Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Weeping Wednesday: Salute to Veterans

As promised, and it comes from the Boston Globe:

"Defense budget banning Guantanamo transfers sent to Obama" by Juliet Eilperin The Washington Post News Service  November 11, 2015

WASHINGTON — Congress sent President Obama a $607 billion defense policy bill that he is expected to sign even though he adamantly opposes its ban on moving some Guantanamo Bay detainees to US prisons.

Well, he must not be that adamant.

The Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill, 91-3, on Tuesday just days after the House passed the measure, 370-58. The legislation authorizes Pentagon spending on military personnel, ships, aircraft and other war-fighting equipment.

No partisanship when it comes to the war machine. 

Nice turn by the WaPo to focus the entire thing on Gitmo, a situation that won't be changing anytime soon.

The president plans to send Congress a blueprint for fulfilling his campaign pledge to close the US prison in Cuba. But the plan is widely expected to be dead on arrival on Capitol Hill, with Republicans and some Democrats opposed to any move to detain some of the terror subjects on US soil.

It's a big game they play, with 100+ souls tortured so the ruse of Islamic terrorism can be maintained. Once you know 9/11 was an USraeli inside job, all the outgrowth of that atrocity turns to vapors and mist.

The congressional decision to retain a ban on transferring detainees to the United States has prompted debate on whether the president will try to bypass Congress and close the prison through executive action.

Which he could have done at any time as commander-in-chief. Congress has nothing to say about it. The reason he broke that promise is politics, pure and simple.

‘‘We know he’s contemplating it,’’ said Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama would sign the bill because it includes provisions critical to protecting the United States. But he said the president’s signature does not change his position about the need to close the prison.

The war machine must be funded, especially with U.S. provocations ringing the planet as its economy dies. Must always fool the people!

To do so, however, Obama would have to ignore the will of Congress.

Like he already hasn't? Environment, immigration.

Senator Kelly Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican, said if Obama issued an executive order on Guantanamo it ‘‘clearly would violate the law.’’ 

Then impeach the bastard!

‘‘This is not something the American people want to see happen with Guantanamo, and so the president needs to follow the law and the law is very clear on this,’’ she said.

Actually, it is. She doesn't speak for the American people. We are tired of wars, tired of lies, tired of those that tell lies, tired of their media mouthpiece conveyors, and tired of the embarrassment and shame they have brought upon this nation. For the record!

The bill imposes restrictions on transferring any of the 112 remaining detainees to the United States or a foreign country. Loudest in congressional opposition have been the Republican senators from Colorado, Kansas, and South Carolina — three states which have facilities reviewed by a Pentagon assessment team.

Have you seen the cells in Colorado they have made for them?

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said, ‘‘Let’s wait to see what the plan finally looks like. The folks who are crafting that plan have been working very hard on this for months. . . . This is not going to deter the department from moving forward.’’


At least we know there will be lot more veterans to salute given the new round of funding and the sending of troops back to Iraq and into Syria, never mind keeping them in Afghanistan and rushing them into Eastern Europe and South Asia.

From the man who promised to end the wars. He started more, and was awarded a "Peace Prize."

"Fighting the ‘after-war’" by The Editorial Board   November 10, 2015

The nearly two million American military men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan put themselves in harm’s way daily in order to serve their country. Nearly 7,000 have died in those wars. Another 52,000 have been wounded in action. But for many, another battle begins when they get home — what the journalist David Finkel has called “the after-war.”

Yes, American people, wars are not over after the invasion. The costs stretch out decades, but no one listened to protesters then. 

Thankfully, we have a lying, war-promoting paper looking out for you guys.

These are veterans and active servicemembers struggling with various forms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Writing in his 2013 book “Thank You for Your Service,” Finkel reported that between 20 and 30 percent of the Americans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan returned home with post-traumatic stress, suffering from “[d]epression, anxiety, nightmares, memory problems, personality changes, suicidal thoughts.”

Yeah, suicides are leading cause of American troop deaths, to the tune of 22 a dayOf course, that will likely change with U.S. troops now being inserted into combat again. I know the leaders who sent you to war based on lies don't say that, so salute smartly and shaddup. 

The flip side of it all is the benefit to pharmaceuticals

Finkel also reported on the inadequacy of the Pentagon and Veterans Administration in dealing with these problems, especially given the length of the wars and the multiple deployments of many in the nation’s all-volunteer force, but now a more insidious form of neglect has been uncovered in the military.

