Friday, July 31, 2015

This Blog Hits the HubSpot

Seems like a good place to end the month:

"HubSpot fires marketing chief, sanctions CEO over incident involving book about the company" by Dan Adams and Curt Woodward, Boston Globe, July 30, 2015

HubSpot, one of the area’s hottest tech companies, fired its top marketing executive for attempting to obtain a draft of a forthcoming book about the company apparently written by a former employee and billed as his “Misadventure in the Startup Bubble.”

The Cambridge marketing software company also disclosed Wednesday that a second executive had resigned and that a third, chief executive Brian Halligan, had been sanctioned for knowing about the incident but failing to alert HubSpot’s board of directors “in a timely fashion.”

Mike Volpe, the company’s chief marketing officer, was fired for violating HubSpot’s code of business conduct and ethics code after an independent investigation overseen by its board of directors found that he tried to procure a copy of the book, the company said in a statement.

Vice president of content Joe Chernov resigned before the company could determine whether to fire him, as well, HubSpot added.

HubSpot has become one of the most influential tech companies in the Boston area as it capitalized on the emergence of social media by making tools that help businesses connect with their customers. Its stock has doubled in recent months, and it had a market value of more nearly $1.8 billion on Wednesday.

The company disclosed that it had hired outside legal counsel to look into allegations regarding the book, and that the firm’s report formed the basis of the board’s decision to fire Volpe.

The firm also “notified the appropriate legal authorities” about the incident, but spokeswoman Laura Moran said HubSpot did not know which authorities received the information.

Moran also said that “no one” within the company — Halligan included — knows exactly what transpired.


The book is likely the work of Dan Lyons, a former journalist who worked in a marketing position at HubSpot until December. In addition to writing screenplays for “Silicon Valley,” the HBO series spoofing the tech-startup culture, Lyons previously penned the wildly popular blog Fake Steve Jobs, which parodied Apple co-founder Steve Jobs before his illness and death as a vulgar, self-righteous, and power-hungry executive impatient with others’ stupidity.

Rumors are that Jobs was killed because he didn't want to go along with NSA trapdoors spying capabilities in his products.

In February, Lyons announced that he was working on “a memoir of my ridiculous attempt to reinvent myself and start a new career as a marketing person inside a software company during the second tech bubble.”

Undercover employee?

RelatedWinchester writer revels in ruffling feathers

"In their first interview since the episode blew up this week, CEO Brian Halligan and cofounder Dharmesh Shah reconstructed some of the events that led to former chief marketing officer Mike Volpe’s firing, but Keith Frankel, a former creative director at HubSpot, said veteran technology journalist Dan Lyons was probably a poor fit with HubSpot. His personality as a writer and cultural critic was at odds with the enthusiastic culture promoted by company executives, Frankel said.

“HubSpot is a very polarizing environment. To some, it’s the greatest place they’ve ever worked. They view their time there with the utmost fondness, and they’re very close with the people they worked with,” Frankel said. “To others, it more closely resembles Jonestown. I think the truth is likely somewhere in the middle.”


HubSpot was founded in 2006 by Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, who met as graduate students at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. The company makes software tools to help businesses connect with their customers online through social media, search engine results, e-mail marketing, and original content on blogs.

The introduction of its products was timely, emerging as the Internet was maturing as a commercial platform and more companies looked to compete online. As a result, HubSpot grew quickly, eventually raising $100 million from a broad group of investors.

In one of the most anticipated public stock offerings for a Boston-area technology company in years, HubSpot went public in October at $25 a share. The stock has since then more than doubled, closing at $54.12 Wednesday, giving HubSpot a market value of about $1.79 billion.

The company employs 887 workers, mostly in Cambridge, Moran said.

HubSpot reported revenue of $116 million last year, 50 percent higher than in the previous year. But as is typical with young, fast-growing tech companies, HubSpot was in the red, posting a loss of $48.6 million for the year.

HubSpot declined to detail the sanctions it meted out to Halligan, but said the CEO cooperated with the board’s investigation.

“While we wish Brian [Halligan] had reported promptly, we are confident as a board in his ability to lead HubSpot and our outstanding team of dedicated employees going forward,” Lorrie Norrington, the company’s lead independent director, added in the statement. “We are disappointed by the actions of Mike and Joe. Our board and HubSpot took these matters seriously, and acted swiftly and thoroughly once learning of this through an internal report.”

The company declined to make Halligan, a co-founder of the company, available for comment.

Kipp Bodnar will take over as chief marketing officer, Hubspot said.


Time for me to grab some grub before curling up with a good book.

See you next month.


Justice Dept. drops HubSpot case with no charges, but leaves plenty of questions

"One of the region’s fastest-rising software companies is sticking around its longtime home in East Cambridge for another dozen years."

Leaving Behind the July Lints

Leftovers from the Patrick regime, but it is on Baker's watch:

Father charged in abuse of son, 7, who fell into coma

"DCF visited Hardwick child’s home before abuse claim; Father charged with assault, endangerment of 7-year-old boy" by Peter Schworm, Jan Ransom and Astead W. Herndon Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent  July 23, 2015

HARDWICK — A social worker with the state’s child protection agency visited the Hardwick home of a 7-year-old boy in late June, just two weeks before he fell into a coma after apparently being starved and dehydrated, state officials said Thursday.

The state’s Department of Children & Families said the boy and his father, who is charged with gravely abusing his son, “voluntarily” received services from the agency, and had been seen three times this month by staff from an authorized service provider. A social worker visited the home in this Central Massachusetts town June 29.

Well, the records are a mess over there.

The boy was taken to the hospital July 14 with life-threatening injuries that included bruises to his face, and burns on his knees and hands from frequent exposure to bleach. He weighed 38 pounds.

His father, Randall E. Lints, 26, was arrested Tuesday on assault and endangerment charges, and ordered held without bail. Investigators found that Lints rarely let his son out of his sight and kept him in his room for days at a time. He exacted strict discipline and forced him to continuously wash the floors, police said.

DCF had become involved with the family in February, said agency spokeswoman Andrea Grossman. She declined to say whether the agency had received a report of abuse or neglect, or whether the social worker reported any such signs during the home visit.

DCF has taken custody of the boy, who remains hospitalized. The Globe is not naming the boy to protect his privacy.

A spokeswoman for Governor Charlie Baker, Lizzy Guyton, said in an e-mail Thursday that he “is saddened by reports of this tragic situation and looks forward to authorities quickly addressing this case.”

A relative said she was devastated by the cruelty inflicted on the boy, and wondered how social workers assigned to the family could not have noticed.

“It’s really a sickening situation when you think about it,” she said. “We don’t feel they did a good job.”

Neighbors said Lints and his girlfriend had several children. DCF declined to comment on that assertion.

Questions about the handling of the case marked the first high-profile controversy concerning the social services agency since Baker took office this year. Last year, DCF came under intense criticism after acknowledging that a social worker assigned to a Fitchburg family had skipped eight mandatory monthly visits to the home. A 5-year-old boy, Jeremiah Oliver, was missing for months and later found dead.

The state budget Baker signed into law last week included an additional $37 million in funding for DCF.

In the Hardwick case, relatives said Thursday that they were horrified by the boy’s mistreatment, and several said they had never trusted Lints to care for him.

“It blows my mind that he would get custody,” said Samantha Chapman, the aunt of the boy’s mother. “He wasn’t even in his life.”

Chapman said she knew the boy as a happy child who loved to play and swim. She hadn’t seen him in more than a year, and had never met Lints.

“He just wanted to be a kid,” she said.

Jeannette Chapman, the boy’s great-grandmother, began crying as she described the youngster.

“He’s fun loving and creative,” she said. “He loves math. He loves to eat, too.”

The boy’s mother told WCVB-TV that “something could have been done” to protect him.

On Facebook, she wrote that her son’s injuries marked a “clear case of negligence on the state’s part.”

“This cannot keep happening to children,” she wrote.

For most of his life, the boy lived with his maternal grandmother. He had been told his father was dead, one relative said. The boy’s father was not named on his birth certificate, according to records. His mother, who was at one point in a residential program, was unable to care for the child, according to court records.

But two years ago, Lints became involved in his son’s life, seeking visitation rights and declaring he would seek custody “after he gets to know me as a father,” according to court records. In June 2014, Lints was granted sole custody of his son, with the boy’s mother allowed to visit every other Sunday, records say.

In Hardwick, neighbors said they sometimes heard screams from the father’s apartment.

Susan Casimiro, who lives one floor above Lints’s apartment, recalled seeing the boy on the staircase looking lost and timid. She said she never called police about the disturbances, but wishes now she had.

“All I can do now is picture his face in my head,” Casimiro said.

Police went to Lints’s home July 14 after receiving a 911 call that the child was unresponsive. The officer saw bruising on the boy’s head and jaw, and Lints said the child fell out of bed two days earlier, according to a police report.

Doctors found multiple bruises on his body that were inconsistent with a fall, and he had lost about 12 to 15 pounds in recent months. A nurse saw scarring and blistering on his feet that appeared to have been caused by a burn.

