Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday's Chow

"Fidelity looks at whether fund unit’s culture is hostile to women" by Globe Staff   October 22, 2017

After the recent firing of two senior male portfolio managers, Fidelity Investments has hired a consulting firm to investigate whether the culture of its stock-picking division is hostile to female employees, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Earlier this month, the Boston-based financial services giant forced out C. Robert Chow, 56, for making “sexually inappropriate comments,” according to the person, who asked not to be identified because Fidelity doesn’t comment on specific employees.

The Globe could not immediately find contact information for Chow. The Wall Street Journal, which earlier on Sunday reported his firing and Fidelity’s decision to examine the work environment of its equity division, said Chow’s lawyer declined to comment.

Fidelity in September pushed out tech fund manager Gavin Baker amid allegations of sexual harassment, the Globe reported earlier this month. A spokeswoman for the 41-year-old Baker said at the time that he left “amicably” because he planned to marry a woman who worked at Fidelity and Baker “believes his new fiancee and he should not work at the same firm.”

The knives are out.

Fidelity said on Sunday that the company does not tolerate sexual harassment.

“When allegations of these sorts are brought to our attention, we investigate them immediately and take prompt and appropriate action,” the company said in an e-mailed statement.

Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson appears to be moving quickly in hopes of keeping the closely held company founded by her grandfather from being sucked into the furor over widespread and persistent sexual harassment throughout corporate America. Most recently, Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was fired after numerous women came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment and rape. Weinstein has denied the allegations, but many associates have said his behavior was a poorly kept secret for decades.

The fund management industry remains dominated by men, but Fidelity, which oversees $2.3 trillion in assets and the retirement funds of millions of Americans, has women in many top positions. They include Kathy Murphy, president of its personal investing business; Nancy Prior, president of its fixed-income division; Judy Marlinski, president of its institutional asset management unit; and Melissa Reilly, chief investment officer.

Then they are faithful to females

Or is it just another sales pitch?

Brian Hogan, president of Fidelity’s equity division, called a meeting last week to make clear that the company would not condone sexual harassment or any other inappropriate conduct, according to the person with knowledge of the situation.

In addition to the meeting, first reported by the Journal, Fidelity has brought in a consulting firm to “identify if there are any problems with the culture,” the person told the Globe. “It’s a male-dominated field. There is the potential for problems, but we don’t want it.”

The Journal said a 2015 report written by a group of female Fidelity employees was presented to senior staff in the firm’s stock-picking unit, citing four people who saw the report or attended a presentation of it. The report, also sent to Johnson, warned of a male-dominated culture at the equity unit and its detrimental effects on women in particular, the Journal said. A Fidelity spokesman said the company was not aware of the report.

In its statement, Fidelity said it has multiple ways for employees to raise concerns, including “the Chairman’s Line,” which it called a channel to anonymously report concerns of unethical or inappropriate activities.

--more--"

I wouldn't worry about it for much longer:

The Robots Are Coming for Wall Street

Unless robots can make passes, that is.

"Tech giants paying huge salaries for scarce AI talent" by Cade Metz New York Times  October 23, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — Silicon Valley’s startups have always had a recruiting advantage over the industry’s giants: Take a chance on us and we’ll give you an ownership stake that could make you rich if the company is successful.

Now the tech industry’s race to embrace artificial intelligence may render that advantage moot — at least for the few prospective employees who know a lot about AI.

Tech’s biggest companies are placing huge bets on artificial intelligence, banking on things ranging from face-scanning smartphones and conversational coffee-table gadgets to computerized health care and autonomous vehicles. As they chase this future, they are doling out salaries that are startling.

Typical AI specialists, including both PhDs fresh out of school and people with less education and just a few years of experience, can be paid from $300,000 to $500,000 a year or more in salary and company stock, according to nine people who work for major tech companies or have entertained job offers from them. All of them requested anonymity because they did not want to damage their professional prospects.

Well-known names in the AI field have received compensation in salary and shares in a company’s stock that total single- or double-digit millions over a four- or five-year period. And at some point they renew or negotiate a new contract.

At the top end are executives with experience managing AI projects. In a court filing this year, Google revealed that one of the leaders of its self-driving-car division, Anthony Levandowski, a longtime employee who started with Google in 2007, took home more than $120 million in incentives before joining Uber last year.

There are a few catalysts for the huge salaries. The auto industry is competing with Silicon Valley for the same experts who can help build self-driving cars. Giant tech companies like Facebook and Google also have plenty of money to throw around and problems that they think AI can help solve, like building digital assistants for smartphones and home gadgets and spotting offensive content.

Most of all, there is a shortage of talent. In the entire world, fewer than 10,000 people have the skills necessary to tackle serious artificial intelligence research, according to Element AI, an independent lab in Montreal.

So what will they do when AI can do their research better?

--more--"

You can envision a day when drones will deliver packages, watch crops, or inspect pipelines, and to ‘‘put it mildly, this is a huge, huge problem. It impacts investigations across the board — narcotics, human trafficking, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, gangs, organized crime, child exploitation.’’

The climb will be difficult but you will get there eventually:

"Elizabeth Warren describes sexual harassment in early teaching job" by Julia Jacobs Globe Correspondent  October 22, 2017

WASHINGTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren has stepped forward to tell of her own experience with predatory behavior as a young law instructor, joining other prominent women who have recounted their stories of sexual harassment and abuse following allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Warren was one of four female senators, all Democrats, to divulge her personal experience Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press” as part of the #MeToo campaign.

Warren told about a senior faculty member at the school where she held her first teaching job, saying he had a history of commenting on her appearance and telling dirty jokes.

“It was like a bad cartoon,” she said. “He’s chasing me around the desk, trying to get his hands on me. And I kept saying, ‘You don’t want to do this. You don’t want to do this. I have little children at home. Please don’t do this.’ ”

Warren said she was ready to punch the man in the face if he caught her, but she escaped out the door.

“I went back to my office and I just sat and shook and thought, ‘What had I done to bring this on?’ ” the senator said. “I told my best friend about it. Never said a word to anyone else.’’

Warren’s Senate office did not immediately respond Sunday to a request for an interview or for more information about the attack.

The “Me Too” hashtag gained popularity after media investigations of Weinstein revealed allegations of sexual harassment from actresses such as Ashley Judd, as well as accusations of sexual assault.

The social media campaign is meant to demonstrate the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment.....

Someone also pushing an agenda.

--more--"

Maybe the problem is football (another contrived provocation?)

Meanwhile, out front:

"Senator Elizabeth Warren is warming up to the press. Until now, the high-powered lawmaker has bucked a tradition of open dialogue in Senate hallways, nearly always refusing to speak in extemporary interviews. She surrounds herself with aides, or talks on her cellphone, and barrels past the waiting gaggles. These days, it’s rare for a reporter to even try a question as she speed-walks on by. Even when Warren does grant interviews, she can sometimes seem unnatural, sticking relentlessly to prepared talking points. The effect is oddly stiff for a populist leader whose powerful speaking style and aura of authenticity are some of her biggest selling points. Now political observers and reporters alike have noticed a thaw — of sorts....."

Related
:

"Malta’s government on Saturday offered reward of $1.18 million and full protection for anyone with information on who killed an investigative reporter with a car bomb. The bombing on Oct. 16 killed Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, whose reporting on corruption targeted the prime minister and other top figures on the southern Mediterranean island. The government called it a ‘‘case of extraordinary importance.’’

That answers the question I had, and this photo was the closest they got on Monday to the Maltese blogger as the coverage of that cools down.

"A Northampton district court judge who was reassigned to administrative duties in August without explanation has been accused of sexual harassment by a social worker who had been assigned to the Pittsfield courtroom where he held weekly drug court sessions, the Berkshire Eagle reported on Saturday. District Court Judge Thomas H. Estes was moved to administrative duties in Holyoke after the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination began investigating a complaint filed July 24 by the social worker, according to the Eagle. The social worker told the commission that she had moved to end a relationship with Estes this spring, and when she did, she was removed from her position by her employer, the Behavioral Health Network, the Eagle reported. The newspaper said that a public information officer for the Executive Office of the Trial Court declined to say if the judge’s reassignment was related to the complaint."

Also see:

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly agreed to extraordinarily large settlement in harassment case

They renewed the scum's contract anyway.

And "today’s chapter in this ghastly saga? The rage that killed the coffee shop."

Reports detail sexual misconduct allegations against film, restaurant executives

Todd English reportedly accused of sexually harassing waitress"

Time for some exorcise:

"A lesson hard for Boston to buy: We’re good" by Shirley Leung Globe Columnist  October 21, 2017

It almost doesn’t matter if Amazon picks Boston for its next headquarters. We’ve already won.

Here’s how: In its eight-page request for proposals, the Seattle-based tech giant painted a portrait of where it wanted to be — a place with an educated workforce, a strong university culture, good public schools, an international airport, mass transit, and a high quality of life.

CEO Jeff Bezos might as well have said “somewhere like Boston.” The city’s 218-page proposal, submitted to Amazon by last Thursday’s deadline, made our strengths abundantly clear.

This is not just the business columnist in me being boosterish. Pore over the analyses by pundits and experts alike, and Boston was on nearly everyone’s short list of where Amazon might go. A Globe colleague tallied the results: Boston showed up on 12 out of 16 such lists. Only Atlanta appeared more often, with 14 mentions.

This is an important moment for our city and our region, and it’s been a long time in the making. Amazon’s open casting call for sites may have finally exorcised one of Greater Boston’s demons.....

--more--"

(FLIP)

"The mall lost its Sears recently, too, and JC Penney is long gone. The loss of the anchor stores spurred a cascade of smaller store closings. It’s a scene repeating itself in dying suburban malls around the country, a sweeping economic disruption known as the Amazon effect....."

I'm done. surrender the rest to you.

Sunday Globe Special: Everybody's Grandfather

"5 former presidents aid hurricane relief effort" by Will Weissert Associated Press  October 21, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas — The five living former presidents appeared together for the first time since 2013 on Saturday at a concert to raise money for victims of devastating hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

Democrats Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter and Republicans George H.W. and George W. Bush gathered on stage in College Station, Texas, home of Texas A&M University, putting aside politics to try to unite the country after the storms, in contrast with President Trump, who has vowed to help Texas and Florida for as long as it takes but has criticized Puerto Rican leaders while suggesting aid there won't be unlimited.

