Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday Globe Special: First Day of Ramadan

For my part, I'm going to skip the front-page baptism and sermon.

The first gestation of this particular post began when I saw the photograph at the top of page A4:

Afghan children collect rice as they receive food donated by private charity for the poor people during the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan at the Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque on May 27, 2017 in Kabul.
Muslims throughout the world are marking the month of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar during which devotees fast from dawn till dusk. /
Afghan children collect rice as they receive food donated by private charity for the poor people during the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan at the Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque on May 27, 2017 in Kabul. Muslims throughout the world are marking the month of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar during which devotees fast from dawn till dusk (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images).

Yeah, it's all about the children in my Globe.

At the bottom of the page is this:

"Taliban Car Bomb Kills at Least 12 in Crowded Bazaar" by Mujib Mashal New York Times   May 27, 2017

KABUL — A large Taliban explosion targeting an elite Afghan militia force that has worked closely with the CIA killed at least a dozen people Saturday in the eastern part of the country, officials said.

General Faizullah Ghairat, the police chief of Khost province, which borders Pakistan, said members of the Khost Protection Force, a militia trained and paid for by the United States, were returning from a mission and had stopped at a crowded bazaar when a car bomb exploded.

There were conflicting reports about the death toll. Najib Danish, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, put the number at 18, while another senior security official said 13 people had been killed.

It was not immediately clear how many of the casualties were civilians or members of the militia, known as KPF.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which came on the first day of Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim calendar. In a statement to the news media, the group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the attack had been planned for months and that it had targeted “the strike force that is trained by the American CIA.”

“The bomb was too big — there was no debris left from the suicide car, and those killed were in unrecognizable condition,” Ghairat said. “Bodies cut into pieces were scattered around. The KPF members had stopped for shopping; they already finished their shopping.” He added, “I saw the vegetables and fruits in their cars when I got there.”

The KPF carries out raids and other operations in areas along the Pakistani border that fall under the influence of Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Taliban’s deputy supreme leader and chief of the Haqqani network.

Yeah, ha-ha, and why haven't things improved since Hekmatyar returned?

The force has been repeatedly accused of abuses and civilian casualties, and despite reports that it was put under the control of the Afghan intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security, Afghan officials said the militia still reported to the United States.

“They are directed and run by the Americans, paid and trained by the Americans,” Ghairat said.

No wonder they hate US over there.


Just wondering what is the ‘‘end state,’’ and how many lives are going to be wasted getting there.


In between, the fast has ended (if it ever began?):

"Palestinian prisoners end mass hunger strike" by Ian Deitch Associated Press  May 27, 2017

JERUSALEM — Hundreds of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners ended their 40-day fast on the first day of the month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan, after reaching a compromise with Israel for additional family visits, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.

I suppose that is all they could get at this point.

Israel prison service spokeswoman Nicole Englander said the inmates declared an end to the strike Saturday morning. She said it came after a deal was reached with the Palestinian Authority and the Red Cross for prisoners to receive a second family visit each per month.

Hundreds of prisoners observed the strike, which they said was aimed at improving prison conditions.

The hunger strike had evolved into one of the longest such protests with this many participants since Israel’s 1967 capture of territories Palestinian seek for their state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Englander said 1,578 prisoners participated in the hunger strike overall, some fasting intermittently, and 834 ended their fast Saturday.

She said 18 were being treated in hospitals.

Many Israelis view the prisoners as terrorists and have little sympathy for their demands. More than 6,000 Palestinians are in prison for offences linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for charges ranging from stone-throwing to weapons possession and attacks that killed or wounded Israeli civilians and soldiers in bombings, shootings, and other violence.

Several hundred are being held without trial in so-called administrative detention. Israel has defended the practice as a necessary tool to stop militant activity, including preventing deadly attacks.

Critics condemn it because there are no charges and judges can extend the detentions. They add that the practice is overused.

Palestinians rallied behind the hunger strikers as national heroes, relishing a rare break from deep divisions between two rival political groups, the Islamist militant group Hamas which runs Gaza and Fatah, the movement of Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who administers autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Palestinians hoped the protest would draw the attention of a seemingly preoccupied international community as the Israeli occupation hits the 50-year mark in early June.

