Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Globe's Good Night Kiss

Petty Officer Second Class Marissa Gaeta (left) greeted her partner, Petty Officer Third Class Citlalic Snell, yesterday.
Petty Officer Second Class Marissa Gaeta (left) greeted her partner, Petty Officer Third Class Citlalic Snell, yesterday. (BRIAN J. CLARK/THE VIRGINIAN PILOT VIA ASSOCIATED Press).


"Congress targets sex assaults in military; Measure demands Pentagon action" December 15, 2011|By Bobby Caina Calvan, Globe Staff 

WASHINGTON - Her experience is not unique. According to the Pentagon’s own studies, as many as one in every three women leaving military service said they were sexually assaulted while serving their country. The study estimates that the vast majority, 86 percent, of sexual assault victims remain silent.

Among civilians, 40 percent of sexual allegations lead to prosecutions; in the military, 8 percent are prosecuted, although recent studies suggest this number could be increasing....


"Sex-assault reports rise at military schools" by Associated Press / December 28, 2011 

The number of reported sexual assaults at the nation’s three major military academies rose in the latest academic year from one year earlier, according to a report released yesterday by the Pentagon. 


Time for me to kiss you goodnight, readers.

Globe Splits Hairs in New Hampshire

That's the Globe for you!

"Unaligned N.H. vote a test for Romney; Independents could change the momentum in GOP" by Sarah Schweitzer Globe Staff / December 27, 2011

FREEDOM, N.H.- Bill Sindoni, 59, a semiretired construction worker originally from Woburn and also an independent, said no one is offering what he would like to hear, which is a lift of taxes from everyone 65 and older.

“I’m not leaning toward anyone - but, well, maybe Ron Paul,’’ Sindoni said, echoing a common refrain among independents.

Paul fares better with independents in New Hampshire than with registered Republicans. According to the UNH Survey Center/Boston Globe poll, 25 percent of independents favor Paul, placing him in second place for them behind Romney....  

But he can't win the presidency, blah, blah, blah. Watching the

Andrew Smith, director of the UNH Survey Center, said independents are more likely to vote for a candidate like Paul because the man is viewed as an outsider to the mainstream Republican Party....

So how can they give Ron Paul a trim, huh?

In the end, though, independents’ ability to boost Paul may be limited because turnout among Democratic-leaning and unaligned independent voters in a Republican primary tends to be lower than among Republican-leaning independents, who now favor Romney.

Indeed, higher turnout among independents who lean toward the political party holding a primary helps explain why independent voters historically have voted the way of registered-party voters, Smith said.

An exception was 2000, when independent voters in the Democratic primary backed Bill Bradley while registered Democrats backed Al Gore, according to exit polls. On the Republican side that year, independents backed John McCain, as did registered Republicans.

“They helped make up the magnitude of McCain’s win, but they didn’t determine his win,’’ Smith said.

Yet other political observers note that it was just that - the magnitude of McCain’s win, delivered by independents - that elevated his candidacy.

“The New Hampshire primary is an expectation game. So in that sense the independents shaped the perception of what the totals meant,’’ said Linda Fowler, a Dartmouth College government professor.

Fowler pointed to the 1968 Democratic primary in which President Lyndon Johnson won, but only seven points ahead of Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota. Shortly thereafter, Johnson opted not to seek reelection.

If Romney pulled out a meager win, she said, “you could see Paul or Gingrich looking for crowing rights: ‘We came close to upsetting Romney on his home turf.’ ’’

Perhaps the biggest wild card among independents is their unreliability....

Should Paul take a convincing first place in the Iowa caucuses - where some polls have him first - the win could strengthen support among New Hampshire independents, particularly those already leaning toward him, said Dante Scala, a University of New Hampshire political science professor. 

Then Ron Paul must be denied Iowa.

If they voted for Paul in large enough numbers to vault him into second place, Gingrich would be pushed down to third, or perhaps fourth place - delivering a blow to him as he heads into the South Carolina primary.

“Then all the Republicans in South Carolina will say, ‘Gingrich is done and it’s either Romney or Paul, who I don’t like at all,’ ’’ Scala said. “Then it’s a big plus for Romney.’’  

The Mormon winning in conservative Christian South Carolina? 

And Gingrich is already done.

On the other hand, Smith pointed out that New Hampshire Republicans are more moderate than Iowa Republicans and have rarely followed the lead of the caucuses - doing so only twice in recent memory, in 1992, when George H.W. Bush won the New Hampshire primary after winning the caucuses and in 1976, when Gerald Ford won both....  

Meaning the vote is already rigged for Romney or Ron Paul and will fall flat.


"On candidates, N.H. evangelicals finding little unity; Many distrustful of Romney, wary of Gingrich history" by Shira Schoenberg  |  Globe Correspondent, December 28, 2011

David Ridge believes abortion is an “abomination’’ and gay marriage is “unnatural.’’ He votes Republican because “I believe in personal responsibility, accountability to the creator, and accountability to mankind.’’

The chiropractor and fundamentalist Christian from Keene, N.H., is a member of the “NewtHampshire Faithful’’ a multifaith coalition of supporters of former House speaker Newt Gingrich. “We’re needing someone that has true vision, integrity, and is a constitutionalist,’’ Ridge said.

But for every evangelical like Ridge, it seems there is another like Sue Englund, a retired garden center owner and social worker from Dunbarton, N.H., who likes former governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. “Gingrich has not exhibited admirable moral qualities,’’ Englund said, referring to the candidate’s past marital infidelity.

The 2012 presidential race is notable for the number of candidates actively appealing to fundamentalist voters — and the inability of voters to coalesce around any of them. The trend holds true in New Hampshire, which holds the nation’s first primary Jan. 10.

The top-polling candidates in New Hampshire are Gingrich, Romney, and Representative Ron Paul of Texas. But some evangelical Christians are distrustful of Romney’s Mormon faith or turned off by Gingrich’s personal history. The candidates who have talked most about faith — Texas Governor Rick Perry, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, and former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania — tend to fall short in other areas, such as electability. There is no one with the strong appeal to conservative evangelicals that former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, had in 2008.  

Related: Sunday Globe Special: Ron Paul's Crazy Christian Supporters

WTF, Globe?

“I don’t think there’s been a candidate that meets their ideal standard, of having a strong marriage, some sort of Christian background, and a conservative track record,’’ said the Rev. David Pinckney, pastor of the River of Grace Church in Concord.  

Ron Paul?

Faith-related issues are not as important in New Hampshire as in other early voting states. A 2008 Gallup poll ranked New Hampshire as the second-least religious state in the country.  

Fair enough.

About 11 percent of the population in New Hampshire and Vermont is affiliated with the evangelical Protestant tradition, compared with 26 percent nationally, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, whose data combine the two states. But those voters lean heavily Republican.

Polling by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center this fall found 17 to 20 percent of New Hampshire Republican primary voters consider themselves evangelical. Unlike most other New Hampshire voters, evangelicals often cite social issues, such as abortion or gay marriage, as major concerns.