More betrayals of the troops by those who celebrate them?

An investigative report by NPR and Colorado Public Radio found that not only are soldiers being inadequately treated for PTSD, TBI, and other postwar-related behavioral difficulties, but that they are being actively rooted out and dismissed from service under questionable “misconduct” charges, making them ineligible for any further benefits....


It is enough to make you want to cry. 

Here these guys and gals were lied into all these wars, developed crippling injuries due to their experiences, and now the war machine is cutting them loose! So much for the patriotism!

Not that this is anything new. Just ask a Vietnam vet. So here we are, more than a decade out from all these wars, and vets are still being neglected if not worse. 

It wasn't the antiwar mob that did it to you, soldier. We never wanted you to go there in the first place because we knew they were lies. It was all to serve profit and power, as it always is, and you found that out when you got there and found out it wasn't about freedom, democracy, or liberation at all. That is what is behind the suicides.

The report — based on hours of secret recordings by one enlisted man as well as hundreds of pages of documents and interviews “with dozens of sources inside and outside” Fort Carson in Colorado — paints a bleak picture.

Like the VA.

In a perversion of standard therapeutic practice, Army psychologists routinely minimized or dismissed the anxieties (including suicidal depression) of their patients. The report found that rather than providing care for soldiers complaining of emotional distress, the Army discharged them on misconduct charges related to infractions like drunken driving deemed unrelated to their combat duty....

I'm not surprised at all.

After complaints from the legal services nonprofit Uniformed Services Justice and Advocacy Group, the Army’s surgeon general, Lieutenant General Patricia Horoho, ordered an investigation of Fort Carson. It found two mental health officers at fault in one case, but found no systemic problem. That’s disputed by the Uniformed Services Justice and Advocacy group’s sworn testimony to the contrary, citing mistreatment in at least nine cases. Oddly, says the NPR/CPR report, those nine soldiers were never questioned by the Army.

Congress passed a law in 2009 to make sure that no one is discharged on the grounds of misconduct as a result of mental disorders brought home from war. But clearly the Army has not gotten the message.

Forget how to salute?

Army therapists have dual loyalties – and the “pattern of misconduct” discharge — classified as “less than honorable” — is a quick fix for company commanders overburdened with soldiers suffering from PTSD and other behavioral issues whose symptoms include alcoholism, drug addiction, and domestic violence.

Lot of that kind of infiltration in the U.S. government.

Given the complications of the problem, it might be time for Congress to revisit the issue and conduct their own investigation. The Army’s first priority should be to help soldiers who have served in combat, not get rid of them.

What planet have they been living on? 

This goes back the founding of the Republic when Revolutionary War vets weren't paid, leading to Shay's Rebellion among other things. 

After WWI, vets occupied the the common in D.C. and had to be cleared by force. 

And ever since Vietnam, the VA systems have been found to be lacking and loaded with corruption. The military didn't own up to Agent Orange in enough time, and now it has Depleted Uranium contamination (which never makes the paper, think about that for a minute) to contend with along with other veteran illnesses brought on by war. 

But don't let that spoil the good feelings and celebration of war that Veteran's Day has become in 21st-century AmeriKa.


Tell you what, let's build them a monument built on conventional myths and searing generational events:

"Vietnam veteran seeks post-9/11 memorial for US combat troops" by Julie Watson Associated Press  November 11, 2015

SAN DIEGO — Jan Scruggs knew as a young Army infantryman returning from Vietnam that his fellow veterans and his entire country needed a place to go to heal.

More than three decades later, the man who led efforts to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, said it’s now time such a wall be built for post-9/11 combat veterans, even though service members are still dying in Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘‘A lot of these veterans were hurt physically. There are high rates of PTSD, just like among Vietnam veterans, and if we wait until the war on terror is over, they will never see it happen,’’ he said.

Building a wall on the National Mall would require action from Congress to overturn the 1986 Commemorative Works Act, which stipulates that work cannot begin until 10 years after a war has ended. Scruggs said the law was enacted to prevent too many memorials from being built too quickly and to allow time for history to judge a conflict’s significance.

Scruggs said the law is out of touch with today’s conflicts, which do not have clear-cut endings.

And who benefits?

