Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Monday Lost in the Shadow

"Security breach and spilled secrets have shaken the NSA to its core" by Scott Shane and Nicole Perlroth New York Times  November 12, 2017

The headline makes you wannacry!

WASHINGTON — Jake Williams awoke in April in an Orlando, Florida, hotel where he was leading a training session. Checking Twitter, Williams, a cybersecurity expert, was dismayed to discover that he had been thrust into the middle of one of the worst security debacles ever to befall U.S. intelligence.

Williams had written on his company blog about the Shadow Brokers, a mysterious group that had somehow obtained many of the hacking tools the United States used to spy on other countries. Now the group had replied in an angry screed on Twitter. It identified him — correctly — as a former member of the National Security Agency’s hacking group, Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, a job he had not publicly disclosed. Then the Shadow Brokers astonished him by dropping technical details that made clear they knew about highly classified hacking operations that he had conducted. 

That goes all the way back to 2014, and what we have here is a civil war within the spook world?

America’s largest and most secretive intelligence agency had been deeply infiltrated.

I'm told they “felt like I’d been kicked in the gut.”

The jolt to Williams from the Shadow Brokers’ riposte was part of a much broader earthquake that has shaken the NSA to its core. Current and former agency officials say the Shadow Brokers disclosures, which began in August 2016, have been catastrophic for the NSA, calling into question its ability to protect potent cyberweapons and its very value to national security. The agency regarded as the world’s leader in breaking into adversaries’ computer networks failed to protect its own.

We are always told it is the other guy.

“These leaks have been incredibly damaging to our intelligence and cyber capabilities,” said Leon E. Panetta, the former defense secretary and director of the Central Intelligence Agency. “The fundamental purpose of intelligence is to be able to effectively penetrate our adversaries in order to gather vital intelligence. By its very nature, that only works if secrecy is maintained and our codes are protected.” With a leak of intelligence methods like the NSA tools, Panetta said, “Every time it happens, you essentially have to start over.”

Fifteen months into a wide-ranging investigation by the agency’s counterintelligence arm, known as Q Group, and the FBI, officials still do not know whether the NSA is the victim of a brilliantly executed hack, with Russia as the most likely perpetrator, an insider’s leak, or both. Three employees have been arrested since 2015 for taking classified files, but there is fear that one or more leakers may still be in place. And there is broad agreement that the damage from the Shadow Brokers far exceeds the harm to U.S. intelligence done by Edward J. Snowden, the former NSA contractor who fled with four laptops of classified material in 2013.

So Snowden was not a Russian spy?

Snowden’s cascade of disclosures to journalists and his defiant public stance drew far more media coverage than this new breach. But Snowden released code words, while the Shadow Brokers have released the actual code; if he shared what might be described as battle plans, they have loosed the weapons themselves. Created at huge expense to U.S. taxpayers, those cyberweapons have now been picked up by hackers from North Korea to Russia and shot back at the United States and its allies.

Millions of people saw their computers shut down by ransomware, with demands for payments in digital currency to have their access restored. Tens of thousands of employees at Mondelez International, the maker of Oreo cookies, had their data completely wiped. FedEx reported that an attack on a European subsidiary had halted deliveries and cost $300 million.

Hospitals in Pennsylvania, Britain and Indonesia had to turn away patients. The attacks disrupted production at a car plant in France, an oil company in Brazil and a chocolate factory in Tasmania, among thousands of enterprises affected worldwide.

U.S. officials had to explain to close allies — and to business leaders in the United States — how cyberweapons developed at Fort Meade in Maryland, came to be used against them. Experts believe more attacks using the stolen NSA tools are all but certain.

Who benefits?

Inside the agency’s Maryland headquarters and its campuses around the country, NSA employees have been subjected to polygraphs and suspended from their jobs in a hunt for turncoats allied with the Shadow Brokers.

Like a.... gulp.... purge?

Much of the agency’s cyberarsenal is still being replaced, curtailing operations. Morale has plunged, and experienced cyberspecialists are leaving the agency for better-paying jobs — including with firms defending computer networks from intrusions that use the NSA’s leaked tools. “It’s a disaster on multiple levels,” Williams said. “It’s embarrassing that the people responsible for this have not been brought to justice.”

That was where my print copy ended and the web version continued.

In response to detailed questions, an NSA spokesman, Michael T. Halbig, said the agency “cannot comment on Shadow Brokers.” He denied that the episode had hurt morale. “NSA continues to be viewed as a great place to work; we receive more than 140,000 applications each year for our hiring program,” he said.

Compounding the pain for the NSA is the attackers’ regular online public taunts, written in ersatz broken English. Their posts are a peculiar mashup of immaturity and sophistication, laced with profane jokes but also savvy cultural and political references. They suggest that their author — if not an American — knows the United States well.

“Is NSA chasing shadowses?” the Shadow Brokers asked in a post on Oct. 16, mocking the agency’s inability to understand the leaks and announcing a price cut for subscriptions to its “monthly dump service” of stolen NSA tools. It was a typically wide-ranging screed, touching on George Orwell’s “1984”; the end of the federal government’s fiscal year on Sept. 30; Russia’s creation of bogus accounts on Facebook and Twitter; and the phenomenon of U.S. intelligence officers going to work for contractors who pay higher salaries.

One passage, possibly
hinting at the Shadow Brokers’ identity, underscored the close relationship of Russian intelligence to criminal hackers. “Russian security peoples,” it said, “is becoming Russian hackeres at nights, but only full moons.” 

Took this long to see the loonies at the NYT are pushing war propaganda slop. 


Russia is the prime suspect in a parallel hemorrhage of hacking tools and secret documents from the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence, posted week after week since March to the WikiLeaks website under the names Vault7 and Vault8. That breach, too, is unsolved. Together, the flood of digital secrets from agencies that invest huge resources in preventing such breaches is raising profound questions.

Have hackers and leakers made
secrecy obsolete? Has Russian intelligence simply outplayed the United States, penetrating the most closely guarded corners of its government? Can a workforce of thousands of young, tech-savvy spies ever be immune to leaks? 

It was for the citizenry long ago.

Some veteran intelligence officials believe a lopsided focus on offensive cyberweapons and hacking tools has, for years, left U.S. cyberdefense dangerously porous.

“We have had a train wreck coming,” said Mike McConnell, the former NSA director and national intelligence director. “We should have ratcheted up the defense parts significantly.” 