Lints’s lawyer declined to comment Thursday. Lints is due in East Brookfield District Court Wednesday for a hearing to determine whether he poses a danger if released.

Hardwick Police Lieutenant Kevin Landine said he expects authorities to release more information regarding the investigation. He said that even though Hardwick is a small town, Lints was “not someone that was really known to us.”

Court records show the boy was the subject of a fierce custody dispute.

In January 2013, the boy’s mother and maternal grandfather filed a petition to remove the child from his grandmother’s care, arguing she was “no longer fit to care for the child.”

The grandfather told the courts that the grandmother tried to isolate the child from his extended family and parents, and kept him away from family events beginning in 2011.

When the boy’s father got custody, the grandfather dropped the petition.

In April, Lints told the court that the boy had refused to visit his step-grandparents and had exhibited “major behavioral issues” and did not feel safe going on visits alone. Lints asked the court to remove the right to visit or restrict him to supervised visits until the boy saw a trauma specialist.

The grandfather backed off a contempt complaint in July that he had filed against Lints after the man prevented him from seeing the boy since December. He wrote that Lints had directed “threatening behavior” toward the boy, his family, and him.

The grandfather said he had been denied visits with his grandson and had been “challenged at every turn since his father Randy took custody.”

“I have been targeted as the scapegoat for [his] developmental issues, and for his reaction to a dramatic change in lifestyle,” he wrote. “Randy’s actions indicate he is threatened by, and hostile to, my involvement.”


"DCF monitor of abused boy is unlicensed; 20% not meeting new requirement; supervision questioned" by David Scharfenberg Globe Staff  July 24, 2015

The social worker monitoring a 7-year-old Hardwick boy who fell into a coma after apparent starvation and dehydration is one of hundreds who are unlicensed at the state Department of Children and Families, officials said Friday.

State figures show 592 social workers, or about one in five at the agency, did not meet a legal deadline of July 1 to get a license.

Oh, the state broke the law?

Linda S. Spears, the department’s commissioner, acknowledged the shortfall in an interview with the Globe on Friday night. But she said she is proud of the agency’s progress since the state Legislature put the licensure requirement on the books last summer.

“What we wanted to do is . . . work towards getting everybody licensed as quickly as we can possibly do that,” she said. “We’ve gone from about 54 percent, 55 percent, licensed last fall to just about 80 percent now.”

Patrick was an auto-pilot governor.

Advocates stressed the importance of licensure Friday. “The more that people are trained in the field that they’re practicing, the better,” said Erin G. Bradley, executive director of the Children’s League of Massachusetts.

But Bradley and others said the licensure issue is probably less important in the Hardwick case than questions about the supervision the social worker received as she interacted with the boy and his father, Randall Lints. Lints was arrested on assault and endangerment charges on Tuesday.

“The real question for me is: Was there really a comprehensive look at the parenting capacity of this man?” said the state’s child advocate Gail Garinger, who is conducting a detailed review of the case.

The Department of Children and Families is conducting a review of its own that is expected to be completed within 60 days.


Thus far, the case has not sparked the firestorm that came in the wake of Jeremiah Oliver’s death. Bradley, of the Children’s League of Massachusetts, praised Spears on Friday for her efforts to improve communication with outside agencies.


"It’s worse than the Jeremiah Oliver case. The latest tragedy to befall a child under the watch of the state’s child welfare agency reveals a truth even more distressing than what we learned about Oliver, the Fitchburg boy who was missing for months and later found dead after a DCF social worker failed to make required visits to his home. It’s one thing for a child to perish after those assigned to keep him safe fail to do their jobs. Even more grim: That a child could be tortured even while being supervised by a cohort of workers who showed up to check on him as they were supposed to."

At least the kid is still alive (although barely).

And she said the department’s problems cannot be fixed in a matter of months, even as she acknowledged the difficulty of watching the Hardwick case unfold in the meantime. “I keep saying that we need more time,” she said. “And then this happens.”

That's true. It usually takes the same amount of time fix things that it took to get into them, if not longer. 

Baker, in his first comments on the case, told reporters at a State House press conference Friday that he felt “terrible” about what had happened.

But the governor said he would await the department’s review before making any judgment on who is to blame.

Baker also suggested, as other advocates did Friday, that there were adults with no connection to DCF who also had interactions with the boy and who raised concerns about his well-being. Their actions, he said, must be “a big part of the review.”

“The child was in school all the way through the end of the year,” he said. “The child had regular check-ups with clinicians. . . . The child was also seen by other family therapists who were working with . . . the dad and with the son all the way through June into July.

“I guess one of the big questions is: So how did this end up happening?”


Good thing he is in state care now, right?

Teens allegedly hit as warning, punishment at DYS site

They were "assaults that staff members dubbed “orange chicken,” [where] teenagers confined to the Department of Youth Services residential site were stripped from the waist down and hit on the bare buttocks with an orange sandal, according to prosecutors."

Also seeFormer staffer at DYS program arraigned in abuse case

You would almost think Massachusetts hates children if you didn't know better.


Jeremiah Oliver’s mother found competent to stand trial

Mother of Hardwick boy describes father’s alleged neglect

Hardwick boy in coma moved to long-term rehab facility

Spanish Bullshit

Globe is regular if nothing else:

"2 Americans gored in running of bulls" Associated Press  July 08, 2015

PAMPLONA, Spain — Two Americans and a Briton were gored and eight others injured Tuesday as thousands of daredevils dashed through the streets of this northern Spanish city in the first running of fighting bulls for the San Fermin festival, organizers said.

Mike Webster, a 38-year-old occupational therapist from Gainesville, Fla., was gored as he ran with the bulls in Pamplona for his 38th time over the last 11 years, he said from his hospital bed.

San Fermin’s media office said he was gored in the armpit, and Webster told the Associated Press that he hasn’t decided whether he’ll run again because he first needs to discuss the issue with his wife.

Also gored was a 27-year-old Californian identified only by his initials, D.M.O. A 30-year-old Briton with the initials A.B.O. was gored in the groin area. None of the three were in serious condition.

Three other Americans were among the eight others injured, most with bruises sustained in falls and crowd crushes during the nationally televised event that lasted just over two minutes.

The daily run sees people dashing with six bulls along a narrow, 930-yard course from a holding pen to the city’s bullring. The bulls are then killed by professional matadors in bullfights each afternoon.

The nine-day annual fiesta, which features 24-hour street partying, was made famous in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel ‘‘The Sun Also Rises.”

Bull runs are a traditional part of summer festivals across Spain. Dozens are injured each year in the runs, most in falls, although two men died after being gored in recent weeks.



2 Americans gored as Spain’s running of the bulls begins
Australian gored, 2 injured in second Pamplona bull-run
4 people gored in Spain’s 5th Pamplona running of the bulls

Also see: More Spanish Bulls***

Globe drops the load like clockwork. 

In between the plops:

"Eight die in nursing home fire in Spain" by Harold Heckle Associated Press  July 13, 2015

MADRID — A fire swept through a nursing home early Sunday outside Spain’s northeastern city of Zaragoza, killing eight elderly residents and injuring 12 other people, officials said.

Regional Interior Ministry spokesman Gustavo Alcalde said 11 residents of the Santa Fe home and one of its caretakers were hospitalized. The cause was being investigated.

One man with serious burns was in critical condition in the intensive care unit of a local hospital, regional health spokesman Sebastian Celeya said, adding others were suffering from smoke inhalation.

The fire apparently started in a first-floor bedroom of the three-story building, fire brigade spokesman Carlos Carilla said. The fire department had received a phone call from a person asking for help in evacuating elderly people who said a mattress had caught on fire.

Celeya said the occupant of the bedroom where the fire seems to have started had died as well as a next-door neighbor. Those living above died from smoke inhalation.

Alcalde praised the rapid response by fire and police officials but called it ‘‘a very sad day’’ in Zaragoza.


"Tourist fatally gored in Spain bull run" Associated Press  July 15, 2015

PAMPLONA, Spain — Pamplona’s nine-day San Fermin festival ended Tuesday with no deaths from daily bull runs, but officials said a French tourist died after being gored at a small town festival in eastern Spain.

A statement from the town hall of Pedreguer said the 44-year-old man died around 1 a.m. after being gored during a bull-running event held as part of the town’s summer festival.

Ten people, including four Americans, were gored in this year’s festival in Pamplona, the country’s most celebrated such event, but no one was killed.

Bull runs are a traditional part of summer festivals across Spain.

The July 6-14 Pamplona fiesta, named after the northern city’s patron saint, dates to the late 16th century. It was immortalized in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel ‘‘The Sun Also Rises’’ and attracts thousands annually.


Sort of like a sandwich, isn't it? 

Maybe one day the torture and barbarism shown toward the bull will stop.

This Blog a Washout

"Ariz. city reaps benefits from nearby road collapse" by Astrid Galvan Associated Press  July 24, 2015

Yuma is usually a sleepy town on the way to San Diego. But it has seen thousands more visitors as traffic between Phoenix and Los Angeles is rerouted, prompting a brief but welcome boom.