He pointed to the recent death of Army Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler, the US soldier fatally wounded in a hostage rescue mission in Iraq last month. ‘‘It’s not about the conflict,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s about the service of the veterans and people willing to give their lives for their country.’’

Retired Rear Admiral George Worthington, a Navy SEAL who served in Vietnam, agreed. ‘‘Whatever memorial they build, it has to be cognizant of the fact that this isn’t an end game. The war on terror is going to be an issue in the next several presidential elections, I’m afraid,’’ he said. ‘‘They need to build a temple, maybe a pyramid, something that will last thousands of years, or maybe just put a stake in the National Mall for future building rights.’’

Still, work on a memorial must get started since it will take years to get done, said Worthington, whose son is an active-duty SEAL.

The Korean War Memorial was built in 1995 and the World War II Memorial in 2004. A World War I Memorial is slated to be built near the White House in 2018, marking a century after that war ended. A Gulf War Memorial is also in the works.

The more wars, the more memorials and monuments!

Scruggs headed up a team of veterans in the late 1970s to build the memorial despite strong opposition at the time. His team raised $8.4 million and pushed through legislation.

Since the Vietnam war memorial wall was dedicated in 1982, wives, children, veterans, peace activists, politicians and presidents have gone there to mourn and share their pain.

Afghanistan veteran Andrew Brennan, a former Army captain, said he was awed by its impact, and has organized the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation, Inc., with other young veterans to take up the calling of building a wall for 9/11 warriors.


They were the lucky ones:

"One in 10 death row inmates are military veterans, report says" by Mark Berman The Washington Post News Service  November 11, 2015

The report arrived as the country’s use of the death penalty is simultaneously declining and facing increased scrutiny.

While it is not known exactly how many veterans have been sentenced to death, the report released Tuesday by the Death Penalty Information Center argues that a person’s military service should be factored into a possible sentence, particularly if the person facing trial has shown signs of trauma and possible post-traumatic stress disorder.

Boy, when they use you up they use you up.

‘‘At a time in which the death penalty is being imposed less and less, it is disturbing that so many veterans who were mentally and emotionally scarred while serving their country are now facing execution,’’ Robert Dunham, executive director of the center, said in a prepared statement.

The number of people put to death is falling nationwide, as are the number of death sentences handed down and the number of states carrying out executions. So far this year, 25 people have been executed, and the country is likely to have fewer executions this year than it has in nearly a quarter of a century.

Thank God for small favors. Now when can we get to zero?

The first person put to death in the United States this year was Andrew Brannan, who killed a Georgia sheriff’s deputy in 1998. Brannan, who served in Vietnam, had argued that he developed post-traumatic stress disorder after his experiences in combat....

That could become a blanket defense for veterans, separating them from civilians.



State’s third veterans treatment court to open in Lawrence

Prosecutor draws on military service to help soldiers in trouble with the law

There should be two different systems of justice, one for military and one for civilians. It's time to take of the mask and be the fascist war state we truly are.

Also seeNortheastern to open new center for student veterans

"Apparent opioid deaths roil veterans center" by Brian MacQuarrie Globe Staff  October 31, 2015

In the shadow of Boston’s City Hall, three men have died of opioid overdoses in the last several weeks at a facility where homeless veterans come to reclaim their lives, according to nearly a dozen of its residents.

Homeless veterans. Scandal.

The residents, in interviews with the Globe, blamed a brisk marketplace for drugs just outside the New England Center for Homeless Veterans, and an inability to protect veterans inside the facility from an influx of opioids.

The deaths occurred at a time when the opioid epidemic continues unabated in Massachusetts....

It benefits bank bottom lines and black budgets for drug-smuggling government intelligence agencies.


“It’s tragic, and it’s heartbreaking,” and Seth Moulton wants a review!

I mean, everyone welcomes veterans to their communities, right?

"Brighton veterans housing plan meets a powerful foe" by Tim Logan Globe Staff  October 07, 2015

It’s a window into the clout of a little-known state bureaucracy and the consummate Beacon Hill insider who oversees it. And it shines a light on just how hard it can be to fund and build affordable housing in a city that desperately needs more of it.

In a country and state controlled by corporate money, yeah.

The issue did not crop up as Brighton Marine’s project sailed through the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s approval process last year. It has wide support from veterans organizations and neighborhood groups. And the building has been awarded city housing funds to help pay its $41 million price tag.

