Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Mother's Day Heroins

Globe tells me it is going to be a great day. 

As heroin takes another life, a mother fights back

"A Ware woman was arrested on Saturday after police found approximately 1,500 bags of heroin in her car, according to Ware police. Police found the heroin after stopping Rebecca Young’s 2002 Hyundai Elantra around 9:50 p.m. at the intersection of South and Main streets in Ware as part of an ongoing investigation, police said. The drugs are valued at about $15,000, according to police. Young, 32, is being held on heroin distribution charges in a Northampton jail on $2,500 bail and will be arraigned on Monday in Belchertown." 

She is still someone's daughter.

"Five Boston men are facing charges after police allegedly found evidence of illegal narcotics sales at their Dorchester apartment on Thursday, authorities said. Humberto Burgos, 45, is to be charged with trafficking heroin and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Yeuri Baez, 36, is to be charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin. Adley Docellus, 33, Wilson Peguero-Nunez, 32, and Anersimo Pena, 44, are all to be charged with illegal reentry into the United States, Boston police said Friday in a statement. Police executed a search warrant at the Fox Street apartment after an investigation into cocaine sales in Dorchester, and found more than 400 grams of heroin, two plastic bags of cocaine, and more than $10,000 cash, the statement said."

Comes with being a sanctuary state. At least they were not in the bar.

So where do you kids get this stuff of which I'm afraid?

"Gloucester to stop arresting addicts who request help" by Brian MacQuarrie and David Abel Globe Staff  May 06, 2015

GLOUCESTER — This rough-edged fishing city, burdened for years with a stubborn drug problem, is embarking on what its police chief Tuesday called a fundamental, far-reaching shift in the way it addresses opioid addiction.

Is that where the CIA is bringing in the stuff?

Working with Addison Gilbert Hospital, local pharmacies, and an on-call network of volunteers, Gloucester is poised to make its Police Department a gateway to help for drug addiction rather than a path to jail, Chief Leonard Campanello said at police headquarters.

“Addiction is a disease and should be treated as such,” Campanello said. “As a community, we believe it’s the right thing to do.”

Many communities in Massachusetts, where more than 1,000 deaths were linked to opioids in 2014, have begun forming task forces and pooling resources to fight back. But in Gloucester, the Police Department’s determination to play a leading role in treatment and recovery stands out.

Under the city’s plan, addicts who seek help at the police station will be paired immediately with on-call volunteers — called “angels” — who will take them to an emergency room, if necessary, and help find detox, treatment, and other services afterward. The addicts will be allowed to leave drugs and paraphernalia at the station and not face criminal charges.

The city also is prepared to pay for naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses, for anyone without insurance. Campanello said the money will come from assets seized from dealers in drug investigations.

Think of them as modern day Robin Hoods.

“I can’t think of a better way to use this money than to take it out of the pockets of criminals” and save the lives of the addicts they prey on, Campanello said.

Naloxone, often marketed as Narcan, already is available without a prescription at local pharmacies, the chief said. Its growing use has prompted criticism that it encourages addicts to abuse opioids because they know potentially fatal overdoses can be reversed with Narcan.

The wor$t addiction of all.


Campanello said he will travel to Washington next week to meet US Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, as well as US Representative Seth Moulton, and discuss Gloucester’s approach to the opioid epidemic and explore whether more federal assistance can be provided for prevention and treatment.

Campanello outlined the city’s plan on a Facebook post Monday that had been shared more than 16,000 times by late Tuesday.

In his trip to Washington, Campanello wrote in the posting, “I will bring the idea of how far Gloucester is willing to go to fight this disease and will ask [officials] to hold federal agencies, insurance companies and big business accountable for building a support system that can eradicate opiate addiction and provide long-term, sustainable support.”

Good luck with the wheel-spinning.

Gloucester’s initiative, which is scheduled to begin June 1, drew praise from police and health officials around the state....

I agree that “treatment should be applauded” over jail, but.... the root of where its coming from (Afghanistan), who is bringing it in (CIA), and who ultimately benefits (money-laundering banks too big to jail).


Maybe you would like a further tour of the town?

So what can we get Mom for Mother's Day?

"Exploitation can be part of manicurists’ trade; Immigrants are most valuable, often underpaid" by Sarah Maslin Nir New York Times   May 10, 2015

NEW YORK — The women begin to arrive just before 8 a.m., every day and without fail, until there are thickets of young Asian and Hispanic women on nearly every street corner along the main roads of Flushing, Queens.