So "we" are f***ing around with everyone else, huh? 

America’s Cyber Special Forces

At the heart of the NSA crisis is Tailored Access Operations, the group where Williams worked, which was absorbed last year into the agency’s new Directorate of Operations.

TAO — the outdated name is still used informally — began years ago as a side project at the agency’s research and engineering building at Fort Meade. It was a cyber-Skunk Works, akin to the special units that once built stealth aircraft and drones. As Washington’s need for hacking capabilities grew, TAO expanded into a separate office park in Laurel, Maryland, with additional teams at facilities in Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii and Texas.

hacking unit attracts many of the agency’s young stars, who like the thrill of internet break-ins in the name of national security, according to a dozen former government officials who agreed to describe its work on the condition of anonymity. 

Then they can go to work for the software security firms that will help prevent such disasters!

TAO analysts start with a shopping list of desired information and likely sources — say, a Chinese official’s home computer or a Russian oil company’s network. 

At least it isn't allegedly interfering in an election (of course, that is a CIA, not NSA, gig).

Much of TAO’s work is labeled ECI, for “exceptionally controlled information,” material so sensitive it was initially stored only in safes. When the cumulative weight of the safes threatened the integrity of NSA’s engineering building a few years ago, one agency veteran said, the rules were changed to allow locked file cabinets.

The more experienced TAO operators devise ways to break into foreign networks; junior operators take over to extract information. Williams, 40, a former paramedic who served in military intelligence in the Army before joining the NSA, worked in TAO from 2008 to 2013, which he described as an especially long tenure. He called the work “challenging and sometimes exciting.”

TAO operators
must constantly renew their arsenal to stay abreast of changing software and hardware, examining every Windows update and new iPhone for vulnerabilities. “The nature of the business is to move with the technology,” a former TAO hacker said. 

Yup, as soon as a security update comes along they are looking through the trapdoor they put in it.

Long known mainly as an eavesdropping agency, the NSA has embraced hacking as an especially productive way to spy on foreign targets. The intelligence collection is often automated, with malware implants — computer code designed to find material of interest — left sitting on the targeted system for months or even years, sending files back to the NSA. 

And they told you it was everyone else but!!! No wonder the hacking cases are never solved and just fade away. It's a yo-yo thing!

The same
implant can be used for many purposes: to steal documents, tap into email, subtly change data or become the launch pad for an attack. TAO’s most public success was an operation against Iran called Olympic Games, in which implants in the network of the Natanz nuclear plant caused centrifuges enriching uranium to self-destruct. The TAO was also critical to attacks on the Islamic State and North Korea. 

Yeah, no big deal that they f***ed with Iran and North Korea while pretending against their straw men.

It was this cyberarsenal that the Shadow Brokers got hold of, and then began to release.

Like cops studying a burglar’s operating style and stash of stolen goods, NSA analysts have tried to figure out what the Shadow Brokers took. None of the leaked files date from later than 2013 — a relief to agency officials assessing the damage. But they include a large share of TAO’s collection, including three “ops disks” — TAO’s term for tool kits — containing the software to bypass computer firewalls, penetrate Windows and break into the Linux systems most commonly used on Android phones.

Evidence shows that the Shadow Brokers obtained the entire tool kits intact, suggesting that an insider might have simply pocketed a thumb drive and walked out, but other files obtained by the Shadow Brokers bore no relation to the ops disks and seem to have been grabbed at different times. Some were designed for a compromise by the NSA of Swift, a global financial messaging system, allowing the agency to track bank transfers. There was a manual for an old system code-named UNITEDRAKE, used to attack Windows. There were PowerPoint presentations and other files not used in hacking, making it unlikely that the Shadow Brokers had simply grabbed tools left on the internet by sloppy NSA hackers.

Some officials doubt that the Shadow Brokers got it all by hacking the most secure of U.S. government agencies hence the search for insiders. But some TAO hackers thinkthat skilled, persistent attackers might have been able to get through the NSA’s defenses — because, as one put it, “I know we’ve done it to other countries.” 

Yes, it can never be an inside job, never, ever.

The Shadow Brokers have verbally attacked certain cyberexperts, including Williams. When he concluded from their Twitter hints that they knew about some of his hacks while at the NSA, he canceled a business trip to Singapore. 

Then he missed a good lunch.

The United States had named and criminally charged hackers from the intelligence agencies of China, Iran and Russia. He feared he could be similarly charged by a country he had targeted and arrested on an international warrant.

He has since resumed traveling abroad. But he says no one from the NSA has contacted him about being singled out publicly by the Shadow Brokers.

“That feels like a betrayal,” he said. “I was targeted by the Shadow Brokers because of that work. I do not feel the government has my back.” 

You are learning what a lot of people learn when the rubber hits the road regarding your relationship with government. They exist to protect themselves, no one else.

The Hunt for an Insider

For decades after its creation in 1952, the NSA — No Such Agency, in the old joke — was seen as all but leakproof. But since Snowden flew away with hundreds of thousands of documents in 2013, that notion has been shattered.

The Snowden trauma led to the investment of millions of dollars in new technology and tougher rules to counter what the government calls the insider threat. But NSA employees say that with thousands of employees pouring in and out of the gates, and the ability to store a library’s worth of data in a device that can fit on a key ring, it is impossible to prevent people from walking out with secrets. 

This is the sign of a failing government. When the bureaucrats turn on each other, it's over. You have a rotted, fetid, hulking carcass, that's all. 

The agency has active investigations into at least three former NSA employees or contractors. Two had worked for TAO: a still publicly unidentified software developer secretly arrested after taking hacking tools home in 2015, only to have Russian hackers lift them from his home computer; and Harold T. Martin III, a contractor arrested last year when FBI agents found his home, garden shed and car stuffed with sensitive agency documents and storage devices he had taken over many years when a work-at-home habit got out of control, his lawyers say. 

Oh, so he is at the bottom of it.

The third is Reality Winner, a young NSA linguist arrested in June, who is charged with leaking to the news site The Intercept a single classified report on a Russian breach of a U.S. election systems vendor. 


What a loser!

Martin’s gargantuan collection of stolen files included much of what the Shadow Brokers have, and he has been scrutinized by investigators as a possible source for them. Officials say they do not believe he deliberately supplied the material, though they have examined whether he might have been targeted by thieves or hackers.

