Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Pipeline to Next Month's Posts

February will be bringing a change of focus as I will only be dealing with fun things I find in my Boston Globe.

"House bill aims to address state’s power shortfall" by Jon Chesto, Globe Staff  January 29, 2015

A sweeping new bill on Beacon Hill aims to dramatically reshape the state’s energy landscape in an effort to address high electricity prices and concerns about the regional grid’s reliability.

Related: Rising Electric Rates Are to Extort Gas Pipeline 

Well, that stinks.

The bill is unusual in its scope, showering many corners of the industry with assistance. 

So which well-connected concerns are getting the tax loot?

Among its goals: expand the state’s pipeline capacity, line up contracts for offshore wind farms, and build power lines to Canada’s massive hydropower plants.

Proposed by Representative Patricia Haddad, who has been a top lieutenant of House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, the bill, filed earlier this month, will serve as a starting point for negotiations.

He's a happy man these days.


The most controversial aspect of the bill could be a tax that would be imposed to pay for more construction of natural gas infrastructure — a proposal that resembles one supported by New England’s governors about a year ago.


Environmental groups say public subsidies should not be used to underwrite pipeline expansions. New England’s electric grid, they say, is already too dependent on natural gas. “We should be seeking to make a transition that doesn’t lock us into [new] fossil fuel infrastructure for decades,” said Joel Wool, an energy advocate with Clean Water Action in Boston.

Tony Buxton, a lawyer at Preti Flaherty in Maine who represents about a dozen big industrial clients in the region, said he would prefer to see New England states working together. “It’s easier to have a regional solution,” Buxton said. “But it’s good to have the states empowered if [a regional solution] doesn’t work.”

A DeLeo spokesman declined to comment on the legislation late Wednesday.

Massachusetts has some of the highest electricity rates in the country, and the region’s grid overseer has warned of potential rolling blackouts as soon as 2016 if more power cannot be pumped into the system. “It’s the talk of the business community,” Haddad, a Democrat, said of the electricity woes. “It’s probably the number one topic of conversation.”

Haddad’s legislation represents a sequel of sorts to a bill aimed at bringing in more Canadian hydropower. That proposal died when time ran out in the last legislative session. Haddad worked closely with leaders in the energy industry and the environmental community in recent months before crafting the latest bill.

If the proposal becomes law, it would require the state’s electric utilities to enter into long-term contracts with offshore wind developers, with the goal of helping those developers obtain financing for the projects. 

Even after the failure of Cape Wind to find financing?

Haddad said she hopes the bill sends a message that state officials are interested in fostering the offshore wind industry, despite Cape Wind’s failure this month. A dozen offshore wind developers, including an affiliate of Cape Wind, are eligible to bid on sections of deep water south of Martha’s Vineyard at an auction of federal leases this week.... 

“We [have] an opportunity to build a new industry.”

SeeWind power auction draws limited interest

Just a bunch of hot air!


RelatedSenators urge more caution on pipeline project

That's the Full Spectra for you. 

Things ARE safe, right?

"NTSB: Systemic flaws in safety oversight of gas pipelines" by Joan Lowy, Associated Press  January 28, 2015

WASHINGTON — Three powerful accidents in recent years highlight weaknesses in the oversight of how natural gas providers maintain their largest pipelines, investigators said Tuesday as they issued more than two dozen safety recommendations.

That's great news to read before the bill is presented.

A major effort a decade ago by the US government to halt a rise in violent pipeline failures in ‘‘high-consequence’’ areas — where people are more likely to be hurt or buildings destroyed — has resulted in a slight leveling off of such cases but no decline, the National Transportation Safety Board said. And while the frequency of such accidents remains low, they are still more likely to occur in more densely populated areas, despite increased safety efforts in those areas, the report said.

And the more pipelines you build....

More improvements are needed ‘‘to prevent catastrophic gas transmission line accidents from ever happening again,’’ said Chris Hart, acting NTSB chairman.

Where did all those profits go?

A steady increase in pipeline explosions and fires in the 10 years prior to 2003 prompted the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to adopt safety standards in 2004 for inspecting and maintaining the physical integrity of pipelines.

Since then, state-regulated pipelines — those that don’t cross state borders — have had a 27 percent higher incident rate than federally regulated pipelines that traverse more than one state, the report said.

From 2010 to 2013, incidents were overrepresented in high-consequence-area pipelines compared to less-developed areas, where the risk to people and property is lower, the board said.

Three accidents since 2010 illustrate many of the systemic problems, the board said. On Sept. 9, 2010, a massive section of pipeline was blown out of the ground, igniting a giant pillar of fire in San Bruno, a San Francisco suburb. Nine people were killed and 70 homes destroyed. The blast was so powerful that residents initially thought there had been an earthquake or a jet crash. Because there were no automatic or remotely controlled valves, more than an hour passed before the gas could be shut off. 

See: San Bruno Suffers Indigestion 

On Dec. 11, 2012, near Sissonville, W.Va., a stretch of pipeline ruptured, igniting a fire that destroyed three homes, damaged several others, and melted the asphalt on a highway. The pipeline hadn’t been inspected in 24 years.

A similar pipeline ruptured May 4, 2009, near Palm City, Fla. The blast tossed 106 feet of buried pipeline into the air. Incredibly, there was no fire even though 36 million cubic feet of gas escaped and two other gas lines were buried parallel to the one that ruptured. Damage to the pipe’s protective coating had gone undiscovered, and a shut-off valve failed to close.

In each accident, gas companies failed to conduct inspections that might have revealed weaknesses, the NTSB said.

The concern is that aging pipelines will rupture in populated areas. Nearly 300,000 miles of gas pipelines crisscross the nation, more than half of them installed before 1970. Pre-1970 pipelines have a significantly higher failure rate.

The board has 28 recommendations, mostly for federal regulators. They urged states to adopt inspections that are more costly but more apt to find problems. They urged federal inspectors to work more closely with state inspectors and establish a mentoring program; state inspectors often lack expertise in some areas.

How you feeling about that pipeline bill now?


RelatedSenate passes Keystone oil pipeline bill

The Senate voted 62-36 in favor of building the pipeline.

And despite the veto threat:

"The Obama administration floated a plan Tuesday that for the first time would open up a broad swath of the Atlantic Coast to drilling, even as it moved to restrict drilling indefinitely in environmentally-sensitive areas off Alaska. The proposal envisions auctioning areas located more than 50 miles off Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia to oil companies no earlier than 2021. For decades, oil companies have been barred from drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. Some New England lawmakers objected to the plan. “If drilling is allowed off the East Coast, it puts our beaches, our fishermen, and our environment in the crosshairs for an oil spill that could devastate our shores,’’ Senator Edward Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, said in a statement. “Offshore oil spills don’t respect state boundaries. A spill off the coast of North Carolina could affect Massachusetts. We saw what happened after the BP spill. My state’s fishing and tourism industry can’t afford that kind of tragedy.’’

"A private company finally will be able to legally drill for oil in part of Wyoming that’s best known for a 1920s presidential scandal. The Energy Department said Friday that it has finalized the sale of the Teapot Dome oilfield to New York-based Stranded Oil Resources Corp. for $45.2 million. Most of the easily accessible oil in the 9,500-acre oilfield 35 miles north of Casper already has been tapped. Stranded Oil specializes in recharging depleted oil fields with techniques such as injecting carbon dioxide underground. Teapot Dome remains best known for a scandal that embroiled President Warren G. Harding, whose interior secretary took bribes to allow drilling in the oilfield. Teapot Dome was supposed to have been reserved as emergency fuel for the US Navy." 

Now they are called campaign contributions.

