Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Turning Out the Lights

Thousands in the dark after another nor’easter roars through

That's front and center, and did you see who cleared the snow (just a bit of history for you).

"White House fires Tillerson as administration turmoil continues" by Peter Baker and Gardiner Harris New York Times  March 13, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Trump ousted on Tuesday his secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, the most dramatic in a cascade of personnel moves that suggest Trump is determined to surround himself with loyalists more willing to reflect his “America First” views.

Then she's right, he must have quit.

Trump announced that he would replace Tillerson with Mike Pompeo, the CIA director and former Tea Party movement congressman, who has cultivated a close relationship with the president and has taken a harder line than Tillerson on critical issues like Iran and North Korea.

Tillerson’s dismissal, on the heels of Gary D. Cohn’s resignation as Trump’s chief economic adviser after a dispute over steel tariffs, pulls the Trump administration further out of the economic and foreign policy mainstream and closer to the nationalist ideas that animated Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. 

Yeah, except Cohn was going to be leaving anyway -- or so I was told.

Economic watchdog issues warning on US tariffs
Let’s worry about silicon, not steel
Stocks sink as tech rally fades

Let's look ahead, huh?

It also suggests that after a year of chaotic on-the-job training, Trump has developed more confidence in his own instincts and wants aides and Cabinet members with whom he has good chemistry and who embrace his positions.

Keep that in mind for later.

As the White House absorbed the news about Tillerson, rumors swirled that the national security adviser, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, and the secretary of Veterans Affairs, David J. Shulkin, would soon follow him out the door. The sense of disarray was deepened by the purging of Tillerson’s inner circle and the sudden dismissal of a personal aide to Trump.

I'm not surprised. Shulkin is a corrupt Obama holdover and McMaster is the guy who raised security concerns about Kushner. What we are seeing is the complete takeover of the Trump presidency by CIA Deep State and the Zionist string-pullers, whose interests often overlap to the point where they are indistinguishable.

“I’m really at a point where we’re getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things I want,” Trump said Tuesday before leaving for California. He said he disagreed with Tillerson on the Iran nuclear deal and on other issues.

“It was a different mind-set,” Trump said.

Their lack of rapport was evident in the peremptory way the president fired him. Tillerson learned of it Tuesday morning when an aide showed him a Twitter post from Trump announcing the change. But he had gotten a warning last Friday when the chief of staff, John F. Kelly, called to tell him to cut short a trip to Africa and added, “You may get a tweet.”

So he wasn't really sick, huh?

It was an abrupt end after months of speculation — to a star-crossed tenure for a Texas oil baron who never adapted to the power dynamics of Trump’s world, or to the president’s worldview. Tillerson clashed with the White House staff and broke with Trump on a range of issues, including the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar and the American response to Russia’s cyber aggression.

However sudden his departure, Tillerson’s future had seemed tenuous since reports in October that he called Trump a “moron” in a meeting with colleagues at the Pentagon. Trump, aides said, never forgave him.

Tillerson had a hectic schedule of meetings set for Tuesday afternoon. Instead, after a brief phone call with Trump, he appeared in the State Department briefing room at 2 p.m. to confirm he would hand over his duties to his deputy at midnight.

“What is most important,” he said, his voice thick with emotion, “is to ensure an orderly and smooth transition during a time that the country continues to face significant policy and national security challenges.”

They cut into Maury for it, and it was surreal. He seemed under serious duress, and when he warned his colleagues left behind to remember their oath to the Constitution....

In Pompeo, the president will have a hawkish secretary of state, who is more skeptical of diplomatic engagement with North Korea, just as Trump is preparing to meet the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, and is far readier to rip up the Iran nuclear deal, two months before Trump faces his next deadline to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

RelatedSummit raises hope North Korea will release 3 US detainees

That's all they want out of it then, their CIA agents back. Thus we get Pompeo at State.

As Pompeo’s replacement at the CIA, Trump named the current deputy director, Gina Haspel. A respected career official, she would be the first woman to lead the agency. But Haspel also oversaw a secret CIA prison in Thailand when a terrorism suspect was waterboarded there and she later drafted a cable ordering the destruction of videotapes documenting brutal interrogations — both of which could complicate her Senate confirmation.

The VCR ate 'em, they said.

What a victory for gender equality, 'eh?

At the Department of Veterans Affairs, Trump has grown impatient with Shulkin, a politically moderate former hospital executive who served in the Obama administration. He recently sounded out Rick Perry, the energy secretary, about taking over the department, according to two people close to the White House.

For Cohn’s successor, the president said he was seriously considering Larry Kudlow, a Reagan administration official who is now a conservative commentator on CNBC. While Trump acknowledged differences with him on trade policy, he said Kudlow had come around to the argument that tariffs were an effective tool in negotiating trade deals.

In addition, he added, “Larry has been a friend of mine for a long time. He backed me very early in the campaign.”

At the White House, officials faced the familiar challenge of presenting a methodical rationale for Trump’s impulsive moves. One aide said he decided to replace Tillerson now to have a new team in place before the talks with Kim, which are scheduled to happen by May. But Tillerson was the most persistent advocate of opening talks with North Korea.