Yeah, seemingly.

Support for the prisoners is an emotional consensus issue; hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been jailed by Israel since 1967.

Family usually is.

Israel’s public security minister, Gilad Erdan, alleged that the hunger strike was motivated by a power struggle in Abbas’s Fatah movement.

He claimed that imprisoned strike organizer Marwan Barghouti cynically exploited his fellow prisoners to boost his standing in Fatah and promote his position as a possible successor to Abbas. Barghouti’s family has denied such claims.

Qadoura Fares, who runs the Prisoners’ Club advocacy group, said negotiations took place between Israel officials and a committee from the prisoners, which included Barghouti.

He said negotiations began on Friday and were the first since the strike began. Fares said he had no details on the terms of the deal.

He said the agreement was reached at 4 a.m., coinciding with start of the first day of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month where the devout pray intensely, observe dawn-to-dusk fasting and enjoy nightly feasts.

Barghouti is serving five life terms after being convicted by an Israeli court of directing two shooting attacks and a bombing that killed five people. In prison since 2002, he never mounted a defense, saying the court had no jurisdiction over him.

Earlier this month, Israel released footage it said shows Barghouti breaking his fast. Palestinians say the video is a fabrication.

Unfortunately, that's the rule and not the exception anymore when it comes the ma$$ media.

Also Saturday, thousands of Israelis demonstrated in central Tel Aviv in the evening in support of establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel to end the conflict.

It's either that, an apartheid state, or this.


Maybe they get to keep Gaza, huh?

"Gaza, though rebuilding, remains on edge; 50,000 people still displaced by fighting in 2014" by Ian Fisher, New York Times  |  February 22, 2017

Samaher al-Masri, who lost a son to an accident, played with son Othman in her family’s new house in Beit-Hanoun (Wissam Nassar/New York Times).

BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip — In her new home, finally finished after she lived two years in a trailer across a dirt road, Samaher al-Masri, 40, showed a video on her cellphone of a cute preschooler, her son Majdi. He was singing: “I am a son of Palestine, I have a right and a cause . . . Even if they shoot me and I die as a martyr, I will not forget the cause.’’

Majdi, who was 6, lived through two Gazan wars, though his old family house was toppled by bulldozers in the 2014 fighting with Israel. But the day after he ended kindergarten last year, he caught his hula hoop in a door in the trailer. The door was heavy, the frame shoddy. It fell on him and crushed his skull, killing him.

“Something is missing,’’ his mother said eight months later, in the living room of her house, built on the rubble-cleared plot of the old one. “You asked me if this is better. Yes, it’s better. But I’m missing him.’’

So it is in Gaza, outwardly rebuilding and moving on from war, inwardly far from recovered. And with the region uncertain as the state of play between Israelis and Palestinians shifts, Gaza in its isolation seems at a loss for what might — or even should — come next, as it drifts further from the West Bank Palestinians and any hope of a two-state solution.

Two million tons of rubble have been clearedabout a ton for each person who lives in this cramped coastal strip. Two-thirds of the 160,000 damaged homes have been rebuilt, as have half of the 11,000 that were destroyed. Roads are better, travel faster. People gawk at their first real mall. But they are not buying much. Unemployment is high, especially among the many young people graduating from college.

In all, 50,000 people remain displaced. Electricity and water supplies are still near crisis levels. Hamas, which governs Gaza, elected a new hard-line leader. Tunnel building goes on (and, presumably, so does the construction and smuggling of weapons). On the Israeli side, the political right talks of a new war in the spring over Hamas’s rearming and expresses a desire to inflict a decisive blow.

Israel tightly controls most of what goes in and out: food, building supplies, people. Two children died recently for lack of drugs or medical access.

It is unclear how flickers of change elsewhere in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will affect Gaza, surrounded by Israel on two sides, Egypt to the southwest, and the Mediterranean.

With President Trump in office, Israel’s right seems to feel empowered and is likely to push more settlements in the West Bank, even to toy with annexation, despite Trump’s call to slow the pace.

