Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Trump Reigns Supreme

"Supreme Court allows much of Trump travel ban to go into effect" by Michael D. Shear and Adam Liptak New York Times  June 26, 2017

WASHINGTON — Based on the dissent, those three justices are likely to vote in favor of the Trump administration. The court’s four-member liberal bloc — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan — are likely to vote against it.

That leaves the ultimate fate of the ban in the hands of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy.....

I guess he is staying.



Judge considering national freeze on Iraqi deportations

In Massachusetts, concern over ban lingers

Harvard Divinity students walk alongside unauthorized immigrants

At the border, ‘deterrence’ becomes a death sentence

It's not like he is sending them to the moon.


States must aid some church programs, justices rule

"In other matters Monday: The Supreme Court reaffirmed its 2015 decision recognizing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, agreed to hear an appeal from a Colorado baker with religious objections to same-sex marriage, and declined to hear a Second Amendment challenge to a California law that places strict limits on carrying guns in public..... The Supreme Court agreed to consider the reach of an anti-retaliation provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law in a case that could insulate publicly traded companies from some whistle-blower lawsuits. The justices will hear an appeal from Digital Realty Trust Inc., which is fighting a lawsuit by a former company vice president who was fired after complaining about alleged violations of federal securities laws. Digital Realty contends that Dodd-Frank authorized whistle-blower lawsuits only by people who had reported the alleged misconduct to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fired employee, Paul Somers, lodged his complaint internally. Lower courts are divided on the issue."


"Last year, the US Supreme Court issued its strongest defense of abortion rights in a quarter-century, striking down 5-3 Texas’ widely replicated rules that sharply reduced abortion clinics in the nation’s second-most-populous state....."


Susan Collins says she doesn’t support GOP health bill

She is now part of a small but potentially decisive GOP rebellion.

Feds looking into Bernie Sanders’s wife over real estate deal

He's there to talk about health care and they drag that up?

CBO says Senate health bill picks your pocket

Charlie Baker could lead on health care debate

264,000 Mass. residents would lose health coverage under Senate bill, Baker says

You can thank the nurses for that.


"Top Republican presses for $705 billion defense budget" by Richard Lardner Associated Press  June 27, 2017

You will have to give me a moment; I need to find my eyeballs that are rolling around on the floor somewhere.

WASHINGTON — An influential House committee chairman pressed his case on Monday for a $705 billion defense budget in 2018, more military spending than at any point during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a level even a number of his Republican colleagues don’t support.

Representative Mac Thornberry of Texas, who heads the Armed Services Committee, said the sharp increase is badly needed to repair a military that’s been at almost continuous combat for a decade and a half.

Then the future budgets are only going to be bigger because not only is there no end in sight, they are being escalated as I type.

He unveiled a blueprint that proposes $37 billion above the $603 billion than President Trump requested for core Pentagon operations along with another $65 billion for war-fighting missions, but conservatives who dominate the Budget Committee agreed last week on a budget outline that promises $620 billion for the core military budget that pays for weapons, training, and troop salaries. That’s $20 billion less than Thornberry wants. 

$20 billion to them is like $20 dollars to you, so..... it's $en$ele$$ quibbling.

Meanwhile, for contra$t, they need a secret health bill to cut the costs of health care. Yeah, I know its a rotten $y$tem and I know it's rife with fraud, but still.... war machine is even wor$e! No cost overruns-plu$ in health care, unless it's paying the CEOs.

The two committees, along with senior GOP members of the appropriations panel, have been meeting behind closed doors in hopes of breaking the impasse.

And they called it democracy!

Thornberry said he is willing to accept a lower number, but only if he’s assured the Pentagon will no longer be hamstrung by a herky-jerky budgeting process that leaves the armed services unsure of how much they’ll get each year and when the money will arrive.


Thornberry criticized Trump’s maiden Pentagon budget as inadequate, but he refused to blame the president for the shortcomings. The defense budget sent to Congress last month was essentially what former president Barack Obama would have proposed, he said. 


‘‘There wasn’t anybody at DOD to write a Trump budget request,’’ according to Thornberry, yet the Trump administration is almost entirely responsible for the skeleton crew at the Pentagon. There are dozens of top-level jobs that require Senate confirmation before they can be filled, but Trump, in office since late January, has nominated just 20 so far. Six have been confirmed while a dozen or so others await approval, according to figures maintained by the Senate. 

No wonder we are losing and the wars are spinning out of control.

Thornberry’s blueprint recommends an increase of just over 18,000 active-duty troops for the Army, Air Force, and Navy. The Army, with 10,000 new members, would be the largest beneficiary of the boost. The plan envisions a full-time fighting force of 1.3 million. 

Looks like Iran needs to be occupied by some ground forces as is its neighbor to the west, or you are heading to what the Nazis called the Eastern Front, kiddos.

The plan provides a 2.4 percent pay raise for the troops, which is slightly higher than the wage hike the Pentagon had proposed.....

Let's hope they don't call them back like the bonuses for enlisting.



"US stock indexes closed mostly higher Monday, snapping a four-day losing streak for the Dow Jones industrial average on a day of largely listless trading. Investors got some discouraging news on the economy from the Commerce Department, which reported that orders for durable goods, items meant to last at least three years, slid 1.1 percent in May. That was the second straight decline and a bigger drop than analysts were expecting. That made high-dividend stocks favorite buys for many investors seeking income....."

RelatedAmerican Cities and Towns

Where do you think the military is going to get its fodder, 'er, foot soldiers?

Unless you are in the cultured cla$$:

"Huntington Ave. tower and theater plans revealed" by Malcolm Gay Globe Staff  June 26, 2017

The development group that purchased the BU Theatre complex, longtime home of the Huntington Theatre Company, filed plans Monday for a gleaming 32-story apartment building that would transform Huntington Avenue and the theater that bears its name.

The tower, which could house as many as 426 apartment units and provide ample retail space, is being proposed by developers QMG Huntington LLC in a deal that would give full ownership of the 870-seat playhouse to the Huntington Theatre Company.

It's a “win-win for everyone.” 



Is this the last chance to create open space in booming Seaport?

Tall Ships’ visit to Boston deemed a success

I told you they would say that, but the article reads like a flop. Where are the expected 3 million visitors?

"The Coast Guard called off a search for a possible missing person late Monday morning after a fisherman found a lime green kayak floating with no one on board around 4 a.m. The Coast Guard searched 29 square miles by both boat and helicopter and found no trace of a missing kayaker, officials said. No missing person’s report has been filed for a kayaker in the area, Coast Guard officials said. The search was conducted by a 29-foot Coast Guard boat from Scituate, a Coast Guard helicopter, and the harbormasters from Plymouth and Scituate, according to Petty Officer Nicole Groll, a Coast Guard spokeswoman. The kayak was overturned when it was spotted by the fisherman early Monday morning, Groll said....."

"Boston police are investigating the discovery of possible human remains in Roxbury, officials said. Construction workers performing work at 20 Kearsarge Avenue found the possible remains about 1:50 p.m. and notified police. Boston Police spokeswoman Rachel McGuire said the homicide unit is on scene investigating the discovery....."

Also see:

Michael McCarthy found guilty in death of 2-year-old Bella Bond

The verdict was unexpected but just sayeth the Globe.

8-year-old may have bullet lodged in shoulder for the rest of her life

"Three men and a woman were arrested on Sunday morning following a break-in on Pires Street in Wareham, officials said. The home security system alerted the homeowner to the break-in around 6 a.m., authorities said. The home was unoccupied at the time, Wareham police said in a statement. The two officers who reported to the scene heard “crashing noises, then observed three males jump out of a window at the rear of the house and run from the property,” police said. Police identified the three men as Alan Tieu, 23, of Fall River; Keylin Hall, 24, of Brockton, Toan Nguyen, 25, of Dorchester. Police caught one man hiding not far from the home, officials said. The other men ran a quarter of a mile to Narrow’s Crossing Restaurant and Lounge, authorities said. The pair ran inside the restaurant, where patrons were enjoying breakfast, and then ran out the back door when they saw the officers, police said. A police officer and his K-9 partner arrested the two men not far from the restaurant, authorities said. Yolanda Graustuck, 28, of Dorchester was sitting in a parked car, but then ran from the scene when she saw police, officials said. Officers found two guns in the trunk of the vehicle, according to the release. Police found Graustuck disheveled and shoeless walking along Indian Neck Road, authorities said....." 

Off the top I'd say drug addicts looking for something so they could get their fix.

"Police in New Orleans announced Monday they had arrested a 21-year-old man in connection with the assault and robbery of two Massachusetts men over the weekend. On Saturday, four assailants attacked the two men from behind in the 200 block of Bienville Street, shortly before 9 p.m., police said. They knocked the two men to the ground and robbed them, police said. Both victims are from the Boston area, police said. One of the victims was listed in critical condition; the other in stable condition, police said. On Monday night, New Orleans police announced they had apprehended one of the suspects, identified as Dejuan Paul, 21. Paul is charged with second-degree robbery, according to the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office website. “As investigation into the incident progressed, detectives were able to develop Paul as one of the individuals responsible for the robbery,” police said. Michael S. Harrison, superintendent of the New Orleans police, said in a message posted to Twitter that the remaining suspects will be located. “We’ve made our first arrest in this case, not our last,” Harrison said. “We know who you are, we’re bringing you in.”

More efficient than in Missouri:

"Castile family reaches $3 million settlement with Minnesota city" by Mitch Smith New York Times   June 26, 2017

NEW YORK — St. Louis officials said a white police officer shot and injured an off-duty black officer who had been trying to help with an arrest in the city last week. 

