Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Death is the Answer

Whatever the question!

"Death penalty for drug dealers is not a new idea" by Annie Linskey Globe Staff  March 21, 2018

WASHINGTON — The proposal to impose the death penalty on drug dealers also serves as a dog whistle to the white nationalists who support Trump, according to critics, similar to strategies followed by governors with shaky records on race.

I know of one dog whistle the pre$$ can no longer hear.

These include former Alabama governor George Wallace, who backed the death penalty idea in 1985, and the current governor of Maine, Paul LePage, a Republican who blamed minorities for the drug problems in the state, at one point saying “Black people come up the highway and they kill Mainers.”

Yeah, “we have got to get tough. This isn’t about nice anymore.”

Trump says that he’s drawn inspiration for his push to execute drug dealers from unspecified foreign leaders, and in the past he’s praised President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines for his handling of the country’s drug epidemic, a program that’s involved extrajudicial killings of both drug dealers and drug users.

Where is BLM these days, huh?

He’s also praised the drug laws in Singapore, where drug dealing carries a mandatory death sentence in most cases. Trump has accepted an invitation to meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Singapore later this year.

“This is tough on crime to the extreme,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a Washington-based advocacy group that works to expose legal inequities for minorities. “This runs contrary to our approach to criminal justice reform. The president has used racially charged rhetoric in talking about drug offenses in the county. . . . And in that context it appears blacks and Latinos would be the ones impacted by such an outrageous proposal.”

Don't worry, they will do it in the most humane way possible.

It’s unclear exactly how Trump wants to apply the federal death penalty statute. Under current law, the federal government can punish some drug dealers with death even if their activity isn’t directly linked to a fatal overdose, according to Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

The federal power that Trump would use for his plan comes from a death penalty expansion provision that became law as a part of a 1994 crime bill. The legislation, which also banned assault weapons, gained support from a number of Democrats. They include then Senators Joe Biden, Edward Kennedy, and John Kerry. And, in the House at the time, Bernie Sanders, now a Senator from Vermont and darling of the left, voted for it.

Uh-oh. That's also blamed for the BLM situation.

President Bill Clinton signed the overall package into law despite constitutional concerns about the death penalty provisions, Dunham said. And, he said, the statute wasn’t used in part because of those concerns.

What you don't know is the much-celebrated statute created a problem for many cops and prosecutors.

The law became even more questionable in eyes of prosecutors in 2008 when the Supreme Court determined, in a case of child rape, that the death penalty could not be imposed. That opinion had a chilling effect on using the death penalty for criminals who weren’t convicted of murder.

That means any cases that Attorney General Jeff Sessions might bring under the untested federal authority would almost certainly be appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court, prosecutors said.

A spokeswoman for Sessions confirmed the Department of Justice has the power to bring death penalty cases against drug lords, but declined to answer any questions about what type of cases would be pursued.

Trump’s concept would also be a major shift in how federal death penalty cases are brought, as most capital cases are prosecuted on the state level. Florida is the one state in the country that also allows capital punishment for drug dealers, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures, which tracks state laws.

RelatedBlack man convicted by all-white jury seeks new trial

Devil went down to Georgia by way of Yawkey.

Another concern about widespread use of the death penalty is that federal prosecutors have a long history of increasing charges against even low-level drug users, making them at times appear to be much more powerful than they are, said Brett L. Tolman, a former US attorney for the District of Utah, who prosecuted drug cases.

That how they solved the problem?

He recalled securing a lengthy prison sentence for a man he successfully prosecuted for distributing methamphetamine, even though the man had only what he described as a “Snickers bar” amount of the drug.

“We were able to show this was a distributable amount,” Tolman said. “That guy was put down as a major meth dealer. He was just a user who would get his score and give some to his buddies. That is the bulk of who is in the federal system. That is a dirty secret.”

Adding the death penalty, he predicted, would only make the justice process longer and more expensive.

The idea of killing drug dealers, however, has been pleasing certain crowds for decades.

This is no time to bring up Israel's occupation of Palestine.

President Ronald Reagan turned to Southern governors in 1985, asking for possible solutions to the outbreak of illegal drugs in the country at the time.

Death was the answer, one of the governors said.

“Anyone bringing in a DC-6 load of marijuana or cocaine is probably going to result in several deaths,” said George Wallace, who was then the Democratic governor of Alabama, according to the Miami Herald from the time. “You execute a few of them, and that would be the end of it.”