But according to former NSA employees who are still in touch with active workers, investigators of the Shadow Brokers thefts are clearly worried that one or more leakers may still be inside the agency. Some TAO employees have been asked to turn over their passports, take time off their jobs and submit to questioning. The small number of cyberspecialists who have worked both at TAO and at the CIA have come in for particular attention, out of concern that a single leaker might be responsible for both the Shadow Brokers and the CIA’s Vault7 breaches. 

They can't get away from the lone nut playbook even in this case.

Then there are the Shadow Brokers’ writings, which betray a seeming immersion in American culture

Hate to say it, but that would implicate Zionist Jewry.

In April, about the time Williams was discovering their inside knowledge of TAO operations, the Shadow Brokers posted an appeal to President Donald Trump: “Don’t Forget Your Base.” With the ease of a seasoned pundit, they tossed around details about Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s now departed adviser; the Freedom Caucus in Congress; the “deep state”; the Alien and Sedition Acts; and white privilege.

“TheShadowBrokers is wanting to see you succeed,” the post said, addressing Trump. “TheShadowBrokers is wanting America to be great again.” 

Then they were against Obama?

The mole hunt is inevitably creating an atmosphere of suspicion and anxiety, former employees say. 

Am I supposed to feel sorry for the evil pukes?

While the attraction of the NSA for skilled cyberoperators is unique — nowhere else can they hack without getting into legal trouble — the boom in cybersecurity hiring by private companies gives TAO veterans lucrative exit options.

Young TAO hackers are lucky to make $80,000 a year, while those who leave routinely find jobs paying well over $100,000, cybersecurity specialists say. For many workers, the appeal of the NSA’s mission has been more than enough to make up the difference. But over the past year, former TAO employees say an increasing number of former colleagues have called them looking for private-sector work, including “graybeards” they thought would be NSA lifers.

“Snowden killed morale,” another TAO analyst said. “But at least we knew who he was. Now you have a situation where the agency is questioning people who have been 100 percent mission-oriented, telling them they’re liars.” 

I don't feel sorry for them one bit after we have all been lied to for decades, and as the lying continues day after day after day.

Because the NSA hacking unit has grown so rapidly over the past decade, the pool of potential leakers has expanded into the hundreds. Trust has eroded as anyone who had access to the leaked code is regarded as the potential culprit. 

The whole institution is rotted!

Some agency veterans have seen projects they worked on for a decade shut down because implants they relied on were dumped online by the Shadow Brokers. The number of new operations has declined because the malware tools must be rebuilt. And no end is in sight

Endless wars!

“How much longer are the releases going to come?” a former TAO employee asked. “The agency doesn’t know how to stop it — or even what ‘it’ is.”

One NSA official who almost saw his career ended by the Shadow Brokers is at the very top of the organization: Adm. Michael S. Rogers, director of the NSA and commander of its sister military organization, U.S. Cyber Command. President Barack Obama’s director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., and defense secretary, Ash Carter, recommended removing Rogers from his post to create accountability for the breaches. 

Clapper lied to Congre$$ about data collection!

But Obama did not act on the advice, in part because Rogers’ agency was at the center of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Trump, who again on Saturday disputed his intelligence agencies’ findings on Russia and the election, extended the admiral’s time in office. Some former intelligence officials say they are flabbergasted that he has been able to hold on to his job.

A Shadow War With Russia?

Lurking in the background of the Shadow Brokers investigation is U.S. officials’ strong belief that it is a Russian operation. The pattern of dribbling out stolen documents over many months, they say, echoes the slow release of Democratic emails purloined by Russian hackers last year. 

It's the f***ing Cold War crap all over again for a generation or two that have no concept of the outright dung we were fed all those years.

But there is a more specific backstory to the U.S.-Russia cyber rivalry. 

I don't know if I even want to read the slop coming up.

Starting in 2014, U.S. cybersecurity researchers who had been tracking Russia’s state-sponsored hacking groups for years began to expose them in a series of research reports. U.S. firms, including Symantec, CrowdStrike and FireEye, reported that Moscow was behind certain cyberattacks and identified government-sponsored Russian hacking groups. 

CrowdStrike had to retract, but whatever. Believe the selected logs of bulls**.

In the meantime, Russia’s most prominent cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, had started work on a report that would turn the tables on the United States. Kaspersky hunted for the spying malware planted by NSA hackers, guided in part by the keywords and code names in the files taken by Snowden and published by journalists, officials said. 


That's why my Mockingbird Media was ripping 'em!

Kaspersky was,
in a sense, simply doing to the NSA what the U.S. companies had just done to Russian intelligence: Expose their operations. And U.S. officials believe Russian intelligence was piggybacking on Kaspersky’s efforts to find and retrieve the NSA’s secrets wherever they could be found. The TAO hackers knew that when Kaspersky updated its popular anti-virus software to find and block the NSA malware, it could thwart spying operations around the world. 

That's why they have been sanctioned, etc, not because they are a Russian government organization. They pissed off the NSA.

So TAO personnel rushed to replace implants in many countries with new malware they did not believe the Russian company could detect. 

Remember that the next time the pre$$ crows about some new hack.

In February 2015, Kaspersky published its report on the Equation Group — the company’s name for TAO hackers — and updated its anti-virus software to uproot the NSA malware wherever it had not been replaced. The agency temporarily lost access to a considerable flow of intelligence. By some accounts, however, NSA officials were relieved that the Kaspersky report did not include certain tools they feared the Russian company had found.

As it would turn out, any celebration was premature.

On Aug. 13 last year, a new Twitter account using the Shadow Brokers’ name announced with fanfare an online auction of stolen NSA hacking tools.

“We hack Equation Group,” the Shadow Brokers wrote. “We find many many Equation Group cyber weapons.”

Inside the NSA, the declaration was like a bomb exploding. A zip file posted online contained the first free sample of the agency’s hacking tools. It was immediately evident that the Shadow Brokers were not hoaxsters, and that the agency was in trouble.

The leaks have renewed a debate over whether the NSA should be permitted to stockpile vulnerabilities it discovers in commercial software to use for spying rather than immediately alert software-makers so the holes can be plugged. The agency claims it has shared with the industry more than 90 percent of flaws it has found, reserving only the most valuable for its own hackers. 

Why would they want the holes plugged?

But if it can’t keep those from leaking, as the last year has demonstrated, the
resulting damage to businesses and ordinary computer users around the world can be colossal. The Trump administration says it will soon announce revisions to the system, making it more transparent. 

Trump is going to make things more transparent? 