As if on cue, cavalcades of battered Ford Econoline vans grumble to the curbs, and the women jump in. It is the start of another workday for legions of New York City’s manicurists, who are hurtled to nail salons across three states. They will not return until late at night, after working 10- to 12-hour shifts, hunched over fingers and toes. ]

Oh. I was thinking prostitutes.

On a morning last May, Jing Ren, a 20-year-old who had recently arrived from China, stood among them for the first time, headed to a job at a salon in a Long Island strip mall. Her hair neat and glasses perpetually askew, she clutched her lunch and a packet of nail tools that manicurists must bring from job to job.

Tucked in her pocket was $100 in carefully folded bills for another expense: the fee the salon owner charges each new employee for her job. The deal was the same as it is for beginning manicurists in almost any salon in the New York area. She would work for no wages, subsisting on meager tips, until her boss decided she was skillful enough to merit a wage.

It would take nearly three months before her boss paid her. Thirty dollars a day.

Hey, it's a dollar a day the illegal immigrant way. Sorry if you think I'm being di$ingenuou$ or taking advantage.

There are now more than 17,000 nail salons in the United States, according to Census data. The number of salons in New York City alone more than tripled over a decade and a half to nearly 2,000 in 2012.

But largely overlooked is the rampant exploitation of those who toil in the industry. The New York Times interviewed more than 150 nail salon workers and owners, in four languages, and found that a vast majority of workers are paid below minimum wage; sometimes they are not even paid.

Workers endure all manner of humiliation, including having their tips docked as punishment for minor transgressions, constant video monitoring by owners, even physical abuse. Employers are rarely punished for labor and other violations.

I suggest doing your own nails.

Lawsuits filed in New York courts allege a long list of abuses: the salon in East Northport, N.Y., where workers said they were paid just $1.50 an hour during a 66-hour workweek; the Harlem salon that manicurists said charged them for drinking the water, yet on slow days paid them nothing; the minichain of Long Island salons whose workers said they were not only underpaid but also physically and verbally abused.

Last year, the New York Labor Department, in conjunction with several other agencies, conducted its first nail salon sweep ever — about a month after the Times sent officials there an inquiry regarding their enforcement record with the industry. Investigators inspected 29 salons and found 116 wage violations.

Government is like an ostrich with its head in the sand until someone comes and yanks it out?

Among the more than 100 workers interviewed by the Times, only about a quarter said they were paid an amount that was the equivalent of New York state’s minimum hourly wage. All but three workers, however, had wages withheld in other ways that would be considered illegal, such as never getting overtime.

Almost all of the workers interviewed by the Times, like Ren, had limited English; many are in the country illegally. The combination leaves them vulnerable.

That's the rea$on this $y$tem stays broken.

In interviews, some owners readily acknowledged how little they paid their workers. Ren’s boss, Lian Sheng Sun, who goes by Howard, at first denied doing anything wrong, but then said it was just how business was done. “Salons have different ways of conducting their business,” he said. “We run our business our own way to keep our small business surviving.”

Many owners said they were helping new immigrants by giving them jobs.

I $uppo$e.

“I want to change the first generation coming here and getting disgraced, and getting humiliated,” said Roger Liu, 28, an immigrant from China, seated inside the salon he owned, Relaxing Town Nails and Spa in Huntington Station, New York.

Ren spent almost three months painting on pedicures and slathering feet with paraffin wax before one afternoon in the late summer when her boss drew her into a waxing room and told her she would finally be paid. “I just burst into laughter unconsciously,” Ren said. “I have been working for so long while making zero money; now finally my hard work paid off.”

The next payday she learned her day wage would amount to less than $3 an hour.

Qing Lin, 47, a manicurist who has worked on the Upper East Side for the past 10 years, still gets emotional when recounting the time a splash of nail polish remover marred a customer’s patent Prada sandals. When the woman demanded compensation, the $270 her boss pressed into the woman’s hand came out of the manicurist’s pay. Lin was asked not to return.

“I am worth less than a shoe,” she said.

Many owners defended their business methods as the only way to stay afloat.

Ansik Nam, former president of the Korean American Nail Salon Association, said that in the early 2000s, scores of owners held an emergency meeting at a Korean restaurant in Flushing, hoping to prevent manicure and pedicure prices from sagging further. He said no agreement was reached.

