Saturday, June 24, 2017

Saturday Clean-Up

Just sifting through today's rubble as I log in:

"By all means, the investigations into Russian meddling, and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, should continue. But sometimes following the money isn’t the only way, or even the best way, to detect serious misconduct by public officials....."

That was on my back page; this was the above-the-fold lead:

"US debated way to deter Putin’s vote meddling" by Greg Miller and Ellen Nakashima Washington Post  June 24, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration approved a previously undisclosed covert measure that authorized planting cyber weapons in Russia’s infrastructure, the digital equivalent of bombs that could be detonated if the United States found itself in an escalating exchange with Moscow.

That is an ACT of WAR!

The Obama administration also secretly debated dozens of options for deterring or punishing Russia, including cyberattacks on Russian infrastructure, the release of CIA-gathered material that might embarrass Putin, and sanctions that officials said could “crater” the Russian economy.

The project, which Obama approved in a covert-action finding, was still in its planning stages when Obama left office. It would be up to President Trump to decide whether to use the capability.

“It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend,” said a former senior Obama administration official involved in White House deliberations on Russia. “I feel like we sort of choked.”

Obama didn't want his legacy to be WWIII. He left that to Trump.

The report brought to the White House was drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the presidential race. 

I don't believe that garbage. The sabotage campaign came from within. Wikileaks was used as a conduit to establish the narrative.

At the time, the outlines of the Russian assault on the US election were increasingly apparent.

WaPo = Bezos = CIA, sorry. 

Even the word choice is full of inference. It's pure propaganda via the pri$m of the pre$$.

Hackers with ties to Russian intelligence services had been rummaging through Democratic Party computer networks, as well as some Republican systems, for more than a year.

Oh, Repugs were hacked, too, and how come the Dems didn't turn over the servers to the FBI?

In July, the FBI had opened an investigation of contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates. And on July 22, nearly 20,000 e-mails stolen from the Democratic National Committee were dumped online by WikiLeaks, but at the highest levels of government, among those responsible for managing the crisis, the first moment of true foreboding about Russia’s intentions arrived with that CIA intelligence.

It's good fiction if you like that sort of thing.

The material was so sensitive that Brennan, the CIA director, kept it out of the president’s daily briefing, concerned that even that restricted report’s distribution was too broad.

Woa, woa, woa!!! 

It's not like he read them, but was that Brennan's call to make?

To guard against leaks, subsequent meetings in the situation room followed the same protocols as planning sessions for the Osama bin Laden raid.

In the months since, the post-election period has been dominated by investigations into whether Trump associates colluded with Russia before the election and whether the president sought to obstruct the FBI inquiry afterward. That spectacle has obscured the magnitude of Moscow’s attempt to hijack a precious and now vulnerable-seeming American democratic process.


And remember, despite all this interference talk, the pukes will come back at the end and say it didn't change the election at all. The vote was fair, because to question that calls into question all 535 seats on the Hill. So they interfered, but not really.

Btw, when is the AIPAC rep due to stop by the office, and is the summer vacation to Israel, all expenses paid, lined up yet?

Beset by allegations of hidden ties between his campaign and Russia, Trump has shown no inclination to revisit the matter and has denied any collusion or obstruction on his part. As a result, the expulsions and modest sanctions announced by Obama on Dec. 29 continue to stand as the United States’ most forceful response.

“The punishment did not fit the crime,” said Michael McFaul, who served as the US ambassador to Russia for the Obama administration from 2012 to 2014. “Russia violated our sovereignty, meddling in one of our most sacred acts as a democracy — electing our president.’’

“The Kremlin should have paid a much higher price for that attack. And US policymakers now — both in the White House and Congress — should consider new actions to deter future Russian interventions,” McFaul said.

F*** that. Let's invade like Hitler did. Stop pussy-footing around, if that isn't too politically incorrect of me.

Btw, how many hundreds of foreign elections has the CIA screwed with or then overthrown the results?

The Senate this month passed a bill that would impose additional election- and Ukraine-related sanctions on Moscow and limit Trump’s ability to lift them. The measure requires House approval, however, and Trump’s signature.

Trump on Friday suggested in a television interview that special counsel Robert Mueller has a close personal relationship with fired FBI director James Comey that could disqualify Mueller from credibly overseeing the Russia investigation.

In the interview with Fox News, Trump claimed Mueller was ‘‘very, very good friends with Comey, which is bothersome.’’