The White House’s purge extended to Tillerson’s staff. The undersecretary of state for public affairs, Steve Goldstein, was fired after he issued a statement that seemed to contradict the White House. Tillerson’s chief of staff, Margaret Peterlin, and his deputy chief of staff, Christine Ciccone, were also expected to depart.

That followed the early-morning dismissal of Trump’s aide, John McEntee, who had his security clearance revoked and was escorted from the White House grounds.

A former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, Tillerson had once been viewed as an intriguing, if unorthodox, Cabinet choice. He had deep experience with Middle Eastern potentates, and knew President Vladimir Putin of Russia through Exxon’s extensive efforts to explore for oil in Russia.

But Tillerson’s determination to bring a business sensibility to the State Department backfired, leaving it demoralized and understaffed. Despite his global experience, Tillerson was ill-suited to the public duties of the United States’ chief diplomat and was isolated from the career officials whom he often froze out of the most important policy debates.

Tillerson had a rancorous relationship with both McMaster and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser. He resented that Trump had entrusted Kushner, a 37-year-old diplomatic neophyte, with the Middle East peace portfolio and trade negotiations with Mexico, according to people in the White House.


When the National Security Council tried to send officials on Tillerson’s trips, an official said, he either objected or excluded them from key meetings. And when the president named his daughter Ivanka Trump to lead a delegation to India, Tillerson downgraded the status of the State Department officials who accompanied her — irritating the president.

His policy disagreements with the president appeared to be his undoing: Tillerson wanted to remain in the Paris climate accord; Trump decided to leave it. Tillerson supported preserving the Iran nuclear deal; Trump loathed the deal as “an embarrassment to the United States.” And Tillerson called for dialogue to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis, while Trump threatened a military strike.

At times, White House officials said, Tillerson’s behavior verged on insubordination. The administration, for example, was extremely cautious in responding to reports that Russia was behind the deadly nerve-gas attack in Britain. But when Tillerson was asked about it in Africa, he said, “It appears that it clearly came from Russia.”

If you step back a bit he said a lot of different things. WTF?

His statement infuriated the White House, which had crafted its talking points with lawyers at the State Department to keep the United States in lock step with Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain. Instead, an official said, Tillerson made the White House look like it was soft on Putin, which he insisted was not the intention.

Like I said, this administration has been hijacked. It's a coup with Trump's complicity.



"Muslim advocates critical of Mike Pompeo’s nomination at State" by Astead W. Herndon and Liz Goodwin Globe Staff  March 13, 2018

WASHINGTON — Pompeo’s nomination continues his extraordinary ascension from the back benches of Congress to the height of the world stage in the Trump administration. A former Army officer who graduated with a degree from Harvard Law School in 1994, Pompeo did not enter federal politics until 2010, when he swept into Congress as part of the conservative Tea Party movement that arose after President Obama’s historic election.

Pompeo rapidly earned conservative credentials serving on the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which became embroiled in a two-year investigation of the attack by Libyan militants on a US consulate in Benghazi and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s response. After Trump’s victory, Pompeo was nominated as CIA director and developed a close working relationship with the president, which led to monthslong speculation that Trump would replace Tillerson with him.

Trump said Pompeo “has earned the praise of members in both parties by strengthening our intelligence gathering, modernizing our defensive and offensive capabilities, and building close ties with our friends and allies in the international intelligence community.”

“I have gotten to know Mike very well over the past 14 months, and I am confident he is the right person for the job at this critical juncture,” the president said.....

The Bush people writing his stuff now?


It's up to the Senate now.

"Trump’s CIA choice oversaw secret prison" by Greg Miller Washington Post   March 13, 2018

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump on Tuesday chose CIA veteran Gina Haspel to be the spy agency’s next director, tapping a woman who spent multiple tours overseas and is respected by the workforce but is deeply tied to the agency’s use of brutal interrogation measures on terrorism suspects.

Haspel, 61, would become the first woman to lead the CIA if she is confirmed. Haspel’s selection faced immediate opposition from some lawmakers and human rights groups because of her prominent role in one of the agency’s darkest chapters.

Haspel was in charge of one of the CIA’s ‘‘black site’’ prisons where detainees were subjected to waterboarding and other harrowing interrogation measures widely condemned as torture. When those methods were exposed and their legality came under scrutiny, Haspel was among a group of CIA officials involved in the decision to destroy videotapes of interrogation sessions that left some detainees on the brink of physical collapse.

See: Five Fast Facts About Trump's New CIA Director

Jameel Jaffer, formerly deputy legal director of the ACLU, said Tuesday on his Twitter feed that Haspel is ‘‘quite literally a war criminal.’’

But Senator Richard Burr, a Republican of North Carolina, and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, signaled his support for Haspel. ‘‘I know Gina personally, and she has the right skill set, experience and judgment to lead one of our nation’s most critical agencies.’’

Haspel spent much of her 33-year CIA career in undercover assignments overseas and at CIA headquarters.