Fast-food parking lots and gas stations have been packed all week as travelers make their way to and from California....

Summer is generally the slow season for the farming city of fewer than 100,000 people near the Mexico border that counts on ‘‘snow birds’’ in the winter to keep its economy afloat.

But the rerouted drivers have meant more traffic for businesses, both in Yuma and other towns along the detour from Interstate 10.

Parker, Ariz., about 36 miles north of I-10 near the California border, saw a spike in traffic on Monday, said tourism coordinator Josh Savino.

The Parker Area Tourism office has been posting messages on social media that offer discounts and tout the town’s attractions.

One post features a postcard of a lake with the caption, ‘‘Parker, Arizona. Best Detour Ever.’’

‘‘Come back on purpose next time,’’ it reads.

John Courtis, executive director of the Yuma Chamber of Commerce, said a McDonald’s that normally has a dozen cars in the parking lot has been packed, but the effort by business and tourism officials to capitalize on the freeway closure caused by flooding was shortened when California announced it was reopening the highway Friday.

Courtis said his office had been planning a Lynyrd Skynyrd-themed ad campaign dubbed ‘‘Gimme Three Stops,’’ a play on a song by the group, urging people passing through to visit the McDonald’s, a gas station, and one shop in town.

‘‘If the I-10 was going to be closed for two or three months, we’d really do some fun promoting,’’ Courtis said.

Ann Walker, a spokeswoman for the Yuma Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the organization has been using social media to entice drivers to stop and take a look around.

Gotta beg (and make sure you stop at the McDonald's!).


Related: "An unusually strong summer storm dumped up to 7 inches in the area near Desert Center, about 50 miles west of California’s border with Arizona."

Also see: Melting My Bridges

"Flood led to California bridge collapse, officials say; Problem creates chaos on key link from L.A. to Ariz." by Brian Skoloff and Justin Pritchard Associated Press  July 21, 2015

DESERT CENTER, Calif. — Despite the heavy rains, California is coping overall with record drought. Regulators on Monday proposed a $1.5 million fine for a group of Central Valley farmers accused of illegally taking water during the drought.

It would be the first such fine against an individual or district with claims to water that are more than a century old, known as senior water rights holders. The action reflects the rising severity of the four-year drought, which has prompted the state to demand cutbacks from those historically sheltered from mandatory conservation.

The State Water Resources Control Board said the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District in the eastern San Francisco Bay Area illegally took water from a pumping plant even after it was warned in June enough water was not legally available.

Relying on water rights dating to 1914, the district serves 160 farming families in three counties in the agriculture-rich Central Valley and a residential community of 12,000 people.

"Off-the-charts heat is "getting to be a monthly thing," said Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. June was the fourth month of 2015 that set a record, she said." 

(Blog editor just shakes his head)


Been Bison My Time With This Post

"Woman hurt taking photo with bison at Yellowstone" New York Times   July 25, 2015

NEW YORK — Officials at Yellowstone National Park are warning visitors not to fraternize with wildlife after a woman was injured while trying to take a selfie near a bison — but that hasn’t stopped some visitors from posting their close encounters on social media.

A notice released by the National Park Service on Wednesday detailed the episode, which began when a 43-year-old and her child turned their backs to a bison while attempting to take the photo. The animal was about 6 yards away. (It is illegal to be closer than 25 yards to the animals, park officials said.)

The visitors tried to get away when they heard the bison approach, but the animal lifted the woman up and tossed her with its head. She is the fifth person to be injured in an encounter with one of the park’s bison this summer.

“People need to recognize that Yellowstone wildlife is wild, even though they seem docile,” said Colleen M. Rawlings, a district ranger. “This woman was lucky that her injuries were not more severe.”


And with that, it's time for lunch.

Cabot & Kroll Corrupt

"Cabot stepson, partner face criminal fraud charges" by Beth Healy Globe Staff  July 24, 2015

His father was a Mexican diplomat, but it was the surname of his stepfather that he always used in his business dealings. That all-too-familiar Boston Brahmin name was surely an advantage when Carlton Penavera Cabot asked clients to entrust him with millions of dollars for real estate investments.

Cabot and business partner Timothy J. Kroll registered their Cabot Investment Properties in Boston and set up shop in Manhattan. Over more than a decade, they attracted more than $240 million from at least 513 investors for commercial real estate projects around the country, regulatory filings say.

Eventually, those investors lost it all. Real estate setbacks during the financial crisis apparently accounted for most of the losses. But federal prosecutors say that more than $17 million was pilfered by Cabot and Kroll to bankroll their lavish lifestyles as the business struggled.

By 2012, authorities began to receive complaints from investors about the firm. The Massachusetts Securities Division last year accused Cabot and Kroll of civil fraud, for allegedly taking $5 million from state residents, many of them retired, and using the money for extravagant personal expenses. It said the partners “artfully fabricated an air of prominence by associating themselves with the established names of the New England Cabot family.”

Now the men are facing criminal charges in New York. They were arrested last month at their homes — Cabot in Stamford, Conn., Kroll in New Hope, Pa. Both are free pending trial, on $1 million bail each.

The 52-year-old Cabot is mostly confined to his home with a GPS monitoring device, but allowed to drive his children to school, according to court records.

The US attorney in New York, Preet Bharara, alleged that the pair stole from investors to pay for personal and business expenses, including luxury apartment rentals in Manhattan and Miami, tuition for two of Cabot’s children, and a BMW for Kroll.

“They falsified financial statements in an attempt to cover their tracks,’’ Bharara said in a statement. Investors with the firm lost all their $240 million in principal, according to the allegations. The Postal Inspection Service and the IRS were part of the investigation, as were Massachusetts securities regulators.

Cabot and Kroll were each charged with seven counts of fraud, money laundering, and other charges. Cabot could not be reached at any of his listed phone numbers. His attorney did not return calls seeking comment.

“We have been working with the US attorney on this investigation since 2012,’’ said Secretary of State William F. Galvin. “We hope to get money for the Massachusetts investors.”

For Cabot, it has been a steep fall from his pedigreed upbringing. His father, now deceased, was Jaime Penavera, Mexico’s consul general in New York, according to Cabot’s 1987 wedding notice in The New York Times.

It's the old gag line: thank God your father isn't alive to see this.

His mother, the late Maryellen Cabot, later married Louis Wellington Cabot of Boston, an heir to the Cabot Corp. chemical company fortune and a former chief of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Louis Cabot, now in his 90s, said in a brief phone interview that he had not been in touch with Carlton for many years.

Did he just disown him?

Carlton Cabot took classes at Northeastern University, but did not graduate. He was first married on Cape Cod in 1987, to Carla Anne Pellegrino, whose family controlled the Prince Co. pasta company in Lowell. Cabot worked for Altman & Manley Advertising Co. in Boston, a firm that folded in 1997. The next year, according to public records, he and Kroll, now 44, launched Cabot Investment Properties.

It was in 2003 when their business of selling so-called tenants-in-common investments began in earnest, federal prosecutors allege. The firm oversaw 18 securities offerings in such properties as malls and office buildings, in which investors were promised a portion of the rental income.

Things began to go seriously wrong in 2008, as the financial crisis hit and property values slumped, according to court records in New York. The company started losing money “precipitously,’’ about $7.7 million in 2008, followed by $7.2 million in 2009, according to the records.

By 2010, Cabot allegedly asked his bankers to sell his Massachusetts home at a loss in order to raise cash. He wanted the deal done as quickly as possible, court records show, because of “significant business reversals which have had a profound impact on all aspects of [his] life.”

Cabot’s siblings are also stepchildren of Louis Wellington Cabot and go by the name. One of them, his sister, has been embroiled in legal battles of her own in recent years.

Melanie H. Cabot has been engaged in a decadelong fight with former business partners over a book of maps they set out to publish and which she is accused of trying to steal.

A civil lawsuit over that dispute is nearing a conclusion in Suffolk Superior Court, after years of delays while she filed for bankruptcy protection in Florida.

David H. Rich, a Boston lawyer speaking on behalf of Melanie Cabot’s former business partners, said, “This has been a 10-year journey, and, from their perspective, a journey to get to the truth. They’ve alleged in the lawsuit that Ms. Cabot violated her legal obligations to them separately by usurping corporate property for personal gain.”

Melanie Cabot filed for personal bankruptcy protection in 2007. In her bankruptcy case, the judge ruled she had not been truthful and had hidden assets, including a $150,000 investment in her brother Michael Cabot’s Florida real estate investment company at the time, Mariner Asset Management, according to court documents.

Michael was involved in the same type of tenant-in-common investments as his brother Carlton.

Efforts to reach Michael and Melanie Cabot and their attorneys were unsuccessful.


This Shook Me

Remains of man missing 43 years believed found at N.C. lake bottom

So did this:

Scientists say they’ve found a planet like Earth — 1,400 light-years away

That's a cause to rethink ancient history and our ancestors.