Of course, the biggest concern is alleged global warming:

No, 2014 wasn’t the ‘warmest year in history’

Indeed, the probability that 2014 set a record is not 99 percent or 95 percent, but less than 50 percent. NOAA’s number-crunchers put the probability at 48 percent; NASA’s analysis came in at 38 percent. The agencies rationalize their attention-getting headline on the grounds that the probabilities were even lower for other candidates for the label of “hottest year in history.”

At least nuclear is not a concern.

Copping Out On This Post

I've spent the whole month covering shootings and cop-related protests so you can scroll down the side and look for the related links. Sorry.

"All charges dropped against Detroit cop in girl’s death" Associated Press  January 31, 2015

DETROIT — At the prosecutor’s request, a judge Friday dismissed the last charge against a Detroit police officer who fatally shot a 7-year-old girl during a raid, and the judge said she’s willing to be the “scapegoat” if critics don’t like the result.

Joseph Weekley shot Aiyana Stanley-Jones as she slept on a couch in a Detroit home in 2010. It occurred during a frenzied raid by elite officers who burst through the door to search for a murder suspect after throwing a flash grenade to confuse anyone inside. A reality TV crew recorded the scene from the street....


Related: Detroit Cop's Murder Charge Dismissed 

It would be a surprise if it was not.

"Chief: Not clear how officer was hurt when teen was killed" Associated Press  January 30, 2015

DENVER — A Denver police officer involved in the deadly shooting of a 17-year-old girl may have been injured trying to get out of the way of a stolen car the teenager was driving, the police chief said Thursday.

The possibility raised during a preliminary investigation of the shooting clouded Chief Robert White’s initial statement that two of his officers opened fire after one was struck by the car.

The shooting occurred early Monday after the officers found Jessica Hernandez and four other teenagers inside the car in an alley. White said the officers told the teens several times to get out of the vehicle.

A passenger in the car, who spoke on condition of anonymity, has disputed the official account, saying that officers approached the car from behind and fired four times into the driver’s side window. The passenger also said that officers did not yell commands before firing and that the car struck the officer after Hernandez was shot and lost control of it.

Department policy encourages officers to move out of the way of a moving car rather than use their firearm. But it also allows them to shoot if they have no other way to prevent death or serious injury.


Also see:

St. Louis police review board hearing cut short over scuffle

2 brothers shot dead on Brockton street

Not shot by cops, I hope.

"New Orleans to end smoking in bars" Associated Press  January 31, 2015

NEW ORLEANS — In three months, it will no longer be legal to smoke in bars and while gambling in the Big Easy.

On Friday, Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed into law a new ordinance that prohibits smoking inside bars, gambling halls, stadiums, and hotels in what will be a big change for a city known for its libertine ways.

“I’m really proud to sign this ordinance today,” Landrieu said.

There are more than 500 bars within the city limits and several large gambling establishments. Bars and the gambling industry, who said a ban would hurt business, sought to stop the ban but failed.


Related: The Party is Over 

Must be the smokescreen.

"Rap mogul arrested in Calif. fatality" New York Times  January 31, 2015

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Marion Knight, the former chief executive of Death Row Records who is better known as Suge, was arrested on Friday on suspicion of murder after authorities said the vehicle he was driving struck two men in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant.....

The incident is the latest in a long line of violent brushes with the law by Knight, 49, the former hip-hop mogul who helped usher Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dogg into the mainstream.

A Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman, Sergeant Diane Hecht, said Knight became involved in an argument at 3 p.m. Thursday with several men who were working on a movie in Compton, Calif., where Knight and Death Row made their name.

Shortly after, authorities said, Knight put his truck in reverse and struck two people who had been standing behind the vehicle.


"Single mom who lost job jailed in bomb threat bank heist" AP  January 29, 2015

BELLEVUE, Pa. — A single mother who told police she recently lost her job has been jailed on charges she tried to rob $40,000 from a Pennsylvania bank by claiming to have a bomb in her car at a drive-through window.

Brandy Greulich, 33, of Pittsburgh, remained jailed Wednesday on charges stemming from the robbery attempt a day earlier at a PNC Bank branch in Bellevue.

Greulich pulled up and handed the teller a note claiming she had a bomb in her car, according to a criminal complaint filed by Bellevue police.

The note said ‘‘they were being watched and that there were bombs in the car and throughout the bank and at the homes of the employees and if they got caught they would all die,’’ the complaint said.

The teller hit an alarm, summoning police. Greulich, at first, continued to tell police that she was forced to rob the bank by unidentified perpetrators, saying, ‘‘They said they would kill me and my son if I didn’t’’ rob the bank, the complaint said.

Eventually, Greulich acknowledged making up the whole thing, police said.


"Zimmerman assault case dropped" Associated Press  January 31, 2015

ORLANDO — An aggravated assault case against George Zimmerman that was opened when his ex-girlfriend said he threw a wine bottle at her has been dropped because she recanted her story and stopped cooperating with investigators, according to a prosecutor.

State Attorney Phil Archer said Friday that he wouldn’t file a formal charge against Zimmerman, 31, the former neighborhood watch leader who was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin. The fatal shooting of the unarmed black teen touched off protests across the country.

Related: Lights Flashing in Ferguson 

The media reported the Martin-Zimmerman altercation wrong, too.

The ex-girlfriend had made it clear she didn’t want to cooperate with Lake Mary Police officers, and there were no other eyewitnesses, Archer said.

“While it is clear that the officers had probable cause to arrest Mr. Zimmerman . . . the subsequent recantation by the victim of her initial statement . . . precludes my office from proceeding further,” Archer said in a statement.

Zimmerman was arrested three weeks ago. Three days later, in a sworn statement, Brittany Brunelle, 28, asked that no charges be filed against Zimmerman. She said she was under no pressure and had been offered no money to make the statement. It was released Friday by the state attorney’s office. Previously, officials hadn’t identified her.

Brunelle didn’t return a call to her cellphone Friday.



"Authorities are investigating racist graffiti that was discovered inside the Pollard Middle School in Needham on Thursday, police said. The racist statement, written with a deodorant stick, was found in the boys’ locker room and is believed to have been written after 6 p.m., Needham police said in a statement. It is not yet known if the person who committed the vandalism is “a member of the Pollard community,” according to an e-mail sent to families from principal Tamatha L. Bibbo. The school plans to have meetings during lunch times and after school for any student who wants to talk about the incident, Bibbo said in the e-mail."

"Officials say they're questioning two teenage girls who allegedly spray-painted swastikas on a car and a tree in Northampton earlier this week. Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz said the city is taking the incident seriously and police are conducting a full investigation. reports that the swastika and the word "Jews" were discovered Monday. It says authorities later questioned two girls aged 14 and 15 who, police say, stated they wanted to do something "shocking."

Related: Awash in Swastikas

Once the flags come down....

"Students were evacuated from Monson High School on Thursday morning after a bomb scare, officials said. The evacuation took place after a student discovered writing on the wall of the boys’ locker room that said “bomb” with Thursday’s date written underneath it, Monson Fire Chief Laurent McDonald said. The letters “bom” had been on the wall for some time, McDonald said, but the second “b” and the date were only recently added. More than 300 students and 50 faculty members were evacuated at about 9 a.m., School Superintendent Cheryl Clarke said. The building was searched using two bomb-sniffing dogs, and it was determined to be safe." 

Was the FBI instigating that psyop, or was it just a drill?

"Boy Scouts settle California suit over abuse" by Gillian Flaccus, Associated Press  January 30, 2015

LOS ANGELES — The Boy Scouts of America settled a sex-abuse case Thursday involving a 20-year-old California man who was molested by a Scout volunteer in 2007 — a decision that will keep years’ worth of files detailing sex-abuse allegations secret from the public.

