Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tuesday Crapo

It's the first thing I do upon arising:

"Senate’s Crapo strikes deal with Democrats on easing bank rules" by Renae Merle Washington Post  November 14, 2017

WASHINGTON — Senator Mike Crapo, the Republican chair of the Senate Banking Committee, announced a bipartisan deal Monday to free dozens of large financial institutions from some of the most rigorous regulations put in place after the global financial crisis.

Currently, banks with more than $50 billion in assets are considered ‘‘too big to fail’’ and undergo the strictest regulatory scrutiny, including a yearly stress test to prove they could survive another period of economic turmoil. The proposed legislation would raise that threshold to banks with $250 billion in assets, potentially allowing several high-profile financial institutions, including American Express, Ally Financial, and Barclays, to escape the extra scrutiny.

These banks have long complained that the regulations are excessive and saddle them with extra compliance costs they don’t deserve.

The Senate plan is modest compared with legislation passed by the House last summer to dismantle key parts of 2010’s financial reform bill, known as the Dodd-Frank Act. But it is the most significant step taken by the Senate, so far, to help fulfill President Trump’s agenda of loosening regulations facing the financial industry that the White House has said are holding back the economy.

‘‘The bipartisan proposals on which we have agreed will significantly improve our financial regulatory framework and foster economic growth by right-sizing regulation, particularly for smaller financial institutions and community banks,’’ said Crapo, an Idaho Republican.

Crapo secured the support of several Democrats, including Senators Joe Donnelly, Indiana; Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota; Jon Tester, Montana; and Mark R. Warner, Virginia, before announcing the deal. The legislation is the ‘‘result of years of tough, bipartisan negotiations,’’ Warner said in a statement.

Despite the early bipartisan support, it is unclear whether the legislation will garner enough votes to move forward. It would need the support of all of the chamber’s Republicans and eight Democrats. But that is far from assured. ‘‘The question will be whether conservative Republicans are comfortable with the measure and whether more pragmatic Republicans see it as too narrow,’’ Jaret Seiberg, an analyst with Cowen’s Washington Research Group, said in a report Monday.

What bankers want, bankers get.

Supporters of the bill emphasized that it was aimed at helping community banks and credit unions, not megabanks such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase. Under the bill, banks with $50 billion and $100 billion in assets would immediately be exempt from the extra regulations, while those with between $100 billion and $250 billion would have to wait 18 months for the relief.

The proposal drew protests from some Democrats and progressive groups, who noted that the banking industry has reported record profits over the last year. In fact, bankers’ year-end bonuses are set to grow 5 percent to 10 percent this year, according to consulting firm Johnson Associates Inc..... 

This while the percentage of employed adults is at a 54-year-low

What is wrong with this picture, 'eh??



Time for breakfast and the front page of my Globe:

"Berklee president: 11 faculty members have been terminated in 13 years for sex assault, harassment" by Kay Lazar Globe Staff  November 13, 2017

Berklee College of Music president Roger Brown on Monday told a packed campus-wide forum that the renowned school has terminated 11 faculty members in the past 13 years for sexual misconduct.

The admission punctuated an extraordinary day at the music school, with hundreds of students, many holding signs, marching down crowded Boylston Street at lunchtime to a gathering to discuss sexual assault and harassment at Berklee.

The meeting followed a Boston Globe story last week that chronicled incidents since 2008 in which students reported being assaulted, groped, or pressured into sex with their teachers, according to court documents and interviews with more than a dozen people.

Brown had been scheduled to deliver an annual state of the school speech Monday in a smaller building but scrapped those plans to instead hold the forum at Berklee’s famed concert hall.

With standing room only in the 1,250-seat Berklee Performance Center, Brown started by apologizing and pledging a faster and more transparent system for dealing with sexual misconduct.

“To everyone who has been harassed or abused at Berklee, I am so sorry,” said Brown, who has led Berklee since 2004. “I apologize for this institution. It’s unacceptable. It breaks my heart. It goes against everything that makes me want to be here in the first place.”

Brown also promised to “root out” abusive behavior.

“We are not going to tolerate it,” he said.....

I stopped reading there because his words are so hollow as they HAVE TOLERATED IT -- covered it up, even -- and as he turned the whole thing away from the victims and to him and his school.




"One was the son of a Mississippi sharecropper, the other a privileged New England prep school graduate....." 

So in what way was he abused before the war?

