Friday, June 30, 2017


"‘Workations’ blur line between jobs and time off" by Katie Johnston Globe Staff  June 29, 2017

The line between work and the rest of our lives is becoming increasingly blurred — and the ability to stay connected to co-workers 24/7 is invading vacation time in a big way, and as expectations for constant connectivity rise, some resorts are making it easier for their guests to build work into their time away. The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif., just started offering a poolside cabana with a workstation, office supplies, and a waterproof safe. Co-working spaces are popping up in destinations such as Cape Cod — there’s CapeSpace in Hyannis — and Lake Tahoe, where a business center just opened in a mountaintop lodge at the Heavenly ski resort. A number of “workation” retreats have been established in exotic locations, for people who want to spend a few weeks in, say, a safari park in South Africa, but still have access to an office with high-speed Internet service.

Even without access to such amenities, people are finding ways to work on vacation. They scout out coffee shops and libraries before they book a trip, travel with portable scanners and printers, and sneak out of bed at 5 a.m. to answer e-mails. They work in campers, on sailboats, and in vineyards. Some set aside as much as six hours a day to work, even building in time between activities to check e-mails.

One MIT professor rented a two-story roomin Australia so he could work in the middle of the night during US business hours without disturbing his wife. While traveling in Spain, the owner of a Boston marketing and public relations firm took a middle-of-the-night Skype call in a friend’s living room to close a business deal.

Americans take fewer vacation days than they used to, according to Project: Time Off, an initiative of the US Travel Association.  Many blame millennials for the rise of the working vacation — and indeed, they are the group most likely to do so, according to multiple surveys. Sixty-two percent of 18- to 34-year-olds check in during time off, versus 48 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds, according to a recent survey by the staffing firm Accountemps, but entrepreneurs and small-business owners also find it nearly impossible to unplug, and a growing number of independent contractors are scrambling to earn money whenever, wherever.

See: 21st-Century $lavery

“We can see it as this lovely freedom, but we need to think about what’s behind the desire to work even during a planned vacation,” said Erin Kelly, a professor of work and organization studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management. “Often, that’s anxiety about having to prove yourself to your employer. Or it’s anxiety about where my next gig and next chunk of income is going to come from.”

You know, there was a guy in Germany not long ago that pushed that idea.

In France, where workers get an average of 30 days’ paid vacation a year and companies with more than 50 employees are legally obligated to establish hours when employees can’t send or respond to e-mails, this anxiety is less acute. At Daimler, the German carmaker, employees on holiday can activate a system that informs e-mail senders their messages will be automatically deleted while the employee is out.

Macron is looking to roll those back is I expect the French to get little more stressed.

But in the United States, truly getting away sometimes requires going to extremes.

A year ago, Chatham Bars Inn started offering a “digital detox package.” Guests’ devices are collected, and televisions in the inn’s rooms are disconnected; in exchange, they get a $200 resort credit, a gift certificate to a local bookstore, and complimentary bike rental.

Jehan Hamedi doesn’t even bother trying to avoid work when he’s on vacation. Hamedi, founder of the Boston artificial intelligence-driven marketing startup Adhark, takes advantage of every spare moment, reviewing product designs while in line at Starbucks and jumping on conference calls as he walks, brushes his teeth (on mute), or flips burgers in his parents’ backyard in Wisconsin.

Hamedi, 27, carries a portable phone charger wherever he goes and scopes out spots where he can duck away to take a call — especially if an investor’s on the line.

“You kind of go into Jason Bourne mode,” he said. “You walk in and you find the exits. You look at the bottlenecks; you look at your phone and see how much charge you’ve got.”

(Blog editor just shakes head)

Hamedi’s girlfriend, Anne Yoder, is understanding of his need to build the company, though she has requested some work-free time during their trips to New Jersey and St. Louis this summer.

“The idea of a vacation” — she laughs.....

It's a good idea. I haven't had one in 11 years.



"Millennials no longer have to choose between a home and avocado toast. At least, that’s the deal online lender SoFi is offering. The company said Thursday that it will give a month’s worth of avocado toast to anyone who takes out a mortgage with it in July. The promotion plays off jokes that have been circulating for the past couple months: that millennials can’t afford their first homes because they are spending too much money on trendy avocado toast brunches. SoFi says it will send those who qualify the avocados and bread in three shipments to keep them fresh. And yes, gluten-free is an option."

The condescending insult is all in a day's work!

Making a video of the vacation:

"A stunt turns deadly for a couple seeking YouTube fame" by Matt Stevens New York Times  June 29, 2017

Over the past several weeks, Monalisa Perez of Halstad, Minn., and her boyfriend, Pedro Ruiz III, began their quest for YouTube fame by creating and posting videos of mostly harmless pranks: Ruiz climbing onto a tenuous tree branch and falling a short distance, or Perez feeding him a doughnut covered in baby powder rather than powdered sugar.

On Monday evening, the couple upped the ante when, authorities say, Perez, 19, shot at a thick book that Ruiz, 22, was holding, apparently believing that the bullet would not make it through the volume.

But the high-risk stunt went horribly wrong: The bullet entered Ruiz’s chest and he died at the scene.

“I really have no idea what they were thinking,” Sheriff Jeremy Thornton of Norman County said in a telephone interview late Wednesday. “I just don’t understand the younger generation on trying to get their 15 minutes of fame.”

It was a preventable death, the sheriff said, apparently fostered by a culture in which money and some degree of stardom can be obtained by those who attract a loyal internet following with their antics.

So that damn Internet is just going to have to be censored!

As for the culture of money and celebrity, welcome to AmeriKa!

In the couple’s last video, posted Monday, Perez and her boyfriend considered what it would be like to be one of those stars — “when we have 300,000 subscribers.”

“The bigger we get, I’ll be throwing parties,” Ruiz said. “Why not?”

Instead, just hours after she posted that video, Perez was arrested and booked into Northwest Regional Corrections Center on suspicion of reckless discharge of a firearm, the sheriff said. Then, Wednesday morning, prosecutors charged her with second-degree manslaughter. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000, or both.

Perez, who is pregnant with her second child, appeared in court Wednesday afternoon for a hearing and was released in the evening after $7,000 bail was posted.

And she is 19? 

Someone get Maury Povich on the phone.

The department has video recordings of the shooting, the sheriff said, adding that he would not release them.

In an interview with The Star Tribune of Minneapolis, Lisa Primeau, an aunt of Ruiz, said, “We called him our little daredevil.” Her nephew put “a dangerous twist on everything he did,” she added, once even “jumping into the swimming pool from the top of the house.”

Tempting the fates, 'eh?

Perez told investigators that she had shot Ruiz from about a foot away while he held a 1.5-inch thick book to his chest, authorities said. She described using a firearm that matched the pistol that was found at the scene.

Ruiz had been “trying to get her” to fire the gun “for a while,” Perez told investigators, according to court documents. They state that he had set up two cameras to capture the stunt.

To help persuade her to pull the trigger, Ruiz had even shown Perez a book that he had previously shot himself, she told investigators. In that case, she said, the bullet had not gone all the way through the text.

Claudia Ruiz, another aunt of Ruiz, told WDAY-TV in Fargo that before the fatal shooting, her nephew rationalized the stunt as a way to get more viewers and “get famous.”

Now he is a legend.