The announcement of the settlement in the Santa Barbara case came after three days of trial. The terms were confidential at the Boy Scouts’ request, said Tim Hale, the plaintiff’s lawyer.

‘‘I can’t go into details about the number, but it was a great result,’’ Hale said....

Why are all the alleged wholesome institutions filled with perverts?


Related: Boy Scout Schedule

The top cop:

"AG nominee Lynch cautiously backs immigration policy" by Sari Horwitz, Washington Post  January 29, 2015

WASHINGTON — Attorney general nominee Loretta E. Lynch, 55, the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said she supports the use of the death penalty as effective punishment and considers waterboarding ‘‘torture and thus illegal.’’

One out of two right.

She said it was the Justice Department’s job to enforce the laws Congress passes, but when pushed about Holder’s decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act said there are ‘‘rare instances’’ when careful analysis of existing laws raises constitutional issues.

I'm sorry, there IS NO BUT!

Immigration proved to be the most significant flashpoint during the hearing, with Republicans voicing continuing outrage over the administration’s executive actions.

At the start of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, which was interrupted many times as senators left to vote, the committee’s chairman, Senator Charles Grassley, and Iowa Republican, asked whether the president could defer deportations ‘‘for millions of individuals in the country illegally and grant them permits and other benefits, regardless of what the US Constitution or immigration laws say.’’

Lynch said it was important for the Justice Department to ensure that any executive action be legal, but said she was not involved in the decisions leading up to the president’s decision.

Referring to a Justice Department memo on the president’s authority on immigration matters, she said: ‘‘I don’t see any reason to doubt the reasonableness of those views.’’

Senator David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, who has said he plans to vote against Lynch, said he was ‘‘very disappointed and frustrated’’ with her responses.

‘‘I have a huge concern regarding what I think is the president’s illegal, unconstitutional executive amnesty, and I have a huge concern of the fact that you think it is within the law,’’ Vitter said.

Senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, agreed with Vitter and said after the hearing that he will vote against Lynch.

Lynch is the first Obama Cabinet nominee to face a confirmation hearing since Republicans took over the Senate this year. The department she has been selected to oversee has been a regular target of Republicans’ ire on a range of issues, from investigations into the IRS and the Benghazi attacks to a botched gun-trafficking operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

The infamous Fast and Furious program that armed Mexican drug cartels.

Holder — whose six-year tenure overshadowed Wednesday’s hearing — had a particularly rocky relationship with Congress. Lynch has chaired the Justice Department committee that advises him on policy decisions.

Among the points of contention between the administration and Congress has been the Justice Department’s policy on marijuana in response to the legalization of the drug in Colorado and Washington state. The department announced it would not challenge those state laws and later said that in prosecutions it would prioritize offenses such as the distribution of marijuana to minors.

Asked about her own views on marijuana, Lynch said she does not support legalization.

Sessions asked Lynch whether she agreed with a remark made by Obama — and published last year in the New Yorker magazine — that the drug was no more dangerous than alcohol.

‘‘I certainly don’t hold that view and don’t agree with that view of marijuana,’’ Lynch said. ‘‘I certainly think that the president was speaking from his personal experience and personal opinion, neither of which I’m able to share.’’

When pressed on the legality of the National Security Agency’s controversial surveillance programs, Lynch replied that she believed they were ‘‘constitutional and effective.’’


RelatedAttorney General nominee wins GOP endorsements

Approval is nearly guaranteed, and she has been in on some patsy prosecutions as well as clearing cops.

"DEA dropped plan to scan plates near gun shows" Associated Press  January 29, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Drug Enforcement Administration abandoned an internal proposal to use surveillance cameras for photographing vehicle license plates near gun shows in the United States to investigate gun-trafficking, the agency’s chief said Wednesday.

They are saying they abandoned it because they got caught.

DEA Administrator Michelle Leonhart said in a statement that the proposal memorialized in an employee’s e-mail was only a suggestion, never authorized by her agency and never put into action. The AP also learned that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives did not authorize or approve the license plate surveillance plan.

Automated license plate scanners take pictures of every vehicle that passes their field of view and record the information in a database that can be used to track a vehicle’s movements over time.

Federal, state, and local police agencies routinely use the cameras mounted on patrol cruisers or in fixed locations, such as utility poles or busy intersections.

The scanners have raised significant privacy concerns.

The Wall Street Journal reported the DEA’s aborted plan in Wednesday’s editions.


"Nuclear scientist imprisoned for 5 years" Associated Press  January 29, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE — A disgruntled, former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist promised to build 40 nuclear weapons for Venezuela in 10 years and design a bomb targeted for New York City in exchange for ‘‘money and power,’’ according to secret FBI recordings released Wednesday. 

Oh, no, another pathetic patsy plotter!

In the recordings, Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni tells an agent posing as a Venezuelan official that the bombs would prevent the United States from invading the oil-rich nation and brags to his wife that the passing of secrets would make him wealthy.

‘‘I’m going to be the boss with money and power,’’ the naturalized US citizen from Argentina is heard saying.

He's an idiot!

Mascheroni said his New York bomb wouldn’t kill anyone but would disable the city’s electrical system.

Yeah, if the electricity grid goes down it was the Venezuelans, right.

The recordings were played Wednesday in US District Court in Albuquerque before a federal judge sentenced Mascheroni, 79, to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Mascheroni and his wife, Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni, pleaded guilty in 2013 to offering to help develop a nuclear weapon for Venezuela through dealings with an undercover FBI agent.

It's another f***ing frame-up!



"Seeing the big picture, going after the small things. His “Broken Windows” philosophy of cracking down on the minor offenses that can lead to public disorder is under attack like never before, but he is holding firm. Internally, morale is low. An internal poll found that 85 percent of officers admitted that the threat of citizen complaints made them tentative on the street, that 70 percent fear they will be sued even if they carry out a lawful action or arrest."

I don't listen to rap music, sorry.

The Cat Came Back

Owner shocked when cat he thought was dead comes back from grave

He just couldn't stay away.

Slow Saturday Special: Romney Not Running in 2016

Related: Will Romney Run in 2016?

Answer: Mitt Romney will not run for president in 2016 

Globe says it is the right call, meaning the front-runner is now Jeb Bush, one of the Bush brothers

"Yeah, Jeb "smoked a notable amount of pot — as many did — and sometimes bullied smaller students." Let's hope he didn't stuff firecrackers up frogs' butts like George W.

No sense spending much time on this filler then:

"Mitt Romney outlines economic, foreign policy vision; Goes casual as he tests new themes" by Matt Viser, Globe Staff  January 28, 2015

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mitt Romney staged a campaign-style swing Wednesday through a Deep South state that spurned him in the 2012 Republican primary, calling for a national war on poverty, testing a few attack lines directed at Hillary Rodham Clinton, and declaring his fondness for pulled pork.

It was the first opportunity for Romney to show off a new, somewhat looser stump style as he weighs whether to seek the White House for a third time. He appeared more at ease than he typically did when he was the 2012 Republican nominee, joking about his personal wealth and discussing his Mormon faith.

He told offbeat tales of his failed presidential bid and quipped about advice he got during the last campaign from a man who urged him to grow a little stubble to appear “more sexy.”

“As if I needed that,” Romney deadpanned.

In a trip to the poorest state in the union, Romney also renewed his call for a national fight against what he calls “chronic generational poverty,’’ and began elaborating on the kinds of policies he would push if he mounts a third presidential campaign.

Top Republican activists and donors have been eager to hear Romney provide a clearer rationale for why he thinks he deserves another shot — and how this campaign would be different.