But it needs state and federal subsidies to fund a big portion of the construction. And that’s where the Massachusetts Historical Commission comes in....

And where William F. Galvin, the secretary of state [and] lifelong Brighton resident, is “very protective of [his] community.”

How about that, huh?


Also see: Bill Galvin’s puzzling oversight of Brighton property

Other people concerned about their communities:

"In Hyannis, angst and debate about homelessness; Tourist haven not immune from scourge of homelessness, addiction" by Mark Arsenault Globe Staff  November 03, 2015

HYANNIS — Homeless people tend to seek out Hyannis because the village offers a variety of services — “72 social service organizations,” said William Cronin, 76, president of the Greater Hyannis Civic Association, including the NOAH shelter, the Cape’s only such facility for homeless individuals.

“Unfortunately,” he said of the agencies, “they attract the homeless.”

“You get ’em all over Main Street,” he said, in a Globe interview. “They’re panhandling. They’re annoying the tourists. There’s one girl down here who had to clean human feces out of her doorway before she could open her store. Others have had to take needles out of their flower boxes. It’s just gotten out of hand.”

The Supreme Court just ruled on that.

What causes homelessness in Vacationland is the same as anywhere else: job losses and poverty, mental illness, family history, substance abuse.

Alcohol use was an intractable vine tangled throughout Ray Bastille’s family tree.... 

I've been to enough AA meetings.


Related: editorial | crisis proportions Tackle the opioid crisis on your own street

Someone took their advice:

"Grieving mother helps police arrest suspected heroin dealers" by John R. Ellement Globe Staff  November 02, 2015

An undercover officer contacted the two men by phone and arranged to buy $500 worth of drugs in Gloucester, on Oct. 26. The men allegedly completed the sale and were arrested shortly afterward on heroin distribution charges.

William J. Piazza, 32, and Eugenio Valentin, 32, who are both from Lynn, were charged with distribution of a Class A drug, heroin. Piazza is also charged with operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.

“We were able to disrupt a supply chain through information provided by a heartbroken mother,’’ Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello said in a statement Monday. “Our policies about how we go after dealers who profit from the suffering and death of persons struggling with the disease of addiction have not and will not change.”

Guys should have gone into the war business instead, not the double-crossing fraud of a drug war.


Carrier over:

"Mass. couple arrested in string of East Coast bank robberies" by Laura Crimaldi Globe Staff  October 27, 2015

A Massachusetts couple being sought by police along the East Coast in bank robberies in five states were arrested Monday, ending what one investigator called a month-long crime spree driven by the pair’s heroin addiction.

Some have referred to Joseph and Jenny Carrier as a modern “Bonnie and Clyde,” but a detective in the western Massachusetts town where the string of bank heists began said the couple should not be compared to the Depression-era outlaws. 

Reading like a scripted fiction!

“Bonnie and Clyde actually killed people and were extremely violent. I don’t think that’s a proper term to describe this,” Ludlow police Detective Sergeant Louis Tulik said Tuesday.

The Carriers “are very troubled, very sick, feeding a habit,” he said. “They weren’t doing this for thrills. . .They weren’t doing this for profit.”

Yeah, the poor, bank-robbing heroin addicts. Gimme a f***ing break!!!!!!

The couple, both 37, were taken into custody Monday on Interstate 95 near Philadelphia International Airport after a chase that topped 90 miles per hour, according to an affidavit written by Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Scott Austin Duffey and filed in federal court in Delaware.

The Carriers are suspects in bank robberies in Massachusetts, Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, Duffey wrote. The Carriers had lived with a relative in Quincy and have strong ties to western Massachusetts, Tulik said....


Related: Policing is Social Work 

You would sure think so!

"Drug violators get a chance to change lives, avoid prison" by Milton J. Valencia Globe Staff  October 27, 2015

The mother of five did not deny what she had done. Yes, she had helped a drug-dealing friend hide thousands of dollars in profits by making small deposits on his behalf. The federal crime meant she could spend up to five years behind bars, far from her children.

But come Wednesday, she and three other low-level defendants will be offered a first-of-its-kind opportunity to possibly avoid or reduce their prison time, by pleading guilty and agreeing to take a specific series of steps toward rehabilitation. She must find better child care and stable housing, work toward obtaining a GED, and not only maintain a job but work toward a promotion. Her progress will be monitored along the way.