"Boston 2024 may have failed to score an Olympic bid, but one of the group’s chief officers just scored a new job. Erin Murphy Rafferty, who was the COO of Boston 2024 and previously worked for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, was recently appointed CEO of the Massachusetts charity the Wonderfund. Previously called DCF Kids Fund, the Wonderfund is a private nonprofit that supports kids in the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families system. The charity supports enrichment opportunities like sports and arts lessons, tutoring, and prom fees, and offers emergency aid and clothing to kids being moved into foster care. Rafferty will join Lauren Baker, the wife of Governor Charlie Baker, who is the vice chair of the Wonderfund. Rafferty will focus on external communications, growing the organization, and raising money in her role as CEO.

"Mark Levine, a corporate legal veteran of 20 years, has joined Flexion Therapeutics, Inc. as senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary. Prior to joining the Burlington biotechnology company, Levine held the same positions at Minerva Neurosciences Inc. He was assistant general counsel at athenahealth Inc. and associate general counsel at Clinical Data Inc. Flexion develops drugs for the treatment of patients with osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. In an e-mail to the Globe, Levine said, “I am looking forward to supporting the company as it continues to grow and advance its mission of developing transformative therapies for musculoskeletal conditions.” In December, Flexion applied for Food and Drug Administration approval of Zilretta, a steroid hormone injection to treat osteoarthritis in the knee."

"A former executive of Boston-based State Street Corp. has pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud at least six of the bank’s clients through secret trading commissions. Edward Pennings, of England, entered guilty pleas in federal court Wednesday to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud. Prosecutors say Pennings conspired to add secret commissions to fixed-income and equity trades performed for clients of the bank’s transition management business. Pennings was a senior managing director of the bank and headed its Portfolio Solutions Group for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He was charged in a 2016 indictment with a former executive vice president. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 11. The charges against his codefendant are still pending. An attorney for Pennings did not immediately respond to a request for comment."

They used to call that $kimming.

So where are the blue and whites?

Find a place to stay yet?

"Former Quincy real estate broker indicted in $1.7m scam" by Felicia Gans Globe Correspondent  June 29, 2017

A disbarred lawyer and former Quincy real estate broker who is accused of bilking Massachusetts investors out of $1.7 million before fleeing to Florida is now facing federal charges in Boston, according to the US attorney’s office.

Scott J. Wolas, who was known to Massachusetts investors as Eugene Grathwohl, was indicted on seven counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, Acting US District Attorney William D. Weinreb wrote in a statement. Wolas, 68, was a fugitive when he was found in Delray Beach, Fla., in April.

Wolas’s former wife, Cecily Sturge, 69, was also indicted Wednesday after being accused of making a false statement to a federal agent. Law enforcement officials had interviewed Sturge in November 2016, at which point she said she had not been in contact with Wolas in 15 years.

However, federal authorities allege, communication on her cellphone appeared to prove otherwise, and she was arrested earlier this month.

Federal prosecutors allege that from 2014 to 2016, Wolas operated a real estate business called Increasing Fortune Inc. and worked as a licensed real estate agent for Century 21 in Quincy. During that time, Wolas allegedly collected money from at least 20 investors for the development of the Beachcomber Bar property on Quincy Shore Drive and promised to pay out at least 125 percent of the profits.

A week before he was scheduled to close on the deal, Wolas fled Massachusetts, authorities allege.

According to papers filed in US District Court in Boston, documents indicate the money Wolas collected had been used “mostly for his personal expenses unrelated to development of the real estate projects.’’


Did you see who he hired for lawyers?

First thing I want to do after selling in? 

Check the stock quotes:

"A steep slide in technology companies pulled US stocks lower Thursday, erasing gains from the previous day. Investors also sold big-dividend stocks as bond yields rose. Banks and energy stocks bucked the broader market decline. Crude oil prices closed higher for the sixth straight day. The shift out of the tech sector came as investors bet central bankers may be ready to lift interest rates. That spurred many traders to move out of growth sectors, like technology, and into value stocks, such as banks, said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank. The stock market was coming off its biggest gain in two months. The market slide came about despite some encouraging news on the economy. The Commerce Department said the nation’s gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic health, increased at an annual rate of 1.4 percent in the first quarter -- more than expected....."

Also more than expected:

"Slightly more people sought unemployment benefits last week, but the number of applications remained at a historically low level suggesting a strong job market, The Labor Department says...."

And with that, I quit.

All Cried Out

What would you expect after a couple of days of non-stop sobbing?

Money may not have been motive in cyberattack

The article reads as if its sole purpose were a mind-manipulating psyop.

A health tech hacking is on friday's agenda, and it's a good thing I never open email. A CC goes to the government. It's click all, delete, in whatever month I happen to check it. 



Had I received a follow-up regarding Venezuela it would have been placed there.


"Fearing defeat on an opposition amendment, ministers said they would pay for women from Northern Ireland to travel to England for abortions. Abortion is banned in Northern Ireland unless a woman’s life or mental health is in danger....."

Mass. rules bar building skin linked to London high-rise fire

"The $45 million Treadmark project was being built with the help of about $10 million in city, state, and federal subsidies. That funding enabled the developer to offer most of its 83 apartments and condos at prices affordable to lower- and middle-income residents....."

That isn't the end of it.

"Rupert Murdoch, who is executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, has long tried to cement his legacy by adding Sky to his company’s stable of global media assets. The media mogul hopes to use Sky’s satellite network and online streaming business to keep pace in a world where more consumers watch programming on their mobile devices....."

What is forgotten is the hacking into celebrity and authority phones and the paying of police for information, etc, etc.

In 1892, small frogs rained down on Moseley, England.

An omen from down under?


China won’t let Nobel laureate get cancer treatment abroad

Last year, Rodrigo Duterte was sworn as president of the Philippines.

And he has been the target of a U.S. destabilization campaign ever since (actually fighting the drug war and getting friendly with Russia and China what did it).


"Iraq recaptures al-Nuri Grand Mosque in Mosul, but only rubble remains" by Megan Specia and Rick Gladstone New York Times  June 29, 2017 

I saw the photos on BBC and it looks like an airstrike or tow. Sorry.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq announced the recapture of al-Nuri Grand Mosque in Mosul on Thursday from Islamic State militants, calling it a sign of the end of the extremists’ grip on the region and vowing to chase them out of the country.

“We are seeing the end of the fake Daesh state, the liberation of Mosul proves that,” Abadi said on Twitter, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. “We will not relent. Our brave forces will bring victory.”

Mosul has still not been entirely wrested from Islamic State control despite a complex eight-month battle for the city. But Thursday’s announcement signified a further push to eliminate the group.

As Iraqi forces claim control of the mosque for the first time since 2014, all that is left is debris. The mosque’s distinctive leaning minaret dominated the skyline of Mosul’s Old City for nearly eight centuries, standing as a symbol of the city’s deeply rooted cultural heritage.

That brings water to the surface, and we know one of the war aims is to destroy cultural identity.

The mosque complex is nearly gone, reduced to a pile of rubble June 21, after Islamic State militants packed the building with explosives as their grasp on the city continued to slip.

Just like last Friday.

The iconic 12th-century al-Hadba minaret is now just a stump, seen broken nearly to its base in footage released by Iraqi forces who entered the area where the mosque once stood. They assessed what remained as they stepped carefully through crumbling walls and climbed over debris that once made up one of the city’s grandest buildings. 

It stood for all those centuries, through colonialism, sectarianism, and Saddam Hussein.

Cui bono?

The intricate detailing on the minaret can be seen peeking out over crumbling debris, but its top is gone.

After the city was captured by the Islamic State in 2014, the mosque played a starring role in the group’s propaganda as it grabbed power in the region.