Nationally and in New Hampshire, the conservative evangelical vote has generally mirrored the Republican electorate. But Pew Research Center polling found one exception — white evangelicals were slightly less likely to support Romney in the Republican primary.

If elected, Romney, a former Mormon stake president (a rank similar to a Catholic bishop), could be the first president also ordained as a religious leader, though President James Garfield was a preacher.

But the Pew poll found some evangelical voters are not comfortable with Romney’s Mormon faith, with a majority of evangelicals saying Mormonism is not a Christian religion.

Yet at the same time, evangelical voters have a complicated relationship with Gingrich, who was married three times and admitted to infidelity. But he converted to Catholicism and has said he made mistakes. His conversion resonates with some.

“Especially in the evangelical community, there’s a recognition that everybody makes mistakes and no one is perfect,’’ said the Rev. Brian Foreman, pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Concord. “I think there’s a difference between someone who’s trying to hide their past . . . as opposed to someone whose history is known, and in biblical terms has been repented of, acknowledged and gone on.’’

Perry, a Methodist, recently emphasized his faith in a television ad in Iowa, which opened, “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian,’’ and concluded, “Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.’’ Santorum, a Catholic, went on a “Faith, Family and Freedom’’ tour. Bachmann, a Lutheran, has talked about faith as a driving force in her life.

Can we get away from the religion for a minute. We are electing a president, not a Pope.

But voters generally have not coalesced around any of those candidates, who are polling in the single digits. And evangelicals are swayed by the same concerns as other voters.

“While I appreciate the personal testimonies of some of those people, I’m looking for larger concerns about who’s going to be able to win, who’s going be able to withstand the withering negative attacks they will face, and make the case to the entire country about where we need to go as a country,’’ said Foreman, who is undecided.

Paul Nagy, the former Northeast regional coordinator for the Christian Coalition and 1992 New Hampshire campaign manager for presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, said he is disappointed with Congress and sees Bachmann and Santorum as “part of the problem.’’ “I did like Governor Perry before he started to open his mouth and before he said what he did on the immigration issue,’’ Nagy said, referring to Perry’s support for in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants. Romney isn’t conservative enough for him, Gingrich is too “establishment,’’ and Paul “too far off the reservation.’’

Nagy doesn’t know for whom he will vote. “My candidate, whoever he or she is, has not come to the surface yet,’’ he said.


Also seeThe Globe's Invisible Ink: Ron Paul in New Hampshire

Sunday Globe Special: Ron Paul Rising in New Hampshire

Losing Faith in the Boston Globe 

Which brings us to Iowa: 

"Caucuses are a test for Iowa" by Scot Lehigh  |  Globe Columnist, December 28, 2011

Finally, there’s Ron Paul, who sits at or near the top of a divided field, even as renewed focus on racially tinged newsletters once sent under his name have raised serious questions about both his views and his candor.  

Related: Black Americans DO NOT Believe Ron Paul Is Racist

New Information Discredits “Racist” Media Smear Campaign Against Ron Paul

Eric Dondero (cited by Weekly Standard in Ron Paul smear article) is a Leftist and a Leftist Lover

"Eric Dondero aka Eric Dondero Rittberg is a self-described libertarian who supported Giuliani, which suggests that he infiltrated Ron Paul's campaign to be an agent provocateur, a role which was discovered resulting in his termination. Dondero is not at all well regarded on the blog-o-sphere and actually ran AGAINST Ron Paul in 2007! Eric has a long history of support for Zionist causes. Eric Dondero Rittberg blogs constantly preaching hate and intolerance against Muslims, and infiltrates in order to disrupt libertarian groups and events. In other words, Eric Dondero Rittberg is just the sort of "desperate for attention" person Weekly Standard would have to use to try to smear Ron Paul. And while we are on the subject of Ron Paul's alleged racism, will nobody in the corporate media have the courage to comment on the overt racism against Muslims being espoused by all the other candidates? -- Wake the Flock Up

And the Globe picked it up?

Paul can rightly claim to be winning converts to his libertarian cause. But for all the much-praised consistency of his positions, those same views frequently wander into the realm of the outdated, the impractical, or the downright absurd.

It’s impossible to imagine the 76-year-old libertarian becoming president.  

No it's not: Election Night 2008

It’s almost as hard to imagine him becoming the GOP nominee. Should he win here, it will merely defer the GOP’s real decision - and signal that, once again, Iowa is marching to a different drummer.

Yeah, even if he wins he's not the winner.


More:  WTF?! Today Show 12/28/11 - Chuck Todd "Who ever Comes in Second, not named Ron Paul in Iowa is the REAL Winner" MSNBC site - has "Paul Bearers" under Ron Paul's profile to subliminally affect people's thoughts of Paul

Iowa GOP moving vote-count to 'undisclosed location'
Latest NY Times Iowa projection shows Ron Paul with 60% chance of winning ... unless the GOP steals it for Romney

Thus we get this:

"Mitt Romney tops CNN poll for Iowa" by Matt Viser, Globe Staff

CLINTON, Iowa – Mitt Romney has jumped to the top of a new CNN-Time poll in Iowa, putting him in the lead just six days before voters make their selection and raising expectations for a campaign that has spent the past year trying to tamp them down.

Twenty-five percent of likely caucus-goers said they would vote for the former Massachusetts governor, compared with 22 percent for Representative Ron Paul; 16 percent for former Senator Rick Santorum, of Pennsylvania; and 14 percent for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

The poll signifies a deep drop in support for Gingrich, who led the poll at 33 percent just three weeks earlier. It also shows a rapid rise for Santorum, who was at 5 percent in the previous CNN poll....

Translation: They are simply MAKING UP NUMBERS and thinking YOU WILL BUY ANY PILE of BS they throw in front of you!!

The poll – and large crowd sizes Romney has been drawing throughout the day – indicates that he could be in a position to win Iowa, a state that has been vexing for him after he lost in 2008. He has kept the state at arm’s length this year, making few trips as his advisers downplay his chances....  

But somehow Iowans have warmed to him overnight!


Related: Romney criticizes Paul's stance on dealing with Iran

Also see: Globe Guarantees Ron Paul Win in Iowa

The Israeli Defense Firm That Tallies The Iowa Caucus

Globe Unexcited About Iowa 
I'll bet they are now. 

Theater Tweeters

I missed the show. 

"Local theaters ready to bow to tweeters in the audience; But distraction to others a primary concern" by Beth Teitell  |  Globe Staff, December 28, 2011

To tweet or not to tweet? That’s the question facing Boston-area theaters as live-performance venues nationwide start offering “tweet seats’’ for patrons who feel the need to tweet about what they are seeing during the show, not just after it.

Purists are already complaining about the glow from all those tiny screens; think of it as secondhand phone. And Suffolk University English professor Thomas Connolly calls the trend a victory for marketing directors.

But tweet seat sections are gaining a fingerhold in Massachusetts....

The marketing value of such an addition is clearly attractive. Subscription rates are falling across the country, and a younger audience remains elusive. Live tweeting - silent, of course - is seen as a way to enhance the experience for the tweeter and to encourage followers to see the show.

The idea is not entirely new. Across the country, social media users have been live-tweeting performances for several years....