Trump repeatedly refused to say whether he believed Mueller would have to recuse himself from the inquiry. ‘‘We’ll have to see,’’ he said.....

I'm not expecting the pre$$ to get into the coziness of the relationship between Comey, Mueller, and the Clintons. 

So when do Loretta Lynch and Susan Rice get subpoenaed? The cover up of Clinton corruption and the unmasking of Obama's political spying operation have gotten lost in all the sound, smoke, and fury surrounding Russia.


"FBI investigating Manafort real estate deals" by Mike McIntire New York Times   June 23, 2017

NEW YORK — Federal investigators are examining financial transactions involving Paul Manafort and his son-in-law, who embarked on a series of real estate deals in recent years fueled by millions of dollars from Manafort, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The transactions involve the financing of apartments and luxury homes in New York and California using money from Manafort, as well as from other investors solicited by the son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai, including the actor Dustin Hoffman and his son.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that federal officials had requested his bank records from Citizens Financial Group, and NBC News said a subpoena had been issued for records related to a $3.5 million loan obtained last August by a shell company, Summerbreeze LLC., linked to Manafort.

Manafort declined to comment. A lawyer for Yohai did not respond to a request for comment.

The Summerbreeze loan was part of a series of mortgages over the past year, totaling $20 million, secured by properties belonging to Manafort or his wife. Some of that money appears to have been used by Manafort to try to salvage his investments with Yohai.

Court records show that Manafort and his wife invested at least $4 million in several California properties, part of a real estate business that one of Manafort’s daughters described as a joint venture between her father and Yohai.

I'm reading this and I'm wondering, WHERE are the RUSSIAN CONNECTIONS?

The partnership was unexpected given Manafort’s early opinion of his son-in-law, as described in text messages belonging to Andrea Manafort, one of Paul Manafort’s two daughters, which were hacked last year and posted on a website used by Ukrainian hackers.

They kept that one in the shadows, huh?

In the messages, Andrea Manafort said in 2013 that her father “wholeheartedly opposes” her sister Jessica’s marriage to Yohai, whose financial problems had deeply concerned Manafort.

Yet within two years, Yohai, who had a degree in journalism and became a real estate professional only in 2011, was forming shell companies to purchase luxury properties in the Hollywood Hills, worth tens of millions of dollars, which Manafort would put money into......


You know who Trump's favorite player is, right? 

Not his favorite team, though.

Meanwhile, on the other sideline:

Healey’s top target these days is Trump

That's very interesting. Republican attorneys general launched a similar assault on President Obama’s agenda when he was in office, and why is it that the feds have to investigate corruption on Beacon Hill, AGs office always late to mortgage swindles, student loan scams, and all the rest, they only investigate after something appears in the pre$$. It's almost as if their job is to cover up the crimes of the powerful. Her office also knows all about the health charge disparity regarding Partners (one could call it extortion) and yet nothing is done.


Speaking of your health:

"Republican senator vital to health bill’s passage won’t support it" by Jonathan Martin New York Times   June 23, 2017

WASHINGTON — Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, perhaps the most vulnerable Republican facing reelection in 2018, became the fifth GOP senator to declare his opposition to the bill in its current form. The others are Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Ted Cruz of Texas, but Heller did not rule out ultimately voting for a version of the bill.

What skeletons are in his closet?

Planned Parenthood, which would lose all federal support under the bill, is mobilizing furiously to bring down the Republicans’ broader legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act before it reaches President Trump’s desk. Moderate Republican senators such as Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have expressed deep misgivings over the Planned Parenthood provision, which would deprive the organization of more than 40 percent of its funding, jeopardizing health care for women in states like theirs, but restoring Medicaid reimbursements to the women’s health organization could cost just as many votes on the right.

Funding for Planned Parenthood has been a perennial issue since Republicans won control of the House in 2010, and each time, Republican leaders have finessed it by saying the matter would be settled in a broader health care bill. Planned Parenthood’s political wing invested $30 million to encourage voters to turn out in last year’s elections alone. That effort fell short, but it will introduce a blitz ahead of the Senate vote, using a surge of donations since Trump’s election to press supporters to call their senators. Protests are also planned in Washington.....

Notice how the selling of fetal tissue scandal has been neglected?

I'm not saying such science shouldn't be used; I'm just noting what is missing from the discussion.


It's like a Bo$ton City Council meeting in there, so much so that I don't have the words to describe it. Maybe if I sang them.....

