Friday, October 27, 2017

Trump Punts

And so am I:

"2,800 records on JFK assassination released" by Jim O’Sullivan Globe Staff  October 26, 2017

After days of buildup, President Trump on Thursday kept hundreds of records about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy hidden from the public, but also ordered the release of another 2,800 documents.

Trump apparently bowed to pressure from the CIA, FBI, and other federal agencies, but he ordered the agency heads who had convinced him not to release the additional documents to conduct a six-month review of whether the information can be released.

“I have no choice — today — but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our Nation’s security,” Trump said in an executive order.

He had no choice -- if he wanted his presidency and life to continue.

The decision came as a disappointment to many who had hoped to see additional clues to one of the enduring mysteries of American history, one that continues to capture imaginations and prompt doubts about the government’s official conclusion that a single gunman killed the 35th president.

Their expectations were unreasonable.

“It’s a nightmare, certainly a logistical nightmare, and the sort of thing that just feeds the conspiracy theories,” said Philip Shenon, author of “A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination.” “What can be so secret about this event 54 years ago that the government still has to hide something?”

Trump said he hoped people could “finally be fully informed about all aspects of this pivotal event. Therefore, I am ordering today that the veil finally be lifted.”

Senior administration officials said late Thursday that the vast majority of requests for continued secrecy came from the CIA and FBI. Some of that information relates to the identities of informants for intelligence and law enforcement agencies, the officials said.


Historians and scholars have long said they do not expect the remaining documents to fundamentally alter the understanding of the shooting, but some have said they will likely reveal other clues, specifically that the CIA and FBI knew more about Lee Harvey Oswald’s background than they shared publicly at the time.

“There was certainly a criminal coverup after the assassination to hide what they knew about Oswald before the assassination,” Shenon said.

A CIA spokesperson said in an e-mail Thursday that the agency’s “current redactions were undertaken with the intent to protect information in the collection whose disclosure would harm national security — including the names of CIA assets and current and former CIA officers, as well as specific intelligence methods and partnerships that remain viable to protecting the nation today.”

Much of the public has remained skeptical about the veracity of the official explanation that Oswald acted alone, which was proffered by the Warren Commission in 1964. A poll commissioned by the FiveThirtyEight website and conducted by SurveyMonkey this month found that 61 percent of American adults believed others were involved in a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy and just 33 percent believe one man was responsible for it.

Conspiracy theories abound. Trump himself last year alleged that the father of Senator Ted Cruz was involved in the assassination.

Senior administration officials told reporters during a conference call that the sensitive information had been collected at various points, beginning around the time of the Nov. 22, 1963, assassination and through the 1990s.

Shenon said that the continued resistance to a full airing of the documents hints that they will remain undisclosed after the six-month deadline.

“Some of these agencies have been aggressive in their appeals, and so I think there’s every reason to believe that ultimately these documents will not be released,” he said. “There must be concern at the CIA and FBI that some of these documents will be embarrassing.”

Thursday’s announcement followed suspense around whether Trump would follow through on earlier indications that he would allow the documents to be released in full.

Some of the documents contain intimate, high-level conversations. For instance, in one 1966 memorandum, marked “top secret,” that appeared to have been unreleased in full prior to Thursday night, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover summarized the reaction of Soviet officials to news of Kennedy’s death for the White House.

“They seemed convinced that the assassination was not the deed of one man, but that it arose out of a carefully planned campaign in which several people played a part,” the memo reads. “They felt that those elements interested in utilizing the assassination and playing on anticommunist sentiments in the United States would then utilize this act to stop negotiations with the Soviet Union, attack Cuba and thereafter spread the war.”

In another document that appeared to have been at least partially secret until Thursday, an investigator for the House Select Committee on Assassinations told of interviewing a journalist in 1978 who had written in 1963 that the FBI had tried to recruit Oswald as an informant the year of the assassination.

FBI must have gotten that removed, and he was an FBI informant that warned of the assassination. His case officer was a man named Hosty!

A 1964 cablegram found that the FBI had closely monitored Oswald during the period he visited Mexico City in the weeks before the assassination, considered a key period by historians looking into his background. Oswald was watched so closely that the details include where he sat on a bus, and who sat near him.

Oswald, Oswald, Oswald, and that was where the crap print ended.

A CIA document dated the day after the assassination reported that Oswald, according to an intercepted phone, was at the Soviet embassy in Mexico City on Sept. 28, 1963, less than two months before the assassination. Oswald called the embassy three days later and spoke in “broken Russian” and asked whether there was “anything new concerning the telegram to Washington.”

One document apparently withheld previously states that the FBI had received a phone call from “a man talking in a calm voice and saying he was a member of a committee organized to kill Oswald.”

