Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday Globe Special: Happy Father's Day

Hate to tell you this, dad, but you are below the fold today..... unless you happen to be in prison:

"Water at state’s largest prison raises concerns" by David Abel Globe Staff  June 17, 2017

NORFOLK — In 2011, after years of inmate complaints about the tea-colored water and long-term problems with aging tanks and wells, the state’s largest prison suffered an unprecedented failure to its water supply.

Toilets wouldn’t flush. Showers wouldn’t run. Behind the 19-foot concrete walls of MCI-Norfolk, the taps ran dry.

Things like that cause riots, you know.

The massive water failure, blamed on excessive sediment coursing through old pipes, led the state Department of Environmental Protection to fine the nearly century-old prison thousands of dollars and order the Department of Correction to install an expensive new water-treatment system.

Six years later, the state has still not built the new system, and inmates, their advocates, and environmental scientists worry that the drinking water is unsafe. 

They didn't care about lead in the school fountains, why would they care about prisoners?

A Globe review of state records found that 43 percent of all water samples collected at MCI-Norfolk since 2011 showed elevated levels of manganese, a prime component of the sediment from the wells. The naturally occurring mineral, found in many foods, can be dangerous when ingested at heightened levels for prolonged periods, potentially leading to tremors, slowed speech, and other neurological disorders that resemble Parkinson’s disease.....

Hey, the "state says water is safe." 

What more do you need to know?


I wonder if they tested it for mercury, and would it matter? Same time last year!

Father's daughter on a pedestal (above the fold, readers):

"Half-century later, murder evidence still under wraps" by Todd Wallack Globe Staff  June 17, 2017

The case was largely forgotten.

So when three outside researchers — including the longtime leader of a Boston think tank and a journalist for New Yorker magazine — recently started digging into the cold case, they might have expected prosecutors would welcome the aid.

Instead, they met a wall of resistance.

The denials raise a vexing question: At what point should law enforcement agencies give other investigators a chance to sift through evidence when they haven’t solved a case on their own?

An official charged with administering the state’s public records law has repeatedly ordered the district attorney’s office to release portions of the documents or at least provide a better explanation for why they must be withheld. So far, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan’s office has responded by further explaining its decision to withhold virtually all of the records.

One of the outside researchers, former Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation president Michael Widmer, said he was disappointed, but not surprised that the Middlesex district Attorney’s office shot down his requests.

“In classic Massachusetts fashion, the Middlesex DA has gone to great lengths to block public access to the records,” said Widmer, who said he’s been haunted by Britton’s unsolved murder since he covered the case as a reporter for the United Press International in Boston.

But Widmer and former New Yorker journalist Becky Cooper, who is writing a book on the case, are continuing to fight. He has filed five separate appeals so far; she has filed three.

“I don’t intend to give up,” said Widmer.....

At this point, my suspicion is such that the authorities are either protecting an important person or family name. That's what it looks like, and it wouldn't be the first time. The levers of power work for them. Always have, probably always will.


A Globe article detailing the crime.

That's what convinced me. 

"Carrie Fisher died from sleep apnea and a combination of other factors, but investigators were not able to pinpoint an exact cause, coroner’s officials said. Among the factors that contributed to Fisher’s death was buildup of fatty tissue in the walls of her arteries. The coroner said the actress showed signs of having taken multiple drugs, but investigators could not determine whether they contributed to her death in December."

They are all princesses, and a New Hope is on tonight.

UPDATE: Carrie Fisher had cocaine, heroin, ecstasy in her system, autopsy shows


Oddly enough, only the sails were visible above the fold. I couldn't see the ships because they were either obstructed from view or were sinking. WTF?

Are they really expecting 3 million people because based on the crowd I see at the apex of the event..... ???

Ferry will escort you back to shore.

Maybe a canoe would be better.


Hey, hey, hey.....

"Judge declares mistrial in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault case" by Graham Bowley and Richard Pérez-Peña New York Times   June 17, 2017

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — The outcome denied vindication to either the defendant or the dozens of women who have accused Bill Cosby, one of the world’s best-known entertainers, of assaulting them over a span of decades.

The exhausted jurors had been deliberating since Monday, sometimes for as much as 12 hours a day.

In their sixth day of deliberations, jurors sent word to Judge Steven T. O’Neill that they could not reach a unanimous verdict on the charges that, in 2004, Cosby had drugged and assaulted Andrea Constand in his Pennsylvania home.

Cosby, 79, reacted calmly to the decision, rubbing his face at one point. Constand stared straight ahead.

After Cosby and his two lawyers filed out, Constand stood in the courtroom surrounded by four other women who had accused Cosby of assault. She looked calm as some of the other women wept, and her lawyer, Dolores Troiani, spoke for her, saying they were looking forward to the retrial.

Cosby said through a spokesman that he felt good about the verdict. His wife, Camille Cosby, issued a strongly worded statement that condemned the district attorney for bringing the case and criticized the media, which she said had “continually disseminated intentional omissions of truths.”