After a year, a judge will determine whether she and the others should still serve time or have proven themselves worthy of an alternative, such as probation or home confinement. Prosecutors could even ask that the case be dismissed.

“We are offering no promises or guarantees,” US District Judge Leo T. Sorokin said. “This offers an opportunity . . . to help defendants turn their lives around. We are trying to make sure defendants never come back to the criminal justice system and that when they return to their neighborhoods they return as sober, employed, and law-abiding citizens.” 

After spending decades building the prison industrial complex? What gives?

The federal initiative in Massachusetts is part of a broader shift nationwide against the heavy-handed punishments of the past and toward the focused rehabilitation of defendants whose crimes can be tied to either a history of drug addiction or a background of neglect and disadvantage. The strategy aims to reduce recidivism with preemptive programs while reducing the country’s soaring incarceration rates.

In Massachusetts, anyone charged with a federal crime will be invited to apply to the program within 90 days of their arrest.

Those who qualify will be able to plead guilty and enter into an agreement to meet certain goals.

They will then attend monthly follow-up meetings with a magistrate judge and could be required to participate in a form of restorative justice program, which focuses on helping them recognize the harm they had caused their victims. That could include, for instance, having drug dealers talk to doctors about drug overdoses or having people convicted of gun crimes meet with victims of gun violence.

Actual victims of the defendants would participate at their discretion.

Twelve months later, the federal judge overseeing their case can consider their compliance — or lack thereof — when handing out a sentence.

“The only thing that’s being promised to them is that the goals they accomplished will be taken into consideration,” said Christopher Maloney, the chief federal probation officer in Massachusetts.

The program — called Repair, Invest, Succeed, Emerge, or RISE — is of the first programs to offer extensive services to defendants before sentencing, rather than after. It is unique in that it partners prosecutors and defense attorneys, probation officers and a judge in screening applicants and setting their rehabilitation goals.

We are all in such good care, huh?

Defendants must meet certain qualifications, such as being eligible for bail, ensuring that the most dangerous offenders do not hijack the program in an effort to remain free as they await sentencing.

They are turning out drug dealers and illegals now, but you know.... they will get their act together.

Prosecutors also want assurances that the program excludes anyone accused of child exploitation crimes or serious violent crimes, as well as those who are accused of white-collar crimes that cannot be attributed to a history of drug abuse or a disadvantaged background.

US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said her support of the program is based on the Department of Justice’s “Smart on Crime” initiatives that focus on rehabilitating defendants who have substantiated needs, to reduce their recidivism.

“I think what we’re trying to do here is help those individuals who have committed crimes because of the fact that they did have a substance abuse problem, or lack life skills, education, the support, the structure in life to choose the right path,” she said.

This is all being done because government budgets are busting. It's not being done out of altruistic humanity and state beneficence.

If a defendant is successful, she said, her office could recommend a lighter sentence, probation, or another, more extended diversion program that could keep a defendant out of prison. In only rare instances, she indicated, would her office recommend a charge be dismissed.

“It really depends on what the charges were, what the problems were, and at the end of the day how they were able to comply with the requirements of the program,” she said.

Smells like FASCISM! Isn't that what you call the arbitrary whim of the state?

The shift away from heavy-handed punishments and toward rehabilitation and reducing recidivism is part of a broader effort to cut down on high incarceration rates, particularly for low-level drug crimes. Studies have increasingly cited the soaring costs of incarceration, while also showing that long prison sentences are ineffective in addressing underlying causes of crimes such as drug dependency.

STILL! Pushing health crap, love you, but still a crime!! 

That right there exposes the fraudulent nature of this government's benign intentions, and underscores the self-internalized values of the mouthpiece media fascist.

Time for me to suit the Globe cold turkey.

In past years, judges have ordered defendants to participate in some type of rehabilitation program once they have completed their prison sentence, or as part of their probation. But the more recent push has been to encourage defendants to seek treatment immediately, with the incentive that they could avoid prison, or have their sentence reduced. One hope is that defendants will be more committed.

“What appears to make these [programs] work . . . is participants in the program are dealing with a judge in a way they never have before,” said US District Judge John Gleeson, of the Eastern District of New York, who was one of the first to create a program three years ago.