The Wild West stuff ricocheting on them?

The St. Louis shooting took place at about 10 p.m. June 21 when officers tried to stop a car that had been reported stolen, Lawrence O’Toole, the interim police chief of the Metropolitan Police Department said.

Three people in the car opened fire at the officers then fled on foot when the vehicle crashed. After an exchange of gunfire with the police, one of the suspects was shot in an ankle.

The off-duty officer, a 38-year-old black man with 11 years of service, was inside his home nearby when he heard the commotion. Taking his police-issued weapon, he went outside to help, the statement said.

So what are they going to do, make the cops leave the gun at the station? 

I'll tell you this: I'm against gun control of the citizenry for the obvious reasons (government resists oppression when the populace is armed. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao are the greatest gun-control advocates in history); however, I am not, I repeat, NOT for disarming the police. 

Otherwise we are England. As Robin Williams (may he RIP) used to say, "In England, you don't have a gun and they don't have a gun. So the cop yells "Stop!" -- or I'll yell "Stop!" again." Must be why they are having so many traffic accidents.

When he approached the scene, two of the officers told him to get on the ground but then recognized him and ordered him to walk toward them. But another officer who had just arrived, a 36-year-old white man with more than eight years of service, did not recognize the black officer.

That officer, “fearing for his safety,” the police statement said, fired a shot. The black officer was hit in the arm; he was treated in hospital and released, the police statement said. 

Imagine if we all did that? I think person A is going to hurt me so I will preemptively attack person A. Where could they have ever gotten such a dumb idea I'll never know, but consider further: I don't a weapon, thus I'm not as secure in myself, whereas the authority figure has a weapon and a distinct advantage. Should feel less threatened.

So did you wing him or.... ???

Neither officer’s name has been released.

In a separate development Monday.....


At least it isn't Illinois.

"Also this month, the family of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager killed by police in 2014, reached a settlement with Ferguson, Mo., reported to be worth $1.5 million. Cleveland agreed last year to pay $6 million to the family of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old fatally shot while playing with a replica gun. Also in 2016, the Village of Pleasantville, N.Y., agreed to a $6 million settlement in the fatal shooting of Danroy Henry Jr., a black college student."

Hu$h money?


"New study of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage says it costs jobs" Associated Press  June 27, 2017

SEATTLE — Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum wage law has cost the city jobs, according to a study released Monday that contradicted another new study published last week.

A University of Washington team studying the law’s effects found that the law has boosted pay in low-wage jobs since it took effect in 2015, but that it also caused a 9 percent reduction in hours worked, The Seattle Times reported . For an average low-wage Seattle worker, that’s a loss of about $125 per month, the study said.

Somehow they just can't get right the wealth distribution. While the upper-cru$t elite $wim in the $tuff you can't even get a real raise. 

Maybe it is time to junk the economic pooh-bahs running the whole $how and do something different.

‘‘If you’re a low-skilled worker with one of those jobs, $125 a month is a sizable amount of money,’’ said Mark Long, one of the authors. ‘‘It can be the difference between being able to pay your rent and not being able to pay your rent.’’

There would be about 5,000 more low-wage jobs in the city without the law, the study estimated.

It's all about building a $lave cla$$.

Seattle was one of the first US cities to adopt a $15 minimum wage law, and its experience is being closely watched as other cities have followed suit and as advocates push for a higher federal minimum wage.

The city’s law is raising the minimum to $15 for all businesses by 2021.

In the years covered by the study, 2015 and 2016, the minimum wage was at most $13, depending on business size, worker benefits, and tips. The current minimum wage in Seattle ranges from $11 to $15, and unemployment is at a historically low 2.6 percent, thanks in part to the booming tech sector. Seattle has added about 40,000 jobs overall in the last few years.

Last week, a review by University of California Berkeley economists found the law raised pay without hurting jobs in the restaurant industry. An author of that report, Michael Reich, criticized the University of Washington team’s methodology.

The University of Washington effort compared economic data from Seattle with economic data from other parts of Washington state — a statistical model referred to as ‘‘synthetic Seattle’’ — for which economic trend lines were previously similar to Seattle. By comparing the ‘‘synthetic Seattle’’ where no minimum wage increase took effect with Seattle itself, the researchers tried to figure out the minimum wage law’s effect on Seattle’s economy.

But Reich took issue with how University of Washington team compiled its ‘‘synthetic Seattle.’’ It was based on areas that ‘‘do not at all resemble Seattle,’’ Reich warned in a letter to the city Monday .

By contrast, the Berkeley study compared Seattle to a statistical model based on areas around the country — not just within the state — and was thus a ‘‘more representative’’ comparison, he said.

The University of Washington report excludes ‘‘multisite businesses,’’ such as large corporations, restaurants, and retail stores that own their branches directly. Single-site businesses, though — which are counted in the report — could include franchise locations that are owned separately from their corporate headquarters.

Reich said multisite businesses employ a large percentage of Seattle’s low-paid workers. That meant workers who left single-site businesses to work at multisite businesses were counted as job losses, not job gains in the UW study, he said.

Are you $ufficiently confu$ed now?

Jacob Vigdor, a public policy professor and one of the authors of the new report, stood by the team’s findings. He noted that his team’s study actually corroborated Berkeley’s conclusion, finding zero impact from the minimum-wage law on restaurant employment — when taking into account jobs at all wage levels within the restaurant industry.

But for low-wage restaurant workers, the law cost them work hours, the new report said. If the minimum wage law hadn’t been in effect, those workers would have seen an 11 percent increase in their hours, the report said.

‘‘When we perform the exact same analysis as the Berkeley team, we match their results, which is inconsistent with the notion that our methods create bias,’’ he said.


Yeah, but what is your credit score?

"It’s tourist season, and here come the monks" by Brian MacQuarrie Globe Staff  June 26, 2017

In recent weeks, a gaggle of Buddhist monk impersonators has descended on several of the city’s leading tourist spots in hopes of cajoling “donations” from unwitting Bostonians and gullible out-of-towners, much to the chagrin of business owners on the downtown waterfront and nearby historic areas.

The pious-looking panhandlers have bedeviled others in New York, San Francisco, and across the globe from Canada to Australia. Now, for the second straight summer, they are on the streets here, targeting Boston’s rich supply of tourists.

Thanks for the heads-up, even if it contained some unconscious anti-Asian bias(?).

They dress like Buddhist monks, with shaved heads and ankle-length robes for the men. Women are involved, as well, but while they have the trappings, it’s all a trap. The ploy is simple. Approach a visitor, hand out a plastic bracelet or shiny medallion, then ask for a donation of a few dollars, said Joe O’Malley, general manager of Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

If the target balks, the items are usually taken back — sometimes snatched right off the wrist in a burst of angry hectoring.

“That’s what their hook is,” O’Malley said. “They’ll try to shake you down for money.”

When the too-big-too-jail..... ah, never mind!

Authorities in New Zealand have traced the scammers in that country to a Chinese crime syndicate that outfits them with monk’s clothing and helps arrange for immigration visas and overseas accommodations.

Oh, yeah. They and Russia seem to be at the bottom of all our ills.

Last summer, the monks eyed Faneuil Hall’s teeming crowds as a potential pot of gold. But when the mall put up warning signs and alerted their security officers, the monks moved along, O’Malley said.

The crackdown at Faneuil Hall Marketplace has apparently nudged the fake monks to other spots.

On a recent afternoon, one of the monks approached a Globe reporter near the Aquarium to offer a bracelet and a medallion, inscribed with the words “work smoothly” and “lifetime peace.”

In broken English, the gray-robed man said he was from Thailand, bowed, and clasped his hands in prayer. But when the reporter balked at a $2 donation, his smile turned to a scowl, and the reporter was quickly separated from the trinkets.

The scam is building a massive cloud of bad karma for the fake monks, said Sean Gonzalez, director of the Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies, based in Medford. As a result, he said, the public should feel sorry for them.

Using a religion for personal gain creates heavy negative karma,” Gonzalez said. “Therefore, those engaging in these practices are creating much great suffering for themselves in the future, and that is a reason for us to feel much compassion for them.”

Wow. That causes me to reflect on a lot of things. 

Boston police did not respond to requests for comment, and city officials offered only an obligatory warning.

“The city reminds residents and visitors to be cognizant and use good judgment when solicited for money or donations,” said Samantha Ormsby, a spokeswoman for Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

To be sure, trying to clamp down on the monks amid large summertime crowds is a challenge, particularly when more serious concerns take priority.....

Then why is it on the front page?


They are calling them the “Monk Mafia,” and I suppose “even a patient man [like me] has his limits.”

Did you see the agenda for the day?

US mayors back plan for cities to use only renewable energy

The streets are clogged so he's going to hop a train home.

Cadden's Sentence and Conviction

"35-year sentence sought for N.E. Compounding Center boss" by John R. Ellement Globe Staff  June 23, 2017

Suicide attempts. Foreclosures. Chronic health problems. Pain, both emotional and physical, so searing that some patients regret surviving. And then there are the 76 people whose lives ended mysteriously and in agony when the fungus hidden in the medicine blossomed inside them.

This tableau of death and loss, federal prosecutors write, is among the reasons Barry J. Cadden should spend 35 years in prison for choosing profits over purity while running the New England Compounding Center, the source of a massive fungal meningitis outbreak.