It was the setting for a rare 2014 public speech by the group’s professed leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in which he declared a caliphate and asserted control over Mosul. It was the last time he was seen publicly.

See: Baghdadi Trained by Israeli Mossad, NSA Documents Reveal

He is allegedly dead now -- if he ever even existed.

The group’s notorious black flag has been flying from the top of the al-Hadba minaret since that summer.

Before the Islamic State seized control, the mosque was long a valued landmark the country sought to preserve.

In 2012, UNESCO identified the mosque’s minaret for assessment and preservation, after fears that its teetering posture could lead to collapse if measures were not taken. The local governorate had planned to work alongside local officials to ensure its survival. Last week, the director general of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, lamented the loss of the building.

“Al Hadba minaret and Al Nuri Mosque in Mosul were among the most iconic sites in the city, and stood as a symbol of identity, resilience and belonging,” Bokova said in a statement. “This new destruction deepens the wounds of a society already affected by an unprecedented humanitarian tragedy.”

The Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has been under an intensifying assault in Mosul and across Iraq’s western border with Syria, where the extremist group is losing its grip on Raqqa, its de facto capital for the past three years. Tens of thousands of civilians remain trapped in both cities.

UNICEF said Thursday that thousands of children in western Mosul are stuck there because of the fighting.

“Boys and girls who have managed to escape show signs of moderate malnutrition and carry psychosocial scars of the conflict,” Peter Hawkins, the UNICEF representative in Iraq, said in a statement.

Yes, what is going to happen when these children who have known nothing but war grow up?

Aid groups that have been helping displaced civilians in Syria and Iraq expressed strong caution about the Iraqi prime minister’s victorious proclamation. They emphasized that the fighting in Mosul was by no means over.

The International Rescue Committee, which responds to the most urgent humanitarian emergencies in more than 40 countries, said in a statement that as many as 1.5 million Iraqis have been unable to escape Mosul, and that at least 150,000 people, half of them children, still live in other areas of Iraq controlled by the Islamic State.

“The retaking of Mosul does not mean an automatic end to the suffering of the 1.5 million people that spent more than two years living under harsh ISIS rule,” said Wendy Taeuber, the International Rescue Committee’s Iraq director. “Despite the declaration, ISIS still controls some areas in the Old City of Mosul and ongoing fighting will continue to threaten the lives of civilians.”


Related: Mosul Raped and Destroyed, Not Liberated

Sure what it looked like from the BBC footage I saw.

Time for some nation building (after having destroyed them):

"Islamic State reverts to insurgent roots to pose long-term threat, study says" by Eric Schmitt New York Times  June 29, 2017

WASHINGTON —The information was compiled by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point in a study made public Thursday that warns that any military gains will fall short without increased efforts to restore the security, governance, and economies in territory once held by the Islamic State, providing new evidence that the group is reverting to its insurgent roots and foreshadowing long-term security threats.

The military efforts just so happened to ruin the security, governance, and economies, which in turn gave rise to ISIS, and I've tired of the relentless war propaganda that we are winning but not really. That's the tell of playing both sides.

US diplomatic and military leaders say an even greater challenge than ousting the Islamic State, or ISIS, from its self-declared religious state, or caliphate, in eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq may well be the daunting political and economic reconstruction in the years ahead.

Think about that; supposed to have begun all that way back in 2003. Billions upon billions wasted, unless you consider the pockets of Halliburton and Bechtel as your won.

Counterterrorism specialists said the new study illuminates a trend that has been emerging for several months, as US-backed ground forces in Iraq and Syria have steadily rolled back territorial gains the Islamic State achieved in 2014 and used as the basis for its global appeal to Muslims to come join the caliphate. Now, its strongholds of Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria, its self-declared capital, are besieged, and senior leaders have fled as opposing forces close in.

“ISIS has anticipated the loss of its government for over a year,” said William McCants, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of “The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State.” “They are prepared to wage a war from the shadows to reclaim it.”

Oh, so they are behind the ransomware.

The the 20-page report’s authors, Daniel Milton and Muhammad al-Ubaydi, say their findings aim to draw a more accurate picture of the military challenges in Iraq and Syria, especially in maintaining security in cities large and small that have been reclaimed from the Islamic State.

“Despite all of these positive connotations, the liberation of cities in Iraq and Syria has proved to be much more of a mixed bag for those living in the aftermath,” the report said. “Part of this is the challenge of governing post-liberation areas where city infrastructure has been destroyed and where security threats still remain.”

Most people look back with nostalgia to the peaceful times of tyranny now. We lost the hearts and minds.

The report cites the example of Fallujah, which was freed by Iraqi forces in June 2016. Many months later, news media reports suggest that residents still face an array of challenges, such as destroyed buildings, live Islamic State munitions buried in the rubble, and the continuing threat of Islamic State attacks, the report said.....


Deposing Morsi didn't help.

"Syria, Russia accuse US of plotting ‘provocation’" Associated Press  June 29, 2017

DAMASCUS — Syria’s government and its ally Russia accused Washington on Thursday of concocting a ‘‘provocation’’ in Syria, which would then be blamed on President Bashar Assad’s government as alleged use of chemical weapons to justify an attack.

In a statement carried by the official news agency, Syria’s Foreign Ministry said it rejects US allegations that Syria was preparing for a chemical weapons attack as ‘‘misleading’’ and ‘‘completely baseless.’’

It is so good to see them get ahead of this and point out the illogic of it all.

It said the objective of such allegations was to ‘‘justify a new aggression on Syria under ill-founded pretexts,’’ similar to what happened in April when the United States struck a Syrian air base that it said had been used to stage a chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, killing nearly 90.

Earlier this week, the White House warned that Assad was preparing for another chemical attack and said the Syrian ruler would ‘‘pay a heavy price’’ if he unleashes it.

Also Thursday, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said Moscow has received information that Syrian rebels have fabricated video materials to accuse Damascus of a chemical attack.

Maybe there is hope for us all if they are being called out on those.

She said that according to the information Russia has, the towns of Saraqib and Arihah could serve as venues for the ‘‘provocation.’’ Both towns are in the province of Idlib and are controlled by the rebels.

She said such action could be aimed at derailing the next round of Syriam peace talks — brokered by Russia, Turkey, and Iran — next week in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana. The meeting is meant to determine specifics related to safety zones in Syria. 

U.S. always sabotages peace talks.

Zakharova’s strongly worded statement reflects soaring tensions between Moscow and Washington even as President Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are expected to hold their first meeting, at the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Germany.

The United States in April struck the Shayrat air base in central Syria, which Moscow claimed some of the images from the scene were fabricated and criticized the international chemical weapons watchdog of failing to send its inspectors to the site of the attack and the air base allegedly used to launch it.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, confirmed on Thursday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson this week told him that Washington has information about Assad’s allegedly preparing a chemical attack.

Lavrov questioned the veracity of the information and suggested that extremists could take advantage of the US warning to stage a provocation in order to blame Assad.

Asked how Russia would react to a US strike on Syria, Lavrov said the response would be ‘‘proportionate.’’



"5 found guilty in Russian opposition leader’s murder trial" AP  June 29, 2017

MOSCOW — A jury on Thursday found five men guilty in the assassination of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, bringing to a close a trial that Nemtsov’s allies believe failed to bring the slaying’s alleged masterminds to justice.

Nemtsov, a top political opponent of President Vladimir Putin, was shot late at night in 2015 as he was walking across a bridge just outside the Kremlin. His brazen murder sent shockwaves through the Russian opposition.

