Saturday, November 18, 2017

On the Marchant

"BU says geology professor sexually harassed grad student in Antarctica" y Deirdre Fernandes Globe Staff  November 17, 2017

Boston University has found evidence that a well-known geologist sexually harassed a graduate student almost two decades ago while on an isolated field expedition in Antarctica and could fire him for the violations.

The allegations against David Marchant, which came to light last month, stunned the university’s earth and environment department, where he was a well-known and popular professor. It has also triggered a congressional investigation and increased calls from the university’s graduate students for more protections against sexual harassment.

After a 13-month investigation, university officials uncovered enough evidence that Marchant’s “sexual harassment was sufficiently severe and pervasive so as to create a hostile learning and living environment,” according to a letter BU Provost Jean Morrison sent to faculty on Friday.

Marchant, a tenured professor who was until recently a department chair, plans to appeal the investigation’s findings, according to his lawyer, Jeffrey Sankey. However, if he is unsuccessful, BU said it will begin the process to “terminate his faculty appointment.”

“Dr. Marchant is extremely disappointed in the findings and continues to maintain that he did not engage in any sexually harassing behavior in 1999 or at another time,” Sankey said.

Since the allegations have been made public, former students have defended Marchant and said that they never witnessed him treating women inappropriately.

But several women alleged that Marchant hurled rocks at them, shoved them, used sexual slurs, and berated them about their bodies and their work in the late 1990s and early 2000 while conducting research in small groups in Antarctica. Their accusations were detailed in a story in the magazine Science last month.

One of the women, Jane Willenbring, an associate professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, filed a Title IX sex discrimination complaint with BU last year. Willenbring alleged that Marchant subjected her to verbal and physical harassment while she was a 22-year-old graduate student and he was her thesis adviser.

In her letter to the school, Willenbring said that Marchant repeatedly urged her to have sex with his brother, who was also on the trip. One week, she alleged, Marchant threw rocks at her every time she urinated in the field, so she limited her water consumption during the day and drank liters at night, triggering a urinary tract infection and urinary incontinence, according to the complaint.

Willenbring said she was only comfortable bringing the complaint forward after she herself achieved tenure and felt professionally secure.

Willenbring said she is pleased with the results.

BU said investigators found evidence that Marchant made derogatory comments to Willenbring and used sexual slurs during the trips. However, the university did not find credible evidence that Marchant directly physically attacked her or subjected her to physical and psychological abuse, according to the faculty letter.

Two other women also made allegations against Marchant in the Science article. An unnamed former graduate student said Marchant began making derogatory comments about her ability and intelligence while on campus, and when they got to Antarctica that treatment escalated. He used slurs and threatened that he would ensure she never received National Science Foundation funding, according to Science.

An Illinois high school teacher who also participated in an Antarctic expedition described to Science that she was taunted by Marchant about her breast size and her age. She was in her 40s at the time.

Marchant has been placed on paid administrative leave and is not allowed on campus.....

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Now don't get any ideas..... name a building after them or something.

Related
Teen arrested after bringing loaded gun to West Roxbury High School

Was a 16-year-old girl, and she did it to defend herself from being harassed.

Also see: “It’s a crazy scene but as of now no one’s hurt seriously. I think it’s shocking. It’s scary as hell to be quite honest with you.”

Like Frankenstein?

President Trump’s response on Al Franken draws fire

They spend more time talking about Trump's transgressions, and I get the message.

"Warren blasts tax bill but is uncertain it can be stopped" by Michael Levenson Globe Staff  November 17, 2017

She was “angry, in an interview with the Globe editorial board, waving her fist in the air, and she was not sure Democrats can find the three Republican votes needed to defeat the bill.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s interview with the Globe touched on a variety of topics, including the controversy surrounding Senator Al Franken, a legislative measure inspired by Boston Marathon bombing victims Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, and President Trump’s attacks against her.

Boasting of a legislative success, Warren said she was proud that a massive defense bill that passed Congress this week included a provision that will make it easier for civilians injured in terrorist attacks to receive care in military hospitals. The measure was named for Kensky and Downes, who were newlyweds watching the Boston Marathon when the bombs exploded in 2013.

Haven't heard much about that in the swirl of sex and taxes, other than it will put Kaspersky out of business.

Downes lost one leg, and Kensky lost one and later had the other amputated. Both received treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center but only after receiving permission directly from the secretary of defense, Warren said.