That was what the last guy said, and he prosecuted more whistleblowers than all the other administrations combined.

Williams said it may be years before the “full fallout” of the Shadow Brokers breach is understood. Even the arrest of whoever is responsible for the leaks may not end them, he said — because the sophisticated perpetrators may have built a “dead man’s switch” to release all remaining files automatically upon their arrest.

“We’re obviously dealing with people who have operational security knowledge,” he said. “They have the whole law enforcement system and intelligence system after them. And they haven’t been caught.”

Yeah, I wonder who they could be.


Did I mention the Russians are also to blame for the mass shootings?

RelatedIn ‘watershed moment,’ YouTube blocks extremist cleric’s message

It is the jihadi propaganda of Anwar al-Awlaki.


This next item was in the light:

"Doubt from a juror, but after the verdict" by Thomas Farragher Globe Columnist  November 12, 2017

LOWELL – They had a sworn duty. They held a man’s fate in their hands.

They heard the evidence. They reviewed the exhibits. They listened to legalisms from the attorneys and from the judge.

And then, locked in a well-worn jury room, they rendered a guilty verdict that now haunts one of them.

I'm told am “innocent man was found guilty of something he did not do.’’

What happened in the jury room of the rambling courthouse here is a cautionary tale about the duties and responsibilities of jurors, who take an oath to follow the law and the evidence.

I have reviewed the lengthy file of the case of the Commonwealth versus this defendant. But I did not sit through the testimony. There was no trial transcript available to review. For all I know, Moir’s fellow jurors got it exactly right.

But what is clear is this: Justice requires a unanimous verdict. And Rob Moir now wishes he could go back in time. He wishes he stood his ground. Instead, he said, he was caught up in the socio-dynamics of that jury room.

And now he feels something that the defendant will reckon with at his sentencing on Friday: Guilt.

If you’re looking for a black-and-white tale here, you’ve wandered into the wrong column.

Briefly, here is the Commonwealth’s statement of the case:

On Feb. 6, 2016, the man appeared at the home of his wife on Nesmith Street here. He had just been released from the house of correction in Billerica, where he had been since August 2015, incarcerated for assaulting her. He showed up unannounced. His wife was unaware he was being released. There was an argument. It turned physical. Prosecutors said the man grabbed his wife by the throat and started to strangle her with one hand. She had visible redness on her neck and minor bruising on her face. She struggled to break free, which she did with the help of another man who was at the home.

As testimony unfolded, Moir and his fellow jurors reflexively obeyed the judge’s admonition to not talk about the case until the trial’s conclusion.

Instead, they discussed their courthouse commutes. One woman was selling her home and in the midst of a move. Moir and some other jurors brought coffee and doughnuts for their fellow jurors to share.

“Totally collegial,’’ said Moir, a 63-year-old father of three who runs an environmental advocacy group in Cambridge. He was the second to the last juror selected. He took notes during the trial. He took his duty seriously.

But as the trial unfolded, some things didn’t add up to Moir. And he carried those doubts with him. Was the accused strong enough to lift his wife up with one hand and strangle her? He didn’t think so, and neither did other jurors. The defendant, who is not being named here to protect the identity of the woman, was found not guilty on that charge.

That left the assault and battery charge.

When the jury foreman called for a vote, everybody raised their hand except for Moir.

He recalled this jury room exchange: “They say, ‘Rob! He’s guilty!’ And I said, ‘No, he’s innocent until proven guilty. It hasn’t been proven that he did this.’’

What followed was an examination of the victim’s bruises and how they might have been inflicted. “I’m saying, ‘He just pushed her off and that’s not assault and battery. She came at him. That’s justified.’ And this really chummy guy goes at me, saying, ‘Rob, he pushed her as hard as he could. That makes it assault and battery.’ And they’re all nodding, saying, ‘Yeah.’ ’’

And then Moir, to his astonishment, suddenly was with them.

“We all raised our hands and went, ‘Yaay!’ And it’s like: Oh my god, I just (convicted) this guy and I’m thinking, well, the judge will work it out. That’s his problem.’’

Except, mostly, that’s not how it works.

Juror regret is generally not enough for a retrial, or even a hearing before a judge. There are plenty of examples of juries who declare themselves hopelessly deadlocked and, then, late on a Friday afternoon they come back with a unanimous verdict.

Deliberations are organic things. They take on a life of their own. And sometimes justice is not as clean and clear-cut as prime-time television makes it out to be.

“There is a certain cascade effect in the jury room,’’ said Edward Schwartz, a jury consultant with DecisionQuest, a Waltham-based litigation consulting firm.

“You want to be part of the winning team,’’ he said. “The ugly underbelly of that is that when people disagree with the majority sentiment, sometimes that opinion is met with derision, contempt, hostility. If you think you’re a minority of one, it’s a pretty daunting prospect to go out on a limb if you’re the only one who feels that way.’’


Then again, as Gandhi said, even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.

Btw, isn't that kind of thinking the way we were suckered into the Iraq war? 

All we need is a hero to save us.

Schwartz said what happened with Moir happens more often than many people would believe.....

I must be a minority of one then because I'm not surprised at all.


What a strange column at time when domestic abuse is still taking a backseat to sexual harassment, which is obscuring the elite pedophilia.

Fairmount or Foxborough Line? An urban-suburban transit debate

I didn't catch that train, sorry.

"As our work and lives and even leisure move ever faster, and the pressure escalates to respond immediately to e-mails — or Facebook posts — lawmakers around the country are trying to rein in the mobile madness....."

You can blame Bose for the "screening addled walkers," and I don't know what immediate pressure she is talking about, do you? Looks artificial and self-placed.

Need treatment?

"How addiction centers target, then trap, public workers" by Evan Allen and David Armstrong Globe Staff and STAT   November 10, 2017

They’d been promised a “spa for teachers,” but were brought to a rundown, low-slung building on an unremarkable stretch of road miles from the beach. Employees confiscated their cellphones, credit cards, and driver’s licenses.

One after another, New Jersey public school teachers arrived at the Recovery Institute of South Florida after asking their union to find them addiction or mental health treatment. Instead of getting the help they needed, many said they were essentially trapped at the facility while their health insurance was billed tens of thousands of dollars.

Looks like fraud to me, after all the loving, compassionate, actor-portrayal advertisements for their services that run night and day here, too!