Seems to be the mindset that the elite ruling cla$$ and their political puppets have. The knee-jerk reaction to any problem is kill it. Too many deer, kill 'em. Too many people, let's lie them into wars.

There is a certain logic, I suppose. You kill it, it's gone.


This will be the last thing you will see before dying.

RelatedThe New Stalin

Still needs an arm of enforcement:

"20 state troopers face possible discipline in overtime scam probe" by Mark Arsenault, Travis Andersen and Shelley Murphy Globe Staff  March 20, 2018

FRAMINGHAM — In another black eye for the scandal-ridden Massachusetts State Police, 20 active troopers face potential sanctions for the apparent theft of overtime pay, with the most egregious alleged offenders putting in for as many as 100 no-show shifts, officials said Tuesday.

In a state agency where 245 troopers — about 12 percent of the force — made more than $200,000 last year, an internal audit of Troop E, a division that covers the Massachusetts Turnpike, found “apparent discrepancies between overtime paid and actual patrols worked,” State Police Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, superintendent of the force, said at a morning news conference.

News of the purported overtime scheme quickly stirred outrage.

Governor Charlie Baker, who appointed Gilpin to head the agency last November, said the superintendent “made a pretty clear statement that this sort of activity and this sort of behavior is not going to be tolerated.”

Baker said that overall the State Police are “a strong, good, well-trained unit.”

He ain't getting it so expect those approval ratings to drop.

“But clearly there’s some people here who broke the rules, allegedly, and got way beyond the bounds of what anyone would consider to be appropriate behavior,” Baker said. “And for those who are found to have committed what’s been alleged, they should face the music.”

The department’s previous superintendent, Richard McKeon, and his deputy, Francis Hughes, retired in November after revelations that McKeon had ordered an arrest report changed to remove embarrassing information about the daughter of Judge Timothy Bibaud. A lawyer for McKeon has said he ordered the deletions to remove unnecessary information.

Said he did it all the time, no big deal.

On Tuesday, the union that represents troopers, the State Police Association of Massachusetts, said it does not condone any actions that may have violated the public’s trust.

“The department has been in turmoil over the last several months,” Dana Pullman, president of the union, said in a statement. “We believe the customs and culture that was allowed to flourish under the previous state police leadership has compromised the public’s perception and calls into question the integrity of the hard-working men and women of the Massachusetts State Police. Colonel Gilpin has been given the unenviable task of dealing with a myriad of untenable issues.”

Gilpin did not identify the troopers, sergeants, and lieutenants under investigation.

“Depending on the outcome of the [upcoming duty status] hearings, these members face a potential change in their duty status, up to and including suspension without pay, while further investigation into the apparent payment discrepancies is conducted,” Gilpin said.

Gilpin said her predecessor, McKeon, launched the audit of overtime shifts on Troop E last year after a discrepancy came to light between overtime hours filed and actual shifts worked.

The accusation that more than 20 troopers logged overtime they didn’t work would seem to warrant criminal charges, said David Rossman, a former prosecutor in Middlesex County who now directs criminal law clinical programs at Boston University.

“Short answer is: Yes, it does describe a crime because they stole money from the state by misrepresenting their entitlement to the money,” Rossman said. Whether prosecutors can bring a successful case is an open question, he said.

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for them to bring one.

“It appears to be a widespread problem that requires some definitive response that demonstrates to the public that we don’t tolerate employees lying and stealing from the treasury,” he said. “But if there’s some common theme, like it went through one particular lieutenant, then it becomes a much easier case (to prove). If it’s just 20 individual troopers obviously doing the same thing and talking with each other about it, it becomes harder.” 

Then it would be a.... gulp.... conspiracy!

State Representative Timothy R. Whelan, a former state trooper and a Brewster Republican, said the move to hand the investigation to Attorney General Maura Healey’s office for review and potential prosecution struck him as an attempt to avoid criticism that an internal investigation would be compromised.

“It’s about restoring that confidence,” said Whelan. He applauded Gilpin as a “straight shooter” he has known since she was a rank-and-file trooper. Whelan said the accumulation of scandals at the department points to systemic problems that predate her.....

That would put you back to the days of the Patrick regime, as it is apparently a “widespread and accepted practice approved by command.”