Many patrons are less worried about the tweeters’ enjoyment of the show than their own. “If someone sitting next to me is using their phone it would definitely distract and annoy me,’’ said Sasha Sherman, 28, of Watertown, who frequently attends the opera and the symphony. 

Damn right.

But Eric Andersen, 35, an IBM IT architect with 7,000 Twitter followers, says tweeting has become such a big part of his life that he no longer draws a distinction between commenting to a person who is with him physically and a person who exists in his smartphone....  

He's what we call a loser.

As the lines between physical and virtual companionship blur, Elisa Hale, the public relations manager at the Norma Terris Theatre, says social media users need to be accommodated, particularly by theaters trying to attract young patrons.
Maybe for you, not for me.

“You’re talking about people who can barely help themselves from texting while they’re driving,’’ she said.... 

Not just any tweeter will do, of course. Theaters need a correspondent who is focused on the show and not the Patriots score and who actually knows how to tweet. When the Palm Beach Opera advertised free twitter seats at its final dress rehearsal, it wanted only those with large or engaged Twitter followings.

Even legitimate tweeters can encounter issues. Said Hale: “I was reading what someone had written, thinking of a response, then realizing I should be putting down my phone to clap.’’


I'm sorry, readers. I don't tweet or face.

Russians Reject Putin

If you believe the agenda-pushing AmeriKan media.... 

 "Putin starts presidential run with warning" November 28, 2011|By Lynn Berry, Associated Press

MOSCOW - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sternly warned the West not to interfere in Russia’s elections as he launched his campaign to reclaim the presidency in a speech yesterday before thousands of flag-waving supporters.... 

They did anyway.

Increasingly viewed as representing the interests of a corrupt bureaucracy, United Russia has watched its approval ratings sink in recent months. Nonetheless, the party is certain to win the Dec. 4 election, but is expected to lose the current two-thirds majority that has allowed it to change the constitution at will.  

And yet the same mouthpiece media will be hollering fraud?

Putin’s decision to swap jobs with President Dmitry Medvedev after the presidential vote in March, presented as a done deal at the party congress in September, also has soured the public mood. Many Russians are wary of Putin’s authoritarian tendencies and fear he will remain in power for 12 more years to become the longest-serving leader since Communist times.

The congress yesterday began with a steelworker, a businessman, a farmer, a decorated special services officer, and a film director standing up one after another to praise Putin as the only man capable of leading the country. The 11,000 delegates chanted “Putin, Putin.’’

He promised Russians stability, a word he repeated often during his speech. In countering criticism that he has tightened his control at the expense of democracy, Putin said that Russia needs a “stable political system’’ to guarantee “stable development’’ for decades to come.

He used the occasion to lash out at opposition leaders, saying they had brought the country to ruin in the 1990s.

“They killed industry, agriculture, and the social sphere,’’ he said. “They stabbed the knife of civil war in the very heart of Russia by allowing bloodshed in the North Caucasus. In fact, they led the country to the brink of catastrophe, the edge of a precipice.’’

He said Russia wants to develop cooperation with the West but strongly warned the US and Europe against paying too much attention to the Kremlin’s critics and providing financial support.

“That’s a wasted effort, like throwing money to the winds,’’ he said.


"Frustrated by Putin, Russians seek a way out" December 04, 2011|By Maria Danilova, Associated Press

 MOSCOW - While an expanding economy has boosted living standards for many, corruption has become systemic and political competition has virtually disappeared. On a more day-to-day level, many Russians complain that education and health care continue to lag. The draft-based army is plagued by vicious hazing, leaving many parents fearful for their sons. Few have faith that they can count on either the police or the courts to protect them or their property....

It's AmeriKa (except for that first part)!!

But the decision to leave Russia is still often painful. Many emigres leave behind elderly parents, a familiar culture, and the ability to communicate in their native tongue....  

As it is for any citizen of any nation.

In the early 2000s, Natalia Lepleiskaya voted for Putin and his party, but as the years went by she became increasingly angered by what is happening in the country....

She came to the conclusion that citizens have no power to hold the government accountable or push for change, either through competitive elections or street protests.... 

She's where I am.

Social inequality has worsened, corruption runs amok, opposition protests are violently dispersed, and the television news often resembles Soviet propaganda....

If you want more of that go here 

Related: Russian voters deliver setback to Putin's party
Russian election marred by fraud, observers say

And not the way the agenda-pushing American media is reporting. 

See: US Caught Meddling in Russian Elections
Russian protests quashed on day 2 
Russian election chief blasts videos of alleged vote fraud

Voters say 'nyet' to fraud 

That confirms it in my eyes that this is all a plan to destabilize Russia as much as possible before initiating WWIII with the USraeli attack on Iran. 

"Putin blames voter unrest on Clinton; Says US incited protesters by voicing doubts" December 09, 2011|By David M. Herszenhorn and Steven Lee Myers, New York Times

MOSCOW - Asked about Putin’s remarks, Clinton reiterated her concerns at a NATO meeting in Brussels yesterday. She stressed the importance of the relationship with Russia, but added: “At the same time, the United States and many others around the world have a strong commitment to democracy and human rights. It’s part of who we are. It’s our values.’’

Torture is your values not mine, lady.  Mass-murdering military action based on lies is your values, not mine. 

Man, am I ever sick of the slop coming from US officials.


"Big Moscow crowd demands reform; Demonstration is largest since end of Soviet Union" December 11, 2011|By Ellen Barry, New York Times

MOSCOW - Tens of thousands of Russians gathered peacefully in central Moscow yesterday to shout “Putin is a Thief’’ and “Russia Without Putin,’’ forcing the Kremlin to confront a level of public discontent that has not been seen here since Vladimir V. Putin first became president 12 years ago.

The crowd overflowed the square where it was held, prompting stragglers to climb trees or watch from the opposite riverbank, and organizers repeatedly cleared a footbridge out of fear it would collapse under the weight of so many people gathered for what was the largest anti-Kremlin protest since the collapse of the Soviet Union....

There was a massive police presence around the Moscow rally site, including rows of troop carriers, dump trucks, and bulldozers, but when the crowd dispersed four hours later, no detentions had been reported. Authorities reported only about 100 arrests nationwide.

Equally remarkable was the fact that the Moscow demonstration was covered on government-controlled television news, which has not aired criticism of Putin for years.  

Did I also mention how sick I was of pot-hollering kettle mouthpieces?

Many in the crowd said the event marked a watershed moment perhaps not seen since the early 1990s, heady days when street politics brought down communism....

Calls for protest have been mounting since parliamentary elections last Sunday, which domestic and international observers said were tainted by ballot-stuffing and fraud on behalf of Putin’s party, United Russia.

The independent Russian election observer group Golos said yesterday that United Russia “achieved the majority mandate by falsification.’’  

That's the AmeriKan-funded group!  

 Don't you wish they would spend as much time focusing on ELECTION FRAUD HERE AT HOME, Americans?


Yevgeniya Albats, editor of the New Times magazine, said the gathering was the most striking display of grass-roots democracy that she has seen in Russia, and that the involvement of young people was a game-changer....  