Curious as to why the web version altered what I read in print, but anyway. 

What, the White House press office call his editor?

Also see: Many in Texas, Florida still waiting for federal aid after hurricanes

Nothing about Puerto Rico?

Texas A&M is home to the presidential library of the elder Bush. At 93, he has a form of Parkinson’s disease and appeared in a wheelchair at the event. His wife, Barbara, and George W. Bush’s wife, Laura Bush, were in the audience. The concert featured the country music band Alabama, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer “Soul Man” Sam Moore, gospel legend Yolanda Adams, and Texas musicians Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen.

Earlier on Saturday, President Trump recorded a video greeting that avoided his past criticism of the former presidents and called them ‘‘some of America’s finest public servants.’’

‘‘This wonderful effort reminds us that we truly are one nation under God, all unified by our values and devotion to one another,’’ Trump said in the message.

The last time the five were together was in 2013, when Obama was still in office, at the dedication of George W. Bush’s presidential library in Dallas.

There is precedent for former presidents joining forces for post-disaster fund-raising. George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton raised money together after the 2004 South Asia tsunami and Hurricane Katrina the next year. Clinton and George W. Bush combined to seek donations after Haiti’s 2011 earthquake. 

Where did all that Haiti aid money go anyway, other than building Bill Clinton a new hotel for his overnighters?

‘‘It’s certainly a triple, if not a home run, every time,’’ said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston.

‘‘Presidents have the most powerful and prolific fund-raising base of any politician in the world,’’ Rottinghaus said. “When they send out a call for help, especially on something that’s not political, they can rake in big money.’’

YUP! 

It's called cri$i$ capitali$m and it's a form of looting well-intentioned, good-hearted Americans.

Rottinghaus said the ex-presidents attending Saturday’s concert were always going to be viewed more favorably because polling consistently shows that ‘‘any ex-president is seen as less polarizing than the current president.’’

‘‘They can’t get away from the politics of the moment,’’ he said of current White House occupants. ‘‘Ex-presidents are able to step back and be seen as the nation’s grandfather.’’

That's when I had to stop reading and head for the porcelain god.

--more--"

I think I'll choose the guy on the left

As for the others, all war criminals with a sexual harasser that gets a pass from the pre$$ and public.

Right below that pos was this:

"Trump says he will release final set of documents on Kennedy assassination" by Michael D. Shear New York Times   October 21, 2017

WASHINGTON — President Trump says he has decided to release a final batch of thousands of classified government documents related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

“Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as president, the long blocked and classified JFK files to be opened,” Trump wrote on Twitter Saturday.

Even so, I don't think Trump has anything to worry about other than ‘‘character assassination,’’ although Democrats are calling him an ‘‘existential threat’’ that must be eliminated.

The release of the information being held in secret at the National Archives was mandated to occur by Oct. 26 under a 1992 law that sought to quell conspiracy theories about the assassination.

The material is expected to include about 3,000 documents that have never been seen by the public, and more than 30,000 that have been previously released with redactions, the Associated Press reported.

Trump has the power to block the release of the documents, and intelligence agencies have pressured him to do so for at least some of them. The agencies are concerned that information contained in some of the documents could damage national security interests.

HOW? The event was over 53 years ago. 

There must be certain names connected to it that would reflect badly on current members of the family, etc. 

Makes you wonder about Reagan, doesn't it? 

The truth is, after that Bush was acting president. All the national security stuff, Iran-Contra, etc, were through his office.

The president did not make clear what he meant when he said in his tweet that the release of the documents would be “subject to the receipt of further information.” A White House official did not immediately respond to e-mails seeking clarification.

It is not known what revelations might be in the unreleased documents, though researchers and authors of books about Kennedy say they do not expect any bombshells that alter the official narrative of the assassination — that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in Dallas — delivered in 1964 by the Warren Commission.

PFFFT, yup! 

That's why I'm not giving this rollout of a turd much attention. 

With the deadline to release the remaining documents fast approaching, Trump had been under increasing pressure from advocates of transparency not to hold back any of the documents from the public on the grounds of national security.

Conspiracy theorists have long clamored for what they hope will be evidence to prove that the government covered up the truth about the killing.

Then those "conspiracy theorists" are either idiots or fools because this government is never going to release a smoking gun. This is just another lame and late, limited hangout -- with the kicker likely being that Russia was behind it all! The humiliation of missile crisis, you know, even though it is JFK who blinked (unlike official narrative). The Cuban missiles were defensive, otherwise they would have been fired. Kennedy agreed to stand down in Turkey. He blinked, thank God.

--more--"

JFK would have been in his 90s now had he lived.

Oh, you can add another grandfather to the list:

"His friends and fellow senators say, he has carved out a new role for himself on Capitol Hill: elder statesman and truth-teller....."

(Back to the toilet)

More of a truth-teller:

"Steve Bannon faults George W. Bush for ‘destructive’ presidency" by Michael R. Blood Associated Press  October 21, 2017

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Former White House adviser Steve Bannon depicted former President George W. Bush as bumbling and inept, faulting him for presiding over a ‘‘destructive’’ presidency during his time in the White House.

Bannon’s scathing remarks on Friday night amounted to a retort to a Bush speech in New York last week, in which the 43rd president denounced bigotry in Trump-era American politics and warned that the rise of ‘‘nativism,’’ isolationism, and conspiracy theories have clouded the nation’s true identity.

F*** him, although bringing up conspiracy theories at a gathering of such globalists means they are shitting bricks. They wouldn't even mention it if things were all right.

Now, I'm not a big fan of Bannon because AmeriKan politics and the pre$$ coverage surrounding them are nothing but a Zionist funnel; however, he gets some cheers for this:

But Bannon, speaking to a capacity crowd at a California Republican Party convention, said Bush had embarrassed himself and didn’t know what he was talking about.

Bannon said Bush has no idea whether ‘‘he is coming or going, just like it was when he was president.’’

‘‘There has not been a more destructive presidency than George Bush’s,’’ Bannon added, as boos could be heard in the crowd at the mention of Bush’s name.

The remarks came during a speech thick with attacks on the Washington status quo, echoing his call for an ‘‘open revolt’’ against establishment Republicans. He called the ‘‘permanent political class’’ one of the great dangers faced by the country.

He is right insofar as it goes.

A small group of protesters gathered outside the hotel where Bannon spoke, chanting and waving signs — one displaying a Nazi swastika. The protesters were kept behind steel barricades on a plaza across an entrance road at the hotel, largely out of view of people entering for the event. No arrests were reported.

Bannon also took aim at the Silicon Valley and its ‘‘lords of technology,’’ predicting that tech leaders and progressives in the state would try to secede from the union in 10 to 15 years. He called the threat to break up the nation a ‘‘living problem.’’

He also tried to cheer long-suffering California Republicans, who operate in a state that Trump lost by over 4 million votes and where the GOP has become largely irrelevant in state politics.

In Orange County, where the convention was held, several Republican House members are trying to hold onto their seats in districts carried by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential contest.

‘‘You’ve got everything you need to win,’’ he told them.

The crowd gave Bannon a standing ovation at the end of his speech.

Bannon is promoting a field of primary challengers to take on incumbent Republicans in Congress. But in California, the GOP has been fading for years.

What's up with the fires, btw?

The state has become a kind of Republican mausoleum: GOP supporters can relive the glory days by visiting the stately presidential libraries of Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, but today Democrats control every statewide office and rule both chambers of the Legislature by commanding margins.

No wonder California is such a mess.

Not all Republicans were glad to see Bannon..... 

Like who?

"During two television interviews Sunday, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell sharply criticized former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and others trying to knock off Republican incumbents as ‘‘specialists at nominating people who lose.’’ McConnell was asked about Bannon’s efforts to find primary opponents for all but one of the Senate Republicans running for reelection next year. McConnell argued that the kind of candidates Bannon and others are supporting will not have the broad appeal needed to win general elections in some of those states. ‘‘The kind of people that are supported by the element that you've just been referring to are specialists in defeating Republican candidates in November, and that’s what this interparty skirmish is about,’’ McConnell said on ‘‘Fox News Sunday.’’ ‘‘Our goal is to nominate people in the primaries next year who can actually win’’ in the general election. Trump would sign an interim bill only if it also lifts the tax penalties that Obama’s health care law imposes on people who don’t buy coverage and employers who don’t offer plans to employees. The White House is also focused on taxes....."

Did anyone tell McConnell that Trump won (and so did Judge Moore)?

Going the way of the Dems, Mitch, and that tax plan isn't getting much attention.

--more--"

They are crazy in Kansas and corrupt in Kentucky.

"In the middle of a Jewish cemetery in East Boston, a chapel from 1903 is the future home of a center that will tell Greater Boston’s immigration story. During a time when the Trump administration is restricting immigration, a host of efforts honoring immigrants and their contributions are gaining momentum in Boston and beyond....."

Well, you can see jwho is behind that agenda.

"Trump’s travel ban has already cost the US billions in tourism" by Christopher Muther Globe Staff  October 18, 2017

When President Trump issued his first travel ban, industry analysts predicted it would send a chilly message to travelers around the world and result in a swift drop in the number of tourists to the United States.

Now, studies show those predictions may have become reality. 

May have?

The travel order, a source of confusion and fear among some foreign travelers, has already resulted in a loss of billions of dollars to the US economy.

And yet stocks at record highs and the government claims the job market is as healthy as it has been in years!!!

Experts say each time the ban makes headlines, it turns off more travelers from a potential US visit.

“There has been a Trump slump, and the strong dollar has compounded it,” said Olivier Jager, chief executive of ForwardKeys. “This must be worrying for the US economy.”

WTF?

Another potential factor driving away foreign travelers is the global perception of the United States.

Its favorability rating has dropped to 49 percent, meaning less than half the world is with them.

In addition to the strong dollar, tourism to the United States has been affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Maria and could see further setbacks following this month’s mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Well, that's price you pay for staged and scripted false flag fictions and geo-engineered events to convince you of catastrophic global climate change.