Current and former US intelligence officials who have worked with Haspel praised her as an effective leader who could be expected to stand up to the pressures that Trump has often placed on spy agencies — including his denunciations of the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

More on his conclusions regarding Russia and intelligence later.

Pompeo repeatedly downplayed Russia’s interference in the US election, saying in a television interview Sunday that Moscow had merely ‘‘attempted’’ to do so.

Haspel, by contrast, has almost no public profile.

Her extensive involvement in a covert program that used harrowing interrogation measures on al-Qaeda suspects resurfaced last year when she was named deputy director of the CIA.

Trump had signaled as a presidential candidate that he would consider resuming interrogation methods that President Barack Obama had banned. Trump never followed through on that plan.

So we are told.

Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, who was tortured while imprisoned in Vietnam, said Haspel’s Senate confirmation should be conditioned on securing a pledge to block any plan to reintroduce harsh interrogations. ‘‘Ms. Haspel needs to explain the nature and extent of her involvement in the CIA’s interrogation program,’’ McCain said..... 

He will be dead soon, so....


She is creepy looking, like a taskmaster of a schoolmarm, and yet she will still win confirmation.

Then there is the nationwide protest against gun violence (an easy bandwagon to get rolling as the kids now have an excuse to cut class; the local community college had one back in 2003 to protest the Iraq war before it began. I was there) to finish out the front page (no doctor to treat you at the ER).


"Trump views border wall designs, bashes Calif. for aiding illegal immigrants" by Julie Watson and Jill Colvin Associated Press  March 14, 2018

SAN DIEGO — President Trump’s visit was greeted with protests by demonstrators for and against his planned wall. The trip came amid an escalating battle between his administration and the state, which has refused to help federal agents detain immigrants in the United States illegally.

After leaving the border, Trump basked in the cheers of Marines in Miramar, pointing to his work to build up the military. He suggested there may someday be a ‘‘space force’’ fighting alongside the nation’s military branches.

Referencing his 2016 campaign against Hillary Clinton — who received 4 million more votes than Trump in California — the president vowed that ‘‘very soon we’re going to Mars’’ and said the nation would not be seeking to explore the red planet had his opponent won.

Why don't you stay there then?

Trump later attended a fund-raiser in Los Angeles, where he was to stay overnight.

Demonstrations were held at the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego, the nation’s busiest border crossing, where protesters chanted ‘‘No ban! No wall!’’ as honking drivers cheered them on. Protests were also held on the Mexican side.

At San Ysidro, Jose Gonzalez, 21, stopped to snap a photo of the protesters holding signs, including one that read: ‘‘Wall off Putin!’’ in reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has a seemingly close relationship with Trump. ‘‘I don’t think it’s really fair how he has the choice to separate us,’’ said Gonzalez, a dual citizen who lives in Tijuana and crosses the border daily to work at a San Diego ramen restaurant.

Getting more distant by the second.

Army veteran Mark Prieto, 48, shook his head. ‘‘People are so narrow-minded,’’ the Riverside firefighter said. ‘‘Finally we have someone who is putting America first.’’ His wife, Corina Prieto, a nurse who has extended family in Mexico, agreed. Both voted for Trump.

San Diego’s Republican mayor criticized Trump’s short visit, saying the president won’t get a full picture of the city. Kevin Faulconer said a popular cross-border airport terminal connecting San Diego and Tijuana shows that ‘‘building bridges has worked wonders.’’

Faulconer, writing in The San Diego Union-Tribune, also said San Diego police work to protect everyone regardless of immigration status, an apparent dig at Trump’s agenda.

Trump tweeted about California as he flew to the state.....


Problem is nothing has changed despite the heated rhetoric, and "a spokesman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has resigned, saying he could no longer “bear the burden” of spreading falsehoods on behalf of the Trump administration. The spokesman, James Schwab, who had worked for the agency’s San Francisco division, said in interviews with the San Francisco Chronicle and CNN that he had been frustrated by the remarks and had quit “because I didn’t want to perpetuate misleading facts.” 

He's simply setting an example for all the AmeriKan pre$$titutes. 

I suppose "the best you can hope for is that he someday starts to learn from his mistakes."

No winner declared in extremely close Pennyslvania congressional race

Then Moulton won.

Driver killed, Texas students hurt in Disney trip bus plunge

Michigan sheriff apologizes for accidentally leaving gun at school

Former aide to Gov. Cuomo convicted in bribery case

So much for 2020.


"He would represent the return of Barack Obama. Patrick and Obama have long been confidants, so close, it was discovered in 2008, that Obama incorporated Patrick’s words and phrases into his own stump speeches. Of course, speculation about 2020 is mostly wind. No one can know how Patrick would hold up in the marathon of a presidential campaign. What we do know is that he is a mensch....."

Discussed it in the bath house, did they?

Florida prosecutors seeking death penalty in school shooting

He's no Manson as they continue to flog the event. What Dicks.

