Monday, February 29, 2016

Leaping Into March

I though an extra day would allow me to accomplish much, but....

What it feels like to turn 1 when you’re really 4

Its from the section I haven't read yet, and even if you gave me an extra three years I doubt I would catch up here, nor do I want to.

I could again type that which I have before regarding how sick I am of the insultingly elitist banker's pre$$ and its constant war-promoting and agenda-pushing propaganda based on distortion, deception, obfuscation, and omission. It's only useful in the sense that it gives you an idea of where the cretins that control this world are headed; other than that, it's hurtful to the soul.

And now I am on the cusp of the month-long experience known as March Madness that is going to restrict my limited time even further and add to my guilt as the world rushes by and I fail to keep pace. How odd that they call it madness, this thing that helps me keep my sanity. Unlike past years, I'm not going to be reporting my comings and goings. I doubt I will even post any items from the Globe, if I'm still buying it at that point.

And with that I am tossing in the towel on this month. I have a lot of personal needs I have been neglecting as I scurry behind the scenes preparing posts (let's face it folks, it's more like spinning my wheels) in eager anticipation of publishing.

Someone once said beware the Ides of March, and my only response at this time is to note that there has been an awful lot of talk in the propaganda pre$$ and alternative media regarding nuclear weapons being introduced in ongoing conflicts around the world. Is that why the elite pre$$ seems to be talking to themselves and over the rest of us these days?

Now let me take one last look.....

Next Day Update:

It looks like there is some arguing going on as to who gets a spot in the bunker.

I Missed the Oscars

I was already asleep, but the Globe has a whole self-adulating section on it if you care. It was as predicted in these pages long ago. There was a time when I did, but that time is now history.

"Philanthropist gives $18m to refurbish Lincoln Memorial" Associated Press   February 16, 2016

WASHINGTON — Philanthropist David Rubenstein, who has already donated tens of millions of dollars to refurbish the Washington Monument and other icons, is giving $18 million to fix up the Lincoln Memorial.

The National Park Service announced the gift Monday. The money will be used to fix the memorial’s roof, clean the marble, and improve accessibility by adding a second elevator. The park service also plans to create 15,000 square feet of visitor space tucked beneath the memorial for exhibits.

Rubenstein said his admiration for Lincoln drew him to this project.

“Lincoln deserves to have his memorial in tip-top shape,” he said in a phone interview.

The Lincoln Memorial draws more than 7 million visitors annually and is the most visited attraction on the National Mall.

Park Service director John Jarvis said the memorial, dedicated in 1922, is structurally sound but does need some repair work.

“It’s pretty stout, and I think really has held up quite well for a structure of its age,” Jarvis said. “But you can’t build a 100-year roof.”

The memorial is built on pilings, and the park service is going to explore ways for visitors to see the foundations that anchor the memorial. The unseen superstructure is marked with graffiti from the workers who built the memorial over a seven-year period, including caricatures of former President William Howard Taft and memorial architect Henry Bacon.

Rubenstein, a billionaire who founded The Carlyle Group investment firm in Washington, has already given $7.5 million to repair the Washington Monument after a 2011 earthquake; $5.4 million for the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, Va.; and $12.35 million for Arlington House, the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee located at Arlington National Cemetery.

Where do you start with the overlap (Bushes and Saudis were investors), and that last part makes me angry

No uproar about it? 


He said he hopes his donations have spurred others to think about giving.

The National Park Foundation announced Monday that a $350 million, five-year capital fund-raising campaign begun in October 2013 is about halfway to its goal.


Why would he love Lincoln so much?

Also seeAre You Brave Enough to Read This Blog?

The question now is am I brave enough to keep it posted.


An unexpected theme on Oscars night

For clergy sex abuse survivors, ‘Spotlight’ Oscar win brings joy and tears

Vatican Radio, newspaper praise ‘Spotlight’ as courageous

Hugs from mom for an Oscar winner for ‘Spotlight’

Why Michael Keaton was sure ‘Spotlight’ would win best picture

Not everyone liked it, and I doubt I will watch it.

Powerballing Through This Post

"Kaltschmidt, 55, said he will retire from his job as a manufacturing engineer at Northrop Grumman after working there for 34 years. Smith, 70, identified herself as a homemaker."

Saluting Amirault

"Malden police captain says officials blocked probes" by Evan Allen Globe Staff  February 16, 2016

A Malden police captain has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit with a whistleblower claim against the city and the police chief, alleging that officials obstructed his efforts to investigate two crimes involving Malden city employees, then reassigned him when he refused to back down.

Good thing he is not a federal whistleblower or he would be the one being prosecuted.

Captain John Amirault, a 31-year veteran of the department, alleged he was blocked in his investigation into an alleged sexual assault of a 6-year-old girl at the Malden YMCA, by a suspect the police chief’s brother had hired; the other investigation concerned stolen city funds.

“The public has a right to know what is happening in their city,” said Amirault’s attorney, Timothy M. Burke. “You have somebody that is earnestly attempting to properly investigate two serious criminal events . . . and is essentially punished and retaliated against because he’s attempting to do what he’s paid to do.”

Amirault was involuntarily removed from his position as head of the Detective Unit in November 2015 and assigned to “Accreditation,” according to the suit.

A city official speaking on behalf of the city of Malden and the police department said last week that they had not yet been served with the suit, which was filed Feb. 2, so she could not comment in detail.

“We’re aware of what the allegations are and we vehemently deny them, but at this point we need time to process it,” said Maria Luise, special assistant to the mayor.

In November 2014, Amirault began investigating the theft of a building department check for $2,236 that vanished from the desk of city employee Enos Henry, according to the federal suit and documents filed in Malden District Court. A surveillance camera that monitored Henry’s desk had been disconnected, according to the documents.

Henry’s ex-girlfriend Jennifer Degand Rene told police Henry asked her to cash the check, according to court documents.

According to the suit, Amirault met with Malden Mayor Gary Christenson and Police Chief Kevin Molis to discuss the case, and Christenson said he thought the case was “long gone.” Amirault said he could offer Rene a plea bargain to testify against Henry, but according to the suit, neither Christenson nor Molis “expressed any interest.”

When police executed a search warrant at Henry’s home, according to an affidavit and returns filed in district court, they discovered 75 checks made out to the city of Malden totaling $16,134.65.

But when a grand jury subpoenaed records from the city so police could further investigate, according to the suit, officials failed to provide them, and the city treasurer falsely claimed no other records were available.

The suit alleges that Henry’s mother is a “substantial political supporter” to the mayor and that the city’s failure to provide documentation delayed the grand jury process. Henry was charged with obstructing an investigation for allegedly moving evidence during the search of his home, but as of late last week he had not been indicted in Middlesex Superior Court on any larceny charges, officials said.

Henry’s attorney, Terrence Kennedy, said his client was innocent, and that he had recently obtained evidence that would exonerate him. If the investigation was impeded, Kennedy pointed out, investigators could have missed evidence that would have proved Henry innocent.

In April 2015, Amirault began investigating the alleged sexual assault of the 6-year-old girl at the Malden YMCA, including surveillance video that has clear shots of the suspect, according to the suit.

Chief Molis’s brother, Frank Molis, worked at the Y, according to the suit. When Frank Molis reviewed the images, he evinced no familiarity with the suspect.

Frank Molis could not be reached for comment last week.

When Amirault said he and the assistant district attorney assigned to the case wanted to release the suspect’s image because they feared that he was dangerous, the suit alleges that the police chief told him not to do that.

When the suspect, a 15-year-old high school student, was identified and interviewed, he said Frank Molis hired him and that he had done a lot of work for him, according to the suit. The teen said he spoke with Frank Molis in the Y on the day of the attack, according to the suit.

Frank Molis, however, later told Amirault that he did not know the teenager, according to the suit.

When police requested surveillance video from the Y, some footage was missing, according to the suit.

Police made audio and video recordings of their interview with the teenager, according to the suit. However, during the portion when the teenager was talking about knowing Frank Molis, the recording was halted from outside the interview room, the suit alleges.

In July 2015, the case was transferred to Norfolk County because of the potential conflict of interest caused by the police chief’s relationship with his brother, according to the suit.

Amirault’s attorney, Burke, said the teenager has been charged in connection with the assault.

Chief Kevin Molis reassigned Amirault in November to a position in which he would handle “accreditation” full time, instead of running the detective unit.

“He was taken out of the flow of everyday investigative activities and essentially put into a small room where he does quote-unquote accreditation,” Burke said, “which is nothing short of retaliatory.”


