Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Wednesday's Wrongs

The top story is a wrongful death:

A mom sought a fresh start in Maine. Her story has a horrific finish

Should have moved to Vermont instead.

Trump, associates rally around his pick to lead VA

It's "another episode where a previously respected figure was lifted to prominence in Trump’s orbit — only to have their sheen and reputation tarnished. Jackson had been widely hailed by three presidents and their aides as competent, charming, and fiercely protective before Trump stunned Washington last month by picking the doctor to run the country’s second-largest federal agency. ‘‘Ronny does a great job — genuine enthusiasm, poised under pressure, incredible work ethic and follow through. Ronny continues to inspire confidence with the care he provides to me, my family and my team. Continue to promote ahead of peers,’’ a 2016 note from Obama read."

They are still going after Pruitt, too.

Time to start thinking about retirement:

"Older investors have an eye on retirement, and on stock market gyrations" by Robert Weisman, Globe Staff April 24, 2018

For investors who value peace of mind, financial markets have been quite accommodating over the past decade: stocks rising steadily, interest rates at historic lows, few gut-wrenching sell-offs.

Until now.

Volatility is back, with the Dow Jones average frequently soaring or diving hundreds of points in a single day. On Tuesday, the blue chip benchmark plunged nearly 425 points, or 1.7 percent, extending its losing streak to five sessions, the longest since March 2017.

The shift since January has left many older investors anxious about a repeat of the meltdown of 2007-2008, which decimated portfolios at a time retirees and those approaching retirement were getting ready to tap their savings. Financial advisers warn against fretting over every twist and turn in the markets. But that can be hard to do, especially for older investors who don’t have decades to make up losses.

“We’re seeing worry on the part of our clients who are very close to or in retirement,” said Susan Brown, owner of Sound View Financial Advisors in Walpole, who has recommended some nervous investors shift to a more conservative blend of stocks and bonds. “I tell people it’s not healthy to be worried minute to minute. That stress isn’t good for you.”

I do have to quit buying and reading a Globe.

Because most employers have scrapped traditional pension plans with guaranteed payments, many of today’s retirees were forced to take their finances into their own hands by investing in personal retirement accounts. Markets are gyrating amid Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, trade war jitters, and mounting global uncertainty, and that has some investors checking their personal accounts more often and paying closer attention to broader stock trends. They’re sizing up risks and opportunities, even if they’re not always acting on them.

“When I’m home, I’m watching [financial network] CNBC all day and I’m checking my portfolio three or four times a day — in the morning, before lunch, after lunch, and after the close,” said financial consultant Andrew Hurvitz of Hingham. Hurvitz, who turns 50 next month, is looking for a full-time job, and managing his investments as well as his mother’s.

I feel sorry for him and his ob$e$$ive compul$ivene$$. I just the slop and them I'm done.

Why no job?

At least once a day, B.J. Herbison, a retired software developer in Bolton, logs into his home computer, sometimes with his pet ferret perched on his shoulder, to view the Dow and the Standard & Poor’s 500 and reassess his financial prospects via an online calculator. The estimates it serves up vary wildly from day to day, but Herbison, 58, said he tries to take it all in stride. “We don’t want to outlive our money,” said Herbison, whose wife, Linda, is also retired.....

He then proceeds to interview or cite Geoff Sanzenbacher, associate research director at the Boston College Center for Retirement Research; veteran software developer Joel Sharasheff, of Newton; Nachum Sicherman, economics professor at Columbia Business School; and money manager John Dorfman, founder of Dorfman Value Investments in Newton.


Not that there is anything wrong with that, if that's what you like.


"Let’s hold off on the recession talk for a moment, and start with the underlying good news. When long-term rates fall below short-term ones, it can be a sign of pessimism about the future, suggesting investors actually want their money tied up, to keep it safe from a coming crash. That’s the worst-case scenario, but in the meantime, look on the bright side..... Traders have been worried that the rising yields on long-term government bonds may mean higher rates for consumers and companies and bring a period of falling stock prices....."

Yeah, you may want to ‘‘chew on what to do next,’’ but don't worry, there is still hope.


Bryon Hefner, Rosenberg’s husband, pleads not guilty to multiple charges

Fury over Mount Ida closure at hearing

At least there have been no cases of them preying on the kids in a different way, 'eh?

Yeah, they peddled a false image days before the deal, but there is nothing that can be done so just take your seat and shut up. Forget the nostalgia, it's ancient history now. Maybe if they had a different president. Until then, go have a smoke and play a video game.