Amid bombings, Austin asks why — and who’s next

Not anymore:

Suspect in Austin bombing attacks blows himself up

Instead we are treated to another clockwork-type school shooting psyop as the National lead (whatcha gonna do?). 

At least it's safe to go back to Walmart.


"What happened to the GOP’s red line on Mueller being fired?" by Liz Goodwin Globe Staff  March 20, 2018

WASHINGTON — Now that President Trump is escalating his personal attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, Republicans in Congress are expressing reluctance to take specific steps to protect Mueller from Trump’s wrath.

Republicans who once cosponsored measures to make it more difficult for Trump to fire Mueller pooh-poohed their own legislation this week, saying there was no need to pass it now. The mass disinterest has Democrats and the handful of Trump critics left in the Republican Party worried that the red line was more of a suggestion than a threat.

“I always felt — and a lot of my colleagues have said privately — that that’s the red line that he can’t cross,” GOP Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona said Monday of firing Mueller. “But I feel we’re closer to that line and some people may be getting cold feet.”

Flake was one of just two Senate Republicans to publicly express alarm Monday. The other was Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, who is also retiring.

Are they even making a dent in the narrative?

Most Republicans say they believe Mueller should be allowed to finish his probe unimpeded. But a parade of Republican lawmakers pressed by reporters in the Capitol insisted there was no need to pass legislation or have Republican leadership deliver a strong warning to protect Mueller.

“I’m not about to give the president of the United States a red line,” said Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell broke his silence on the president’s attacks on Mueller, describing the special counsel as “thoroughly credible,” and praising Mueller’s appointment as “excellent,” but McConnell reiterated that it was not necessary to take steps to protect him. “I don’t think Bob Mueller is going anywhere,” he told reporters.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called McConnell’s comments a “shot across the bow” and said he hopes Trump was listening, but it’s unclear if praising Mueller has the same effect as protecting him.

“A red line is not worth a whole heck of a lot if the people drawing it won’t enforce it,” said Stephen Vladeck, a constitutional law professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

“I have zero concerns that the president or his team are going to fire Mueller,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has warned Trump that firing Mueller would be the “end” of his presidency. “Zero.”

That's not what he was saying at breakfast a couple of days ago.

But Democrats, and Flake, are not reassured and believe Trump could move to fire Mueller at any moment. “Just a week ago he said he wasn’t going to fire Tillerson,” Flake pointed out. The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired last week.

That dropped into the darkness right quick, didn't it?

Two pieces of bipartisan legislation to protect Mueller that were considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee last September have since all but disappeared, with their Republican cosponsors now distancing themselves from the bills.

There is little Congress can do retroactively if Trump moves to fire Mueller, according to Vladeck, aside from ramping up their own investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections and any ties the Trump campaign may have had to it.

Removing Mueller would spark a major conflict, lawmakers say.

“I think every member of Congress should be speaking up in defense of the rule of law,” said Democratic Senator Ron Wyden. “Firing Bob Mueller will trigger a constitutional crisis, and my guess is you’d have more people in the streets over this than you can imagine.”

Then they would overshadow the role of Florida, and whaddaya mean there is going to be school on Saturday


As one dean once said, no more fun of any kind:

"Two Walpole High School students were arrested after they allegedly made remarks about a “school shooter,” police said Tuesday. Walpole police Chief John F. Carmichael Jr. said one of the students is a junior and the other is a freshman. “One student referred to the other as ‘school shooter’ and the second student replied with ‘you shouldn’t come to school on Tuesday’ or something to that effect,” Carmichael said in an e-mail to the Globe. “This was overheard by bystanders.” The two students, whose names have not been released, have been charged with disturbing a school assembly and obstruction of justice, he said. On Monday, Carmichael tweeted out a memo detailing the police investigation that led up to the arrests and said police would have an elevated presence at the high school Tuesday morning. “There is no threat to school safety; however we will be on hand to help calm any potential apprehension on campus,” he tweeted. “The student denied saying anything and said people were starting rumors, however, we developed witnesses who confirmed what was said and both students were interviewed and admitted to impeding the investigation by lying and deflecting culpability,” Carmichael said in an e-mail to the Globe. Carmichael wrote in his memo that both students, who “insisted their statements were communicated jokingly,” were arrested by Walpole police....." 