A recent tourism council report on tourism in North America outlined just how critical travel dollars are to the US economy. Tourist-related products and services added $24 billion to New York City’s gross domestic product in 2016. According to the US Travel Association, tourism supports one in nine US jobs.

Brand USA, a marketing organization that promotes tourism to the United States through a combination of government and private funding, recently launched a campaign to try to alter the perception that the country is inhospitable. Dubbed “One Big Welcome,” the promotion includes a video showing locals in key travel destinations such as Hawaii and New York talking up their hometowns.

According to Christopher Thompson, chief executive of Brand USA, much of the early discussion surrounding the drop in foreign tourists was centered on the Trump administration’s ban and the president’s focus on safety. Instead, he thinks the lagging numbers are a result of a strong dollar.

“Overall, numbers from the Department of Commerce are down, but when I talk to our industry partners, we’re getting very mixed signals as to whether it’s up or down,” he said.

Yeah, tell me about it!

Michael Bellisario, an analyst at R.W. Baird, agreed that it’s difficult to determine if the drop in tourism is a result of the dollar or the travel ban but said new headlines surrounding the latest ban certainly won’t stem the losses.

“There’s really no positive to be found in the latest news and all this negativity,” he said.

There may be some hope that more foreign tourists are beginning to return. Still, there is industrywide concern.....

What was that about very mixed signals?

--more--"

Trump is just trying to keep us safe, right?

"New York officials fear closing of US lab combating terror threats" New York Times  October 22, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security plans to close a New York lab that has helped the city’s police and fire departments develop systems to detect nuclear and biological threats, a move some officials fear could hamper efforts to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks.

The radiological program that the National Urban Security Technology Laboratory developed with the New York Fire Department is widely considered the national standard.

The lab has also worked on combatting drug trafficking and money laundering.

“The lab has provided an invaluable amount of information to us over the years, including helping us understand biological and nuclear threats when nobody understood that stuff,” said Gerard McCarty, director of emergency management at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The Trump administration has proposed closing the lab as part of larger cuts it envisions at Homeland Security.

--more--"

So when is the false flag scheduled to go live?

"A Cub Scout was kicked out of his den after he questioned a Colorado lawmaker about gun control and comments she had made about African-Americans’ health and fried chicken. Ames Mayfield, 11, posed the questions at an Oct. 9 event in Broomfield. Cub Scouts had been told to be prepared to talk to Republican state Senator Vicki Marble about important issues. Ames’s mother, Lori Mayfield, said a local scout leader later told her that the topic of gun control was inappropriate because of its political nature and that the boy’s questions were disrespectful. The Boy Scouts, which includes the Cub Scouts, refused to comment on why the boy was asked to leave but said he will remain in scouting after finding a new group. In videos recorded by Lori Mayfield, scouts asked why people wanted to vote for Barack Obama just because he was black and about Trump’s proposed US-Mexico border wall. It was unclear which scouts asked the questions....."

I'm told ‘‘there is something wrong in our country where Republicans believe it’s a right to own a gun but a privilege to have health care,’’ and all I can say is read your Constitution.

What does it mean to be a Boy Scout anyway?

Training for future work is all it is:

Newly assertive CIA expands its Taliban hunt in Afghanistan

Doing the same in Somalia as the wars go covert and hidden from public view.

US-backed forces take Syria’s largest oil field from ISIS

Here is why (so when are the U.S. foreign fighters coming home, Rex?), and isn't it the Arabian Gulf now?

This is meaningless, readers. 

You know what the source of all the problems in the region are, right? 

See what happens when you try to help Palestinians?

Thankfully, the AmeriKan MIC will preserve the AmeriKan Dream (“The government’s policies sound good, but we don’t see the benefits” ).

I'm glad there hasn't been anything regarding Korea the last few days.

Time for taps.

Sunday Globe Special: EPA Beckoning

"The chemical safety law was passed after Congress and the chemical industry reached a consensus that toxic chemical threats — or at least the fear of them — were so severe that they undermined consumer confidence in products on the market."

Yes, dear Americans, the Congre$$ cares more about the imagery of consumer confidence and the money generated rather than your actual health. That's why they are called public $ervants.

"Chemical industry insider now shapes EPA policy" by Eric Lipton New York Times  October 21, 2017

WASHINGTON — For years, the Environmental Protection Agency has struggled to prevent an ingredient once used in stain-resistant carpets and nonstick pans from contaminating drinking water.

The chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, has been linked to kidney cancer, birth defects, immune system disorders, and other serious health problems. 

Flint was just the tip of the iceberg, 'eh?

So scientists and administrators in the EPA Office of Water were alarmed in late May when a top Trump administration appointee insisted upon the rewriting of a rule to make it harder to track the health consequences of the chemical, and therefore regulate it.

The revision was among more than a dozen demanded by the appointee, Nancy B. Beck, after she joined the EPA’s toxic-chemical unit in May as a top deputy. For the previous five years, she had been an executive at the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade association.

The changes directed by Beck may result in an “underestimation of the potential risks to human health and the environment” caused by PFOA and other so-called legacy chemicals no longer sold on the market, the Office of Water’s top official warned in a confidential internal memo obtained by The New York Times.

The EPA’s abrupt new direction on legacy chemicals is part of a broad initiative by the Trump administration to change the way the federal government evaluates health and environmental risks associated with hazardous chemicals, making it more aligned with the industry’s wishes.

It is a cause with far-reaching consequences for consumers and chemical companies, as the EPA regulates some 80,000 different chemicals, many of them highly toxic and used in workplaces, homes, and everyday products. If chemicals are deemed less risky, they are less likely to be subjected to heavy oversight and restrictions.

The effort is not new, nor is the decadeslong debate over how best to identify and assess risks, but the industry has not benefited from such highly placed champions in government since the Reagan administration.

The cause was taken up by Beck and others in the administration of George W. Bush with some success, and met with resistance during the Obama administration. Now it has been aggressively revived under President Trump by an array of industry-backed political appointees and others.

Yes, the nostalgia for Obama's EPA.

Related: EPA fracking report offers few answers on drinking water

Only took 'em six years and $29 million to say they do not know.

Of course, the Bush damage is minimized because he is one of America's grandfathers (ugh!). The fact that he and Cheney were oil and gas men..... you know. Be in bad taste while shoveling $h!t (which can also be burned for fuel, you know).

Beck, who has a doctorate in environmental health, comes from a camp — firmly backed by the chemical industry — that says the government too often directs burdensome rules at what she has called “phantom risks.”

Other scientists and administrators at the EPA, including Wendy Cleland-Hamnett, until last month the agency’s top official overseeing pesticides and toxic chemicals, say the dangers are real and the pushback is often a tactic for deflecting accountability — and shoring up industry profits at the expense of public safety.

Since Trump’s election, Beck’s approach has been ascendant, according to interviews with more than two dozen current and former EPA and White House officials, confidential EPA documents, and materials obtained through open-record requests.

In March, Scott Pruitt, the EPA chief, overrode the recommendation of Cleland-Hamnett and agency scientists to ban the commercial use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, blamed for developmental disabilities in children.

The EPA’s new leadership also pressed agency scientists to reevaluate a plan to ban certain uses of two dangerous chemicals that have caused dozens of deaths or severe health problems: methylene chloride, which is found in paint strippers, and trichloroethylene, which removes grease from metals and is used in dry cleaning.

“It was extremely disturbing to me,” Cleland-Hamnett said of the order she received to reverse the proposed pesticide ban. “The industry met with EPA political appointees. And then I was asked to change the agency’s stand.”

The EPA and Beck declined repeated requests to comment that included detailed lists of questions.

The conflict over how to define risk in federal regulations comes just as the EPA was supposed to be fixing its backlogged and beleaguered chemical regulation program. Last year, after a decade of delays, Congress passed bipartisan legislation that would push the EPA to determine whether dozens of chemicals were so dangerous that they should be banned or restricted.

The chemical safety law was passed after Congress and the chemical industry reached a consensus that toxic chemical threats — or at least the fear of them — were so severe that they undermined consumer confidence in products on the market.

But now the chemical industry and many of the companies that use their compounds are praising the Trump administration’s changed direction, saying new chemicals are getting faster regulatory reviews and existing chemicals will benefit from a less dogmatic approach to determining risk.

“US businesses, jobs, and competitiveness depend on a functioning new chemicals program,” Calvin M. Dooley, a former representative who is president of the American Chemistry Council, said in a statement. It was issued in June after Beck, his recent employee, pushed through many industry-friendly changes in her new role at the EPA, including the change in tracking legacy chemicals such as PFOA.

--more--"

Related(?):

"A judge tossed out a $417 million jury award to a woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer by using Johnson & Johnson talc-based baby powder. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson on Friday granted the company’s request for a new trial, saying there were errors and jury misconduct in the previous trial. Nelson said there wasn’t convincing evidence that the company acted with malice and the award was excessive."

I already apologized for that and will no longer be talking about it.

And what was the National lead on Monday?

"EPA says 3 scientists won’t discuss climate change in R.I." by Lisa Friedman New York Times   October 22, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has canceled the speaking appearance of three agency scientists who were scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference Monday in Rhode Island, according to the agency and several people involved.

John Konkus, a spokesman and former Trump campaign operative in Florida, confirmed that EPA scientists would not speak at the State of the Narragansett Bay and Watershed program in Providence. He provided no further explanation.

Scientists involved in the program said that much of the discussion at the event centers on climate change.

What about the poisoned products? Seems like those would be having a more direct impact on environment and health than some esoteric argument over a phenomena that may not even be happening.

Oh, right, carbon tax.

Many said they were surprised by the cancellation, particularly since the EPA helps to fund the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, which is hosting the conference. The scientists who have been barred from speaking contributed substantial material to a 400-page report to be issued Monday.

The move highlights widespread concern that the EPA will silence government scientists from speaking publicly or conducting work on climate change. Scott Pruitt, the agency’s administrator, has said he does not believe human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are primarily responsible for the warming of the planet.

“It’s definitely a blatant example of the scientific censorship we all suspected was going to start being enforced at EPA,” said John King, a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island who chairs the science advisory committee of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program.