“I felt like a prisoner,” said Michael Barone, a special education aide in a New Jersey public school who spent two months at the institute last year. He said he was forced to stay longer than he felt necessary because he couldn’t go back to work without the center signing off on his return.

That's totalitarian!

The teachers’ experience is a stark example of what’s happening around the country to union members fighting addiction. Treatment center operators and middlemen who act as brokers for those facilities are targeting these workers because they usually have generous insurance benefits that pay for long stays in rehab. They also often need a health care provider’s clearance to return to work, handing the centers tremendous power over patients. 

Oh, so it is about THEIR HEALTH, not yours! 

Can this nation stink of corruption any more? 

Good thing the unions are dying!

“There are facilities definitely keeping people to make money,” said Ken Serviss, the executive director of the Allied Trades Assistance Program in Philadelphia, which oversees substance abuse treatment benefits for several unions. Serviss spoke generally, and not about the Recovery Institute. “They have that leverage to hold over them and keep them longer than they need. That is a big issue.”

STAT and The Boston Globe interviewed 10 people treated at the institute over the last five years — teachers, mostly from New Jersey, as well as school custodians and social workers or their relatives. Most said they were allowed only limited contact with family. They complained about inadequate and cookie-cutter treatment, consisting mostly of group counseling and 12-step meetings, massages at a local chiropractor’s office, and plenty of free time.

Several said the staff warned that their jobs would be at risk when they tried to leave before the treatment center deemed it appropriate. Although the patients were there voluntarily, many needed letters indicating they were fit to return to work.


There is no standard length of addiction treatment because people progress at various rates, according to guidelines from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The longer someone stays in treatment, the guidelines say, the better the chance for a positive outcomebut that treatment can be either inpatient or outpatient. And family support and involvement are critical to success, as is combining individualized drug counseling with group sessions.

Many of the New Jersey patients said they weren’t trying to stop treatment: They just wanted to continue it closer to home and with more involvement from family.

Unscrupulous operators have flocked to the treatment industry, drawn by the growing number of people caught up in the nation’s opioid addiction crisis. 

And that's where things go wrong. Whenever something is turned into an industry then money is at stake and it becomes corrupted.

The Globe and STAT have published a series of stories since May showing that patients are often recruited by “brokers” or “marketers” working for treatment centers that provide shoddy care, with enticements of free flights and health insurance, sunny beaches, and an endless supply of cigarettes.

An endless supply box cigarettes for an addicted person? 

Let me guess, the recovery places are owned by tobacco companies!

In pursuit of union workers, treatment providers and brokers frequently wine and dine labor officials and those who work in union employee assistance programs, creating an environment where referrals can go to operators more interested in getting rich than helping workers get better. Brokers and consultants are also often paid to send union members to particular centers; and some treatment centers hire family members of union workers to ensure referrals.


“The main reason people want union members is strictly financial,” said John Christian, the chief executive of Modern Assistance Programs, a Massachusetts-based company that runs employee assistance programs for unions. “Unions have good health and welfare plans; they have good benefits.”

The Recovery Institute treats patients from a number of unions, but many are public school employees. Many of the New Jersey teachers went to Florida after their union representatives put them in touch with a consultant who, they were told, helps members in need of treatment. That man is Terry Livorsi, a former union electrician who said in a 2007 deposition that he has been in recovery from substance abuse since 1982.

What many of the teachers weren’t told was that the smooth-talking consultant has a second business: He owns the Recovery Institute of South Florida..... 

(Blog editors shoulders slump)

You can go to the meeting and see their stories if you want; I'm skipping it.



Some seeking help for opioid abuse are lost in a circle of lies

Mass. Attorney General probes insurance scheme that recruited drug users

Oh, she going to look into it in-between grandstanding against Trump?

As for the addiction of lawmakers:

"State houses are acting quickly as harassment claims mount" by Campbell Robertson New York Times  November 12, 2017

Yeah, there were a couple of articles about it here and one about Congre$$, but other than that sexual harassment in the halls of government has been put to bed.

NEW YORK — Beneath the wave of sexual misconduct allegations in recent weeks against male lawmakers and candidates lies a common theme: These offenses had been going on for decades, but were either unacknowledged or dealt with quietly.

Now, veils of silence in legislative chambers are lifting as public disavowals and calls for resignations pour in against the accused, even from fellow party members.

Roiling the political world in the last week was a report in The Washington Post that four women had accused Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for a US Senate seat in Alabama, of sexual or romantic advances when he was in his 30s and they were teenagers, one as young as 14.

They are now telling him to "drop out of the race and threatened to expel him from the Senate if he wins."

That's what this is then. Depending on who you are is whether you get away with it or not, and it is to be used as a political cudgel to remove undesirables. Same playbook as last year at this time.


"Poor Judge Roy Moore, or Ten Commandments, Roy Moore, as I like to think of him. His misfortune is to be a staunch and fundamentalist Christian in an America hijacked by Satanic Zionistas who don't want any lawmakers near the sausage factory, or imputing on traditional sexual mores. That is anathema to the Judas Goats, who are engaged in leading humanity through the Gates of Doom. Anyway, the Tribe junta that hates Roy has somehow located someone who says that Roy rubbed them inappropriately around 40 years ago. This suddenly surfaced a few days before the election tomorrow. Interesting timing and what a coincidence! Uh huh. In the meantime, in one of the most egregious expressions of stank hypocrisy, the nearly exclusively Tribe member sexual violators of anyone in reach are presently in the cross-hairs of similar difficulties, except in their cases the offenses are more proven. One of the best ways to get the heat off yourself is to have it put on someone else....."

Oh, it is about the LGBT agenda!!!!

I wouldn't bet against the Judge Roy Moore, and when is the reckoning for Bill Clinton

All those feminists saved the 42nd president of the United States in the 1990s, and were on the wrong side of history. They give him a pass even today.

Also seeMenendez jury says it’s deadlocked; judge says to keep going

The pedophilia has been covered up by a show trial hung jury, or did you not know that Menendez had sex with underage hookers in the Dominican Republic?

So why hasn't the Senate expelled him?

At least it hasn't reached the courts yet.

While many Republican officials in Alabama have come to Moore’s defense, a chorus of others — including the president, vice president, and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader — immediately called on the candidate to step aside if the allegations were true.

They were all against him in the primary.

The Senate campaign arm of the party cut its fund-raising agreement with him, and two Republican senators have rescinded their endorsements.

Senator Pat Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, on Sunday urged Moore on Sunday to drop out of the race, adding to the party’s growing disavowal of him even though Moore has called the allegations “completely false.”