“Their eyes now turn toward the criminal justice system [and] if there ever was a fraud case that deserves the greatest punishment allowable, this is it,’’ federal prosecutors wrote in court papers. Cadden’s “choices to deliberately ignore pharmacy regulations showed an unconscionable disregard for the lives of patients using his drugs.’’

Cadden is scheduled to be sentenced Monday in US District Court on numerous conspiracy, fraud, and racketeering charges by Judge Richard G. Stearns, who has rejected a defense request for a new trial or to toss the guilty verdict.

But Cadden’s lawyers in court papers rebut Acting US Attorney William Weinreb’s plea for 35 years’ imprisonment, asserting that prosecutors have deliberately misread the trial’s outcome and are wrongly asking that their client be sentenced on 25 second-degree murder charges — even though the jury did not convict.

“As the jury found, Mr. Cadden is not a murderer,’’ the defense wrote. “None of this is to say that Mr. Cadden is guilt-less. He did things, and particularly failed to do things, that in hindsight he deeply regrets.”

Three years in prison, the defense said, is an appropriate sentence for Cadden, who would become the first compounding pharmacist imprisoned for failures inside their facilities.

“The instinct to punish Mr. Cadden harshly is a function of the scope of the outbreak, and the horror associated with it, and less a function of Mr. Cadden’s individual actions,’’ the defense wrote. “The jury appears to have rejected the government’s characterization of Mr. Cadden as callous and greedy. The court should do the same.’’

Cadden is the former head pharmacist and a co-owner of NECC, which produced unsanitary drugs blamed by prosecutors for the deaths of 76 people and the sickening of some 700 more patients in more than 20 states across the country in 2012.

During the trial, Cadden was portrayed by the defense as the chief executive of NECC who delegated responsibility for properly manufacturing the drugs to Glenn A. Chin, the former head pharmacist awaiting trial on similar charges, including the 25 counts of second-degree murder.

Nowhere was there mention of the lack of state regulation and oversight. The very regulators of the industry were drawn from industry. It was a state government responsibility, and they failed miserably.


He ended up getting 9 years after a three month trial with an ethnically and racially diverse jury, and you can decide for yourself whether the the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that killed more than 60 people across the country and sickened hundreds more was given proper attention:

"Owner of Framingham pharmacy that sickened hundreds gets probation" by Kay Lazar Globe Staff  November 09, 2016

The majority owner of a shuttered Framingham pharmacy linked to a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak in 2012 will receive no jail time for illegally withdrawing thousands of dollars from bank accounts, federal prosecutors revealed Wednesday.

Carla Conigliaro, a 53-year-old Dedham resident who owned New England Compounding Center, and her husband, Douglas, 55, both received probation and a fine at sentencing Wednesday in US District Court in Boston.

Carla Conigliaro was sentenced to probation for one year and ordered to pay a $4,500 fine; her husband received two years probation and a $55,000 fine.

The couple were accused of withdrawing $124,000 in unusual sums of cash from their personal accounts in fall 2012, just as authorities traced the deadly outbreak to New England Compounding.

“The cash transactions were structured by the Conigliaros in a manner so as to evade the $10,000 reporting requirements,” according to a statement from US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz.

The couple pleaded guilty in July.

Sixty-four patients across the country died and hundreds were sickened by contaminated vials of a steroid manufactured at the Framingham company.

The Conigliaros’ lawyer, David E. Meier, had urged the court to consider probation for the couple. In a sentencing recommendation filed with the court, Meier wrote that probation was a “fair and reasonable” sentence and that the two accepted full responsibility for their actions, “as well as the great shame and devastating consequences that their conduct has already brought upon themselves and their family.”

Meier also said that Carla Conigliaro has since contributed $24 million to a victims’ fund created to compensate the families of those left dead and seriously injured by the tainted medicine.

Yeah, I know, but can that really ever take the place of a loved one? Can you put a price on that?

The Conigliaros did not face charges related to misdeeds at the pharmacy.

Another New England Compounding owner, Barry J. Cadden, who also was head pharmacist, and supervisory pharmacist Glenn A. Chin were charged with racketeering and second-degree murder in seven states. They are scheduled to go on trial in January.


I don't know what to tell you. All I can say is the Ju$tu$ $y$tem seems like it is out of whack.

"Split trials for lead defendants in meningitis case" by Travis Andersen Globe Staff  December 17, 2016

Two former executives of a now-shuttered Framingham pharmacy linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak in 2012 will have separate trials in their racketeering case, a federal judge in Boston ruled Thursday.

The three-page ruling from US District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns concerns Barry J. Cadden, co-owner and head pharmacist of the New England Compounding Center, and Glenn A. Chin, the supervisory pharmacist.

They were charged in 2014 with racketeering and other crimes that prosecutors say resulted in the deaths of 25 people in seven states. They have pleaded not guilty.

On Thursday, Stearns ruled that Cadden will stand trial on Jan. 4. Chin’s trial will begin after the conclusion of Cadden’s.

So that one is coming up.

Lawyers for Cadden filed a sealed motion for separate trials on Dec. 2. Court records show that they plan to introduce materials at trial that could “reflect adversely on Chin.”

“As a rule, severance of defendants charged together with the same crimes is not favored,” Stearns wrote in Thursday’s ruling. He said he granted Cadden’s motion because trying the men together may compromise the integrity of the case.

Fourteen people were charged in connection with the fungal meningitis outbreak linked to the pharmacy. Contaminated drugs — produced with expired ingredients under unsterile conditions — have been tied to the deaths of 64 people and to illnesses in about 700 patients in 20 states.

Yeah, that's the thing I have a thought time getting pa$t.

Two defendants have pleaded guilty to financial crimes related to the outbreak, and the remaining cases are pending.



Trial set to start for pharmacy owner in deadly meningitis outbreak

Pharmacist’s greed led to 25 deaths, prosecutors say

CDC investigator says fungal meningitis outbreak rivaled Ebola epidemic

The number of deaths? 

If so, they were treated very differently. Ebola was a crisis of fear, meningitis not so much.

"NECC salesman testifies on fatal meningitis outbreak" by Milton J. Valencia Globe Staff  January 13, 2017

A former salesman for the New England Compounding Center recalled for a federal jury Friday how he first learned of a fungal meningitis outbreak in September 2012 that would kill more than 60 people and sicken hundreds more — when one of his clients began to complain that patients who had been injected with a steroid produced at the Framingham-based pharmacy were getting sick with a mysterious illness.

The doctor at the St. Thomas Neurological Surgical Center in Tennessee feared his needles were the cause, but he also wanted to know what type of testing was being conducted at the Framingham center, known as NECC.

“I assured them, we had testing results on the medication,” the salesman, Mario Giamei Jr., told jurors, his hands folded in front of him.

Giamei was the first person from the company to testify in a federal trial related to the outbreak, and he expressed a sense of disbelief among workers, if not a sense of denial, that they could be at fault.

“There’s no way it could be us,” he recalled thinking. “I believed our testing was done properly.”

Federal authorities allege that the steroid produced at the compounding center, methylprednisolone acetate, came from one of three batches that were contaminated with mold and distributed nationwide, a case of neglect that became the worst pharmaceutical scandal in the country’s history.

Say again.

Giamei testified Friday in the trial of Barry J. Cadden, the former president and head pharmacist at NECC, and for more than three hours he described how he was recruited to market NECC as a state-of-the-art compounding center that followed all federal guidelines, employed trained pharmacists, and conducted extensive testing on its products, though he had no history in the industry and never saw the pharmacy laboratory.

“At the time, I thought it was a safe product,” said Giamei, who sold mortgages before he was hired by Medical Sales Management, the sales branch of NECC, in November 2010. He was testifying under an immunity agreement that protected him from prosecution for any of his statements.

Cadden, 50, of Wrentham, faces more than 90 charges, including racketeering and causing the deaths of at least 25 patients. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

Prosecutors allege he and other NECC employees ran the pharmacy like a criminal enterprise, skirting industry standards to maximize their profits. They produced drugs in unsanitary conditions that they knew, or should have known, could pose health risks, authorities say.

Just doin' bu$ine$$ in AmeriKa.

Several other employees were also charged, though Cadden was one of only two pharmacists accused of directly causing deaths, and he is the first to go to trial.

Lawyers for Cadden say he was an executive who was not directly involved in the actual compounding operations, and so he had no direct involvement in any action that caused a death. If anything, the lawyers argue, Cadden urged staff to follow proper protocol, and he conducted more testing than what was required by standards.

Prosecutors allege that he was responsible as the head pharmacist, and that he knew of the shoddy work environment and the potential risks. In the fifth day of the trial, Giamei was the first witness called to testify regarding the inner workings of NECC.

“We felt very strongly our product we put out there was great,” Giamei told jurors. “That would come from management, from Barry. . . . That we were making world-class products, the safest products.”

Giamei said he was armed with sales pitches and promotional material that stated that NECC followed guidelines set by the United States Pharmacopeia, an industry association, and that it used state-of-the-art compounding methods and conducted extensive testing.

NECC specialized in compounding custom medications, specifically steroids. Giamei was part of a team of close to two dozen salespeople who made pitches to hospitals, surgical centers, and pain clinics.

He acknowledged under cross-examination that he was trained to explain to clients that NECC was only required and typically only conducted end-product testing on certain medications, like stock medications, and not custom medications, an issue that seemed to confuse some clients who believed the center followed the guidelines at all times.

Cadden seemed to get angry when bothered with nuisance questions about testing, or “nit-picking,” Giamei said.