A jury at a Moscow court found the suspected triggerman, a former officer in the security forces of Chechnya’s leader, guilty of murdering Nemtsov, Russian news agencies reported. Four other men were found guilty of involvement in the killing.

It will now be up to the judge to sentence the five men.

Nemtsov’s allies have criticized the investigators for stopping short of investigating the possible role of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and top Chechen officers in the killing.

When the now-convicted gunman, former officer Zaur Dadayev, was arrested shortly after the slaying, Kadyrov vehemently defended him as a ‘‘true patriot.’’

Nemtsov’s family has petitioned investigators to look into Kadyrov’s possible involvement and to question Ruslan Geremeyev, commander of the police unit in which Dadayev served.

The police commander was summoned to testify, but he failed to show up. Investigators told the court last year that they visited Geremeyev’s property in Chechnya but ‘‘no one opened the door.’’


On to the meeting:

"White House: Trump to meet Putin at G-20 summit" by Ken Thomas and Vivian Salama Associated Press  June 29, 2017

WASHINGTON — President Trump will convene a high-stakes meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the summit of industrial and emerging-market nations in Germany next week, the White House said Thursday, amid swirling allegations about Moscow’s role in the 2016 elections.

That will be his second foreign trip, and I am already tired of him.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster confirmed that Trump will meet with Putin along the sidelines of the annual Group of 20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, part of an itinerary that will include meetings with several world leaders.

If there is an explosion before then, well.....

Trump’s first in-person encounter with Putin has been highly anticipated as Trump pushes back against allegations that some of his associates may have had contact with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign and the transition.

All 17 US intelligence agencies have agreed Russia was behind last year’s hack of the Democratic Party’s e-mail systems and tried to influence the 2016 election to benefit Trump. Members of his campaign are also under investigation for possible collusion with Russia in the lead-up to the campaign.

Trump has staunchly denied that he had any contacts with Russia during his campaign. Russian officials have denied any meddling in the election.

Gee, just yesterday they were saying.... maybe they can mend ties.

McMaster and White House economic adviser Gary Cohn would not say whether the president intends to address accusations that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, saying that the agenda is ‘‘not finalized’’ for this or any other meeting.

Cohn is really running the White House. He's always calling foreign leaders when Trump commits a faux pas.

‘‘Our relationship with Russia is not different from that with any other country in terms of us communicating to them really what our concerns are, where we see problems with the relationship, but also opportunities,’’ McMaster said.

The US-Russian relationship deteriorated during Obama’s eight years in office and Trump said he was hopeful of improving American ties with Russia.

What happened to Obama's Russian reset that was considered a success until the Ukraine coup of 2014?

But major disagreements remain over Ukraine and Syria, and Trump said in April that US-Russian relations ‘‘may be at an all-time low.’’ The meeting will also come as Congress considers legislation that would impose economic penalties against Russia and Iran, legislation that has stalled after it cleared the Senate.

Trump will be under pressure to side with the US intelligence agencies and press Putin on the issue of election meddling, something he has thus far been reluctant to do. Trump’s promise of closer cooperation with Russia has prompted concerns that the US will have diminished leverage over global issues and he could be more sympathetic to Russia.

Why? They have been wrong so often.

‘‘Putin is all about optics and symbolism,’’ said Julianne Smith, a National Security Council and Defense Department official under President Barack Obama. ‘‘He wants the meeting and the photo more than the discussion.’’

Sounds more like Trump, especially after watching the Ollie Stone interviews.

Russia has sought to put itself on equal footing with the United States since the collapse of the Soviet Union, extending its territory where it can, countering US military action, and positioning itself as a rival.

As if they were Israel.

McMaster said that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is taking the lead on the discussions and ‘‘has been engaged in a broad, wide-range discussion about irritants, problems in the relationship but also to explore opportunities, where we can work together, areas of common interest. So it won’t be different from our discussions with any other country.’’

I sure hope he didn't sh** on the Russian porch again.

White House officials said Trump would also meet with the leaders of several other countries, including Germany, China, South Korea, Mexico, Indonesia, and Singapore.....

The question is, do they want to meet with him?


Related: McMaster’s War

Right next door to Russia. That is often forgotten. 

"NATO agrees to send more troop trainers to Afghanistan" by Lorne Cook and Lolita C. Baldor Associated Press  June 29, 2017

BRUSSELS — Two years after winding down its military operation in Afghanistan, NATO has agreed to send more troops to help train and work alongside Afghan security forces.

The move follows a request from NATO commanders who say they need as many as 3,000 additional troops from the allies. That number does not include an expected contribution of roughly 4,000 American forces.

‘‘We’re in it for the long haul. It’s a democracy. It’s asked for our help and it’s important that Europe responds,’’ British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told reporters. ‘‘Transnational terror groups operate in Afghanistan, are a threat to us in Western Europe.’’

I'm so sick of the discredited, shop-worn propaganda that is constantly regurgitated to justify endless war. I really am.

European nations and Canada have been waiting to hear what Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will offer or seek from them. US leaders have so far refused to publicly discuss troop numbers before completing a broader, updated war strategy.

Mattis says victory is just being there!

Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, was in Afghanistan this week, meeting with commanders to gather details on what specific military capabilities they need to end what American officials say is a stalemate against the resurgent Taliban.

The expected deployment of more Americans is intended to bolster Afghan forces so they eventually can assume greater control of security.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at the NATO defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Thursday said the NATO increase does not mean the alliance will once again engage in combat operations against the Taliban and extremist groups. NATO wants ‘‘to help the Afghans fight’’ and take ‘‘full responsibility’’ for safeguarding the country.

Mohammad Radmanish, deputy spokesman for Afghanistan’s defense ministry, welcomed NATO’s decision and said Afghan troops were in need of ‘‘expert’’ training, heavy artillery, and a quality air force.

‘‘We are on the front line in the fight against terrorism,’’ Radmanish said in a telephone interview in Kabul.

But Afghan lawmaker Mohammad Zekria Sawda was skeptical. He said that the offer of an additional 3,000 NATO troops was a ‘‘show’’ and that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the United States were unable to bring peace to Afghanistan when they had more than 120,000 soldiers deployed against Taliban insurgents.

As the war drags on, Afghans have become increasingly disillusioned and even former Afghan president Hamid Karzai has questioned the international commitment to bringing peace.

Many Afghans, including Karzai, are convinced that the United States and NATO have the military ability to defeat the Taliban. But with the war raging 16 years after the Taliban were ousted, they accuse the West of seemingly wanting chaos over peace.....

They are ON TO SOMETHING THERE, and once you realize it is western intelligence behind the phantom terror groups and the chaos.... cui bono?



"Olmert, Israeli ex-prime minister, granted early release from prison" by Isabel Kershner New York Times  June 29, 2017

JERUSALEM — Ehud Olmert, the former prime minister of Israel who is serving a 27-month sentence for bribery, fraud, obstruction of justice, and breach of trust, is expected to be released Sunday after a parole board cut his sentence by a third.

The board’s decision Thursday appeared to close a legal saga that has roiled Israeli society and politics for years. Olmert, forced to resign during an intensive, if inconclusive, round of peace talks with the Palestinians, was the first former head of government to be imprisoned for misconduct in Israel, though the crimes for which he was convicted did not take place during his tenure as prime minister, from 2006 to 2009.

He should have been convicted of war crimes in Lebanon, but.... 

Olmert entered prison in February 2016 after being convicted in various cases on charges of bribery, obstruction of justice, fraud, and breach of trust. He acknowledged having made “mistakes” but has consistently denied criminal wrongdoing.