Hardly mentioned when it comes to Israel, but the Russians are constantly charged with the false accusation in regards to Crimea (unlawful, indeed!), with Putin drawing comparisons to Hitler!

The Palestinian Authority, which has wide backing in the West, seems to be looking for ways to push its immediate future, including persuading the world to recognize a state of Palestine, threatening action in the United Nations, and encouraging Israeli boycotts.

Leaders of Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the United States and many other countries, do not have the same backing from the West. Interviews with political and business leaders, academics, and ordinary people can divine only a basic strategy: Improve the lives of frustrated residents as its leaders put off as long as possible what they see as the next inevitable war.

Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas official, said that with years of failed talks, settlements expanding across the West Bank, and Trump’s apparent ambivalence about a Palestinian state, “You have two options: either to cooperate with the occupation or the resistance.’’

Actually, Abbas and Jibril Rajoub are quite encouraged.

Interviews make it clear that there is a growing distance between Gaza and the West Bank — a central reason cited by Israelis for the impossibility of negotiations. Hamas won elections in Gaza in 2006 and took full control in 2007.

And that favors Israel. 

At least the NYT admits Hamas won elections this time. Many times they say seized or some other such word.

Ibrahim al-Madhoun, a columnist for the Hamas-affiliated news outlet Al Risala, raised a possibility, a very long shot, one that could conceivably be acceptable to Israel’s far right: Someday Gaza — with defined borders, no Israeli occupation, and no settlers — could be the basis for a Palestinian state.

It's already the most densely populated place on earth, that open air concentration camp Israel (and Egypt) is keeping.

So you turn the West Bank over to Israel, huh? 

Why not? They have most of it as it is.

“If there is going to be a Palestinian state, it’s going to be Gaza,’’ said Mkhaimar Abusada, associate professor at Al-Azhar University in Gaza. “Politically speaking, it’s not right. But this is what’s coming.’’ Otherwise, “I don’t think there is a grand strategy where Gaza is in 10 years or 20 years. I know Hamas will never want to give up Gaza as long as it is capable of keeping control.’’

Yeah, you can kind of understand that.

That's all they have.



The mother of Palestinian teenager who was shot dead in a West Bank village collapsed as she mourned on Monday (Musa Al Share/AFP/Getty Images).

Palestinians demonstrated in the center of the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday against the security coordination between Palestinian forces and Israel.
Palestinians demonstrated in the center of the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday against the security coordination between Palestinian forces and Israel (Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images).

As for the new Wonder Woman, why the German war eagle (and she is fighting Nazis, too) for a logo?


After UK, Egypt attacks, Libya seen as militants’ haven

You know, I have been waiting on an escalation in Libya because it's the only place Trump (or the cabal behind the scenes, let's face it) hasn't or indicated he will escalate so far has been Libya. 

So I guess that component is now being left to the British (and Egypt).... if they can get their planes in the air:

"A catastrophic computer outage crippled one of the world’s busiest flights hubs on Saturday, forcing British Airways to cancel all flights out of two London airports, leaving terminals in chaos and countless passengers stranded. It’s hardly the first time British Airways suffered a tech meltdown. The company’s website and online check-in system went down for at least seven hours last month, the Register reported. ‘‘We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience this is causing our customers during this busy holiday period,’’ an airline spokeswoman said in a statement on Saturday....."

They are saying it is a major system failure, not a hack.

"A 22-year-old soldier born in Boston who was on his first deployment to northern Syria died Thursday from injuries suffered in a vehicle rollover, the Army announced Saturday....." 

Another Gold Star parent this Memorial Day, and WTF was he doing in Syria? The U.S. hasn't been invited in.

No follow-up on the ongoing US airstrikes killing civilians.


Meanwhile, back home:

"Two people are fatally stabbed on Oregon train after trying to stop man’s anti-Muslim rants" by Amy B Wang Washington Post  May 27, 2017 

Hmmm. My print piece was bylined Gillian Flaccus.

Two men were stabbed to death Friday on a light-rail train in Portland, Oregon, after they tried to intervene when another passenger began ‘‘ranting and raving’’ and shouting anti-Muslim hate speech at two young women, police said.