In one situation, Giamei said, Cadden acknowledged that NECC did not conduct testing when guidelines called for it, and he instructed Giamei to tell a client that the pharmacy followed only 99 percent of the guidelines. The client was prepared to test the drug herself.

Giamei did not see a problem with the company’s operations until the outbreak began in September 2012. The clinic in Tennessee was one of the first in the country to see patients sickened by the contaminated steroid. Tennessee health officials contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


All I can think of is those poor people in Tennessee.

"In pharmacy case, widow tells of husband’s brutal decline" by Milton J. Valencia Globe Staff  January 19, 2017

In September 2012, Thomas Rybinski of Tennessee was the first patient to be identified as a fatal victim of the fungal meningitis outbreak caused by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham.

On Wednesday, his widow, Colette Rybinski, was the first victim to testify in the first criminal trial related to the outbreak, which killed more than 60 people and sickened roughly 700 more.

That's the thing: it not only resulted in terrifying deaths, but the product was made for people who where already suffering. This just added to their misery in unimaginable ways. It's one of those real head-shakers. I mean, you expect the banks to rip you off and the war machine to lie, but this.... !

And yet somehow the state has to regulate the pot (am I supposed to take that with some water?).

Rybinski recounted for jurors how her 55-year-old husband began to complain of severe headaches in August 2012, after he was injected with an NECC steroid.

“‘I’ve never felt anything like this in my life, I feel like my head is going to explode,’” she said he told her. The father of three who had worked for General Motors for 35 years had been an active man but was suddenly debilitated. His health declined rapidly until he died on Sept. 29, 2012.

In the most solemn moments so far in the trial, which is in its second week, Rybinski recounted her husband’s mysterious decline.

He was treated first at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville where he tested positive for meningitis. Doctors tested for possible causes, including a tick borne illness.

“They pretty much sequestered him from everybody else,” his wife said softly.

By the end of August, Thomas Rybinski was discharged. “Everyone agreed he improved,” Rybinski testified. He left the hospital with a bag of medications. But soon, his symptoms returned, including the pounding headache.

Rybinski said she took her husband to a nearby medical center because it was closer than the hospital in Nashville. All she had was the bag of medications and her attempt at an explanation of what happened in the weeks prior. Doctors there called their counterparts at Vanderbilt, and Thomas Rybinski was rushed there by ambulance.

“Tom started losing his ability to communicate,” Rybinski testified. “He was confused, he was speaking a lot of gibberish.”

His condition fluctuated. At times he was confused. At others, he could not communicate. He did not recall their marriage, Rybinski said. But he listened as doctors described how they had finally diagnosed him with spinal meningitis due to a fungal infection, aspergillus.

“They said ‘we know what it is, so we’re going to try to tailor something to that’,” she recalled. When they were alone, her husband looked at her and declared, “‘It was my shot,’” she testified.

His condition never improved, and he was taken to a hospice center, where he died a week later.....



"Jury set to deliberate in trial of New England Compounding Center pharmacist" by Milton J. Valencia Globe Staff  March 13, 2017

After more than nine weeks of testimony, a federal jury is slated to begin deliberating Wednesday in the trial of Barry J. Cadden, the former New England Compounding Center head pharmacist and co-owner who is accused of causing the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that killed more than 60 people and sickened roughly 700 more.

Globe stuck with it for a couple unless I missed something, and if so I profoundly apologize.

US District Judge Richard G. Stearns said after a brief hearing Monday that he will let jurors decide whether Cadden was responsible for causing the deaths of at least 25 of the victims of the outbreak. More than 60 people died, but prosecutors charged Cadden in only 25 of the deaths.

Lawyers for Cadden argued at Monday’s hearing that no “reasonable jury” could convict Cadden of second-degree murder based on the evidence that was introduced in the trial, and that the judge should dismiss the charges related to those murders.

Stearns said after the hearing Monday that while Cadden’s role in some of the crimes could be questioned, the jury should decide.

The judge said he would be willing to dismiss a charge that Cadden defrauded the US Food and Drug Administration by claiming the compounding center was a pharmacy rather than a manufacturer, which would have triggered more federal oversight. Stearns said he was not sure the FDA was defrauded, but he would let the jury decide and could revisit the request to dismiss the charge after a verdict is rendered.

That is the first inkling of oversight, and it is vague and ill-defined.

Cadden, 50, of Wrentham, faces more than 90 charges related to the 2012 outbreak, including fraud and racketeering.

Though he has not been charged directly with murder, which is a state crime, federal prosecutors listed second-degree murder counts under the racketeering charge. Prosecutors must show that Cadden committed underlying crimes in order to convict him of racketeering. He faces life in prison if convicted of racketeering and the murder charges.

That why the feds have to bring the case? State regulators complicit if not negligent themselves?

Cadden is the first person to go to trial on charges related to the outbreak, and he is one of two people charged with causing deaths. Former supervisory pharmacist Glen Chin is slated to be tried on similar charges after Cadden’s trial.

Prosecutors say they and other pharmacists ran a shoddy workplace that skirted industry standards to maximize profits, and that they produced drugs in unsanitary conditions knowing the health risks. In the summer of 2012, three batches of a steroid the compounding center produced were contaminated with mold.

Is that a crime?

The contaminations led to a public health crisis, a lead investigator for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testified during the trial. Investigators struggled to determine the cause of the outbreak in September 2012 as reports of illnesses and deaths poured in. Once they identified the contaminated steroid as the source, investigators struggled to figure out how to treat the fungal meningitis.

During Monday’s hearing, an attorney for Cadden argued that while “something went terribly wrong,” Cadden could not be found liable for causing the deaths.

He said prosecutors have not shown exactly how the batches of steroids were contaminated, what Cadden or anybody else did to contaminate them, and how Cadden could be linked to the deaths. He said thousands of other vials of steroids were sent out that did not cause infections.

“Something went terribly wrong, everyone agrees with that. Horribly, terribly wrong. But what went horribly, terribly wrong, nobody can identify that,” Singal said.

If the vial doesn't fit, you must acquit!

But Assistant US Attorney George Varghese argued that Cadden is charged with causing the deaths because he was reckless and indifferent to public safety, creating a shoddy environment that allowed the contamination while he was well aware of the dangers.

He said the outbreak was inevitable because of the way Cadden ran the compounding center.

“He cut corners,” Varghese said. “Eventually, it was going to catch up with him, and it did in September 2012.”

Jurors could begin deliberating Wednesday afternoon, after lawyers in the case give their closing arguments.


"NECC co-owner convicted in meningitis outbreak" by Milton J. Valencia and Kay Lazar Globe Staff  March 22, 2017

The former co-owner and head pharmacist at a Framingham company that shipped tainted drugs across the country, causing more than 60 deaths and hundreds of illnesses, was convicted of fraud and racketeering Wednesday, though a federal jury refused to brand him a murderer.

Barry J. Cadden, who jurors found had run New England Compounding Center like a criminal enterprise, could serve several years in prison. But the jury’s verdict spared him from a life sentence in one of the worst pharmaceutical scandals in US history.

Cadden, 50, of Weymouth, appeared stoic as the court clerk sorted through a 21-page verdict slip to declare him guilty on 57 of the 96 charges he faced, including conspiracy, fraud, and racketeering, which means he participated in a criminal enterprise to boost profits. He was escorted by his lawyers to a car waiting outside the courthouse, and left without commenting. He is slated to be sentenced June 21.

Didn't even have a license.

“This case was a national tragedy,” Acting US Attorney William Weinreb said at a news conference after the verdict was announced. “Barry Cadden put profits over patients. He used [New England Compounding] to perpetrate a massive fraud that harmed hundreds of people, but the jury saw through that fraud, and today they held Barry Cadden responsible for his crimes.”

It was the first in an expected series of criminal trials linked to the tainted drug scandal that opened a window onto the little-known compounding industry. Those pharmacies specialize in making drugs tailored to the needs of doctors and patients. Lawyers for Cadden, a founding owner of New England Compounding, sought to label the meningitis outbreak an unfortunate tragedy in a high-risk business.

The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for 20 hours before reaching its verdict. The trial lasted nine weeks and included testimony from more than 60 witnesses.

Weinreb said he was disappointed jurors could not agree that Cadden was responsible for the deaths of patients, but said the trial showed the extent of his wrongdoing and how it caused an outbreak of fungal meningitis. He said more than 60 people “died because of the tainted drugs that were distributed on Mr. Cadden’s watch.”

Bruce Singal, an attorney for Cadden, said he would appeal on the grounds there was insufficient evidence to hold Cadden responsible for the outbreak, saying Cadden was an executive not directly involved in mixing drugs. Singal said Cadden was mindful it was important “to remember the victims of this public health tragedy,” but said his client should never have been accused of murder.

How long that going to take?

“Murder is the worst crime known to humanity, and it is a terrible injustice that Barry Cadden was labeled with this charge by the government for more than two years,” Singal said. “It was unprovable, unwarranted, and unjustified, and we are deeply grateful the jury saw it that way.”

I agree; that's why war criminal presidents and their ma$$ media enablers bother me so.

The fraud and racketeering convictions each carry potential punishments of up to 20 years in prison, though multiple sentences are often layered on top of each other and are served at the same time. Cadden’s sentence would be based on sentencing guidelines that account for his convictions and the nature of the crimes, but also his personal characteristics and lack of a criminal record. Weinreb said prosecutors were still assessing an appropriate sentence recommendation based on sentencing guidelines and the jury’s verdict.