They must be sick.

“As a very special friend once stated, ‘Truth can be subdued, but not destroyed,’ ” she said.

That's true.

The case turned largely on the credibility of Constand, a former Temple University employee.

The jury of 12 was composed of six white men, four white women, one black woman, and one black man. They had reported being deadlocked Thursday but then resumed deliberations at the request of the judge. As it turned out, the deliberations ended up taking longer than the presentation of evidence did.

Sort of a flip from the OJ case.

In recent years, Cosby admitted to decades of philandering and to giving Quaaludes to women to induce them to have sex. The admissions smashed the image he had built as a moralizing public figure and as the upstanding paterfamilias in the wildly popular 1980s and ’90s sitcom “The Cosby Show.”

He was America's father at that time, whether you were white or black. His fall is a metaphor for the state of race relations in the country (and Bill stepped on some powerful toes with his contrarian political philosophy. You know, pull them pants up and take responsibility. That doesn't go over well in some quarters).

He did not testify in his own defense, and so avoided a grilling about those admissions.

The mistrial leaves in limbo a large slice of American popular culture from Cosby’s six-decade career as a comedian and actor.

For the last few years, his TV shows, films, and recorded stand-up performances, one-time broadcast staples, have been considered too toxic to touch, and with the mistrial, they are likely to remain so.

I still see his shows on some of the African-American themed stations so some money is trickling in.

Cosby’s supporters had hoped that a not-guilty verdict might tarnish the broader pool of accusations that have been leveled against him and stained his legacy.

Several of the women have continuing cases in which they have sued Cosby for slander after his representatives suggested that their accounts were fabrications. Several showed up in the courthouse to support Constand each day.

Cosby lawyer Brian McMonagle conceded in his closing statement that Cosby is a flawed man, an unfaithful husband who shattered his fans’ illusions, and that revelations of his womanizing have overtaken his previous image as a genial comedian and beloved TV dad. But that is no crime, he said.

The prosecution had rested its case last Friday, and the defense presented a case Monday that lasted just six minutes — in essence telling the jury that prosecutors had failed to prove anything.....

The problem? 

No video.


So when is his Megyn Kelly interview?

I guess we all have father figures that inspire us to keep going, ones with a deep well of knowledge and experience. Isn't that how all the Cosby shows ended, with Jamaal's puzzled look at the wisdom dispensed by the "old man?"

Oh, I'm sorry, you wanted to ask a question?

Is Flynn a father?

"Testing limits, Michael Flynn entered legal morass" by Nicholas Confessore and Matthew Rosenberg New York Times   June 17, 2017

WASHINGTON — In summer 2014, after repeatedly clashing with other Obama administration officials over his management of the Defense Intelligence Agency — and what he saw as his unheeded warnings about the rising power of Islamic militants — Michael Flynn was fired, bringing his military career to an abrupt end.

Flynn decided that the military’s loss would be his gain: He would parlay his contacts, his disdain for conventional bureaucracy, and his intelligence career battling Al Qaeda into a lucrative business advising cybersecurity firms and other government contractors.

Like everybody else. Think Chertoff.

Over the next two years, he would sign on as a consultant to nearly two dozen companies, while carving out a niche as a sought-after author and speaker — and ultimately becoming a top adviser to President Trump, but instead of lofting him into the upper ranks of Beltway bandits, where some other top soldiers have landed, his foray into consulting has become a legal and political quagmire, driven by the same disdain for boundaries that once propelled his rise in the military.

His business ties are the subject of a broad inquiry by a special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump associates. That investigation now includes work Flynn did for Russian clients and for a Turkish businessman with ties to that country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Flynn sometimes seemed to be trying to achieve through business what he could not accomplish in government. He believed the United States was engaged in a “world war” against Islamic militants, and that Washington’s national security elite had so thoroughly politicized the country’s intelligence agencies that few left in government could see the threat.

Then he was one of the few over there that had the guts to say it.

The authorities may not call it that, but that's what it is. Been that way for years now.

The United States, he believed, needed to take a tougher line against the Islamic State, and it needed to cultivate Russia as an ally in the fight. But Flynn also became entangled with controversial clients.

That was his downfall.

One company that paid him, OSY Technologies, is part of a cyberweapons company whose software has been used to hack Mexican activists and an opposition leader in the Middle East.

At first I thought it was the NSO group, but that was patched

Or did they just change their name a la Blackwater, because the Google has been nearly scrubbed clean of them? The fact that the Jew York Times leaves it vague pretty much confirms my suspicions.

That's not what gets him trouble though, is it?

Another, a Boston company selling a technology to replace lie detectors, is accused by its former chief scientist of marketing a counterfeit version of his technology to foreign clients.

The irony is so laughable there that the needle flew off the machine. 

The lie detector people lied!?!

Flynn’s work paid well — while it lasted. Financial disclosure forms released in March showed income of between $1.37 million and $1.47 million for a period that approximately covered 2016, the bulk of it from the Flynn Intel Group.