A poll published Sunday by JMC Analytics and Polling showed Moore’s challenger, Democrat Doug Jones, leading in the race, with 46 percent to Moore’s 42 percent, with 9 percent undecided. The survey had a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points, suggesting the race is a toss-up.

Yup, going to have Democrat majorities in 2018, and this special election will cost the Republicans a Senate seat. The establishment pukes would rather have that than the numbers.

But as the debate over Moore plays out on a national scale, a blitz of scandals has also hit state houses from California to Florida, where accusations that might have been ignored in the past are drawing aggressive responses. 

Let me tell you something: the problem is in each and every one!

Those accused have found themselves with few colleagues to back them up in public.

Women continue to come forward, writing public letters about abuses ranging from lewd comments to groping, and joining others in a wide range of industries where powerful figures have been toppled in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Notice how the Paradise Papers scandal is now down the pre$$ rabbit hole?

As a result, legislators have resigned or have been removed from posts, sexual harassment policies have been revised, women’s caucuses have been formed, and broad investigations have kicked into gear.

So far, many of the accused have held on to their seats — if not their stature. Some of the accusers have raised questions about whether they are witnessing the beginning of a systemic change or a short-lived political Band-Aid.

“Now they’re doing this because — why?” asked Denise Rotheimer, a political activist and Republican candidate for the Illinois House of Representatives. She complained last year that state Senator Ira Silverstein, chairman of the Democratic majority caucus, had sent her midnight messages and asked numerous personal questions when she tried to work with him on a bill.

Look at that, another sexual harasser who is a Jew.

“Because the media grabbed onto this? Because now it’s public? Because there’s nothing different from my complaint in November last year to my testimony this year.”

Rotheimer testified publicly late last month at a state legislative hearing on a fast-moving measure addressing sexual harassment; within a day Silverstein had resigned his leadership position, though he disputed the charges, according to The Chicago Tribune.

I want more of the salacious details!

Messages left with his office were not returned.

Lawmakers then moved quickly to appoint an interim legislative inspector general to lead the office charged with receiving and investigating complaints, after the position had sat vacant for about three years

It wasn't a serious problem, and didn't the faux hand-waving and posturing win you over?

The upheaval in Illinois is just one of many in recent days. And with so many allegations, the speed of repercussions has picked up.

This month, the speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives, Jeff Hoover, was reported to have secretly settled with a staff member over claims of sexual harassment. The Republican governor, Matt Bevin, and eight of Hoover’s fellow Republicans in the House demanded his resignation.

Last week, Hoover stepped down as speaker, though he remained in his House seat. Three other Republican lawmakers — who were also named in the Oct. 25 settlement, The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky., reported — were removed from their committee leadership posts pending an investigation. 

It's political mud-slinging is all.

The president of the Florida Senate ordered an independent investigation and took a powerful chairmanship post from state Senator Jack Latvala, a fellow Republican, who last week was accused of inappropriately touching or making derogatory comments by several women who work at the State Capitol.

On Wednesday, MinnPost, an online news site, reported that several women had described Minnesota state Senator Dan Schoen, a Democrat, making unwanted advances or even grabbing them.


That prompted immediate calls for his resignation from his fellow lawmakers, including the Senate minority leader and Governor Mark Dayton, both Democrats.

Schoen, in a statement, said the allegations were “either completely false or have been taken far out of context.” 

Actually, I know some people who blow off Democrat transgressions and some have told me the women should just enjoy it. Scream rape if it is a Republican, though.


Ah, “the King Arthur’s era is over,” thank God.

Better call the Marshals:

"Top US marshal allegedly lied under oath about sex in government office" by Shawn Musgrave Globe Correspondent  November 13, 2017

An investigation into a former top official with the US Marshals office in Boston found a range of misconduct, including lying under oath about sexual activity in government offices, then lying about his actions and urging some of the women to withhold details from investigators. Federal investigators characterized his false statements as criminal violations, although prosecutors declined to file charges. 

It's called a cover-up. Haven't you ever seen one before?

Jon Murray was the chief deputy marshal in Massachusetts — second-in-command of the office — from 2011 until fall 2015, and has been with the agency for more than 20 years. He was transferred to Rhode Island during the investigation.

So this was on Obama's watch, huh?

The findings add to a lengthy list of misconduct in the US Marshals. In 2015, the agency’s director resigned amid allegations of quid pro quo hiring practices.

Hey, government work is a party!

The Boston office also has a checkered history. In 2009, the Justice Department inspector general found the acting head of the office violated ethical standards by assigning deputies to escort an agency lawyer — who worked as a sports statistician on the side — to World Series games, along with several sports broadcasters. Her predecessor was removed for spotty attendance and misusing his vehicle, according to the inspector general.

The US Marshals Service is responsible for tracking down fugitives, protecting witnesses, and maintaining security at federal courthouses. It is overseen by the Justice Department, alongside the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.

A brief summary of the latest investigation did not name Murray, nor did a longer investigative report obtained from the inspector general via the Freedom of Information Act. A spokesman for the US Marshals declined to confirm that Murray was the subject, and Murray did not respond to requests for comment. However, multiple people with knowledge of the investigation confirmed to The Boston Globe that Murray was the subject.

Additional documents provided by congressional investigators show Murray was under investigation for “allegations of misconduct with women” as early as July 2015, according to a memo written by Murray’s superior. The inspector general’s report, from which all names are redacted, states the individual was accused of “inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature” involving multiple women, and was interviewed in June 2015 and on two other occasions.

Whatever happened to all those JFK files anyway?

The documents trace a two-year investigation during which Murray lied under oath, his supervisor sought to transfer him out of state, and prosecutors launched a criminal review.

In two sworn interviews with investigators, the subject of the investigation denied the allegations. But he came clean after a woman with whom he had been involved gave information to investigators.

“I handled this horribly from the get go,” he told investigators at his third interview, according to the heavily redacted report, adding that he was “uncomfortable” with going forward, “potentially in a criminal proceeding, where I would have to go before a court and defend a lie.” The documents suggest his fear of prosecution was well-founded. Finding that the false statements constituted “lack of candor,” the office of the inspector general’s report noted “it is a crime to lie to the OIG while under oath.” 

Like with the judge's daughter, and now a second trooper is singing, 'er, suing.