Saturday, February 27, 2016

Slow Saturday Special: Clinton Set to Win South Carolina

Related: Clinton Stole Nevada

"Hillary Clinton works to shore up Southern ‘firewall’" by Tracy Jan and Annie Linskey Globe Staff  February 06, 2016

WASHINGTON — At a historically black college in South Carolina last week, Bill Clinton gushed about his wife’s resume as a “change-maker.’’ Chelsea Clinton was slated to be close on his heels, speaking Saturday to women at an African-American church.

And the campaign’s first TV spot in the state, which began airing Thursday? It features Eric Holder, the country’s first black attorney general, testifying to Hillary Clinton’s record on civil rights.

Clinton is racing to shore up African-American support in her “firewall,” a string of racially diverse states in the Deep South that she is counting on to stop the Sanders surge.

A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll shows Clinton leading in the first of these states — South Carolina, which votes Feb. 27 — by a 37-point margin. That lead relies heavily on the support of black voters, who prefer Clinton over Sanders by 74 to 17.

Whether Sanders can maintain momentum in the primaries will depend on how much black support he can pry away from Clinton. If he can’t demonstrate that he can build a more diverse coalition, his liberal movement probably will fizzle.

I'm tired of the one-note narrative from this pre$$? 

It's not an endorsement of Sanders by any stretch, but he's won the other groups in other places and this is now tiring. I'm not even paying attention to the campaign anymore.

So the 74-year-old senator from one of the whitest states in the country is trying to broaden his appeal.

Gee, wouldn't that help him in South Carolina?

With tens of millions in small donations pouring in over the Internet, Sanders is spending heavily to build a campaign organization in South Carolina. He is airing ads on black radio stations about his record of fighting racism, from his college years to his career in the Senate, and in favor of criminal justice reform.

Yeah, his record is actually better than the Clinton's (she was a Goldwater Republican back then).

His campaign is paying more than 100 black organizers $15 an hour — the national minimum wage he is advocating for — to go door to door. Half of his South Carolina team had previously worked on Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns.

“What Sanders is doing here has forced the Clinton campaign to step up their game and understand that they cannot take the voters of this state for granted,” said Gilda Cobb-Hunter, a longtime state legislator who is African-American and who is choosing to remain neutral in the race. “I don’t foresee Sanders winning South Carolina, but I do expect he will get double digit support in the black community, and that in and of itself may be a victory.”

Sanders, a democratic socialist, nearly upset Clinton in Iowa, and he [won] New Hampshire. But those states are two of the least diverse in the country — very similar, in fact, to Vermont.

She is making a dent in him up there.

The Clintons, who got their political start in Arkansas, have long relied on black voters for support.

To help highlight her commitment to minorities and send a signal to her supporters in states like South Carolina, Hillary Clinton planned to touch down in Flint, Mich., on Sunday — two days before voting starts in New Hampshire — to draw attention to the plight of families poisoned by lead in their water. Flint’s population is more than 50 percent African-American.


She used Flint as a public relations photo-op for the campaign!

“It’s important for Secretary Clinton to win South Carolina decisively to demonstrate her strength within communities of color,” said Jaime Harrison, the first African-American to chair the South Carolina Democratic Party and who remains unaligned with either candidate.

Polls help explain her underlying strengths. Likely Democratic voters are tilted toward church-going black women older than 45. More than half consider their political ideology as moderate to conservative; only 10 percent consider themselves to be “very liberal.”


That is the kind of thing that splits generations.

The campaign recently announced that a slew of high-profile African-American women, from politicians to actresses, would blanket the state in coming weeks to mobilize their networks in support of Hillary Clinton.

Obama beat Clinton by nearly 30 points in South Carolina 2008. But Sanders is no Obama.

After the South Carolina primary comes March 1, the “Super Tuesday’’ of 2016, with 11 states across the country holding primaries.

Mine is one, and I will have a post ready to go that day.

In South Carolina, Sanders drew the endorsement last week of a high-profile state legislator who represents the Columbia metropolitan area, one of five black state lawmakers so far who are supporting Sanders. (Clinton has endorsements from 16 black state legislators.)

Justin Bamberg, one of the five, made headlines recently when he flipped his endorsement from Clinton to Sanders. The head of the state’s Young Democrats, an African-American woman, also scooted from Clinton to Sanders.

“He’s passionate about making racial issues, economical issues, and social issues in our communities change for the better,” said Bamberg, 28, an attorney who is representing the family of Walter Scott, the unarmed black man shot in the back by a white police officer last spring.

Still, there are skeptics about Sanders’ ability to make a dent in Clinton’s support.

“A delicate but necessary question is how Senator Sanders manages to identify with the black community,” said Rev. Joseph Darby, the presiding elder of the Beaufort district of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, who has not endorsed a candidate. “I appreciate his message of a rising tide floating all boats, but I don’t get the feeling that he gets that there will still be some racial prejudice that affects how things play.”


Bernie a supply-sider??

Sanders responded clumsily last summer when protesters associated with Black Lives Matter interrupted one of his speeches and he threatened to leave the stage. He has since made amends, meeting with activists and speaking more forcefully about racial inequality.

Why was that $oro$-backed group pestering him anyway?

Some critics, however, balk at his endorsement of Bill Press’s new book, “Buyer’s Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down,” whose cover features a quote by Sanders. They see it as a repudiation of the country’s first black president.

So let's ignore all the harm and crimes of the administration.

“That’s not going to help in South Carolina or the South,’’ said Bakari Sellers, a former state representative who cochaired Clinton’s millennial group. “This primary is about protecting and voting on the legacy of Barack Obama.”


During Thursday’s debate, Sanders made the effort to align himself with Obama after drawing criticism from Clinton. “Do I think President Obama is a progressive?” he said. “Yeah. I do.”

Sanders’ campaign and black supporters cite his long history of fighting for racial justice, marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and being arrested for protesting institutional segregation as a leader of the Congress of Racial Equality when he was a student at the University of Chicago.

Somehow blacks don't see that, either. 

Maybe they are the ones who are blinded by color. 

As for me, I'm blinded by rage.

On Wednesday, Bill Clinton sought to counter Sanders’ claim that his wife was not progressive enough. Addressing a crowd of more than 800 at Allen University, a historically black college in Columbia, the former president spoke about his wife’s first job out of law school, working for civil rights activist Marian Wright Edelman at the Children’s Defense Fund in South Carolina.

He recalled Clinton and Edelman working to stop African-American teenagers from being thrown into adult prisons.

“She was sent to South Carolina to do something more relevant to the present day, when there are too many people in prison, especially people of color, who did not do anything worth these prison sentences,” Bill Clinton said. “She hadn’t been elected to anything, but she sure did make good things happen.”

Ummm.... they really ought to keep him as far away as possible.


Feel like I need to go wash now.

"Presidential contenders criscross South Carolina" by Seanna Adcox and Kathleen Hennessey Associated Press  February 12, 2016

DENMARK, S.C. — The fight for black voters turned into a tug-of-war over President Barack Obama’s legacy Friday as Democratic presidential hopefuls looked for an edge in South Carolina.

Hillary Clinton stepped up her hammering of rival Bernie Sanders for what she said are his false claims on Obama’s legacy. Prominent black leaders echoed the theme — an effort to use the first African-American president as a wedge between Sanders and black voters.

Then they will call for unity.

‘‘He has called the president weak, a disappointment,’’ Clinton said of Sanders at a town hall Friday. ‘‘He does not support, the way I do, building on the progress the president has made.’’

Sanders says he’s been largely supportive of Obama, despite his occasional critique.

‘‘Last I heard, a United States senator had the right to disagree with the president, including a president who has done such an extraordinary job,’’ Sanders said in Thursday night’s debate.

Coming off a bruising rout in New Hampshire, the former secretary of state hopes the first-in-the-south primary will showcase her strength with at least one core segment of the Democratic coalition. A Democrat cannot win the nomination, much less the White House, without significant backing and enthusiasm from black communities.

Clinton’s slams on Sanders were backed up by the Congressional Black Caucus PAC. Sanders wants to ‘‘undo’’ Obama’s accomplishments, said PAC chairman Rep. Gregory Meeks, pointing to Sanders’ past criticism of Obama and his 2011 suggestion that Democrats should mount a primary challenge to the president.

‘‘I believe Senator Sanders’ disparaging comments towards the president are misplaced, misguided, and do not give credit where credit is due,’’ the New York Democrat said.

Clinton on Friday significantly bulked up her campaign advertising plan, reaching well beyond the next two states to vote with an eye on the March 1 ‘‘Super Tuesday’’ contests. She now plans to air ads in 17 additional states, including Texas, Minnesota and Georgia.

I've seen a few (Morgan Freeman narrates), and I turn the channel as quickly as possible before the screaming stops.

Yet her $27.7 million ad buy — which includes what’s already been on the air — still falls a bit short of Sanders’ spending on television and radio commercials, advertising tracker Kantar Media’s CMAG shows. His $28.4 million ad buy is more concentrated, spanning six states in addition to upcoming Nevada and South Carolina.