It's Russia's Occupy Movement!!


"Russia’s ruling party chief quits key post in vote scandal" December 15, 2011|By Michael Schwirtz, New York Times

MOSCOW - The chairman of Russia’s ruling party, United Russia, resigned as speaker of the lower house of Parliament yesterday, an apparent effort to quell some of the uproar about perceived fraud in recent parliamentary elections....

The resignation appeared to be part of a packet of concessions by the authorities to a defiant, upwardly mobile middle class that largely makes up a growing protest movement here.  


Protesters demand 'fair vote for Russia'

That's another thing I'm sick: the arbitrary coverage of protests.

Wall Street Propagandists Scramble To Cover US Ties to Russian Protesters

Oh, now I see why they are getting so much positive coverage here. 
Russians press for new elections

Numbers are dropping but they still get agenda-pushing approval. 

"Russians scoff at Medvedev vow to investigate election; Bold commenters greet Facebook post with ridicule" December 12, 2011|By Kathy Lally, Washington Post

MOSCOW - President Dmitry Medvedev used his Facebook page yesterday to disclose that he had ordered an investigation into reports of election fraud, a statement his audience greeted with derision.

The posting quickly went viral and drew more than 8,000 mostly offended and even offensive comments in a little over six hours, revealing the depth of the disillusionment with Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and their government.

Tens of thousands of Russians spoke up in demonstrations across the country Saturday, protesting the Dec. 4 parliamentary elections, and they apparently had no intention of returning to their former silence.

“Shame!’’ was a frequent comment, along with “You’re pathetic.’’

The commenters’ posts yesterday revealed astonishing candor and courage. It’s one thing to stand in a Moscow crowd of up to 40,000, according to estimates, and call for new elections. It’s another matter to advertise your anger and disgust on the president’s Facebook page, where it doesn’t take a KGB agent to make a quick identification. 

Won't take the U.S. long, either.

In posting on Facebook, Medvedev was attempting to respond to Russians who organized Saturday’s protest online, who are angry because they suspect the election was rigged in favor of the United Russia Party....  

The AmeriKan media spin is incredible.

The protests against Putin and his party that arose in more than 60 Russian cities on Saturday, including a vast demonstration a few hundred yards from the Kremlin, appear to have shaken the man accustomed to giving orders, lecturing journalists at marathon news conferences, and dismissing dissenters with barbed and occasionally vulgar comments....  

Did you read the AmeriKan media's description of Occupy?

State-controlled TV channels gave substantial airtime to the protests, a sharp change from their previously ignoring or deriding the opposition. Most of Saturday’s protests had government permission and Moscow authorities showed more restraint than they have in previous protests and made far fewer arrests.

Medvedev, famous for tweeting and carrying an iPad, routinely orders investigations into all sorts of matters: Nothing has come of those....

I know the feeling.


 Related: Medvedev reaches out to protest movement

"Putin praises, warns young protesters" December 16, 2011|By Michael Schwirtz, New York Times

MOSCOW - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia delivered a mixed assessment yesterday of a growing protest movement against his government, praising a new class of young dissenters for standing up for their beliefs while suggesting that they were being used as pawns by opposition leaders to destabilize the country....

He suggested that some of the protesters at last weekend’s rally might have been paid to be there, adding that he had no problem with students earning a little money. There has been no evidence that this was in fact the case.  

Coming from the AmeriKan media that is a confirmation.


"Russian leader promises more debate" December 22, 2011

MOSCOW - The Parliament chosen in a fraud-tainted election that set off protests across Russia opened its first session yesterday with the new speaker promising to allow more genuine debate in an effort to win voters’ trust.

Under Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the Parliament has become little more than a rubber stamp for government initiatives. The previous speaker once famously said it was “not a place for political discussion.’’

Sounds like the US Congress.


"Massive protest calls for end of Putin’s rule; Free elections urged in huge Moscow rally" by Lynn Berry Associated Press / December 25, 2011

Tens of thousands of Russians jammed a Moscow avenue Saturday to demand free elections and an end to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s 12-year rule, in the largest show of public outrage since the protests 20 years ago that brought down the Soviet Union. Gone was the political apathy of recent years as many shouted “We are the Power!’’

The demonstration - bigger and better organized than a similar one two weeks ago -and smaller rallies across the country encouraged opposition leaders hoping to sustain a broad protest movement ignited by a fraud-tainted parliamentary election on Dec. 4.


The enthusiasm also cheered Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader who closed down the Soviet Union on Dec. 25, 1991.

"I’m happy that I have lived to see the people waking up. This raises big hopes," the 80-year-old Gorbachev said on Ekho Moskvy radio.

He urged Putin to follow his example and give up power peacefully, saying Putin would be remembered for the positive things he did if he stepped down now. The former Soviet leader, who has grown increasingly critical of Putin, has little influence in Russia today.  

Then why does the agenda-pushing media bring the fellow globalist.... never mind.

But the protesters have no central leader and no candidate capable of posing a serious challenge to Putin, who intends to return to the presidency in a March vote.


Even at Saturday’s rally, some of the speakers were jeered by the crowd. The various liberal, nationalist and leftist groups that took part appear united only by their desire to see "Russia without Putin," a popular chant.  

It is a western plot.

 Putin, who gave no public response to the protest Saturday, initially derided the demonstrators as paid agents of the West. He also said sarcastically that he thought the white ribbons they wore as an emblem were condoms. Putin has since come to take their protests more seriously, and in an effort to stem the anger he has offered a set of reforms to allow more political competition in future elections.

Kremlin-controlled television covered Saturday’s rally, but gave no air time to Putin’s harshest critics.... 

Putin’s United Russia party lost 25 percent of its seats in the election, but hung onto a majority in parliament through what independent observers said was widespread fraud.  

Even thought THAT is what the POLLS SHOWED would happen?

United Russia, seen as representing a corrupt bureaucracy, has become known as the party of crooks and thieves, a phrase coined by Alexei Navalny, a corruption-fighting lawyer and popular blogger.  

We have one in AmeriKa.

"We have enough people here to take the Kremlin," Navalny shouted to the crowd. "But we are peaceful people and we won’t do that — yet. But if these crooks and thieves keep cheating us, we will take what is ours."

Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov was among those who sought to give the protesters a sense of empowerment. "There are so many of us here, and they (the government) are few," Kasparov said.   

That's where Globe print ended.  


If they could only find that leader:

"Young Russian protesters want change but lack a leader" by Michael Birnbaum, December 19, 2011  |  Washington Post

 MOSCOW — The youthful, Internet-savvy Russians who have turned out in the streets in historic numbers in recent weeks want to end Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s untrammeled rule over their country, but whether they can translate their frustration to the political arena — or even whether they will remain fired up — remains an open question.  

Sound familiar, American Occupiers?

Much of the country’s young post-Soviet middle class stayed apolitical until recent months, and the established opposition parties have been slow to capitalize on the discontent. On Monday, the planners of a Christmas Eve protest agreed to focus on denying Putin the presidency in March. But they did not discuss a candidate for whom they would campaign, in part because few new faces are on the scene.