How Reaganesque.


He batted down repeated questions from reporters about his intentions for another White House campaign. When a moderator asked him how his campaign would be different from his failed campaigns of the past, he said, “That’s another question I won’t answer.”

But he did begin sketching out some of the ways he would attempt to combat poverty, after blaming the growing disparity in income on a failure of “liberal policies.”

“The rich have done historically well,” he said. “I’m concerned about the middle class and the poor in this country.”

If he runs, Romney said he would push for more and better high school educational opportunities, including charter schools, and incentives for businesses to hire people who haven’t had a job before. One of the areas he grew most passionate about was placing more emphasis on two-parent families as a way to alleviate poverty. He also urged students to have a “life coach.”


“We have to make sure our government programs aren’t creating incentives for people not to get married,” he said, citing housing vouchers and other federal programs. “And they do right now.”

But the most striking aspect of the performance was that Romney, often charicatured since his days as Massachusetts governor as robotic and programmed, made a greater effort to appear to be more comfortable in his own skin....


Time to go back home, Mitt:

"Romney built expensive homes after 2012 loss" by Matt Viser, Globe Staff  January 27, 2015

LA JOLLA, Calif. — On a recent weekday, a half-dozen construction workers crowded onto a small plot of land in this pricey community, banging away on an 11,000-square-foot house with expansive oceanfront views that will soon replace one a fraction of the size.

There’s a large master suite, a room for all the beach gear — and a car elevator. Outside, scrawled in graffiti on a wall separating the property from the beach, was a message touting Mitt Romney for president.

Two years ago, Mitt Romney didn’t think he would run for political office again. And in the aftermath of his bitter defeat in the presidential campaign, he embarked on something of a real estate spree. He simultaneously began building two multimillion-dollar homes, one here on the Pacific Ocean and another outside Salt Lake City. He also bought a third, a slopeside ski chalet in Park City, Utah.

For the first time in more than a decade, unencumbered by political considerations, the two-time presidential candidate and former private equity executive was free to spend his many millions without concern of how it might look. But now that he’s considering a third presidential bid, the monuments of his wealth could become a political inconvenience, particularly as one of his key themes has been America’s growing income divide.


Romney, whose last presidential bid was hampered by his image of excessive privilege and insensitivity, may recognize the trouble his real estate holdings could cause in another campaign.

He is taking steps to shed some of his property, including retaining a broker who is currently showing the La Jolla home to potential buyers, according to a Romney aide. The aide would not disclose the asking price or explain why the former Massachusetts governor and his wife, Ann, want to sell the home after more than four years of city permitting, hearings, and construction.

In all, Romney has four homes. All of them are at least twice as large as the average home in the United States. They contain spas and hot tubs, and garages to hold up to four cars. They’ve built kitchens and dining rooms large enough to accommodate their large, sprawling family (5 sons, 5 daughters-in-law, and 23 grandchildren and counting).

“He wants to be close to his family,” said Ron Kaufman, a longtime Romney confidant. “There’s nothing more important to him than his kids and grandkids. . . . And if you could afford a house, and you’re as close as the Romneys are to their kids, that’s what you do.”

Romney’s plans to tear down and rebuilt his home in La Jolla were already underway during his last campaign. But since he lost the 2012 election, Romney has also purchased a six-bedroom home that was listed for $8.9 million in Park City, Utah, and he’s built another 5,900-square-foot home 30 miles away near Salt Lake City.

He still has his New Hampshire vacation home on Lake Winnipesaukee, but last year sold his condominium in Belmont for $1.2 million, cutting his remaining ties to Massachusetts and raising questions about whether his 2016 campaign would again be headquartered in Boston....

The new home in California includes an infamous “car elevator,” first reported in 2012 by Politico and used by Romney’s opponents to cast him as out of touch....


Building the home was the culmination of a long battle, which at times became heated with neighbors who said Romney’s new home — much larger than his former one — was out of character with the neighborhood. Some neighbors complained....

“It was contentious,” can you believe it?


They both skipped Iowa, but someone is Bolton to New Hampshire:

"Former UN ambassador Bolton still weighing presidential run; Wants GOP race to focus on US foreign policy" by James Pindell, Globe Staff  January 27, 2015

Former UN ambassador John Bolton says he is still considering jumping into the Republican presidential primary field with the intention of making foreign policy the top agenda item discussed among his potential rivals.

In an interview previewing his trip to New Hampshire next week, Bolton said he wants to make sure the GOP still stands for strong, interventionist foreign policy.

The last thing we need is another war monger.

This view from Bolton, who served under President George W. Bush, has been increasingly questioned by a war-weary electorate and by some in his own party.

We are not just weary of them, we f***ing hate them.


When he began exploring a run for president last year, Bolton said he wasn’t sure how many Republicans wanted to pull the United States back from conflicts around the globe, but now he believes that group is small.

“Inside the party the neo-isolationists strand is pretty thin.” Bolton said.


“To me Rand Paul looks increasingly isolated on foreign policy. There may be a pretty decent libertarian segment of the party when it comes to economics and social policy, but not when it comes to foreign policy. I think people will increasingly pull away from him based on his national security views.”

You war-criminal psychopaths are the isolated ones.

A Paul spokeswoman declined to respond.

Many inside the party viewed Bolton’s potential campaign as a reaction to Paul’s likely candidacy. But Bolton said he would make his decision independent of Paul’s. “If Rand Paul were to announce today that he wasn’t running I would still be interested,” Bolton said.

Yeah, right. This is about stopping Rand Paul much like Adelson funded Gingrich in 2012.

He said last fall’s elections, particularly some high-profile contests for US Senate, proved pundits wrong when they claimed that voters don’t care about national security.

“In fact voters in the last election cared a lot about national security, ISIS in particular,” Bolton said.

Bolton is scheduled to address business leaders in New Hampshire next week before visiting a local conservative think tank and a lunch in Concord.


Also see: Sunday Globe Special: Rand Paul is on Koch

Thus leaving us with no one to vote for.

Slow Saturday Special: Pakistani Split

"55 killed in bombing of mosque in Pakistan" by Saba Imtiaz, New York Times  January 31, 2015

KARACHI — An explosion ripped through a Shi’ite mosque in southern Pakistan during weekly prayers Friday, killing 55 people and wounding at least 59 in an apparent suicide bombing, police said.

The bombing in Shikarpur, about 300 miles north of Karachi, was the country’s worst sectarian attack in months. It offered further proof that extremists are spreading deep into Sindh province, which had previously escaped the worst of Pakistan’s violence.

Television images from the scene showed bloodied worshipers being carried from the mosque in the city’s Lakhi Dar district.

The attack appeared to have been carried out by a suicide bomber, said Abdul Quddus, a police officer in Shikarpur.

Jundullah, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, said it was responsible for the attack.

Related: Israel Framed CIA in Backing Jundallah Terrorists

That's very interesting.

“Our target was the Shi’ite community,” Fahad Marwat, a spokesman for the group, told Reuters. “They are our enemies.”

Although sectarian violence has risen across Pakistan in recent years, such attacks have been relatively rare in Sindh, which has a long tradition of tolerance among religious groups.


But that harmony has come under threat with a recent expansion of sectarian groups that use mosques and seminaries to spread hatred of Shi’ites. One of the most prominent such groups, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, was banned by the Pakistani government in 2012.

In a statement, former president Asif Ali Zardari, who comes from Sindh province, said he was “shocked and grieved beyond measure” by the bombing.

Although leaders in Sindh openly acknowledge the growing threat of sectarianism, they seem helpless to stop its expansion, drawing angry criticism from Shi’ite groups.