Supreme Court will be asked to decide whether bigotry tainted Trump’s travel ban

“This is really an extreme case,” and the government has warned the court not to engage in “judicial psychoanalysis of a drafter’s heart of hearts,” as the shame of Japanese internment during WWII is cited.

The test will be whether Trump accepts the DACA ruling.

If he doesn't, it will be political suicide and he will be remembered as the red wolf of American presidents.

Alleged drug-ring leader brought from Colombia to US court

His defense is that he was a social entrepreneur.

George H.W. Bush responding and recovering


Columbia graduate students walk out over union fight 

It's nothing like 50 years ago, and the kids would never get away with such a thing now.


"Another Harvard University investment in farmland in Brazil may go awry. The prosecutor’s office in the state of Bahia said it’s reviewing allegations that a company linked to Harvard’s endowment isn’t the rightful owner of land in the region, and it’s determining whether to sue to reclaim the titles. The land in Western Bahia was purchased by Caracol Agropecuaria, which is controlled by Harvard’s $37.1 billion endowment through an entity called Guara LLC, according to the university’s tax filings. The dispute, which dates back years, concerns property titles for about two-thirds of a sprawling 140,000-hectare farm. Such fights have become more common in Brazil as industrial agriculture spreads to poorer regions of the country and illustrate one of the risks for institutions investing in the sector. The dispute is another headache for Boston-based Harvard Management....." 


Trump Voters Driven by Fear of Losing Status, Not Economic Anxiety

So says Diana Mutz and the New York Times, and I didn't even vote for the guy and I'm sick of the elitist insult spewing forth from that bastion of bullish*t.

Evangelicals dismiss Trump scandals, look to help GOP

Another NYT hatchet job, and what happened to her hat?

"After a volcanic day of closing arguments, Bill Cosby’s retrial is in the hands of the jury" by Manuel Roig-Franzia Washington Post  April 24, 2018

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — On day 12 of his sex-assault trial, deep into a prosecutor’s heated closing argument, Bill Cosby was laughing.

Some in the jam-packed courtroom might have missed it, but his chuckles and his ear-to-ear smile caught the eye of Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden on the opposite side of the room.

And she exploded.

‘‘He’s laughing like it’s funny!’’ Feden said Tuesday in a booming voice, stalking toward the comic legend and extending a long, slender, accusatory forefinger. ‘‘But there’s absolutely nothing funny about stripping a woman of her capacity to consent.’’

Cosby stared right back, unblinking, a smile etched on his face. He kept laughing — his demeanor belittling Feden’s argument that he’d engaged in a decadeslong pattern of drugging and sexual assault.

Setting up a dementia defense upon appeal just in case?

The extraordinary confrontation — a stare-down between the 80-year-old pioneering African-American entertainer and a much younger African-American prosecutor — punctuated a volcanic day of closing arguments that sent the jury into deliberations with vastly contrasting portraits.

Prosecutors portrayed Cosby as a sinister presence who ‘‘conned’’ Cosby’s primary accuser, Andrea Constand — and five other witnesses — into trusting him before he drugged them. Cosby, Feden said, tricked the women into thinking he was the embodiment of the wholesome father figure he played on television.

‘‘The perpetrator of that con is that man sitting right here,’’ said Feden, who crossed the well of the courtroom and stood over Cosby, jabbing her finger so close to his face that he shifted forward in his chair.

Defense attorneys want jurors to believe that the ‘‘con artist’’ is Constand, the former Temple University women’s basketball official who they’ve accused of lying about a consensual sexual encounter to extort a $3,380,000 settlement of a 2006 lawsuit from the wealthy comedian.

‘‘She hit pay dirt,’’ said Thomas Mesereau, Cosby’s lead attorney. Constand, whose statements to police include multiple inconsistencies, is a ‘‘pathological liar,’’ Mesereau said.

The retrial of Cosby, whose first trial ended last June with a hung jury, has played out against the backdrop of the Me Too movement in which dozens of women have publicly made sexual assault accusations, toppling some of the biggest names in American entertainment, politics, and media. But defense attorney Kathleen Bliss sought to disentangle the Cosby case from the cultural moment.

Can we please use a different term other than hung jury (what, with its racial implications), and how come it was a black guy that had to be first? Talk about racism!

In her scathing closing argument, she compared the cavalcade of sexual assault accusations against the comedian to ‘‘witch hunts, lynching, and McCarthyism.’’

‘‘Mob rule is not due process,’’ said Bliss, a former federal prosecutor who shared closing arguments duty with Mesereau. She later added that ‘‘as men and women, we reject gossip, speculation and false promises.’’