The flip side: 

"The Nation of Islam leader today is the same man he has been for more than a half-century — a raging anti-Semite, homophobe, and misogynist who never misses an opportunity to lob his ugly rhetoric. During his “Saviours’ Day” speech in Chicago last month, Farrakhan bellowed about the “Jewish-controlled media” and government. He claimed Jews are promoting “degenerate behavior in Hollywood, turning men into women and women into men.” He even floated a conspiracy that Jews and government officials have concocted a strain of marijuana to emasculate black men. All of this sounds like the kind of stuff someone comes up with after smoking too much weed. Farrakhan droned on for more than three hours, his speech often punctuated by applause and agreement....."

Just like the Trumpers in Pennsylvania

That's everything you need to know!

US military overlooks sex abuse among kids, AP investigation finds

Didn't make print.

2 of 3 families targeted by package bombs knew each other

I'm standing by my opinion that it is of a false flag nature in furtherance of the strategy of tension used by societal managers and controllers.


Speaking of such:

"Palestinian prime minister escapes injury in Gaza bombing" by Fares Akram Associated Press  March 13, 2018

JABALIYA, Gaza Strip — A roadside bomb on Tuesday struck the convoy of the Palestinian prime minister during a rare visit to the Gaza Strip, causing no serious injuries but throwing an already troubled reconciliation process between rival factions into deeper turmoil.

I'm wondering who would benefit from keeping Palestinians apart.

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah had just arrived from his West Bank headquarters to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new water-treatment plant when the bomb went off. Although there was no claim of responsibility, Palestinian officials accused Gaza militants of trying to assassinate Hamdallah. Gaza’s ruling Hamas group denied involvement.

The blast took place at a time of deadlock in reconciliation efforts between Hamdallah’s Fatah party and Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since ousting Fatah forces in 2007. It also cast a shadow over al White House meeting where international donor nations were set to discuss the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Hamas won elections, but why quibble about the distorted and deceptive pro-Israel slant to the reporting? The more important fact is the timing of it all. Cui bono?

Hamdallah, a soft-spoken former university dean appointed by President Mahmoud Abbas five years ago, went on to inaugurate the long-awaited sewage plant project. But he quickly returned to the West Bank, where he vowed to press ahead with reconciliation efforts. ‘‘This will not deter from seeking to end the bitter split. We will still come to Gaza,’’ he said.

He said the attack underscored the need for the Palestinians to unify under a single authority. Hamas has ceded some government functions and control of Gaza’s borders, but it has refused calls to disarm and let Palestinian Authority security forces take over.

This STINKS of ISRAEL, sorry, and it looks like the Palestinians know it!

‘‘How can a government overtake Gaza without maintaining security? We ask Hamas one more time to empower the government,’’ he said. ‘‘Without security, there won’t be a government or an authority.’’

Hamas condemned the attack, calling it a crime and an attempt to ‘‘hurt efforts to achieve unity and reconciliation.’’ It promised an ‘‘urgent’’ investigation.

Witnesses said the bomb was planted under an electric pole on Gaza’s main north-south road and went off shortly after Hamdallah’s 20-vehicle convoy had entered through the Israeli-controlled crossing.

I rest my case. They knew where he would be, and how could the Palestinians plant a roadside bomb in clear site of a checkpoint anyway -- assuming they even have the materials given the Israeli blockade?

‘‘I could not see anything because smoke and dust filled the air. When the smoke cleared, the explosion was followed by heavy gunfire, apparently from police securing the convoy,’’ said a witness, who declined to be identified because of security concerns. ‘‘When the dust cleared, I saw people running everywhere, and police were running around.’’

Two vehicles were disabled by the blast, while at least four others were damaged, with windows blown out. One had streaks of blood on the door. Hamdallah said six bodyguards required medical attention.

In the West Bank, Abbas blamed Hamas for the blast. But his security chief, Majed Farraj, who was in the convoy and was another potential target, said it was ‘‘too early’’ to say who was responsible.

They know. We all do.

There is a long list of potential attackers. While Hamas officials strenuously denied involvement, there are elements within the group that do not want to cede power and oppose the reconciliation process. More radical militants, inspired by the Islamic State group, also operate in Gaza.

Everyone but Israel!


Speaking of nonsense:

"Russia calls poisoning accusations by Britain ‘nonsense’" by Gregory Katz and Nataliya Vasilyeva Associated Press  March 13, 2018

LONDON — Russia on Tuesday dismissed accusations of any involvement in the poisoning of an ex-spy and his daughter as ‘‘nonsense,’’ saying it will cooperate with a British investigation only if it receives samples of the nerve agent believed to have been used.

Police, meanwhile, said the investigation of who poisoned Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, will last many weeks and that they are not ready to identify any persons of interest in the inquiry. The father and daughter remain in critical condition in a Salisbury hospital.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Russia’s involvement is ‘‘highly likely,’’ and she gave the country a deadline of midnight Tuesday to explain its actions. She is reviewing a range of economic and diplomatic measures in retaliation for the assault with what she identified as the military-grade nerve agent Novichok.