“It seems like the killing of Shi’ites makes no difference to them,” said Ali Hussain Naqvi, a senior official with Majlis Wahdat-al-Muslimeen, a Shi’ite political party that staged street protests across the province after the bombing.


Seeing as the school attack was a complete hoax, who knows what happened?

"Pakistan military says its airstrikes kill 76 militants" Associated Press  January 28, 2015

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani military jets struck suspected militant hideouts Tuesday near the Afghan border, killing 76 militants, the army said.

Two rounds of airstrikes targeted the suspected militants in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan, which has long been a safe haven for local and foreign extremists carrying out attacks.

Some foreigners were among those killed while six militant hideouts, an ammunition dump, and seven explosives-laden vehicles also were destroyed in the strikes, Pakistani army officials said.

Journalists are barred from working in Pakistan’s tribal regions, making it impossible to independently verify the military’s claims. Civilians have been killed in previous strikes and the ongoing military offensive there has seen thousands flee for nearby cities. US drone strikes also target suspected militants there.

The army launched its offensive in North Waziristan last June after terrorists attacked the country’s largest airport, in Karachi.

The offensive went into overdrive after militants attacked an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar in December, killing 150 people, mostly children.

It was used to justify this and executions after military tribunals.


I thought the war was over, but take a look....

Indian villager looks from hole in the wall of a building allegedly damaged by shelling from the Pakistani side of the disputed Kashmir border, at Arnia village, about 45 KM from Jammu, the winter capital of Kashmir, India, 30 January 2015. According to local sources in a major ceasefire violation by Pakistani Rangers three civilians were wounded on the Indian side of the disputed India-Pakistan Kashmir border when Pakistani troops allegedly fired mortar shells at border posts and villages.
Indian villager looks from hole in the wall of a building allegedly damaged by shelling from the Pakistani side of the disputed Kashmir border, at Arnia village, about 45 KM from Jammu, the winter capital of Kashmir, India. According to local sources in a major ceasefire violation by Pakistani Rangers three civilians were wounded on the Indian side of the disputed India-Pakistan Kashmir border when Pakistani troops allegedly fired mortar shells at border posts and villages (Jaipal Singh/EPA)."

What started it all:

"Group fails in bid to erect bust of Gandhi assassin" Washington Post  January 31, 2015

NEW DELHI — For several weeks, a small Hindu fringe group in India has been attracting attention around the world because of its plans to erect a bust in honor of Nathuram Godse, the man who assassinated Mohandas ‘‘Mahatma’’ Gandhi in 1948.

Organizers had chosen Friday, the 67th anniversary of the freedom fighter’s death, as the big day.

Well, WaPo has made it clear how they feel about Hindu Nazis.

They had a bust of Godse ready to go — and had even conducted a purification ritual at the temple spot in Meerut, 43 miles northeast of New Delhi. They demanded that Friday be declared a ‘‘day of courage’’ across India, to mark what they regard as Godse’s brave act.

But on Friday, members of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha said they were prohibited from leaving their office to implement the plan. Police, fearing that the move could prompt community tension, also sealed the site with ropes and stuck a prohibitory notice on the wall that barred any installation activity.

The group considers Godse a patriot because he killed the man they hold responsible for the country’s violent partition into Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan.


That splits my heart in two.

Trying This Egyptian Post

Related: Egyptian Exceptions

"Egypt court overturns last Mubarak conviction. Will he walk?" by Sarah el Deeb, Associated Press  January 14, 2015

CAIRO — An appeals court overturned the last remaining conviction against Egypt’s deposed leader Hosni Mubarak Tuesday and ordered his retrial on corruption charges, opening the door for his possible release.

The ruling, days before the fourth anniversary of the start of the 2011 anti-Mubarak uprising, pointed to how far Egypt has moved away from its revolutionary fervor to ‘‘bring down the regime.’’ The rise to power of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who has vowed stability after four years of turmoil and has taken a tough line against dissent, has encouraged Mubarak supporters and upended the depiction of the revolution in the media, where activists are most often cast as troublemakers backed by foreign agents.


Meanwhile, hundreds of the young activists and pro-change leaders from 2011 are languishing in prison....

The next steps for Mubarak are difficult to predict. Sissi could keep Mubarak and his two sons in a state of legal limbo in which the ousted leader is neither outright freed or firmly convicted and punished — thus avoiding alienating either Mubarak’s supporters or opponents.

Sissi, the former head of the military, has distanced himself from Mubarak. After the court ruling dropping charges against Mubarak in November, Sissi lashed out at the former president in a private meeting that was leaked by reporters. He said that during his nearly 30 year rule, Mubarak ‘‘wrecked the nation’’ and that it would need another 30 years to repair....


"Space for dissent has also shrunk, with restrictive laws for assembly and public gatherings. Old faces from the Mubarak era have returned to the political scene, backed by powerful business networks, while youth groups that spearheaded the uprising against Mubarak have been decimated amid a wider crackdown on dissent — the final step in a political roadmap put in place by the military after its ouster of the country’s first democratically elected president."

A Mubarak release could revitalize Sissi’s Islamist opposition, which has been nearly crushed by a security crackdown and is looking for a way to boost its protests and appeal to other disgruntled groups. Ahead of parliamentary elections set to start in March, the government might be reluctant to raise anger.

Nasser Amin, a judicial reform activist on the National Human Rights council, believes Sissi is trying to balance between lingering public sentiment against Mubarak and his regime and Mubarak loyalists who still pack much of the bureaucracy, the judiciary, and the business community.

There have been public grumblings that the judiciary is cutting corners in its heavy and quick prosecutions of Islamists, journalists, and dissenters.

Negad Borai, an appeals lawyer who takes on activists’ and journalists’ cases, disagreed. He said Sissi’s government seems encouraged by the limited public outcry after the charges on killing protesters were thrown out. Releasing Mubarak would be a way for Sissi to prove his rule is ‘‘strong and able and can control any form of instability,’’ Borai said.

He said the initial cases against Mubarak were shoddily prosecuted and it is easy to understand why judges would throw out the verdicts.

The corruption case — dubbed by the media as the ‘‘presidential palaces’’ affair — concerns charges that Mubarak and his two sons embezzled millions of dollars’ worth of state funds over the course of a decade. The funds were meant to pay for renovating and maintaining presidential palaces but were allegedly spent on upgrading the family’s residences.

Mubarak was sentenced to three years, his sons to four. They were also fined the equivalent of $2.9 million and ordered to reimburse $17.6 million to the state treasury.

Procedurally, Mubarak could go free because he exhausted his period of preventive detention....

If he is freed from official custody, Mubarak’s actual location probably will not change. Throughout his various trials, Mubarak has been detained in a Cairo military hospital for poor health.


Related2 sons of Egypt’s Mubarak freed from prison

Because they were gay?

"Egypt acquits 26 men in trial over police raid on gays" by Maggie MichaelAssociated Press  January 13, 2015

CAIRO — Monday’s ruling was made amid Egypt’s ongoing crackdown on the gay community and on atheists. The crackdown parallels a wider campaign against all forms of dissent and diversity in a country gripped by rising nationalism and a militant insurgency.

One of the defendants, who would not give his name to protect his privacy, as he broke into tears after the verdict.

The raid in an old downtown Cairo district had caused an uproar among activists and rights groups.

Activists, defendants, and their families were doubly outraged by the deep involvement in the case of Egyptian TV presenter Mona al-Iraqi, who claimed she actually triggered the raid by tipping off the police about alleged gay activity in the bathhouse — which she described as a ‘‘den of mass perversion spreading AIDS in Egypt.’’