“They don’t believe in climate change, so I think what they’re trying to do is stifle discussions of the impacts of climate change,” King said.

Monday’s conference is designed to draw attention to the health of Narragansett Bay, the largest estuary in New England and a key to the region’s tourism and fishing industries. Rhode Island’s entire congressional delegation, all Democrats, will attend a morning news conference. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, an outspoken critic of Pruitt, will be among the speakers.

Scientists there will unveil the report on the state of the bay, which EPA scientists helped research and write. Among the findings will be that climate change is affecting air and water temperatures, precipitation, sea levels, and fish in and around the estuary.....

I had to stop there because I needed to go do some shopping for common household products, etc.

--more--"

Related:

"The Washington-based nonprofit group seeking access to private e-mails of retired Vermont attorney general William Sorrell is looking for information to prove that Sorrell conspired with other Democratic attorneys general colleagues to conduct a politically motivated investigation into Exxon Mobil’s position on climate change....."

Then there is the pollution problem:

N.Y. firm would pay at least $13.3m in Buzzards Bay oil spill settlement

Can you really put a price on the environmental degradation?

Also see:

Oklahoma hit with as many as 4 tornadoes

One hit a casino! 

Imagine the odds on that!

"Ellen Mecray, director of eastern regional climate services for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said, “It’s been much warmer than normal this fall. We also have rainfall at about 50 to 70 percent of the expected precipitation we were hoping for this fall.”

Samantha Borisoff, a climatologist with the Northeast Regional Climate Center, warned that if precipitation continues to be low for the next couple of months, the drought could linger into the spring. “We’re getting into the season where the ground will start to freeze, so anything that falls isn’t going to get into the ground,” she said. “One of the good things about it right now is that we’re coming out of the growing season, so that should hopefully mitigate some of the agricultural impacts of the drought.” Still, she encouraged people to conserve water. “We should always be paying attention to conserving water and using it wisely,” she said. “Droughts can happen here, and they will happen here.”

I'm glad there are three days of rain coming.

I think we are all getting jerked off.

Sunday Globe Special: Addicted to Power

"Mixed reviews for Walsh on handling of opioid crisis" by Felice J. Freyer Globe Staff  October 20, 2017

Nine months after he took office, Mayor Martin J. Walsh faced a calamity: He had to evict hundreds of people from a homeless shelter and several addiction treatment programs on a harbor island, after the city abruptly condemned the rickety bridge to the mainland.

A crisis like the one in October 2014 would dismay any politician. But Walsh, openly in recovery from alcoholism, had been seen as a beacon for others who have struggled with addiction. Now here he was rousting 225 people from their treatment programs.

Three years later, Walsh’s handling of the closure of Long Island hangs over any discussion of his response to the opioid epidemic.

The city and state worked with private agencies to replace the island’s treatment facilities. But some of the treatment beds ended up in Stoughton, and it’s not known how many people dropped out of treatment during the time it took to restore the beds. 

Is that where the stuff is coming from?

Officials with two programs once located on Long Island praised Walsh’s efforts to make them whole again, but others blame Walsh for the crowds of people, clearly in the throes of addiction, who have become an increasingly visible and troubling site near the intersection of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue.

Less visible, they say, is the mayor himself.

Jack Kelly, an advocate and the founder of a smartphone app that connects people in recovery, faults the mayor for not appointing a high-profile go-to person to address addiction. The Long Island closure, while not the mayor’s fault, “was not the time for a sort of quiet bureaucratic response,” Kelly said.

“I can’t identify anyone anywhere that is in charge of this,” he said.

Kris Perry Long, who runs a Facebook support group for people struggling with addiction, said that she has not seen the mayor at grass-roots community events surrounding recovery. “I have never seen Marty Walsh,” she said. “He needs to get down in the trenches and he needs to show his face and take his suit and tie off.”

Related: "Mayor Martin J. Walsh was met with laughs from the audience when he addressed the building’s look in his comments....."

The opioid overdose crisis deepened just as Walsh took office. In 2012, state health records show, 70 people died of opioid overdoses in Boston. By last year, that number had increased to 202.

Statewide data suggest a slight drop in opioid-related deaths in the first half of this year, and incomplete data from Boston hint that the city has seen a similar trend.

Walsh, who faces City Councilor Tito Jackson in the Nov. 7 election, said he’s taken numerous steps to address the epidemic, and ticked them off in an interview last week.

Thomas L. Bierbaum, president and CEO of Volunteers of America Massachusetts, sees the loiterers in the Melnea Cass area from his office windows, some openly shooting up on the street. Although some people blame their presence on a loss of treatment programs previously offered on Long Island, Bierbaum said he doubts that’s true. More likely, he said, the opening of a homeless shelter on Southampton Street to replace the one on Long Island led to a higher concentration of needy people in the neighborhood.

Representative Nick Collins, whose district encompasses Long Island and other Boston neighborhoods, said he thinks Walsh has done what he could to cope with the epidemic.

“The mayor understands this issue probably better than any other mayor in the country,” Collins said. “No one can say the mayor hasn’t put his money where his mouth is.”

State Representative Daniel J. Ryan, whose district includes Charlestown, agrees, but Kelly, the advocate and app creator, questions whether the mayor’s programs add up to much. Although Walsh created an Office of Recovery Services, Kelly hasn’t seen any impact.

“People ask me, what does that even do? The Office of Recovery. What do they even do?” Kelly said. “It doesn’t seem like anything’s changed.”

It's called image perception management and it is typical in politics and the pre$$.

Equally unimpressed is Jim Stewart, a founding member of the Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee. Such programs as the 311 line are meaningless when people still can’t get into treatment, he said.

Yet GE, Amazon, and others get how much tax loot?

“If there are no services for people to get to, it doesn’t matter how easy it is for them to access someone with a computer screen,” he said. 

!!!!!!!! 

Don't dump on our economic foundations!

Dr. Jessie M. Gaeta, chief medical officer of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program , declined to comment on the mayor’s response to the Long Island closure. But she praised his other efforts.

“I really appreciate that Mayor Walsh has paid so much attention to, and increased resources for, people who are struggling with addiction,” she said.

She said she is also encouraged by a recent development: the opening, in August, of an “engagement center” link works behind the Southampton Street men’s shelter, an air-conditioned tent for people from the neighborhood with nowhere else to go during the day. The center provides computers, phones, coffee, water, snacks, television, books and magazines, and portable restrooms, as well as a nurse to manage routine health problems or refer people who need more care.

The center opened after conversations with residents, health care providers, and “people on the street,” said Devin Larkin, director of the Boston Public Health Commission’s Bureau of Recovery Services. “The common theme we got was people need a place to be during the day,” Larkin said.

Gaeta said she hopes the center will become an entry point to treatment, but Stewart, of the Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee, said he sees no point in a “clubhouse” for people with such dire needs.

“It appears to me the tent was erected in order to have a place to herd people so the Newmarket business community won’t have to see them,” he said.

After an outcry, yeah.

Walsh defends himself against such swipes with a trace of exasperation. He said he was criticized because people were on the street and is criticized for creating a place for them. 

He has a point there.

“Absolutely we want to get people out of sight,” he said. “We want to get them out of sight in a safe space, to try and use interventions to get folks into treatment.”

What do you plan to do now that the cold weather is coming?

In the end, Walsh said, government alone is not going to solve the age-old problem of addiction.....

What? 

Then what is with the tooth-and-nail fight against pot?

--more--"

I hate to say it and it sounds awfully evil, but the only solution may be to legalize it all.

Related:

Marty Walsh dominates Tito Jackson in new Globe poll

He da' man and it's going to be a laugher.


Well, there is always the race card.

Remember how campaigns used to be?

"Barnstable police officer charged with drunken driving after crash" by Jacob Geanous Globe Correspondent   October 21, 2017

A Barnstable police officer was charged Wednesday with operating under the influence earlier in the week after he crashed his Toyota pickup truck into a utility pole off Route 6A, according to a statement from police.

The crash occurred shortly after 8:30 p.m. in the area of 151 Main St. near the Barnstable and Sandwich line, according to a statement from the Barnstable Police Department.

Officer Christopher Challies, 46, of Sandwich, was also charged in a citation for operating to endanger and failure to stay within the marked lines after the crash that shut down a section of Route 6A for approximately 15 hours, according to the statement.

He was taken to the Cape Cod Hospital with “obvious injuries and possible internal injuries,” according to the statement. Challies was treated and released from the hospital later that night, said Barnstable police Sergeant John York in a phone interview Saturday.

Challies’s vehicle traveled 75 yards off the road before it hit the pole. After the crash, Challies told officers that he had been distracted by his cellphone, but the damage to the vehicle and distance it traveled off the road were not consistent with a brief interaction on a cellphone, according to the statement.

Barnstable police officers responded to Cape Cod Hospital for a follow-up investigation and to check on Challies’s injuries. Upon investigation, Barnstable police Lieutenant John Murphy believed probable caused existed to charge Challies with OUI, according to the statement. Challies was issued the criminal citation on Wednesday, the statement said.

Challies is the husband of the Barnstable police lieutenant in charge of executive services, which includes internal affairs, but she is not involved in the investigation, according to York.

Chailles was on administrative leave at the time of the crash, York said.

The Cape Cod Times reported that Chailles was on paid administrative leave from the department for leaving a loaded handgun in the restroom of a Bourne restaurant in September 2016.

--more--"

Doughnuts didn't get it done for him, huh?

Saturday, October 21, 2017

A Meaningless Saturday Globe

I'm going to be up front with you from the start:

Somerville’s Amazon bid emphasizes proximity to universities, urban core

Baker takes familiar stance on Amazon flurry

I'm sure the Globe has something to say, never mind the mayor or Seattle.

Btw, GE is a mess so they are going to need all that tax loot.

Great deal, huh?

Senator Warren calls for expedited probe into death at Bedford VA Medical Center

Where was she during the eight years of neglect under Obama? 

One death is an outrage, scores due to rescheduling so bureaucrats could collect raises and bonuses are ignored as the VA clunks along. 

And you wonder why I don't trust this government to deliver single-payer health care? Never mind the neglect in the face of the Niger scandal that has recently engulfed the pre$$.