"Mass. Pike project in Allston to cost $1 billion or more" by Adam Vaccaro Globe Staff  November 14, 2017

A mammoth highway project that would dramatically reshape the Massachusetts Turnpike in Allston and affect the commute of hundreds of thousands of motorists will move forward and likely break ground in 2020, state officials said Monday.

Why did Big Dig just flash into my mind?

The project, with one plan estimated to cost $1.2 billion, would replace a raised portion of the Pike between Boston University and the Charles River and straighten the roadway where it takes a looping bend through now-abandoned rail yards. As part of the construction, the state would build another commuter rail station, remove the labyrinth of twisting ramps and access roads, and create a more orderly grid with new streets, bike and walking paths, and possibly more parkland along the Charles River.

The planned changes to the Allston Interchange, as it is known, are a “generational opportunity to use the space available to get the interstate right, get the road network right, and get the rail system right,” Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said Monday, in detailing the state’s intent to submit construction and environmental plans by the end of the month.

Past history indicates they will get none of it right.

The review will kickstart a project that has been planned since 2014. With the switch to electronic tolling complete and removal of the Allston toll plaza wrapped up, state officials said they now have a way clear to rebuild the highway and its access points. Construction is expected to begin in 2020 and run through 2025.





"Brookline’s public relations war over school site escalates" by Laura Krantz Globe Staff  November 13, 2017

You could be forgiven for thinking there was a dire emergency confronting Brookline, based on the number of attorneys and public relations specialists working behind the scenes on the hottest controversy in town.

In reality, Brookline and factions of its residents are engaged in a highly sophisticated fight over where to build an elementary school, a debate that will be part of a Special Town Meeting on Tuesday night.

Several big-name attorneys have been involved for a year now, including one who represents Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, who is also a Brookline resident. And in recent weeks, several well-known public relations executives have been hired by various groups that want the school to be located — or not located — in this or that corner of the well-to-do town.

All at untold expense. Even by Brookline standards, this is unusual.

“We’re talking about a school; it’s not a nuclear waste dump,” said Neil Wishinsky, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. “We’re talking about educating kids.”

Or inculcating and indoctrinating them, so do whatever authority wants even if is the tyrannical and illegal seizure of property!


At least they have a good cafeteria.

"General Electric plans job cuts, slash in quarterly dividend" by Jon Chesto Globe Staff  November 13, 2017

NEW YORK — Boston’s biggest company is going to get considerably smaller under a turnaround plan that new General Electric Co. chief executive John Flannery spelled out Monday.

Flannery billed his changes as a reinvention aimed at putting GE back on a growth track, but he stopped short of making more dramatic changes that some on Wall Street had demanded.

Most of the storied conglomerate, whose roots extend to Thomas Edison, will remain intact, and the effect on Boston will be minimal. A small Boston-based enterprise that focuses on energy efficiency will probably be eliminated, however.

At his first big presentation to investors since taking the helm in August, Flannery said GE will focus on three key industries: aviation, including jet engines; energy equipment and services; and health care products such as MRI machines. It will divest a number of businesses, shrink its board of directors, and cut its dividend in half, just the second reduction since the Great Depression.

“This is the opportunity of a lifetime to reinvent an iconic company,” Flannery said.

GE’s stock fell 7.2 percent to $19.02, the biggest drop in eight years, as investors were disappointed that Flannery didn’t move more aggressively and that the restructuring would take more time to pay off than they expected. The chief executive called 2018 “a reset year.”

You got a loser, Boston!!

They still get the tax loot, and the tone of the rest of the article is don't worry, no problem.


What a puck to the teeth, huh?


"Trump chooses drug executive as health secretary" by Juliet Eilperin Washington Post  November 13, 2017

WASHINGTON — President Trump has tapped Alex M. Azar II, a former pharmaceutical executive and a top health official during the George W. Bush administration, to lead the Health and Human Services Department.

Trump is W 2.0, huh?

In nominating him Monday morning, Trump tweeted, Azar, 50, an establishment figure with a reputation as a conservative thinker and methodical lawyer, ‘‘will be a star for better health care and lower drug prices!’’

Azar has been highly critical of the Affordable Care Act even if ‘‘one of the nice things in it is it does give tremendous amount of authority to the secretary of HHS,’’ he said in a June interview on Bloomberg Television.

These guys all have fascist mind-sets.

He also supports converting Medicaid from an entitlement program covering everyone who is eligible into block grants, a long-standing GOP goal that has sparked opposition from Democrats and some centrist Republicans.

It's not an entitlement. People paid taxes into it. 

If you call it that, however, it makes it easier to take it away.