Bliss suggested that another accuser, Heidi Thomas, was reveling in attention after years ago failing to become a comedy theater star.

‘‘Ladies and gentlemen, she’s living the dream now,’’ said Bliss, with a hint of a Southern twang.....


I don't know if Cosby will be ‘free at last,’ but the Cambridge cops shouldn’t be second-guessed.


"Trump signals openness to a ‘new deal’ to constrain Iran" by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Peter Baker New York Times  April 24, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Trump signaled Tuesday he was open to a new arrangement with European allies that would preserve the Iran nuclear agreement by expanding and extending its terms to further constrain Tehran’s development of weapons and destabilizing activities in the Middle East.

Hosting President Emmanuel Macron of France at the White House, Trump again assailed the agreement sealed by his predecessor as a “terrible deal” but said he could agree to “a new deal” negotiated by US and European officials if it was strong enough.

Trump signaled more optimism about a possible accord with North Korea in advance of a summit meeting anticipated to take place by early June. He even praised its leader, Kim Jong Un, in unusually positive terms. “We’re having very, very good discussions,” Trump said. “Kim Jong Un, he really has been very open and I think very honorable from everything we’re seeing.”

Trump’s description of the North Korean leader rankled critics, who quickly pointed out that the country has one of the most authoritarian systems in the world, known for its harsh prison camps and repressive control over nearly every aspect of society, but Trump repeated his vow to walk away from the talks if they did not prove fruitful. 

Let's not drag Israeli occupation into the discussion.

Trump would not elaborate on what he meant when asked by a reporter, but instead repeated his hopes for a deal while denying that he had given up anything before the meeting. “We have made no concessions despite some of the media saying that I’ve made concessions,” he said. “I haven’t even discussed a concession.”

Iran’s security chief warned Tuesday that his country would consider leaving the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty if Trump pulls out from the the Iran nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, which Iran signed in 2015 with President Barack Obama and the leaders of five other major powers.

The official, Ali Shamkhani, said signatories to the nonproliferation treaty have the right to leave it if they “feel their national interests are not intertwined” with the accord. “This is one possibility for the Islamic Republic,” he said during a news conference, aired on state television.

Publicly, Iranian officials have been threatening to start enriching uranium if the United States torpedoes the 2015 nuclear agreement. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors the deal, Iran has not violated its terms.

Related: "That agreement included an inspections regime that the International Atomic Energy Agency judged rigorous enough to detect any violations. As an additional safeguard, the IAEA was granted long-term inspection rights over the entirety of Iran’s nuclear cycle, from mining to milling to waste stream....."

That's not good enough? 

So when do U.N. inspections begin at Dimona?

Iran is an early signatory of the treaty and its leaders have often threatened to pull out of it, but have never followed up.

“What Shamkhani said is a bluff,” said Davoud Hermidas-Bavand, an Iranian professor of international law and a former diplomat. “As long as the European Union supports the nuclear deal and Russia and China are endorsing Iran and the deal, there is no point to withdraw for Iran,” he said. “Even if Iran withdraws from the deal, then Iran practically cannot go back to high enrichment of uranium simply because Iran is not allowed to do so and such a move will invite military confrontation.”

During his meeting with Macron on Tuesday, Trump warned Iran against resuming its nuclear activities if the United States does pull out. “If they restart their nuclear program, they will have bigger problems than they ever had before,” Trump said.

The comments came on a day of pomp and ceremony, as Trump rolled out the red carpet for Macron and praised their warm relationship. The two embraced warmly and kissed each other on the cheek. In one odd moment, Trump even brushed what he said was dandruff off Macron’s jacket in the Oval Office. “We have to make him perfect,” Trump said, adding, “He — is —perfect.”

I don't know what that odd moment means.



"If Trump makes good on his threat to abandon the deal and then reimposes US sanctions, and if Iran counters by enriching uranium beyond reactor-fuel grade, the two countries will be back on a collision course. But with this caveat: Our (erstwhile) partners in the pact would be unlikely to join a reimposition of sanctions, since the United States, not Iran, would have unraveled the agreement. Thus bailing out would leave us with Iran once again building up its enriched uranium stockpile, but without an effective sanctions regime to punish that activity. And, in all likelihood, without allies willing to join or endorse military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities. No prudent, providential president would want to find himself in that position, but John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, two unhooded hawks, now perch on Trump’s shoulders. That means hope for sane policy rests increasingly on Jim Mattis — and on the persuasiveness of Macron, Merkel, and May....."

Let's hope they can exercise their white privilege!