They are conditioning you kids for the future police state, and it is amazing how the kids act like their elite ma$ters and pre$$ mouthpieces by lying and deflecting culpability. At least they have learned something!

"An Amherst College football player died last Friday in Mexico City, officials confirmed on Tuesday. Andrew Dorogi, a senior economics major who was to graduate this year, died on Friday, a spokeswoman for the private college said in an e-mail. The US State Department, through a spokeswoman, confirmed that Dorogi died while in Mexico City. Neither the college nor the State Department provided details about Dorogi’s death. “We extend our deepest sympathies on behalf of the entire Amherst community to his family, friends, teammates, coaches, and teachers,” said Amherst College spokeswoman Caroline Hanna in an e-mail. “At this time, in keeping with the wishes of Andrew’s family, we have no other information to share.” According to a football roster on the school’s website, Dorogi was a senior tight end from Cleveland....."

He should have went skiing in Vermont instead:

"A private Vermont ski resort that was the setting for ABC’s ‘‘The Bachelor Winter Games’’ has been shut down for failing to pay taxes. A spokeswoman for the Hermitage Club said Monday that the resort missed a required payment to the state and was ordered to close until it is paid. She said the members-only club hopes to reopen by this weekend. The resort owes more than $1 million in back taxes and recently laid off about 80 people. Last month, a bank filed a foreclosure notice on several properties, saying the club had defaulted on more than $16 million in loans. The Hermitage Club hosted ‘‘The Bachelor Winter Games,’’ a four-episode spin-off of ‘‘The Bachelor’’ that ran in conjunction with the Olympics."

Be careful crossing the border:

"US agent on trial in cross-border killing of Mexican teen" by Anita Snow Associated Press  March 20, 2018

TUCSON — A rare murder trial of a US Border Patrol agent accused of shooting across the international boundary into Mexico in 2012 and killing a teenager started Tuesday with jury selection.

The trial in US District Court in Tucson comes amid President Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration and his promise to build a wall along the 2,000-mile US-Mexico border.

Lonnie Swartz has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the killing of 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez. The teenager was on a street in Nogales, in the Mexican state of Sonora, just across the border from Nogales, Ariz.

An autopsy showed the unarmed teen was shot 10 times, mostly from behind.

Lee Gelernt, a New York-based lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, said he believes Swartz is the first border agent to be prosecuted by the Justice Department in a fatal shooting across the international border. ‘‘This historically important trial is coming at a time when all eyes are on the border,’’ he said.

Prosecutors say Swartz opened fire at about 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 10, 2012, through the metal poles of a 20-foot fence along an embankment above Mexico’s Calle Internacional, a street lined with homes and small businesses.

About 20,000 people live on the Arizona side and about 300,000 live on the Mexico side, but the two communities linked by family members, trade, and culture have long been referred to locally as ‘‘Ambos Nogales’’ — ‘‘Both Nogales’’ in Spanish.

Swartz’s lawyers have said that Elena Rodriguez threw rocks just before he was shot in an attempt to create a distraction for drug smugglers and that the officer was justified in using lethal force. They have requested that jurors visit the site at night to experience the area after dark.

Witnesses from the Mexico side of the border said they did not see the teen throw rocks and his relatives have denied he was helping drug smugglers, saying he was walking home after playing basketball.

Don't take it personally; a Minneapolis cop shot an Australian woman up here just last year. 

The US attorney’s office has said it won’t dispute that the boy was throwing rocks, but it’s unknown if he had any link to drug smugglers. They argue an unreasonable amount of force was used.

Swartz pleaded not guilty after being indicted by a federal grand jury in 2015 and is currently on administrative leave and free on his own recognizance. The Border Patrol has not said if he is continuing to receive his salary.

District Judge Raner Collins on Tuesday asked prospective jurors whether they knew possible witnesses, including a dozen Border Patrol employees, and FBI officials.....


I predict Trump will pardon him if convicted.

As for the animals.....

Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, dies

No more mountains to climb:

"As the number of trekkers and mountaineers winding through the Everest region has multiplied, so too has the trash — empty bottles of Tuborg beer, food cans, torn tents, empty oxygen bottles. Now, organizers of a national cleanup campaign have set a target of collecting and recycling 200,000 pounds of trash in the area, making it one of Nepal’s most ambitious waste projects ever. “Trash has become a major problem,” said Dalamu Sherpa, chairwoman of a local women’s group, adding that the project was partly about “saving the glory of the Everest region.” The challenge of hauling material away is so vast that even the bodies of climbers who died on the mountain are sometimes left in place....."