(FLIP)

Yeah, time to golfing with a hero

The last front page story is something I do not understand.

************

USS Constitution takes a spin around Boston Harbor

They couldn't get into the open sea because of the blockade.

The other day there was a front page story regarding the torture chambers of Massachusetts and how the State Senate was going to fix them (I know you are thinking how can deep-blue, liberal Democrat Massachusetts have torture chambers but it turns out the compa$$ion here only extends to corporations and other business interests). 

Well, today we find out on page 3 that the bill would let drug dealers out of prison early (it is "legally kosher" for them to meddle with judicial sentencing, I am told). Not just pot peddlers, but cocaine and meth dealers. All to save $4 to $8 million dollars (so they can give it to Amazon?).

What's next, legalizing pedophilia?

Thank God there is a U.N., huh?

Maybe the kids can protest that next time.

(Oh, yeah, turns out you can not get an abortion if the teacher diddles you)

"The Maine man accused of murdering his mother, his grandparents, and a home health aide in Groton with a baseball bat has been found competent to stand trial but will remain at Bridgewater State Hospital, his attorney said....."

Looks like something is Groton in the state of Maine. It's a struggle to understand so just read the police report.

"A man arrested for allegedly threatening to kill his former girlfriend has been potentially linked by the woman to an unsolved triple murder in Dorchester, court records show....."

RelatedHanson woman sentenced for 2015 fatal crash

She is excused due to the current political climate. Thank you.

"Glenn Chin, 49, is charged with killing 25 people who died in 2012 after they received epidural steroid shots made at NECC, which turned large profits touting itself to doctors and hospitals as the most trustworthy compounding pharmacy in the country. In reality, the center was filthy — plagued by bugs and mice and even pubic hair, Assistant US Attorney Amanda Strachan told the jury in her closing arguments Friday at the federal courthouse in Boston. Prosecutors say Chin was the “right-hand man” of Barry Cadden, who started NECC with his wife in 1998....."

What a cad!

I'm sure I didn't see something, but..... far out, man.


*************

Not only is Niger Trump's Benghazi as I said yesterday, it is now being used to expand the wars into western Africa, with the latest twist being the next 9/11 coming from there in the reedited and rewritten NYT pos. Between Graham and the MI-5 guy earlier this week, it now appears that horrific plane crashes will be presented to the public as a wave of Islamic terrorism engulfs the globe -- all so the GWOT can be advanced yet again and the application of tyranny in the "free" West will go unopposed. Vegas was a lead-in.

***********

"Pollution kills more people each year than all war and violence in the world, and three times more than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined, according to a new in-depth study by an international team of researchers. Most of those deaths occur in poor and developing countries, from such pollution sources as dirty air in India and China, tainted water in sub-Saharan Africa, and toxic mining and smelter operations in South America....."

That's my World lead, and just ignore the impact of the thousands of bombs dropped by the US war machine in Iraq and Afghanistan.

********

"The frontier era of the Internet appears to be coming to a close at last, thanks in part to a wily veteran of the KGB. By spreading fake new stories and purchasing a few hundred thousand bucks of ads through online giants Facebook and Google, Russian president Vladimir Putin not only undermined the credibility of a bitter US election. He also made it easier to think the once-unthinkable — that the Internet needs the federal government to keep itself honest. Applying a light touch to the Internet has paid off handsomely for the US, and I hate to see the Feds increasing the pressure. But when it’s a choice between the US Congress or Russian intelligence, that seems an easy call....."

His attitude does not surprise me at all. Such faith in the veracity of the lying U.S. government. The naivete of innocence is so refreshing.

Apparently, the government gestapos at Facebook are not enough; the Senate wants them codified in law so it can CENSOR the Internet. All over a few thousand dollars worth of ads that didn't influence anyone in a campaign where billions were spent, ads that were about as effective as FDA warnings regarding drug side effects.

"Wall Street capped a week with no shortage of milestones with a few more Friday. U.S. stocks closed modestly higher, lifting the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to its fifth record close in a row. The Dow Jones industrial average also finished the day with its fifth-straight all-time high. Banks led the gainers Friday. Technology companies also posted big gains, helping to drive the Nasdaq composite to a record high. Investors drew encouragement from the Senate’s passage of a budget bill that is expected to ease the path for the White House’s tax cut proposal....."

They snuck that through without much reporting, 'eh?

"Twitter users are speculating that the rise could be driven by everything from a cash shortage in Zimbabwe to an increase in margin trading. If one thing is for sure, it’s that speculation has a part to play in the top digital token’s latest surge. The push higher comes just three days after bitcoin suffered its biggest one-day drop in a month on rising concern that regulators are increasingly targeting digital currencies. It’s added almost $500 in value in the past two days alone while reaching a record high. The end-of-week rally is another sign that the threat of oversight won’t damp enthusiasm for digital currencies. Bitcoin was quick to shrug off China’s move to tighten its grip....."

Looks like the next wave of banker control is bitcoin. 

Always planning ahead are those guys.

Another rape allegation emerges against Weinstein

Back in print after a one-day hiatus, complete with love letters back and forth, and he says it was all with consent.


*********

"Draft GOP bill seeks more constraints on Iran’s nuclear program" by Richard Lardner Associated Press  October 20, 2017

WASHINGTON — US sanctions against Iran automatically would kick in if Tehran violates new constraints, according to a draft Republican bill sought by President Trump as he tries to unravel the landmark 2015 international accord to prevent Iran from assembling an arsenal of atomic weapons.

Some people were wondering the same thing as was I. 

Iran isn't "assembling an arsenal of atomic weapons." Inspections have confirmed it.

That the way you want to start it off, AP?

The draft bill, crafted by Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee and Tom Cotton of Arkansas with input from the Trump administration, wouldn’t necessarily violate the Iran nuclear deal if passed into law.

So the spat meant nothing, huh? 

Just the smoke, sound, and fury of the ma$$ media illusion, 'eh?

But the measure could still end up derailing the agreement by holding Iran to a series of requirements not previously agreed to when the deal was forged by the United States and other world powers two years ago.

You have to love the word parsing when it comes to the Jewi$h war propaganda that passes for my pre$$. 

So the illegal law Congre$$ is considering will not violate the deal if passed, but could "still end up derailing the agreement by holding Iran to a series of requirements not previously agreed to when the deal was forged." 

That SURE LOOKS LIKE it would VIOLATE the DEAL to me!

So when does Trump give the order to bomb Korea (Tillerson working “until the first bomb drops” and why was that removed)?

Trump also is insisting that other countries that are parties to the accord repair a series of deficiencies and he threatened last week to pull the United States out of the agreement if the changes aren’t made.

You read sign language, Don, because that is the response you are going to get.

Trump alone cannot actually terminate the accord, but withdrawing the United States would render the deal virtually meaningless.....

HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

In whose eyes?

You know what is meaningless these days?

--more--"

Yup!

Friday, October 20, 2017

F*** This Friday

Taking it from the top:

"Boston submits its bid for Amazon, aiming for 50,000 jobs and a transformation" by Tim Logan and Jon Chesto Globe Staff  October 20, 2017

Boston on Thursday submitted its bid in the heated competition for Amazon’s new $5 billion “second headquarters,” a 218-page pitch that leans hard on the region’s intellectual firepower and offers up Suffolk Downs as a site whose ease of development outweighs its distance from the heart of the city.

The detailed proposal, complete with two slick videos, outlines the region’s world-class universities and skilled workforce, and casts Boston as a place where the world comes to think through its toughest problems.

The bid leads with intellectual Boston’s strengths, city officials said, in the hope that brainpower will carry Boston to the top of an estimated 150 proposals that have poured into the tech giant’s Seattle headquarters this week. While other cities have tried gimmicks to get the company’s attention, Boston’s appeal is its fundamentals, said Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

“Boston sells itself,” Walsh said Thursday. “The fact that we have had so much growth in the last few years here . . . is important. We have world-class colleges and universities. We’re the youngest city per capita in America.”

And while some cities have dangled big tax breaks — $500 million from Worcester, $7 billion from New Jersey and the city of Newark — Boston barely mentions them, for now at least.

Worcester is now out of the running.

The bid, filed in partnership in time for Thursday’s deadline with the city of Revere, offers Amazon a spot many Bostonians might consider off the beaten path. The city focuses heavily on Suffolk Downs, the soon-to-be-closed horse track in East Boston and Revere, devoting 17 pages to detail a vast campus Amazon could build there over the next decade or beyond. Other potential sites around the city receive brief roundups.

The focus on one site is a bit of a gamble. Other contenders, such as Chicago and Washington, D.C., have pitched a menu of options, and a wide range of Boston developers pushed sites in recent weeks, hoping to get included in the bid. But city officials say they read Amazon’s request as highly specific — it asked for 100 acres, on transit, ready-to-build — and offered the one site in Boston that clearly fits the bill.

“I’d put Suffolk Downs up against any site in the country,” said John Barros, the city’s director of economic development.

Some critics have warned that Suffolk Downs is too generic a site for a city as distinctive as Boston to pitch Amazon, and that its location is too far from downtown, the Seaport, and Kendall Square, where the company already has about 1,000 employees. But supporters note the land has a single owner who has already launched permitting for a large mixed-use campus, and it has lots of room for Amazon to grow.....

Yeah, "Boston loaded its pitch with data." 

--more--"

You flip over the front page and the Globe is still pitching.

Related:

"The city’s pitch to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to Suffolk Downs paints a picture of an idyllic commute that few in Boston likely experience, relying in part on transit options that don’t exist. In its checklist for a new headquarters, Amazon has said the winning location should have easy access to highways, be near an international airport, and be directly served by public transit. Suffolk Downs would appear to check most of those boxes. But many of the boasts Boston officials made about getting around Massachusetts appear to be doable only in the best of driving conditions....."

They fudged the data to fulfill "various wish lists?" 

What is with the unrealistic sales job akin to spit-shining a turd anyway? Is that how you win someone over, with empty promises and false scenarios, and if so don't they get angry later when it is not what you said it was?

Maybe if they had a different mayor.....

Also see:

Wooing Amazon with sun, fun . . . and giant buttons

In East Boston, Amazon bid stirs anxiety as well as excitement

They are worried about the tax subsidy.