Who else is on the ballot?

"Emboldened by protests, activists move from street to ballot" by John Eligon New York Times  February 06, 2016

ST. LOUIS — Within days of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, Maria Chappelle-Nadal huffed amid a crush of protesters, waving a cardboard cutout of the white governor’s face above her head.

“Black community!” she shouted. “This is your governor! This is your governor that can’t care less about the black community!”

In the weeks and months that followed, DeRay Mckesson, a public school administrator turned activist, frequently provided blunt Twitter critiques of the police response in Ferguson.

“SWAT vehicle pulls up. Officer emerges. Points gun at us. America,” he wrote in one post.

Now Chappelle-Nadal and Mckesson are among a number of activists nationwide attempting to turn their raw activism into political muscle.

Chappelle-Nadal, currently a state senator in Missouri, is looking to unseat U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr., an eight-term incumbent whose father was a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus. Mckesson has thrown his hat into the crowded Baltimore mayoral race, his first run for office.

Their campaigns are betting on — and in some ways measuring — the strength of a young, energized electorate that has grown out of the protest movement over the past year and a half. It is an evolution that started with outrage over the death of Brown, a black, unarmed teenager who scuffled with a white police officer who eventually shot him. And it grew into a movement for racial justice as similar police shootings raised ire around the country.

And if it is promoted by the agenda-pushing pre$$, it is likely controlled opposition.

Protesters have called for systemic government overhauls — from city halls to police departments to courts. They have challenged establishment politicians, even those with strong racial justice résumés. And they have demanded elected officials who not only look more like the communities they serve, but also will fervently push the issues they care about.

Trump supporters?

“Candidates can take advantage of all these new people who want to do something,” said Sulaiman Rahman, founder of Black Voters Matter, an organization that teamed with the crowdfunding startup Crowdpac to help new candidates start political campaigns.

Like other candidates around the country, Chappelle-Nadal, 41, and Mckesson, 30, have presented themselves as radical alternatives to the status quo, representing the true voice and will of the people.

That's me.

A Black Lives Matter leader, Rashad Turner of St. Paul, is running for the Minnesota House on the Green Party ticket and said he would press for criminal justice and education reforms without kowtowing to any particular party. In Philadelphia, Movita Johnson-Harrell, a community organizer who lost a son to gun violence, said being elected to the state House would be an extension of the work she already does to help marginalized people through things like volunteering at soup kitchens.

Their turn from activism to electoral politics mirrors a tradition as old as the fight for civil rights, with the likes of John Lewis, Chokwe Lumumba, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan and Ron Dellums winning elections for public office partly because of their work as activists.

The efforts also resemble the Tea Party insurgency on the right.

That certainly tells you the per$pective through which the pre$$ is seeing things.

Some hopefuls are causing intraparty tumult, challenging incumbents who have bona fide liberal, racial justice credentials. Although the activist campaigns are long shots, they can benefit from drawing on disaffected constituents to help.

“The people who are stepping up to volunteer are actual members of the community, primarily Hispanic and black people,” said Stefanie Brown James, a political strategist in Washington.

The grass-roots nature of Mckesson’s campaign was evident in his contributions. Within an hour and a half of starting an account on Crowdpac, he had surpassed Crowdpac’s previous record of 100 donations for a single candidate. He has also far eclipsed the most money raised by a candidate — $20,000 — in Crowdpac’s 10-month existence. As of Saturday morning, Mckesson had raised over $57,000 from 913 donations.

Yet some activists accuse Mckesson, a Democrat, of focusing too much attention on himself, including recent appearances on Stephen Colbert’s and Trevor Noah’s late-night shows.


Activists have complained that Chappelle-Nadal, a Democrat, was not so activist oriented before Ferguson, and still is not. They say, for instance, that she did not support some of the police accountability legislation they have proposed or their efforts to disrupt proceedings at the state Capitol.

Still, the Ferguson uprising has given Chappelle-Nadal a platform to attempt to unseat a powerful incumbent who has won all but one of his House elections with at least 70 percent of the vote. Clay’s congressional district includes Ferguson.

“The events of Ferguson pushed me to actually think about it,” she said of running for Congress. “It is at a critical mass now where people are being disenfranchised because they don’t have someone who is going to be proactive and speak loud and proud about the issues of concern.”

Many people criticized Clay for taking several days before visiting Ferguson after Brown’s killing. He was in Washington working the political channels to help the community, he said.

Two days after Brown’s killing, Clay sent a letter to Eric H. Holder Jr., the attorney general at the time, asking the Justice Department to investigate the shooting. The department has since released a scathing report about Ferguson. (Some activists argue that this would have happened without Clay’s intervention.)

Clay later promoted legislation to require independent investigations of police shootings. He also met with officials in President Barack Obama’s cabinet to urge the demilitarization of police departments, he said.

“I believe in working within the system,” Clay said.

I wonder what is his price.

What remains unclear is how some of the new activists will govern differently if elected.

“There are many ways to challenge both inside and outside to make structures work in the service of people’s lives and to be equitable,” Mckesson said, though he has yet to unveil a specific road map for doing so.

Like Trump.


They diverted you all into politics just as they did the Occupy kids, huh?

"Millions of families among the working poor and lower-middle class would be substantially worse off under the health-care plan proposed by Bernie Sanders, according to an analysis by a public health researcher at Atlanta's Emory University.

At a press conference in Columbia, S.C. on Wednesday, Sanders told reporters that his single-payer plan -- in which the federal government, rather than the private insurance industry, would reimburse doctors and hospitals for treatment -- would take "a huge bite" out of poor families' financial distress.

I was once in favor way back when they were passing Obummercare; however, now I oppose it.

You think I trust this bankrupt and corrupt government to handle all that money? 

Just look at the VA mess and all the Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

Sanders estimates a middle-class family of four would pay an annual premium of $466 under his plan, with no deductible or co-pays. Less affluent households would pay less than that, or nothing at all.

But for at least 72 percent of households enrolled in Medicaid -- in which someone is working -- the costs of Sanders's plan would exceed the benefits, according to an analysis by Kenneth Thorpe, a public-health expert at Emory University.

That figure includes 5.7 million households, or 14.5 million people -- among them, 4.2 million Hispanic recipients and 2.5 million black recipients. The requirements for eligibility for Medicaid vary widely by state, so that group includes some households living in poverty as well as some that are modestly better off.

"The vast majority of low-income Medicaid workers, who are probably predominantly minority, are going to end up paying more in terms of payroll taxes, and aren't going to receive really any financial benefits," said Thorpe, a former Clinton administration health official


The whole piece is now discredited!

Many lower-income people are already insured or eligible for insurance under Medicaid, at least in the states that expanded the program under President Obama's health-care reform. Many Medicaid beneficiaries also work, and those workers' wages would likely decline due to the additional 6.2 percent payroll tax the proposal would levy on their employers.

Thorpe has also argued that the senator from Vermont is underestimating the cost of his plan by roughly $1.1 trillion a year. Regardless of the cost, though, the plan would be detrimental for many poor households, he concluded.

In calculating that 14.5 million Medicaid beneficiaries would be worse off, Thorpe used the campaign's more optimistic estimate of the cost. Using his own, more pessimistic estimate, the figure increased to 16.8 million."

At least they both agree on foreign policy:

"On Muslims, Democrats invoke stance of Bush" by Josh Lederman Associated Press  December 26, 2015


WASHINGTON — Taunted by Republicans to declare war on ‘‘radical Islamic terrorism,’’ Democrats are turning to an unlikely ally: George W. Bush.

Actually, that will help them in South Carolina, right?

President Obama, under pressure to be more aggressive on terrorism, regularly cites his predecessor’s refusal to demonize Muslims or play into the notion of a clash between Islam and the West. It’s a striking endorsement from a president whose political rise was predicated on opposition to the Iraq War and Bush’s hawkish approach in the Middle East.

As Hillary Clinton put it, ‘‘George W. Bush was right.’’

I'm feeling the Bern.

Laying out her plan to fight domestic terrorism, Clinton reminded voters in Minneapolis earlier this month of Bush’s visit to a Muslim center six days after the Sept. 11 attacks. She even quoted his words from that day about those who intimidate Muslim-Americans: ‘‘They represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior.’’

So sayeth a lying, torturing, mass-murdering, war criminal.

Clinton and Obama argue that rhetoric just helps the Islamic State group and like-minded extremists, whose recruitment pitch is based on the narrative of an apocalyptic battle between Islam and the West. The Democrats warned that proposals such as Trump’s Muslim ban jeopardize national security, drawing a contrast with Bush.