The FBI warned Dallas police repeatedly of the threat. Dallas police assured sufficient protection.....


They slipped that in under the fold, and even if he'd lived..... nothing new there.


"Twitter said Thursday that it had overstated its monthly-user figures since 2014 after mistakenly including data from third-party applications in its counting. The revelation came as the company reported that its net loss had narrowed in the third quarter and that its number of daily active users had risen 14 percent.

They lied about their user data so they could collect ad revenue and so the stock price would rise, and then they expect us to believe the latest batch of numbers?

What are they smoking over there?

Meanwhile, Twitter’s ban comes as US authorities are pressuring RT, formerly known as Russia Today, to register as a foreign agent under a World War II-era law intended to curtail Nazi propaganda....."

Yeah, the government spooks will make sure you get the truth. 

Talk about a pre$$ pot hollering kettle!

Also seeBlast in Ukraine capital wounds lawmaker, kills bodyguard

Was a Russian plot.

"Administration gives Congress list of entities linked to Russia" by Nicholas Fandos and Michael D. Shear New York Times  October 26, 2017

WASHINGTON — The list, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, reads like a Who’s Who of the Russian defense and intelligence sectors.

Meanwhile, the Republican-led House overwhelmingly approved bipartisan legislation Thursday that would slap new sanctions on Iran.

Representatives Ed Royce and Eliot Engel sponsored the bill, which lawmakers voted 423-2 to pass the measure.

The Zionist chokehold of Congre$$ for all to see. 

Next thing you know they will be saying Iranians killed Kennedy!

Royce, a California Republican, is chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Engel, who is from New York, is the panel’s top Democrat. Both opposed the nuclear agreement when it was forged two years ago, but neither lawmaker is in favor of ditching the deal now.

Lawmakers are aiming to hold Iran accountable for what they say is reckless, destabilizing behavior while they debate how to meet Trump’s new demands for fixing what he and other Republicans argue are serious flaws with the nuclear agreement.

Royce has said that despite the deal’s defects, he wants the United States and other nations that are party to the accord to ‘‘enforce the hell out of it.’’ That includes making certain that international inspectors have better access to possible nuclear sites in Iran, according to Royce, and addressing ‘‘sunset’’ provisions in the agreement that will begin to expire in year 10 of the accord, heightening concerns Iran may be able to build an atomic bomb even before the end of the pact.

Engel has said unwinding the agreement would send a dangerous signal to allies and adversaries alike. He backs aggressive policing of the agreement to ensure Iran doesn’t violate the terms.

The House vote comes less than two weeks after Trump refused to certify that Iran is complying with the accord, which is aimed at preventing Iran from assembling an arsenal of atomic weapons. But Trump, breaking his campaign pledge to rip up the agreement, did not pull the United States out or reimpose nuclear sanctions against Iran.

Trump instead punted the issue to Congress.....



"Iraqi forces clash with Kurdish troops near strategic border with Syria" Washington Post  October 27, 2017

BAGHDAD — Iraqi forces backed by Iranian-allied militias began an assault Thursday to reclaim more Kurdish-held territory, advancing toward a crossing in the western border region that provides the only access for US military operations in northern Syria.

A protracted fight over border crossings could severely disrupt US military activity in neighboring Syria. It could also strain the ability of aid organizations to provide desperately needed supplies to the nearly 300,000 civilians who fled fighting in the Syrian city of Raqqa, which US-backed forces reclaimed from the Islamic State militant group earlier this month.

The fresh assault in northern Iraq came as Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi dismissed a Kurdish offer for a cease-fire amid tensions over the Kurds’ referendum last month in favor of independence from Baghdad.

The new clashes signal that Baghdad is determined to follow through on its goal of exerting full control over all of Iraq’s borders, including those in the north that had been operated by the semiautomonous Kurdish Regional Government and served as an economic lifeline for it.

The plan appeared to be to gain control of the Syrian border crossing from Kurdish fighters, known as the peshmerga, and then sweep toward the main border crossing with Turkey — which has been the most important outlet for Kurdish commerce for decades.

Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the US-led coalition, said the fighting has stalled the international coalition’s efforts to defeat the Islamic State, citing the inability to move military equipment and supplies to allied forces in Iraq and Syria.

Dillon said that the majority of the flights carrying humanitarian supplies into Syria have not been disrupted, but that the transport of heavy military equipment that cannot be flown in has been. This stems from an inability to coordinate with Iraqi and peshmerga senior officers, who have been unavailable because of the ongoing fight, Dillon said.