To family members whose relatives died from the tainted drugs or to people left with unremitting pain, the jury’s verdict was small comfort. Cadden, they said, should have been convicted of murder.

“I am sad it is not murder, but he knows what he has done,” said Carol Burema Snyder, whose mother, Pauline Burema, died in October 2012 after receiving a tainted steroid injunction. She was 89 and had been living in Michigan.

Dee Morell said she still suffers such intense pain in her hip from the contaminated shot she received in 2012 that she has been unable to work and requires daily pain medication.

“He had no regard for human life, really. He was very greed-oriented,” she said.

Morell said she hopes to attend the April trial of another New England Compounding pharmacist accused of causing deaths, Glenn A. Chin. In his trial, Cadden had sought to place blame on Chin.

Prosecutors described for jurors, however, how Cadden skirted industry regulations to boost profits, well aware of the inherent dangers. In sales pitches, he vowed that the pharmacy adhered to testing protocols and used state-of-the-art equipment, but knew that was not the case.

Instead, the drugs were produced in unsanitary conditions, leading to fungus contamination of three batches of a steroid, methylprednisolone acetate, in summer 2012. Vials of the steroid were shipped to doctors at pain management clinics, who injected patients with the sullied drugs.

So the doctors, your local physician, had no idea he was injecting you with poison. And they wonder why I scoff at the Merck poster in the examination room.

The verdict was split, with jurors agreeing to convict Cadden on some fraud charges, but not all. Jurors convicted Cadden of sending out the contaminated drugs, though they acquitted him of charges that he sought to mislead customers by providing them with adulterated drugs. He was also found not guilty of charges that he knowingly mislabeled drugs.

Cadden was also acquitted of charges that he sought to defraud the US Food and Drug Administration by treating his center as a pharmacy, rather than a manufacturing center, which would have subjected New England Compounding to greater federal scrutiny.

Weinreb would not say how prosecutors will proceed with other criminal cases related to the outbreak, including the April trial of Chin, who was Cadden’s supervisory pharmacist.

April trial?

Seven other workers, including pharmacists at the Framingham center, are slated to go to trial on related charges. US District Judge Richard G. Stearns dismissed charges against two other people. A former salesman, Robert Ronzio, pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the government and testify against Cadden. He has not been sentenced.

Chin’s lawyer, Stephen Weymouth, said in an interview that prosecutors should scale back the case against his client based on the jury’s verdict in Cadden’s case — if Chin’s case goes to trial at all. He said Chin might admit to some of the charges, but not murder. 

Oh, he must have done that. They plea-bargained him.

“This was a pretty smart jury. I think they got it right across the board,” Weymouth said, adding the murder charges “should never have been brought by the government.”

Weinreb defended prosecutors’ decision to charge Cadden with directly causing deaths, despite the verdict. “Mr. Cadden’s full conduct was amply laid out over the course of the two months that this trial took place, and we’re very pleased to have had that opportunity to tell that story so that the whole world would know what Mr. Cadden did,” Weinreb said.


"NECC verdict could serve as blueprint for other trials" by Milton J. Valencia Globe Staff  March 24, 2017

The verdict slips tell a story.

When jurors returned their decision in the trial of the former co-owner of a Framingham company that shipped tainted drugs across the country, they did more than declare guilt or innocence.

They marked their vote tallies on the verdict slip, showing the outcome of their votes, or at least the initial votes, on the charges on which they failed to convict Barry J. Cadden.

Cadden, who was also head pharmacist at New England Compounding Center, was convicted Wednesday of dozens of counts of fraud and racketeering related to a medical crisis that killed more than 60 people and sickened hundreds more. He was also convicted of conspiracy, which means jurors believed he conspired with others to carry out his crimes.

But Cadden was acquitted of more serious charges that he caused the deaths of at least 25 of the victims of the outbreak, a verdict that essentially spares him from a life sentence. He is slated to be sentenced June 21.

It was the first in a series of criminal trials related to the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak.

That split verdict — and those verdict slips — could sketch a roadmap for prosecutors and defense attorneys as they decide how to proceed in the other cases.

“You don’t always have that insight into what the jury was thinking,” said Eric Christofferson, a former federal prosecutor and now an attorney with DLA Piper.

He said in an interview the question of whether Cadden had an intentional role in the murders “was obviously the main issue that the jury was wrestling with.”

“It really gives the parties, both the government and the defense attorneys who are looking at the next round of trials, something to think about going into the next round,” Christofferson said.

The tallies show the 12 jurors were split on charges related to the deaths. While they had been asked to consider 25 deaths, and could not unanimously agree on a guilty verdict on any of them, jurors seemed more willing to say guilty to deaths that happened in certain states.

For instance, nine of the jurors said Cadden was guilty of the three deaths that occurred in Indiana, while seven said guilty to the three deaths that occurred in Maryland.

None said guilty to the two deaths that occurred in Florida.

David Schumacher, who recently became a partner at Hooper, Lundy & Bookman after eight years as a prosecutor in the US attorney’s health care fraud unit, said the disparity shows jurors followed the case closely and listened to the judge’s instructions — they were required to follow the murder laws specific to each state, a possible explanation for the disparities in the verdict sheet.

“It shows the jury was carefully, deliberately’’ doing its job, he said.

That is likely to factor into the thinking of prosecutors in advance of the trial of Glenn A. Chin, Cadden’s former head pharmacist and the only other person charged with causing deaths. Any conviction would have to be unanimous.

“It matters because the stakes are so high,” Schumacher said.

In his trial, Cadden placed the blame for contaminated drugs on Chin, saying evidence showed Chin was the one in charge of the pharmacy, which could make him appear more culpable.

Chin’s lawyer, Stephen Weymouth, said his client might be willing to plead guilty to some charges but not murder, and he said the jury’s refusal to convict Cadden of those charges shows that prosecutors have overreached in trying to connect them to the deaths.

Bruce Singal, an attorney for Cadden, said there is no indication the jury’s vote tallies were a final vote, noting the verdicts were announced in the courtroom and all the jurors said they agreed.

Prosecutors would not comment on the verdict sheet. The identities of the jurors are not known, and they could not be reached for comment.

Though Chin and Cadden were the only two accused of causing deaths, seven other workers at New England Compounding, including pharmacists and technicians, are slated to go to trial in the fall on charges including fraud and racketeering — the same charges Cadden was convicted of.

Two other defendants had charges dismissed, and another has pleaded guilty.

Mark Pearlstein, an attorney for one of the men awaiting trial, pharmacist Joseph M. Evanosky, said the verdict has not changed his plans to contest the charges.

“We are very confident that the government is going to be unable to establish that [Evanosky] committed any crime, period,” he said. “There’s nothing in the verdict that alters that view, which we’ve had since the inception of this case.”

But analysts said prosecutors, while disappointed the jury refused to convict Cadden on the charges related to the deaths, probably left the courthouse emboldened after the jury found that he ran a conspiracy with his pharmacists, and committed fraud.

“I’d expect them to go full speed ahead,” Schumacher said.



Victims disappointed pharmacy owner wasn’t convicted of murder

‘He has no idea what he’s done to my family’

Maybe some money would make her happy?

Good thing the feds prosecuted the case

"Judge finds prosecutor misconduct in handling of Amherst drug lab cases" by Shawn Musgrave Globe Correspondent  June 26, 2017

A Springfield judge has vacated several drug cases connected to a former state chemist after finding that two former state prosecutors committed misconduct.


In a lengthy ruling, Judge Richard J. Carey of Hampden County Superior Court concluded that the two prosecutors “tampered with the fair administration of justice” by deliberately concealing documents and making misrepresentations to a judge. Carey found their conduct “constitutes a fraud upon the court.”


Carey dismissed the convictions of seven defendants and allowed another to withdraw his guilty plea.

The dismissals stem from evidence tested by Sonja Farak, a former state chemist at the Amherst drug laboratory who was arrested in early 2013 after a colleague noticed samples were missing. She pleaded guilty in 2014 to stealing from narcotics evidence and was sentenced to eighteen months in jail.

At the time of her arrest, State Police seized drugs and paraphernalia from Farak’s car, as well as work sheets she completed as part of substance abuse therapy. The work sheets showed that her tampering with evidence began earlier than was revealed at trial or in subsequent proceedings.

(Blog editor sighs as shoulders slump)

Judge Carey determined that two former assistant attorneys general — Anne Kaczmarek and Kris Foster — compounded the damage done by Farak, and that their actions were “in many ways more damning.” The prosecutors took steps to conceal these work sheets from the court and local prosecutors, as well as from defendants challenging Farak’s analysis in their cases, he found.

Almost like a.... gulp.... conspiracy?

Kaczmarek left the attorney general’s office in 2014 and is now an assistant clerk magistrate in Suffolk County.

“I am proud of my 16 years of working for the people of Massachusetts. I disagree with the Court’s decision and the characterization of my conduct in this case,” said Kaczmarek.

Foster is now general counsel at the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission. She did not respond to a request for comment.

“The nature and scope of governmental misconduct by Kaczmarek and Foster in withholding evidence was severe,” Carey wrote. “It continued for a prolonged period, in violation of many drug lab defendants’ constitutional rights.”

I give up; just legalize it all, as bad as that sounds.

Kaczmarek, who led Farak’s prosecution and also prosecuted former state chemist Annie Dookhan, cited these work sheets in memos to her supervisors. She also provided copies to Farak’s defense attorney, but not to the Hampden District Attorney’s Office, which was responsible for passing along pertinent evidence to defendants.