He added, “The thinking behind this program is, ‘what are we waiting for.’ Why are we waiting for them to complete a four-year prison sentence and then work with them? Why not work with them immediately, and maybe they can avoid a prison term?”

The four Massachusetts defendants who will appear before a judge Wednesday were the first to qualify for the program. Court officials hope that roughly 20 defendants will take part in the first year. The court will reassess the program at that time.

Besides the mother of five, the initial defendants include a high school dropout with a history of mental health problems, whose crime was smuggling drugs from the Dominican Republic on behalf of other drug dealers. She will be required to obtain mental health treatment, get job training, and work toward a GED.

The court did not disclose the defendants’ names.

One man approved for the program assaulted a postal worker. He would be required to get a job and seek employment.

Where? The adult unemployment rate is at 40%!!

This is a turn 'em loose, we don't give a f*** policy dressed up as humane!

And another man was 18 when he was arrested for the first time on a gun crime, part of an interstate smuggling ring. He is a high school dropout with a history of substance abuse, and will be required to get and maintain a job, attend drug treatment programs, and find a mentor.

Said Miriam Conrad, the federal defender in Boston whose office represents some of the defendants: “They have goals set for them. . . . If they can do these things, we hope it will also reduce the chance they can be sentenced to prison.”


Tell you what, I'll meet you halfway:

"Obama unveils steps to help former inmates" by Peter Baker New York Times  November 02, 2015

WASHINGTON — President Obama announced a series of small initiatives on Monday intended to make it easier for former prisoners to find jobs and live in subsidized housing, part of his broader drive to remake the criminal justice system. 

He cares more about immigrants and criminals than law-abiding, tax-paying citizens -- or veterans!!!!

In a trip to Newark, Obama visited a residential drug-treatment center, Integrity House, to highlight efforts to ease the reentry of offenders leaving prison. He then convened a round-table discussion at the Newark campus of Rutgers University with Senator Cory Booker and Mayor Ras J. Baraka.

F*** him and his photo-op.

The focus on helping former prisoners readjust to the outside world is all the more timely with the decision last month by the US Sentencing Commission to release about 6,000 federal prisoners earlier than expected under reduced penalties for drug offenses.

Tell it to the guys in Gitmo!!!!!!!!!!!!

Obama, Congress, and the states are also working on other initiatives to reduce sentences for nonviolent crimes. Revamping the criminal justice system two decades after the tough-on-crime movement of the 1980s and 1990s has become one of the rare areas of bipartisan consensus lately.

Limited to that, the funding of the war machine, whatever Israel and Wall Street want, and whatever corporations need tax loot.

The steps Obama announced on Monday were all relatively modest, important to the president less for their individual effect than for the direction they keep the country moving. Collectively, they reflect a belief that former inmates should have greater leeway to apply for jobs and housing without disclosing criminal records that would hinder their chances. 

After seven years of misery all of a sudden he's found a heart!

For example, aides said, Obama directed the federal Office of Personnel Management to delay inquiries into criminal history until later in the hiring process for federal jobs, so that applicants are not rejected before having a chance to impress. 

Unreal! Heck, all their records were hacked anyway.

Most federal agencies have already taken this step, but a White House statement said it would help ensure that former prisoners “receive a fair opportunity to compete for federal employment.”

Why not getting it already? Tons of crooks staffing it.

Companies as diverse as Koch Industries and Walmart have voluntarily eliminated the criminal history box from job applications, as have more than 100 counties and cities and 19 states, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, according to the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for the rights of lower-wage workers.

When the Kochs and governments are in agreement, you best oppose. That's my reading.

Obama also announced several grants and initiatives to provide job training for those with criminal records, including a software development program in Newark, and new guidance for public authorities clarifying when arrests can be used to determine eligibility for assisted housing.

They can go to work for the NSA hacking squad.

In addition, he announced the creation of a national clearinghouse to help former inmates expunge or seal records, where possible, and a program to help public housing residents under the age of 25 do the same.

“There’s a reason that good people across the country are coming together to reform our criminal justice system,” Obama said in his Saturday address. “Because it’s not about politics. It’s about whether we as a nation live up to our founding ideal of liberty and justice for all.”

OMG! This guy makes me sick!

In a separate development Monday, Obama signed into law a bipartisan budget bill that avoids a catastrophic US default and puts off the next round of fighting over federal spending and debt until after next year’s presidential and congressional elections.