Related: Gay Wedding in Egypt

Also see:

Egypt orders retrial for jailed Al-Jazeera journalists

Family of Al-Jazeera journalist requests Egypt deportation

Egypt court convicts doctor in genital mutilation case

No laughing matter there.

"15 killed as protesters, police clash across Egypt" by Hamza Hendawi, Associated Press  January 26, 2015

CAIRO — Antigovernment protesters fought street battles with police in Cairo and other cities Sunday, the fourth anniversary of the country’s 2011 uprising, as clashes left at least 15 people dead and dozens injured.

Another two people died when an explosive device they were planting under a high-voltage tower in the Nile Delta exploded prematurely, according to security officials.

Most of the deaths took place in Cairo’s eastern Matariyah district — an Islamist stronghold where police used tear gas and birdshot to disperse supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group armed with firebombs and rocks.

At least nine protesters and one police conscript were killed in the clashes there, the officials said.

Two other protesters and two police officers were killed elsewhere in Cairo on Sunday and one in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The violence underscored the continued turmoil roiling the Arab world’s most populous nation four years after the 18-day uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Although small and scattered, Sunday’s violence probably will impact Egypt’s image as it prepares to host an international donors’ conference in March and in which President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s government has high hopes for the ailing economy.

It also casts a light on the multitude of challenges faced by Sissi, who since taking office in June has been struggling to revive the economy, battle an Islamist insurgency, and deal with dissent by both Islamists loyal to Mohammed Morsi — the elected president he ousted in 2013 — and the secular and liberal groups behind the 2011 uprising.

Both camps are targeted in crackdowns by Sissi’s government but show no sign of being able to overcome mutual distrust and join forces.

A career army officer, Sissi says his priorities are fixing the economy and battling the insurgency. He has resisted growing calls for reform, while influential media loyal to him have begun regularly maligning the 2011 revolution and its activists.

The Health Ministry said 37 people were injured in clashes Sunday and the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of police, said that a total of 134 protesters were arrested nationwide.

By early evening, debris covered the site of the Matariyah clashes and a cloud of tear gas hung over the area. Several cars were damaged, including one that was on fire.


RelatedSimultaneous attacks in Egypt's Sinai kill 25

They indicate a previously unseen level of coordination, and that screams Mossad.

Oh, for the days when a real king is restored to the throne.

Sudan's Surging Death Toll

"Tens of thousands dead in South Sudan conflict, UN says" by Jason Straziuso, Associated Press  December 16, 2014

NAIROBI — Tens of thousands of people have died in South Sudan during one year of warfare, and the country’s leaders are putting their ‘‘personal ambitions’’ ahead of the nation’s future, the UN secretary general said Monday.

A year ago Monday, fighting broke out in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, and spread across the country.

The United Nations says more than 1.9 million people have been displaced by the warfare, battles that often pit fighters loyal to President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, against those who support former vice president Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on South Sudan’s leaders to agree to an inclusive power-sharing arrangement that would address the root causes of the conflict and ensure accountability for any crimes committed on the battlefield.

‘‘The leaders of South Sudan have allowed their personal ambitions to jeopardize the future of an entire nation,’’ Ban said. ‘‘The very premise of the country’s independence struggle — a new beginning that was supposed to be founded on tolerance, good governance, accountability, and unity — is disappearing before our eyes.’’

There is no official death toll for the war, but Ban said ‘‘tens of thousands’’ of South Sudanese have died. The fighting has been marked by vicious atrocities, largely ethnic in nature.

UN officials say they need $600 million by February to care for the 4.1 million people requiring aid in South Sudan. In some areas, people are eating water lilies to survive, the officials said.

RelatedSeeking more aid, UNICEF points to children touched by armed conflict

More than 100,000 people are living in camps under the protection of UN peacekeeping forces. The UN estimates that more than 320,000 children are among the refugees.

Peace talks in neighboring Ethiopia have made no progress in resolving the conflict. The two sides have signed several peace deals brokered by neighboring governments, but none has succeeded in stopping the fighting in the oil-producing country.

South Sudan’s civilians are facing a dreadful situation and have been victims of targeted killings and looting, said the UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

‘‘The people of South Sudan are living in a tinderbox, with emotions high, an abundant flow of weapons, and with both sides recruiting fighters, often forcefully and including children,’’ Hussein said.

Government troops and armed youths have been battling in Upper Nile state in recent days, a sign that widespread violence could return now that the six-month rainy season has ended.

President Obama urged South Sudan’s leaders last week to resolve the dispute peacefully.

‘‘It is in your hands to end the cycle of violence, to set forth on a course of reform and reconciliation, and to hold to account those responsible for atrocities,’’ he said Friday in a statement.

As fighting intensifies during the dry season, aid agencies fear that the world may lose interest in helping the people of South Sudan, particularly because humanitarian needs are continuing in places such as Syria, Iraq, and Ukraine.


RelatedS. Sudan gov’t and rebels agree to re-unify political party

Slow Saturday Special: Nigeria's Neighbors Battle Boko Haram

Related: Can't Forget Nigeria

Not when there are rampaging Islamic extremists on the loose and when "Nigeria’s military failed to protect civilians despite being warned of impending Islamist attacks on two northeastern towns where hundreds died this month, Amnesty International said Wednesday."

"Nigeria’s neighbors join to fight Boko Haram" by Michelle Faul and Haruna Umar, Associated Press  January 31, 2015

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Schoolgirls torn from their families in a mass kidnapping and forced into sexual slavery. Bombs that ripped through bus stations. The slaughter of hundreds of villagers, many with their throats cut.

Nigeria has suffered through years of violence from the Muslim extremist group known as Boko Haram, and now its neighbors are starting to take on the militants, too.

African nations are opening up a new international front in the war on terrorism, discussing Friday the formation of a five-nation force of 7,500 troops to confront the looming regional threat from Boko Haram. The United States promised more technical support, training, and equipment.

On Thursday, neighboring Chad sent a warplane and troops that drove the extremists out of a northeastern Nigeria border town in the first such act by foreign troops on Nigerian soil.

Looks like someone is getting ready to invade!


Chad’s victory, and the need for foreign troops, is an embarrassment to Nigeria’s once mighty military, brought low by corruption and politics. The foreign intervention comes just two weeks before hotly contested national elections in which President Goodluck Jonathan is seeking another term.

This is a signal that Nigeria better elect the right candidate, and that Goodluck was pressing his with deeper relations with China. That's why this Islamic terror cover is needed.

The offensive by Chad came days after Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau warned Nigeria’s neighbors not to intervene.

‘‘African kings . . . I challenge you to attack me now. I am ready,’’ he taunted in an Arabic video message translated by SITE intelligence monitoring service.

Oh, SITE sighted it, huh?

SeeSITE Institute

Jewish Media Group, SITE, is the first to release another Islamic threat video


Yup, it's ALL BULL!

Global concern has grown in recent months as the terrorist group known for recruiting across borders launched a series of brazen attacks in northern Cameroon even as it increased the tempo and ferocity of attacks on Nigerian soil.

One video this week showed boys learning to shoot assault rifles, with one child appearing to be no taller than his weapon.

In what Amnesty International called the most deadly massacre of the 5-year-old Islamic uprising, Boko Haram killed hundreds of civilians — some say as many as 2,000 — in a Jan. 3 attack on Baga, a border town with a key military base on the northeastern border with Cameroon. Nigeria’s military said only 150 people were killed.

Boko Haram attracted international outrage in April when it kidnapped 276 schoolgirls at a boarding school in the remote town of Chibok. Dozens escaped on their own, but 219 remain missing. The United States, Britain, France, and China offered help to find the girls, and Jonathan has repeatedly pledged to return them to their parents, but not one has been rescued. He refused to swap the girls for illegally detained Boko Haram suspects.