********

State Health Connector, reacting to Trump’s move to cut subsidies, sharply raises 2018 rates

It's a whopping 24% increase, and forget the deal that was struck and is advancing.

I don't know how healthy an iPad is for a two-year-old; however, the road to indoctrination can be addicting as they track you. Better see a doctor.

(FLIP)

***********

"Gold Star families say they want to move past politics" by Astead W. Herndon Globe Staff  October 19, 2017

WASHINGTON — Gold Star families, disturbed by the controversies over how President Trump relayed condolences to the families of fallen soldiers, are asking America’s politicians on both sides of the aisle to stand down. 

Being amplified and pushed by who?

Their pleas follow statements this week from Trump and White House aides that created a storm for the president reminiscent of August 2016, when then-candidate Trump leveled criticism at the parents of a slain soldier and suffered a severe backlash. Now, again, families of military personnel killed in combat have increasingly found themselves swept up in the political fray.

“This is not what we want the story to be about. We want the story to be about our loved ones and what they represented to this country,” said Ryan Manion. Manion’s brother, First Lieutenant Travis Manion, was killed in Iraq in April 2007.

“Sometimes the president says things that are out of line, and I don’t know that he recognizes that the things he says can be hurtful,” said Manion, who runs a foundation to support military families that is named for his brother.

The collision of politics and personal tragedy continued from the White House podium Thursday. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired Marine general, read an emotional statement to reporters, detailing what happened when his son was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. Kelly, who has emerged as the White House’s go-to person in especially damaging press cycles, defended Trump’s outreach to Gold Star families.

“There’s no perfect way to make that phone call,” Kelly said, adding that Trump had “bravely’’ decided to console the families.

He's the 21st-Century John Wayne.

However, Kelly also lamented a changing culture, one in which the politicization of Gold Star families has become commonplace.

They have always been politicized, but at least the lying, war-promoting pre$$ has finally noticed U.S. war dead, 'eh?

“When I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country,” Kelly said. “The dignity of life was sacred, that’s gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well. Gold Star families, I think that left during the conventions over the summer.”

Tell that to the Native Americans, the Africans brought here as slaves, etc, etc, etc.

But Kelly’s statement itself had a political impact. It was made in a bid to quell a controversy that began Monday when Trump questioned how often Barack Obama made personal phone calls to the survivors of slain military personnel while he was president. The next day, after being criticized, Trump escalated the incident by defending his anti-Obama statements with a reference to Kelly’s slain son, First Lieutenant Robert Michael Kelly.

“You could ask General Kelly, did he get a call from Obama?” Trump said Tuesday morning in a radio interview with Fox News.

Trump’s statements invited scrutiny of his own performance in next-of-kin notifications, igniting another conflagration almost immediately. On Tuesday evening, reports emerged that Trump had told the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson, a combatant killed this month in Niger, that her husband “knew what he signed up for,” which the family felt was disrespectful.

A Florida congresswoman, Frederica Wilson, heard Trump’s conversation with Myeshia Johnson and went public with her criticism of Trump’s tone. Trump responded by saying Wilson’s account, which was supported by the Johnson family, was “totally fabricated.”

“It is appalling what the congresswoman has done, and the way that she has politicized this issue,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at Wednesday’s press briefing.

Kelly also criticized Wilson for listening in on the president’s phone call — though Kelly was listening in on the president’s end. Kelly also said he did not fault Obama for not calling him after Michael Kelly was killed.

(Blog editor shakes his head; just another daily hatchet blow to Trump by the Globe)

Some Gold Star families, even while criticizing Trump’s clumsiness, wanted to move past the public debates.

I want the wars based on lies and distortions to end.

The outcry comes after an election cycle in which military families made political points on behalf of both parties. The mother of a soldier killed in Benghazi spoke at the Republican National Convention. Then a speech by a Gold Star family at the Democratic National Convention set off a national firestorm when Trump lashed out at the husband and wife, Khizr and Ghazala Khan.

That's what this is: Trump's Benghazi!!

Other presidents have gone to great lengths to avoid criticizing military families — even when they are critical of the commander in chief — but Trump stood out in that moment for his propensity to strike back.

Do they mean Cindy Sheehan?

Manion said the spotlight on Trump’s actions overshadows the more important story — the lives of the soldiers and the cause they died to protect.

“What Gold Star families represent to this country should transcend politics,” Manion said. Fallen soldiers “represent the men and women that are still here after their loved ones gave their lives in sacrifice to all of us.”

The sacrificed their lives in service of the Empire and its war machine; that's why more than 20 vets commit suicide each day. No discussion of that in my pre$$ in some time now, either.

Some of Trump’s harsher critics say this is more evidence he holds little respect for America’s military branches.

“Mr. Trump, stop. Please, just stop. Your actions and words on this entire matter of the fallen in Niger is disgraceful, and unbecoming of a President of the United States and Commander in Chief,” said a statement from Karen Meredith, the Gold Star and Military Families coordinator for the liberal organization VoteVets.

Meredith’s son, First Lieutenant Ken Ballard, was killed in Iraq in 2004.

“This is not about [Trump]. . . . It is about all of us who lost our loved ones in war,” Meredith said. “For once in your life, at least pretend to know what empathy is. For once in your life, at least try to care about other people and their feelings.”

Other Gold Star families said Trump is being unfairly criticized. Arnold Wright, whose son Dustin Wright was killed in the same recent raid in Niger, told reporters Wednesday that Trump’s phone conversation with him was respectful.

In a CNN interview this week, a Gold Star father named Craig Gross said Trump’s words are “basically being taken and misconstrued.” Gross’s son, Corporal Frank Robert Gross, was killed in 2011 in Afghanistan.

“I believe that if you interviewed him personally, one on one, you would find that he is very, very empathetic and very compassionate,” Gross said on CNN. “Not only toward Gold Star families but also in regards to our active duty.”

Though Johnson’s mother and widow both characterized the president’s phone call as “disrespectful,” they have also asked for privacy.

In her only public appearance, Myeshia Johnson, Sergeant Johnson’s pregnant wife, was seen hugging her slain husband’s casket in tears.....

--more--" 

What is odd is not much was reported at the time. It's only an issue now.

"Jihadist ambush on US forces shows new danger in Sahel" by Baba Ahmed and Krista Larson Associated Press  October 19, 2017

BAMAKO, Mali — The Islamic militants came on motorcycles toting rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns, killing four American service members after shattering the windows of the unarmored US trucks.

In this remote corner of Niger where the Americans and their local counterparts had been meeting with community leaders, residents say the men who came to kill that day had never been seen there before.

‘‘The attackers spoke Arabic and Tamashek, and were light-skinned,’’ Baringay Aghali said by phone from the remote village of Tongo-Tongo.

Oh, no!

Who were these men and how did they know the Americans would be there that day?

Looks like an inside job to me!

No extremist group has claimed responsibility for the deadly ambush on Oct. 4 and the languages reportedly spoken by the jihadists are used throughout the Sahel including Tamashek, spoken by ethnic Tuaregs.

The ambush has been the center of controversy in Washington because President Trump has been criticized in some quarters for not acknowledging the attack for more than a week and not calling the families of the dead soldiers until Tuesday.

Among the unresolved inquiries: Why were the Americans apparently caught by surprise? Why did it take two additional days to recover one of the four bodies after the shooting stopped?

The attack is under military investigation, as is normal for a deadly incident. 

Yup, Trump's Benghazi as the media that dismissed inquiries into that even asks questions!

The question is, why Niger and not Yemen?

What is abnormal, according to John McCain, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is the Trump administration’s slow response to requests for information. He said Thursday it may take a subpoena to shake loose more information.

Senator Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said members of Congress have been provided with some information about the attack, ‘‘but not what we should.’’

At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis pushed back, saying it naturally takes time to verify information about a combat engagement. He promised to provide accurate information as soon as it’s available, but offered no timetable. ‘‘We in the Department of Defense like to know what we’re talking about before we talk,’’ he said.

Mattis did not offer details about the circumstances under which the Americans were traveling but said contact with hostile forces had been ‘‘considered unlikely.’’

The Niger attack appears to be the work of the Islamic State of the Sahel, a splinter group of extremists loyal to the Islamic State group who are based just across the border in Mali, according to interviews with US officials and authorities here in the vast Sahel region bordering the Sahara Desert. It is led by Adnan Abu Walid who built ties with various extremists before forming his own group.

Is he the CIA case officer handling them or just the asset contact?

Some officials believe Walid’s militants are also holding an American, Jeffery Woodke, who was abducted in Niger a year ago. A rebel leader approached by Niger authorities to conduct negotiations for his release confirmed that Walid’s group is holding Woodke, who had spent 25 years as an aid worker in Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world.

Now Walid’s group is suspected of the attack that killed four American soldiers this month.

That is where the print copy ended.

The ambush in Niger highlights how extremist groups have shifted and rebranded since the 2013 French-led military operation ousted them from power in northern Mali. Those extremists lost Mali’s northern cities but regrouped in the desert, including the man suspected of ordering the attack on the Americans.

Walid, 38, also known in some circles as Adnan al-Sahrawi, descends from the Sahrawi people, who are found across southern Morocco, Mauritania, and parts of Algeria. He has long been active with Islamic extremists in Mali, at one time serving as the spokesman of the Mali-based group known as MUJAO that controlled the major northern town of Gao during the jihadist occupation in 2012.

That group was loyal to the regional Al Qaeda affiliate. But Walid parted ways and in October 2016 a video circulated on the Internet in which he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

In the year since then he has called for attacks on foreign tourists in Morocco and the United Nations mission in Western Sahara, according to audio messages released in his name. It is not clear if Walid is receiving financial help from the Islamic State group or if the links are purely ideological. 

This looks and smells like another in a long line of BS propaganda campaigns that support the underlying narrative.

Walid’s following now includes numerous members of the Peul ethnic group in the Mali-Niger border areas, who are active in the area near where the attack on the US soldiers took place. Before the attack on the US troops in Niger, Walid’s followers are believed to have staged a series of bloody attacks on military installations in Niger. In February, they were blamed for an assault in Tliwa where a dozen Niger soldiers were slain.