The nominee boasts sterling conservative credentials, clerking for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia before working under special counsel Kenneth Starr to investigate Bill Clinton’s failed Whitewater real estate investments. Still, administration officials think he could work more deftly with competing health care interests and politicians than his predecessor, Tom Price.

Price did little to foster better relations between the administration and Capitol Hill despite his dozen years as a Georgia representative. He stepped down in September after revelations that he had racked up more than $1 million in expenses this year by making official trips on noncommercial aircraft.

And he has faded into oblivion.

As HHS general counsel, Azar worked on the administration’s response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the ensuing anthrax attacks, stem-cell policy and the advent of the Medicare prescription drug benefits.....

He's one of the cover-up specialists if not a collaborator. 

Thanks, Trump!


My blood pressure just went up.


"North Korea says US carrier groups raise nuclear war threat" by Edith M. Lederer Associated Press  November 14, 2017

UNITED NATIONS — UN Ambassador Ja Song Nam of North Korea said in a letter to Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres Monday that the joint military exercises with South Korea are creating ‘‘the worst ever situation prevailing in and around the Korean peninsula.’’

Along with the three carrier groups, he said the United States has reactivated round-the-clock sorties with nuclear-capable B-52 strategic bombers that ‘‘existed during the Cold War times.’’ He also said the United States is maintaining ‘‘a surprise strike posture with frequent flight of B-1B and B-2 formations to the airspace of South Korea.’’ 

I'm wondering what all that fuel consumption is doing to the environment.

‘‘The large-scale nuclear war exercises and blackmails, which the United States staged for a whole year without a break in collaboration with its followers to stifle our republic, make one conclude that the option we have taken was the right one,’’ Ja said.

They can cite Iraq and Libya to prove it, while Iran went a different way.

 The four-day joint naval exercises by the United States and South Korea, which began Saturday in waters off the South’s eastern coast, were described by military officials as a clear warning to North Korea. They involve the carrier battle groups of the USS Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt, and Nimitz, which include 11 US Aegis ships that can track missiles, and seven South Korean naval vessels.

Seoul’s military said in a statement that the exercises aim to enhance the combined US and South Korean operational and aerial strike capabilities and to display ‘‘strong will and firm military readiness to defeat any provocation by North Korea with dominant force in the event of crisis.’’

According to the US Navy’s 7th Fleet, it is the first time since a 2007 exercise near Guam that three US carrier strike groups are operating together in the Western Pacific.  

Just had a big scandal out there as well as ships running into each other

Are you sure you are ready for a war?

In a separate development Monday, North Korean soldiers shot at and wounded a fellow soldier who was crossing a jointly controlled area at the heavily guarded border to defect to South Korea, the South’s military said.

North Korean soldiers have occasionally defected to South Korea across the border. But it’s rare for a North Korean soldier to defect via the Joint Security Area, where border guards of the rival Koreas stand facing each other just feet away, and be shot by fellow North Korean soldiers.

The soldier bolted from a guard post at the northern side of Panmunjom village in the Joint Security Area to the southern side of the village, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

He was shot in the shoulder and elbow and was taken to a South Korean hospital, the South’s Defense Ministry said. It wasn’t immediately known how serious the soldier’s injuries were or why he defected.

South Korean troops found the injured soldier south of the border after hearing sounds of gunfire, the South Korean Defense Ministry official said. South Korean troops didn’t fire at the North, he said.

Smells to me like a staged piece of crap lie if it happened at all. What it looks like is war propaganda to indicate that the North is demoralized. It'll be easy, just like Iraq.

The US-South Korean military drills come amid President Trump’s visit to South Korea and Asia, which has been dominated by discussions over the North Korean nuclear threat.

Ja accused the UN Security Council in Monday’s letter of repeatedly ‘‘turning a blind eye to the nuclear war exercises of the United States, who is hell bent on bringing a catastrophic disaster to humanity.’’ He said the exercises raise serious concern about ‘‘the double standard’’ of the United Nations’ most powerful body.


He also referenced Trump’s September speech to the UN General Assembly, in which the president said that if the United States is ‘‘forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.’’

Trump tweeted soon after making the speech that Korea’s leadership ‘‘won’t be around much longer.’’ Ja said Monday the United States ‘‘is now running amok for war exercises by introducing nuclear war equipment in and around the Korean peninsula, thereby proving that the US itself is the major offender of the escalation of tension and undermining of the peace.’’

It is so sad when the "enemy" is telling the truth and your government and war pre$$ are lying to you.