In response to motions from defense attorneys, Foster told a judge that all relevant materials had already been turned over, characterizing such motions as a “fishing expedition.” Foster later testified that she never actually reviewed the evidence files to determine what had not been turned over, and that she intentionally wrote a “vague” letter to the judge to avoid representing that she had.....

You know that lying to a judge part, that really gets me. That is like one of the foundations of the system. If you are going to lie to the judge.... !!


Would still have to pay, though.

Just an observation, but it seemed like the Globe covered the Hernandez trial much more.

Feds Bury Madoff Boys

Gue$$ that means they are closing the file:

"Estates of Bernard Madoff’s dead sons reach $23 million deal with feds" by Erik Larson Bloomberg News  June 26, 2017

NEW YORK — The estates of Bernard Madoff’s dead sons have reached an agreement with the US government to hand over a combined $23 million to victims of his Ponzi scheme, resolving an eight-year legal battle over the remnants of fortunes they amassed at their father’s bogus securities firm.

Mark Madoff committed suicide in 2010, and his younger brother, Andrew, died of cancer four years later.

Their estates were sued by the company’s court-appointed bankruptcy trustee, who accused the men of profiting from their father’s fraud for years and squandering more than $150 million of client money on their lavish lifestyles. 

That's odd, because the way I saw it was some well-meaning people who searched their souls regarding all this.

Under the deal, the estates will transfer all cash, business entities, and business interests to funds set up for victims, leaving Mark Madoff’s family with $1.75 million and Andrew Madoff’s family with $2 million, the trustee said Monday in a court filing in Manhattan.

The estates will also withdraw their claims in the Madoff firm’s bankruptcy case, which total nearly $100 million.

The accord also resolves an investigation by the US attorney’s office in Manhattan, which oversaw a criminal investigation that led to a 150-year prison sentence for Bernard Madoff and a 10-year term for his brother Peter. Both men pleaded guilty.

Bernard Madoff’s sons were never accused of a crime. A civil suit against their mother, Ruth Madoff, is pending.

Michelle Pfeiffer going to star in the sequel?

The claims against the Madoff clan have been symbolically important for the trustee, Irving Picard, who is recouping cash for thousands of victims who lost $17.5 billion in principal when the fraud collapsed on Dec. 11, 2008.

So far, he’s recovered more than $11.5 billion, or almost 64 cents on the dollar, by suing banks and offshore funds that funneled cash into the scam. Picard has also sued investors who profited from the fraud by withdrawing more money than they deposited, including Madoff’s friends.

A fund overseen by the Justice Department has another $4 billion to distribute, but it hasn’t yet sent out checks. It’s unclear how much of the money from Monday’s settlement will go to the Justice Department and how much the trustee will get.

Andrew Ehrlich and Martin Flumenbaum, the lawyers for the estates with the firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in Manhattan, didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

Dawn Dearden, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, declined to comment until the settlement is approved by a judge. A hearing is set for July 26.

Madoff’s sons had said that they didn’t know about the Ponzi scheme and that they went to the authorities immediately after their father confessed to them. Madoff was arrested two days later.

The brothers had led Madoff’s market-making and proprietary-trading businesses for years, overseeing real trading activity that lent legitimacy to their father’s bogus investment advisory unit at the heart of the scheme.



"In middle school, Seth Herzon wanted to be a paleontologist, but....."

He went to work for Bernie Madoff instead?

Lobbing Terror at You

Related: Trump's TSA

Glad they are getting the job done:

"Nice catch: TSA finds 20-pound lobster in checked bag at Logan" by Steve Annear Globe Staff  June 26, 2017

Officials from the Transportation Security Administration said there’s no “claws” for alarm after a roughly 20-pound live lobster was spotted in a person’s checked luggage at Logan International Airport over the weekend.

“I cannot speak to any airline policies, but TSA has no prohibition on transporting lobsters,” said TSA spokesman Michael McCarthy in an e-mail to the Globe. “It’s actually fairly common in the New England region. It’s certainly the largest lobster I have ever seen, and I’d be surprised if we’ve ever screened a larger lobster.”

I just can't help but wonder if the 6+ years of radioactive discharge into the Pacific by Fukushima is finally having an effect on this coast.

McCarthy on Monday shared an image to Twitter of a TSA agent holding up the massive lobster that was discovered in the passenger’s luggage at the airport’s Terminal C. He did not specify where the passenger was headed.

In the photo, the officer has an amused smirk on his face, as he shows off the size of the lobster — and its claws.

“TSA officers are skilled at screening all sorts of items in checked baggage...including this 20+ pound lobster at Boston Logan,” McCarthy wrote on Twitter.

According to the TSA’s website, “a live lobster is allowed through security and must be transported in a clear, plastic, spill-proof container.”

McCarthy said that in this case, the lobster was in a cooler, and was “alive and cooperated quite nicely with the screening process.”

The TSA’s website states that officers will visually inspect lobsters before they are put on a flight. But the agency recommends passengers first contact the airline they’re flying on before arriving at the airport, but.....


More tender than shark anyway.

Getting close to lunch here.

Tuesday's Eids

Related: Monday's Eids

Before getting started on print, the groundwork is again being laid for another false flag chemical attack to be pinned on Assad. Regime change is the goal, and nothing will deter them.

Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, added Monday on Twitter: ‘‘Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Asaad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people.’’

Oh, so no matter what the evidence -- or lack thereof -- the U.S. government will also blame Iran and Russia. 

Man, this WWII is gonna be good!

Of course, Syria maintained it hadn’t used chemical weapons and blamed opposition fighters for stockpiling the chemicals. Russia’s Defense Ministry said the toxic agents were released when a Syrian airstrike hit a rebel chemical weapons arsenal and munitions factory.

Sad thing is, that is the likely truth as Syria had its weapons removed (no, they didn't hide any or start production again, either. OPCW confirmed and monitors) and Russia is right.

Then there was this: Bahrain says Qatar is escalating Persian Gulf crisis

With all do respect, I'm not interested in what the puppets in Bahrain have to say.

So that's how we lead into the daily BS shoveled forth by the BG:

Brazil’s crisis deepens as president accused of corruption

That didn't make print, either, but was previewed on the website.


"A Swedish man kidnapped by Islamic militants in northern Mali nearly six years ago has been released from captivity, the Swedish government confirmed Monday. Johan Gustafsson, 42, had been on a motorcyle tour through Africa. In Syria on Monday....."

And in a separate development in Iraq....

"Pakistan leader orders inquiry as fuel tanker death toll reaches 157" New York Times  June 26, 2017

ISLAMABAD — The death toll from a fireball that consumed an overturned fuel truck in eastern Pakistan has reached 157, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered a high-level inquiry Monday into what caused such a severe loss of life.

The blaze in Punjab province, which also left at least 127 injured, has cast a pall of grief over Eid al-Fitr, the celebration that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and has raised stark questions about road safety and law enforcement.

Hundreds of people, including women and children, had ignored police warnings and swarmed around an overturned tanker early Sunday in the town of Ahmadpur East. They were using bottles, buckets, and pots to collect fuel gushing from the vehicle when the site was engulfed in an enormous fireball.

Sharif cut short a private visit to London and returned to Pakistan on Monday, visiting survivors at a hospital in Bahawalpur.

“We will get to the bottom of this matter,” he said during a televised news briefing.

He said that investigators would look into whether the vehicle had been roadworthy and whether government agencies had failed to enforce regulations.

That's where my BG print put out the fire. Web version let it burn.

The cause of the fire was still being determined, officials said, but based on several witness accounts, they were leaning toward the possibility that it had started when someone in the crowd had tossed a lit cigarette


There were contradictory reports about why so many people had rushed to the truck to collect fuel.

Saleemullah, 40, who survived the fire unhurt, said that he had been awakened by his wife early Sunday and told about an announcement from a nearby mosque that alerted people to the overturning of a tanker about a third of a mile from his home.

“My wife said, ‘Go and get fuel for your motorbike,’ as others in the neighborhood were doing so,” said Saleemullah, who goes by only one name. “People were collecting the fuel in anything they could use. Some motorbike riders were even using their helmets.”

The fire erupted suddenly, Saleemullah said. “I was standing at a distance and jumped backward when I saw the flame,” he added. Many people jumped into a nearby waterway when the fire broke out, he said.

Government officials disputed that announcements had been made through mosque loudspeakers.

“It is unverified, mostly hearsay,” said Salman Sufi, an aide to the Punjab chief minister.


Trump set to meet premier of India amid high hopes" by Avantika Chilkoti New York Times  June 26, 2017

Well, my print copy was by Matthew Pennington of the AP, and then there is a double team effort with Catherine Lucey.

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — With Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India set to meet President Donald Trump on Monday for the first time, many Indians in communities like this one have had high hopes for the relationship between the two leaders — both of whom swept to power as media-savvy political outsiders pledging to revive their national economies.

In a string of storefronts here in “Little India” that pay tribute to Hindu deities, Yogi Patel, 52, runs the Laxmi Pan Center, which is named after the goddess of wealth and sells a betel nut breath freshener. He has lived in the United States for 32 years and is a strong supporter of Trump.

“Trump is doing the right thing. He’s doing good for U.S. citizens and America,” he said, switching between English and Hindi to explain that he grew up in Gujarat, the state that Modi led as chief minister before the 2014 election. “And I am from both countries.”

But as Trump has tried to crack down on immigration and withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement, singling India out as a country that has gained unfairly from the accord, the meeting of the two leaders with nationalist leanings and sizable social media followings has taken on a more complicated tone for others in the Indian diaspora.