Literally a mountain of sh*t up there.

Evacuations ordered as powerful storm nears California

Everybody's gone surfing..... (never mind the polluted groundwater from the mine site).

I'm told climate change does not mean the immediate end of cold weather, as recent nor’easters have shown, but it is putting a squeeze on outdoor skating, a deep part of this country’s cultural identity -- meaning the weather Wurlitzers getting a workout these days.


"Trump congratulates Putin on his reelection, raises no concerns about election meddling here" by Mark Landler New York Times  March 20, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday congratulated President Vladimir Putin of Russia on his recent reelection victory but declined to ask him about either the fairness of the Russian vote.

Wouldn't that be interfering? I know how US officials react when someone questions the legitimacy of our vote (until recently).

Trump also did not raise Russia’s apparent role in a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter on British soil — an act that prompted the United States to join with Britain, France, and Germany in denouncing the Russian government for violating international law.

Instead, in his phone call with Putin, the president focused on what the White House called “shared interests,” including North Korea, Ukraine, and the escalating arms race between the United States and Russia. He said he and Putin were likely to meet soon to discuss those issues.

“We had a very good call,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, where he was meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. “We will probably be meeting in the not-too-distant future to discuss the arms race, which is getting out of control.”

Some world leaders have hesitated to congratulate Putin, since his reelection occurred in an environment of state control of much of the news media and his most prominent opponent was barred from the ballot.

Think 2012 and Obama, American.

The White House said Tuesday that it was not the place of the United States to question how other countries conduct their elections — a contention that runs counter to years of critical statements by presidents and other officials about elections in Russia and many other countries.

Especially when "our" CIA rigs so many.

“We don’t get to dictate how other countries operate,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “We can only focus on the freeness and fairness of our elections.”

She later criticized the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, which could have affected the results in 2016.

Putin won with more than 76 percent of the vote. International observers said Russian electoral authorities counted the votes efficiently, but that several other factors prevented the contest from being fair.

I'm tired of the war pre$$ whining, sorry. Just tired of it.

A number of Republicans criticized Trump for making the call. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said ‘‘the president can call whomever he chooses’’ but noted that ‘‘calling him wouldn’t have been high on my list.’’ And Senator John McCain of Arizona ripped Trump for congratulating Putin on winning another six-year term in an election whose outcome was never in doubt.

‘‘An American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,’’ said McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee and has pressed the Trump administration to respond aggressively to Russia’s interference in the US presidential election.

"We" just recognize them as legitimate after a coup -- like in Honduras.

The White House pointed out that in March 2012, then-President Obama had a telephone conversation with Putin and congratulated him on his election victory at that time.

(Blog editor smiles)

Officials in the Obama administration said there was lively debate about whether, and when, Obama should make that call. Obama waited several days before calling, prompting questions about whether he was going to snub Putin.

After the 2012 election, the State Department issued a separate statement in which it said, “The United States congratulates the Russian people on the completion of the presidential elections, and looks forward to working with the president-elect after the results are certified and he is sworn in.”

In his remarks, Trump noted that Putin has expressed concern about the escalating arms race between the United States and Russia.

He noted that his administration was spending $700 billion to upgrade the US military, and said he would never allow Russia, or any other country, to approach its military might.

“We will never allow anybody to have anything even close to what we have,” Trump said.

Actually, they have already surpassed "us" (despite what the "experts" say); however, how is North Korea supposed to take that?!!?

The president said he and Putin would also discuss tensions in Ukraine, Syria, and North Korea, among other issues.

The Trump administration issued a new nuclear policy last month that experts say will touch off a new kind of nuclear arms race — one based less on numbers of weapons and more on new tactics and technologies.

The new nuclear policy was basically a warning to Russia and China that they are pointed at them.

The White House vows to counter a rush by the Russians to modernize their forces even while staying within the limits imposed by an arms control treaty negotiated by Obama.....


Why when they can just drop a bottle of poison on a park bench?

"Russian diplomats arrive home from Britain after spy attack" Associated Press  March 20, 2018

MOSCOW — Nearly two dozen Russian diplomats expelled by Britain over the poisoning of an ex-spy arrived home Tuesday, while a scientist involved in the creation of the nerve agent said it could be manufactured by other countries.