At least the Koreans have support in some quarters:

"After all, President Trump could wake up tomorrow, decide to rain nuclear hellfire down on the 2.5 million residents of Pyongyang, and they’d be dead within minutes. No congressional veto. No court order. No do-overs. Which is why it was so alarming when Trump warned the United Nations this fall that if North Korea didn’t give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program, the United States “will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” This summer, he warned that North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” That’s a level of bellicosity with which no other American president has flirted since Truman warned the Japanese that they could “expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.”

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is going to hold a hearing on the president’s “authority to order the use of nuclear weapons,” the first time Congress has held a hearing on this issue since 1976, as they compare Trump to Nixon. The madman theory, you know.

What is interesting is a nuclear fire has already been rained down upon Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia, etc, through the use of depleted uranium munitions. Globe wasn't (and isn't) concerned about that. In fact, they were cheering them on.

I think it is all bluster anyway. Kim Jong-un goes away and so do all the defense deals Trump got on the trip.

President Trump struggled Monday before extending the traditional handshake to world leaders at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Manila. He praised the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte (third from right).
President Trump struggled Monday before extending the traditional handshake to world leaders at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Manila. He praised the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte (third from right) Doug Mills/New York Times


So who is the guy in the middle that doesn't have to look like an idiot?

"The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump personally asked his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to help resolve the case of three UCLA men’s basketball players who were arrested for shoplifting while in Hangzhou for a tournament last week. Trump raised the arrests during a two-day state visit to Beijing, arriving a day after the three freshmen players had been accused of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team’s hotel, according to people familiar with the matter. Guard LiAngelo Ball, brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard Lonzo Ball, and forwards Cody Riley and Jalen Hill did not play in the team’s victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday in Shanghai. They did not fly home with the team, and ESPN reported that the players could be required to remain in Hangzhou for a week or two. Xi has promised to look into the case and ensure that the American players would be treated fairly and expeditiously, The Post quoted an unidentified US official as saying. In a separate development....."

They are already home as I type, and what a sense of entitlement from spoiled athletes.

"Navy SEALs investigated in Green Beret’s death also under scrutiny in theft" by John Ismay New York Times  November 14, 2017

WASHINGTON — Two Navy SEAL commandos under investigation in the strangling of an Army Green Beret soldier in June in Mali have also been under scrutiny in the theft of money from a fund used to pay confidential informants, according to three service members briefed on the matter.

One Navy official said that military authorities investigated the allegations earlier this year and concluded there was insufficient evidence to take any criminal or other disciplinary action against the commandos, who are members of the elite SEAL Team 6. But another former member of the unit said the inquiry was continuing.

RelatedMilitary investigating whether Navy SEALs strangled Green Beret in Mali

The revelations might shed light on a possible motive in the death of Staff Sergeant Logan J. Melgar, a 34-year-old veteran of two tours in Afghanistan, in the embassy housing he shared in the Malian capital, Bamako, with the two Navy commandos, who were on a secret counterterrorism mission in the impoverished West African nation.

Melgar’s killing marked the latest violent death under mysterious circumstances for US troops on little-known missions in that region of Africa.

Four US soldiers were killed in an ambush last month in neighboring Niger while conducting what was initially described as a reconnaissance patrol but was later changed to supporting a much more dangerous counterterrorism mission against Islamic militants in the area.

Trump's Benghazi.

The Pentagon said last week that an inquiry into the four soldiers’ deaths would not be completed until January at the earliest.

No one has been charged in Melgar’s death, which a military medical examiner ruled “a homicide by asphyxiation,” or strangulation.

The initial reports to Melgar’s superiors in Germany said he had been injured while wrestling with the two Navy commandos, according to three officials who have been briefed on the investigation and who requested anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service took over the case in late September from Army criminal authorities after the status of the two Navy commandos was changed from “witnesses” to “persons of interest,” meaning officials were trying to determine what the commandos knew about the death and whether they were involved.

The Navy SEALs’ potential role threatens to tarnish SEAL Team 6, the famed counterterrorism unit that carried out the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011. 

All these guys that could talk have been killed, copter shootdown in Afghanistan, chute won't open, etc, etc, etc, but you believe what you want, you believe the pre$$. Dead men tell no tales.

Until now, the biggest unanswered question in the case has been why Melgar was killed. But new clues are emerging on that front.

Even the investigation is a war front!

A US servicemember who knew Melgar said he was under the impression that the sergeant had stumbled on some sort of money-skimming scheme involving the Navy commandos.

They killed him over that?!!!??