‘‘I was very proud after 9/11 when he was adamant and clear about the fact that this is not a war on Islam,’’ Obama said recently. His message to today’s Republican leaders: ‘‘They should follow his example. It was the right one. It was the right impulse.’’

"We" rejected his brother.

Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s top challenger for the Democratic nomination, visited a mosque this month in a show of solidarity that evoked Bush’s after 9/11. And the Democratic National Committee released an ad contrasting comments by the 2016 GOP contenders with footage of Bush declaring that ‘‘Islam is peace.’’

Flame just petered out.

All of that marks a rare departure for a party that has spent the last decade slamming the former president — to much electoral success. After all, even many of the Republican candidates, if in retrospect, have criticized the war in Iraq, where Islamic State militants now control part of the country and are seeking to export terrorism around the world.

But Bush’s example has become particularly poignant for Democrats following recent terrorist attacks in Paris and California that have left some people more preoccupied with terrorism than at any time since 9/11. Both Clinton and Obama have sought to deflect the critique that they’re too soft on the domestic terrorism threat.

‘‘There weren’t a lot of policy decisions that I agreed with George W. Bush on, but I was never going to call him weak on terror,’’ said Mo Elleithee, a longtime Democratic Party official who now runs Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service.

Not all Republican candidates have been as harsh about Muslims as Trump has been. Jeb Bush has joined his GOP challengers in describing the enemy as ‘‘radical Islamic terrorism.’’ But he’s also said the United States should follow his brother’s lead, arguing in the last GOP debate that ‘‘we can’t dissociate ourselves from peace-loving Muslims.’’

During the 2001 mosque visit, one of several occasions Bush denounced anti-Muslim bias, he stood alongside Muslim leaders and quoted the Koran about evil-doers being ultimately defeated. He insisted that intimidation against Muslims in America would not stand.

‘‘The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam,’’ Bush said.

It's not even Islamic.

The former president has stayed mostly silent throughout the recent debate. His spokesman, Freddy Ford, recently said Bush wouldn’t comment on ‘‘Trump’s bluster’’ but repeated Bush’s insistence that ‘‘true Islam is peaceful.’’ Ford declined to discuss what Bush thinks about Democrats quoting him now.

Muslim groups have called on Obama to follow Bush’s example by visiting a mosque, a move that would be risky for a president who has faced longstanding but false claims that he is a Muslim. White House officials didn’t rule out the possibility Obama would visit a mosque but said there were no imminent plans to do so.

He eventually did.

‘‘Bush sent a very powerful message to the world and American Muslims that backlash and attacks on this faith community will not be tolerated,’’ said Ibrahim Cooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. ‘‘We would hope President Obama would make a similar gesture.’’

Yeah, we got it.


Could the nightmare be unstoppable now?

At least Bernie has locked up the Jewish vote in South Carolina:

"Bernie Sanders is Jewish, but he doesn’t like to talk about it" by Joseph Berger New York Times   February 24, 2016

When Sen. Bernie Sanders thanked supporters for his landslide victory in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, he wistfully reminisced about his upbringing as “the son of a Polish immigrant who came to this country speaking no English and having no money.”

While the crowd cheered, Rabbi Michael Paley of New York was among many Jews watching the speech who were taken aback. He said he was surprised that the Vermont senator had not explicitly described his father as a “Polish Jewish immigrant,” a significant distinction given Poland’s checkered history with its Jewish population.

“Nobody in Poland would have considered Bernie a Pole,” Paley said.

Two days later, in a debate with Hillary Clinton, Sanders referred to the historic candidacy of “somebody with my background” without overtly saying he was Jewish. That prompted the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a news service feeding the Jewish press worldwide, to ponder, as its headline put it, “People are confused why Bernie Sanders won’t own his Jewishness.”

Sanders, those who know him say, exemplifies a distinct strain of Jewish identity, a secular offshoot at least 150 years old whose adherents in the shtetls of Eastern Europe and the jostling streets of the Lower East Side in Manhattan were socialists, anarchists, radicals and union organizers focused less on observance than on economic justice and repairing a broken world. Indeed, he seems more comfortable speaking about Pope Francis, whose views on income inequality he admires, than about his own religious beliefs.

Paley, who worked with Jews in central Vermont when he was a Dartmouth College chaplain, recalled once talking with Sanders about “non-Jewish Jews,” a term coined by a leftist biographer, Isaac Deutscher, to describe those who express Jewish values through their “solidarity with the persecuted.” Sanders seemed to acknowledge that the term described him, Paley said.

But the secular image that Sanders casts is also complicating the way American Jews regard the historic nature of his candidacy.

When Joseph Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew who spurned campaigning on the Sabbath, was Al Gore’s vice presidential running mate in 2000, many Jewish voters saw it as a breakthrough. While Sanders’ surprising run for even higher office is eliciting many strong emotions, religious pride is usually not the main one.

He was going to be a heartbeat away.

Related: Past, Present, and Future Presidents

Did you see how he won the Senate?

“Joe was an observant Jew; Bernie is marginal,” said Morris Harary, a lawyer who lives near Sanders’ childhood home in Brooklyn. As a history maker, he said, Lieberman was “much more of a big deal.”

That helps Bernie in my book. Maybe he can be turned.

Growing up in Midwood in Brooklyn in the 1940s and ’50s, Sanders, who declined to be interviewed for this article, had a not atypical Jewish upbringing. His father, Eli, who sold paint to hardware stores, showed up at a synagogue virtually only on Yom Kippur, Bernie Sanders’ brother, Larry Sanders, said in an interview from England, where he is the health issues spokesman for the Green Party.

See: Bernie Sanders’ brother shares political odyssey — in Britain

Their mother, Dorothy, was the daughter of a union activist who chafed at his own yeshiva schooling. The family did not observe much more than Passover seders with neighbors.

“They were very pleased to be Jews, but didn’t have a strong belief in God,” Larry Sanders said.

Like many children of that era, Bernie Sanders, while attending public schools, took Sunday Hebrew and Bible classes at an Orthodox synagogue, the Kingsway Jewish Center in the Midwood neighborhood, and was bar mitzvahed there.

After graduating from the University of Chicago, Sanders went to Israel to work on an agricultural kibbutz and ended up at Sha’ar Ha’amakim (Gate of the Valleys) near Haifa. The motivation seemed as much ideological — the collective was affiliated with the Hashomer Hatzair socialist movement — as Zionistic.

There is really no difference to me. Both steal Palestinian land.

As the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, Sanders in 1983 was asked by Rabbi Yitzchok Raskin to permit the lighting of an 8-foot-tall menorah on the steps of City Hall. He not only agreed but lit the second-night candles himself. Raskin recalled that when he asked Sanders if he needed guidance, Sanders said, “I know the blessings,” and recited them in Hebrew. 

Whatever happened to separation of church and state?

As important to Sanders’ outlook was the Holocaust’s impact on his family. Three of his father’s siblings — two brothers and a sister — were slaughtered by the Germans, and other relatives perished.

Bernie Sanders was forever mindful, as he once said, that the appointment of Hitler as Germany’s chancellor in 1933 “ended up killing 50 million people around the world,” 6 million of them Jews.

“Bernie learned that politics is a very serious matter,” Larry Sanders said.

Related: The Most Dangerous Book Ever Written 

It's also pretty popular, too.

Today, Bernie Sanders does not regularly attend any synagogue in Washington or Vermont, though he does show up for rituals like the yahrzeit — the anniversary of a death — of the father of a close friend, Richard Sugarman, who teaches philosophy in the religion department at the University of Vermont.

That only helps him with me.

As a senator, Sanders has supported a two-state solution guaranteeing Israel’s right to exist as well as a Palestinian homeland, and colleagues in Congress say his view tends to echo the Israeli left wing. When Hamas fired rockets from Gaza into Israeli towns, he condemned the attacks, but he also criticized Israel for what he said was a disproportionate military response.

He supported last year’s deal to end sanctions against Iran in exchange for its dismantling of the infrastructure the United States believed would give it the capacity to make nuclear bombs. Some Jewish members of Congress, notably Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, criticized the deal as not doing enough to stop Iran’s nuclear development and thus putting Israel at risk.

In October, Sanders was asked on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” whether he believed in God.

“What my spirituality is about is that we’re all in this together and it’s not a good thing to believe that as human beings we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people,” he responded. “This is not Judaism. This is what Pope Francis is talking about, that we cannot worship just billionaires and the making of more money.” 

Actually, yes, you can.

Yet he playfully acknowledged his Jewish background in a recent “Saturday Night Live” sketch where he took the part of an ocean-crossing immigrant named Bernie Sanderswitzky. “We’re going to change it when we get to America so it doesn’t sound quite so Jewish,” he told the host, Larry David, in his conspicuous Brooklyn accent.

“Yeah, that’ll trick ’em,” David replied.

I watched one clip, and it was funny.