Obama praised the bipartisan cooperation behind the deal, saying the two-year agreement that funds the government through fiscal 2017 puts the government on a responsible path. 

Like I said, bankers, the war machine, Israel, corporations.


Also seeDying inmates don’t need to be in jail

Oh, THAT IS WHY they are being let out! Health care bills!

After a federal shift, ex-inmates get help in staying outside

Got plenty of it here:

Walsh backs Baker opioid bill

Man Arrested on Heroin Charges

Baker launches publicity campaign to end addiction stigma

8 sheriffs back governor’s controversial opioid bill

Efforts to rein in opioid prescribing could prove painful

Doctors should work with Baker on opioid plan

Medical schools to bolster opioid lessons

Group will sue Barnstable over needle program’s fate
Hyannis needle program can continue, for now

Baker highlights opioid addiction toll on veterans

New federal data indicate Mass. has a fentanyl problem

It's coming from where?

While veterans were homeless look who got money to move:

"VA halts embattled relocation program" Washington Post  November 04, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs has suspended a relocation program used by two senior executives to obtain more than $400,000 in questionable moving expenses and moved to discipline the officials, a senior agency leader said this week.

Danny Pummill, acting undersecretary for benefits, told the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee that VA is ‘‘doing a re-look at moving programs throughout the agency’’ and reconsidering how it promotes and transfers senior executives, ‘‘so everything is being done for the right reasons.’’

Congress is investigating the executives for allegedly abusing their positions to get plum jobs and perks, part of a pattern of unjustified moving incentives and transfers identified by VA’s watchdog. The committee subpoenaed Pummill, the executives, and the two lower-ranking regional benefits managers they forced to accept job transfers against their will, according to investigators.

But the executives, Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves, refused to testify.




Veteran, Fulbright scholar aims to improve VA health care

Clinton outlines plans to improve Veterans Affairs


She gonna end the wars?

Don’t just thank veterans, give them the services they need

Gotta make an appointment (that a Patriot's game in the photo)!

Speaking of the sports:

"NFL fans are about to see even more Bud Light. Beer maker to pay NFL $1.4b in Bud Light expansion deal." 

Or you have a Miller Lite if you want. What's the difference?

Liquor store known for witty signs wants public to pick next slogan

You know, if I live to be 100....

MIT grads create beer coasters that charge smartphones

What a great idea!

Time for some front-page crap:

"DraftKings, FanDuel dealt ‘disastrous’ blow in N.Y." by Dan Adams and Curt Woodward Globe Correspondent | Globe Staff  November 10, 2015

Boston’s DraftKings Inc. was dealt a stunning blow Tuesday as New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman ruled the company and its fantasy sports rival were running an illegal gambling operation and ordered them to stop accepting bets from state residents.

New York is the highest-profile and most populous state to forbid the contests, but the decision is only the latest shock to the embattled $4 billion daily fantasy sports industry. Federal investigators are probing whether DraftKings and its New York rival FanDuel Inc. are violating federal gambling laws, while the two companies were forced to withdraw from Nevada in October after state gaming officials ruled the contests were a form of gambling that required a license. 

The government ruined a good thing that people liked because they want their cut. What a$$holes!

“Our investigation has found that, unlike traditional fantasy sports, daily fantasy sports companies are engaged in illegal gambling under New York law, causing the same kinds of social and economic harms as other forms of illegal gambling, and misleading New York consumers,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “Daily fantasy sports is neither victimless nor harmless, and it is clear that DraftKings and FanDuel are the leaders of a massive, multibillion-dollar scheme intended to evade the law and fleece sports fans across the country.”

It's not point-shaving or fixing games, either. It's based on statistical success on the field.

Schneiderman’s letter to DraftKings said daily fantasy players were lured by the company’s television advertisements that promised instant gratificationeasy money and easy games requiring “no long-term strategy.”

It's going to be my way to millions.

His ruling stokes worries that the entire daily fantasy industry is on increasingly shaky legal ground in the United States, even as DraftKings and FanDuel look to expand overseas. It could also jeopardize the nearly $1 billion investors have pumped into the two companies.

“It’s disastrous,” said Adam Krejcik, an online gaming analyst with Eilers Research LLC. “There’s no other way to put it.”

DraftKings vowed to fight Schneiderman in court.