Armenia’s political transition unclear after PM’s ouster

You mean I was lied to (along with wishful thinking) about the depth of the opposition?

Looking exactly like what I said it was.

Gunmen kill 15 at Nigeria church, including 2 priests

Police arrest suspect in China arson attack that killed 18

Egypt sends former antigraft chief to prison for five years

"Israel cancels expulsions of African migrants" AP  April 25, 2018

JERUSALEM — The Israeli government has scrapped a controversial plan to deport thousands of African migrants after a high-court petition filed by human rights groups challenged the plan’s validity.

The government’s announcement Tuesday that it was abandoning the effort to send the migrants to unidentified African countries — widely reported to be Rwanda and Uganda — was welcomed as a positive step by advocates for about 36,000 migrants in Israel, but the move is also likely to bring more uncertainty to those without official status.

‘‘At this stage, the possibility of deportation to a third country is not on the agenda,’’ wrote the government’s legal representative in response to the petition.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted that he intends to reopen Holot, a remote detention facility in Israel’s Negev desert.

He is not joking.

You see who is smiling now?

It's because of what is happening in Gaza.

At least Israel heard a good word from the US Supreme Court.

‘‘Whatever Netanyahu has in mind now to deal with this situation it is most likely unconstitutional, and the price of implementing it will likely mean throwing Israel out of the family of democratic nations,’’ said Sigal Rozen, public policy director at the Hotline for Migrant Workers, one of the six nongovernmental organizations that filed the petition.

You don't have to do that. They are ostracizing themselves with their behavior.


Of course, it's the Greeks and Lebanese that are abusing their migrant populations:

"Violence erupts between Greeks and refugees on islands" by Niki Kitsantonis New York Times  April 24, 2018

ATHENS — After a violent clash between Greeks and migrants seeking asylum in Europe, Greek authorities and human rights groups say they fear rising tensions and more conflicts on the eastern Aegean Islands that house tens of thousands of refugees who have arrived via Turkey.

The confrontation, which lasted for hours on Sunday and Monday, took place on the island of Lesbos, where tolerance of the growing refugee population has worn thin, and where members of far-right, anti-immigrant groups have been exploiting the frustration. Tensions in the overcrowded migrant camps often erupt into brawls and riots, but major clashes with Greeks have been rare since the flood of refugees from Asia and Africa began three years ago.

About 200 Afghans had been camped for several days in a central square of Mytilene, the main port city of Lesbos, to protest living conditions in the government-run camps and delays in processing their asylum applications.

On Sunday, local residents gathered in Mytilene to object to the presence of the Afghans, a demonstration that escalated into violence. Some of the protesters pelted the migrants in the square with flares, firecrackers, and stones broken off sidewalks, and some chanted “burn them alive,” according to local news media.

The Afghans formed a protective circle around the women and children in their group.

I wonder if they do that during a U.S. missile strike.

After several hours of upheaval, riot police officers intervened early Monday, transporting the migrants by bus back to the overcrowded camps. The police briefly detained 120 migrants and two Greeks, but did not immediately charge anyone with a crime.

Thirty people were taken to a hospital, mostly for breathing difficulties and dizziness.

Officials on the Aegean Islands have warned for months that conditions there were untenable and tensions could boil over, and have called on the government to move some of the migrants elsewhere. The police have reported an increase in hate crimes across Greece.

The upheaval Sunday was “one of the hardest nights on Lesbos in years,” said Spyros Galinos, the island’s mayor.

“The anger of citizens and of trapped migrants is to be expected,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that there should no tolerance for “far-right elements nor for lawlessness and anarchy.”

Greek political parties issued statements blaming the violence on far-right groups. The local office of the leftist Syriza Party, which leads the country’s governing coalition, said Sunday’s attack was not because of the frustration of locals, but was “a well-organized act, with murderous intent, by specific groups of extreme-right criminal and hooligan elements that have nothing to do with the island or its traditions” and that are “known to local authorities.”

$yriza has turned into a banker's tool after such promise.

Amnesty International’s Greek chapter released a statement saying, “we demand an immediate investigation and the protection of all the victims and all the refugees on Lesbos.”

The upheaval on Lesbos came a few days after a Greek court ruled that migrants reaching the Aegean Islands from Turkey should not be prohibited from traveling to the mainland. That decision angered many refugees who are already in the island camps and who remained under “geographical restriction,” meaning that they could leave the camps, but not the islands.

Amid fears that the court ruling would undermine an agreement between Turkey and the European Union to curb the flow of refugees across the Aegean Sea, the government scrambled to respond.....