Rabbi Joshua Chasan, the rabbi emeritus of Burlington’s Conservative synagogue, Ohavi Zedek, who has known Sanders since he was Burlington’s mayor, said Sanders “does not have to wear his Judaism on his sleeve in Vermont or anywhere else to be a Jew.”

And you don't have to be Jewish to be a Zionist (Joe Biden).

"But Rabbi Chasan said there was probably another reason Mr. Sanders avoided discussion of his religion. Like John F. Kennedy, who had to overcome anti-Catholic sentiment, “he’s a good politician and he knows what he’s up against,” he said.

Still, Mr. Sanders’s Jewishness, even in its secular style, may not be much of an issue. A Gallup poll last year found that 92 percent of Americans said they would vote for a Jewish president, double the percentage from when Gallup first asked the question in 1937, and roughly the same as those who said they would vote for a woman, an African-American, a Catholic or a Hispanic. (Only 47 percent, however, said they would vote for a socialist.) 

The Zionist takeover of the culture is complete.

Jewish voters, consequently, may now feel less obligation to support a fellow Jew, another possible reason for the muted excitement about Mr. Sanders. Kevin Greenberg, 52, a native of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., said much had changed since he was a young man in 1986 and was told by a family friend to vote for Marc Holtzman, a Republican running for Congress in Pennsylvania, “because he was Jewish.”

Still, there are lingering fears of rejection, or worse.

“It’s very uplifting to me,” Estelle Berman, an 89-year-old Bronx native living in Delray Beach, Fla., said of Mr. Sanders’s run. “But Middle America will never accept him.”

And some Jewish voters believe it would not take much for anti-Semitism to surface in the United States, as it has in corners of Europe. 

That's the other party, right?

Mr. Greenberg’s 22-year-old son, Josh, who plans to become a rabbi and is a senior at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, said of Mr. Sanders’s Jewish background, “Some hateful people might bring that up.”

“It wouldn’t be hard,” he added, “for it to be considered a bad thing.”


Time to start reading the tea leaves:

"551 more Hillary Clinton e-mails released" by Ben Brody Bloomberg News  February 13, 2016

The State Department on Saturday released another 551 of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails from her time as President Obama’s secretary of state, including about 15 percent that had been given updated security classifications after the fact.

Scalia's death relegated this to the inside of the paper.

More than 1,000 pages of documents sent from Clinton’s private e-mail account included 81 messages upgraded to “confidential,” which is the lowest level of classification, and three to “secret,” said a State Department official.

The e-mails, which included deliberations on topics including policy toward Syria, Libya, and the South China Sea, had not been tagged as classified at the time they were sent, according to the official, who asked not to be identified. None of the latest messages had been labeled “top secret,” a designation given to 22 e-mails withheld from release in January.

Saturday’s release pushes the tally of Clinton’s e-mail disclosures to more than 45,000. Clinton, a Democratic presidential candidate, relied on a private e-mail account and home-based server to conduct government business as the top US diplomat from 2009 to 2013. Republican critics have said the practice constituted a mishandling of classified information, and could return to that subject in a candidates’ debate in South Carolina on Saturday.

Clinton has repeatedly said she didn’t mishandle information and sent no information marked as classified at the time.

Two more interim releases are scheduled this month, following a US district court judge’s order, with all remaining documents to be disclosed by the close of business on Feb. 29.

The three “secret” e-mail strings released on Saturday included a nine-page exchange on Egypt’s Sinai peninsula from August 2012, an exchange on an unknown subject from September 2012, and a May 2011 request for Clinton to speak with then-US Senator John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, who succeeded her as secretary of state in 2013. All were heavily redacted.

A spokesman for the Clinton campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus faulted Clinton’s handling of the documents again on Saturday.

“This court-ordered release is another reminder that Hillary Clinton’s attempt to skirt transparency laws put our national security at risk,” Priebus said in a statement. “Buyer’s remorse must be growing amongst the Democrat establishment who have gone out of their way to rig the nominating process in her favor.”

Of course, he has his own problems (titled Trump).



"Investigators with the State Department issued a subpoena to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation last fall seeking documents about the charity’s projects that may have required approval from the federal government during Hillary Clinton’s term as secretary of state, according to people familiar with the subpoena and written correspondence about it. The subpoena also asked for records related to Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide who for six months in 2012 was employed simultaneously by the State Department, the foundation, Clinton’s personal office, and a private consulting firm with ties to the Clintons. The full scope and status of the inquiry, conducted by the State Department’s inspector general, were not clear from the material correspondence reviewed by The Washington Post. A foundation representative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the initial document request had been narrowed by investigators and that the foundation is not the focus of the probe. A State IG spokesman declined to comment on that assessment or on the subpoena. Representatives for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and Abedin also declined comment. There is no indication that the watchdog is looking at Clinton. But as she runs for president in part by promoting her leadership of the State Department, an inquiry involving a top aide and the relationship between her agency and her family’s charity could further complicate her campaign."

The reason being that the Clinton's were selling classified information and intelligence to foreign governments with the Foundation laundering the loot for them.

There is a special place for people like that:

"Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright caught hell for making that remark during an appearance with Hillary Clinton Saturday in New Hampshire. But that wasn’t the first time Albright’s said it — despite its storied history as an insult, the threat of eternal damnation probably should be deployed only in reference to the truly horrible, not those who choose to vote for Bernie Sanders. Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson, and Osama bin Laden come to mind. In some circumstances, it can appropriately be applied to fictional characters, or even things. Think Jar Jar Binks, a Red Line train at rush hour, or the Kars4Kids jingle. If I’ve just inserted that insidious song into your head, there may now be a special place in hell for me."

Also see:

Why Elizabeth Warren can’t endorse Hillary Clinton

She endorsed an African-American woman instead.

Rapper says ‘uterus doesn’t qualify you to be president’

Let's not get carried away here.

Clinton vs. Sanders, statecraft vs. soul craft

Another black man also says the firewall is cracking.

Bernie’s underdog tale? We can relate.

Except he is too liberal and we can't afford his big plans.

Cultures clash as Democrats raise money 

Somehow it just doesn't translate into votes.

Then it is on to Super Tuesday, Massachusetts, and the convention.


I tuned into CNN or Fox a little after 8 last night and saw they had already called a huge win for Hillary.

Globe gave me these: Clinton wins big in South Carolina

The look is scary bordering on psychopathic.

I'm told "turnout was low, Sanders continued to do well with young voters, his most passionate supporters, [and] he also carried those who identified themselves as independents. Clinton’s will pick up most of South Carolina’s delegates, widening her overall lead in AP’s count. With 53 delegates at stake, Clinton will receive 39, Sanders 14. Going into South Carolina, Clinton had just a one-delegate edge over Sanders. However, she also has a massive lead among superdelegates, the Democratic Party leaders who can vote for the candidate of their choice at this summer’s national convention, regardless of how their states vote. 865 Democratic delegates are up for grabs in the Super Tuesday contests." 

Looking like she will have it more or less wrapped sooner than later now. 

God help us all.

"Sanders, Clinton rift may usher in new era for Mass.; Party’s elected officials risk backlash from activist base" by Jim O’Sullivan Globe Staff  February 26, 2016

The split between Massachusetts Democratic establishment figures supporting former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and grass-roots activists swarming around US Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont could leave party fissures that linger long after Tuesday’s primary.

Early voting in other states has revealed a national party torn between Clinton’s promised steady hand and Sanders’ more progressive goals, virtually ensuring a protracted nominating contest.

But perhaps nowhere is the Democratic divide clearer than in this state, long a Clinton redoubt, where the state’s elected officials have presented a monolithic front not seen in many other states. Ten of the state’s 11 representatives in Congress, three of its four Democratic constitutional officers, a long line of mayors, and a silent army of the state’s professional political class have all deployed on Clinton’s behalf.

If Clinton loses the March 1 primary or escapes with a narrow win, as recent polls suggest she could, the party establishment here risks backlash from left-leaning rank and file voters who back her opponent. A Sanders victory would leave the state’s Democratic political class looking out of step with its increasingly younger, progressive base and could, party strategists fear, leave some incumbents at risk of unusually contentious primary challenges.

Particularly in the state’s most left-leaning districts — areas like the Berkshires and cities like Cambridge — where Sanders is expected to perform well, the evident gap between elected incumbents and the activist base could usher in a new era for the Democratic Party.

“With a lot of elected officials, there is a sense of ‘I wish I didn’t endorse so early, because if I hadn’t, I would be with Bernie Sanders now. If I waited instead of going so early, today I would probably be with Bernie Sanders because he speaks to my beliefs and my values,’ ” said state Representative Michael J. Moran, a Brighton Democrat and one of the handful of state lawmakers who have endorsed Sanders.