Trump is “a little bit unpredictable,” said Vasudev Patel, who voted for Trump and is the president of the Overseas Friends of Bharatiya Janata Party, USA, Modi’s party. “Nobody knows when he will make what comment. And the next day he will say he didn’t say that. He’s like an Indian politician.”

Of the roughly 3 million people of Indian descent in the United States, 65 percent are Democrats or lean Democratic, according to a 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center. But on both sides of the debate, political analysts say last year’s election has ignited a wave of political engagement among Indians in the United States, and that is also driving interest in this week’s meeting.

“Most immigrants who come are really trying to make a life for themselves and their families. They’re really concerned about the mortgage on the house, the papers to get their green card, family back at home,” said Devesh Kapur, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and an author of “The Other One Percent: Indians in America.”

Is that is all that is left from the Native American tribes? 1%?

“This has now become a wake-up call that they cannot stand as aloof,” he added.

The diaspora in the United States sees itself as a wealthy and powerful segment of the population, with Indian-born business leaders, including Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and Google’s Sundar Pichai, rising to prominence in recent years.

The median income of an Indian-American household is $88,000, well above the $49,800 average for the United States as a whole, according to the Pew survey. And 38 percent of Indian-Americans have advanced degrees, compared with just 10 percent of the rest of the U.S. population.

“Indian-Americans or Indians here are politically active,” said Tanvi Madan, the head of the India Project at the Brookings Institution. “They are in the policy space. They have integrated in a substantial way. You see them on prime-time television shows and in sports.”

Both Modi and Trump have made efforts to woo the migrant community.

Weeks before the election last year, Trump visited another Indian community in New Jersey, where he proclaimed that the two countries would be “best friends.” Modi, once barred from the United States on allegations surrounding the deaths of hundreds of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, held a rally for 19,000 people at Madison Square Garden on his first trip to the United States shortly after taking office.

I'm sure I could find what I wrote at the time, but Trump should get along with him just fine.

The Indian prime minister’s meeting with the diaspora on Sunday in Washington was relatively low key.

Those in the crowd, like Srujal Parikh, the executive vice president at the Federation of Indian Associations, were eager to voice specific concerns before Modi’s visit to the White House.

Some are concerned about the relationship between the two countries after Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement. Others want the prime minister to address the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant comments and its tough stance on visas for skilled workers.

“I myself am an immigrant, so I always think this country is built on immigration,” said Parikh, a Democrat. “These are the people that bring the country up or down.”

“We must be talking about the immigration issue. We must be talking about how they can make a bridge between the two countries.” (STORY CAN END HERE. OPTIONAL MATERIAL FOLLOWS.) Tensions ran particularly high this year when two Indian engineers were shot, one fatally, at a Kansas bar. The white suspect was indicted on federal hate crime charges.

That I remember.

Rai Das, 24, who works at a small Indian restaurant in Little India, talks of feeling scared lately while walking the streets of New York.

“There is some sort of wave going on,” said Das, who moved to the United States two years ago to study data analysis. “I don’t know why, but people are discriminating.”

Yet Kiran Sethi, 52, the owner of Reema Jewelers across the street from the restaurant, was so torn by last year’s vote that she did not cast a ballot, despite being a Democratic supporter in the past. She believes the new administration will do more to create jobs for her two daughters, who earned college degrees in the United States and are looking for work.

And that's the better segment of the population! What are all the kids with worthless degrees going to do? Retail?

“When I see them sitting at home for six months, I feel their pain,” said Sethi, adding that Indian-Americans are a “well respected” part of American society. “Do you know how hard we work? We try our best that our kids go to school and get a good education.”

This week’s meeting could rest mostly on personal rapport. The two men may seem to have a lot in common, but Modi’s asceticism stands in stark contrast to Trump’s flamboyant style.

Still, both leaders ushered in the meeting by posting on Twitter. As he landed in the United States, Modi tweeted his thanks to the president for his “warm personal welcome,” while Trump referred to the Indian leader as a “true friend.”

From his pan shop in Little India, Patel remained optimistic.

“Their mindset is the same,” he said, batting away concerns as he took an oversize stick of sugar cane to the juicer. “Modi does good for India, and he’s thinking of the public there. And Trump is the same here.”

So what military moves are coming in the Indian sphere?


"Trump meets India leader for talks on defense, trade" by Matthew Pennington Associated Press  June 27, 2017

WASHINGTON — President Trump welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India to the White House Monday for their first meeting, in which personal chemistry as much as policy could set the tone for future relations.

The leaders of the world’s two largest democracies are looking to expand ties on defense and fighting terrorism, but strains are likely on trade.

Hours before Modi’s arrival, the State Department imposed sanctions on the Pakistan-based leader of the main rebel group that fights against Indian control in the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir. India hailed the move.


Trump has so far focused on outreach to China, India’s strategic rival, as he looks to Beijing to rein in nuclear-armed North Korea. But Washington and New Delhi share concerns about China’s rise as a military power.

Yeah, he's jerking them around and they don't like it.

The Trump administration says it wants to provide India the kind of defense technology it provides to the closest US allies. In a concrete indication of that, the United States is set to offer a $2 billion sale of US-made unarmed drones to help in surveillance of the Indian Ocean.

The MIIC is loving this guy!

Although Modi’s two-day Washington visit, which began Sunday, is lower key than his previous three trips to the United States since he took office in 2014, there will be plenty opportunity for face time with Trump.

After their talks, Modi and Trump made statements in the Rose Garden.

Trump said both the United Sates and India have been affected by the ‘‘evils of terrorism,’’ adding that the countries will work together to “destroy radical Islamic terrorism.’’

There he goes again.

Modi also had dinner with the president and first lady — the first dinner Trump has hosted for a foreign dignitary at the White House, although he has hosted the leaders of Japan and China at his resort in Florida.

Before going to the White House, Modi met separately with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Trump and Modi share a populist streak and a knack for social media, but their economic nationalist agendas could clash. While Trump champions the idea of ‘‘America First’’ and wants to stop the migration of jobs overseas, Modi has his own drive to boost manufacturing at home, dubbed ‘‘Make in India.’’

India is among the nations singled out by the Trump administration for their trade surpluses with the United States, and it is also reviewing a visa program used heavily by skilled Indian workers.

Both sides want better market access. The United States is seeking stronger Indian protection of intellectual property rights, reductions in tariffs, and narrowing of the $30 billion trade deficit. India has its own concerns, including regulatory barriers faced by its producers of generic medicinal drugs.

Next month, Trump plans to meet President Vladimir Putin of Russia when the two are in Germany for a multinational summit. But the idea is exposing deep divisions within the administration on the best way to approach Moscow in the midst of an ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the US elections.

The Congressional investigative committees are already forming.

Many administration officials believe the United States needs to maintain its distance from Russia at such a sensitive time — and interact only with great caution, but Trump and some others within his administration have been pressing for a full bilateral meeting.

What does Jared say?

He’s calling for media access and all the typical protocol associated with such sessions, even as officials within the State Department and National Security Council urge more restraint, according to a current and a former administration official.

Some advisers have recommended that the president instead do either a quick, informal ‘‘pull-aside’’ on the sidelines of the summit, or that the US and Russian delegations hold ‘‘strategic stability talks,’’ which typically don’t involve the presidents. The officials spoke anonymously to discuss private policy discussions.

The contrasting views underscore differing views within the administration on overall Russia policy, and Trump’s eagerness to develop a working relationship with Russia despite the ongoing investigations.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow on Monday that ‘‘the protocol side of it is secondary.’’ The two leaders will be attending the same event in the same place at the same time, Peskov said, so ‘‘in any case there will be a chance to meet.’’

There are potential benefits to a meeting with Putin. A face-to-face meeting can humanize the two sides and often removes some of the intrigue involved in impersonal, telephone communication.

The pre$$ soft on Putin now?

There are big risks, though. Trump is known to veer off script, creating the possibility for a high-stakes diplomatic blunder.

He can also stay on message.


President Trump and India’s Narendra Modi share a populist streak but their economic agendas could clash.
President Trump and India’s Narendra Modi share a populist streak but their economic agendas could clash (Alex Brandon/Associated Press).

What the double-team effort added:

"Trump welcomes India’s Modi at White House for first meeting" by Matthew Pennington and Catherine Lucey Associated Press  June 26, 2017

WASHINGTON — Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert at the Wilson Center, predicted that Wednesday’s summit would be a ‘‘no-frills, let’s get acquainted affair’’ whose outcomes, from their body language to the post-meeting joint statement, will offer clues about the future of U.S.-India relations.

‘‘For Trump, the personal is political,’’ said Atman Trivedi, an Asia specialist at Hills & Company consultancy.

Ashok Sajjanhar, a former Indian diplomat, said that India is hopeful but apprehensive. ‘‘Modi’s effort during the visit would be to get Trump strategically engaged with India — to get him to see the India-U.S. partnership as a win-win for both countries,’’ Sajjanhar said.

On fighting terrorism, Kugelman said the two leaders have a similar worldview — that ‘‘it needs to be destroyed wherever it rears its murderous head.’’

Then I wish their intelligence agencies would stop creating them.

He said the designation of Syed Salahuddin, leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group, as a ‘‘global terrorist’’ shows that Washington is willing to work closely with New Delhi on terrorism-related matters although it remains to be seen if that signals a tougher policy toward Pakistan. India accuses Pakistan-based militants of launching attacks on its soil.

Like they are preparing you for such a thing, which means Pakistan -- and its nukes -- will be on the side of Russia, China, Iran, and Turkey.