The Proeung of Crime in Bedford

"Police make arrest in Bedford home invasion" by Sarah Roberts Globe Correspondent  July 23, 2015

One suspect was in custody Thursday after a home invasion in Bedford that left three people seriously injured, but police are still searching for two other men.

Vini Bunted Proeung, 20, of Lowell, was arrested and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault to maim, armed and masked robbery, home invasion, use of a firearm in a felony, and possession of a firearm without a license, according to Bedford police and the Middlesex district attorney’s office. He pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment Thursday in Concord District Court, District Attorney Marian T. Ryan and Bedford Police Chief Robert Bongiorno said.

Investigators are still trying to identify the two other men involved in the Wednesday morning incident.

Proeung and two associates allegedly broke into an apartment on North Road at about 2 a.m., shot one victim in the leg, and beat two others.

Rescuers were able to stop the bleeding from the shooting victim’s leg and safe his life, police said. All of the victims are expected to survive.

Proeung knew at least one of the victims through work, according to police, who said the suspects believed there were drugs in the apartment.


Also seeThree injured in Bedford armed home invasion

Once Around the Track in Weston

"Police seek man who exposed himself near Weston track" by Sarah Roberts Globe Correspondent  July 23, 2015

Police are looking for a male suspect who exposed himself to a 34-year-old woman while she was walking on the Weston High School track Tuesday night, officials said.

The woman told police she heard rustling from the trees between Route 30 and the track at about 8:30 p.m., according to a statement from Weston police.

She then saw the suspect approaching her with his shorts down. The woman ran to her car in the parking lot and called 911, police said.

Officers arrived at the track and searched for the suspect, but could not find him. A K-9 unit from the Waltham Police Department was called to search the school grounds and surrounding neighborhood, but found nothing, the statement said.

Weston police reviewed a surveillance video of traffic on Route 30 and saw a vehicle making a U-turn and pulling over on the shoulder of Route 30 east at 8:21 p.m.

The driver could not be seen in the video, and the vehicle left a few minutes later, the police said.

Anyone with information on the incident can call Weston police....

Blog policy is to not post telephone numbers of any kind.


Harvard Yells "Timber!"

The endowment is falling.... 

"Harvard exits its foray into Romanian timber" by Michael McDonald and Irina Vilcu Bloomberg News  July 23, 2015

NEW YORK — Harvard University’s endowment arm sold 33,600 acres of forest to Ikea Group, exiting a foray into Romanian timberland.

Harvard Management Co.’s strategy of investing in overseas forestry went awry in Romania, where an agent it hired was convicted of bribery and money laundering last year. Prosecutors said the agent arranged with sellers to inflate prices that Harvard-owned Scolopax Srl paid for timberland in exchange for $1 million in cash. He denied committing any crime.

“It highlights the outsize risk of going into these frontier markets,” said Joshua Humphreys, president of the Croatan Institute, a social and environmental research group in Durham, N.C.

Paul Andrew, a spokesman for Harvard, declined to comment.


The purchase makes Ikea the biggest private forestry owner in Romania and gives it a local source of wood for manufacturing. The Swedish furniture retailer has said it bought the forests from Greengold European Capital SA, which is owned by Harvard through a series of investment vehicles. Scolopax sold the property to Greengold last year, Romanian Newspaper Jurnalul de Buzau reported. 

It makes me sick that Sweden would be involved in cutting down trees.

Sorin Chiorescu, chairman of Greengold in Stockholm, and Cristina Gheorghita, a lawyer for Scolopax with TPA Howarth in Bucharest, declined to comment.

Harvard Management, which oversees Harvard’s $36.4 billion endowment, began buying the forests a decade ago under a strategy of acquiring timber and farmland in developing countries such as Brazil and Argentina, as well as in Eastern Europe....

They were not welcome there.


I see nothing to celebrate.

Video Gamers on Cloud 9

Pissing in the cup is going to bring 'em down:

"Drug testing to become reality for professional video gamers" by Nick Wingfield and Conor Dougherty New York Times   July 24, 2015

NEW YORK — Lance Armstrong. Alex Rodriguez. Kory Friesen.

Kory who?

Flouting rules for performance-enhancing drugs have felled some of the biggest names in sports. Now that list could include competitive video game players such as Friesen, after he boasted that he, his teammates, and other professional gamers took prescription drugs to help them focus in a competition.

No wonder I suck at them.

In response to those comments, the Electronic Sports League, one of the most successful leagues in competitive video gaming, said on Wednesday it would test players for performance-enhancing drugs starting at a tournament in August. ESL said it would work with two international agencies — the same ones that help oversee anti-doping policies for cycling, the Olympics and other sports — to create anti-doping guidelines and a testing program for players.

The announcement is perhaps the clearest sign yet that e-sports, as professional gaming is widely known, is evolving into a mainstream form of competitive entertainment. This year, overall revenue from the global e-sports business is expected to surpass $250 million from more than 113 million e-sports fans worldwide, according to estimates from Newzoo, a games research firm. 

I never play. I'm too busy falling further behind here.

But the growing stakes for players — prize money is expected to reach $71 million — is creating new temptations.

Maybe I'm devoting too much attention to the wrong sections of my Globe.

“We want to create a level playing field for all competitors and maintain the integrity of the sport,” said James Lampkin, vice president of professional gaming at ESL.

If you can call it that (if you are no good maybe you can get a job operating drones for the military).

ESL has long had a general prohibition against doping, but its rules did not specify which drugs were not allowed, and the league did not police players. That changed, though, when Friesen, who plays under the name Semphis, was interviewed earlier this month and said that he had used Adderall during an ESL tournament for the shooter game Counter-Strike while playing with a team called Cloud9.

In the interview, which was posted on YouTube, Friesen said that his teammates also used the drug, which is prescribed to people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder but is commonly abused by some to help with focusing.

“We were all on Adderall,” Friesen said of his team, which he no longer plays for. “Tons of people do it.”

Friesen, 26, said that he used Adderall out of desperation. His team was in the midst of a losing spell, so he turned to chemical help.

Judging by the PED scandals in other sports, that's no excuse. 

At least they didn't deflate any footballs.

“It was kind of when we were doing worse, so it was just one of those things where it’s like, maybe it would help,” he said in a phone call from his home in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

It did not help. Esports competitions look a bit like a trading floor, with players yelling directions to their teammates on where to go and who to ambush while simultaneously focusing on their own controllers and screens. Friesen said concentration drugs could probably help with the shooting bits, while making it harder to absorb directions.

‘You don’t just take Adderall and instantly become better,” he said.

As for the response, Friesen said he wanted and expected a reaction from the leagues. “I didn’t think, it was good, whether that’s hypocritical or not,” he said. “I just think there should be some sort of rules that aren’t supervague.”

Jack Etienne, Cloud9’s owner, said: “We don’t agree with Kory’s statements about Cloud9, and don’t condone the use of Adderall unless it was prescribed for medical reasons.”

As part of its new anti-doping effort, ESL said it would partner with the National Anti-Doping Agency of Germany to help develop a new policy. The league said it would also meet with the World Anti-Doping Agency about enforcing the policy.

Traditional sports and e-sports have a similar motivation for curbing the use of performance-enhancing drugs: legitimacy. Traditional sports leagues, like Major League Baseball, worry that performance-enhancing drugs can raise doubts about a level playing field. What value is there in sacred home-run records, for example, if modern baseball players can get a big boost of strength from a drug?

E-sports leagues and advocates, meanwhile, crave acceptance as a mainstream sport. By turning to some of the top anti-doping agencies, the leagues take a step closer to acting like a traditional league, adding to their sellout crowds and million-dollar paydays.

You won't have to shop at T.J. Maxx anymore.


They do bring the world together, though.

An Amazon Morning

"Strong profits at Amazon surprises analysts" by Spencer Soper Bloomberg News  July 24, 2015

Not me. It's a corporate economy for the cru$t of elites and those feeding of their large$$e. The rest of us are being left behind and looted.

NEW YORK — Inc. reported a surprise second-quarter profit on top of sales that beat analysts’ estimates, showing investors — as it has done before — that the Web retailer can make money when it puts the brakes on investments.

Shares in Amazon jumped as much as 19 percent after it reported Thursday that revenue rose 20 percent to $23.2 billion, helped by a fast-growing cloud-computing business and initiatives to attract more customers.

Net income was $92 million.


Jeff Bezos, the chief executive and founder, is pushing the Web retailer beyond sales of books, electronics, and household items as the company matures.

While Bezos has focused on pouring profits back into growing Amazon’s business, he has periodically pulled back on spending to show that Amazon can be profitable.

“They are showing investors that if they want to deliver profits, they can,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc., who has the equivalent of a buy rating on the stock. “Amazon is a dominant online retailer, well on its way to becoming one of the world’s largest retailers.”


Shares surged after the close of trading in New York, helping to push Amazon’s market capitalization to about $267 billion, more than Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer....

Amazon is also investing to bring in more customers as competition intensifies. Walmart is rolling out a new membership service to challenge Amazon Prime, which offers two-day shipping, TV shows, photo storage, and other benefits for an annual fee.