Having remorse now, are they? 

That's why I am still carefully considering what I will do on Tuesday. It is not a decision I take lightly at all.

Noting the preponderance of elected officials backing Clinton and polls showing a roughly even split among the primary electorate, state Senator Dan Wolf of Harwich, a Sanders supporter, said, “There’s some kind of disconnect with our constituents there. Whether there’s a political price to pay because of that remains to be seen.”

Oh, you guys, too?

“I think people should be accountable for those decisions in the political world,” he added.

A new poll suggests a close race statewide, with the edge to Clinton. The WBUR poll, released Friday morning, gave her 49 percent to Sanders’ 44 percent among likely primary voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

Sanders partisans argue that traditional polling does not accurately depict the race because, like Donald Trump on the Republican side, the Vermonter has reshaped the electorate by drawing in atypical voters with his populist message.

Why aren't they showing up to vote then?

Sanders’ disruption of the party rankles some Clinton backers and loyal Democrats.

“He’s not a mainline Democrat,” said former state Senate president Therese Murray, who has backed both of Clinton’s presidential bids. “A lot of people that are coming out and voting for him are registering as Democrats, but they’re not really Democrats.”

I could be one of them; they call us unenrolled, and I wonder what corruption is in her closet.

The dynamics are different than they were eight years ago, the last open Democratic presidential primary. In 2008, the state’s Democratic power structure split between Clinton and then-US Senator Barack Obama.

Its brightest stars — then-Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry, then-Governor Deval Patrick — broke for Obama, despite long ties to the Clintons. Meanwhile, down-ballot Democrats like then-Mayor Thomas M. Menino and much of the state’s US House delegation campaigned for Clinton.

This year, the state’s only prominent elected statewide Democrat not backing Clinton is US Senator Elizabeth Warren, whose hard line against Wall Street has endeared her to the national left and who has resisted getting involved in the presidential race.

Warren’s endorsement is one of the most elusive and prized in the country, and would instantly confer increased legitimacy for Sanders or enhance Clinton’s progressive bona fides. But it remains unclear when or whether she will decide.

While the elected official class is nearly monolithic on Clinton’s side, activists are more split along the lines of the 2008 primary — some believing that Clinton has earned the nomination and others hungry for an outsider like Sanders. Because Democratic primaries award their delegates proportionally, the more votes Sanders piles up, the greater share of the convention delegation will be filled out by his supporters.

“This reminds me so much [of] 2008 and the very real tensions that existed between the Clinton and Obama camps toward the end of that primary,” said Jesse Mermell, a Democratic State Committee member and a former top Patrick aide. Mermell now leads the Alliance for Business Leadership, but spoke on her individual views.

Despite “real overwhelming concern that it was going to be a real political liability” for the party that its leaders were so divided in 2008, the wounds healed in time for the general election, Mermell said.

This year, the fracture is less among various prominent Democrats, but between them and the party base, particularly its younger members.

The WBUR poll shows that voters trust Clinton and Sanders equally to improve the economy and create jobs, but, at a clip of more than 3 to 1, prefer Clinton to handle foreign policy challenges.

Where is that wastebasket? 

You can file the whole thing in there. No one trusts her, even those that are going to go and hold their nose while casting their vote.

Sanders holds a wide lead among voters between the ages of 18 and 29, while Clinton does much better with those 60 or older.

The poll was conducted Sunday through Wednesday among 418 likely primary voters....


She picked up another endorsement along the way:

"Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor — who has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president — wrote in his annual letter to shareholders that “the babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history.”

Employing his typical folksy humor and optimism, Mr. Buffett’s letter discussed such themes as income inequality, climate change, efficiency and prosperity, as well as investments like BNSF Railway and Kraft Heinz.

The pre$$ loves this guy, huh?

“For 240 years it’s been a terrible mistake to bet against America, and now is no time to start,” he wrote. “America’s golden goose of commerce and innovation will continue to lay more and larger eggs.”

I'm feeling sick to my stomach.

Mr. Buffett cautioned, though, that while the “pie to be shared by the next generation will be far larger than today’s,” the way it is divided will “remain fiercely contentious.” Many of the negative effects of innovation and greater efficiency tend to harm the worker, he said.

By design.

RelatedRobots will take your job

They already are, in more ways than one

You know, if you eliminate most of us, the baby crop will be the luckiest in history.

I'm sure it is only me, but the feeling I've been getting from the elite and their pre$$ these last few months is that they are talking over us all as if we are no longer here. 

It's kind of scary. I'm really beginning to wonder what evil ill they plan to unveil in 2016, because it sure has the feeling that something out there is going on. There is the veneer of normalcy, a placidness upon the water with he feeling that there is all sorts of churning going on underneath. 

Now the cuts the Globe print edition left on the floor.

He gave the example of how competition had forced his Dexter shoe operation to fold, leaving 1,600 employees in a small Maine town without work, many of whom were past the point where they could learn another trade. He said the same situation unfolded at the original New England textile plant of his holding company, Berkshire Hathaway. 

Hey, at least they are rebuilding Colby and getting more casinos.

Mr. Buffett’s suggested solution: providing safety nets for those who want to work but find their talents out of favor because of market forces

This is a guy who also gobbles up state tax loot through credits and subsidies. 

Looks like he is talking out of both $ides of his mouth!

“The price of achieving ever-increasing prosperity for the great majority of Americans should not be penury for the unfortunate,” he wrote.

It shouldn't be, but it is.

Back to my print:

The letter to shareholders was released along with the fourth-quarter and annual results for Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire’s earnings rose to $24.08 billion last year from $19.87 billion in 2014, while annual revenue increased by $16 billion, to $210.8 billion.

In his letter, Mr. Buffett contrasted Berkshire’s pursuit of efficiency with that of 3G Capital, the Brazilian investment firm that he partnered with to acquire Heinz, which was later combined with Kraft last year.

You know, way back when there were inklings of insider trading regarding Heinz (connected to Kerry, too), but the government quickly dropped the investigation and down the memory hole it went. 

Hell, they called on Buffett to save Wall Street, remember? 

He's one of those "too big to jail" types. 

Private equity guys like him are the foundation of our $y$tem!

While praising 3G’s method as “extraordinarily successful,” Mr. Buffett said that it encompassed buying companies with the intent to immediately cut costs.

The very workers whose fate he is bemoaning above. 


Okay, I was going to cut the rest of the print from there.

Berkshire, he said, also “craves efficiency,” but looks for companies that are avoiding bloat, ones that are already run by efficient managers.

His example was Precision Castparts Corporation, which was purchased a month ago for $32 billion — the company’s largest acquisition to date. He added that Mark Donegan, the chief executive of Precision Castparts, would be among those deploying Berkshire’s capital through acquisitions.

Much smaller acquisitions were also a focus last year, when Berkshire’s subsidiaries made 29 “bolt-on” acquisitions, costing $634 million. Mr. Buffett said that the company would make dozens more such acquisitions in future years.

That is where my print brief ended.

Berkshire Hathaway is a big insurer, meaning that changes in weather patterns that could cause catastrophes, such as hurricanes, could hurt the company. 

A vehicle for capital accumulation.

Addressing a proposal to discuss climate change at the company’s annual meeting in April, Mr. Buffett wrote that it seemed “highly likely to me that climate change poses a major problem for the planet.” He said that because insurance policies are rewritten each year, Berkshire Hathaway should not be exposed to high losses

It's incredible. 

Here we have this bloated ga$ bag complaining about climate change when the water is full of lead in America (it's not just Flint), and the land, air, water, and wildlife are so filled with poisons the Globe can't see fit to report it (not to mention the endless radiation dump into the Pacific and the lingering layer of tar and corexit at the bottom of the Gulf). 

Instead we get jump-the-shark $hit paired with the warm temperatures.

Mr. Buffett also defended the Clayton Homes subsidiary, whose mortgage practices have been scrutinized because they aim at lower-income homeowners. He sought to differentiate Clayton from what he said were the destructive and corrupt practices that contributed to the Great Recession of 2008. 

OMG, he had his elbows up in all that MBS securities fraud!!!

Clayton, he said, keeps all of the mortgages it originates, rather than siphon them off to banks that could structure them into new, complicated securities. Last year, however, Clayton foreclosed on 8,444 mortgages at a cost of $157 million, and paid almost $750,000 in fines and refunds to customers.

By giving so much attention to Clayton Homes in the letter, Mr. Buffett was making a “pre-emptive strike toward criticism there,” said Cathy Seifert, an analyst with S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Berkshire’s noninsurance companies also include what Mr. Buffett called the “Powerhouse Five”: Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Marmon (an industrial holding company), Lubrizol (specialty chemicals), IMC (metalworking) and BNSF Railway, which together earned $13.1 billion last year.