The latest disappointment for the young organizers came Monday when the reformist Yabloko party filed papers to nominate its longtime leader, Grigory Yavlinsky, 59, for president, rather than a charismatic blogger, Alexei Navalny, 35, who has been a galvanizing force behind the protests.

He must be the West's man.

Many of the young generation thought that nominating Navalny was the fastest path to a re-energized electorate, although some have questioned his strident nationalism.

The party rejected consideration of the blogger at a weekend meeting, saying he had not submitted a written application. But filling out the form would have been difficult: Navalny has been in prison, accused of obstructing traffic during an unsanctioned protest, since the day after the Dec. 4 parliamentary elections.

That there is serious discussion about challengers to Putin is itself a major departure for a country where just weeks ago any chinks in his armor appeared theoretical at best.  

Yes, isn't that VERY INTERESTING?!?!

“There is a demand for changes in society, and such changes are not possible without new faces in politics,” said Nikolai Kuznetsov, a member of Yabloko who had pushed for the blogger to be the party’s nominee. “Navalny’s supporters are active young people. They are the ones who are building civil society in Russia. Because of him, people in Russia now understand that the United Russia party is a party of crooks and thieves,” he said, referring to a phrase Navalny coined that has become a popular way to refer to Putin’s party.

It remains unclear whether Yavlinsky will make it onto the ballot. He and billionaire New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, 46, who declared his intention to run last week, will each have to collect 2 million signatures by Jan. 18 to qualify — working through the New Year’s and Christmas holidays, when much of the country goes on vacation....

Prokhorov, a pro-business candidate who has espoused democratic reforms, could attract liberal support, but some analysts here have questioned whether he has been put up by the Kremlin to split the reformists’ vote.  

More about him below.

If neither Prokhorov nor Yavlinsky makes it onto the ballot, Russians most likely will choose among an ultra-nationalist, a Communist nostalgic, a candidate who until this year was close to Putin, and Putin himself — unappetizing options for the protesters, many of whom were uninterested in politics until very recently, content to prosper as the run-up in oil prices drove government spending during Putin’s first decade in power.

Withered by the Putin years, few political parties cater to a youthful audience.

Yabloko would once have been the most natural fit for many of the protesters, analysts say. But “most of the members are pensioners, or close to retirement age,” said Kuznetsov, 30, who said he was one of the party’s youngest officials.

Civic organizations have sprung up in recent years — one dedicated to saving a forest on the outskirts of Moscow from development, another devoted to fighting the blue lights that the rich and powerful put on top of their cars so they can speed around Moscow’s always-snarled traffic — but their broader political aims remain muted, and when their leaders have turned toward the established parties, they have been rebuffed....  


About that billionaire challenger:

"Billionaire set to run against Putin; Election losses stir opposition forces in Russia" December 13, 2011|By Jim Heintz, Associated Press

MOSCOW - It is unclear how effective a challenger Mikhail Prokhorov, the billionaire industrialist and owner of the New Jersey Nets, might prove to be. His wealth, estimated by Forbes magazine at $18 billion, and his playboy reputation may turn off voters who resent the gargantuan fortunes compiled by tycoons even as countless Russians struggled through the economic chaos of the 1990s after the Soviet Union collapsed.  

Of course, since 2000 and Putin the middle-class has expanded, but hey, who cares about inexactitude and contradiction when it comes to an agenda-pushing mouthpiece media posing as a newspaper?

The 46-year-old bachelor is known for lavish parties and the occasional scandal. He and some guests were arrested at a Christmas party in the French Alpine resort of Courchevel in 2007 for allegedly arranging for prostitutes; but he was soon released without charges.

Prokhorov made his fortune in metals and banking and became majority stakeholder in the New Jersey Nets last year. Since then, he has traveled widely to build a global fan base for the basketball team, in the process showing off his 6-foot-8 frame and excellent command of English....

Yeah,  owning the basketball team should help him win votes.


Also see: Russian principal dies in jail despite shaky case
Russian journalist killed outside office

Architect of Russian domestic politics is reassigned

Russia's Special K's


"Kyrgyzstan, an impoverished and mainly Muslim nation of around 5 million people on China’s western fringes, is home to both US and Russian military air bases, making its fortunes the subject of lively international interest."

Not for much longer:

"Kyrgyz vote winner wants US base shut" November 02, 2011|Associated Press

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - Kyrgyzstan’s president-elect said yesterday that the US air base needs to close by 2014 because its presence on Kyrgyz soil puts the former Soviet nation at risk of retaliatory strikes from those in conflict with the United States.

Almazbek Atambayev, who won over 60 percent of ballots in Sunday’s vote, said Kyrgyzstan will honor a contract allowing the United States to lease the Manas base through mid-2014.

The United States has used Manas, located within a civilian airport, as a key logistical hub for operations in nearby Afghanistan since 2001.

“We know that the United States is often engaged in conflict - first in Iraq, then in Afghanistan, and now relations are tense with Iran,’’ he said. “I would not want for one of these countries to launch a retaliatory strike on the military base.’’

The base is the subject of frequent rumors among local residents and politicians, who maintain that fuel dumps by US planes devastate crops and cause illnesses. US military officials have always strenuously denied such allegations and say they make every effort to minimize their impact on the area.

Then it is true.

Manas remains the only US military outpost in the volatile region after the United States was evicted in 2005 from a base in authoritarian Uzbekistan over Washington’s criticism of a brutal crackdown on protesters by Uzbek forces.

Manas was a key transit point for American troops and military supplies, especially during the troop buildup in Afghanistan, but that can be expected to diminish as the United States and its NATO allies wind down their combat role.  

And likely even more so since Pakistan has shut down the land lines over the Khyber Pass. 

The Afghan government is scheduled to take the lead role throughout the country by the end of 2014, although the United States intends to maintain a diplomatic presence for many more years.  

Related: Afghanistan After 2014

Not really leaving.



"Peace Corps to pull out of Kazakhstan" November 19, 2011|Associated Press

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - The US Peace Corps will pull out of the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, a move that follows reports from volunteers about a spate of sexual assaults and Islamist-inspired terrorist attacks on the program’s workers.

The Peace Corps has been in Kazakhstan since shortly after the former Soviet nation gained independence in 1991 and currently has about 120 volunteers working in the fields of education and health. It has sent about 1,000 volunteers to the country since it started operations there in 1993.

Honestly, I believe the Peace Corps is nothing but a CIA front just like the U.S. State Department.

US Embassy spokesman Jon Larsen said the Peace Corps will be leaving but gave no specific details on why. The Peace Corps also declined to give an immediate explanation.

Several volunteers, however, posted messages online linking the move to rapes and other attacks....

Peace Corps volunteers who had been raped while serving overseas complained to US lawmakers in May that the organization was not doing enough to train its workers about how to avoid or deal with violent attacks. They also said the Peace Corps reacted insensitively and was not helpful after the crimes.

Kazakhstan has also seen a rash of terrorist attacks in recent months. Last weekend, a gunman went on a rampage in the southern city of Taraz, killing seven people, including five law enforcement officers. He blew himself up as officers moved in to arrest him.