Startup Inc. officially debuted this week, following months of testing to give online deal-hunters an alternative to Amazon.

A day of sales on July 15 to mark Amazon’s 20th anniversary, which the company called Prime Day, exceeded expectations, said Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s chief financial officer. The promotion, designed to drive Prime membership signups, featured reduced prices on television sets, lawn mowers, and other goods and helped to drive orders surpassing Black Friday, an annual US sales event that kicks off the year-end holiday shopping season.

Not hard to beat after the poor numbers year after year.

Amazon’s cloud-computing division, which offers Web data storage and computing services and includes customers such as Pinterest Inc. and Netflix Inc., had sales of $1.82 billion, up 81 percent from a year earlier.

The Amazon Web Services Group reported a revenue gain of 49 percent in the first quarter. The cloud-computing effort has disrupted traditional technology companies as customers buy less hardware and software, instead renting computers from Amazon....

“We’ve had competition for 20 years now from some of the biggest names in retail and other areas,” Olsavsky said on a call. “We’re used to competition, but we focus on the customer. ... We’re happy with the results.”


"Anthropologists to visit remote Amazon tribe; Conflict has led to concern among officials" by Ishaan Tharoor Washington Post  July 24, 2015

WASHINGTON — For the first time, anthropologists working for the Peruvian government will attempt to make contact with members of a remote tribe living in the Amazon jungle. The move follows growing concerns about the behavior of the Mashco Piro people, which has included attacks and raids on neighboring communities.

South America, and in particular the vast Amazon region, is home to some of the world’s last remaining ‘‘uncontacted’’ tribes — indigenous communities that, for whatever reason, have managed to exist almost entirely outside the purview of the nation-states in which they technically live.

Meaning they aren't under the control of some sort of centralized authority, and that is bad!

Specialists fear a slew of risks that could follow should these tribes come into full contact with the outside world, from exploitation by rapacious mining and logging companies to the devastating transfer of pathogens to which they have no immunity.

In recent decades, some governments have taken a protective stance, working to shield these communities from outside contact mostly because of the health risks involved.

The jungle of self-internalized agenda-pushing propaganda with a point of view is getting pretty thick.

After all, some estimates suggest contact with outside diseases killed up to 100 million indigenous people following the European arrival in the Americas.

Now THAT, with all due respect, is a HOLOCAUST™!!!!! 

(My history books gave it a sentence! I got three chapters on Germany during the, well, you know)


Rights groups and activists have long campaigned to protect indigenous lands in the Amazon, fighting against the predatory interests of oil companies and a tragic history of violence that saw tribal peoples victimized by generations of settlers, loggers, and traffickers....

That is who government generally protects, yeah.

In 2013, the Mashco Piro earned global attention when dozens of tribe members appeared on the banks of Amazonian tributary near a small Yine town and demanded rope, machetes, and bananas. Rangers stationed there dissuaded them from crossing the river, but the standoff was tense, with some of the men from the tribe carrying bows and long wooden lances.

Nearby villagers, Christian missionaries, and the occasional tourist have all reported meeting Mashco Piro people.

‘‘We can no longer pretend they aren’t trying to make some sort of contact,’’ Luis Felipe Torres, a Peruvian official working on state tribal affairs, told Reuters. ‘‘They have a right to that, too.’’

Specialists say the phrase ‘‘uncontacted’’ is something of a misnomer, given that all communities on the planet are aware of their neighbors and have some sense of the wider world outside their home.

Yeah, what this is about is the RIGHT TO BE LEFT ALONE, and thus it is about FREEDOM!

‘‘People have this romanticized view that isolated tribes have chosen to keep away from the modern, evil world,’’ said Kim Hill, an anthropologist at Arizona State University, in an interview with the BBC last year. But that’s rarely the case.

Well, I don't know. I mean, look at who he is talking to there. They are right up there with the Catholic Church with the, well, you know, diddling the kids and stuff. I can see why certain "tribes" would want to keep them out. 

(Of course, there is one tribe that demands their own apartheid state and that's okay)

‘‘There is no such thing as a group that remains in isolation because they think it’s cool to not have contact with anyone else,’’ Hill said.

Writing in Science magazine last month, Hill and colleague Robert Walker reiterated this point, suggesting that many of South America’s uncontacted communities had ‘‘chosen isolation out of fear of being killed or enslaved’’ and that, like most human beings living in constrained circumstances, ‘‘they also wanted outside goods and innovations and positive social interactions with neighbors.’’

Yeah, unfortunately there is a very small percentage controlling the levers of power and pre$$ that are pushing $elf-$erving wars and division of all kinds (except cla$$, and when they cover it they quickly break it down into race and gender categories).

The academics suggested the best path forward is a policy of controlled contact with these communities, carefully managed to avoid the spread of disease, but also enable the building of trust and providing aid and medical help if needed. The current Peruvian mission could serve a test case for this sort of endeavor.

We will penetrate every square foot of ground on the planet! No one will be left uncounted and every square inch of this planet will be catalogued.


If they fight you coming in, there is always the military option.

Raytheon Stock Rising

I usually have my coffee before the sun comes up....

"Raytheon stock posts top gain in 6 years" by Richard Clough Bloomberg News  July 23, 2015

NEW YORK — Raytheon Co. shares posted their biggest gain in more than six years after the company raised its annual sales forecast, signaling a possible end to a revenue slump that began in 2010 at the maker of Patriot missile defense systems.

That's weird because I was told they were on the rebound and things were adding up.

“We’re looking to grow this year, which is a little bit earlier, maybe a year earlier, than our previous expectation,” chief financial officer Toby O’Brien said Thursday.

So what wars are in the offing that we have no clue about? Who is being invaded next?

Raytheon now expects to buy back $1 billion of shares this year, up from a previous estimate of $750 million. The company may also use cash for “niche acquisitions,” O’Brien said.

Now you know why the $tock price ro$e!


Raytheon has been grappling with shrinking US Defense Department budgets and hadn’t posted an annual sales gain since 2010.

Yeah, boo-hoo-hoo, poor war machine.

The stock surged 6.4 percent to $103.21 at the close in New York, the biggest rally since April 2009, and Raytheon’s quarter included an agreement in April to combine its cyber unit with Vista Equity Partners LLC’s Websense Inc. to expand commercial sales. Raytheon contributed $1.57 billion in net cash for an 80 percent stake in the new firm....

I gue$$ that makes $en$e.

Raytheon announced a $2 billion Patriot order in April with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Patriot orders have supported Raytheon’s expansion in overseas markets.... 

I'm sure it all ties into Iran, Iraq, Syria (the most likely target), and Yemen.


Week-Old Coffee

Sorry for serving it to you cold:

"Dunkin’ Donuts sales rise in second quarter" Associated Press  July 23, 2015

CANTON — Dunkin’ Donuts’ sales rose 2.9 percent at established US locations in the second quarter, the company said Thursday.

Parent company Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. said the increase was the result of an uptick in customer traffic and higher average spending per visit, driven by sales of beverages.

For international units, the chain’s sales slipped 0.1 percent at established locations.

For the period ended June 27, the company said it earned $42.3 million.


Also Thursday, Dunkin’ Donuts upbraided New York regulators over a plan to boost fast-food wages to $15 an hour, which the company said could lead to price increases. A wage board formed by Governor Andrew Cuomo arrived at the decision without involvement from the restaurant industry, Dunkin’ chief executive Nigel Travis said on a conference call.

“We’re deeply disappointed that the governor chose to skirt the legislative process by appointing a wage board, which did not even include a representative from our industry,” he said. “Our franchisees, and in fact other company’s franchisees, were denied the chance to fairly express their concerns.”

Related sipN.Y. pushes $15 wages for fast-food workers

The company’s main rival in much of the United States, Starbucks, also released sales figures Thursday. The Seattle-based firm said quarterly sales jumped 8 percent at established locations in its flagship Americas market, driven by an uptick in customer visits and higher average spending per visit.

The coffee chain has been pushing up sales with offerings such as S'more Frappuccinos and Flat White espresso drinks that cost a little more. Chief financial officer Scott Maw said in a phone interview that people are even ‘‘trading up’’ to newer, pricier breakfast sandwiches, such as one that is served on a croissant bun. Maw noted that more people are getting food orders.

On a global basis, the company said the figure rose 7 percent. That also included an 11 percent increase in Asia and a 3 percent increase in the segment encompassing Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.


They are the official coffee of the Bo$ton Red $ox, right? 

It's looking like a Sandwich for lunch.

"Pearson sells Financial Times to Nikkei as part of $1.3 billion deal" by Sylvia Hui Associated Press  July 23, 2015

LONDON— Japanese media company Nikkei Inc. is buying the Financial Times as part of a $1.3 billion deal with Britain’s Pearson PLC, the companies revealed Thursday.

The deal is part of Nikkei’s strategy to boost its global reach and also allows Pearson to concentrate on its core global education business.

John Fallon, chief executive of Pearson, said the company has been a proud proprietor of the Financial Times for nearly 60 years but the rapidly changing media landscape meant it’s time for the salmon-colored business daily to change hands.