Last year, Mr. Buffett increased Berkshire’s stock stakes in what he called the “Big Four” — American Express, Coca-Cola, IBM and Wells Fargo. Berkshire’s portion of the Big Four’s 2015 earnings amounted to $4.7 billion, he said.

“Woody Allen once explained that the advantage of being a bisexual is that it doubles your chance of finding a date on Saturday night,” Mr. Buffett said. “In like manner — well, not exactly like manner — our appetite for either operating businesses or passive investments doubles our chances for finding sensible uses for Berkshire’s endless gusher of cash.” 

He is gushing over that Jewish pervert and child abuser as if he is some sort of prophet?!!?

Despite Mr. Buffett’s wide array of topics in his 30-page letter — including that he has yet to use the mobile matchmaking service Tinder — there were several topics that were notably absent.

At age 85, Mr. Buffett again did not identify his successor, a vital question among investors and Berkshire enthusiasts. He also did not go into great detail about the slump in commodity prices — nor the volatility in the markets — except to say how they could affect volumes at BNSF Railway and Berkshire’s industrial products manufacturers.

When it comes to risks, however, Mr. Buffett said there is really only one enduring danger that he cannot fix: the threat from cyber, biological, nuclear or chemical attack on the United States. 


Looks like GAME OVER, huh?

“ ‘Innovation’ has its dark side,” he said." 


Slow Saturday Special: Somali Fly Over

Just thought I would drop this load on you early this morning (sound of plane then banking away)..... 

"Al Shabab say they overran African Union base in Somalia, killing dozens" by Mohammed Ibrahim New York Times  January 15, 2016

That's the NYT phonetic spelling of what is widely known as Al-CIA-Bob.

MOGADISHU, Somalia — The militant group Al Shabab said Friday that it had overrun an African Union base in a village in southern Somalia and killed dozens of peacekeepers.

Residents described what appeared to be a suicide car bombing, followed by a ferocious firefight that lasted at least five hours. The African Union confirmed an attack on its troops. But central details, including the identity of those killed, were not immediately clear.

Sheikh Abdulaziz Abu Muscab, a spokesman for the Al Shabab, which is affiliated with al-Qaida, said the group had killed 63 Kenyan soldiers at the African Union base near the village of El-Adde and had seized ammunition and military vehicles.

A Kenyan military spokesman said that the attack had targeted a Somali military camp, next to the African Union base, and that most of the dead were Somalis, contrary to claims by the Al Shabab.

But President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya said, “Some of our patriots in uniform paid the ultimate price.” He described their loss as “heartbreaking.”

The African Union Mission in Somalia, known as Amisom, said on Twitter that “Amisom can confirm that there was an attack on our troops in El-Adde,” but it did not provide further details.

Residents in the surrounding region of Gedo said that they had seen Kenyan military jets conducting airstrikes in the area after an assault by Al Shabab fighters.

“They have taken over the base and the village, and nobody knows the whereabouts of the KDF forces at the base,” a resident of Garbahaarrey, the capital of the Gedo region, who gave only his middle name, Khadar, said in a phone interview, referring to the Kenyan Defense Forces. “This is a disaster unfolding, which is threatening to our peace.”

The Daily Nation, a newspaper in Nairobi, Kenya, quoted a Kenyan military spokesman, David Obonyo, as saying that it was a Somali National Army camp that was overrun, not the African Union base.

“Shabab attacked the SNA camp, which is in close proximity to the KDF camp at El-Adde,” Obonyo said. “The SNA camp was overrun, and KDF troops under Amisom counterattacked in support of SNA. The fighting is still going on. KDF will provide more information once it becomes available.”

Al Shabab, a fundamentalist group that wants to impose Shariah law in the country, has waged a decade-long insurgency against the Somali government.

So which candidate are they backing in the U.S. elections, Trump or Sanders?

The group has increasingly targeted Kenya, which intervened in Somalia in 2011 in support of the government and the African Union peacekeeping mission. It was behind an assault on a Nairobi shopping mall in September 2013 that killed 67 people and an attack on a university in Garissa, in northeastern Kenya, in April, that killed 147 people.

I hate to say it, but both of those are crisis drill crap reported as real, an increasingly common phenomena with the agenda-pushing war pre$$.

Al Shabab fighters killed dozens of Burundian forces in June and Ugandan soldiers in September in attacks on African Union bases outside the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Already took care of Uganda and Burundi is coming up soon.


Right near the border we are:

"Kenya rattled as Al Shabab turns sights on Somalia military targets" New York Times   January 20, 2016

NAIROBI, Kenya — Somali and Western officials say that 80 to 100 Kenyan soldiers — and possibly more — were massacred during an attack by scores of Al Shabab militants on a Kenyan military base place Friday. The militants overran the base, held it for several hours and made off with sensitive communications equipment, artillery pieces that can fire 10 miles and several U.S.-made armored Humvees.

But since then, Kenya’s leaders have refused to disclose the number of dead or other details, trying to soften the blow of what may be the worst military disaster in this country’s history.

“This has been a shock,” said Yusuf Hassan, a member of Kenya’s parliament. “We’re not Burundi, we’re not Ethiopia, we’re not Uganda. Our country does not have a history of war.” 

Is that a shot at them?

The attack could mark a turning point for Al Shabab, one of Africa’s most violent militant groups.

I've seen a million "turning points" in my paper since March 2003.

In recent years, Al Shabab have lost much of their territory, reduced to small bands of famished fighters creeping around Somalia’s rural areas and attacking soft targets in Kenya.

I was told they were stealing food aid and selling the surplus, but that was months if not years ago. Now they look like a mercenary army that has been abandoned by its patron.

Now, it seems, they are training their sights on the hardest targets out there — military bases. In the past months, Al Shabab fighters have staged assaults against Ethiopian, Ugandan and Burundian troops.

Yeah, that's weird. Must have been fed.

There have been reports that small bands of Kenyan soldiers fled into the desert and survived the attack, but so far only four from the El-Adde base — all of them wounded — have made it back to Nairobi, Kenya’s capitalThe rest are dead, missing or captured.

“I have a wife and two children back home,” said one Kenyan prisoner of war in a recording that Al Shabab released. “On 15 January, 2016, the camp was raided by the Al Shabab, whereby they overpowered us.” 

That's a violation off international law and a war crime (and likely pure propaganda for public perception, too).

Before the recording cut out, the soldier said: “Most of our friends were killed.”


I think I strayed over.....

"A Kenyan police official says an Islamic extremist died in Kenya’s north when a roadside bomb he was planting exploded. Suleiman Rashid, a senior officer in the northern town of Mandera, said Saturday that officers on patrol came across five suspected members of Somalia’s Al Shabab extremist group planting a roadside bomb. Rashid said the officers shot at the suspected rebels who panicked and detonated the bomb, killing one insurgent while the others escaped. Mandera has experienced several attacks in this month that officials attribute to a group that has splintered from Al Shabab, who are allied to Al Qaeda, and have instead pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. Al Shabab has vowed retribution on Kenya for sending troops to Somalia to fight extremists."

Time to get back and relax:

"Somalia attack turns symbol of resurgence into one of grief" by Abdi Guled Associated Press  January 22, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Among the survivors of Al Shabab’s attack on a beachside restaurant in Somalia’s capital was Mohamed Abdiqani Kheyre. He is only 3 years old, and his mother was killed.

Witnesses said the Islamic extremists entered the restaurant from the beach Thursday evening, shouting ‘‘Allahu akbar,’’ Arabic for ‘‘God is great,’’ as they fired at people indiscriminately.

That, my friends, is code for covert western intelligence agency operations. 

Once you know what the kitchen looks like, the experience is never the same.

On Friday, relatives were identifying the dead, who numbered around 20. The bodies were laid out on the sand, their heads covered by yellow tablecloths, many soaked with blood. Some family members burst into tears upon discovering the body of a loved one.

Unfortunately, I think the war dead are all too real.

The beach, which symbolized the resurgence of Somalia’s capital in recent years with people flocking to the shore and swimming in the Indian Ocean, had become a scene of bottomless grief.

One woman beat her chest, whispering the name of her son who was killed in the attack. She collapsed as his bloodied body was transported into an ambulance.

‘‘They randomly fired at people sitting near the beach before entering the restaurant,’’ said Ahmed Nur, who was strolling along the shoreline when the attack happened. A party had been taking place when the attack started.

After identifying the dead, relatives carried bodies away.

The Liido Seafood restaurant was littered with blood-stained, overturned chairs, tables, shoes and bullet casings, the walls scarred from bullet impacts and blackened with soot.

I'll have to look at the photos provided.

The attack came a week after Al Shabab overran a Kenyan army base in Somalia, signaling the group’s resilience despite military setbacks inflicted by a U.S.-backed regional force operating in the country. 