All refugees of Obama's wars, that's the way I see it. His regime change efforts in Syria and Libya began the exodus. It was a designed plan to put pressure on the European societies to accept Marxist multiculturalism and the New World Order.

"Seeking aid abroad, Lebanon uproots Syrian refugees" by Philip Issa Associated Press  April 24, 2018

BEIRUT — Three years ago, Ahmad Mohsin was forced to relocate his campsite in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley after soldiers raided the community of Syrian refugees where he lived and smashed their belongings. The message was clear, he said: They were not wanted.

You know, the same message Palestinians and African migrants are getting from the apartheid state.

On Tuesday, Mohsin, 39, was preparing to break down his camp again, after an order came from the security services to move once more. 

They didn't bulldoze the place?

Even as donor nations raise money for Syria’s neighbors to host refugees of the country’s civil war, a leading international rights group and the UN’s refugee agency say Lebanese authorities are evicting refugees from towns and camps in the country on questionable legal grounds.

Same as their neighbor!

Mohsin, from Syria’s third largest city Homs, said on the second order to move he went to a local official to ask for help.

‘‘He said, go back to Syria,’’ said Mohsin. Neither the local official nor the military could be reached for comment.

Human Rights Watch said it documented evictions in 13 towns and villages putting more than 3,600 Syrians on the streets since 2016. It said the Lebanese army uprooted another 7,500 refugees near a military base around Christmas 2017.

They should be called Juman Rights Watch.

Meanwhile, the country’s General Security apparatus, which handles border security, arranged for 500 refugees in the Shebaa farms area to return to their villages in western Syria, one week ago. The United Nations did not participate in the operation, saying it did not believe Syria was safe enough for returnees. (The refugees said on Lebanese media they were returning voluntarily.)

In Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa Valley, the army can designate areas as military zones and close them off to campsites. Their boundaries are rarely clear and appear to shift without notice.

Haven't they put up any fences with no-man's-land buffer zones?

Mohsin said he was informed by military intelligence that his campsite sits on a ‘‘military corridor.’’ The camp is approximately 5 miles from the Riyaq Air Base linked to the Christmas evictions.

In 2015, soldiers raided the camp in its old location looking for Mohsin, the camp’s foreman, and announced they wanted the tents moved immediately. Afraid, Mohsin denied his own identity.

‘‘The soldiers went through the homes, beating down the doors, breaking things,’’ he said. ‘‘Then he started saying things to us, things I don’t know how to repeat now, things that really bothered us.’’

They moved to their present site, just a few hundred yards away, and along the same dirt road now deemed off-limits.

According to the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, 1,300 Syrian families were evicted from their camps and homes in the Bekaa Valley in 2017. It said close to sixty percent of the evictions were ordered by the military intelligence. Another 30 percent were ordered by local officials. There are nearly a million Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, according to the United Nations, and an estimated 70 percent of them live in poverty, and with national elections less than two weeks away, politicians are making the refugees into a ballot box issue.

Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, who leads President Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement Party and is the president’s son-in-law, said in January it was time for refugees to return home. It is a common refrain among the country’s Christian politicians, who are playing on fears in Lebanon that the overwhelmingly Muslim Syrian refugee population is a threat to Lebanon’s national identity.

‘‘Right now, Syrian refugees do not have the guarantee that they are safe in their homes,’’ said Bassam Khawaja, a Lebanon researcher for Human Rights Watch.


Looks like their goose is cooked:

"Arrests loom after Peruvian villagers ‘lynch’ tourist accused of killing their shaman" by Samantha Schmidt and Avi Selk Washington Post  April 24, 2018

WASHINGTON — Five years ago, Sebastian Woodroffe decided to quit his job, leave his home in Canada, and travel thousands of miles to the Amazon rain forests to study the healing rituals of indigenous shamans.

A relative’s battle with alcoholism inspired the then-36-year-old father to go in 2013, Woodroffe explained in a YouTube video. He was particularly interested in ayahuasca, a sludgelike hallucinogenic potion that some Peruvians call ‘‘the sacred vine of the soul’’ and that many tourists believe can heal anything from depression to childhood trauma.

Woodroffe wanted to become an addictions counselor, he wrote in a pitch to raise funds for his trip, but not a conventional one. He wanted to apprentice with Amazonian healers and ‘‘retain some of their treasure in me and my family, and share it with those that wish to learn.’’

While it’s not entirely clear what happened to Woodroffe in Peru’s rain forests over the next five years, a friend in Canada told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that he returned from his ayahuasca retreats ‘‘troubled’’ and more distant.

But he kept going back, until late last week.