Flynn closed the Flynn Intel Group at the end of 2016, as he planned to join the Trump administration.

But within months, he was fired as Trump’s national security adviser. The White House has said he was forced out for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Flynn is now under scrutiny by the FBI as well as congressional investigators. He declined to comment for this article, and his lawyer, Robert Kelner, declined to answer questions.

Trump, who is spending the weekend at Camp David for the first time, acknowledged before leaving Washington that he is under federal investigation as part of the expanding inquiry into Russia’s election meddling, led by former FBI director Robert S. Mueller.

Mueller is a deep state mole.

Flynn faces legal bills that are well into the six figures, and former clients are scrambling to distance themselves from the ex-general whose counsel they once avidly sought.

In fall 2014, Flynn registered his new company, Flynn Intel Group, from an Alexandria, Va., town house owned by Stanley A. McChrystal, a friend and fellow general-turned-consultant. Among his first clients was Palo Alto Networks, a rising Silicon Valley firm seeking to win more government contracts.

Silicon Valley is CIA money, folks.

A few months later, he inked a deal with software maker Adobe, which paid him a six-figure fee to provide “periodic counsel to Adobe’s public sector team,” according to a company spokeswoman.

As Flynn consulted for US cybersecurity companies, he was developing closer financial ties to Russia, a country whose own intelligence apparatus was moving aggressively to penetrate US government systems.

In 2015, Flynn accepted a payment from Kaspersky Lab, a Russian research firm that works to uncover Western government spyware and whose founder has long been suspected of having ties to Russian intelligence services.

And here they are based in Bo$ton!

In 2015, the firm’s US subsidiary, Kaspersky Government Security Solutions Inc., paid him $11,250. The same year, Flynn received the same amount from Volga-Dnepr Airlines, a Russian carrier that has been examined by the United Nations for bribery.

In December 2015, Flynn traveled to Moscow for a paid speaking engagement on behalf of RT, the Kremlin-financed news network that US intelligence agencies say is a Russian propaganda outlet.

RT paid Flynn $45,000 for the trip, which also included an invitation to a lavish anniversary party for the network, where he was photographed sitting at the elbow of President Vladimir Putin. The three payments from Russian companies are among the issues being investigated by Mueller. 


Flashback: Chuck Schumer Meets with Putin

Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal

NEW YORK TIMES: Bill Clinton Earned $500,000 From Russian Bank Speech

Russia's Largest Bank Confirms Hiring Podesta Group To Lobby For Ending Sanctions

Wikileaks Document Shows John McCain Requested Donations from Russians

I guess they all would have been ineligible for White house jobs, huh?


Hey, the man works hard for his money.

Oh, yeah, here is your gift (don't do anything stupid with it).

That's kids for you.

So what hotel you staying at?


"Death toll rises to at least 58 in London tower blaze" by Prashant S. Rao New York Times  June 17, 2017

LONDON —The deadly blaze has turned into a political crisis, testing the fragile government of Prime Minister Theresa May.

Now I'm starting to wonder if it wasn't set to, you know, move her along without making it look like you are moving her along.

Her political future — already in doubt after her Conservative Party lost its governing majority in early elections — has been further questioned because of her response to the fire, and observers have even referred to it as her Hurricane Katrina moment.

Then she is done.

Fire safety experts believe that cladding put on the building’s exterior during a renovation last year was less fire retardant, which may have fueled the blaze. Many residents are still unaccounted for, and police said some remains may never be identified.

Community groups have said warnings about poor fire safety have long been ignored, and that in the aftermath of the disaster, officials had failed to immediately take care of those affected.

The fire has also been transformed into a symbol of class inequality — the Grenfell Tower’s charred remains stand high above one of the British capital’s wealthiest neighborhoods.

The building had been home to a diverse group of residents, many of them from Sudan, Eritrea, and Syria. The first victim to be identified was Mohammed Alhajali, a 23-year-old Syrian refugee. 

OMG, no wonder it has been getting so much pre$$! It was housing war refugees!!!

A short walk away, however, are apartments and houses that cost millions and are home to a wealthy elite.

Police have been struggling to come up with a list of who was in the building when the fire started, making it difficult to determine how many died.

They probably don't even know who lived there.

The tragedy has provoked a huge response from nearby communities. More than $3.8 million has been raised for the victims. Many of the displaced are living in churches and community centers.....


Time to wish Paul McCartney a happy 75th birthday (just another day in the life for the young man), and here's hoping he can blow out all the candles on his cake.


"The parliamentary candidates running under the banner of the newly elected president, Emmanuel Macron, appear poised to win a crushing electoral majority Sunday that extends from France’s Alpine heights to the Mediterranean. Yet his party’s likely sweep of the legislative elections may disguise real challenges for Macron. While he will have a large majority in Parliament, the high abstention rate in the first round of voting means his true popular support is narrow."

So how far has the actual percent fallen now?