Fiddler” company said the incident was an “an unfortunate and isolated event” in an email Friday.

PFFFFT!

“The safety of our company and audience members is always a top priority and every local venue we work with has measures in place to ensure the safety of all theatergoers, staff members and performers,” spokesman Mahaley Jacobs said in the email. “The performances will go on as scheduled and we look forward to bringing this remarkable production to audiences across the country.”

Howard Libit, executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council, said the incident was concerning to the Jewish community, and he understood why theatergoers worried the outburst could have signaled the start of a more violent episode.

“We’re all very sensitive and concerned in the wake of the recent shootings,” Libit said. “Shouting that seems to be the equivalent of shouting ‘fire’ in a theater, or shouting ‘bomb.’”
Pittsburgh shooting comes amid sharp rise in reported anti-Jewish incidents in Maryland, across U.S.

You just said it was an unfortunate and isolated event!!

Emily Wilson has tickets for an upcoming performance of “Fiddler” this weekend. News of the incident alarmed her but would not deter her from attending, she said Thursday.

After the show concludes in Baltimore, the company is scheduled to head to Pittsburgh for performances Nov. 20-25 at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts.

Are you kidding? 

Pittsburgh is their next stop? 

This is all a little too convenient, sorry!

The United States has seen a recent surge in anti-Jewish incidents, including the October shooting in Pittsburgh.

Anti-Jewish incidents reported to police in Maryland jumped 47 percent in 2017 to 78 incidents, according to a Baltimore Sun review of records. That was amid a 35 percent increase of overall hate or bias incidents reported to police statewide last year.

Earlier Wednesday, a swastika and anti-black graffiti were found in a bathroom at Goucher College in Towson.

It's an epidemic!

--more--"

He has since apologized, and it shows where we are as a country.

FLASHBACK:

Man shouts ‘Heil Hitler, Heil Trump’ during ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ show in Baltimore

How do we know it is another complete fake and fraud to push the narrative?

The theater scare comes a few weeks after a gunman fatally shot 11 people inside a Pittsburgh synagogue, the offending theatergoer was quietly escorted out of the Baltimore theater by security, and the show continued without incident after the intermission ended even though ‘‘everyone was shaken up’’ in the audience for the remainder of the night.

A Baltimore police spokeswoman, Det. Chakia Fennoy, said officers did respond to the Hippodrome at 9:40 p.m. Wednesday, but no arrest was made and no report was written. ‘‘The man just left on his own,’’ she said. When asked why the police response ended there, Fennoy said she didn’t have more details to share.

There you go. 

It was staged event! 

No arrest made, no report even written?!!!?

So was he escorted or did he leave on his own? 

You know, the first rule of a false flag and cover story is consistency.

Saturday's Suspensions

"Boston schools agree to change policies on suspensions" by James Vaznis Globe Staff  November 17, 2018

The Boston school system has agreed to revamp its school suspension practices as part of a settlement of a case alleging that school employees illegally suspended students and in some cases threatened to notify police or child welfare investigators if parents could not immediately pick up misbehaving children.

Among the changes: The system will end the practice of suspending kindergartners, first-graders, and second-graders, and stop suspending older students for minor offenses.

The lawsuit, which was filed last year in Suffolk Superior Court, centered on three students of color who were allegedly involved in relatively minor discipline incidents that the schools nevertheless treated as urgent crises.

The settlement comes as education and social justice advocates in Massachusetts and across the nation have been raising concerns that over-reliance on suspensions is potentially putting too many students on a path to the criminal justice system.

They are being conditioned for the total surveillance society in so many ways.

Suspensions can cause students to fall behind academically. It also provides them with unsupervised time when they can get in trouble, fueling what advocates contend is a school-to-prison pipeline that disproportionately affects students of color and those with disabilities, who experience higher rates of suspensions than their peers.

Prisons have become an indu$try in the land of the free.

“We need to solve this problem and not just remove kids from school,” said Elizabeth McIntyre, an attorney for Greater Boston Legal Services, which represented the parents as part of its School to Prison Pipeline Intervention Project.....

--more--"

Just wait until you get to college:

"Newbury College suspends student charged with indecent assault" by Michael Levenson Globe Staff  November 17, 2018

A Newbury College student has been suspended indefinitely after he was charged with groping three female students.