‘‘We’ve reached an inflection point in media, driven by the explosive growth of mobile and social,’’ he said in a statement. ‘‘In this new environment, the best way to ensure the FT’s journalistic and commercial success is for it to be part of a global, digital news company.’’


The sale of the Financial Times has been rumored for some time but the identity of its potential buyer proved something of a surprise. The paper has always been British-owned.

‘‘Nikkei had not been viewed as one of the primary contenders,’’ said Chris Beauchamp, senior market analyst at IG.

It’s a bold move for Nikkei, the largest independent business media group in Asia. Its core business is newspaper publishing, and its flagship paper, The Nikkei, has about 3 million subscribers.

The deal would be one of the largest-ever acquisitions by a Japanese media company, according to Nikkei Asian Review, one of the company’s outlets.

‘‘By sharing personnel, knowledge, and their long histories, the companies aim to become an unprecedented global economic media player,’’ the Nikkei Asian Review said.

Digital business news will continue to be a main focus for the FT under Nikkei, the report added. Digital subscription now accounts for 70 percent of the paper’s total circulation base.

The FT and Nikkei have a combined digital subscription of almost 1 million.

Pearson, a leading international education products and services company, acquired the Financial Times in 1957. Fallon, its chief executive, said Thursday that the FT should now switch to a company completely focused on news in order to build on its brand and influence.

John Ridding, chief executive of the FT, agreed, adding the deal’s editorial impact was something managers had thought ‘‘long and hard and carefully about.’’

Ridding said he was confident Nikkei ‘‘really walk the talk of editorial independence.’’


Nikkei, founded in 1876, also publishes books, magazines and digital media and offers database and broadcasting services. In 2013 the company re-launched its English-language outlet, Nikkei Asian Review, online and in print as part of a strategy to expand its coverage from Japan to throughout Asia....


Also see: Patrolling the Pacific: Japanese Juncture

I like to weave the daily posts into one another before breaking off to other things.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Patrolling the Pacific: Japanese Juncture

The narrative will read that it was China, in a sneak attack, that fired the first shot:

"Japanese PM pledges to limit use of military; Shinzo Abe aims to ease public opposition to stronger forces" by Isabel Reynolds and Maiko Takahashi Bloomberg News  May 15, 2015

TOKYO — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to limit Japan’s use of military power as he sought to calm public opposition and regional nervousness over legislation allowing its forces to defend other countries.

Abe’s Cabinet approved the bills in Tokyo on Thursday as hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets outside the prime minister’s office shouting, ‘‘protect the constitution’’ and ‘‘Abe resign.’’

Looks like good advice. I'm always amazed that the people never want war.

‘‘We will continue to keep our pledge of not waging war, while protecting the lives and peaceful living of the Japanese people,’’ Abe told reporters on Thursday. ‘‘Based on this determination, we made a Cabinet decision today to approve security bills that will ensure the peace and stability of Japan and the world. In this age, no one country can defend itself alone.’’

Abe has vowed to pass the legislation this summer to back up his reinterpretation of the pacifist constitution and last month’s revision of joint Japan-US defense guidelines to expand the alliance globally. Since taking office more than two years ago, he’s loosened a ban on arms exports and reversed a slide in defense spending amid a territorial spat with an increasingly assertive China.

Abe said that ties with the United States were ‘‘stronger than ever’’ and any attack on Japan’s only formal ally in waters near Japan would trigger a crisis.

That's ominous. Perfect conditions for a self-serving false flag. Chinese and Japanese would know all about it.

The legislation has riled China and South Korea, the biggest victims of Japan’s wartime aggression, and faces vocal opposition at home, where pacifism runs deep and polls indicate that more than 40 percent of Japanese oppose the plan.

I think the riling is more the U.S. military machine behind all this, and God bless the Japanese people.

‘‘The bills are part of a gradual expanding of the envelope that has been going on since the 1990s,’’ said Robert Dujarric, director of the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies at Temple University Japan Campus. ‘‘There are limits to what the democratic government can do as the electorate remains wedded to pacifism, and even hawkish members of Abe’s party are unlikely to take major risks on foreign policy.’’

Dujarric added that despite Japan facing threats from China and North Korea, much of the Self-Defense Forces are devoted to deterrence and there isn’t much ‘‘surplus’’ left for overseas operations.


Abe also said that Japanese citizens have been the victims of terrorism in Algeria, Syria, and Tunisia over the past two years and warned that most of Japan is within range of North Korea’s ballistic missiles.

Designed too draw them into that theater.

Concerns over Abe’s defense policy have contributed to a souring of relations with China and South Korea. Both Chinese President Xi Jinping and his South Korean President Park Geun-hye expressed concern after Abe reinterpreted the constitution last year.

She's unpopular, but they are talking.

An association of South Korean civic groups issued a sterner statement. They said the bills ‘‘mercilessly trample on the pacifist constitution, tear down the authority of the United Nations as a collective security mechanism, and run counter to the US-Japan defense treaty.’’

But the U.S. wants this.

Abe still has much to do to convince people that legislation is needed. A Yomiuri newspaper poll published Monday showed 46 percent of respondents in favor of the legislation with 41 percent against — the first time support has exceeded opposition. Some 48 percent said the bills shouldn’t be passed in the current parliament session due to end next month.

They weren't, but were filed shortly after.


Time to get the equipment in place:

"Ban lifted, Japanese companies cautiously look to export arms" by Jonathan Soble New York Times   July 13, 2015

YOKOHAMA, Japan — Some of Japan’s biggest companies, best known for motorcycles, washing machines, and laptop computers, are pitching a new line of global products: military hardware.


Quiet-running attack submarines. Amphibious search-and-rescue planes. Ship-mounted radar systems that use lasers to help pinpoint approaching enemies.

After a ban on weapons exports that the Japanese government had maintained for nearly 50 years, Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, Hitachi, Toshiba, and other military contractors in this semipacifist country are cautiously but unmistakably telling the world they are open for business.

War is good bu$ine$$. No wonder there are so many of them.

Related: Toshiba Told Tall Tales About Profit 

War can only help, huh?

A maritime security exposition here in May was the first military industry trade show in Japan, organizers and participants said. And it was the first anywhere to feature the Japanese manufacturers. Sort of wondering

“I’ve never seen them,” said Major General Mick Fairweather, a procurement specialist with the Australian armed forces who regularly attends such expos around the world. “It’s going to be a growing thing.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the prohibition on military exports last year, part of a loosening of restrictions on Japan’s military power that were put in place after its defeat in World War II.

While much of the Japanese public opposes the changes, Abe says they are long overdue. The growing might of China, Japan’s close but not always friendly neighbor, has added force to his argument.

When did they invade Japan and commit horrific atrocities?

Abe is counting on increased military-related trade to help cement ties with other countries in the region that share Japan’s wariness of China. Southeast Asian nations and India are high on the list of potential customers.

Japan hopes Australia, a fellow Pacific democracy, will be a receptive market for Soryu-class submarines, built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Shipbuilding. The subs, which cost about 50 billion yen, or $410 million, use ultraquiet diesel-electric drives that make them hard for adversaries to detect.

Mitsubishi Heavy is also working on a prototype amphibious assault vehicle, used for landing troops on hostile seashores, that could eventually compete with American-designed vehicles used by the Marine Corps.

We will get to the troop landings later.

Some of the country’s large industrial conglomerates have long had sidelines in military production, supplying a variety of equipment, including tanks and planes, to the Japanese military, the Self-Defense Forces. With rare exceptions, the Japanese government has been their only customer.

Japan's Military-Industrial Complex.

“When you don’t fight wars, it doesn’t exactly help the arms industry,” said Masahiro Matsumura, a professor at Momoyama Gakuin University who specializes in politics and national security.

And cui bono?

Only four Japanese companies are among the top 100 arms producers ranked by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a watchdog group. The biggest, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, earns less than a 10th the revenue from military sales as the top US military contractor, Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed is involved in so much more.

Small production runs make Japanese hardware relatively expensive, Matsumura said. And a lack of real-world experience presents an additional hurdle.

“The US fights a lot of wars, so they get feedback on the performance of their weapons,” he said. “Japan doesn’t fight, so there’s no feedback.”

More and more it is performing like crap. Could the real goal be just to wave fake tension in front of us all to justify the waste of the war machine? Weapons made not caring if they work, plus cost overrun?

Japan has not sent troops into combat since World War II, and its postwar constitution renounces the use of force “as a means of settling international disputes.” 

For use only in defense.

Among the changes Abe’s government is enacting are new laws that will allow the Self-Defense Forces to operate abroad in a wider array of circumstances, including to defend allies like the United States.

India has expressed interest in a large-capacity seaplane, the US-2, built for the Japanese navy by ShinMaywa Industries, a manufacturer better known for dump trucks and the passenger boarding bridges used at airports. The US-2 could help the Indian military patrol distant island chains like the Andaman and Nicobar, hundreds of miles from the mainland across the Indian Ocean.