"Minuteman Health shifting to for-profit status" by Priyanka Dayal McCluskey Globe Staff  June 23, 2017

Minuteman Health Inc., an insurer launched with millions of taxpayer dollars, said Friday it is seeking to ditch its nonprofit structure next year and sell plans under a new for-profit entity.

They want to make a penny or two.

Executives of the Boston-based company said the change is necessary because the company faces regulations that are too burdensome. The company struggled to grow its membership and lost money after its launch in 2013.

Did you know that before 1973 it was illegal to profit off of health care?

Minuteman was created under a program of the Affordable Care Act that was designed to offer lower-cost insurance options for individuals and small businesses. About two dozen such insurers were launched with $2.4 billion in federal funds — including $156 million for Minuteman. Many of the insurers struggled and shut down. One insurer in Maryland recently converted to a for-profit.

Tom Policelli, Minuteman’s chief executive, said the company wants to do business as a for-profit because under current rules, it cannot grow its membership substantially beyond individuals and small businesses. Insurers such as Minuteman that sell plans in that market must comply with a controversial policy known as risk adjustment, which requires insurers with healthier members to make payments to insurers with sicker members. Minuteman has long complained that risk adjustment has hurt the company’s finances and ability to grow.

Executives said they will stop selling plans under their current corporate structure as of Jan. 1. Instead, they have formed a new company, Minuteman Insurance Co., to sell health plans in 2018.

Minuteman has about 37,000 members; they are not expected to see any interruption in coverage this year, but the new for-profit company still needs approval to sell insurance in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Executives have yet to raise enough capital to get approval from insurance regulators. They also must establish contracts with health care providers and design new health plans before a deadline of mid-August, regulators in both states said.

Where is Healey?

After stumbling in Massachusetts, Minuteman expanded to New Hampshire and now has the bulk of its members there. New Hampshire Republicans seized on the company’s announcement Friday as an example of the failure of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

In Washington, Republicans in Congress have drafted legislation to undo much of that sweeping law, which they blame for imposing onerous mandates and driving up health care costs. The law expanded insurance coverage to millions of Americans.

“Today’s announcement by Minuteman Health is more clear evidence that Obamacare has failed and that our nation’s health care system demands reform,” New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said. “It further underscores why Washington must act now to reform our health care system and take actions to stabilize our individual health insurance market.”

And to anyone who has been following along here, you know that means if nothing else there will be a $20 billion (?) bailout for insurance companies. That will $tabilize the health of the markets. As for you.....

Policelli said executives remain committed to selling affordable plans to individuals and businesses in New Hampshire and Massachusetts once they get approval to operate under the new company.

Minuteman executives did not say how much money they must raise to win approval for their new company. “We’re all very optimistic and confident about the path we’re on,” Policelli said.

If Minuteman doesn’t gain approval to sell plans for Jan. 1, its members will have to select a plan from another insurance carrier to stay covered in 2018. Individuals buying insurance on the Massachusetts Health Connector have nine other insurers to choose from, while individuals in New Hampshire have a choice of three other insurers.....

Their “intention is to pick up right where they left off.” 


Even if the center were open:

"Closure of Somerville mental health center unsettles a community" by Sara Salinas Globe Correspondent  June 23, 2017

SOMERVILLE — On Thursday, moving boxes sat piled up. After 30 years of serving as a resource for people with mental illness, developmental disability, and financial challenges, the Ruby Rogers Center will shutter the office Sunday.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Mental Health acknowledged that funding will be cut effective July 1, but said Ruby Rogers’ leadership rejected efforts to include the center in the contracting and budgeting process.

Program director Nanci Baren said the center as it operates now doesn’t fit the parameters for a Recovery Learning Community, client-run networks of support, as outlined by the state.

“They wanted us to become something we weren’t,” she said. “They wanted us to be like all the other RLCs. They wanted them all to be cookie-cutter identical. We’re not the same.”

Ruby Rogers is less regimented than other programs, Baren said. Programming is encouraged, but not mandatory. The center offers alternative methods of therapy, like in-house pets and karaoke.

More than anything, Baren said, Ruby Rogers is a safe, stable place to go for people who can’t go anywhere else.

I know how they feel.

“Most of our members wouldn’t last two days at one of the other [recovery learning centers],” she said. “We give everybody second, maybe third chances -- for most things.”