A man who police say fatally stabbed two people who tried to stop him from yelling anti-Islamic slurs on a Portland light-rail train spent time in prison for robbery and kidnapping charges years ago, according to court records and a defense attorney.

According to witnesses, a white male passenger riding an eastbound MAX train early Friday afternoon began yelling what ‘‘would best be characterized as hate speech toward a variety of ethnicities and religions,’’ police said. Some of the slurs were directed at two female passengers, one of whom was wearing a hijab, police said.

Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, was being held Saturday in the Multnomah County Jail on suspicion of aggravated murder, attempted murder, intimidation and being a felon in possession of a weapon.

‘‘This suspect was on the train and he was yelling and ranting and raving a lot of different things, including what we characterized at hate speech or biased language,’’ Portland police spokesman Pete Simpson said at a news conference Friday evening.

So he was disturbing the peace, 'eh?

He will make a first court appearance Monday. A phone at his home in Portland rang unanswered early Saturday.

At least two men tried to calm the ranting passenger down, but ‘‘they were attacked viciously by the suspect’’ when they did, Simpson said.

Two people died Friday night and another was hurt in the stabbing after police said Christian yelled racial slurs at two young women, one of whom was wearing a Muslim head covering. 

‘‘It appears preliminarily that the victims -- at least a couple of them -- were trying to intervene in his behavior, de-escalate him and protect some other people on the train when [the suspect] viciously attacked them,’’ Simpson said. 

I'm just wondering what kind of Manchurian mission this guy was on.

The assailant was ranting on many topics, using "hate speech or biased language," according to a statement from police.

About 4:30 p.m. Friday, police responded to calls of a disturbance at the Hollywood Transit Station in east Portland. There, they found three stabbing victims, all adult men. Despite attempted lifesaving measures, one died at the scene, and another was pronounced dead at a hospital, police said.

Friday was the beginning of Ramadan, the holiest time of the year for Muslims, and the attack prompted soul-searching in Portland, a city that prides itself on its tolerance and liberal views. A memorial of flowers and signs quickly grew at the scene by a transit station.

Hmmmmmmm. This is starting to look like a staged event.

The third victim is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries and is expected to survive, Simpson said Friday.

"There is too much hatred in our world right now, and far too much violence. Too much of it has arrived here in Portland," Mayor Ted Wheeler said in a Facebook post.

Oh, he's an antiwar mayor.

Based on witnesses’ statements, officers on Friday were able to locate and arrest the suspect, who had fled the train on foot.

Wheeler was on an inaugural direct flight from Portland to London when the attack occurred. He said he boarded the first flight back.


Police identified the suspect early Saturday morning as Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, of north Portland. Christian is being held without bail on two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of intimidation in the second degree and one count of possession of a restricted weapon as a felon.

Dyjuana Hudson, a mother of one of the girls, told The Oregonian the man began a racial tirade as soon as he spotted the girls. Her daughter is African-American and was with a friend who was wearing a hijab, she said.

The deceased victims’ identities have not yet been released, pending an autopsy by the Oregon State Medical Examiner in Portland late Saturday morning, police said.

"He was saying that Muslims should die," Hudson said. "That they've been killing Christians for years."

The stabbing attack shocked the city.

The attack happened on a MAX train as it headed east. A train remained stopped on the tracks at a transit center that was closed while police investigated.

‘‘It’s horrific. There’s no other word to describe what happened today,’’ Simpson said Friday. ‘‘It is simply horrible.’’

I don't want to minimize it, but it's a stabbing. They happen every day, all across America, and they don't get nearly the amount of attention or over-the-top reaction.

I mean, a man was shot in Chinatown last night and it's a B2 blip.

Autopsies on the victims were being done Saturday. Their names have not been made public.

The attack shut down the Hollywood Transit Station and Portland MAX trains in both directions for several hours Friday evening.

Police say the victims were trying to stop Christian from confronting the girls. 

But box cutters on a plane and sheeple stay in their seats.

Simpson noted then that several passengers, including the two young women thought to be the target of the man’s anti-Muslim slurs, had left the train after the stabbings. He urged any witnesses to come forward to give statements to police. Simpson added that it did not appear that the suspect or the victims had any relationship with one another.