US and European officials were quick to offer words of support for Britain, which will need the backing of its allies if new sanctions are to have any impact.

Her Downing Street office said she discussed the Salisbury incident with US President Trump, and that the United States was ‘‘with the UK all the way’’ in agreeing that Russia ‘‘must provide unambiguous answers as to how this nerve agent came to be used.’’

They also agreed on the need for ‘‘consequences’’ for those who use ‘‘heinous weapons in flagrant violation of international norms,’’ the White House said.

Earlier, Trump had said: ‘‘It sounds to me that they believe it was Russia and I would certainly take that finding as fact.’’ 

Remember what I said above?

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters in Moscow that his country’s requests to see samples of the nerve agent have been turned down. He insisted that Russia is ‘‘not to blame’’ for the poisoning.

‘‘We have already made a statement to say this is nonsense,’’ he said. ‘‘We have nothing to do with this.’’

The Russian Embassy in London tweeted that it will not respond to the ultimatum without the samples.

Russian officials and media have responded with a variety of accusations against Britain in recent days, including suggestions that it was seeking to influence Sunday’s election, which President Vladimir Putin is expected to win easily.

James Nixey, head of the Russia program at the Chatham House think-tank, said May’s response must be more than symbolic.

‘‘Will actions meet with responses which have real-world effects?’’ he said. ‘‘Or are we going to have more fudge?’’

Conservative lawmaker Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, said financial sanctions would be keys to a strong response.

‘‘Given that the regime is built on money — it’s effectively a flow of money from the Russian people to Putin and from Putin to his acolytes — money matters,’’ he said.

‘‘We have enormous amounts of control of a lot of people’s assets through various means, and I think it’s important we exercise that,’’ Tugendhat said. ‘‘If you get the right people and you freeze their assets, it can make a lot of difference.’’

The cases of other Russians who have died under mysterious circumstances also are being raised. British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said police and the domestic security service will look into 14 deaths in Britain that might be linked to Russia.

Like the death of Russia's ambassador to the U.N., right?

‘‘In the weeks to come, I will want to satisfy myself that the allegations are nothing more than that,’’ Rudd said. ‘‘The police and MI5 agree and will assist in that endeavor.’’

The chief of the world’s chemical weapons watchdog also said that those responsible ‘‘must be held accountable.’’

In a speech Tuesday to the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called him Monday evening to inform him of the results of investigations.

‘‘It is extremely worrying that chemical agents are still being used to harm people. Those found responsible for this use must be held accountable for their actions,’’ he said.  

Unless they are being used by the EUSraeli empire.

Nor is there a concern regarding corporations contaminating the environment with pollutants, or radioactive water being dumped into the Pacific, or the oil spills. The concern is pure elitism because they are at risk.


"UK counterterror police investigate Russian’s London death" by Jill Lawless Associated Press  March 13, 2018

LONDON — British counterterrorism police on Tuesday took charge of the investigation into the death in London of a Russian businessman because he was connected to a prominent Kremlin foe.

Now any Russian that dies in England will be considered an assassination by Putin.

The death of Nikolai Glushkov, confirmed by his lawyer in Russia, came a week after former spy Sergei Skripal was left critically ill from nerve agent poisoning in the city of Salisbury.

Police said there was no evidence to suggest a link to the March 4 poisoning of Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Then why are they? Why was the article placed next to the one above?

Attorney Andrei Borovkov told Russian media outlets that Glushkov had died, but said he was unaware of the time and circumstances. Reports in British and Russian media said Glushkov, who was in his late 60s, was found dead at his home in southwest London.

London’s Metropolitan Police force said it was investigating the unexplained death of a man found at a house in the New Malden area late Monday. It didn’t release his name, saying formal identification had yet to take place.

Police said counterterrorism detectives are leading the investigation ‘‘as a precaution because of associations that the man is believed to have had.’’

Glushkov was an associate of Boris Berezovsky, a Russian oligarch and Kremlin critic who died in London in 2013. An inquest failed to determine whether he had killed himself or died from foul play.

Glushkov told The Guardian newspaper in 2013 he didn’t believe Berezovsky’s death was suicide.

‘‘I’m definite Boris was killed,’’ he said.

Glushkov had worked for various Berezovsky enterprises.

Who was Boris Berezovsky?


RelatedBritain to pay EU for nearly 50 years, post-Brexit

Maybe Russia isn't your greatest enemy right now.

Also see:

Myanmar says UN findings on human rights lack credibility

They must be cozying up to China too much.

Nepal plane crash came after confused pilot-airport chatter 

It's been relegated from the World lead to a brief at the bottom of the page, and will likely disappear from print going forward (just like the recent Russian and Iranian plane crashes, hmm)

Iranian parliament votes to keep 2 ministers in their jobs 

I clicked on it and it was an announcement of Stephen Hawkings death! 

I'm sure the Russians had a hand in it!

Slovakia’s coalition to face no confidence parliament vote 

Just wondering why the we$tern pre$$ and ma$$ media hasn't been interested in the assassination of reporters.

Burning king’s picture is free speech, European Court warns Spain

The Catalonians, remember them? 