Speaking during a visit to Iran on Thursday, Abadi said he would not accept anything less than a full annulment of the Kurdish referendum. The vote set off the ongoing crisis.

Kurdish leaders offered Wednesday to suspend the referendum results in exchange for Iraqi forces stopping their advance. Some of the areas Iraqi troops are moving on have been controlled by Kurds since 2003.....



"Kenya has been seen as a maturing democracy and a key Western ally in a region troubled by war and an Islamist insurgency....." 

Thus the pre$$ interest in the vote.

Another punt:

"The Trump administration has agreed to what a lawyer described as a ‘‘very substantial’’ payout to hundreds of Tea Party groups to settle a class-action lawsuit over the extra, often burdensome IRS scrutiny they received when applying for tax-exempt status during the 2012 election. The settlement would end a chapter in a political scandal that dogged the Obama administration and continues to irk Republicans....."

He's not following up on the Nixonian effort against political opponents?

"Tampa’s mayor told police officers this week to hunt the suspect down and ‘‘bring his head to me.’’

Las Vegas gunman’s brain will be scrutinized for clues to the killing

Adam Lanza Threatened Sandy Hook Killings Years Earlier, Records Show

Looks like the gun control agenda is back on the front burner.

New Mexico moves to defuse outrage over science standards

Va. school work sheet that identified KKK as ‘right wing’ pulled

You know who is being blamed, right?

Iowa parents charged in death of infant found rotting in swing

A lot of infanticide these days.

For every life that is taken.....

Finally, a real Republican leader:

"Third woman accuses George H.W. Bush of groping her" by Felicia Gans Globe Staff  October 27, 2017

A third woman has accused former President George H.W. Bush of groping her, writing about the alleged experience in a first-person article published on Slate’s website Thursday night.

Christina Baker Kline, an author, wrote that she was invited to Houston in 2014 as a guest author for a fundraiser for the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. When she and her husband posed with the former president for a photo, he allegedly put his arm around her, low on her back.

“‘You wanna know my favorite book?’ he whispered. I had to lean close to hear him,” Kline wrote. “‘Yes, what is it?’ By now the photographer was readying the shot. My husband stood on one side of the wheelchair, and I stood on the other. President Bush put his arm around me, low on my back.”

“His comic timing was impeccable,” she continued. “‘David Cop-a-feel,’ he said, and squeezed my butt, hard, just as the photographer snapped the photo. Instinctively, I swiped his hand away.”

Slate said they reached out to Bush spokesman Jim McGrath for a comment, but he referred them to a statement he made in response to earlier allegations. Two actresses, Heather Lind and Jordana Grolnick, have also accused the former president this week of inappropriate touching.

“At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures,” the statement read. “To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke — and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”

Kline wrote that she waited years to come forward with her story for two reasons. First, most women have experienced this before, and the only thing that made it unusual was that an ex-president had allegedly copped a feel. Second, she didn’t want to face the scrutiny.

“I also didn’t want to seem opportunistic, as if I was reporting the former president’s transgression for publicity purposes. (Although, ugh, who wants this kind of publicity?),” she wrote. “I didn’t want to collaterally damage the reputation of the literacy foundation, which does wonderful work.”

What alarmed Kline most, she wrote, is that even at an event where she was being honored, Bush made her feel as though she could be “objectified, sexualized, reduced to a body part,” she asserts.

“I wasn’t traumatized. I’m not angry,” she wrote. “But it shouldn’t have happened. I hope all these stories that women are finally sharing about their experiences will begin to effect change.”


Speaking of perverts.....

Harvard will ju$t have to make do (poor Harvard, and how can that be with a roaring stock market?), and it all makes you wonder how many of them are harassers?

Turns out the ma$$ media is rife with them, too:

"Mark Halperin Out at MSNBC After 5 Women Say He Sexually Harassed Them" by John Koblin   October 26, 2017

Political journalist Mark Halperin built an industry on tracking the fortunes of the flawed characters he followed through campaign seasons. He gleefully chronicled who was up and who was down in his best-selling books and television coverage, and made himself into one of the most prominent and most highly remunerated journalists in the country.

After I read the headline and paragraph I went "No! No!"

The drama and intrigue came to him Wednesday night, when CNN posted a detailed report that he had sexually harassed women years ago, when he worked as director of political coverage at ABC News. The CNN report included interviews with five women it did not identify who said Halperin had made unwanted sexual advances against them.

On Thursday morning, MSNBC, the cable network where he is a political analyst and appears frequently on the influential show “Morning Joe,” announced that he would no longer be a contributor.


In a statement, an MSNBC spokesman said, “We find the story and the allegations very troubling. Mark Halperin is leaving his role as a contributor until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood.”