"In the midst of his ranting and raving, some people approached him and appeared to try to intervene with his behavior and some of the people that he was yelling at," police Sgt. Pete Simpson told the Portland newspaper. "They were attacked viciously."

‘‘We don’t know if (the suspect) has mental-health issues or was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or all of the above,’’ Simpson said. ‘‘With this incident, we’re obviously in early stages of the investigation.’’

Christian has had several encounters with the law.

The attacks occurred just as Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, was set to commence at sunset Friday. Simpson said that Portland police had already contacted local Muslim organizations, mosques and imams about extra patrols during Ramadan and that those extra patrols would continue.


In 2002, Christian, then 20, was arrested and charged with first-degree robbery and second-degree kidnapping after he rode to a convenience store on his bike and held up employees there with a gun, according to court records and his court-appointed defense attorney at the time, Matthew Kaplan.

Oh, no, another idiot patsy given a part to play.

‘‘Our thoughts are with the Muslim community,’’ Simpson said Friday. ‘‘As something like this happens, this only instills fear in that community.’’

That seems to be the point of this psyop prop, be it real or not. The road is in the reaction.

When police caught up with him, Christian aimed the gun at himself in a suicide attempt before he was shot and injured by police, Kaplan said.

The attack prompted a slew of outraged and shocked responses Friday from Portland residents and lawmakers, as well as national organizations.

Christian was sentenced to more than seven years in prison after striking a plea deal that eliminated coercion and weapons charges.

(Blog editor shakes head; here we go again!)

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, tweeted: ‘‘Terrible tragedy on Portland’s Max Train. Champions of justice risked and lost their lives. Hate is evil.”

Kaplan said he remembers the case vividly because Christian was so young, so earnest and never had been in trouble before. At the time, the attorney suspected the onset of mental illness to explain his actions and worried about how he would deal with a long prison sentence.

Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly called the incident ‘‘especially sad and disturbing’’ in a statement on behalf of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who was traveling Friday night, and the City Council, according to KGW News.

"It was so random, the event in his life. It made no sense that he did this at his age. He had no background like this, no history of violence, and then he goes and gets a gun and robs a store," Kaplan told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

‘‘People lost their lives or were injured because they stood up to hate,’’ Eudaly said in the statement. ‘‘We need to offer our heartfelt support to the women and others who were targeted. The courage of the people who stood up for them is a reminder that we as a city need to stand together to denounce the hate.’’


Christian had another brush with the law in 2010, when he was arrested on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and theft. Those charges were dismissed, according to court records, which do not explain why.

Multnomah County officials announced that its mental-health call center would be available 24 hours a day for those affected by the MAX train stabbing.

‘‘We are very sad. Ramadan started just a couple hours ago,’’ Imtiaz Khan, president of the Islamic Center of Portland, told Oregon Public Broadcasting on Friday night. ‘‘We are very sorry for the two men who tried to do the right thing. . . . Of course people from the Muslim community are concerned. And, unfortunately, the easy targets are women because of the headscarf.’’

It is.


I guess that's why the Globe didn't feature it at all, and combined with the incident the other day this is stinking of a planned agenda-pushing campaign to muzzle certain voices. It's another ramp-up and attack on any questioning, skepticism, or criticism of officialdom, authority, and other elite and privileged groups that are, for lack of a better term, calling the shots.

"Networks, not nation-states, will solve global crises" by Anne-Marie Slaughter   May 25, 2017

Consider radical Islamist terrorism, currently emanating from an entire network of individuals and groups pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. On the chessboard of traditional international relations, the United States can assemble a coalition of allies to increase direct military action against the physical territory of the Islamic State, most notably by taking back their proclaimed capital, Raqqa. The politics of a successful military drive are complicated, with an effort versus a common enemy splintering on rivalries between purported coalition members: the Turks vs. the Kurds; Syria-Russia-Iran vs. the United States and the Sunni states. But even if all these governments succeed in depriving the self-proclaimed caliphate of physical territory, the death and destruction involved will create countless martyrs and new recruiting videos for ISIS and its associated groups to use in a continuing networked jihad.