Kazakhstan, a vast oil-rich and mainly Muslim nation of 17 million people along Russia’s southern border, had been largely untouched by Islamist violence since independence....




"Russia fights back, deports Tajik migrants" November 16, 2011|Associated Press

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan - The spat threatens to imperil the livelihood of thousands of Tajik laborers and stir discontent in a country struggling to protect its border with Afghanistan.

The former Soviet nation’s economy relies heavily on the remittances provided by the many hundreds of thousands of Tajiks working in Russia.

Over the past year, Moscow has been attempting to strong-arm Tajikistan into permitting Russian border troops to resume patrols of the rugged 840-mile frontier with Afghanistan.

Tajik authorities have responded testily to such overtures, which they view as an attempt by the Kremlin to dilute their country’s sovereignty. Russia, meanwhile, grumbles that Tajik troops are not up to stemming the huge flow of heroin streaming north from Afghanistan.

I thought NATO was putting a stop to that.

This latest tit-for-tat dispute will probably undermine efforts to deepen cooperation on enhancing regional security....



"Ex-Ukraine leader faces indefinite arrest" December 10, 2011|Associated Press

KIEV - A Ukrainian court has ordered the indefinite arrest of Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister, even if her current seven-year sentence is overturned, her office said yesterday.

Kiev’s Shevchenkivsky Court ordered Tymoshenko arrested late Thursday as part of a probe into the activity of an energy company she headed 15 years ago.

The decision shows that Ukrainian authorities remain unbowed by strong Western pressure to release the country’s top opposition leader. The United States and the European Union have condemned her seven-year sentence on abuse of office charges as politically motivated and have demanded her release....

The court ruled during a session in Tymoshenko’s jail cell where she’s bedridden due to a back problem....


"Ukraine, EU deal stalls over jailing" December 20, 2011

KIEV - The European Union, concerned about the jailing of a former prime minister, balked yesterday at signing a landmark cooperation agreement with Ukraine, in a move that could push Kiev back into Russia’s orbit as it lobbies Moscow for cheaper gas prices.

EU President Herman van Rompuy said that the long-awaited deal outlining political and economic cooperation between Kiev and Brussels has been finalized, but its signing hinges on former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s fate....

She's obviously an agent.


Related: Ukranian Heartbreakers

Day on a Russian Oil Rig

"39 still missing from sunken oil rig" December 20, 2011

MOSCOW - Time appeared to be running out to rescue 39 people still missing more than a day after an oil rig capsized and sank in stormy, freezing waters off the eastern coast of Russia....


Thirsting For Balkan Stories

"Severe drought takes toll on Balkans, with no relief in sight" December 04, 2011|By Amer Cohadzic, Associated Press

BEZDAN, Serbia - The waters of the mighty Danube are so low that dozens of cargo ships are stuck, stranded in ghostly fog or wedged into sand banks on what is normally one of eastern Europe’s busiest transport routes.

A lack of rain has triggered the worst drought in decades for this time of year, dropping river levels to record lows and sounding an alarm in parts of central and eastern Europe.

Power supplies are running low in Serbia, drinking water shortages have hit Bosnia, and crop production is in jeopardy in Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. The Czech Republic is at its driest since weather recordkeeping began in 1775.  

Related: Czechs bid farewell to Vaclav Havel

Meteorologists say they are not sure why the region has had far less rain than average since August - but they don’t see any more coming quickly. That is bad news for shipping companies that are already reporting big losses.

“This is a disaster,’’ said Branko Savic, manager of a privately owned Danube shipping company in Serbia that he says is operating at only a third of its capacity. “Traffic on the Danube is practically nonexistent… . We are in dire need of enormous amounts of water, rain, or melting snow in order to better the situation.’’


Sunken German World War II-era ships have surfaced on the Danube and unexploded bombs that fell during the 1940s emerged from the Sava river in Serbia.  

See: Massive WWII bomb succesfully defused in Germany

At the Bosnian port of Brcko on the Sava river, workers have been told not to expect any work until further notice.

Drinking water curbs have been introduced at night in Sarajevo and other Bosnian cities.

Electricity supplies are also running low in Bosnia and Serbia because hydropower plants cannot produce enough power due to the low river water levels.

In Romania and Hungary, which had bumper wheat harvests this year, officials say the drought may severely damage next year’s production.


"Gunman opens fire on US Embassy in Bosnia, wounding a police officer" October 29, 2011|Associated Press

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - A man opened fire with an automatic weapon yesterday in what authorities called a terrorist attack on the US Embassy in Bosnia....

Bosnian TV identified the shooter as Mevlid Jasarevic, from Novi Pazar, Serbia. It said he is a follower of the Wahhabi branch of Islam. Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic confirmed his identity.

Wahhabi is extremely conservative. It is rooted in Saudi Arabia and is linked to religious militants in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Serbian police said Jasarevic was briefly arrested a year ago for brandishing “a large knife’’ during a visit by the US ambassador to Serbia and by other Western envoys to Novi Pazar, the administrative capital of Sandzak in southern Serbia.

Western intelligence reports have alleged that the tense, impoverished area in Serbia, along with Muslim-dominated regions in Bosnia, are rich ground for recruiting so-called white Al Qaeda members - Muslims with Western features who could easily blend into European or US cities and carry out attacks.  



"Former Croatia official held in post-WWII killings; Allegedly ordered deaths of soldiers, anticommunists" November 03, 2011|By Darko Bandic, Associated Press

ZAGREB, Croatia - Croatia’s former interior minister was arrested yesterday over accusations that he ordered mass killings of anticommunists soon after the end of World War II, police said.

Josip Boljkovac, 89, and two other former ranking Croatian officials have been under investigation for the alleged murders in 1945 and 1946 of soldiers and sympathizers of Croatia’s Ustasha Nazi puppet regime that ruled during the war.

Boljkovac, who fought as a member of the Yugoslav communist guerrillas against the occupying German and Italian troops, was a senior officer of the secret service accused of revenge shootings of anticommunists.

Boljkovac is accused of command responsibility in the killing of thousands, including civilians, who were buried in unmarked graves across Croatia, said his lawyer, Anto Nobilo.

A US-based Jewish rights group expressed “alarm and shock’’ at the arrest. Tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs, and Roma perished in the Ustasha-run concentration camps in Croatia during the war.

“In view of Croatia’s consistent failure to prosecute criminals of the Nazi-allied Ustasha regime in its midst, its action against a fighter who opposed the evil Ustasha forces is hypocritical and unacceptable,’’ said Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.

“The cruelties of the Ustasha were so brutal that even elements within the Nazi hierarchy expressed shock,’’ said his statement to the Associated Press. “Shame on Croatia for not seriously addressing these crimes.’’  

So it was okay to kill them by behaving the same way they did?


Was your thirst quenched by the Boston Globe?

Bagpipes For Pandas

"Bagpipers greet pandas arriving in Scotland" December 05, 2011|Associated Press

LONDON - Two giant pandas from China landed yesterday in Scotland, where they will become the first to live in Britain in nearly two decades.