Later, HBO said it had dropped plans to produce a film based on an upcoming book by Halperin and John Heilemann about the 2016 election.

The movie would have been a sequel of sorts to “Game Change,” the Emmy Award-winning HBO film adapted from their book about the presidential race in 2008.

This changes Halperin's game!

“HBO has no tolerance for sexual harassment within the company or its productions,” the network said in a statement.

Through a spokesman, Halperin, issued the following statement: “During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me. I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize. Under the circumstances, I’m going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation.”


Hey, at least he isn't a racist.


Ashley Judd says a ‘deal’ helped her flee from Harvey Weinstein

O'Reilly dropped by literary agency

Female guest at Samoa event says Scott Brown stared at her chest

Women rescued in Pacific after ocean voyage went from bad to worse

She couldn't get a call through to Hawaii.

Time to put you on a pedestal:

"One candidate tried to stir up a little class antipathy, and instead started a gender war. Now a tepid contest in Newton between two Democrats who don’t differ much on the issues has some heat. The episode is playing out in a supercharged moment in which gender and power are top of mind from the White House (Donald Trump) to Hollywood (Harvey Weinstein)....." 

Is she really making a comparison between the two? Bit of a jump-the-shark stretch.

"Laurie Cabot is a witch. She has been studying witchcraft since she was a child growing up in Boston, and today, at age 84, is easily the most famous practicing witch in the country, the grande dame of witchcraft. But back then, when she was first beginning her study of the ancient practice of magic, people did not come out and say they were a witch. That kinda thing could lead to trouble. Eventually, she did take to dressing the part — black robes, pentagram necklace — but by then it was the late ’60s and people just thought she was a hippie....."

Corner kick:

"Judge rejects former Somerville High soccer player’s civil rights claim in abuse case" by Bob Hohler Globe Staff  October 27, 2017

A former Somerville High School soccer player who alleged his coach and municipal officials conspired to falsely frame him for raping a teammate with a broomstick at a city-sponsored summer sports camp in the Berkshires in 2013 lost his civil rights case against them Thursday in federal court.

US District Judge Allison D. Burroughs in Boston dismissed all five counts lodged against Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, soccer coach George Scarpelli, and several other city officials by the former student, Galileo Mondol, and his parents.

In a 30-page decision, Burroughs most pointedly rejected Mondol’s claim that Curtatone and city officials conspired to “ensure his wrongful arrest in order to divert attention from their own acts and omissions.’’

“The leap from those facts to that conclusion relies wholly on speculation and conjecture,’’ she wrote.

Somerville’s attorney, Lenny Kesten, said, “We are grateful that the judge recognized that this case had no basis in fact and has thrown it out because she found that there was no evidence whatsoever to support the spurious allegations.”

Mondol’s lawyer, Selena Fitanides, said she plans to appeal the decision.

The case seized the public’s attention because of the horrific nature of the crime and renewed concerns about violent hazing in high school sports. The matter also arose in Somerville’s recent mayoral debate.

Mondol sought more than $1 million. The case became highly contentious as his defense team accused Curtatone and city officials of exploiting their political clout to damage an innocent high school student whose parents opposed them on some municipal issues, such as charter schools, and city officials accused Mondol’s attorneys of distorting the facts.

Mondol’s lawyers also produced testimony by members of the soccer team about numerous incidents of hazing and sexually transgressive behavior at the camp in addition to the broomstick attack. The incidents included students being sexually assaulted in the showers and bathrooms or while they were sleeping, as well as students having Icy-Hot cream put on their genitals while they were being pinned down by other players, according to Burroughs’s memorandum.....


Also see:

"A 9-year-player for a Western Massachusetts youth football program has been kicked off his team for using a racist slur against an opponent. The slur was used by a player for the Ludlow Lions in a game against the Amherst Hurricanes on Sunday. Stacia London, the mother of the Amherst player, tells that a Ludlow player called her 9-year-old son the N-word.The remark was loud enough that game officials, other players, as well as parents and coaches heard it. The game was ended at that point. The Ludlow program sent an apology letter to the Amherst program saying it was ‘‘ashamed’’ of what happened. The Ludlow player has been removed from the team and will be barred from playing for the program next year, too (AP)."

Teenage girl denied victory in boys’ tournament

More than four decades later, a missing woman is found in Lowell

How hard were they looking?

Oh, I forgot to read Cullen.

UPDATE: The stories of sexual harassment on Beacon Hill are overwhelming 



"Explosion, inferno at Indonesia fireworks factory kills 47" by Tatan Syuflana Associated Press  October 26, 2017

TANGERANG, Indonesia — An explosion and inferno at a fireworks factory near the Indonesian capital on Thursday killed at least 47 people, most of them female workers who were apparently locked inside, and injured dozens.