When rumors of budget cuts circulated in February, members of Ruby Rogers and the larger community started delivering letters of support to the center. Most were hand-written; some in Spanish; a few as long as eight pages.

All of them spoke of the center’s life-changing impact on Somerville residents.

Baren said she sent copies of the letters to local and state officials, in the hope they could help save the center. Ruby Rogers tried raising money on its own with a GoFundMe page, but they couldn’t get enough to sustain the operating budget.

Almost everything is donated, Baren said — food, furniture, tickets for group activities. The center runs on a budget of less than $200,000 a year, she said, but could survive on $100,000.

Attempts to reach the Somerville mayor’s office for comment were unsuccessful.

He's hazy on events.

Baren and the center will move to a temporary space in Harvard Square at the end of August, open for limited hours and only two days a week. There’s no kitchen, so Baren can’t serve food.

David Gibbs, executive director for Community Action Agency of Somerville, which works to reduce homelessness, said the closing of Ruby Rogers is part of a larger trend of dwindling social services in Somerville.

“We’ve just witnessed one social service after another leave the city over the years I’ve been around as funding cuts keep on coming,” he said. “It’s a shame to see the services that so many people depend on leave the city.”

Need to set aside tax loot for cooperate welfare first!


Really leaves you out in the wilderness, huh?

"Families sue health insurers to cover wilderness therapy for mental illness" by Liz Kowalczyk Globe Staff  June 19, 2017

16-year-old Kayla Freilich had been struggling with panic attacks, depression, self-harm, and an eating disorder, but had resisted most treatment. And then came a suicide attempt. Desperate for answers, her frightened parents enrolled her in 11 weeks of “wilderness therapy,’’ a program that routinely entails transporting defiant teens in the middle of the night.

“We were lost,’’ said her mother, Erica Freilich, whose daughter now attends Boston University “It was either do this or watch your child die.’’

Her family’s health insurer, however, would not cover the $500-plus daily cost of wilderness therapy, which was once considered medically suspect, but now is slowly gaining acceptance as programs strive to improve safety and effectiveness. Instead, the Freilichs were forced to deplete college savings to pay for their daughter’s care.

Now, a growing number of families are challenging insurance companies that refuse to cover wilderness therapy, including a Massachusetts family that sued Harvard Pilgrim Health Care in May for refusing to pay for their son’s therapy at RedCliff Ascent, an outdoor behavioral therapy program in Utah. His mother wound up covering the $16,005 cost of treating his oppositional defiant disorder, substance use disorder, depression, and low self-esteem, the lawsuit says.

Being against or questioning authority and its lies is now apparently a mental illness.

Lawsuits have been filed in Florida, Kentucky,New York, and Utah, bolstered by federal rules expanding mental health care coverage, and by improvements in the wilderness therapy industry itself, which had been heavily criticized following a series of deaths a decade ago.

Brad Reedy, a psychologist and co-owner of Evoke, describes the benefits this way: Teens spend four to five days a week hiking, and have daily academic, reading, and written therapy assignments. As at many residential mental health facilities, they receive one or two group therapy sessions each day. A psychologist or social worker travels to the campsite once a week to provide individual therapy and run two group sessions.

Unlike residential therapy, wilderness programs strip away everyday distractionsby requiring participants to live for weeks in the woods, mountains, or desert, where, surrounded by nature, teens can more easily contemplate their struggles and decide how to work on them, proponents say.

In 2007, they were known as boot camps.

Since then, the industry has made dramatic changes, said Michael Gass, a professor at the University of New Hampshire in kinesiology — the study of human movement — who researches the effectiveness of wilderness therapy.

The Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council now accredits programs as a way to improve standards, and several states, including Utah and Oregon, license them. Proponents of wilderness therapy successfully lobbied a national organization that establishes billing codes for insurance companies to come up with a code for wilderness therapy. That will take effect July 1 and will make it easier for programs to bill insurers for their services, though it doesn’t necessarily mean insurance companies will pay.

“The field has evolved,’’ said Will White, a social worker who cofounded Summit Achievement in Stow, Maine. “You are working with kids and families in crisis. They are out in the wilderness at times and that can be risky. But locked facilities can be risky too.’’

Although some studies suggest that teenagers enrolled in wilderness therapy show moderate improvement in self-esteem, behavior, and social skills, many psychologists still think the evidence is inconclusive.

Spending time in nature does seem to contribute to better health, said Jennifer Warkentin, director of professional affairs for the Massachusetts Psychological Association. But she said that does not mean that being in the wilderness is the key component to a treatment program.....