The parole board’s decision was a great relief to Olmert, 71, his lawyers said. Prosecutors, who opposed a commutation of the sentence, had until the end of Thursday to appeal for a delay in the execution of the order, but it was not immediately clear if they would do so.

Olmert described his fall as “painful and strange” at the time, and the weeks leading up to the decision for his release have been no less tumultuous.

Police have been looking into the possibility that Olmert mishandled classified information when he gave part of a manuscript that he had written behind bars to one of his lawyers to take out of the prison.

Olmert’s lawyers argued that the manuscript would be subject to military censorship before publication and that there had been no security breach. 

Just a way to keep him quiet, right?

Olmert — who as prime minister led a monthlong war against Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 and held extensive peace negotiations with the Palestinians and indirect talks with Syria — complained during a recent parole board hearing that the authorities were turning him into a “traitor,” according to Israeli news reports.

Who does he think he is, Vanunu?

Israel has remained silent about a 2007 airstrike that was widely attributed to it and that took place during Olmert’s tenure, destroying a nuclear reactor that was under construction in Syria.

The police inquiry this month prompted a public uproar and increased sympathy for Olmert after a raid at the offices of Yedioth Books, publisher of his memoir, as well as at the home of his editor. Officers seized material that was unrelated to Olmert’s book, a move that many Israeli critics saw as vastly overstepping their authority. A judge examining a case brought by Yedioth Books for the return of the materials warned that the raids and seizures undermined freedom of speech and the freedom of the press, cornerstones of the country’s democratic system.

Amid the brouhaha, Olmert suffered chest pain and was hospitalized for a week. He was discharged from the hospital Tuesday.

Olmert’s legal troubles began in 2008, two years after he became prime minister, and he
was forced to resign from office under the growing weight of police investigations. A lawyer by profession, he entered public life in his 20s. He was convicted of taking bribes as mayor of Jerusalem — a role he filled from 1993 to 2003 — in part to facilitate the construction of a large housing complex known as Holyland, despite fierce local opposition. 

He also ripped off the Yad Vasham, if you can believe it. 

Now that's chutzpah!

Originally sentenced to six years in prison, Olmert had his prison term reduced significantly after the Israeli Supreme Court overturned a main part of his conviction relating to the housing project. He was also serving time for a separate case involving his relations with an American businessman, Morris Talansky. Some of the charges related to a period when he was serving as a government minister, but none pertained to his time as prime minister. 

Talansky was handing him envelopes stuffed with cash.

Olmert is not expected to make a formal political comeback anytime soon; the law bars him from holding office for seven years. 

But he could?


Here is something that made me smile:

"Love Transforms Everything it Touches until Nothing Remains but Love

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Dog Poet Transmitting.......

Yes... the Oceana/East Asia assembly line, false news production centers, are brimming with reconstituted freeze-dried fecal ink of both the real and virtual kind, in both the literal and metaphorical sense. It's an interesting dichotomy, or irony, as you prefer, that although the smell has been chemically removed, or deodorized, it still stinks so bad that you either have to leave the room or change the channel or web-page at regular intervals to avoid Uncontrollable Retching Syndrome.

We went into that particular file drawer this morning; “Things that are true and unassailably so” and pulled out the folder that contains the names and genetic markers of the ones who own the media and it's the same as it is every day. These organized Satanists are a single arm of the globoctopus vampire squid that represents the investment portfolio of the international banker consortium that thinks they run the show down here. Everything you are hearing about Syria is designed for public consumption by them. They were also the principal financiers and architects of the destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, The Ukraine (this admitted to by Victoria Neuland) and just about every country in recent memory that has been the staging ground for ritual mass murder, dedicated to the blood currency deity that they worship. They were the ones that orchestrated 9/11 as well and this is also in that same file. There are duplicates of all of these items in another file that is headed, “Shit we know about but nobody does anything about.” Duplicates are also in another file that is headed, “In God's hands.”

These hungry fiends have got their sights set on the destruction of Syria now. It is they who were behind the chemical weapons attacks; the false flag weapons attacks. They are now announcing, with no facts or evidence that Syria is planning another chemical weapons attack, even though they haven't done any to begin with. They're shutting down any observations to the contrary; whatever is contrary to the lies they are manufacturing, to justify whatever massive reaction they hope to generate by the American military, once they have performed their false flag chemical weapons attack and blamed it on Assad. 

What has to be kept in mind is that the vicious monsters who serve The Dark Lord are on a time sensitive schedule. Certain things have to be accomplished within a particular time line. They are arrogantly confident about their ability to pull it off because they control the State Department of the United States, The Defense Department, The Intelligence Services, The American Congress and the White House as well as any other medium they require to provide a comprehensive and defensible platform for their actions. 

As has been stated any number of times here; 'life is a dream' be it not so 'merrily, merrily' as we would hope. Corruption has spread through the medium of Materialism to nearly every location on Earth. Here we would like to state that Materialism is Satanism. They are indistinguishable. This accounts for their coming out into the open in such an obvious (to some of us) way as they have in recent times. This accounts for their sensitive time line as well because at no time can Evil rise up in such a manner without a corresponding force also coming into play. The Avatar is also at work but in a less visible fashion. The Avatar is working 'within'... presently within the hearts and minds of the populace though they know nothing of it. The Avatar is working on the planes above the manifest and influencing what comes into manifestation for the purpose of whatever demonstration he intends to make known to the world in an impactful and lasting fashion.

The Agents of Darkness are coming more and more into the open. Few of us are able to see all of the areas where they are at work but it is easy to see any number of movements and events taking place in the vast theater of contemporary existence. One needs only to look at every area of the entertainment industry, the media, the bleating of the doomed goats in government disservice, the sanctimonious and bejeweled representatives of religious hypocrisy and the white garbed new age prophets with deep pockets. Everywhere you look you can follow the money and see what is being paid for and... what is being paid for is the relentless corruption of the people; an enforced and progressive degeneration of consciousness with its focus on appetites; perverted and amplified through telepathic invasion and a blizzard of sounds and imagery through every medium at their disposal.

At the same time, in this very moment, the Avatar and all the angels of Heaven are constantly at work on the hearts and minds of everyone who is susceptible to that influence, granting hope and invisible reassurance wherever it is needed most. We must recognize this truth in our hour of need. When it seems that all is lost and that the palpable forces arrayed against us are overwhelming, we must realize that all force is borrowed force and exists in application for only so long as it is permitted to be. In an instant the permissions can be removed by the one to whom all force belongs. It is as simple as throwing a switch. Count on this as being one of the less obvious realities of the apocalypse but no less potent for that. Everything is under control.

Time and time again, on every stage that has ever been erected and then dismantled, the same pattern of events has played out. It is an endlessly repeating tale, with only on true winner and with the same lesson realized again and again. We keep coming to the fields of Armageddon to find the battle won. God is present in every character in every role that is performed. God is prior to, in the midst of and at the end of each and every story whose purpose is the lesson implicit in the telling. What meaning we take from anything is dependent on what we value. This is what determines whatever sense we make out of it. This is the Rashomon Effect.

When one does not know and knows that one does not know, they are in a position to be informed. As long as your bucket is filled with salt water, all of the water contains salt. It is best to have an empty bucket. That bucket can then be filled with the presence of that which knows everything and which then informs the one who knows nothing. Knowledge has importance only at the time when it is necessary to possess it. Otherwise it is just something clothed in words that might as well be a figurine on a shelf... there are books which contain powerful revelations but the revelations have no meaning or importance unless they are experienced in revelation. Once again... it is just words. There is an intelligence within us that has the power to illuminate that which otherwise is just words. Certain arrangements of words have been repeated over and over again. People extract various interpretations from them and this is accompanied by partial understandings. This leaves one open to errors in reasoning which can prove truly unfortunate down the road, up the road and around the bend as well. Everything is a lesson and even the slightest event in your life is a special dealing of the ineffable with your soul.