Honestly, I'm not liking the match-ups when I see it's the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Europe on the other side. We gonna lose.

Modi will also want to learn about the administration strategy to stabilize Afghanistan, where India has committed $3 billion in aid since 2001.

Oh, yeah, that place.

Climate change could be a contentious issue. New Delhi was irked by Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris accord, and his claim that India had made its participation contingent on receiving billions in foreign aid. India denies that and says it will continue to be part of the accord, regardless of U.S. participation.....


epa06051822 US President Donald J. Trump (R) meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 26 June 2017. EPA/Win McNamee / POOL
President Donald Trump (right) met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) in the Oval Office of the White House on Monday (EPA).

Trump looks like he just passed gas!



China landslide site evacuated over concerns of second slide

China paroles imprisoned Nobel laureate to allow cancer treatment

Wait until you see how they are going to pay for it.

"Carmakers may end up shouldering the bulk of the costs of replacing the estimated 100 million defective air bags made by Takata Corp. after the company filed for the biggest postwar bankruptcy by a Japanese manufacturer. Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., and Nissan Motor Co. on Monday issued separate statements saying they may not be reimbursed for the majority of their recall-related claims by Takata, which earlier filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States and Japan."

Btw, looks like I was wrong about Park Gun-hye.


"75 UK buildings tested for fire safety, and all fail" by Dan Bilefsky New York Times  June 26, 2017

LONDON — On Monday, the maker of the cladding tiles, Arconic, said it was pulling the product worldwide from use on tall buildings. The company is the US-based successor to Alcoa.

Then WTF is going on? All this attention on a structure still standing from the pre$$ raises my suspicions when so many other tower fires are one and done. Now we are told this stuff is on buildings all over the world?

An estimated 4,000 residents of the more than 800 apartments in the Chalcots Estate were advised to leave their homes after the Grenfell Tower inferno, but at least 100 residents refused to budge, even as local officials were knocking on their doors and urging them to get out.

One of the residents, Roger Evans, 51, who works in film production, has lived for three years at Taplow, one of the towers in the Chalcots Estate.

He said Monday that security staff members at the building had tried to block him from entering his apartment, that the council was threatening legal action if residents refused to leave and that an “occupied” sign had been put on the outside of his apartment.

“The whole exercise has been a massive knee-jerk overreaction,” he said, standing outside the tower block, as some residents rushed in and out to remove their belongings. “They could just do the work quietly around us. People have been displaced, they don’t know how long for, and are angry. I am refusing to go and I have no intention of going until necessary.”

He raises good points, and perhaps it is all an exercise to see how pliable the British people are to forced migrations and the rest. Are there FEMA camps in Britain? V for Vendetta? What terror horror is soon to be visited upon England?

Bibiche Kiala, 35, a resident of Dorney, another of the towers, said the sudden order to evacuate had left many residents shaken and upset, including those with children. She said she had been staying with a friend.

“They came and knocked on the door and told us that the building had the same cladding as Grenfell,” Kiala said. “People are scared. Most wanted to leave but some wanted to stay. They haven’t yet told us when we can come back. They said it could take four weeks.” 

At least they didn't kick it in.

The United States, a world leader in fire safety standards, forbids the application of the sort of highly flammable materials used on Grenfell Tower. But under the regulatory system in force in Britain, builders and property owners faced less strict restrictions and may have wrapped hundreds of buildings in the potentially risky cladding.

John McDonnell, the opposition Labour Party’s spokesman on economic issues, said those killed in Grenfell Tower had been “murdered” by “political decisions” made over recent decades.

As many across the political spectrum have criticized the regulatory shortcomings that may have led to the Grenfell fire, members of the insurance industry have said they warned the government about the risks of flammable cladding just a month before it happened.....

It is a criminal government; however, thankfully they are absolved of all crimes in the West.


The first charge is neglect, the second would be bribery:

"British leader reaches deal she needs to govern" by Steven Erlanger New York Times  June 26, 2017

LONDON — Without the support of the Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, Prime Minister Theresa May risked losing a vote of confidence, which would have opened the way for the opposition Labor Party to try to form a minority government of its own.

The two parties agree on most things, including Britain’s exit from the European Union, and the Democratic Unionists are eager to keep Jeremy Corbyn of the Labor Party from being prime minister, given his past sympathies for the Irish Catholic Sinn Fein party and the Irish Republican Army.

With DUP support, she will now have an effective working majority in the 650-seat House of Commons of 13 — given that Sinn Fein does not take up the seven seats it won and the speaker of the House and his two deputies do not vote.

The terms of the agreement are still vague, beyond the extra funding for the province over the five-year term of the Parliament, if it lasts that long. Such deals with smaller parties, which are short of a formal coalition, have proved fragile in the past. And May’s position is extremely weak, both in her party, which was shocked by her failure, and in the country.

What would you call it?

There is continuing speculation the Conservatives may choose to replace her as prime minister as early as October.

A changing of the guard?

Some Conservatives, like John Major, a former prime minister, had urged May to manage a minority government without the DUP. Their fear was a formal deal would violate the British government’s vow of neutrality in Northern Ireland, where the DUP and Sinn Fein are at odds over continuing a power-sharing agreement.

Wasn't that a while ago?

Opposition parties said the pact was “shoddy” (the Liberal Democrats) and “grubby” (both Labor and the Scottish National Party) and called for its details to be publicized.

Labor’s deputy leader, John McDonnell, said: “Let’s call this grubby deal what it is: This is a straightforward political bribe to desperately prop up Theresa May in office.”


Speaking of grubby garbage:

"Garbage piles mount in Athens as heat wave looms" Associated Press  June 26, 2017

ATHENS — With a heat wave expected later this week, Greece’s government on Monday failed to persuade striking garbage collectors to return to work after a 10-day protest left huge piles of trash around Athens.

It's breaking over here, and that is not a good combination.

Striking workers scuffled with riot police in central Athens outside the stuttered entrance of the Interior Ministry building, where a union delegation presented its demands.

Nikos Trikas, leader of the municipal workers’ union, said the strike would continue at least until Thursday, with more protests planned on that day.

‘‘The government rejected our demands in three minutes. They have taken their decisions and will allow private contractors to participate in garbage collection,’’ Trikas told the Associated Press, surrounded by dozens of striking workers wearing orange caps to shield themselves from the sun.

He said his union would formally request a meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday.

‘‘Basically, they are selling us out, and 10,000 [municipal] workers have no idea what their future will be.’’

Government officials accused the union representatives of abruptly ending the talks.

Temperatures are forecast to reach 42 degrees Celsius (107 degrees Fahrenheit) in Athens by the end of the week, prompting a public health agency to issue a warning over the continuing strike.

‘‘The continued accumulation of garbage . . . combined with high temperatures poses a risk to public health,’’ the state-run Center for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Despite the strike, municipal crews agreed to collect some garbage in busy tourist areas, outside hospitals, and at intersections where tumbling piles of trash were slowing traffic.


Later Monday, the government is due to submit draft legislation to parliament to renew job contracts for thousands municipal garbage works.

Striking unions are demanding that government fulfill commitments to provide permanent jobs for long-term contract workers — an action that could breach strict budget obligations set out under Greece’s international bailout agreements.

Bankers always win.

Greece has been repeatedly criticized by the European Union for its heavy reliance on open landfills and low rates of recycling, and has been fined on many occasions for failing to close illegal dump sites.

That's what the web version dumped on you.


Also see:

"Perrier opened a new production line at its plant in the south of France last month that speeds the process of filling green, teardrop-shaped bottles with bubbling mineral water for shipment around the world. Now the brand’s owner, Nestle SA, is further ramping up production, planning its biggest factory upgrade since it acquired Perrier a quarter-century ago. By sticking with the French brand through the tumultuous years that followed a 1990 safety scandal, Nestle offers a riposte to Dan Loeb, whose activist hedge fund Third Point has disclosed a $3.5 billion stake in Nestle, saying the food giant should boost profits by casting aside underperforming businesses. Perrier’s popularity in the 1980s made it the liquid equivalent of a mint-green Lacoste polo shirt: the perfect statement of the times, but desperately out of fashion a few years later when yuppie tastes moved on. Perrier all but disappeared from Riviera terraces after the discovery of the carcinogen benzene in some bottles. Now it’s being embraced by millennial hipsters, and Nestle sees a bright future for the brand as it targets growth in Asia and among consumers seeking an upmarket alternative to soda....."

Even the brief talking point about water is for the elites.

"BMW said Monday that it will invest an additional $600 million to expand its South Carolina plant, creating 1,000 jobs over the next four years. CEO Harald Krueger’s announcement coincided with the German automaker’s celebration of 25 years of manufacturing in the state. BMW, which has already invested $7 billion in South Carolina, also unveiled its 2018 BMW X3, a compact sports vehicle expected to be available in November. It will be built at the plant in Greer alongside the BMW X4, X5 and X6. The expansion will boost its workforce to more than 10,000 people. BMW will separately invest $200 million over five years on workforce training, Krueger said. The company touts the South Carolina plant as its largest worldwide, producing more than 411,000 X models last year. About 70 percent of BMWs made there are exported. Last year, the automaker reached a milestone when its 2 millionth BMW was exported from the Charleston port."

Call it the Trump effect.

RelatedGoogle said to face $1.2 billion antitrust fine, but battle with Europe looms

Going to leave what is going on in Spain buried.

Same with the football stuff (all is forgiven); only golf and baseball from now on.