In the redacted report, the subject admitted to having sex with “approximately nine women” inside US Marshals courthouse offices. He also urged some women not to cooperate with investigators. The inspector general deemed this an attempt to influence witnesses, another criminal violation.

In light of the investigation, John Gibbons, the US Marshal for Massachusetts, asked that Murray be transferred, according to a memo provided by congressional investigators.

In September 2015, Gibbons wrote to the acting director of the US Marshals, David Harlow. Gibbons described how then-US Attorney for Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz pulled him aside at a conference to discuss complaints from deputy marshals fearing retaliation over the inspector general’s inquiry. Ortiz, now in private practice, declined to discuss the matter.

She looked into it criminal charges, but “it was very difficult” to deal with the US Marshals “on highly sensitive matters while chief Murray is currently the number two person in leadership” for fear information might be leaked, according to the memo, so she recused herself, and the matter was transferred.

Had to keep it quiet.

It wasn’t just prosecutors upset about alleged disclosures. The defense team for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sent Gibbons a letter in 2014, according to information provided by congressional investigators, requesting an investigation into details allegedly leaked regarding Tsarnaev making an obscene gesture at a security camera.

Investigators determined that the subject of their investigation “disclosed nonpublic information to a news reporter regarding a fugitive matter.”

Upon learning of the possible criminal review, the US Marshals transferred Murray to Rhode Island in September 2015.

The chief judge of the Massachusetts federal court, Judge Patti B. Saris, called the chief judge in Rhode Island to warn Murray might become “unhinged” when the investigation report was released, according to e-mails provided by congressional investigators. The Rhode Island judge asked that Murray be kept out of the courthouse.

A spokesman said he was unable to answer whether Murray still has top secret security clearance....


What's that, you never heard of him?

So what do the real American people say?

"Trump voters in N.H. see Trump’s flaws — and still support him" by James Pindell Globe Staff  November 10, 2017

MANCHESTER, N.H. — I wasn’t sure what to expect from a focus group of Donald Trump voters in New Hampshire last week. CBS News had invited me to watch a panel it had gathered for a segment that aired Sunday on “Face the Nation.”

The nation overall has been giving him bad grades. A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found that no president has been this unpopular so early in his term in seven decades.

CBS found six people willing to come to a Manchester bar to answer questions for national television. They ranged in ages from 26 to 82, and they were all white. There was a mix of Republicans and independents. Most lived in the southern part of the state, its most populous.

“Face the Nation” moderator John Dickerson led the conversation by asking open-ended questions and letting the participants talk. Their answers shed light on several considerations, namely how much they are still into Trump but also just how much they aren’t into the Republican Party as a whole. They view Trump as a flawed individual but also a vessel for the conservative cause in a way that the broader party is not.

Here are the three big takeaways from the conversation:

The participants were clear that if the economy starts to nosedive, they won’t stick by him. As Peter Lajoie, an independent voter from Nashua, put it, a spiraling economy will mean that “Trump will be seen as a loser.” And, as Lajoie added, Trump doesn’t like losers.

Typically, when one party controls the legislative and executive branches and nothing gets done, people blame the president. In this case, the less that gets done in Congress, the more Trump looks good in the eyes of his fans.

This was about as strong a group of Trump supporters as you’ll find, in New England at least. But that doesn’t mean they see him as a role model, for them or for their children. Asked whether he was a good moral leader for this country, not a single participant thought he was. But they pushed back at the notion that good morals are part of the presidential job description.

Bill Clinton was once the focus of that debate.

Deanna Seidel, a 37-year-old mother from Concord, said she wouldn’t want her kids looking up to Trump. Tom McAndrews, a 51-year-old Republican from Nashua, said it bothers him when the president tells lies, and just about everyone thought Trump’s tweets about National Football League players taking a knee were misguided — they just weren’t relevant to the larger political issues they hope he’ll tackle.

The president lying, oh!!! 

Quick, name the last one that didn't!

Time and again, this group of Trump voters proved they are still with him, even as they often shake their heads at him. To them, Trump represents the person who will fight against an entrenched political class they see as not looking out for the American public. And that matters more than him being a person they like.

But if Trump loses his reputation as the person who will stand up for the little guy, or if the economy starts to falter, Trump might lose a key constituency that he’ll need if he wants to be reelected in 2020.....

Looks like impeachment is going nowhere then.


The Globe pit bull really took a chunk out of him.

"A Rhode Island elementary school gym teacher charged with groping several young girls has been released on $50,000 bail. WPRI-TV reports that the attorney general's office says 53-year-old James Duffy pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree child molestation and simple assault at his arraignment Friday. A court spokesperson says Duffy posted bail and was released. He has been ordered to have no contact with the victims. Authorities allege that Duffy, physical education teacher at Harry Kizirian Elementary School, inappropriately touched at least three 11-year-old students. Duffy's attorney has said his client maintains his innocence....."

Also see:

Matthew Weiner denies sexual harassment allegations to Cambridge audience

Who feels like going to the movies these days?

Carrie Underwood hospitalized after fall outside Nashville home

Report says diversity in tech will take generations


$1M program seeks boost for Mass. women-owned firms

I suppose the ladies have arrived when the gossip columnist is above the Army general in the obituaries, 'eh?


"Duterte warms to Trump, who avoids criticism of Philippine drug war" by Richard C. Paddock New York Times   November 12, 2017

BANGKOK — The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, seems to have warmed to the United States and President Trump.

As his country hosts a summit meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, the more charming side of Duterte’s personality has been on display, both in his meetings with Trump and in his foreign policy goal of closer relations with China.

One big reason for his shift in rhetoric when it comes to the United States is clear: Trump is a marked improvement in Duterte’s eyes over Barack Obama.

Trump landed in the Philippines on Sunday to protests by leftist activists, rights groups, and students, who marched in the streets, but the longer-term game for Duterte has been his determination to court China. Since his election, he has backed down from contentious territorial disputes with Beijing.

Duterte hopes his strategy will bring billions of dollars in investment from China, although the money has been slow in coming, said Richard Javad Heydarian, an assistant professor of political science at De La Salle University in Manila.

Still, the United States and its former colony are treaty allies with a long history of cooperation. And it is clear that Duterte’s and Trump’s styles seem to mesh more than clash.

On Sunday, Trump offered to help mediate the disputes in the South China Sea, which have also pit China against Vietnam and other countries in the region. “I’m a very good mediator and arbitrator,” he said at the start of a meeting in Hanoi with Vietnam’s president, Tran Dai Quang.