If you proceed through life, knowing that the ineffable is intimately involved in your life, you have made possible certain changes that might not come to pass otherwise. People can argue about it till Doomsday's Break but the enduring truth of life is that Love is the most powerful force in the universe and if you exercise it, it will grow. It will grow and grow and grow until it is the only consideration in your life. It will live in you and work through you and it will affect everything in your life and it will touch the lives of everyone you meet. It will instruct you and protect you. It will guide and lead you to the secret origins of its eternal residence and it will welcome you in.

There are other roads a person can take and they all lead somewhere but the road of Love is remarkable and unique, unlike any other route of passage. You can read all of the great books. You can practice all the rituals and routines of every spiritual tradition but no matter how deep and profound what you read may be and no matter how diligently you perform whatever discipline you might engage in, there is nothing so deep and profound as Love. You will find nothing so real and everlasting as Love. Why not accept this to begin with and avoid the disappointments that are woven into everything else? Let Love absorb and transform you. You will never regret what comes of this and the world will be left behind for those who find whatever importance they find in it. Without Love, nothing has any value and this... one will discover the truth of it... sooner or later.


Tired of Trump

I'm throwing him to the wolves:

"GOP’s message to Trump: Please stop" by Annie Linskey Globe Staff  June 30, 2017

WASHINGTON —The message from President Trump was more graphic and more personal than the hundreds of tweets he has sent since becoming president, and unleashed criticism even from voices who don’t typically clash with the president.

The overwhelmingly negative response to the president’s language was striking, even at a time when politicians and perhaps the rest of the nation long ago became accustomed to the unconventional ways that Trump communicates. And the reaction bodes poorly for a president who is already struggling to rally his own party around his agenda. Instead of coming together, the elected officials Trump needs for help were sprinting away from him Thursday.

All “in the aftermath of the armed attack on Republican lawmakers baseball practice.”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders during a testy briefing with reporters that was dominated by questions about the tweets, said, “He’s not going to sit back and be attacked by the liberal media, Hollywood elites. And when they hit him, he’s going to hit back.”

She has a certain point there, but is this the proper venue? He is the goddamn president of the United States.

Meanwhile, the wrecking ball of a foreign policy plows ahead while you are watching and listening to the smoke, sound, and fury.

Also defending Trump, via a spokesperson, was his wife, Melania, who recently moved to Washington, D.C., and has said she’ll take on combating cyberbullying as her pet cause.

Trump has tweeted 866 times since taking office, interspersing messages about policy details with comments that either he or his office has had to spend days or weeks defending. The notes vary from commentary on news articles, to typo-ridden missives in the middle of the night, to veiled threats.

Republicans and allies of Trump had often tried to ignore Trump’s penchant for tweeting, considering it an at times charming and at times lightly embarrassing consequence of electing a populist entertainer.

Trump’s brutal tweet moments later left Republicans aghast. It gave them flashbacks to the most vulgar moments of Trump’s 2016 campaign, when the leaked “Access Hollywood” tape caught him speaking about aggressively hitting on women and grabbing them by the genitals, and when he said of then-Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly that she had “blood coming out of her wherever.’’

Murkowski says stop, Sasse says stop, and also fed up was Maine Senator Susan Collins and Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican.

Norman Eisen, a fellow of governance studies at Brookings, a D.C.-based think tank and a top ethics official in the Obama administration, said Republican lawmakers are going to need to do more than just denounce their president if they truly want him to change his behavior.

“Trump is like an out-of-control child,” Eisen said. “And the Republican Party is like the parents that everyone shakes their head at. The way you change behavior is you have consequences.”

Even his supporters on the 6 a.m. sports show I listen to when going to get my Globe said he is insane.

Republican lawmakers, he said, could start by boycotting photo-ops with the president to send him a message. Or, he added, an option would be to introduce legislation censoring the president.

The first one could backfire, the second one means nothing.

The mere presence of a bill with Republican support rebuking him would send a tough message to the White House.

Eisen noted that there’s very little Democrats can do to force a change. “It’s his party’s responsibility,” Eisen said. “They have the power.”


He was evidently offended by comments made by Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC’s program “Morning Joe,” who he “heard speaks badly of [him].” 

My question is, why waste time watching programs no one else does? Stop watching the goddamn TV, and don't swim in the shark tank if you are just an apprentice.


".... The present occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is a capricious and undisciplined man.  He does not read anything but balance sheets (perhaps those are briefed to him).  He watches 24/7 cable news incessantly and forms his understanding of the world from these citadels of superficiality and corporate agenda.  His advisers and counselors are family members, cronies and seemingly heroic and photogenic generals who seem to represent an adolescent self-image of what he might have been.


His latest blather sent to the world a few nights back through the long suffering press secretary Spicer was evidently based on nothing but the visible movement of trucks and other ground equipment around and on the Syrian air base that he last attacked with a hundred million dollars worth of TLAMs after his daughter cried over the jihadi propaganda film production from Khan Shaykhoun.

The after the fact support of DoD for DJT's wild Spicer delivered statement means nothing.  Mattis undoubtedly feels that his choice is either to support the CinC or leave.

IMO President Trump has too shallow and trivial a mind to be taken seriously on foreign policy and military affairs.  Hey, pilgrims, in the military we kill people and destroy things.  That is what we do.  The application of lethal violence in support of state policy is why we exist.  The necessary corollary to that principle is the expectation that state policy will be relatively sane.

Thus far, the foreign policy of the Trump Administration seems lacking in fact based logic and overwhelmingly based on the "hobby horses" of various splinter groups represented among his counselors.

If I were the Syrian government, I would request, nay, demand that international observer groups be stationed at ALL SAF airbases to ascertain exactly what ordnance is uploaded for combat operations.  Americans and Russians should be included in these groups.  The observers need not be briefed on targets but they would need to be able to verify ordnance loads.

Unless that happens we face the prospect of yet another false flag gas "attack."  It seems likely that Christian or other non-Sunni captives were used as props in the last one.  We should be careful not to enable future attacks of this nature by giving credence to the wild statements of the man in the White House unless they are backed by credible evidence. -- pl

I've taken his advice and depend on others to let me know what is going on with Trump.


"Trump travel ban goes into effect" by Gardiner Harris and Ron Nixon New York Times   June 30, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Thursday moved aggressively to fulfill one of the president’s most contentious campaign promises, banning entry into the United States by refugees from around the world and prohibiting most visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries.

Freed by the Supreme Court to partially revive President Trump’s travel ban, administration officials said the US border would be shut to those groups unless specific individuals can prove they have close family members living in the United States, or are coming to attend a university or accept a job offer.

Officials said those exceptions would be defined narrowly. In a lengthy cable sent to embassies and consulates around the world, officials said that extended family connections would not be sufficient to evade the president’s ban on entry. Parents, including in-laws, are considered “close family,” but grandparents are not, for instance. Stepsiblings and half-siblings will be allowed, but not nieces or nephews.

On Thursday night, Hawaii filed a court challenge to the limitations on the family relationships.