The whole thing turned out to be a complete fraud and hoax, and yet here it is repeated and regurgitated as real.

Suicide bombings in recent months by young girls — one looked no more than 10 — have raised fears that Boko Haram is using the kidnap victims in its conflict, which has displaced more than 1 million people and killed about 10,000 in the last year, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

The new multinational force proposed Friday would also be mandated with searching for and freeing all abductees, including the Chibok girls, according to a statement from the African Union.

‘‘We will never forget the girls kidnapped from Chibok last April, and I will never stop calling for their immediate and unconditional release,’’ said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a guest at the African summit.

Even as Nigeria’s military is humiliated by the foreign aid, witnesses say it has been ill equipped to defend civilians from a series of vicious attacks. In Baga, Nigerian soldiers fought valiantly for hours, then fled when they ran out of ammunition, witnesses told the Associated Press.

US training of a battalion to fight Boko Haram was inexplicably canceled by Nigeria in its final stages last year.

That's right about when Boko started up, huh?


Slow Saturday Special: War Crimes Court

I was going to say until the U.S., U.K., and Israelis are brought before it I'm not paying attention, but....

"Hague court to study Israeli war actions" New York Times  January 17, 2015

NEW YORK — Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court opened a preliminary examination Friday of possible war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories, the first formal step that could lead to charges against Israelis.

Palestinian officials welcomed the announcement of the inquiry by the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, who described it as a required procedural step.

Israeli officials reacted furiously, calling it an inflammatory action in the protracted dispute with the Palestinians over Israeli-occupied lands.

Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said he would recommend that his government not cooperate with the inquiry. He also said Israel would seek to disband the court, which he described as an anti-Israel institution that “embodies hypocrisy and grants a tailwind to terrorism.”

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “Palestine considers this as an important positive step toward achieving justice and ensuring respect for international law.”

Accusing Israel of “systematic and blatant” breaches of international law, including attacks during the war in Gaza last summer, the statement added, “Ending this impunity is an important contribution to upholding universal values, ensuring accountability, and achieving peace.”

"Bensouda’s announcement came a few weeks after President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, over the strong objections of Israel and the United States, signed the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the court in The Hague, and formally accepted its jurisdiction."

Well, he gave them a deadline on Israel and the response from US Ambassador Samantha Power was: ‘‘We strongly believe that the only way of a negotiated solution is through negotiations between the two parties.’’ 

Of course, that was not the way Israel was established back in 1948 and it didn't hold back recognition (related? Same as France?) then. Israel just keeps pushing forward on the fast-track while increasing the funding and they wonder why there are clashes with the military to the point where even tourists, government officials, and even American consular officials are being attacked. Who would want to visit now with all the provocations? Even the UN chiefAmnesty International, and the Israel attorney general are getting sick of the oppression in the occupied territories.

Now what kind of an asshole is saying ‘‘if the Palestinian Authority continues to attack us?’’ 

Nevertheless, after the Arab League backed and endorsed the Palestinian's move to join the international criminal court  "the United States, Israel’s closest ally, had made clear its opposition to the draft resolution and would have used its veto if necessary. But it didn’t have to because the resolution failed to get the minimum nine ‘‘yes’’ votes required for adoption by the 15-member council. The resolution received eight ‘‘yes’’ votes, two ‘‘no’’ votes — one from the United States and the other from Australia — and five abstentions."

And the punishment for such a move is the cessation of aid.


RelatedIsrael ready to build West Bank housing

Most of the world considers the settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank to be a violation of international law.

But no one does anything about it.

Joan Peters, 78; book on Mideast drew praise, condemnation

A journalist whose 1984 book, “From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine,” drew accolades and also outrage by arguing that claims of a historical Palestinian homeland in Israel were invented.

The strange thing is it is the Khazarian usurpers from Central Asia that don't have the claim.

They all migrated into Eastern Europe:

Bosnia’s 1992-95 war killed over 100,000 people

"Arrests made in massacre of 19 during Balkans war" Associated Press  December 06, 2014

PRIJEPOLJE, Serbia — Police in Serbia and Bosnia arrested 15 people Friday in connection with a two-decade-old wartime massacre that traumatized the Balkans and came to symbolize a culture of impunity that still shields wartime death squads and their masters.

RelatedSenate faces new obstacle to its report on detainee torture

Kinda stresses one out.

The question now is whether the suspects will point to the men above them who ordered the killings, investigators say.

If so, they could implicate some of Serbia’s top former and current officials, who were prominent in the war machine of the president at the time, Slobodan Milosevic.

While the Serbian government now acknowledges Strpci as a war crime, the killers are still seen by some in Serbia as war heroes. ‘‘Many war criminals are still influential in business, politics, police, and the army,’’ said Bosnian State Prosecutor Goran Salihovic.

The mirror of my own society is uncanny.

The Associated Press obtained investigative documents in the inquiry, which is backed by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.

The massacre was part of a conflict that left more than 100,000 people dead and millions displaced.

All sides have been accused of war crimes, but historians say Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia carried out the worst atrocities in trying to create an ethnically pure territory....

RelatedCabinet backs bill promoting Israel’s Jewishness

Never mind the hypocrisy; just remember that the Serbs were the ones that stood up to the Jew World Order.



Croatia presidency to be decided in runoff

Croatia elects first female president  A conservative populist beat the center-left incumbent, could shift Croatia back to right-wing nationalism, jeopardizing relations with its neighbors.

Oh, look, the Nazis are back in charge.

"The case of a Vermont man accused of committing war crimes in his native Bosnia 21 years ago and lying to US immigration authorities about them is headed to a jury. If convicted, 55-year-old Edin Sakoc could be stripped of his US citizenship and deported. In closing arguments Thursday, federal prosecutors alleged Sakoc lied when he denied being involved in war crimes against a Bosnian Serb family in the summer of 1992 during the Bosnian civil war. He is accused of raping a woman, aiding in the killings of two elderly women she had been caring for, and burning down the house where they were staying. Defense attorneys said another person committed the crimes (AP)."

Also seeVermont man convicted of lying about Bosnian war crimes role

Next on the docket:

Court drops charges on Kenyan president

"More than 30 massacred in Kenya" New York Times Syndicate  December 03, 2014

Militants massacred more than 30 people at a remote quarry in northern Kenya on Tuesday, the second such unnerving attack in the past month that Kenyan security services seem unable to stop.

Kenyan newspapers reported that 36 people were marched to a gravel pit, where most were shot in the head, with some beheaded.

The imagery it invokes....

Pictures on social media websites showed dozens of men lying face down on a stony hillside.

I wish I could believe in social media websites cited by the propaganda pre$$.

According to preliminary reports, more than 10 gunmen methodically separated the non-Muslims to be killed, sparing the Muslims.

The massacre was similar to a bus attack in the same area Nov. 22, in which Islamist militants separated Christians from Muslims, killing those who could not recite an Islamic declaration of faith. More than 25 people were killed.

The governor of Mandera County, Ali Roba, said the killings had taken place at a quarry about 10 miles from the town of Mandera.

Al Shabab, the Islamist group based in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the bus attack and is the likely culprit for the quarry massacre.


Also see:

Kenya president argues for tougher security law

Kenya legislators exchange blows over new security law

Kenyan police tear-gas children in protest over playground

They care more about the rhinoceroses, kids:

"Rhino species to die unless science can help" by Jason Straziuso, Associated Press  December 11, 2014

OL PEJETA, Kenya — The staving off extinction experiment has all but failed.