Related: World War III: Patrolling the Indian Ocean

I had been hanging back on reporting from there for a while, but after taking a drink I decided to march troops through the countryside, over the mountain, and through Nepal before stampeding through Bangladesh to Myanmar, where an election is due to be held. I then headed down the coast to Thailand to liberate the concentration camps and battle ISIS.

Well, I can see the coast of Malaysia now, and that would get us back into the Pacific.

Also seeObama’s Wars Have Created More Refugees Than Hitler and Tojo Combined

Now you know who is responsible for the Asian as well as the European migrant crisis.

Breaking into a market dominated by established giants, often with close ties to governments, will not be easy. In many areas, specialists say, Japan’s best bet is probably to cooperate rather than compete head-to-head.

Japan’s most marketable products, they say, are relatively inconspicuous components, like image sensors and carbon-fiber aircraft parts, many originally developed with civilian applications in mind.

“We make some excellent parts and subsystems, but if we intend to produce whole systems, like next-generation fighters, it’s impossible to develop these things on our own,” said Satoshi Morimoto, a former defense minister.

Japanese companies already sell a small number of high-tech military components to the United States, such as missile-tracking sensors used in ballistic missile defense systems, under exceptions to the export ban introduced beginning in the 1980s.

Despite their new freedom to export, Japanese companies remain wary of being associated with a controversial industry.

“Most of the things here aren’t very weaponlike,” said Yoshibumi Kusaka, a helicopter sales representative on duty at Kawasaki’s booth at the expo, noting the absence of guns, missiles and other blatantly threatening gear from the Japanese companies’ displays.


Now that the equipment and munitions are in place they can send in the troops:

"Japan moves to let its troops fight overseas; Opponents cite pacifist nature in constitution" by Yuki Oda and Anna Fifield Washington Post  July 16, 2015

TOKYO — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s vision of a stronger Japan moved a step closer to becoming reality on Wednesday, when a key parliamentary committee approved legislation that would allow Japanese troops to fight overseas for the first time since World War II.

But the move sparked vehement criticism, with opposition lawmakers yelling and pushing in the usually staid Parliament in an attempt to block the vote, while protests erupted nationwide in a rare outpouring of public anger.

‘‘Abe, resign!’’ and ‘‘Stop fascists!’’ protesters shouted Wednesday night outside the Diet, where as many as 60,000 people gathered in the rain, according to the organizer, Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy.

The protest was not raucous. The group advised protesters to drink plenty of water on a muggy night, urged them not to argue with police, and organized trash collection.

Under the US-written pacifist constitution imposed after World War II, Japan was not permitted to maintain a military and can act to defend itself only if facing a direct attack. In 1954, Japan created the Self-Defense Forces, which can be deployed only within Japanese territory. It has participated in peace-keeping operations.

The legislation approved Wednesday by a special committee of the lower house consisted of two bills that would allow the Japan Self-Defense Forces to aid the United States if it came under attack and be deployed overseas to support another army in combat.

They won't be in the lead this time.

Abe, who has pledged to return Japan to a ‘‘normal’’ footing, said the changes are needed to fend off China and to support the United States, its closest ally. This has heightened concerns in China and South Korea, worried about what they see as Abe’s historical revisionism regarding Japan’s actions in World War II and about possible remilitarization.

Do the Japanese people really want to be drawn into another AmeriKan war?

Some in Japan have different concerns. Scholars, including some whom the government presented as expert witnesses before the committee, have deemed the government’s moves to ‘‘reinterpret’’ the constitution as unconstitutional.

What they say would be the more correct path — amending the constitution — is politically impossible because the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner do not control the upper house.

If the ruling bloc wins big in elections next year, it is expected to move toward amending the constitution, although it would probably start with less contentious issues.

A rigged election in the offing?

The proposed changes are highly controversial in Japan, where a majority of the population remains committed to a pacifist constitution.

As the vote approached Wednesday morning, opposition lawmakers swarmed around the committee chairman, Yasukazu Hamada, yelling and pushing as they tried to stop the vote.

Public broadcaster NHK, which airs major parliamentary proceedings, did not telecast the debate live but showed clips on its news broadcasts. NHK is run by an ally of Abe’s, and its coverage is supportive of the prime minister’s efforts.

Katsuya Okada, head of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, accused the governing bloc of ramming through the changes.

‘‘These bills, which are strongly suspected of being unconstitutional and will majorly change security policies, were forcibly passed. I strongly protest against what happened,’’ he told reporters after the vote.

‘‘Prime Minister Abe himself admitted that people’s understanding wasn’t deep, and was it necessary to vote on them [the bills] now? I say no,” Okada added.

An NHK poll published this week found that 41 percent of respondents approved of Abe’s performance as prime minister, down seven points from the previous month. More than half the respondents said there had not been enough discussion in the Diet of the legislation.

The legislation is set to go Thursday to the full lower house, where the ruling bloc has more than enough seats to push it through, before proceeding to the upper house. Although the governing coalition does not have the majority needed there, the measures are expected to pass. 

What opposition?


The bill is moving faster than Japan's Oriental Blitzkreig:

"Bills to expand Japan’s military powers advance" by Jonathan Soble New York Times  July 16, 2015

TOKYO — The lower house of Japan’s Parliament passed legislation Thursday that would give the country’s military limited powers to fight in foreign conflicts for the first time since World War II.

The lawmakers acted despite broad public opposition to the legislation, which has set off Japan’s largest demonstrations since the Fukushima nuclear accident four years ago.

Fukushima surpasses the shame of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Opposition lawmakers walked out of Parliament to protest the package of 11 security-related bills, which was championed by the conservative prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and supported by the United States, Japan’s longtime ally and protector. Demonstrators chanted outside Parliament Thursday, despite a gathering typhoon.

The bills represent a break from the strictly defensive stance maintained by Japan in the decades since the war, under which the nation would fight only if directly attacked. Critics, including a majority of Japanese constitutional specialists, said the legislation violates the country’s postwar charter, which renounces war. 

If it violates the constitution, it's a criminal regime.

Abe has spent considerable political capital pushing the bills through. Voters oppose them by a ratio of roughly 2-to-1, according to numerous surveys, and the government’s once-high support ratings fell to around 40 percent in several polls this month.

Abe has presented the package as an unavoidable response to new threats facing Japan, in particular the growing military power of China.

He seized on the murder of two Japanese hostages by Islamic State militants in January as an example of why Japan needs to loosen restrictions on its military, suggesting the hostages might have been rescued had the military been free to act.

Those phony head-chopping videos meant to justify this.

“These laws are absolutely necessary because the security situation surrounding Japan is growing more severe,” he said after the vote Thursday.

China condemned passage of the bills, describing them as a potential threat to peace in Asia and invoking the memory of Japan’s wartime aggression.

I think they are more worried at whose behest it was done.

“We solemnly urge the Japanese side to draw hard lessons from history, stick to the path of peaceful development, respect the major security concerns of its Asian neighbors and refrain from jeopardizing China’s sovereignty and security interests or crippling regional peace and stability,” Hua Chunying, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said in a statement.

They don't want a war.

With opposition lawmakers boycotting the vote, the bills passed with the support of the Liberal Democratic Party, led by Abe, and its smaller coalition partner, Komeito, which controls a majority of seats in the legislature’s lower house, the House of Representatives.

To become law, they must still be approved by the upper chamber, which the coalition also controls.

The upper house is scheduled to debate the legislation for 60 days, keeping the issue in the public eye and potentially fueling more protests.

That's Israel's strategy regarding the U.S. Congre$$ and Iran.

“There is plenty of time for this newfound appetite for opposition to the Abe government to grow,” Sheila A. Smith, senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, said online.

Then it better be a lightning attack.


Then it is into the bunker:

"Japan’s secret navy bunker gives glimpse of WWII’s final months" by Mari Yamaguchi Associated Press  June 25, 2015

YOKOHAMA, Japan — On a hillside overlooking an athletic field where high school students play volleyball, an inconspicuous entrance leads down a dusty, slippery slope — and seemingly back in time — to Japan’s secret Imperial Navy headquarters during the final months of World War II.

Here, leaders of Japan’s combined fleet command made plans for the fiercest battles, including those of Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, from late 1944 to the war’s end in August 1945. They knew that kamikaze pilots had crashed to their deaths when signals from their planes stopped. They wept over cables from officers aboard the famed battleship Yamato as it came under heavy US fire and sank off southern Japan.

Today, the barren, concrete tunnels sit quietly underneath a high school and university campus, largely untouched and unknown, occasionally visited by guided tours for the students. This week, the school opened them to the news media for the first time to raise public awareness of the site, and the tragic history it represents, in the 70th anniversary year of the end of World War II.

‘‘It’s a negative heritage that humans made. It’s the perpetrators’ legacy,’’ said Takeshi Akuzawa, assistant headmaster of Keio Senior High School, who escorted the media tour Tuesday. ‘‘Just imagine the massive number of people who had to die in the final year of the war because of their operations.’’

The inverted U-shaped tunnels are a silent reminder of a time when students and many others were sent to war, many to their deaths, under orders that emanated from this bunker under a school.