Russian scientist Leonid Rink told the state RIA Novosti news agency that Britain and others could easily synthesize Novichok after chemical expert Vil Mirzayanov immigrated to the United States and revealed its formula.

‘‘It’s easily available to professionals, and there is no problem for Britain, the US, and other developed nations to create such a weapon,’’ he said.

It does make you wonder where it may have come from.

Rink said Novichok had a different name when it was designed in the Soviet Union, arguing that British officials used the name Novichok to convince the public that Russia was to blame for the poisoning.

Britain has dismissed claims the nerve agent could come from the United Kingdom. On Sunday, Russia’s ambassador to the European Union suggested the nerve agent could have come from Britain’s chemical weapons research facility, Porton Down. The British government said that was ‘‘nonsense.’’

On March 14, British Prime Minister Theresa May gave the 23 diplomats — whom she said were undeclared intelligence agents — a week to leave Britain. Russia responded by expelling the same number of British diplomats, who are expected to leave in the coming days.

Diplomats and their families emerged from the Russian Embassy in west London with suitcases, bags, and pet carriers. Some hugged before boarding vehicles to Stansted Airport near London for a flight to Moscow that landed later Tuesday.

Russia has fiercely denied any involvement, saying that it had no motive to kill former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, who was convicted of spying for Britain but released in a 2010 spy swap. It said that it had completed the destruction of its chemical arsenals last year under international oversight.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the poisoning didn’t come up in President Trump’s phone call Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, dismissed demands by Britain and its allies that Russia prove its innocence, saying that it’s Britain who must provide proof.

‘‘Let’s stay sober-minded and first of all wait for proof from Britain’’ that Russia was to blame, he told reporters.

Rink said Britain has refused to provide a sample of the agent it said was used in the poisoning because tests would reveal that it hadn’t come from Russia. He said each lab has its own chemical ‘‘signature,’’ allowing experts to trace its origin. ‘‘It would be immediately clear that it wasn’t ‘cooked’ in Russia,’’ he said. 

That is why they couldn't plant WMD in Iraq.

Britain’s National Security Council was meeting Tuesday to consider possible further measures against Russia. May and other European Union leaders are due to discuss the poisoning at a summit Thursday. The European Union on Monday condemned the poisoning and called on Russia to ‘‘address urgently’’ British questions about the Novichok nerve agent program.

The Russian Foreign Ministry accused Britain and other EU member states of developing similar nerve agents, and said Britain’s government is stirring up ‘‘media hysteria’’ around the case to distract attention from troubles in negotiating the country’s exit from the European Union. 

They can blame the Irish like always!

‘‘Instead of cooperating with us . . . they are simply slinging mud at us,’’ Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. ‘‘A great country that has fallen so low only causes pity.’’ 

And none of it is sticking.

Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova emphasized that Britain has failed to provide any proof of Russian involvement, limiting itself to ‘‘boorish accusations.’’ She said the Russian Foreign Ministry is summoning ambassadors Wednesday to present Moscow’s arguments and raise questions about the case.

British police investigators say it may take months to complete the widening inquiry. The focus is on the movement of the Skripals in the hours before they were found unconscious on a bench in the city 90 miles southwest of London. A police officer who came to their assistance is in serious condition.

‘‘This is going to be frustrating for people,’’ said Neil Basu, head of counterterrorism at the Metropolitan Police. ‘‘It is going to take weeks, possibly months to do this.’’

And by that time this will be nothing but a mental trigger for the conventional narrative. 



"While EU leaders see the deal as a success, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say it leaves people trapped in hopeless situations....."

Rocket attack on Syrian capital kills 35 people

I'm told a "school was bombed by government or Russian jets and the bodies of 20 women and children were retrieved from the rubble." 

Also see: 

"In 2014, 40 Indian construction workers went missing outside the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The city had fallen to the Islamic State militant group just days before. Relatives said they received panicked calls from some of the workers, begging for help. Then, for years, nothing. But this week, Indian officials confirmed that the bodies of 39 of those workers were found in a mass grave near Mosul. The Indian government had long suggested that at least some of the hostages could still be alive. For years, though, that message was contradicted by one of the 40 workers, Harjit Masih, [who] had earlier managed to escape his captors. He repeatedly told reporters that everyone in the group had been killed. He said the workers were captured by the Islamic State and held for several days. On the day of the slaughter, he said, the men were taken outside and forced to kneel. Then, he said, the militants began to shoot....."