The deeper causes that give rise to this violent perversion of Islam, comparable to extremist distortions of religions from Christianity to Hinduism, are many: dictatorship, corruption, lack of useful education, widespread youth unemployment, oppression of women, a demographic bulge of young men with no prospects or purpose in the life they see ahead of them. Yet how can heads of state address these problems?

You left one religion out.

They could conclude a treaty, taking years to negotiate and even more years to implement, but even allowing for time, these issues are largely domestic matters. The only way is to leave the realm of traditional law and politics and to design, build, and manage regional and global networks. These networks can include government officials, particularly at the sub-national level, such as governors and mayors, but must also engage corporate and civic actors.

Two examples illustrate the point. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi) has been a game-changer in global health. Many small organizations and some larger ones have been working on vaccination and immunization for decades. But Gavi was founded by the Gates Foundation to bring all the players in the field together in a coordinated way. Today Gates and other foundations provide the funding, pharmaceutical companies develop vaccines, the World Health Organization regulates vaccine quality, and civil society organizations implement immunization programs. The alliance is essentially a network of networks tackling a complicated behavioral issue with global consequences.

Bloomberg Philanthropies has had a similar impact on efforts to fight and mitigate climate change. Over the past decade it has created multiple networks of cities dedicated to reducing carbon emissions for the sake of their citizens, which it has now brought together under the umbrella of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. The covenant connects and mobilizes government and nongovernment actors in more than 7,100 cities across the world, all of whom will continue implementing the Paris climate agreement regardless of what national governments do.

Gavi calls itself the Vaccine Alliance. It is the kind of alliance that will be just as effective at addressing 21st century problems as NATO. The Global Covenant of Mayors is the 21st-century equivalent of a 20th-century climate agreement like the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The long-term fight against violent religious extremism, whether Islamist or from any other political-religious ideology, will require regional and global networks focused on strengthening local civil society groups preaching separation of church and state, connecting women’s organizations in ways that can make change on the ground, linking entrepreneurs with each other and with capital and established businesses to create and exploit new local markets, bringing mayors and civic leaders together to make cities hubs of opportunity for young people.

The impetus to create these networks should not rest only with philanthropy, but also with corporate leaders and governments themselves. Instead of practicing statecraft, they can learn the ways of webcraft. Hillary Clinton began this process in the State Department, from 2009 to 2012, appointing ambassadors and special representatives to women, civil society, youth, Muslim communities, technologists, and business around the world. None of that provides the immediate gratification and publicity payoff of a red carpet welcome. But it is ultimately much more important....

Yeah, too bad she ain't president (sigh).


The author is president and CEO of some globalist think tank?

"The addict brokers: Middlemen profit as desperate patients are ‘treated like paychecks’" by David Armstrong — STAT and Evan Allen — Boston Globe, May 28, 2017

Daniel Cleggett, a flamboyant figure, and some would say a pillar, in the Boston-area drug recovery community. A former addict who has spent nearly a quarter of his life in jail, Cleggett has turned entrepreneur in the burgeoning treatment industry for people addicted to opioids such as heroin and prescription painkillers.

He presides over an expanding empire of treatment facilities in Massachusetts, but he has also helped recruit addicted young people from Massachusetts for drug rehab centers in South Florida, according to the patients’ families and others who know Cleggett and are familiar with the arrangements. Two of these young men, including Graney, died from overdoses in hotel rooms in the oceanside resort communities where they were sent for treatment.

Cleggett has pulled off a stunning and rapid turnaround for a man who was once homeless. He now drives a sleek, black Mercedes-Benz CLS 400 that retails for more than $65,000, and enjoys cruising his boat around Boston Harbor. Recently, he posted pictures on Facebook of him at opening day at Fenway Park in seats steps from the field, and attending a boxing match at a casino.

The 31-year-old Cleggett refers to himself on Facebook as a former “lunatic, outlaw addict” — but one who has been sober for five years and is now committed to helping others follow his path. In a brief telephone interview, Cleggett said he had no role in Graney going to Florida for treatment — despite the messages to the contrary Graney sent. He declined to answer any questions about brokering in general or his role in helping other people travel to Florida for treatment.