I'm lost, readers.


Maybe the banks could lend a hand?

"Repligen agrees to buy Spectrum for $359 million" by Robert Weisman Globe Staff  June 23, 2017

Waltham life sciences company Repligen Corp., which sells products that help biotechs clear and purify drugs, Friday said it has agreed to pay $359 million to acquire privately held filtration company Spectrum Laboratories Inc.

The proposed deal, which includes a cash payment of $120 million along with 6.1 million shares of Repligen stock, will strengthen Repligen’s position in bioprocess filtration, a key component of the fast-growing biomanufacturing sector.

Spectrum, based in Rancho Dominguez, Calif., makes products used for the filtration, isolation, purification, and concentration of protein-based drugs known as monoclonal antibodies along with vaccines and cell therapies. It rang up sales of $40.2 million last year.

Repligen, traded on the Nasdaq stock exchange, has acquired four other companies in the past five years in a move to increase scale. Last December, the Waltham company paid nearly $40 million to buy TangenX Technology Corp., a Shrewsbury company that makes similar equipment.



"Trump signs law to make VA more accountable for veterans’ care" by Darlene Superville Associated Press  June 23, 2017

WASHINGTON — President Trump signed a bill Friday that will make it easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire employees, part of a push to overhaul an agency that is struggling to serve millions of military veterans.

‘‘Our veterans have fulfilled their duty to our nation and now we must fulfill our duty to them,’’ Trump said during a White House ceremony. ‘‘To every veteran who is here with us today, I just want to say two very simple words: Thank you.’’

I don't agree with him one much, and if nothing else maybe the quality of care will improve under his watch. I just wish he wasn't making more troops need it.

Trump repeatedly promised during the election campaign to dismiss VA workers ‘‘who let our veterans down,’’ and he cast Friday’s bill signing as fulfillment of that promise.

‘‘What happened was a national disgrace and yet some of the employees involved in these scandals remained on the payrolls,’’ Trump said.

Add it to all the rest of the alphabet scandals of the Obama administration.

The measure was prompted by a 2014 scandal at the Phoenix VA medical center, where some veterans died as they waited months for care. The VA is the second-largest department in the US government, with more than 350,000 employees, and it is charged with providing health care and other services to military veterans.

Federal employee unions opposed the measure. VA Secretary David Shulkin, an Obama administration holdover, stood alongside Trump as the president jokingly suggested he’d have to invoke his reality TV catchphrase ‘‘You’re fired’’ if the reforms were not implemented.

The legislation, which many veterans’ groups supported, cleared the House last week by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 368 to 55, replacing an earlier version that Democrats had criticized as overly unfair to employees. The Senate passed the bill by voice vote a week earlier.

The Veterans Affairs bill was backed by Shulkin, who had called the department’s employee accountability process ‘‘clearly broken.’’ The new law will lower the burden of proof to fire employees, allowing for dismissal even if most evidence is in a worker’s favor.

In a separate development Friday, officials said military chiefs will seek a six-month delay before letting transgender people enlist in their services.

That should prove interesting. This politically-correct gender identity confusion is going to destroy the military from within. 

That is no disrespect to transgenders; however, the military's purpose is to fight and win wars, not function as a laboratory for social experimentation. Now I know that in the past there has been segregation, but that was not based on sex. 

In any event, let them have it their way. It's their war machine, not mine.

After meetings this week, the service leaders reached an agreement that rejected Army and Air Force requests for a two-year wait and reflected broader concerns that a longer delay would trigger criticism on Capitol Hill, officials familiar with the talks said.

The new request for a delay will go to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis for a final decision, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to discuss the internal deliberations publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Transgender service members have been able to serve openly in the military since last year, when then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter ended the ban, declaring it the right thing to do. Since Oct. 1, transgender troops have been able to receive medical care and start formally changing their gender identifications in the Pentagon’s personnel system.

But Carter also gave the services until July 1 to develop policies to allow people already identifying as transgender to newly join the military, if they meet physical, medical, and other standards and have been stable in their identified genders for 18 months. The military chiefs had said they needed time to study the issue and its effects on the readiness of the force before taking that step.....


Now, in to battle you go......


"Russia has fired cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea on positions of the Islamic State in Syria, the Defense Ministry said on Friday, Moscow’s latest show of strength. Separately, a senior Russian lawmaker said Moscow is ‘‘nearly 100 percent’’ sure that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the top ISIS leader, was killed in a Russian airstrike last month....."