How is the investigation into that chopper crash going anyway?

"China’s new ‘helmsman’ turns a congress into a coronation" New York Times  March 20, 2018

BEIJING — He is now officially China’s “national helmsman,” an accolade echoing one of the honorifics used for Mao, the “great helmsman.” On Tuesday, China ended a 16-day meeting of its legislature, the National People’s Congress, that took on the trappings of an extended coronation of the president, Xi Jinping.

Just days after some lawmakers shed tears of joy as they unanimously reelected Xi, he used the congress’s closing day to deliver an ardently patriotic speech warning against challenges to Chinese territorial claims, especially any move to seek independence for Taiwan.

Xi’s 38-minute address was a final flourish in a political spectacle that has emphasized his supremacy and set him on a path to possibly decades of dominance. The congress left little doubt that for years to come, Chinese politics will center on Xi and how far he can go in strengthening his rule before risking a serious setback or backlash.

“Miracles are constantly emerging across this great land of China,” Xi told nearly 3,000 lawmakers in the Great Hall of the People. They applauded most warmly when he warned against challenges to China over Taiwan, Hong Kong, or other regions where Beijing’s claims to sovereignty are contested.

Xi transformed this year’s annual meeting of the Communist Party-run legislature into an adulatory celebration of him and his policies to permanently install the Communist Party at the heart of China’s resurgence. 

While Xi does not approach Mao in raw, untethered power, the glorification of Xi has approached levels not seen in Chinese politics since that time. During the congress, some delegates swooned and wept about Xi.

“All maneuvers and tricks to split the motherland are sure to fail,” Xi said. “Not one inch of the territory of the great motherland can be carved off from China.”

One delegate, Du Meishuang from Hunan province in southern China, told reporters,“That’s what the hearts of the ordinary people are saying, really.”


Does he get to wear a crown like this guy?

"Saudi prince meets with Trump at White House" by Mark Landler New York Times  March 20, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Trump welcomed Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to the White House on Tuesday, reaffirming his endorsement of an ambitious young monarch bent on reforming his country and realigning the broader Middle East.

With Trump’s enthusiastic support, Prince Mohammed arrives after having rapidly consolidated his position as Saudi Arabia’s heir apparent and a disruptive figure in the region.

The two leaders are expected to take up an array of thorny issues: Trump’s forthcoming decision on whether to rip up the Iran nuclear deal; his nearly completed Middle East peace plan; Saudi Arabia’s bitter dispute with its neighbor, Qatar; and the brutal civil war in Yemen, which has led lawmakers to propose a cutoff in American support for a Saudi-led bombing campaign that has killed thousands.

Yet it is Syria, Syria, Syria, in my agenda-pushing, war-promoting pre$$ day after day after day.

Btw, Happy Birthday, Iran!

Prince Mohammed has cut a wide swath in the last year, pushing through radical reforms in Saudi society but also imprisoning more than 380 princes, businessmen, and former government ministers in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, as part of an anticorruption campaign..... 

Yeah, he is making the place fun.


You know what the Saudis do to drug dealers and users, right? 

Yeah, they don't have a drug problem.

Time to book your reservations:

"Expedia Inc.-owned Orbitz said hackers may have accessed 880,000 credit-card numbers used to book travel through the site and other companies serviced by Orbitz, including American Express Co. The news pushed Expedia shares down .7 percent to $110.31 at Tuesday’s market close. In addition to the cards, hackers may have stolen names, dates of birth, phone numbers, and addresses of consumers who booked through Orbitz in 2016 and 2017. Orbitz also provides a back-end booking system for other companies, which may also have been affected, Orbitz said in an email. American Express said that could include people who booked through The hack is the latest headache for Expedia stemming from its $1.6 billion acquisition of Orbitz in 2015, a deal that cemented the company’s position as one of two global travel-booking giants, along with Booking Holdings Inc. While Expedia was integrating Orbitz’ back-end system with its own, the network crashed, causing downtime that affected sales enough to cut into quarterly revenue, the company said in July 2016."

I'm sure it was, you know, Russia, and the luggage must have gotten lost amid the smoke over Cambridge Analytica.

Did you see the price tag for the trip?

Yeah, the debt will kill you.

Finally, to forever sleep.