The silver lining, though, is science. Efforts will be made to keep the species alive through in vitro fertilization, and possibly by working with the rhinos’ genetic material in a budding field known as de-extinction.

Some animal specialists at the time said the effort was too little, too late, and that the experiment’s budget could have been better spent on other conservation projects. But the bulk of the more than $100,000 effort came from a donor — Alastair Lucas, then the vice chairman of Goldman Sachs in Australia — who wanted to see the project carried out....

It really is a banker's paper.


"South African rangers kill 3 poachers" by Christopher Torchia, Associated Press  December 14, 2014

JOHANNESBURG — Some South African rangers grimly call it the ‘‘Christmas shopping’’ season for rhino poachers.

They are referring to an annual phenomenon in which poacher incursions into Kruger National Park, South Africa’s flagship wildlife reserve, escalate in the final months of the year before tapering off around the year-end holiday season.

Reflecting that trend, rangers killed three poachers in the past week in a flurry of shootouts in Kruger, the national parks service said. Demand for rhino horn is surging in parts of Asia where it is seen as a status symbol and a cure for illness despite a lack of evidence that it can heal. The horn is made of keratin, a protein also found in human skin and nails.

The surge in poaching and then the drop at year’s end could be linked partly to the holiday period when people spend time with family, conservationists said. Also, poachers prefer to operate in the southern African summer months toward the end of the year, when there is more foliage to hide in and rain showers can cover poachers’ tracks, Daphne said.

Poaching tends to increase sharply after any Christmastime dip, he said, while the rate drops again in the midyear winter when it is dry and there is less bush cover....


RelatedRhino Syndicates Targeted as South Africa Battles With Poachers

"The UN group said illegal cutting of timber and poaching of elephants and rhinos are part of a ‘‘rapidly escalating environmental crime wave.’’

Flood death toll across Southern Africa reaches 260

Blame the foreigners

Speaking of crimes:

"S. African death-squad leader earns parole" by Dan Bilefsky, New York Times  January 31, 2015

His crimes became emblematic of some of the worst abuses in the apartheid era, including the torture of black activists. One of the trademarks of the Vlakplaas unit was to bind a man with rope, place him over explosives, and blow him up, a technique that killed the victim and destroyed the evidence.

South African news reports quoted Justice Minister Michael Masutha as saying that Eugene de Kock, 66, the death-squad leader known as “Prime Evil” because of his abuses of black activists during the apartheid era, was to be freed “in the interests of nation-building,” and because he had shown remorse. Masutha also said that de Kock had helped authorities recover the remains of some of his victims.

The case laid bare South Africa’s struggle to balance justice and reconciliation, reflected in the hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the 1990s. The commission sought to foster unity after the trauma and divisiveness of the apartheid era by granting amnesty in some cases in which suspects were deemed to have shown remorse for their actions.

While de Kock has expressed contrition, critics say that his ruthless brutality merits no mercy, and that he deserves to spend his life behind bars....


I'll stop dicking around, readers.

Somali teen’s death leads to murder charge, hate crimes inquiry in Mo.

At least 5 dead after militants attack African Union base in Somalia

Islamic extremist leader surrenders in Somalia

"Long-sought Islamic militant surrenders in Somalia" by Abdi Guled, Associated Press  December 28, 2014

NAIROBI — A leader with the Islamic extremist group Al Shabab, who had a $3 million bounty on his head, surrendered in Somalia, an intelligence official said Saturday.

Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi turned himself in to Somali police in the Gedo region, said the official, who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the news media.

The officer said Hersi may have surrendered after a falling out with those loyal to Hersi was one of seven top Al Shabab figures sought in 2012 by the Obama administration, which offered a total of $33 million in rewards for information leading to their capture.

That's tax money during this time of austerity.

It is not clear whether the reward will be paid out for Hersi’s surrender.

Despite major setbacks this year, Al Shabab remains a threat in Somalia and across East Africa. The group has carried out many terror attacks in Somalia and in neighboring countries including Kenya, part of the African Union forces bolstering Somalia’s weak UN- backed government.

On Christmas Day, Al Shabab launched an attack at the African Union base in Mogadishu. Officials said nine people died, including three African Union soldiers, in the battle at the complex, which also houses UN offices and Western embassies.

Al Shabab said the attack was aimed at a Christmas party and was in retaliation for Godane’s death this fall.

Related: Goddamn Godane is Dead

It also reported 14 soldiers were killed.

The group is waging an insurgency against Somalia’s government, which is attempting to rebuild the country after decades of conflict.

Al Shabab controlled much of Mogadishu from 2007 to 2011 but was pushed out of Somalia’s capital and other major cities by African Union forces.

The United States and the United Nations warn that political infighting is putting at risk the security gains. The federal government wields little power outside the capital Mogadishu.

Once one of Al Qaeda’s most powerful and feared franchises, Al Shabab has been in retreat for months, pushed back by African Union peacekeepers, defections, and an increasingly hostile populace.

The US airstrike in September that killed Ahmed Abdi Godane, Al Shabab’s top leader, left the group in further disarray and apparently created a rift in the leadership ranks.

Still, Al Shabab remains dangerous, unpredictable and bold, known for audacious and chilling attacks in Somalia. It has also sought to terrorize neighboring Kenya, where many Somali refugees have fled over the years.


This month, Al Shabab attackers seized dozens of Kenyan miners, separated the Christians from the Muslims, and executed the Christians, according to Kenyan authorities.

Last month Al Shabab attackers hijacked a Kenya bus, pulled out the Christian passengers and killed them.

Earlier this month, a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into a UN convoy near Mogadishu’s airport, killing three people, just after Somalia’s president entered the protected airport area.

According to UN officials, no UN staff were killed or injured. 



"Suicide car bomber kills 4 in attack on elite US-trained forces in Somalia" Associated Press  January 05, 2015

NAIROBI — A suicide car bomber blew himself up near a moving convoy of Somalia’s US-trained elite forces in Mogadishu, killing at least four people, a Somali police officer said Sunday.

The Somali militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the group’s Radio Andulus.

The attack on the airport road in the capital killed mostly pedestrians walking along the road, said Captain Mohamed Hussein.

Mohamed Yusuf, the spokesman of Somalia’s National Security Ministry, said the government had information about the attack, and the car bomb was detonated while the attacker was being pursued.

‘‘We shall continue preventing such attacks; however we ask people to work with us,’’ he told reporters in Mogadishu.

Al-Shabab is an ultraconservative Islamic militant group that is linked to the Al Qaeda terrorist network and wants to run Somalia by its strict interpretation of Shariah law.

In Yemen on Sunday, Al Qaeda militants bombed an office of Shi’ite Houthi rebels south of Yemen’s capital Sunday, killing six Houthis and wounding 31, officials said.

Related: Why Yemen? 

I'll have more on it above next month.

Police said the bombing in Dhamar province, some 62 miles from Sana, targeted a local headquarters of the Houthi movement, which has seized a string of Yemeni cities, including the capital. One of the dead was a journalist who worked for a Houthi-affiliated television station.

Although Somali militants have suffered huge losses in recent years, including the killing of their leader in a US airstrike last year, al-Shabab remains a threat. Al-Shabab leader Ahmed Godane was killed in a US airstrike in September.

African Union troops supporting Somalia’s weak army have pushed al-Shabab from major strongholds, including Mogadishu in 2011. However, al-Shabab fighters still carry out terror attacks in Somalia’s capital and in neighboring countries that have contributed troops to the African Union Mission to Somalia.


Also see:

Zimbabwean president dismisses more government officials

Looks like peace is dead in Africa. 

Time to get back on the horse.

UPDATE: US set to deport 150 from Bosnia over war crimes