“I help people all day, every day. That is what I do,” he said. “I had nothing to do with whatever place he went to.”

Cleggett is just one player, albeit a prominent one, in a murky network of middlemen, often referred to as marketers or brokers, who recruit and arrange transportation and insurance coverage for desperate young men and women from the Northeast and Midwest.

Patient brokers can earn up to tens of thousands of dollars a year by wooing vulnerable addicts for treatment centers that often provide few services and sometimes are run by disreputable operators with no training or expertise in drug treatment, according to Florida law enforcement officials and two individuals who worked as brokers in Massachusetts.

The facilities are tapping into a flood of dollars made available to combat the opioid epidemic and exploiting a shortage of treatment beds in many states. As center owners and brokers profit, many patients get substandard treatment and relapse.

The role of patient brokers in steering addicts to out-of-state treatment centers is now coming under scrutiny from law enforcement....

That was when I quit cold turkey.



"A Greenfield man led police on a chase Saturday morning that led to a crash with another vehicle and his arrest on charges including drug possession, according to State Police. Phillip Jacobsen, 29, allegedly evaded police pursuit around 9:15 a.m. after State Troopers tried to pull him over for traffic violations on Interstate 91 northbound before exit 26 in Greenfield, State Police said in a release. Jacobsen left the interstate and allegedly crashed the 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier he was driving into another vehicle on the Route 2 rotary at exit 26, according to State Police. No one was injured in the collision. Jacobsen then led troopers to a nearby residential street, where he left the car and fled on foot, said State Police Lieutenant Tom Ryan. Troopers enlisted the help of Greenfield police, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office’s K-9 units and a State Police helicopter to search for the suspect. “The helicopter happened to be up in the area flying a [separate] mission,” Ryan said. Troopers in the State Police helicopter spotted Jacobsen just before 10 a.m. walking behind a commercial building just a few hundred feet from Interstate 91, Ryan said. State Police arrested him without incident, Ryan said. Jacobsen was charged with operating under the influence, drugs; possession with intent to distribute class A, heroin; leaving the scene of a crash; operating after suspension; failure to produce registration; and various traffic violations. He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Greenfield District Court."

I'm sure he was just clowning around.

Also see: "Although reducing the number of prescriptions will decrease the number of people who become addicted to opioids, too many prescribing restrictions could deny opioids to patients who need and benefit from them...." 

Opioid consumption in the US is jaw-dropping.

Oh, the needle and the damage done

That would lead us down South:

"Gregg Allman, led band that helped spawn Southern rock, dies at 69" by Bill Friskics-Warren New York Times  May 27, 2017

Gregg Allman, a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, the incendiary group that inspired and gave shape to both the Southern rock and jam-band movements, died Saturday at his home in Savannah, Ga. He was 69.

His death was announced in a statement on Mr. Allman’s official website. No cause was given, but the statement said he had “struggled with many health issues over the past several years.”

The band’s lead singer and keyboardist, Mr. Allman was one of the principal architects of a taut, improvisatory fusion of blues, jazz, country, and rock that — streamlined by inheritors like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band — became the Southern rock of the 1970s.

Mr. Allman struggled for years with alcohol, heroin, and other drugs, and entered treatment for them numerous times, before embarking on a path of recovery in the mid-1990s. He was later found to have hepatitis C and received a liver transplant in 2010.

As a member of the Allman Brothers Band, Mr. Allman was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. He was admitted to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2006 and, with the Allman Brothers, received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 2012....


Peace be upon you, brother.

"Anne Ogden was planting red geraniums in front of her grandmother’s grave when she heard the thief coming. Before the 80-year-old woman could react, the man had snatched her purse off the ground and was dashing away. She could only plead for him to stop. Lawrence police eventually caught up with 32-year-old Christopher Ansara and arrested him...."

You know, you go to pay your respects and.....

UPDATE: I will be abstaining from the blog the rest of the day to do some book reading. Nothing heavy, just for pleasure. Might try a little Kinzer after dark.