"Arab nations issue harsh demands to Qatar" by Ben Hubbard New York Times   June 23, 2017

BEIRUT — Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries that recently cut diplomatic ties with Qatar issued a list of demands Friday, insisting that the Persian Gulf nation shut down the news network Al-Jazeera, abandon ties with Islamist groups, and provide details on its funding for political dissidents.

The demands, presented to Qatar through mediators from Kuwait, risked pulling other powers deeper into the rift by calling on the country to shut a Turkish military base and to downgrade its ties with Iran. Iran and Qatar share a large gas field that provides much of Qatar’s wealth. The demands signaled an escalation in the deepest political crisis among Arab Gulf countries in years, after nations including Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates cut economic, diplomatic, and travel ties with Qatar this month, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

That is where my print ended; the rest is web version.

Qatari officials did not immediately respond Friday, but they have denied supporting extremists and said that they would neither negotiate while under a blockade nor submit to demands that undermined the country’s sovereignty.

Al-Jazeera, one of the Arab world’s most widely watched satellite news channels, denounced the demand for its closure as an attack on journalism.

In a statement posted on its website, Al-Jazeera said the Saudis and their partners were trying to “silence the freedom of expression in the region and to suppress people’s right to information and the right to be heard.”

All of the nations involved are US allies, and Qatar and Bahrain host large US military bases. But analysts have said the Trump administration has sent mixed signals, exacerbating the rift.

After the Arab nations announced that they were cutting ties with Qatar, President Trump posted his support on Twitter and even suggested he had been responsible for the move.

But that did not stop his
administration from signing a previously approved deal for Qatar to buy $12 billion of US F-15 warplanes. 

I gue$$ if all U.S. allies are fighting each other.... $$$$$$$

As the crisis has dragged on, US diplomats have complained privately that the Arab nations were taking too long to present their demands, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that they must be “reasonable and actionable.”

Qatar has historically played a maverick role in the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional group that also includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

It maintains ties with a range of Islamist groups throughout the region, relationships that other countries have found useful when negotiating hostage releases but have complained about when those groups challenge their rule.

Qatar has also
opened its doors to members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates consider a terrorist organization; to members of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group; and to the Afghan Taliban. It has also financed Al-Jazeera, which is often critical of Qatar’s rivals. 

That was their main sin.

Those stances have rankled others in the region, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which see political Islam as a threat to their monarchies. And Qatar’s support for the Arab Spring uprisings and for the Muslim Brotherhood have angered countries including Egypt.

For the benefit of whom?

Other nations, including Turkey, have stood up for Qatar.

The Turkish defense minister, Fikri Isik, rejected the demand that Qatar close the Turkish military base and suggested that Turkey would enhance its presence there as a show of support.

“Strengthening the Turkish base would be a positive step in terms of the gulf’s security,” he said, according to Reuters. “Re-evaluating the base agreement with Qatar is not on our agenda.”

Analysts said that many of the other demands would be hard for Qatar to meet, especially in the 10-day period the four nations gave the nation to comply.


RelatedWhat’s behind the rift with Qatar?


Better grab the first flight home:

"As Logan runway work ends, communities eagerly await plane noise study" by Adam Vaccaro Globe Staff  June 23, 2017

Neighborhoods that have seen — and heard — more airplanes flying overhead should get some relief.

For residents frustrated by the overhead rumbling for years, the increase was the last straw. Despite Medford Mayor Stephanie Burke’s concern, the added noise this spring seems to have galvanized critics of the flight paths, said Peter Houk, a Medford resident and member of Massport’s community advisory committee.

“The closure happened and we started getting more of those planes. And then I started just hearing from all types of people I had never heard from before,” he said. “There’s a groundswell.”

At the same time, residents in several Boston suburbs have long sought relief from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan Airport. Their efforts have intensified since 2013, when Logan instituted a GPS-based routing system that created more regulated flight patterns to improve safety and fuel efficiency.

More precise routes, however, meant the volume of planes flying over specific areas increased sharply. At the same time, the number of flights in and out of Logan has jumped appreciably.

“That has caused a concentration of traffic over pretty narrow, tightly confined corridors, and it has made life pretty miserable for a lot of folks,” said Alan Wright, a Roslindale resident and advisory committee member.