In rare instances when owners have been found guilty of wage theft, salons have often been quickly sold, sometimes to relatives.

The original proprietors vanish, along with their assets, according to prosecutors. Even if they do not, collecting back wages is difficult.

I think you filed them down to far.


She doesn't need a sermon while getting her nails done, sorry. 

Maybe she would like some clothing instead.

"Marijuana merchants face another federal obstacle: high taxes; Typical write-offs denied by IRS" by Jack Healy New York Times  May 10, 2015

DENVER — Money was pouring into Bruce Nassau’s five Colorado marijuana shops when his accountant called with the bad news: The 2014 tax season was approaching, and Nassau could not rely on the galaxy of deductions that other businesses use to reduce their tax bills.

He owed the Internal Revenue Service a small fortune. “I had to write a check for $275,000,” Nassau said. “Unbelievable.”

The country’s rapidly growing marijuana industry has a tax problem.

Sigh. The authorities never wanted, and it's the vote I regret the most in my life. It's obvio$ly more of a ha$$le than it is worth. No one shoveling tax loot at them like they do biotech.

Even as more states embrace legal marijuana, shops say they are being forced to pay crippling federal income taxes because of a decades-old law aimed at preventing drug dealers from claiming smuggling costs and couriers as business expenses on their returns.

There is talk about doing away with them.

Congress passed the law in 1982 after a convicted cocaine and methamphetamine dealer in Minneapolis went to tax court to argue that the money he spent on travel, phone calls, packaging, and even a small scale should be considered tax write-offs. The provision, still enforced by the IRS, bans all tax credits and deductions from “the illegal trafficking in drugs.”

Marijuana business owners say it prevents them from deducting their rent, employee salaries, or utility bills, forcing them to pay taxes on a far larger amount of income than other businesses with the same earnings and costs. They also say the taxes, which apply to medical and recreational marijuana sellers alike, are stunting their hiring, or even threatening to drive them out of business.

I think that was the plan all along, so put out the joint. To hell with sick and suffering people in pain -- even if it is Mom.

The issue reveals a growing chasm between the 23 states, plus the District of Columbia, that allow medical or recreational marijuana and the federal bureaucracy, from national forests in Colorado where possession is a federal crime to federally regulated banks that turn away marijuana businesses, and the halls of the IRS.

The tax rule, an obscure provision known as 280E, catches many marijuana entrepreneurs by surprise, often in the form of an audit notice from the IRS. Some marijuana businesses in Colorado, California, and other marijuana-friendly states have taken the IRS to tax court.

Talk about bringing on a feeling of paranoia.

This year, Allgreens, a marijuana shop in Colorado, successfully challenged an IRS policy that imposed about $30,000 in penalties for paying its payroll taxes in cash — common in an industry in which businesses cannot get bank accounts. 

Look at this bank-$erving government in front of you here.

“We’re talking about legal businesses, licensed businesses,” said Rachel Gillette, the executive director of Colorado’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and the lawyer who represented Allgreens. “There’s no reason that they should be taxed out of existence by the federal government.”

Actually, there is!

A normal business, for example, might pay a 30 percent federal rate on its taxable income, which would represent its gross income minus deductible business expenses. A marijuana business, on the other hand, might pay the same federal rate on all of its gross income because it cannot take these deductions, taking 70 percent or more of its profits.

As long as the 1%, .1%, .01%, are $toned and happy.

Colorado and a handful of other states have changed their tax laws to let legal marijuana businesses take deductions on their state returns.

And this month, Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Earl Blumenauer, both Democrats of Oregon, which legalized recreational marijuana last year, introduced legislation that would allow marijuana businesses that are following state laws to take regular deductions on their federal returns.

Republicans promptly snuffed it out.


I didn't see anyplace to eat in today's Globe, did you? 

If you will now excuse me, I need to be the good son and go spend some time with Mom. 

UPDATE: Here is a shout out to all those who have had their mothers taken from them in U.S. drone and airstrikes, as well as the survivors who lost men. They always seem to be forgotten.

NDUs: I got my peace march and some lives really do matter more than others. Hope you gave your Mom a call.


"The legislation came after a New York Times expose showed that workers, many in the country illegally and speaking little English, were paid far below minimum wage for long hours, and many suffered respiratory ailments."