The 8-year-old pair, named Tian Tian and Yang Guang - or Sweetie and Sunshine - were welcomed by bagpipe players and a host of dignitaries as they touched down at Edinburgh Airport on a chartered Boeing 777 flight called the “Panda Express.’’


The loan marked the beginning of a United Kingdom-China research program on the animals, and both sides have described it as a signal of a growing friendship between Scotland and China. China sometimes gives or lends pandas - considered a Chinese national treasure - to other countries to boost relations.

“It shows that we can cooperate closely not only on commerce, but on a broad range of environmental and cultural issues as well,’’ said British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg....  

And that means no war, right?


The New American Factory

Don't know what it is yet, but Obama is going to spend $500 million so a bunch of guys at MIT can think about it!

"Academics turn minds to factories for a new era; MIT leads effort to reinvent field" December 06, 2011|By Mary Carmichael, Globe Staff

Over the last decade, more than 3 million Americans have lost their jobs as factory workers. It is a safe bet that most have little in common with Suzanne Berger. She has spent four decades as a political scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has 50 scholarly tomes and treatises to her credit, several written in French. She stands about 5 feet tall.

She does not, in other words, fit the stereotype of a burly worker on an assembly line. But Berger and other academics like her may represent the new face of American manufacturing.

Led by MIT and spurred by a $500 million White House initiative, universities nationwide are helping reinvent one of the country’s most critical industries. They are pouring money and political capital into measures that reach across disciplines to devise new products and produce them....

Why were the old ones sent away? They still seem to be churning out going concerns.

Oh, shift is over!


And when they need to take a break to think:

"Novartis complex to fuse art, technology; Cambridge OK’s $600m project" December 08, 2011|By Casey Ross, Globe Staff

In a part of Cambridge filled with hulking science labs, Swiss medical giant Novartis AG is building a striking glass and granite building designed by noted architect Maya Lin.

Lin is among several prominent designers Novartis hired to create a $600 million three-building laboratory and office complex that will be the centerpiece of its worldwide research operations based in Cambridge. 

Make no mistake, there is money out there.

Clad in glass, terra cotta, and granite, the complex will also include retail shops to fill in a large hole in the commercial strip along Massachusetts Avenue, as well as a 1.35-acre park adjacent to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Lin’s concept is a building that gradually rises along Massachusetts Avenue, with a main entry and an interior courtyard filled with trees and meandering pathways.

“I wanted this to feel not like an isolated island, but something penetrable for everyone from MIT to walk around,’’ said Mark Fishman, the president of the company’s Institutes for Biomedical Research.


The Post is in the Mail

Mailman hasn't come yet. 

 "Postal Service moving ahead with $3b in cuts; Changes could end next-day mail delivery" December 05, 2011|By Hope Yen, Associated Press

The changes would provide short-term relief, but ultimately could prove counterproductive, pushing more of America’s business onto the Internet. They could slow everything from check payments to Netflix’s DVDs-by-mail, add costs to mail-order prescription drugs, and threaten the existence of newspapers and time-sensitive magazines delivered by postal carrier to far-flung communities....

The cuts, now being finalized, would close roughly 250 of the nearly 500 mail processing centers across the country as early as March. Because the consolidations typically would lengthen the distance that mail travels from post office to processing center, the agency also would lower delivery standards for first-class mail that have been in place since 1971.

Currently, first-class mail is supposed to be delivered to homes and businesses within the continental United States in one to three days. That will lengthen to two to three days, meaning mailers no longer could expect next-day delivery in surrounding communities. Periodicals could take between two days and nine days....

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in an interview: “We have a business model that is failing.’’ 

Same for newspapers.


ESPN The Magazine and Crain Communications, which prints some 27 trade and consumer publications, said delays to first-class delivery could ruin the value of their news.

As if it were worth something.

Their magazines are typically printed at week’s end, with mail arrival timed for weekend sports events or the Monday start of the work week. Newspapers, already struggling in the Internet age, also could suffer.

“No one wants to receive Tuesday’s issue, containing news of Monday’s events, on Wednesday,’’ said Paul Boyle, a senior vice president of the Newspaper Association of America. 

That's not the problem; it is the agenda-pushing lying.


Related: Postal Service cuts draw users' ire
Changes will hit businesses

Lieberman's Love Letters

Still haven't got it. 

DeLeo the Dictator

He's called House Speaker here.

"DeLeo to oust a top lieutenant; House speaker has been fuming over perceived betrayal" November 20, 2011|By Frank Phillips, Globe Staff

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, fuming over what he sees as an act of political betrayal, is preparing to oust one of his top lieutenants, accusing assistant majority leader Charles A. Murphy of undermining his leadership in an effort to launch his own bid to take over the speaker’s office.

According to senior legislative sources, DeLeo’s power play comes after months of seething over reports that Murphy, the House’s third in command, has been telling some members that an ongoing federal investigation into the state’s troubled Probation Department could topple the speaker and other top legislative leaders.

When it does, Murphy told them, he would be ready to take over the reins....

There is no evidence to suggest that DeLeo is a target of any investigation.

Murphy, a Burlington Democrat, insists he has done nothing disloyal. But his exile was sealed Wednesday night when, without any notice to the speaker, he pushed a floor amendment that would have gutted a controversial criminal justice bill that DeLeo was pressing the rank and file to pass. The two ended up in an angry verbal exchange.

Exactly when DeLeo will defrock Murphy and who will replace him is not clear. House rules require him to present any reorganization of his leadership team - in this case, the removal of the assistant majority leader and the appointment of a new one - to the Democratic caucus for its approval.

DeLeo and his advisers had given serious consideration to making the move last week, as the Legislature wrapped up its 2011 session, but decided against taking such a dramatic step in the middle of controversial debates including whether to legalize casino gambling.

With the House now adjourned for the year, one option is for DeLeo to call Democrats back to the State House for a special caucus - a highly unusual move. Since a rule requiring caucus approval for leadership changes was adopted nearly three decades ago, no speaker has sought the OK to fire a top lieutenant in the middle of a two-year legislative session.

This is not the first time DeLeo and Murphy have clashed. In January, the speaker removed Murphy as chairman of the House Ways and Means committee - a powerful perch that has often been used to win the speaker’s post. Sources close to DeLeo said Murphy had angered the speaker because he had not followed through on, or even paid attention to, some of the leadership’s major priorities.

But because Murphy had some influential allies, DeLeo decided not to banish him to an obscure committee and instead gave him the post of assistant majority leader.

But Murphy, an Marine veteran who has run into political problems at the State House with his hard charging style, again raised the speaker’s ire several months ago when he began what DeLeo felt was a campaign to undercut him by connecting leadership to the Probation probe. The speaker called Murphy on the carpet and demanded he stop. But as the months went on, DeLeo and his advisers became convinced that Murphy continued.

Then, last Wednesday, as the speaker prepared to put the habitual offender bill to a vote, he called his top leadership team into his office to discuss the final push to pass the legislation and review the 21 floor amendments that were pending, according to someone in the House leadership.

That was when he learned of Murphy’s amendment, which eliminated a critical element of the bill.