That, Peruvian authorities say, is when villagers accused Woodroffe of killing a celebrated and beloved local shaman who refused to treat him, and they put his face on an amateur wanted poster.

Then a mob caught him, tied a cord around his neck, and made a video of him being dragged through the dirt until he died.

Peru’s attorney general ordered the arrest of two suspects in Woodroffe’s death Monday, the Associated Press reported, and has not implicated the Canadian in any crime. But prosecutors are now investigating both Woodroffe’s ‘‘lynching’’ and the unsolved shooting of the 81-year-old shaman, Olivia Arévalo Lomas — and whether the two deaths are linked.

Arévalo was not simply a shaman; she was an activist for indigenous rights in this remote rain forest in northeastern Peru. A nephew described her to a Peruvian TV station as ‘‘the mother that protects the Earth in the jungle’’ and ‘‘the most beloved woman’’ in the Shipibo-Konibo tribe.

She was an activist for indigenous rights, huh? 

There is your motive, and with this possible patsy (or assassin?) dead..... good luck getting answers.

She descended from a long line of healers and had been working with traditional plant medicine since she was a teen in the early 1950s, according to the Temple of the Way of Light — a healing center where she sang curing songs and performed ayahuasca rituals.

Each year, thousands of tourists from the United States, Australia, and Canada travel to the Peruvian Amazon to experiment with ayahuasca, also known as yage. The potion contains dimethyltryptamine, a powerful hallucinogen that is legal in Peru only as part of spiritual exercises.

But the potion has a dark side. In 2015, the National Post reported, a British man took ayahuasca during a Peruvian retreat, began ‘‘screaming at the top of his lungs’’ and tried to attack another tourist with a butcher knife. The tourist had to kill the British man in self-defense, the paper wrote — one of several violent incidents linked to ayahuasca tourism.

At least he wasn't naked and tripping on a traffic island, right?

Woodroffe “likes to poke, and likes to test the boundaries of people’s beliefs,’’ his friend Yarrow Willard told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., ‘‘but is very much a gentle person underneath all that.’’

‘‘He had a beautiful spark to him that people respected and loved,’’ Willard said. And even though Woodroffe had become more distant after trying ayahuasca and would return from Peru seeming ‘‘troubled,’’ Willard could not believe his friend was capable of violence.

‘‘This man has never had a gun or talked about anything along that line,’’ he said.

In his online fund-raising campaign to study in Peru, Woodroffe wrote specifically of Arévalo’s tribe. He wanted to protect the tribe from modern forces — to ‘‘preserve their eroding perch in the Amazon.’’

‘‘Acceptance of their wisdom’s potency will bring value to the Shipibo,’’ he wrote.

By last week he was in the remote Ucayali region of northeastern Peru, among the tribe. There, villagers told the BBC, he met Arévalo and asked for her guidance. And there, on Thursday, the old shaman was shot dead outside her home.

Accounts of Arévalo’s death conflict wildly. A prosecutor said no one witnessed it, and no weapon was found, according to the BBC. Residents told an indigenous news outlet that witnesses saw Woodroffe shoot Arévalo multiple times after she sang an ikaro, or curing song. The shaman’s family said she had refused to conduct a ritual with ayahuasca for the Canadian, provoking his rage.

When residents could not find Woodroffe after the shooting, a crude ‘‘wanted’’ bulletin circulated online. It would not take long to find him.

Peruvian authorities have confirmed that Woodroffe is the man seen in a cellphone video shot last week and shared online — a man gibbering and moaning as he lies in a mud puddle, surrounded by dozens of people in a village of dirt streets and thatch-roofed huts.

Most of the onlookers stare silently. One loops a cord around Woodroffe’s neck and drags him from the puddle onto the grass, and then across the grass until he stops moving.

Woodroffe’s body was found in a makeshift grave.


First thing you want to do is get a toxicology report.

"Suspect in Toronto van attack expressed anger at women" by Dan Bilefsky and Ian Austen New York Times  April 24, 2018

TORONTO — The man identified as the van driver who traumatized Toronto was a socially troubled computer studies graduate who briefly joined Canada’s military last year and posted a hostile message toward women on Facebook moments before his deadly rampage, according to accounts by police and his acquaintances on Tuesday.

Oh, no, another managed patsy in the clutches of military mind control?

The suspect, Alek Minassian, 25, was charged in a Toronto court with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder one day after the van rampage along the sidewalk of a busy Toronto street.

Okay, nothing about him being Armenian or that it was a Van of Peace.

Yup, looking more and more like another false flag with the usual anomalies that are just a bit too coincidental.