We don't need reminders. It's happening now.

Experts say its significance is increasing, especially as that era fades from memory and there is a growing reluctance among some Japanese to look at the negative side of their country’s history....

You won't find that here. My entire view of history has been turned upside down.

Hisanao Oshima, who was there from February to May 1945 on a communications crew monitoring Morse code, still cannot forget the moments when he lost signals from kamikaze fighters. This site must be preserved ‘‘so that we can say it’s the proof why we should not wage war ever again,’’ Oshima said.

Japan also built the Matsushiro Imperial Underground Headquarters in central Japan for then-Emperor Hirohito and Imperial Army and key government officials, as they prepared for a possible ground war with the Americans, though that one was never used.

Hundreds of hangers, tunnels, and other wartime remains still exist in Japan, but many have been abandoned as interest has waned.

That's all right; the U.S. will help them build some 21st-century memories.


Another day which will live in infamy:

"Refuel starts at nuclear plant in Japan" Associated Press  July 08, 2015

TOKYO — A Japanese utility has started loading fuel into a nuclear reactor where operations are scheduled to resume next month in the country’s first restart under safety requirements set following the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Kyushu Electric Power Co. said the first four fuel bundles, lifted by a crane out of a cooling storage pool, were loaded into the Sendai plant’s No. 1 reactor as of late Tuesday. The utility plans to finish loading all 157 fuel bundles Friday ahead of final inspections. The reactor is set for a restart around Aug. 10.

All of Japan’s more than 40 power-generating reactors are off line for repairs or safety checks. Sendai No. 1 is one of 25 reactors seeking restarts. Despite the concerns of some residents, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government wants to get the plants operating to help grow the economy.

Once again, the leadership is ignoring the people.


Don't worry about another tsunamiexplosion, and meltdown. The Japanese Navy is taking to the seas again, with a brand new battle plan created from scratchintended to redeem the nation:

"Japan pledges to help Pacific islands cope with climate change" by Yuri Kageyama Associated Press  May 24, 2015

TOKYO — Japan on Saturday pledged $450 million in aid to Pacific island nations battling rising sea levels and natural calamities as a result of climate change.

Yeah, never you mind the 300 tons of radioactive water leaking into the Pacific every single day since March 11, 2011.

The aid will be distributed over three years to help fight environmental disasters and boost access to clean water, renewable energy, waste management, and related issues.

Taking part in the meeting were Fiji, the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, and other nations dotting the Pacific Ocean, some of which are threatened by rising sea levels.

Aren't they under water yet after all this time?

Scientists say the melt of Arctic glaciers is a key factor in the sea level rise that is threatening island nations, many of which are built on coral atolls just a few yards above sea level.

I don't know what to make of the rising level of BS. Their scientists say "New England seas are rising at an annual rate three to four times faster than the global average." Is that possible? Doesn't water disperse and seek the lowest level? 

In a landmark report in 2014, the UN’s expert panel on climate change said oceans could rise by as much as 3.3 feet by the end of this century if no action is taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

I'm sick of agenda-pushing scare tactics, too.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed gratitude to the nations’ leaders for helping in recovering the remains of Japanese soldiers killed during World War II, an important issue for Abe this year, the 70th anniversary of the war’s end.

Abe has been eager to turn a new leaf for Japan, in asserting itself in the region not only economically but also in defense and diplomacy, and countering the rise of regional rival China.

On Thursday, Abe announced $110 billion in infrastructure financing for Asia, topping the $100 billion China set for its newly created Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Japan sided with the United States in not joining the 57-country collaboration.

Oh, they didn't join the Chinese bank?


"Massive trash airlift kicks off in Alaska" Associated Press  July 13, 2015

JUNEAU, Alaska — A massive cleanup effort is getting underway in Alaska, with tons of marine debris — some likely sent to sea by the 2011 tsunami in Japan — set to be airlifted from rocky beaches and taken by barge for recycling and disposal in the Pacific Northwest.

Hundreds of heavy-duty bags of debris, collected in 2013 and 2014 and stockpiled at a storage site in Kodiak, also will be shipped out. The barge is scheduled to arrive in Kodiak by Thursday, before setting off on a roughly one-month venture.

The scope of the project, a year in the making, is virtually unheard of in Alaska. It was spurred, in part, by the mass of material that’s washed ashore — things like buoys, fishing lines, plastics and fuel drums — and the high cost of shuttling small boatloads of debris from remote sites to port, said Chris Pallister, president of the cleanup organization Gulf of Alaska Keeper, which is coordinating the effort.

Print version ended there.

The Anchorage landfill also began requiring that fishing nets and lines — common debris items — to be chopped up, a task called impossible by state tsunami marine debris coordinator Janna Stewart.

Pallister estimates the cost of the barge project at up to $1.3 million, with the state contributing $900,000 from its share of the $5 million that Japan provided for parts of the U.S. affected by tsunami debris. Crews in British Columbia will be able to add debris to the barge as it passes through, chipping in if they do. Pallister’s group has committed $100,000. Delays due to weather could drive up costs, which Pallister said is a concern.

The cost to operate the barge is $17,000 a day, Stewart said.

Many of the project sites are remote and rugged. Crews working at sites like Kayak and Montague islands in Prince William Sound, for example, get there by boat and sleep onboard. The need to keep moving down the shoreline as cleanup progresses, combined with terrain littered with boulders and logs, makes it tough to set up a camp, Pallister said. There’s also the issue of bears.

While relatively few people visit these sites, it’s important to clean them, Stewart said. Foam disintegrates, which can seep into salmon streams or be ingested by birds, she said. There’s concern, too, with the impact of broken-down plastic on marine life.

What’s not picked up can get swept back out, she said.

‘‘It’s like it never really goes away unless we get in there and actively remove it,’’ Stewart said.

Alaska has more coastline than any other state. And Alaska cleanup operations often are expensive and dangerous, said Nikolai Maximenko, a senior researcher at the Hawaii-based International Pacific Research Center.

‘‘Even without the tsunami, Alaska is well-known for being polluted with all these buoys and other stuff from fisheries activity and from other human activities,’’ he said. 


It can be hard to definitively distinguish tsunami debris from the run-of-the-mill rubbish that has long fouled shorelines unless there are identifiable markings. Pallister and others say the type and volume of debris that has washed up in Alaska is different since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which killed thousands in Japan.

Before the tsunami, a lot of old fishing gear would be on the beach. But afterward, the debris included an inundation of Styrofoam and urethane, Pallister said. Objects such as property stakes and crates used by fishermen in coastal Japan also have begun showing up, he said.

Crews plan to do cleanup work in the Gulf of Alaska this summer, which will add to the material that has already been cached in heavy-duty bags above the high-tide line. All this would be loaded onto the barge.

The logistics are complicated.

Dump trucks are expected to ferry the large white bags of debris from the Kodiak storage yard to the barge after it arrives. Tom Pogson with the Island Trails Network, which worked on the Kodiak-area debris removal, said that will be the easy part.

In other locations, the bags will be airlifted by helicopter to the barge, which Pallister expects will be ‘‘pretty maxxed out’’ when the barge, roughly the size of a football field, is fully loaded.

Debris will be sorted for recycling in Seattle, with the remaining debris taken by train for disposal in Oregon, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. 

Someone want to run a Geiger counter over that?


Yeah, that's a lot of extra garbage!

A day which will live in ignominy:

At least it didn't crash like the drone did. 

Have you ever been inside one of those things?

How ironic that is was grounded in Pearl Harbor:

"Solar plane suspends journey in Hawaii after battery damage" by Caleb Jones Associated Press  July 15, 2015

HONOLULU — The batteries aboard Solar Impulse 2 overheated on the first day of its trip from Japan to Hawaii, and there was no way to cool down the system, the team said.

Still set a record though? 

Who made the batteries, Boeing?

The company said there was no weakness with the technology, but the team didn’t anticipate temperature fluctuations associated with rapid altitude changes in a tropical climate.


Pilot Andre Borschberg and his single-seat aircraft landed at Kalaeloa, outside Honolulu, on July 3.

His voyage of nearly 118 hours from Nagoya, Japan, broke the record for the world’s longest nonstop solo flight, his team said.

‘‘Solar Impulse is attempting a historic first of flying around the world only on solar energy,’’ the pilots said in a statement. ‘‘And while Solar Impulse has completed eight legs, covering nearly half of the journey, setbacks are part of the challenges of a project which is pushing technological boundaries to the limits.’’

The wings of Solar Impulse 2, which stretch wider than those of a Boeing 747, are equipped with 17,000 solar cells that power propellers and charge batteries. The plane ran on stored energy at night.

The aircraft took off in March from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, then made stops in Oman, Myanmar, and China. It made an unplanned stop for nearly a month in Japan after high winds damaged a wing.

The trans-Pacific leg was the riskiest part of the plane’s travels, as there was nowhere to land in an emergency.


Well, this patrol has landed for the day. We will take off again tomorrow morning.


No sense keeping you hanging....