Walid’s Islamic State in the Sahel does not yet pose a threat as great as the Al Qaeda militants in the region though that could shift with time, said Ibrahim Maiga with the Institute for Security Studies in Bamako. Walid clearly appears to have learned from his former colleagues on how to infiltrate and influence locals, he said.

‘‘He has succeeded . . . in creating links with local people despite the fact that he is a stranger to the area,’’ he said.

The growing threat posed by Walid’s group comes as the international community is already facing an escalation in violence across the Sahel. A report by the UN chief obtained this week by the Associated Press warned that the security situation in the Sahel is in ‘‘a continuous downward spiral.’’

For several years American and French forces have provided training and support to the militaries of Mali, Niger, and other vulnerable countries in this corner of Africa where Islamic extremism has become increasingly entrenched during the past decade. Now the United Nations is urging the international community to finance a 5,000-strong regional force, saying ‘‘the stability of the entire region, and beyond, is in jeopardy.’’

Oh, this is all about getting MORE TROOPS SENT to the REGION! 

What, China making inroads?

The 12,000-strong UN peacekeeping mission in Mali has become the most dangerous in the world as Islamic militants routinely attack UN convoys across the north.

And the future of the regional security force known as the G5 Sahel Multinational Force — made up of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger — appears to be in jeopardy.

France, the former colonizer, which has a 5,000-strong military operation to help stabilize the region, has been a major financial backer. Funding, though, has come up short. 

This as Macron rolls back the social safety net and workers rights!

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution in June welcoming the deployment, but at US insistence it did not include any possibility of UN financing for the force. So far only one-quarter of the needed funds have been raised, throwing into doubt whether the regional forces will begin operations this month as scheduled.

Maiga, the Malian security expert, said winning the battle against extremism will not be only a question of firepower. If it were a conventional conflict with two armies respecting roughly the same rules, the G5 would come out stronger.

Jihadist groups, though, are infiltrating the population, exploiting the absence of government in some of these remote areas. That is how Walid’s group may have learned about the visit of the US troops to local communities. Within the communities where troops are attacked, someone is tipping off the extremists.

‘‘The outcome of this battle will not depend solely on the size of the troops,’’ he said, ‘‘but also on the ability of states to regain the confidence of the population.’’

Then the WAR has already been LOST!!

--more--"

And regarding the last two war criminal liars with far higher death tolls?

"Former President Barack Obama did not mention President Donald Trump in his speech, but he told the crowd at a Newark hotel that ‘‘you can send a message to the country and you will send a message to the world that we are rejecting a politics of division. We are rejecting a politics of fear. Some of the politics we see now we thought we put that to bed. That’s folks looking 50 years back. It’s the 21st century, not the 19th century.’’ The event marked the first time the former president stepped back into the political spotlight since leaving the White House in January. He was scheduled to appear in Virginia later Thursday to rally support for Democrat Ralph Northam in his gubernatorial campaign against Republican Ed Gillespie. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, are term-limited. Those Nov. 7 races will be considered a bellwether of Democrats’ strength in the face of Trump’s victory last year. Obama’s appearance should serve to unify Democrats, who are out of power in the federal government and in most statehouses across the country, experts say....."

They are out of power because of him, and how does the governor's race in New Jersey send such a message to the world when they have lost every special election since Trump was inaugurated?

"George W. Bush delivers an implicit rebuke of Trump’s rhetoric" by Peter Baker New York Times  October 19, 2017

Neither of them mentioned President Trump by name, but two of his predecessors emerged from political seclusion on Thursday to deliver what sounded like pointed rebukes of the current occupant of the Oval Office and the politics of division.

It's the first paragraph and I already not that the article has been rewritten. WTF?

In separate and unrelated appearances, former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both warned that the United States was being torn apart by ancient hatreds that should have been consigned to history long ago and called for addressing economic anxiety through common purpose. While not directly addressing Trump, neither left much doubt whom and what they had in mind.

Bush, the last Republican to hold the White House, spoke out at a conference he convened in New York to support democracy, noting that America first had to “recover our own identity” in the face of challenges to its most basic ideals.

Related:

“We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America,” Mr. Bush said. “We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade, forgetting that conflict, instability and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism. We’ve seen the return of isolationist sentiments, forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places.” The bipartisan apprehension was illustrated by Mr. Antony J. Blinken’s presence. As managing director of the newly formed Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement led by Mr. Obama’s vice president, Joseph R. Biden Jr., Mr. Blinken attended to kick off a joint project with the George W. Bush Institute and Freedom House to counter the erosion of support for democratic principles and institutions at home and abroad. Similarly, former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, who served under President Bill Clinton, joined former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who served under Mr. Bush, for a panel discussion with Nikki R. Haley, the ambassador to the United Nations. 

Did you see what she said at the U.N. the other day?

Afterward, Mr. Bush and Ms. Albright hugged and sat together, with the former president draping his arm over her shoulders. 

Isn't that sexual harassment? 

Remember when he put his hands on Merkel, NYT?

Mr. Bush also released a “call to action” report examining threats to the liberal democratic order and making recommendations for protecting American institutions. For Mr. Bush, democracy and free trade are longtime themes, but there was an edge in his address that went beyond the usual nostrums. In his speech, the former president lamented that “bigotry seems emboldened” and “our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.” 

He is a fine one to talk after all the Iraq lies -- by him and his putrid papa!

Pointing a finger at the nation’s leaders, he said, “We know that when we lose sight of our ideals, it is not democracy that has failed; it the failure of those charged with preserving and protecting democracy. Americans have great advantage. To renew our country we need only remember our values. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.”

Like the TORTURE you signed off on, you blood-soaked piece of excrement? 

Back to the web rewrite:

While Trump seeks to raise barriers to trade and newcomers and lashes out at targets with relish, Bush defended immigration and free trade, denounced nationalism and bigotry, and bemoaned what he called the “casual cruelty” of current public discourse.

“We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America,” Bush said.

Asked by a reporter as he left the hall whether his message would be heard in the White House, Bush smiled, nodded slightly, and said, “I think it will.”

Just because they heard it doesn't mean they listened.

Obama returned to the campaign trail for the first time since leaving office to support Democrats running for governor in New Jersey and Virginia.

“What we can’t have is the same old politics of division that we have seen so many times before that dates back centuries,” Obama told a campaign rally.

“Some of the politics we see now, we thought we put that to bed. That has folks looking 50 years back. It’s the 21st century, not the 19th century. Come on!”

In appearing for Philip D. Murphy in Newark and Ralph S. Northam in Richmond, Va., Obama said the off-year elections next month would be a chance to cast a verdict on current politics.

“The world counts on America having its act together,” he told supporters in Newark.

“The world asks what our values and ideals are and are we living up to our creed.”

By bombing the sh!t out of them!

In his speech, meanwhile, Bush offered what seemed like a rejoinder to a president who uses Twitter as a weapon in a perpetual political war.

“Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children,” Bush said.

This from a guy who had "pet" nicknames for everyone, remember?

Of course, his treatment of animals when he was a young man (yeah, it's all funny) was the frog in the pond.

Neither the former president nor his father, former President George H.W. Bush, voted for Trump.

Trump can wear that as a badge of honor.

The two issued a joint statement in August denouncing white supremacists who clashed with counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va., which Trump blamed on “both sides.”

The younger Bush seemed to return to that on Thursday. “Bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed,” he said.

This comes from a guy whose grandfather supported Hitler and the Nazis.

--more--"

Bush has gone from hawk to dove according to the NYT, and now Governor Baker is getting in on the act. 

So how is cousin Jonathan doing anyway?

"When they talk about flying, their clear eyes sparkle at vivid memories of an exhilarating time....."

Ain't war grand!?

Let's not forget the heroes at home.

"In the military, trusted officers became alleged assailants in sex crimes" by Craig Whitlock Washington Post  October 19, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Army is grappling with a resurgence of cases in which troops responsible for preventing sexual assault have been accused of rape and related crimes, undercutting the Pentagon’s claims that it is making progress against sexual violence in the ranks.

How ironic. 

Like a wolf in the fold, 'eh?

In the most recent case, an Army prosecutor in charge of sexual assault investigations in the Southwest was charged by the military last month with putting a knife to the throat of a lawyer he had been dating and raping her on two occasions, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.

Additionally, a soldier at Fort Sill, Okla., who was certified as a sexual-assault-prevention officer was convicted at a court-martial in May of five counts of raping a preteen girl.

Army officials confirmed that eight other soldiers and civilians trained to deter sex offenses or help victims have been investigated over the past year in connection with sexual assault. The Army would not provide details, saying that many of the investigations are pending.

Other branches of the armed forces have faced their own embarrassments. The deputy director of the Air Force’s office of sexual assault prevention at the Pentagon resigned last year after the Air Force inspector general rebuked him for making sexually inappropriate comments and creating ‘‘an intimidating and offensive working environment,’’ according to a confidential report obtained by the Post under the Freedom of Information Act. 

How do you fight a war with snowflakes?

Air Force staff members complained that the senior executive, Jay Aanrud, made sexist remarks about tight pants and Hooters models, and said it is women’s work to shop and eat bonbons, according to the report. Aanrud, a former pilot whose call sign was ‘‘Hoser,’’ told investigators that he was joking and that his remarks were misconstrued.

Despite the investigation, the Air Force rehired Aanrud last month to work at the Pentagon as a technical specialist on aviation issues. An Air Force spokeswoman said he doesn’t supervise anyone in his new job. Aanrud declined to comment.

For the armed forces, the cases are a painful reminder of similar scandals that erupted in 2013.

Oh, the poor services. 

For a minute there I was worried about the victims, not the image of the military. 

That year, the Air Force’s chief sexual-assault-prevention officer at the Pentagon was accused of groping a woman outside a bar; he was later acquitted by a civilian jury but reprimanded by the military. An Army sergeant in charge of helping sexual assault victims at Fort Hood, Tex., was convicted of pandering for pimping female soldiers.

In addition, each military service was tainted by reports of young women being assaulted by uniformed recruiters.

With angry lawmakers in Congress demanding a crackdown, then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the armed forces in May 2013 to retrain and rescreen tens of thousands of military recruiters and sexual-assault-prevention officers.