Thomas Glynn, chief executive officer of Massport, said the increased frequency of certain routes has made things worse for residents with the misfortune of living underneath. While some areas now experience fewer flights, the noise can be “unrelenting” for those residents, he said.

Advocates for quieter skies are eagerly awaiting an ongoing $1 million study of plane noise, financed by Massport and the FAA. Announced last year, the study will review ways to address the issue, both short- and long-term.

While some of the study’s recommendations will be presented to the FAA later this year, “It is too early to tell how long it might take to implement any of the recommended changes,” the FAA said in a statement.....


Oh, stop your complaining.

"At least 40 people were killed and nearly 100 wounded Friday in four separate bomb and gun attacks in three major Pakistani cities, officials said. A suicide bomber was involved in the first car bombing near the office of the provincial police chief that killed at least 12 people and wounded 20 in the southwestern city of Quetta. Hours later bombings hit a crowded market in a Shi’ite-dominated city in Parachinar, the main city in the Kurram tribal region. Twenty-four people were killed, according to an official. Friday evening, gunmen in the port city of Karachi killed four police officers at a restaurant."


"North Korea responded for the first time to US accusations that it had fatally brutalized Otto F. Warmbier, the captive college student, asserting he was given medical treatment and treated with respect. His death outraged the United States and worsened already-poor relations with North Korea. In a separate development Friday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in is scheduled to meet with President Trump in Washington this month to discuss a joint strategy on how to stop the North’s pursuit of nuclear weapons....."

They already have them, therefore they are not pursuing them. 



"A federal judge issued a stinging rebuke Friday of disciplinary practices at Wisconsin’s youth prisons, saying state officials have demonstrated a ‘‘callous indifference’’ to the harm caused to juvenile inmates by the use of solitary confinement, pepper spray, and shackles. Those tactics used at the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake prisons probably amount to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment and are outside the national norms for juvenile correction, US District Judge James Peterson said. ‘‘Ted Kaczynski has less restrictive solitary confinement than youth at Lincoln Hills,’’ the judge said, referring to the convicted killer known as the Unabomber. Peterson did not immediately halt the practices but ordered the state Department of Correction and attorneys who challenged the tactics to agree within two weeks to a series of changes he outlined in court....." 

Can't really complain about what the North Koreans did.

Also related: Jury deadlocks in Ohio officer’s murder retrial, the latest racially charged police shooting case to show the reluctance of US jurors to convict officers.

Justices side with immigrant who got bad legal advice

They are going to let him stay in Korea.

"The Dalai Lama visited the area in the fall of 2014, making appearances at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Citi Performing Arts Wang Theatre, and the Boston Marriott Copley Place. A session he held at TD Garden was attended by an estimated 10,000 people. The visit wasn’t without controversy, however, as protesters from the California-based group International Shugden Community accused him of discrimination and human rights violations, according to media reports. Earlier this month, meanwhile, his visit to the University of California, San Diego, was met with opposition on a campus where about 13 percent of students hail from China. The Chinese government has accused the Dalai Lama — winner of a 1989 Nobel Peace Prize — of being a separatist and sowing division....."

He's a CIA asset, and China knows it.

Maybe the Globe will challenge him when he gets here.

"The forest fire and haze disaster in Southeast Asia last year, caused mostly by land clearing, may have led to the deaths of more than 100,000 people, according to a study released Monday by researchers from Harvard and Columbia universities. The vast majority of the pollution cases were in Indonesia, where fires were deliberately set to clear land for agriculture. The study, led by public health and atmospheric modeling scientists, estimated...."

Seas are boiling, the air is bad, and the Earth’s warming more extensive, a new study says.

They say it's the hottest its been in 2 million -- yeah, with an m -- years.

London fire could result in manslaughter charges, UK police say

That is still standing?


Time to drop my load:

"United Parcel Service Inc. sees a day when your latest purchase may be dropped off not by a brown-clad delivery driver, but by an octocopter drone. The world’s largest courier took a step closer to that future on Monday, launching an unmanned aerial vehicle from the roof of a UPS truck about a quarter-mile to a blueberry farm outside Tampa. The drone dropped off a package at a home on the property, and returned to the truck, which had moved about 2,000 feet. The test shows how UPS is looking to drones as a way to cut costs and ease delivery in hard-to-reach places. Deploying the aircraft in rural areas — where the distance between stops drives up fuel and labor costs — is one of the more promising applications."