Witnesses said a huge explosion was heard from the factory at about 10 a.m. and then smaller blasts echoed across the neighborhood as orange flames jumped from the building and columns of black smoke billowed from it.

A local resident told Indonesia’s MetroTV he saw police and residents smash through a wall of the factory so trapped workers could escape. Some of the victims were burning as they ran out, he said.

‘‘The fire began with a strong explosion like a bomb,’’ Benny, who goes by one name, told the TV channel.

The factory is located next to a residential area in Tangerang, a city in Banten province on the western outskirts of Jakarta. A police report said the fire spread after an explosion that caused the roof to collapse.

Video showed flames shooting above the structure and billowing clouds of black smoke spreading across the neighborhood as residents looked on in horror.

Safety laws are inconsistently enforced or even completely ignored in Indonesia, a poor and sprawling archipelago nation where worker rights are often treated as a lower priority than economic growth and jobs.....

The women were getting paid $3 a day.


At least they were not sexually harassed by their bosses (as far as we know).

"Paris city hall on Thursday called an ad for a dating website linking students with rich men and women shameful, and said that officials will work with police to remove it from the city. The RichmeetBeautiful website has been displaying a large mobile billboard across Paris, encouraging students to get in touch with ‘‘sugar daddies’’ and ‘‘sugar mamas’’ to subsidize their studies. It reads: ‘‘Romance, passion and no student loan, go out with a sugar daddy or sugar mama.’’ France’s gender equality minister, Marlene Schiappa, said she would look into whether the dating website for people above 18 is encouraging prostitution. The website describes itself as a place where people can be ‘‘open and honest’’ in defining the conditions of their relationship....."

Now we know what is behind Macron's marriage.

Maybe going Dutch is better -- or staying single even (look at all the flags in favor of it).

In keeping with the moment, Thailand now has a Queen and China has more billionaires than the US.


I'm going to zip through the rest:

"The old South Weymouth Naval Air Station, a sprawling site being redeveloped into a new community known as Union Point, will become a test lab for General Electric’s far-flung ideas for “smart cities” of the future. The new deal with GE was highlighted in the proposal LStar just submitted to Amazon to host the online retailing giant’s second headquarters. The marketing materials for Union Point show a gleaming city rising above a suburban flatland, but....."

GE is selling like it's a garage sale so f*** this!

"Shares of Amazon soared Thursday after the online retailer posted earnings that far surpassed Wall Street expectations. The Seattle-based company reported net income of $256 million in the three months ending Sept. 30. Inc. shares, which are already up 30 percent this year, rose nearly 8 percent to $1,047.73 in after-hours trading. The company, which is hunting for a second headquarters, also touted the results from its home devices. The results come a day after it announced a service called Amazon Key that will let people get their packages delivered to inside their doors....."

Sounds creepy, but.... what do they need the tax loot enticements for then?

Alphabet Inc. beat projections for third-quarter sales and earnings after a surge in Google ad volume helped the Web-search giant shrug off concerns about regulatory scrutiny and an expensive foray into hardware. Sales for the quarter rose to $22.27 billion and profit was $9.57 a share, with revenues up 24 percent....."

Time to stop toying around:

"Shares of Mattel Inc. dropped nearly 20 percent in after-hours trading Thursday after the company reported a third-quarter loss of $603.3 million and said sales were hurt by the bankruptcy filing of the toy chain Toys “R” Us. The company also announced plans to cut $650 million in costs over the next two years and suspend its quarterly dividend beginning in the fourth quarter."

How are they hurt by the bankruptcy of a competitor? Wouldn't that mean more of a market share?

"More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, but the increase was modest and came after applications fell to the lowest level in 44 years the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday....."

Who cares, how did stocks do?

Good night, readers, and don't let the bed bugs bite:

"Harvard researchers say they have developed a robotic bee that can fly, dive into water, swim, and then burst out of the water again and land. “This is the first microrobot capable of repeatedly moving in and through complex environments,” Yufeng Chen, the first author of the paper, said in a statement from Harvard. It’s the latest in a series of robotic bees, or RoboBees, that have been developed at Harvard. Robots that can fly and dive could someday be used for applications including search and rescue operations, environmental monitoring, and biological studies, the statement said. The robot is about 1/15 the weight of a penny. It is about 2 centimeters tall, with a wingspan of 3 centimeters. The robot does not carry its own power source, brain, or sensors, but researchers in the lab are working on putting those aboard in the future, Chen said....."

They “had to come up with a creative solution to exploit resources from the environment.”