Critics immediately denounced the administration, accusing the White House of violating the Supreme Court’s directive to exempt anyone with a “bona fide” family connection to the United States. Civil rights groups vowed to challenge what they said was a renewed attempt by Trump to keep Muslims out of the country.

“It remains clear that President Trump’s purpose is to disparage and condemn Muslims,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, adding that the government’s new ban on entry “does not comport with the Supreme Court’s order, is arbitrary, and is not tied to any legitimate government purpose.”

One week after taking office, Trump shut down travel from seven mostly Muslim countries, including Iraq, and blocked entry by all refugees, saying that a “pause” was necessary to evaluate the vetting of visitors from places that the government deemed dangerous.

Critics assailed that first order as a veiled attempt to make good on Trump’s campaign promise to impose a “Muslim ban.” After courts blocked it, the president issued a modified order directed at six countries, not including Iraq. That order was blocked as well, with federal appeals courts ruling that it discriminated based on religion, in violation of the First Amendment, and exceeded the president’s statutory authority.

The decision Thursday by the administration to revive and aggressively enforce another version of the president’s travel ban is certain to keep the intense debate about America’s borders going into the Supreme Court’s fall term, when the justices are scheduled to decide the legal fate of Trump’s efforts to restrict entry by particular groups.

Officials said they were determined to “meet the intent of the presidential directive” within the boundaries set by the Supreme Court, which issued an interim opinion when it agreed to consider the issue in its next term.

Hours before the new guidelines went into effect Thursday evening, officials predicted little of the chaos that engulfed airports in January, when the president issued his original travel ban. This time, officials said, people already booked to travel to the United States would be allowed to enter. And they made it clear that legal permanent residents were not affected by the ban.

But the administration’s newest move could prompt another wave of litigation as advocates for those trying to enter the United States ask courts to halt enforcement of the ban. Already, lawyers in Washington have filed a lawsuit asking the court to allow the entry of refugees with no “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

Other lawyers representing people who have been blocked from visiting the United States described the government’s actions as mean-spirited.

“Allowing a US citizen to bring their Syrian mother-in-law but not their Syrian brother-in-law doesn’t make us any safer, and doesn’t even really make any sense,” said Gadeir Abbas, a staff lawyer on the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Trump has said that his travel ban does not directly target Muslims, although the six countries on the list that the president has deemed as dangerous — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen — are majority Muslim.....


Those are my top two stories, and beyond the oil and gas is.....

"House votes to end some federal funds for ‘sanctuary’ cities" by Matthew Daly   June 29, 2017

WASHINGTON — Warning of threats to public safety and national security, the Republican-led House on Thursday approved two bills to crack down on illegal immigration, a key priority for President Trump.

One bill would strip federal dollars from self-proclaimed ‘‘sanctuary’’ cities that shield residents from federal immigration authorities, while a separate measure would stiffen punishments for people who reenter the United States illegally.

The sanctuary measure was approved 228-195, while the bill to punish deportees was approved 257-167.

Trump often railed against illegal immigration during his presidential campaign, and his support for tougher immigration policies is crucial to his voting base. Trump met at the White House on Wednesday with more than a dozen people whose family members were killed by people in the country illegally, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with the families Thursday.

Democrats said the bills were feel-good measures intended to make lawmakers look tough on crime.

‘‘Enforcement is not selective, occasional or arbitrary, it’s the law,’’ Homeland Security Secretary spokesman David Lapan said.....

Well, actually..... sigh.



Immigration advocates brace for modified travel ban

Healey and nine other AGs demand data on immigration arrests

I wish she would worry more about her own state than the national agenda.

"Senate Republicans consider leaving tax on rich in health bill" by Robert Pear and Thomas Kaplan New York Times  June 29, 2017

WASHINGTON — Hoping to revive their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Senate Republicans said Thursday they were seriously considering proposals to keep one of the law’s taxes on high-income people while providing more money to combat the opioid epidemic and new incentives for people to establish tax-free savings accounts for medical expenses.

You will need to excuse me for a few moments; I need to find my eyeballs that are rolling around on the floor right now.

In addition, Republicans said, they are considering a proposal that would allow insurers to sell cheaper, less comprehensive health plans if they also offered at least one plan that complies with consumer protection standards like those in the Affordable Care Act.

The open talk of leaving in place a tax on investment income was a big break from the House-passed health care bill and from the Senate’s initial approach. And it was championed by reliably conservative Republicans who acknowledged the tough choices that the health bill would force on lower-income Americans.

“It’s not equitable to have a situation where you’re increasing the burden on lower-income citizens and lessening the burden on wealthy citizens,” said Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee. “That’s not a proposition that is sustainable, and I think leadership knows that.”

Translation: they are worried about their popularity.

But the negotiations themselves are attracting controversy, and personal strains are showing. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, dressed down Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, this week over Medicaid cuts. Senate Republicans bristled after a super PAC tied to President Trump went after one of their own for opposing the bill, Dean Heller of Nevada. Adding to the insult, one of the top officials of that group, Nick Ayers, was named chief of staff of Vice President Mike Pence’s office on Thursday — after the blowup.

Democrats are also angry. For seven years, Republicans have denounced what they call corrupt deals made by Senate Democrats to buy votes for passage of former president Obama’s health care bill. The frantic wheeling and dealing among Republican senators on Thursday had more than a faint resemblance to the negotiations that led to adoption of the health care law in 2010.

“The slush fund is open,” said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the senior Democrat on the Finance Committee, referring to about $200 billion that could be available for deals in the Senate repeal bill. “Applicants can queue up and have a good chance of being treated favorably if they are from the right political party.”

When does the mu$ic stop?

McConnell was briefing senators Thursday about possible changes in the repeal bill, hoping for broad agreement by the end of the week so he can submit it to the Congressional Budget Office for an official assessment. He scrapped plans for a vote on the bill this week after he met broad resistance from Republican senators across the ideological spectrum.

This week, for the first time, Republicans are talking publicly about keeping a tax on capital gains and other investment income, imposed by the Affordable Care Act on individuals with annual incomes exceeding $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000.

McConnell’s bill would repeal that tax, like most other taxes in Obama’s health care law. Corker and Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican, said party members were discussing the idea of keeping the investment tax. Conservative Senator Mike Lee of Utah took a swipe at “tax cuts for the affluent” in listing his concerns with the Senate bill, and moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said, “I do not see a justification for doing away with the 3.8 percent tax” on certain investment income. Collins said the investment tax differed from other taxes in the Affordable Care Act, like an excise tax on medical devices, because those taxes can increase costs for health care consumers. I distinguish between those tax increases that were part of Obamacare that increase premiums and the cost of health care versus those that don’t,” Collins said.

Senate Republicans also said they were considering adding billions of dollars to the repeal bill to help pay for the prevention and treatment of opioid abuse. This provision is meant to woo wavering Republicans from states hard hit by the opioid epidemic, including Portman and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.....

Nothing more than legalized bribery -- with taxpayer dollars!


So how is work on that defen$e bill?

Also see: 

"The Trump administration said Thursday it is taking steps to expand oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans as President Trump continues to push for US ‘‘energy dominance’’ in the global market. The Interior Department is rewriting a five-year drilling plan established by the Obama administration, with an eye toward opening areas in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans that now are off-limits to drilling. It’s one of six initiatives that the president unveiled Thursday in hopes of generating more energy exports and jobs. US oil production has boomed in recent years, and exports of oil and natural gas are surging, primarily because of improved drilling techniques such as fracking that have opened up production in previously out-of-reach areas. Trump has pledged to ramp up production further, withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement because of the limitations that it could have placed on the burning of fossil fuels."