Police have said that Minassian, a resident of the Richmond Hill suburb of Toronto, appeared to have intentionally struck the victims in what was likely to count as Canada’s deadliest vehicular assault. Government officials have said the attack did not appear to be an act of terrorism but have not ruled it out.

The rampage shattered a peaceful Monday afternoon when a white Ryder rental van roared down Yonge Street, a main Toronto thoroughfare, and plowed into pedestrians along a nearly 1-mile stretch. Ten people were killed by the van, which police said Minassian had rented that morning.

A rented Ryder truck?

The driver stopped the van on a sidewalk and engaged in a tense standoff with the police, claiming to be armed and daring officers to shoot him in the head. He surrendered seven minutes after police received the first emergency call.

While police did not disclose a motive for the rampage, interviews with former acquaintances of Minassian, witnesses, and others, and his now-deleted Facebook account, portray him as a troubled young man who harbored resentments toward women and who had a penchant for computer programming. He also appeared to be determined to die.

I'm sorry, but this whole event is starting to stink!

Former classmates at Thornlea Secondary School outside Toronto said Minassian had displayed extreme social awkwardness. “He was an odd guy, and hardly mixed with other students,” said Ari Blaff, a former high school classmate who is a graduate student in international relations at the University of Toronto. “He had several tics and would sometimes grab the top of his shirt and spit on it, meow in the hallways and say, ‘I am afraid of girls.’ It was like a mantra.”

Minassian did not express strong ideological views or harass women, Blaff said, but he was isolated and others privately made fun of him.

Josh Kirstein, who took a photography class with Minassian in high school and works in the mental health field, said Minassian had difficulty communicating and expressed fear that women could hurt him. “He would cower and avoid eye contact when he saw a girl,” he said. “He would shut down completely.” Kirstein added, “I never saw him have a normal conversation.”

Couple of testimonials from look jwho!

Now the entire event has been called into question. 

Could it possibly be another staged and scripted crisis drill gone live?

Other signs of sympathy for misogyny appeared on Minassian’s Facebook account.

In a posting that Gibson said the suspect had made minutes before the van rampage, the account praised Elliot Rodger, who killed six people in a May 2014 rampage in Isla Vista, Calif., before shooting himself.

Rodger had posted a YouTube video describing his rage that women had rejected him and that he was a virgin at age 22.

The Facebook posting by Minassian praised “incels,” or involuntary celibates, a term used in a Reddit group where men vented frustrations that tipped into misogyny. “The Incel Rebellion has already begun!,” the posting stated. “We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”

They don't have prostitutes in Canada?

Rodger had referred to men who are successful with women as “Chads” and to the unattainable women who rejected him as “Stacys.” Rodger had also called himself an “incel.”

Last November, Reddit banned a community dedicated to “incels,” which had 40,000 members and had included posts lauding the rape of women. Some posts were titled “all women are sluts” and “reasons why women are the embodiment of evil.”

Minassian’s Facebook account has been suspended, but the company confirmed in an e-mail the authenticity of the posting.

There is still the question of community standards.

Minassian recently graduated from a computer studies program at Seneca College in North York, a Toronto suburb.

While he appeared to be skilled at computers, he did not take to military life. The Canadian Department of National Defense said in a statement that Minassian joined the armed forces on Aug. 23 of last year and quit two months later, after 16 days of basic training.

At the court hearing Tuesday, Minassian was represented by a court-appointed lawyer with whom he had an extended, whispered conversation from a prisoners’ box.

He was being held without bail and the next hearing is on May 10.....


He survived by waving a ‘red flag’ in front of the Waffle House, thereby taking the “target off his back.”


Time to park it.

"Amazon begins delivery to vehicles" by Abha Bhattarai Washington Post  April 24, 2018

First came in-home delivery. Now Amazon is offering to drop off packages straight to the trunk of your parked car.

The online giant on Tuesday announced that delivery workers will now be able to place packages in certain vehicles parked at homes, offices, and other publicly-accessible areas. The service is available to Prime members in 37 cities, including Washington and Seattle, who drive Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac cars with an active OnStar account, as well as Volvos with an active Volvo On Call account.

The program is the latest effort by the online behemoth to make it easier for customers to receive online orders. Package theft has long been a persistent problem for online shoppers, and Amazon says in-car delivery is one way to combat the problem, but privacy and legal experts say in-car delivery raises a number of concerns about consumer data, and the ways Amazon can use that information to draw conclusions about shoppers and their habits. And as with in-home delivery, shoppers may be concerned about letting a stranger into their vehicle.