The student, Wesley Peters, 19, pleaded not guilty to three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 during his arraignment Thursday in Brookline District Court.

He was released on $900 cash bail, and Judge Mary Dacey White ordered Peters to stay away from the alleged victims and from Newbury College, a small liberal arts school with 620 undergraduates in Brookline.

White also ordered that the victims’ names be removed from police reports, which detail allegations that Peters groped the women’s buttocks or breasts on separate occasions over the past month.

“The student has been suspended indefinitely by the college pending the adjudication of the charges,” Newbury College said in a statement. “The safety and well-being of our students is the top priority of Newbury. We encourage all students to report any kind of actions that make them feel uncomfortable.”

Peters’ mother, Taneesa Peters, said she believes the accusations are racially motivated.

Her son is black and has no criminal record, and the three alleged victims are white, she said.

“The only thing I can think of is you don’t like the color of his skin,” she said Friday, adding that eight of her son’s friends came to court to show their support for him during his arraignment. “Everyone that came said he’s nice, polite, he doesn’t bother anyone.”

The Norfolk District Attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the case, declined to comment.

Derrik Jones, Peters’s roommate, said he was present during one of the alleged assaults, in a student dorm, and can attest that it did not happen.

“He would never do that to anyone,” Jones said.

Police say the other two alleged assaults took place while Peters was alone with the victims in their dorm rooms.

In a police report, the officers who interviewed Peters said he denied groping the women’s breasts or buttocks, but admitted touching their thighs and hips.

Presumption of innocence is a cornerstone of American jurisprudence — that’s for all defendants, for every case,” Peters’ attorney, Douglas T. Babcock, said Friday. “It’s a fundamental, core concept of our judicial system, and cannot be thrown away or discarded, no matter what the political climate may be.”

Yeah, NOW PROVE IT!

Peters has a pre-trial hearing scheduled for Dec. 17.

--more--"

You gotta believe the women, right?

"Charges dropped against man accused of killing gas station attendant" by Travis Andersen Globe Staff  November 16, 2018

Suffolk County prosecutors Friday dropped murder and weapons charges against a young man who was arrested last month for allegedly killing a 67-year-old gas station attendant in Dorchester.

I $en$e a law$uit.

District Attorney John Pappas’s office said in a statement that the government “filed paperwork withdrawing the murder case against” Kevin Dante Williams Jr., 21. He was initially held without bail during his Oct. 9 arraignment in connection with the slaying of Jose Luis Phinn Williams.

Jose Williams, who wasn’t related to Kevin Williams, was gunned down shortly after 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 6 during a botched robbery inside Fabian Gas Station at 528 Washington St.

On Friday, Pappas’s office said prosecutors determined on Nov. 9 that “the totality of facts did not require Williams’ pre-trial detention, and they affirmatively filed a motion to release him on his own recognizance. Today, after a week of additional investigation that included analysis of expedited forensic testing, they concluded that the evidence was insufficient to establish guilt or innocence and filed a nolle prosequi — a legal document withdrawing the charges.”

In a statement, Boston Police Commissioner William G. Gross said he agreed with Pappas’s decision to withdraw the charges against Williams.

“The Boston Police Department continues to work closely with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office to solve this case and hold those responsible accountable for their actions,” said Gross.

Police are encouraging anyone with information related to the slaying to call the department’s homicide detectives.

Earlier Friday, Kevin Williams’s mother, Regina Hunter, in a statement sharply criticized the investigation that ensnared her son. “There is an extreme injustice when the city has rushed to judgment in identifying my son as the suspect, and he has been forced to spend the last five weeks of his life in jail,” Hunter said, but prosecutors maintained that police had good reason to initially take Kevin Williams into custody.

Then they are off the hook, according to the Supreme Court.

The arrest, Pappas’s office said, “was supported by a detailed description of the assailant by an independent percipient witness at the scene; a positive identification of Williams as the gunman; and corroborating video footage — circumstances that clearly supported probable cause for the initial charges.”

Prosecutors said that in the weeks that followed, detectives continued gathering evidence and prosecutors “fought in court to obtain potentially exculpatory evidence from Williams’ attorney and were forced to send grand jury subpoenas in order to obtain alibi testimony.”