A retired senior enlisted sailor who served in SEAL Team 6 said Melgar discovered the scam and threatened to report the Navy commandos to authorities. Melgar’s suspicions were first reported in the Daily Beast.

Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because the sergeant’s death remains under investigation. A spokesman for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Ed Buice, declined to comment on the homicide investigation.

Special Operations troops from a range of units can earn qualifications that let them recruit sources for intelligence and pay them. These individuals might handle payments from small cash bags up to storage lockers filled with currency.

Now you know who is funding the terrorists!


Also see:

Desperate Rohingya swim 2.5 miles from Myanmar to Bangladesh

Reminiscent of the Jews hiding in the woods with wolves for two years stuff to escape the Nazis, and about as believable.

EU launches new era in defense cooperation

In preparation for war with Russia.

Saudi-led coalition set to reopen Yemeni ports

Just some, all allied.

Report shows emissions rise as climate talks enter 2nd week

I'm sure women are the solution.


Chelsea police make terminally ill toddler’s dream come true

Unlike the Reeves.

"A 19-year-old New Bedford man was shot and killed by a Fall River police officer late Sunday night, a shooting that took place as the victim allegedly tried to drive away from police who had been called to investigate a “smoking” car and reports of gunshots. The man killed by police was identified as Larry Ruiz-Barreto by Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III’s office. Quinn’s office is investigating the use of deadly force by the officer....."

Was important enough to place on page B3.

It's a mandatory minimum if he's found guilty.

As for the boat blaze, it looks electrical in nature, while a car was stolen by a bear on the lam.

Facebook founder’s gift to Harvard aimed at low-income students

Priscilla Chan, wife of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, cites Dorchester experience in making $12.1 million grant

Here's pie in your eye:

"Over the years, critics have written about separating Allen’s art from Allen’s personal life, or avoided discussions about his past (and his treatment of women) altogether. But in recent weeks, after The New York Times published its story about sexual abuse and assault allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein, more people in the industry have spoken out against Allen and his place in Hollywood....."

That pedophile's place in Big Jewry must be secure then.

This ex-Fidelity worker won at the Supreme Court. Now a Boston jury will decide if she is a true whistle-blower

That's the first I've seen of it after Fidelity dispatched a couple of sex harassers a few weeks ago.

Ex-Fidelity employee loses 10-year whistle-blower case

Women are still getting screwed!

Why your mental map of the US economy is probably wrong

Look who is talking.

Beth Israel Deaconess to build 10-story patient building

Keurig pulled its ads from Hannity, and now fans are smashing their coffee makers


Red Sox Foundation names new executive director

Qualcomm rejects Broadcom’s takeover bid as too low

Tesla a ‘hotbed for racist behavior’ black workers claim in suit

Thank Christ it's not sexual!

"Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. said there’s no connection between the company and an illness suffered by “Supergirl” actor Jeremy Jordan, who blamed the burrito chain for making him severely sick....."

I'll avoid them this Thanksgiving.

"Missouri’s attorney general said Monday that he has launched an investigation into whether Google has mishandled private customer data and manipulated its search results to favor its own products and stifle competitors. The probe comes after European regulators investigated significant aspects of Google’s business and as Washington is taking a harder look into the influence of dominant tech companies in American society. Attorney General Josh Hawley said that the investigation will focus on three issues: the scope of Google’s data collection, whether it has abused its market position as a dominant search engine, and whether the company has unfairly used content produced by competitors, like Yelp, in its own search results....."

I'm surprised they are not blaming Russia.

“This bud’s for you” has taken on a whole new meaning for Chris Burggraeve. The former chief marketing officer for Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the brewer of Budweiser beer, is moving from barley and hops to cannabis as the alcohol industry casts its sights on the burgeoning market for state-sanctioned marijuana. Burggraeve, 52, has made two investments in the space. Most recently, he joined the advisory board of GreenRush Group. The San Francisco-based startup, which says it aims to be the Amazon of weed, closed its $3.6 million Series A fund-raising round last week. Burggraeve, a native of Belgium with a master’s degree in economics, also cofounded Toast, which makes dosed, prerolled joints. The former beer executive is one of many entrepreneurs and investors increasingly flocking to the cannabis industry from the traditional business world. Big Beer took its first step last month when Constellation Brands Inc., which sells Corona in the United States, announced its investment in Canopy Growth Corp., a Canadian seller of medicinal-marijuana products."

I can attest that they don't go well together.

Tide of fake news is ‘almost overwhelming,’ EU warns

Tell me about it! 

Was three sections of shit today.