That's what happens when the U.S. plays both sides of a war to further advance its geopolitical goals. 

I mean, Russia comes in and smashes 'em in Syria a year-and-a-half after the ineffectual U.S. campaign? 


On a normal Friday, Liido Beach would be packed with hundreds of people surfing, swimming and strolling along the white sand. On this day, armed soldiers stood guard near the beach. Fishing boats that would normally transport picnickers drifted at anchor in the blue waters.

Whatever happened to all those Somali pirates, anyway? World still patrolling?

‘‘It’s a sad day, whenever a hope comes up it gets dashed by such attacks. This city’s future is precarious,’’ said Mumina Ahmed, a Somali-American who returned to Mogadishu last week after 14 years in Virginia.

Somali Security Minister Abdirizak Omar Mohamed said the suspected leader of the attack has been arrested.

The assault on civilians relaxing along the beachfront echoed an attack by an Islamic extremist at a tourist beach in Tunisia last year. Several dozen people, mostly Britons, died in that slaughter.

Now I am again starting to have questions regarding the false flag nature of this thing. 

Survivors of the Liido Seafood attack said that militants forced restaurant’s guests onto the ground before randomly killing them.

Mohamed was wounded in the attack, and on Friday the little boy’s right arm and neck were bandaged as he lay on a hospital bed, as a new generation came to know the violence that has afflicted this Horn of Africa nation for more than two decades.

His aunt, Halima Hassan, tended to Mohamed, who gazed up at her with big eyes.

The security forces took control of the restaurant just before dawn, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein, speaking from the scene.

Al Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, in a broadcast on its online radio late Thursday.

That's when the printed paper turned it off.

Some people spent terrifying hours at the scene, not knowing if they would live to see the dawn.

‘‘I was intending to go out but suddenly we heard a heavy explosion followed by gunfire. ... I saw a militant fighter shooting indiscriminately at everybody. Then I locked myself inside a room until we were evacuated peacefully by the security forces,’’ said Abdulkadir Mohamed Somow, who had been trapped inside the restaurant.

Blasts and bursts of gunfire could be heard as Somali special forces went from room to room, pursuing the Al Shabab gunmen.

Hussein, the police official, said security forces rescued many people who had been trapped. 

Yes, people become grateful for their own repression.

While Al Shabab fighters fled Mogadishu in 2011 under pressure from an African Union military force, they have managed to carry out sporadic bombings and shootings in the capital and launch coordinated attacks against AU forces in the countryside.

Al Shabab attacked Kenyan peacekeepers in southwestern Somalia last week, and overran their base. The al-Qaida-linked group said it had killed about 100 Kenyans and seized weapons and military vehicles. The Kenyan government has given no death toll.

Oh, right, the CIA-Duh group was able to rearm. 

Are they eating good yet?


Time to jet out of Somalia:

"Explosion forces plane to make emergency landing in Somalia" Associated Press  February 03, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia — An explosion and fire blew a gaping hole in a commercial airliner Tuesday, forcing it to make an emergency landing at Mogadishu’s international airport, officials and witnesses said.

The pilot said he believed the explosion was caused by a bomb. An aviation expert who looked at photographs of the hole in the fuselage said the damage was consistent with an explosive device.


‘‘I think it was a bomb,’’ said the Serbian pilot, Vladimir Vodopivec, who was quoted by Belgrade daily Blic. ‘‘Luckily, the flight controls were not damaged so I could return and land at the airport. . . . We lost pressure in the cabin. Thank God it ended well,’’ he said.

Also seeSomali plane explosion recounted by pilot

Awale Kullane, Somalia’s deputy ambassador to the UN who was on board the flight, said on Facebook that he ‘‘heard a loud noise and couldn’t see anything but smoke for a few seconds.’’ When visibility returned he realized ‘‘quite a chunk’’ of the plane was missing, he wrote....

Was he worth assassinating?



"A suicide bomber is suspected to have set off the explosive that blew a hole in a jetliner, sucked the man out of the plane and forced the aircraft to make an emergency landing on Tuesday in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, Somali officials said Saturday. "Experts who were investigating the cause of the blast in the plane concluded that a bomb was the cause," said Ali Jama Jangali, Somalia's transport minister at a press conference in Mogadishu. One passenger, Abdullahi Abdisalam Borle, died, according to Somali officials who did not give any details. A man's body was found in the town of Balad, about 18 miles north of Mogadishu, according to police who said he might have been blown from the plane. The man killed in the incident is suspected to have been a suicide bomber, the Associated Press was told by a senior Somali civilian aviation official."

Al-Shabab did not claimed responsibility for the incident?

"Pilot in Somalia emergency says airport security was zero" by Dusan Stojanovic Associated Press  February 08, 2016

BELGRADE, Serbia — The Serb pilot who landed a jetliner in Somalia with a gaping hole in its fuselage said Sunday he never doubted that it was caused by a bomb and described the security surround the airplane at Mogadishu Airport as ‘‘zero.’’ 

I'll bet it was -- once again -- an Israeli firm that handled it.

A suicide bomber was suspected to have set off the explosive inside the Daallo Airlines plane, Somali officials said Saturday. The blast sucked a male passenger out of the plane and forced the aircraft to make an emergency landing Tuesday in Somalia’s capital, they said.

The explosion happened about 15 minutes after the plane, with 75 passengers on board, took off from the airport and was at 11,000 feet ascending toward 31,000 feet.

‘‘When we went past 10,000 feet, we switched off the fasten belts sign and the cabin crew started serving passengers,’’ pilot captain Vlatko Vodopivec said. ‘‘When we climbed past 11,000 feet, it exploded. At first, I thought it was a window breaking. However, we soon sensed the smell of the explosives when smoke came rushing into the cockpit.’’

‘‘All lasted very shortly,’’ he said. ‘‘We immediately demanded an emergency return to the airport because that was the only solution. With a heavy heart, because there the security is minimal and we had to remain there for a couple of days afterward.’’

If the explosion happened at a higher altitude, the hole in the fuselage might have caused more severe structural damage, he said.

Because the plane was at a lower altitude, he was able to land safely, he said.

‘‘The plane acted normally and we virtually returned normally,’’ he said. “Engines and hydraulics worked normally.’’

The explosion killed one passenger, Abdullahi Abdisalam Borle, according to Somali officials who did not give further details. A man’s body was found in the town of Balad, 30 about 18 miles north of Mogadishu, according to police who said he might have been blown from the plane.

Borle is suspected to have been the suicide bomber, according to a senior Somali civil aviation official who insisted on anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media. Six people have been arrested in connection with the blast after examinations of close-circuit images in the airport, a senior Somali intelligence official said.

The flight was bound for Djibouti, which is the base for Daallo Airlines.

The pilot blamed the incident on the lack of security around the plane at Mogadishu Airport, describing the facility as chaotic.

‘‘The security is zero. When we park there, some 20 to 30 people come to the tarmac,’’ said Vodopivec, a veteran pilot who has made numerous flights to the airport. ‘‘No one has a badge or those yellow vests. They enter and leave the plane, and no one knows who is who ... They can put anything inside when passengers leave the aircraft.’’

Somalia’s government has said it will tighten security at the airport.


This next flight was cancelled by my printed Globe:

"Video shows laptop handed to Somalia bomb suspect" Associated Press  February 08, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Security video footage taken at Mogadishu airport shows two men handing what looks like a laptop computer to a suspected suicide bomber after he passed through the security checkpoint, Somalia’s government spokesman said Sunday.

At least one of the men delivering the laptop was an airport employee, government spokesman Abdisalam Aato said.

Authorities suspect that the man who received the laptop later exploded a bomb aboard the Daallo Airlines jet, killing himself and blowing a gaping hole in the fuselage on Tuesday. The pilot made an emergency landing back at the Mogadishu airport.

It is believed the laptop-like device was the bomb that caused the explosion. The plane’s pilot said that if the explosion happened when the aircraft was at a higher altitude it could have caused the jet to crash.

‘‘At least 20 people, including the two men in the CCTV footage who handed over the laptop to the suspected bomber, were arrested in connection with the explosion in the aircraft,’’ said Aato.

‘‘It was a deliberate act of terrorism,’’ he said. ‘‘Investigations are still ongoing.’’

Somalia’s government has said it will tighten security at the airport.

The video shows two men, one in a bright orange airport security vest, handing the bag to a passenger waiting to board. The video of the apparent security lapse fits with the description of lax security by the pilot of the plane.

‘‘The security is zero,’’ pilot Vlatko Vodopivec said.

The explosion happened about 15 minutes after the plane, with 75 passengers on board, took off from the airport and was at 11,000 feet, ascending toward 31,000 feet.


And then we are just left sitting there.

I suppose you could scroll around Somalia to kill time.