Kevin Williams’s lawyer, Aviva Jeruchim, scoffed at the notion that she obstructed the government’s efforts to locate evidence beneficial to her client.

“I did have the cell phone and access to its contents,” Jeruchim said in an e-mail. “The contents were completely exculpatory. Since the prosecution has no right to troll my client’s cell phone just because they want to, I offered to preview the cell phone data from 10/6 in exchange for a bail concession with terms at the pleasure of the Commonwealth so that my client could be released, particularly since the case was incredibly weak.”

Instead, Jeruchim wrote, “the Commonwealth rejected this reasonable offer and decided to force the issue with the court. They got the same information that I would have given them with more delay. They didn’t need the contents of my client’s cell phone to confirm that they had no case against my client.”

Oh, the heavy hand of the law again. 

In deep-blue Ma$$achu$etts of all places!

Last month, Jeruchim said during the arraignment that Kevin Williams, who had no prior record, and his family were preparing to move at the time of the murder, and that he had “absolutely no incentive to commit these offenses, and in fact did not.”

In other words, no motive.

A police report filed in the case said Kevin Williams was “observed on Homeland Security cameras coming from the area of Washington Street after the shooting prior to his stop by police,” and prosecutors said a witness later identified him as the killer.

The report said that in addition to the eyewitness identification, investigators reviewed video footage from the crime scene, and “the clothing was compared and matched to the suspect even depicting ‘Hilfiger’ underwear worn by [Kevin] Williams and consistent with the video,” but Kevin Williams’s family pushed back against the identification process in the statement released earlier Friday.

“Although accounts seem to indicate that the suspect wore a mask and the witness identification was based on clothing commonly wore by many young men in the community, as well as the suspect’s height, shape and complexion, the Boston Police profiled Kevin as their suspect,” the statement said. “Kevin did not have a mask, was not armed, and was totally surprised when the unmarked car stopped him.”

I hate to say it, but it's the Boston Police version of they all look the same! 

Coming from the very same people who are screaming racism and diversity at you!

In a court filing Friday requesting that the charges be dropped, Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Jennifer J. Hickman wrote that the initial probe was thorough.

“The Commonwealth through the Grand Jury has conducted an extensive investigation, including a review of electronic data, phone records, witness interviews, grand jury testimony and review of numerous surveillance videos,” Hickman wrote. “Upon a thorough review of the evidence, at this time the Commonwealth asserts that it is unable to meet its burden to prove the pending charges beyond a reasonable doubt and therefore files a Nolle Prosequi at this time.”

They aren't really admitting to any wrongdoing, are they?

Of course, if they do, it's $ettlement time!

Authorities are continuing to investigate the murder, according to Pappas.

“We don’t force the evidence to fit the case,” Pappas said in a statement. “We follow the facts wherever they lead, and today they led us to this decision. The investigation remains open, it remains active, and it remains a priority for us.”

Do they ever get tired of shoveling sh**?

Jeruchim, meanwhile, said Kevin Williams was devastated by his time in custody.

“My client, a twenty-one-year-old young man with no record, a job and life filled with promises was labeled a murderer and incarcerated for five weeks, the Jose Williams family was let down and betrayed, and a killer is still at large in our community,” Jeruchim wrote. “I don’t call that justice. As a community, we deserve better.”

He is at least owed some money.

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Just don't let him back out on the street:

"Sharon parents, 3 kids terrorized by armed man inside their home" by Emily Sweeney and John R. Ellement Globe Staff  November 16, 2018

SHARON — A Sharon family was subjected to a bizarre, violent attack inside their home late Thursday night by a man who, at one point, rammed a knife into the door of a closet where some family members had taken refuge, Sharon police said.

At another point in the attack, one of the family’s three terrified children asked her mother, “Am I going to be OK?” The mother, her voice quavering, said, “Yes, you’re going to be totally OK,” according to a wrenching audio of the 911 call that officials released Friday.

“We are not sure why this guy entered the house,’’ Sharon Deputy Police Chief Donald Brewer said. “It was a very violent encounter, and the kids are traumatized. ... He was just ranting and raving. It doesn’t make sense.”

I figure mental illness or drug abuse.