With others on his team looking on, DeLeo, taken aback, dressed down Murphy for his lack of protocol, reminding him he was part of his leadership and needed to toe the line and not undercut its agenda, according to the person. The speaker then abruptly cleared the room. But Murphy lingered as others left. He and DeLeo could be heard exchanging angry words, according to people who were present.

Murphy, who has made no secret that he aspires to be the House speaker someday, acknowledged that he and DeLeo talked about his amendment, but said he would not comment any further, saying the discussion was private. DeLeo’s press aide also said the speaker would not comment.

The news of the confrontation swept through the House chamber, where the lawmakers were rushing to meet the midnight deadline marking the end of the 2011 session. The incident only confirmed what many of the state legislators already knew: namely that DeLeo was at wits end with his assistant majority leader.

Murphy is adamant that he has been loyal. He acknowledged he has talked to other members about “the future,’’ but has never asked any of his colleagues for a commitment to back him if there is a vacancy in the speaker’s office. He also insists he has never implied the federal probation investigation could bring down anyone in the House leadership.

“We talk about all sorts of things … no one knows what’s happening,’’ he said. “I hear the same rumors everyone else does. I’m reading the papers… . I haven’t the foggiest idea what is going on.’’

Murphy also noted that Paul F. Ware Jr., the special counsel to the Supreme Judicial Court who was hired to investigate the Globe Spotlight Team series on the Probation Department, “specifically stated’’ that DeLeo did nothing wrong.

Ware’s report, released late last year, criticized DeLeo and his colleagues for providing the agency with funds to hire politically connected candidates. He also said that he believed DeLeo, who sponsored at least 12 candidates for probation jobs, did not do anything “inappropriate.’’

DeLeo has already shaken up his leadership once since taking over the speaker’s office in 2009.

Some of his friends in the House say that Murphy’s failure to work as a team with DeLeo during that period reflects his lack of skills needed to work at the highest levels of Beacon Hill politics.

Murphy is not the only member of DeLeo’s leadership team he has sparred with. In January, when he removed Murphy as Ways and Means chair, DeLeo also dumped his then-majority leader, Representative James E. Vallee of Franklin, shipping him off to chair a backwater, the Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. DeLeo felt Vallee was quietly campaigning to round up votes to succeed him.


"DeLeo calls a caucus to oust Murphy" by Frank Phillips  |  Globe Staff, December 05, 2011

In a highly unusual move, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo has scheduled a special Democratic caucus today to remove his majority whip, Charles A. Murphy, according to legislative sources....

DeLeo plans to use the session to offer changes in a number of leadership posts, but his priority will be to fire Murphy. The whip has infuriated the speaker with comments to House members that an ongoing federal investigation could topple DeLeo and other legislative leaders and that he would be ready to take over....

Murphy, a Burlington Democrat and a former Marine whose hard-charging style has ruffled feathers in the world of Beacon Hill politics, has for several years talked to colleagues about succeeding DeLeo....


Related: Murphy resigns majority whip post

Also see: Slow Saturday Special: DeLeo's Dictatorship

You See DeLeo, I See DiMasi

Except on casinos; that's why Sal was removed.

American Businessman Swims Away From Aruba

Related: Avoid Swimming in Aruba

"American suspect in Aruba to be freed" November 26, 2011|By Associated Press

ORANJESTAD, Aruba - A US businessman suspected in the August disappearance and presumed death of his traveling companion in Aruba must be released from jail next week and will be free to leave the island, a judge ruled yesterday.

Gary Giordano, a 50-year-old employment agency owner from Gaithersburg, Md., is scheduled to be freed Tuesday without any conditions.

He has spent nearly four months in custody while investigators have sought more time to gather and evaluate evidence in the death of 35-year-old Robyn Gardner, of Frederick, Md. Gardner is presumed dead, but her body has not been found.

Prosecutor Taco Stein said he has appealed the judge’s decision.

“It’s a setback,’’ he said. “We feel that he is still a flight risk… . The investigation is ongoing. We need him.’’

Stein said prosecutors need more time to analyze information from Giordano’s laptop and iPad.

He said that if Giordano is freed and leaves Aruba, they would request his extradition from the United States if they could find sufficient evidence to persuade a judge to order him rearrested.

“We are determined to get to the truth of this,’’ Stein said.

Giordano cried when he heard the judge’s ruling, which was issued during a private hearing, said his attorney, Chris Lejuez.

“He would not believe that after four months, someone is finally willing to give him the benefit of the doubt,’’ Lejuez said.

Prosecutors said they still consider Giordano a suspect, but Lejuez said his client is innocent.

“The prosecution has conducted a large number of investigations, with nonrelevant results,’’ he said. “It is time to give someone the benefit of the doubt, especially when nothing is found to concretely accuse him.’’

Giordano has maintained that Gardner was swept out to sea while snorkeling on Aug. 2.

In October, a judge had ruled that Giordano would remain in custody for 30 more days while prosecutors continued to investigate the case.

“I’m just going to … hope the FBI has something on him,’’ Gardner’s boyfriend, Richard Forester of Rockville, Md., said yesterday after hearing of the judge’s ruling.

The FBI had searched Giordano’s home in Maryland following his detention in Aruba.

The FBI did not immediately comment yesterday.


"Man denies involvement in disappearance" December 02, 2011|By Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Defiant and combative, an American businessman suspected in the presumed death of his traveling companion in Aruba said yesterday that he had nothing to do with her disappearance.

Appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America,’’ Gary Giordano defended his actions in the wake of Robyn Gardner’s disappearance, criticized his former attorney, and said the Aruban economy was driven by cocaine and human trafficking.

Later yesterday, the chief Aruban prosecutor said Giordano remains the chief suspect in Gardner’s death and that the investigation remains active.

The interview was Giordano’s first since he was released Tuesday from an Aruban jail. He flew Wednesday to the United States, and after he landed, an appeals court ruled that prosecutors lacked sufficient evidence to continue holding him. Later Wednesday, the 50-year-old employment services company owner was reunited with his three sons.

In an 11-minute interview with “Good Morning America’’ anchor Robin Roberts, Giordano, 50, refused to detail what happened to Gardner on Aug. 2. That was the last day she was seen alive, and he said he has told that story to investigators “50, 60 times.’’ He has said she was swept out to sea while snorkeling with him. Her body has not been found.

Asked whether he had anything to do with Gardner’s disappearance, Giordano said, “absolutely not.’’

But he said he does have regrets.

“A person that I cared about, a companion … has disappeared on my watch,’’ he said.

The case recalled that of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway, who disappeared in May 2005 on a high school graduation trip to Aruba. Her body also was never found and the prime suspect, Joran van der Sloot, was detained for months before being released for lack of evidence. He is now facing trial in the death of a woman in Peru.  

Related: A Slooty AmeriKan MSM

Also see: Chandra Levy Coda

Reminds me a little of that, too.

Aruban Solicitor General Taco Stein said authorities would ask for Giordano’s extradition as soon as they are ready to bring charges.

But with no direct evidence that a crime was even committed, there is no guarantee that charges will be filed.