Just don't burn a picture of Trump or you'll get Tillersoned.

"Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sees opportunity to make peace with Taliban" by Dan Lamothe Washington Post  March 13, 2018

KABUL — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited Afghanistan on Tuesday to meet senior US and Afghan officials and discuss both the military campaign and ‘‘peeling off’’ some members of the Taliban to pursue a peace deal with the Afghan government.

The unannounced visit comes two weeks after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani made what many observers consider an unprecedented offer, inviting the Taliban to begin peace talks without preconditions to end the 16-year war. The Taliban said last month that it is open to reaching a political settlement and negotiating, but it has not responded to Ghani’s offer.

That is NOT what the NYT told me yesterday!! 


Mattis, speaking on a flight to Afghanistan from Oman, said that talking about a peace settlement is ‘‘not cart before the horse’’ and that it is backed by the ongoing efforts of the US and Afghan militaries. Some members of the Taliban may be willing to pursue peace, especially considering a fracturing in the group that has occurred over the past few years, he said.

‘‘All wars come to an end,’’ Mattis said. ‘‘You don’t want to miss an opportunity because you weren’t alert to the opportunity. So, you need to have that door open, even if you embrace the military pressure.’’

OMG, he means the US!

Mattis acknowledged that efforts to reconcile with the entire Taliban have been difficult. The effort right now, he said, is to reach ‘‘those who are tired of fighting’’ and build it out from there.

This is standard Pentagon playbook crap going back to Vietnam, and I don't believe a word of it!

Army Brigadier General Michael R. Fenzel, a senior US military planning officer, said Tuesday that the fact that the Taliban hasn’t already dismissed meeting with the Afghan government about negotiations already may be a positive sign. Typically, the group dismisses conversations like that out of hand, Fenzel said. 

I don't take peace talk seriously when it comes from a lying, war-promoting pre$$, sorry.

The general said that the US-led military coalition has seen ‘‘significant evidence across the entire country that there is interest’’ in reconciliation, with groups of 10 and 20 Taliban fighters at a time turning themselves in. He acknowledged, however, that their doing so has not yet ‘‘reached critical mass.’’

This is CRAP!

The defense secretary and his staff arrived at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport on a C-17 jet in the morning before being whisked away on a CH-47 Chinook helicopter in damp, chilly weather to the US military headquarters in Kabul. He met immediately with senior officials, including US Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass and Army General John W. Nicholson Jr., the top US officer in Afghanistan. Afterward, he visited with Ghani and other senior Afghan officials at the Presidential Palace.

Ghani said at the palace that President Trump’s new South Asia strategy, adopted in August, allows Afghan officials to tell their people that talking about peace with the Taliban ‘‘is not tantamount to surrender or to collapse.’’ The strategy calls for ramping up military and diplomatic pressure on the Taliban to force a negotiated settlement, and does not include a timetable for US military withdrawal, a notable difference to the plan under former president Barack Obama. 


Obama was supposed to end the wars when he came in, that's what he promised on the campaign trail (instead he started three more: Libya, Syria, and Yemen) and we were supposed to withdraw by 2012. Then it became 2014. Then 2016. You know the rest.

Ghani noted that an offer of peace in the 1990s ultimately led to the collapse of the Afghan government, ‘‘and people always carry their memories.’’

Mattis visited the country for the second time Tuesday since the new strategy was unveiled. The Pentagon chief is among a small group of senior advisers who convinced Trump that it made sense to not only continue the US role in the war but also bolster it with more air power and a modest increase in the number of US troops from about 11,000 to 14,500.

But the Taliban remain a powerful force in Afghanistan, regularly carrying out high-profile attacks in and around Kabul in addition to holding or contesting more than a quarter of Afghanistan’s territory.

The defense secretary’s latest visit included a new security precaution in which journalists traveling with him were directed to withhold publishing anything until after he left the airport and arrived at the US military headquarters in Kabul.

It's great when you have a self-censoring pre$$, 'eh?

That followed a Taliban attack on the airport in September a few hours after Mattis’s last visit. The attack prompted a US response that led to civilian casualties when an American jet dropped a malfunctioning missile on a nearby home.

Sure looks like a WAR CRIME to me, but..... good thing the missile malfunctioned and it wasn't intentional, although my impression is you media types are responsible for those dead civilians. 

Trump, in announcing his plan, said that it was his initial instinct to pull out US troops — an apparent acknowledgment of how unpopular the war is with the American public after more than 2,200 US military fatalities and more than $1 trillion in taxpayer spending. Senior US officers, including Nicholson, have said that the US military has reached a turning point in Afghanistan this year, but similar points have been made in the past.

Should have stuck with it, Don, as we get the sos from the Pentagon.


The headline deceptive as it looks like the U.S. is suing for peace.