According to Brewer and a statement from the department, the mother and three children were inside the Billings Road home around 11:25 p.m. Thursday. The father had left to drive someone home. He returned to find the terrifying home invasion in progress, Brewer said.

The suspect, later identified as 39-year-old Ricardo Francis of Hyde Park, had been involved in a minor two-car crash near the driveway of the victims’ home. Francis allegedly made his way to the house and went inside, where he immediately started acting in a bizarre fashion, police said.

Francis was ordered held without bail at his arraignment Friday in Stoughton District Court and sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for a mental health evaluation. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf.

You don't want to get sent there.

Psychologist Karin Towers told the judge that during her brief meeting with Francis he appeared “bewildered” and did not seem to understand the charges that he is facing.

“He reported having no memory of what happened that led up to his arrest,” she said.

Towers said Francis did indicate several times during their brief meeting that “he just wanted to go home.”

“He doesn’t, in my opinion, seem to have an appreciation of the seriousness of this current situation,” she said.

She said Francis had been hospitalized briefly at McLean Hospital in June or July, but she did not know what diagnosis was made or treatment he received.

Police were still trying to develop some information about the chronology of events, Brewer said, but at one point, the mother tried to coax Francis into leaving with her, and she walked first out of the house, hoping he would follow. Francis instead locked the door behind her, leaving the mother outside and the children inside by themselves with Francis, Brewer said.

The mother ran away and left the children undefended?

At another point, Francis allegedly hit the mother in the head with a picture frame, a blow that required her to receive stitches at an area hospital. Brewer said the mother has returned home, and the family has asked for privacy as they try to cope with their ordeal.

The children and their father were not physically harmed, Brewer said.

Once outside the house, the mother apparently went to her car, where she called 911, according to Brewer and a recording of police dispatch by Broadcastify.com.

The mother frantically told the dispatcher, “There’s a man in the house,” according to the audio. “He started throwing things.”

The father returned from his trip and went inside the house, where he made contact with the three children. All four made their way to a closet in a second-floor bedroom, possibly a closet in the master suite, Brewer said.

“He was stabbing the door with a knife when the father barricaded himself and the kids in a closet,’’ Brewer said, adding that the knife was “really just a long pocket knife.”

Sharon Police Officer Richard Derry happened to be nearby and was at the house about 30 seconds after being dispatched, Brewer said. “He showed some determination,” Brewer said of Derry, who entered the house, gun drawn, by himself. “He went right in. His backup was probably 10 minutes away.”

At that point, Francis was in an upstairs bedroom and did not have the knife in his hands when Derry confronted him at gunpoint and took him into custody without further incident, Brewer said.

“He did a great job,’’ Brewer said of Derry. “I’m very proud of him.”

Francis is lucky he still alive.

Brewer said the violent incident was highly unusual for Sharon, a suburb where a large portion of the town is given over to conservation land. He said Francis lives in Hyde Park and it’s not clear why he would be on Billings Street at 11:30 p.m. during a snowstorm.

“It doesn’t make GPS sense,’’ he said, if Francis was trying to get back to Hyde Park. “This is a very odd and troubling story.”

Like everything else I read in the Globe.

--more--"

At least the family was rescued from the building.

Get you checked out at hospital:

"Man charged with killing mother in N.H. hospital poised to change his plea" by Travis Andersen Globe Staff  November 16, 2018

A former Rhode Island man charged with fatally shooting his 70-year-old mother last year in a New Hampshire hospital is about to change his plea, officials said.

Travis M. Frink, 50, who previously pleaded not guilty to murder charges for the September 2017 slaying of his mother, Pamela Ferriere, has a plea hearing scheduled for Tuesday in Grafton County Superior Court in Lancaster, N.H., according to court officials.

It wasn’t immediately clear what type of plea he’ll enter, or whether there’s a plea deal in place.

Frink allegedly shot his mother multiple times while she was laying in bed in the intensive care unit at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., on Sept. 12, 2017, prompting a lockdown at the facility that lasted for several hours.

Police converged on the hospital soon after the shooting and arrested Frink, who waived his Miranda rights and confessed to the killing during an interview with investigators, according to the filing.....

He tried to escape on a bike, and being left out of her will was his motive.

--more--"

Also see:

Son accused in fatal shooting of mother in N.H. intensive care unit

He asked for some time alone and then went nuts.