Somehow, Trump still finds ways to shock us

He will soon find himself alone.

From Watergate to Russia-gate 

The Clinton hack brings a tear to your eye.

Mark Twain’s lessons for the Trump age 

Twain was a member of the Anti-Imperialist League. 

If Trump goes that way.....

"In 1865, eight people, including Mary Surratt and Dr. Samuel Mudd, were convicted by a military commission of conspiring with John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Lincoln. (Four defendants, including Surratt, were executed; Mudd was sentenced to life in prison but was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson in 1869.)"

She was probably innocent of the charges, and I'm not trying to be funny.

Did you know Frank Langella was running AIG now?


"Facing financial woes, Colonial Williamsburg to restructure" by Sarah Rankin Associated Press  June 29, 2017

RICHMOND — Colonial Williamsburg will outsource many of its commercial operations and lay off workers in response to declining attendance and long-running financial challenges, the living history museum’s top official announced Thursday.

The foundation that operates the eastern Virginia attraction is in final negotiations with four companies that will manage its golf operations, retail stores, much of its maintenance and facilities operations, and its commercial real estate, president and CEO Mitchell Reiss said.

‘‘For a variety of reasons — business decisions made in years past, less American history being taught in schools, changing times and tastes that cause us to attract half the visitors we did 30 years ago — the Foundation loses significant amounts of money every year,’’ he wrote in a letter shared publicly.

The foundation’s operating losses last year totaled $54 million, or $148,000 per day. It also borrowed heavily to improve its hospitality facilities and visitors center and ended 2016 with more than $300 million in debt, Reiss said.

Combined, those factors put pressure on the foundation’s endowment, with withdrawals reaching as high as 12 percent per year. At that rate, the approximately $684 million endowment could be exhausted in just eight years or perhaps sooner.

Reiss said in an interview that the foundation’s financial straits meant its mission of historic preservation ‘‘was at risk, quite frankly.’’

Colonial Williamsburg is the world’s largest living history museum, with costumed interpreters who reenact 18th-century life amid more than 600 restored or reconstructed original buildings.

The city southeast of Richmond served as Virginia’s capital from 1699, when nearby Jamestown burned to the ground, until 1780. It fell into disrepair but was revived in the 1920s in a restoration project financed by John D. Rockefeller Jr.

All I can think of is all the Confederate monuments and symbols being removed as this early Colonial history of slave owners is exalted.

Reiss said 71 jobs from departments across the foundation will be eliminated by year’s end, and another 262 employees may choose to work for the contract companies, which agreed to hire and retain eligible employees for at least the next year. Colonial Williamsburg will have just under 2,100 employees when the process is finished, he said.

None of the costumed interpreters will be affected, he said.



"Indiana mother sentenced for killing children" AP  June 29, 2017

GOSHEN, Ind. — A judge has ordered an Indiana woman who admitted to fatally smothering her two children to undergo mental health treatment before going to prison under a 130-year sentence.

An Elkhart County judge ordered the sentence Thursday for 30-year-old Amber Pasztor of Fort Wayne in the deaths of 7-year-old Lilliana Hernandez and 6-year-old Rene Pasztor.

She pleaded guilty but mentally ill to two murder counts.

Pasztor abducted her children Sept. 26 from their custodial grandparents’ home, prompting an Amber Alert.

Their bodies were found the same day inside a car in Elkhart, about 70 miles northwest of Fort Wayne.

Pasztor is also charged in the September shooting death of a former neighbor, 66-year-old Frank Macomber.

Her children’s bodies were found inside his stolen car.


It's a terrible tragedy, but by contrast those lying war criminals that murder scores of children walk free amongst us.

"Ohio man gets up to life for killing pastor brother at church" AP  June 29, 2017

DAYTON, Ohio — An Ohio man who fatally shot his pastor brother in a church office as Sunday services were ending last year has been sentenced to 31 years to life in prison.

The sentencing on Wednesday came after a jury this month found 69-year-old Daniel Schooler guilty of murder and felonious assault charges in the fatal shooting of the Rev. William Schooler at the pastor’s Dayton church in February 2016.

Daniel Schooler testified at trial that he went to the church to discuss a lawsuit about an inheritance. He said he shot his 70-year-old brother in self-defense after William Schooler reached toward him.

Relatives have said Daniel Schooler had a history of mental illness.

Prosecutors said Schooler went to the church to confront his brother because he was angry at him.

His attorney declined to comment Thursday.


Time to get out of the heartland:

"Governor Declares a State of Emergency for New York City Subways" New York Times News Service  June 29, 2017

NEW YORK — Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York declared a state of emergency for New York City’s subway system Thursday and said he would sign an executive order to accelerate efforts to improve service, including undertaking badly needed repairs and obtaining new cars and equipment.

Cuomo said that the dismal performance of the system was no longer acceptable, and that he had ordered Joseph J. Lhota, the new chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, to provide a reorganization plan for the agency within 30 days.

Where is the mayor?

Lhota must also review the agency’s capital plan within 60 days, the governor added. Cuomo pledged to direct an addition $1 billion for capital improvements.

How is throwing $1 billion at the problem going to help now?

Cuomo’s comments came two days after a subway train derailed in northern Manhattan, injuring about three dozen people and raising concerns among commuters that the system had become not only unreliable, but also unsafe.

Wasn't human error like we are usually told?

I hope the passengers have health insurance.

The governor said the executive order would make it easier for the transit agency to focus on its most urgent needs.

“It will no longer be a tortured exercise to do business with the MTA,” Cuomo said at a meeting in Manhattan where entrepreneurs were gathered for a competition unveiled by the governor for ideas on how the fix the problems plaguing the subway.

“We need new ideas,” the governor said. “Delivered faster.”

Got any?


Sorry to cop out on you.

"Police in New York are looking for the daughter of Donal Logue, the Harvard-educated actor who plays Harvey Bullock on the Fox drama “Gotham.” According to the New York Daily News, Logue told police that his 16-year-old daughter Jade, who is transgender and identifies as female, didn’t come home after meeting with a friend at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn Monday....."

Maybe she joined the military?

"Curt Schilling says he’s thought about running for president" by Mark Shanahan Globe Staff  June 29, 2017

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling tells Esquire that he’s still seriously considering running against Senator Elizabeth Warren, and he’s hoping his ultra-conservative message catches on with the masses. He even admits he’s entertained the notion of running for the nation’s highest office.

There are already rumblings of racist.

“My thought was, I could run for [the] Senate next year and then I would run for president after Trump’s second term,” he says.

But Schilling has said a lot of stuff, and some of it has gotten him into trouble. While an analyst at ESPN, he tweeted a meme comparing extremist Muslims to Nazis, said Hillary Clinton “should be buried under a jail somewhere” for using a private e-mail server, and posted a meme assailing the transgender community for its opposition to a controversial North Carolina law mandating that people in public buildings use the bathroom that matches the sex listed on their birth certificates.

Schilling was eventually fired by ESPN.....


RelatedAlan Dershowitz has written a book about Trump’s legal problems

He took some plane rides with Epstein so his defense is no surprise.


‘Morning Joe’ hosts question Trump’s ‘emotional state’

Brzezinski, Scarborough fire back at Trump in Washington Post op-ed

Has he sent one of his goons over yet?

'Morning Joe' Hosts Respond To Trump's "Bleeding Face" Tweet

While Trump Kills 4,000 Civilians, the Fake-Left is Triggered Over a Tweet About a Facelift

He's sending the troops into Chicago, too.