"China is set to give President Xi Jinping a powerful new weapon as he prepares to rule indefinitely — a Communist Party-led anti-corruption agency to police not only the party’s cadres, but also doctors, teachers, entertainers, and other state employees. The move is part of a sweeping government reorganization to boost the authority of the party headed by Xi, who has firmly established himself as China’s most formidable leader since Mao Zedong. On Sunday, China’s rubber-stamp legislature scrapped a two-term limit on the presidency, paving the way for Xi to rule for as long as he wants. That has dismayed critics who fear a return to one-man rule and the destruction of modest measures in place since 1982 to constrain power in China....."


"After three decades in the FBI, retired undercover agent can just be himself" by Milton J. Valencia Globe Staff  March 02, 2018

Matthew Guglielmetti was serving as a union steward for Laborers Local 271, but was better known as a feared captain in the Patriarca crime family in Providence.

Michael McGowan had met wise-guys like him before. An undercover FBI agent, McGowan had infiltrated Rhode Island’s corrupt construction and union communities, posing as a parking magnate from the Midwest.

And there they were together, in 2001, at the Castaways seafood restaurant in Tampa, discussing business over fish and lobster. McGowan was soliciting the Mafia’s help in a concocted dispute with organized crime figures in Florida over a strip club.

The Guglielmetti meeting was a pivotal opportunity in what would become a lengthy undercover career, one McGowan recently retired from after 31 years with the bureau. His name is not well known — that’s the point — but in recent years, he’s had a hand in every major undercover case in the Boston area.

Think then-state Senator Dianne Wilkerson, Mafioso Carmen “the Cheeseman” DiNunzio, and Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera.

Not Bulger?

In a recent interview with the Globe, he shared tales from the Guglielmetti operation, as well as other highlights — and some low turns — from his three decades working underground.....


Profiling an FBI instigator. You can't be more of a mouthpiece than that.

What happens now on Nantucket?

They build an IHOP?

Harvard University has an underground lizard colony

David Icke was right?

Taser use is growing among Mass. police

How shocking!

Brain scans show children as young as 3 can understand

I know, but they still won't obey.

"Authorities on Monday arrested a Manchester, N.H. man for allegedly delivering a severe beating to a young woman last week during a road rage incident on a Methuen highway, Massachusetts State Police said. Joseph Falero, 37, was nabbed around 8 a.m. Monday in Manchester, according to State Police. He’s charged with assault with intent to murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and motor vehicle violations, said David Procopio, a spokesman for Massachusetts State Police. “The arrest stemmed from an incident that occurred shortly after 8:20 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6,” Procopio said in a statement. “Troopers from the Andover Barracks responded to a report of a woman being assaulted on the side of Route 93 northbound in Methuen. On scene, troopers found a 30-year-old woman suffering from significant injuries and facial lacerations. The woman was covered in mud and snow and appeared to be in shock.” Procopio said investigators determined that Falero side-swiped the woman’s car with his Honda Civic. “Both drivers exited their cars,” Procopio said. “When the woman attempted to call police, the man began severely beating her in the face, and when she fell to the ground he kicked her in the face, neck, and back. The woman began to lose consciousness. The suspect fled....."

How unlucky for her.

"The former fire chief of a Maine town is due to be sentenced for setting fire to a large marsh area. Sixty-one-year-old Ricky Plummer, former fire chief in Old Orchard Beach, is set for sentencing on Wednesday. He pleaded guilty in October to setting a fire that spread over more than 40 acres in the town in April 2016. He was the town's fire chief at the time. The Journal Tribune reports Plummer told a forest ranger that he was in the area where the fire later happened, smoking a cigarette. He said he threw the cigarette and matches into cattails. No one has been able to verify he was a smoker, and no cigarette butts were ever found at the fire's origin. Plummer went on administrative leave and later resigned."

Maybe it was the candles.

"New Hampshire State Police say a wanted man was found hiding in a closet after he threatened them from a home and didn't leave for several hours. Police say they arrested 40-year-old Jeffrey Mailhot, of North Stratford, New Hampshire, on Monday. Police said Mailhot was wanted for failing to appear in court on a felony theft charge and a vehicle violation....."

Churches can receive taxpayer money but not when it advances a religious cause

"Joy Behar of ‘The View’ apologizes for comments on Mike Pence’s Christianity

Show moderator Whoopi Goldberg quickly moved on, but Behar said Pence would make a better president than Trump.

Mass held for mother and three young children slain in West Brookfield

They were immigrants that died in a fire.

Speaking of getting burned:

"A key city board is poised to vote Thursday on tax breaks for a big expansion by Amazon in the Seaport. The Boston Planning & Development Agency is set to consider $5 million in city property tax breaks for the e-commerce giant, should it create 2,000 jobs and occupy a new building in the Seaport Square development over the next few years. A second $5 million would be authorized if Amazon leases a second new building at Seaport Square and creates 2,000 more jobs. In a memo recommending the tax breaks, staff of the city’s planning agency say they are justified, in part, because Amazon’s building needs to be adapted for rising sea levels. State officials may also be working on an incentive package....."

Why do they need $10 million dollars when the city has so many other pressing needs?