‘‘Amazon has a voracious appetite for people’s information, and this is one more example of its breathless rush to grab every piece of data and turn it into new forms of revenue,’’ said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a Washington nonprofit.

In November, the company launched Amazon Key, a service that relies on a home-security camera and smart lock to allow couriers into shoppers’ homes to deliver packages. Rival Walmart last year announced a similar program in which delivery workers could bring groceries into shoppers’ kitchens and unload them into their refrigerators, even if nobody is home. (Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, also owns The Washington Post.)

Yeah, I've noticed that Bezos has been using the Washington Post as an investigative arm for Amazon.

‘‘Amazon’s tentacles are everywhere,’’ said Chester. ‘‘What kind of car do you drive? Where is it parked? What do you have in the back seat? And in which ways will Amazon use that data to market products to you, especially now that they’re getting into ancillary products like life insurance and health insurance?’’ (An Amazon spokesperson said the company does not take photos of the car, and that Amazon Key only obtains a customer’s vehicle information on the day of delivery.)

Not only that, all that collected data is also turned over to the government.

This is how it works: Prime members with the Amazon Key app can link their car to their accounts and select ‘‘in-car’’ delivery during checkout. On delivery day, Amazon gives customers a four-hour delivery window and directs couriers to the parked car, which is unlocked following an encrypted authentication process. The car is relocked after delivery, and consumers receive real-time updates on their phones.

Washington ComPost is practically selling it to you themselves!

Print Globe cut off the fine print!

The new delivery service to cars gives customers the ‘‘same peace of mind’’ as in-home delivery with Amazon Key, Peter Larsen, Amazon’s vice president of delivery technology, said in a statement.

The service comes as smart cities and connected cars become more commonplace around the country. After all, some experts say, many drivers now pay parking meters using an app on their phones, and rely on navigational services that know their location at any given time.

‘‘If you trust Amazon with your data, as many people do, then delivery to the trunk of your car is a safe way to getting your package, and perhaps safer than in-home delivery,’’ said Albert Gidari, director of privacy at the Center for Internet & Society at Stanford Law School. ‘‘This is another example of trading off privacy and security for convenience.’’

Then, as Benjamin Franklin said, you deserve neither.


Just started making deliveries and the dashboard lit up:

"Audi is recalling about 1.2 million cars and SUVs worldwide because the electric coolant pumps can overheat and possibly cause a fire. The luxury brand of Volkswagen said in US government documents that the pumps can become blocked with cooling system debris, or moisture in the pump can cause an electrical short. An Audi spokesman in the United States said there have been reports of fires but he had no details. Dealers will replace the pumps at no cost to owners. The spokesman said Tuesday that redesigned parts won’t be ready until November, but dealers will install a new version of the current pump until the redesigned ones are available....."

I would hop on a motorcycle to complete the route, but.....

"Harley-Davidson Inc.’s chief executive said he may have kept a plant open in Missouri if the United States had stayed in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the free-trade agreement that President Trump withdrew from last year. The motorcycle maker’s decision to close its factory in Kansas City and build a plant in Thailand was the “Plan B” that Harley turned to after the United States abandoned a trade pact with a bloc of 11 countries mostly in Asia, CEO Matt Levatich said in a phone interview. “We would rather not make the investment in that facility, but that’s what’s necessary to access a very important market,” Levatich said of the Thailand plant. “It is a direct example of how trade policies could help this company, but we have to get on with our work to grow the business by any means possible, and that’s what we’re doing.” Harley will cut about 260 jobs as it shifts production from Missouri to its factory in York, Pa., amid a deepening US demand slump. The Milwaukee-based company expects to start making motorcycles at a new manufacturing facility in Thailand later this year to circumvent what Levatich called “unbelievable trade and tariff barriers” in “critical” Southeast Asian markets."

I hate to tell you this, but truthfully, the tariffs haven't even gone into effect.

Okay, after dropping you off at State Street's HQ, I need to stop at the Arsenal Yards in Watertown before stopping in the Shire to visit mom and deliver her pills:

"US prosecutors are nearing their first charges against companies in an almost four-year-old criminal investigation into alleged price-fixing by generic-drug makers, according to people familiar with the matter. At least two companies are on track to be indicted in the coming months, in addition to several executives, said two people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is confidential. The charges would mark a major breakthrough in an investigation that began in 2014 and has spread to nearly every major generic-drug manufacturer. Started during the Obama administration, the investigation is advancing under President Trump, who has repeatedly vowed to bring down soaring drug costs in the wake of controversial price hikes by Mylan and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc."

Here is your moment of Zen.