Tell it to the North Koreans, Don!

Last year, Duterte called for a “separation” from the United States, threatened to expel US troops and accused the CIA of plotting to kill him. When asked how he would respond if the US president were to criticize his antidrug campaign, Duterte replied with a vulgar epithet to describe Obama, who was president at the time.

The CIA would never kill anybody, right?

Harry Roque, a spokesman for Duterte, said Duterte changed his tune after seeing the value of US help in Marawi. “He hasn’t been criticizing the United States lately,” Roque said. “He looks forward to closer ties with the United States.”

That's why U.S.-created, funded, and directed ISIS showed up there -- right next to a US military base even! 

Trump has been tied to the Philippines for years through his business dealings. Trump Tower at Century City, a $150 million, 57-story residential building, has been under construction since 2012 in metropolitan Manila.....


He's working Japan as I type.


"Israel gives lukewarm welcome to postwar Syria ‘principles’"  Associated Press  November 12, 2017

JERUSALEM — Israeli officials are giving a lukewarm reaction to an international agreement laying out principles for postwar Syria.

So what? Who gives a damn what they think?

The agreement, announced in a US-Russian statement on Saturday, confirmed the importance of ‘‘de-escalation areas’’ as an interim step toward reducing violence, enforcing cease-fire agreements, facilitating humanitarian aid, and setting conditions for the ‘‘ultimate political solution’’ to a war that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. 

Related: "At least 21 people were killed in three strikes on a market in Atareb, hit by Russian and Syrian government airstrikes since 2015, in northern Syria, activists reported Monday....."

It also affirmed what it said was a US-Russian-Jordanian understanding calling for ‘‘the reduction and ultimate elimination, of foreign forces and foreign fighters from the area to ensure a more sustainable peace.’’

Israeli Cabinet Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said Sunday the deal ‘‘does not answer Israel’s unequivocal demands that there will be no developments that bring Iranian or Hezbollah forces closer to Israel’s border with Syria in the north.’’

Israel has long criticized the involvement of archenemy Iran, and Iranian proxy Hezbollah, in the Syria war.

The Shi’ite allies have sent forces to back Syrian President Bashar Assad, who appears to be headed toward victory after years of fighting. Israel has said it will not accept a permanent military presence by Iran and its Shi’ite allies in Syria, especially near the border.

Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said Thursday that an international agreement on Syria would be a positive development, but stressed that Israel is not a party to this deal and would defend its interests.

Time to bug out, huh?

All that knowledge lost.

Israel has largely stayed on the sidelines of the Syrian war, but officials have acknowledged carrying out dozens of airstrikes on suspected weapons shipments to Hezbollah.

Israel has said it will not allow Hezbollah to obtain ‘‘game changing’’ weapons, and it has expressed concerns that Iran will carve out a ‘‘Shi’ite corridor’’ providing a land route to ship weapons from Iran to Lebanon.

And now you know why Lebanon is in crisis after the defeat in Syria.



More than 350 dead after quake hits along Iran-Iraq border

Death toll tops 450 in Iran-Iraq earthquake

What timing, huh? 

If I wasn't a conspiracist I'd swear I heard a HAARP. 

At least that land route will be a bit more difficult to travel.

"Iraq’s Defense Ministry said a military helicopter crashed Sunday during a training exercise, killing all three crew members on board. The Russian-made Mi-17 helicopter crashed in the central Wasit province. The cause of the accident was not immediately known. The province is about 100 miles southeast of Baghdad. In a separate development....." 

They found mass graves.

"Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Sunday withdrawing his resignation would be conditional on the Iranian-backed Hezbollah committing to remaining neutral on regional conflicts. Hariri looked tired and sad in the interview from Saudi Arabia on his Future TV channel. He held back tears as he spoke and said the unity government he formed a year ago was supposed to stick to an agreement not to interfere in regional affairs but that Hezbollah has not kept up its end of the deal....."

But Iran has!! 

That is why Hezbollah has become the stand in for war.


The Globe is beckoning the EPA into the water?

Can start by cleaning up the river:

"GE faces a major inflection point under new CEO John Flannery" by Jon Chesto Globe Staff  November 12, 2017

General Electric Co. was embraced by local power brokers when the company arrived in Boston last year, validating their view of the city as a global player.

Investors? They’ve got a decidedly different opinion of the company.

GE is the Dog of the Dow, the worst-performing stock in the blue-chip index. The shares have dropped by more than 30 percent this year amid concerns that the company’s leadership wasn’t doing enough to control expenses or capitalize on its big investments.

CEO John Flannery, who took over in August when Jeff Immelt retired sooner than expected, is charged with restoring the kind of steady growth that once made GE a Wall Street darling. On Monday, he will be in New York to detail his plans to get GE back on the right track.

Immelt was obviously forced out and told to take a to a late lunch.

The 30-year GE veteran has signaled what’s on the agenda: cost-cutting, including layoffs, asset sales, and wiser deployment of the company’s money. Also in his sights is GE’s corporate culture: Candor and accountability are the new watchwords.

Yeah, “there needs to be real change.”  

At least no sexual harassment scandals in their offices, 'eh?

Flannery has already taken clear steps to send signals to the troops: selling off the corporate jets at Hanscom Field, ending a car service available to some 700 employees, moving a January retreat from Boca Raton, Fla., to Boston. He reshuffled his leadership team and helped reduce expenses by $1.2 billion this year, including through job cuts that are underway.

Look at the self-internalized militarism by the pos puke reporter.

But many questions remain for investors: How will Flannery find more ways to deliver on a promise to trim $3 billion-plus from the company’s budget over two years, as well as divesting up to $20 billion worth of business lines?

Will he shave the once-sacred dividend, thin out an unusually large board of directors, properly fix the company’s opaque accounting approach, or sell off a core business?

Bostonians, meanwhile, might worry about what this slimmed-down GE means for their city. Flannery’s review has led to a two-year delay in completing GE’s new headquarters complex in Fort Point, though company reps say they still plan to go forward with the $200 million project.

GE also has reassured city leaders of its long-term plans to employ 800 people in the city by 2024 — a promise made in return for $25 million in property tax breaks over 20 years. GE also says its pledge to spend $50 million on local philanthropic efforts over five years remains intact.

$25 million for only 800 jobs? Little costly.

And that is not counting the $150m or so from the state.





Time to drive away from Bo$ton as fast as you can, hop a plane, and take off.