"Boston startup is using artificial intelligence to connect job hunters with recruiters" by Andy Rosen Globe Staff  March 12, 2018

If you’ve ever recommended a successful candidate for a job, you might have gotten a sense for how your good word saved time and money for the company that made the hire.

I've experienced the reverse, and it made me look bad.

Now, a Boston startup is building a system that it hopes will help both professional recruiters and people looking to cash in on their professional networks by matching employers with prospective workers.

The company, Scout Exchange, believes the idea is big enough to revolutionize a global recruiting market it pegs at $500 billion. And to show how serious he is about it, local entrepreneur John Chuang is putting a big chunk of his personal fortune behind the endeavor.

Chuang, who conceived the idea for Scout Exchange in 2012, is the longtime chief executive of the marketing talent agency Aquent. Together with his Aquent cofounders, Chuang is putting $100 million into Scout Exchange through their investment firm TRI Ventures.

Scout Exchange says it uses artificial intelligence software to connect employers to recruiters who have expertise in hiring people in a particular field. For instance, if a client needs to hire a machinist in Iowa, the system can call up a recruiter with a network in that geographic and professional area.

“We have tons and tons of companies with employment hiring needs, and we have tons and tons of recruiters with the ability to solve that problem,” Chuang said. “The vision here is to build a platform between.”

The venture firm was also an early investor in Angie’s List, the services review site of which Chuang was formerly chairman.

For now, Scout Exchange is focusing on working with professional recruiters, and the company believes it has hit the sweet spot in the talent search business.

Scout Exchange, unlike some of its competitors, believes the process is not ready for automation. That’s because resumes — already becoming less common in the age of LinkedIn —are not standardized, and they are mostly self-serving, said Ken Lazarus, whom Chuang hired as Scout Exchange’s chief executive.

Did they just call you a liar?

On top of that, job descriptions often are poorly written. He said the data available through these tools are so bad that the company’s computers can’t reliably connect workers to jobs they would actually be good at.

That’s why Scout Exchange wants to keep the recruiter at the center of the process, instead of trying to connect hiring managers directly with candidates.

Why keep the middleman?

Scout Exchange launched its product three years ago and is doing work for big companies, including ExxonMobil, Bank of America, and Kaiser Permanente.

The company said employers have used the platform to offer $300 million in placement fees, the money that clients are willing to pay recruiters for successful hires. The company takes a cut of the fees paid out on its platform.

The company has about 100 employees and plans to use the investment from TRI Ventures to continue developing its software and for international expansion.

Chuang, who stepped down as Aquent’s chief executive last year but remains chairman, said Scout Exchange’s platform will make referrals so easy that anyone with a good feel for making business connections will be able to do it.

“There’s going to be dramatic changes in how matching takes place, and we’re pretty determined to be at the forefront of that,” he said.


No match for me.

"A $1.5 billion settlement was reached in a class-action lawsuit covering tens of thousands of farmers, grain-handling facilities, and ethanol plants that sued Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta over its introduction of a genetically engineered corn seed. Lawsuits in state and federal courts challenged Syngenta’s decision to introduce its modified Viptera and Duracade corn seed strains to the US market for the 2011 growing season before having approval for import by China in 2014. The plaintiffs said Syngenta’s decision cut off access to the large Chinese corn market and caused price drops for several years."

But you should worry more about diesel pollution and coal-fired burners.

5 women accuse Richard Meier, the celebrated architect and Pritzker Prize winner, of sexual harassment

What I can't talk about is this.

"Traditional incandescent bulbs are going away. This company says it has a replacement" by Andy Rosen Globe Staff  March 14, 2018

In two years, energy efficiency rules will push traditional incandescent light bulbs out of US stores. And though many people already have switched to money-saving LEDs, not everybody is ready to part with the warm, classic feel of the old technology.

The Finally Light Bulb Co., a Charlestown startup, is trying to tell customers they can have it both ways. The company offers a product that is nearly as efficient as LEDs, but sheds light like what consumers were accustomed to before the introduction of the new standards.

“We’re bringing back that warm feeling when you come home at night,” said John Goscha, the company’s founder and chairman. “We’re not making your dinner party feel like you’re under a police spotlight.”

The company will announce Wednesday that investors have committed $50 million in new venture capital to help it step up the distribution of its bulbs, bringing its total to $93 million since 2012. Investors include Brian Kelley, the former Keurig Green Mountain chief executive, and Suffolk Construction chief executive John Fish.

The Finally company said it is adding Home Depot and Costco Wholesale stores to the list of retailers selling its products, after what it described as successful test runs on those stores’ shelves.

The startup said it is now in nearly 3,000 locations for those and other companies, and also sells online.

The company said it uses a miniaturized version of technology developed by storied inventor Nikola Tesla. The devices use an electromagnet to excite a phosphor coating, which creates visible light.

Michael Simon, Finally’s chief executive, said the in-store tests helped strengthen the company’s case that its bulbs produce superior light. For instance, the company said, most shoppers agreed that it was easier to differentiate between similarly colored objects under its light than under LEDs.

“When consumers can see, they believe,” Simon said.



Sorry to leave you fumbling around in the dark.