“There is a process by which hasty and uninformed opinions can be challenged in a court of law, which would allow DraftKings to not have to cease operations in the state of New York,” the company said in a statement. “We will pursue this fight to the fullest to ensure that New York fantasy sports fans do not need to stop playing the games they love.”

He's a government official, right?

Former Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, an adviser for DraftKings, said Schneiderman’s decision caught the company by surprise.

What a sell-out!

“This determination by the AG is not evidence-based and was made in too hasty a manner,” Coakley said in an interview. “It’s not a fair decision. If you’re concerned about consumer issues, focus on how to mitigate them. Don’t say, ‘we’re not going to let anybody play.’ ”

FanDuel, which is based in Manhattan, also decried Schneiderman’s decision.

“Fantasy sports is a game of skill and legal under New York State law,” FanDuel said. “This is a politician telling hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers they are not allowed to play a game they love and share with friends, family, coworkers, and players across the country.”

In his order Schneiderman said New York State’s constitution prohibits most forms of gambling unless they are expressly authorized, and pointedly noted that the Legislature enacted criminal penalties to prosecute offenders. That raises the prospect that Schneiderman could bring criminal charges against DraftKings executives and backers, said Marc Edelman, a law professor at Baruch College in New York.

How is that bank investigation going anyway? You know, the fraudulent foreclosures and all?

“The attorney general can go after any person that advances gambling activity. That absolutely includes high-level shareholders and executives of a company, and may even extend at the attorney general’s discretion to the employees of that company,” Edelman said. “I would be really surprised if the attorney general did not go after senior executives and substantial shareholders of these companies if they do not observe the cease-and-desist letter.”

Edelman said he would advise the companies to suspend operations and file their own lawsuit to get the games declared legal.

“Without a court order of legality, I would not be continuing business operations in New York,” Edelman said.

Schneiderman’s determination is troubling for DraftKings and FanDuel on another legal front: The companies can be prosecuted under federal law for violating a state’s gaming rules, said Daniel Wallach, a sports and gaming lawyer with Becker & Poliakoff of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The companies are being investigated by the US attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, and by the federal prosecutor in Tampa, reportedly for possible violations of Florida gaming law.

Game over.

“Today’s action by the New York attorney general has set the stage or opened the door for an indictment” by federal prosecutors in New York, Wallach said. “If the US attorney is looking at the legality, he has just been gift-wrapped a guaranteed indictment.”

“Forget the talk of regulation,” Wallach said. “Now they’re fighting for their survival.”

Krejcik said New York is one of the largest markets for online fantasy sports; players in the state spend more on average, he said, perhaps owing to its popularity among Wall Street traders.

“Obviously, this sets a terrible precedent. It’s one thing for Nevada, where people think it’s the gaming industry trying to protect its own interests,” Krejcik said. “It’s another thing for a state like New York to turn on it fairly quickly — not to mention that FanDuel is located there.”

The companies have long insisted their contests are legal because federal law defines fantasy sports as games of skill, not chance.

The companies had not offered its contests in five other states whose laws appeared to prohibit the games.

In New York, Schneiderman’s ruling cited a state law that says any contests involving bets on events outside players’ “control or influence” and involve a “material degree” of chance are gambling.

The industry immediately began marshalling its customers to sway political leaders in New York, where it said there are an estimated 500,000 players. An online petition posted by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association urged players to contact Schneiderman and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

I hope they get flooded with nasty complaints!

Top fantasy sports players reacted angrily to Schneiderman’s ruling.

I knew they would. You try taking away someone's fun. Wars, bank looters, people don't care about that.

“It feels personal, and it’s infuriating because this is clearly a game of skill. It’s something I’ve spent tens of thousands of hours working on,” said Peter Jennings of Colorado, cofounder of Fantasy Labs, a company that provides daily fantasy players with software that helps them pick rosters. “My big concern here is the domino effect — New York is a state I really didn’t want to lose.”

A spokesman for Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who is reviewing daily fantasy sports, declined to comment on the New York decision. She has said that the games are not explicitly illegal under Massachusetts law and that she does not intend to move against them.

Other states, including Illinois and Georgia, have also questioned the legality of the games. In response, the companies have joined in an aggressive, state-by-state lobbying campaign to stave off anything except industry-friendly “regulation lite.”


That's it. I'm all crapped out for today. I've got a game of my own to go play.