Despite the new measures, incidents kept happening. Five months after Hagel’s order, a soldier attending a sexual-assault-prevention conference in Orlando was accused of getting drunk and raping a woman he met at his hotel. The Army investigated but did not file charges because the woman declined to cooperate.

Since then, the military has invested millions of additional dollars in sexual-assault-awareness programs. Training is mandatory for everyone in uniform. Top brass have promised to redouble their efforts to punish offenders and protect victims.

‘‘We’ve been putting extraordinary resources into this area,’’ said Representative Mike Coffman, Republican of Colorado and chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee for military personnel. ‘‘Of all the issues we have on my committee, we have spent more time on sexual assault than any other issue.’’

Coffman said military leaders have come a long way in addressing the problem but added that more needs to be done. He said Army leaders have briefed him about the sexual-assault-prevention officers who have gotten in trouble and said they are reviewing how people are selected for those posts.

‘‘We always need to look at the screening and look where the screening failed,’’ he said in an interview. But in comparison to past scandals, he said, ‘‘the Army has gotten the message an awful lot quicker.’’

Last year, the Defense Department received 6,172 reports of sexual assault in the ranks — a new high and almost twice as many as were reported in 2010. Pentagon officials have called the increase an encouraging sign that more victims are willing to come forward and trust the military to help them. 

No longer covering them up, huh? 

Yeah, just trust your chain of command that wouldn't want any blemishes on the unit.

That was where my print ended; web version kept coming:

To tackle the problem, the Army employs 650 full-time sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates, plus 2,200 others who work part time.

In the past year, eight of them have been accused of sexual assault, triggering criminal investigations by a combination of military and civilian authorities, said William J. Sharp, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon.

Officials from the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Air Force told the Post that none of their personnel involved in sexual assault prevention have been investigated for sex crimes over the past year.

Lieutenant Colonel Jennifer R. Johnson, an Army spokeswoman, said the service adopted new standards in 2013 for screening sexual-assault-prevention personnel, drill instructors, recruiters, and others who hold positions of ‘‘significant trust.’’

She said that the standards are more stringent than what the Defense Department requires, but that the Army has decided to review them again ‘‘to determine if any changes are required.’’

‘‘As Army professionals, we expect everyone on our team to live and demonstrate the Army values every day,’’ she said in an e-mail. ‘‘Every allegation of sexual assault, from an unwanted touch over the clothing to a forcible rape, is investigated. . . . The Army strives to hold all offenders accountable for their actions no matter their position or rank.’’

Few personnel get more screening than the Army’s special-victim prosecutors, a team of 23 lawyers who oversee sex crime and domestic violence cases across the country. The job is considered an elite position within the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and those who hold it are handpicked by the Army’s top uniformed lawyer.

The program was thrown into turmoil in 2014 when its supervisor was placed under investigation for allegedly groping a female lawyer — at a sexual-assault-prevention conference

The irony!

The supervisor, Lieutenant Colonel Jay Morse, acknowledged having an intimate encounter with the woman but denied touching her without consent. Army officials ultimately decided that they lacked evidence to press criminal charges, but reprimanded Morse for misconduct. He retired soon after. 

I keep my hands to myself to avoid any problems.

The Army has since been rattled by another case involving a special-victim prosecutor.

In August 2016, a lawyer who worked for the Army walked into the Comanche County Courthouse in Lawton, Okla., to seek a protective order against a man she had been dating: Captain Scott Hockenberry, who handled cases at Fort Sill and other posts in the region.

The woman alleged in court papers that their relationship had turned violent and that Hockenberry had raped her three times over the previous month. She also alleged that he had placed a knife against her throat during one of the assaults and injured her jaw on another occasion, according to her protective-order application.

‘‘They started dating but it got out of control,’’ said Robert Don Gifford, an attorney for the woman.

Hockenberry disputed the allegations and has filed a defamation claim against the woman in state court in Oklahoma, documents show.

The Army reassigned him to the Military District of Washington and conducted a lengthy criminal investigation.

Last month, it charged Hockenberry with sexually assaulting the woman on two occasions, placing a knife against her throat, and striking her in the face, according to military charging documents obtained by the Post. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for later this month.

‘‘We categorically deny all of the allegations made by this accuser. Period. Full stop,’’ said Will Helixon, an attorney representing Hockenberry.

The Washington Post’s policy is not to identify victims of sexual assault or abuse in most cases.

It is unclear why the Army waited a year to file charges. Lawyers for both sides say the case has attracted notice at the Pentagon, given the nature of Hockenberry’s job. ‘‘This has received extra scrutiny,’’ Gifford said.

Another recent case that has received high-level attention surfaced in August at Fort Benning, Ga., a boot-camp hub for the Army.

The Army suspended several drill instructors after female recruits reported being sexually assaulted. A criminal investigation is pending. The Army has released few details, although it has since relieved a Fort Benning battalion commander for ‘‘a loss of confidence in his ability’’ to lead.

Looks like a CULTURAL PROBLEM that needs to be CHANGED, huh?

--more--"

I salute you, ladies.

"Kurdish female militia vows to keep fighting ISIS, liberate women" by Bassem Mroue Associated Press  October 19, 2017

BEIRUT — In a highly symbolic gesture, the all-women force, part of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces battling the Islamic State, lost 30 fighters in the four-month battle to liberate Raqqa.

Under ISIS rule, women were forced to wear all-encompassing veils and could be stoned to death for adultery. Hundreds of women and girls from Iraq’s Yazidi minority were captured and forced into sexual slavery.

Raqqa was center stage of this brutality, the de facto capital of the militants’ self-proclaimed caliphate.

‘‘We have achieved our goal, which was to pound the strongholds of terrorism in its capital, liberate women, and restore honor to Yazidi women by liberating dozens of slaves,’’ said Nisreen Abdullah of the Women’s Protection Units, or YPJ.

Where are they anyway? 

Please don't tell me the Yazidi crisis was another lie for ulterior motives.

Soon after the article turned away from the ladies.

Even as the guns went quiet, preparations for a reconstruction were underway.

Which tells you who is responsible for the destruction.

In Saudi Arabia, a state-linked news websitem Okaz, said a high-level Saudi official was in Raqqa to discuss the kingdom’s ‘‘prominent role in reconstruction’’ efforts. The website said the United Arab Emirates will also play a role in rebuilding.

Of course, they haven't rebuilt Iraq yet so you may have to wait a while.

The report included a photo of the Saudi official, Thamer al-Sabhan, apparently in Raqqa with Brett McGurk, the top US envoy for the coalition. Saudi Arabia is a member of the coalition. Sabhan was previously ambassador to Iraq, but left amid threats from Iranian-backed militias.

The SDF is expected to hold a news conference in Raqqa on Friday, during which the city will be declared free of extremists for the first time in nearly four years.

The fall of Raqqa marked a major defeat for the Islamic State, which has seen its territories steadily shrink since last year.

Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar Assad met with a visiting Iranian army commander on Thursday to discuss bilateral relations, the state news agency SANA said. The Iranian general also conveyed a message from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

SANA said Assad and Major General Mohammad Bagheri focused on military cooperation, ‘‘which has witnessed a qualitative development during the war that Syria and its allies, mainly Iran, are waging against terrorism’’ in Syria.

Iran has been one of Assad’s strongest supporters and has sent thousands of Iranian-backed militiamen to boost his troops against opponents.

Also Thursday, the Israeli military reported it struck Syria in response to a mortar fired from the territory.

The military said it ‘‘targeted the source of the fire’’ on Thursday but declined to say what it hit. Earlier in the day, the military said a mortar fell in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, believed to be errant fire from the civil war.

No injuries were reported on either side.....

I'm waiting for world condemnation regarding Israel's aggression.

--more--"

Meanwhile, in Iraq..... things are catatonic.

Apparently, the government gestapos at Facebook are not enough; the Senate wants them codified in law so it will all be legal (everything Hitler did was legal, too, you know?). All over a few thousand dollars worth of ads that didn't influence anyone in a campaign where billions were spent. Trump is still a tool (President Trump’s Mideast envoy echoed Israeli demands), but not of Putin.  Maybe they will next investigate the impact of AIPAC. That would be biting the hand that feeds them, of course. 

At least Pakistan is back in line -- even if the war in Afghanistan is being lost.

And the winner is..... China!

********

I'm going to skip over the contrived provocation, sorry.  That looks like a staged event to set up the stink bomb in the Globe. Standard tactic by the PtB. They create a provocation by doing something outrageous to elicit a reaction that then takes the attention away from more serious issues:

Mass. sees increase in educator misconduct investigations

I'm sure you can always get an abortion before the lawsuit.

"An elementary school in Walpole is cancelling its traditional Halloween parade this year, and instead will celebrate “Black and Orange Spirit Day.” Brendan Dearborn, principal of Boyden Elementary School, sent an e-mail to parents alerting them to the change. The e-mail, provided to the Globe by a Boyden parent, explained that staff decided to nix the parade in order to foster a more inclusive community. “During our conversations, we discussed how the costume parade is out of our ordinary routine and can be difficult for many students,” Dearborn wrote. “Also, the parade is not inclusive of all the students and it is our goal each and every day to ensure all student’s individual differences are respected.” When reached by e-mail Thursday afternoon, Dearborn declined to elaborate on why students might find the costume parade to be difficult. The new celebration, “Black and Orange Spirit Day,” will be optional for all students, as the costume parade was, Dearborn said."

Talk about political correctness run amok!


I was going to go as Anne Frank, but..... you know

Did you see what the kids drew on the walls of the hall? 

Makes you wonder what they were smoking, doesn't it?

************

Puerto Rico was down to a political note in my printed pos -- other than the Globe throwing out the baby with the bath powder. -- as they cleared the dead wood in California. Looks like the chickens have come home to roost before the cold winter ahead.


*********

"A last-minute surge nudged US stock indexes mostly higher Thursday, extending the market’s milestone-setting run. The Standard & Poor’s 500 and Dow Jones industrial average advanced for a fifth straight day, each posting new highs....."

At least Lyft got a Google, and what the FERC is this?

Really nothing more to talk about, readers.

Unbelievably, the word Weinstein never appeared in my print today.