“That takes time, and time matters when doctors have to make critical decisions about whether to amputate and, if so, where, and how,” Warren said. “So Jessica and Patrick, during their rehab . . . started talking about whether or not it would be possible to change the law so any future civilian victims of terrorism would have access to the military hospitals for specialized care.”

The amendment, Warren said, would allow civilians access to the hospitals only if space is available. Kensky and Downes “were clear they didn’t want to crowd out any soldiers over this, any military who need access,” Warren said.....

She said Franken should be given a chance to explain himself to the Senate Ethics Committee.

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Related:

"Some former female staffers of Franken came out in his defense, saying that he had treated women with respect while they worked in his office. Eight former Franken staffers who worked for him in Minnesota and Washington after he was elected to the Senate in 2008 signed a statement of support. ‘‘In our time working for the Senator, he treated us with the utmost respect,’’ it reads. “He valued our work and our opinions and was a champion for women both in the legislation he supported and in promoting women to leadership roles in our offices.’’

Now gimme a kiss.

"Stephen Bittel, the Florida Democrat Party chairman, resigned Friday after a report of anonymous allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior, a decision he made after four of his party’s candidates for governor said he should step down. The party released a statement from Bittel, who had held the job since January. ‘‘I apologize for all who have felt uncomfortable during my tenure at the Democratic Party,’’ he said, in response to a Politico report quoting women it did not identify saying Bittel would leer at them, make comments about their appearances or breasts, and exhibit other behavior that made them uncomfortable....."

"Several leading Ohio women condemned Supreme Court Justice William O'Neill, a Democratic candidate for governor, for writing a Facebook post that has details of his sexual past with ‘‘approximately 50’’ women. Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, the first woman to lead the state’s high court, immediately condemned the post. ‘‘No words can convey my shock,’’ she said. ‘‘This gross disrespect for women shakes the public’s confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.’’ All other Democrats seeking the governorship called for O'Neill to resign, saying he trivialized the issue. O'Neill, 70, said the post grew out of frustration over Democrats’ calls to remove Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, from the Senate over sexual misconduct allegations and his belief that the story line was taking accounts of people’s ‘‘sexual indiscretions’’ too far.....

Oh, in other developments..... more witch hunts!

Time to move on.

(FLIP)

"Wayfair needs a home for the 10,000 workers it plans to hire" by Tim Logan Globe Staff  November 18, 2017

In preparation for hiring as many as 10,000 workers in the coming years, Internet retailer Wayfair Inc. is on a massive hunt for office space, an expansion that could make it one of Boston’s largest business tenants.

The Boston-based company — which sells furniture and household goods — said Friday that it is looking for up to 1 million square feet of space, which is about three-quarters the size of the Prudential Center and nearly three times the room it has at its headquarters in Copley Place, where about 3,500 people work today.

“At the rate we’re growing, we’ll need a lot more space,” said Wayfair spokeswoman Jane Carpenter.

Wayfair’s sales are rising rapidly, pushing revenue up 37 percent to $3.3 billion in the first nine months of the year. But the company has failed to turn a profit since it went public in 2014 as it spends to expand inventory, marketing, and distribution in the United States and Europe. Investors remain bullish, however, pushing its stock up almost 90 percent in 2017, in part on speculation that the company might be acquired by Walmart.

Brendan Carroll, director of intelligence at real estate firm Perry Brokerage, said, “The Internet era is creating this class of big, big winners, and the winners are huge.”

And the losers?

See: "Investors have liked what they’ve seen from retailers the last two days. Invesco Global Market Strategist Kristina Hooper said the companies are giving a double dose of good news. Consumers are spending more, and there are signs some companies are figuring out how to survive in a world where more and more sales are made online....."

It's a retail rally!

Wayfair has made its name with free, fast, delivery of a wide range of home furnishings from more than 10,000 suppliers. It doesn’t have the massive distribution centers of online retail giant Amazon, but has opened about 15 warehouses across the country and invests heavily in marketing. 

The television ads with the catchy jingles are ubiquitous.

The company added more than 800 jobs in the three months ending Sept. 30, giving it about 6,900 employees — roughly half in Boston and half at its distribution centers and international offices. They plan to accelerate that pace, chief financial officer Michael D. Fleisher told analysts earlier this month.

“We are continuing to ramp up our hiring,” he said. “We’re excited to be adding great people.”

I'll keep an eye on them for you.

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The football game has been cancelled?

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"Tax fight gets personal as senators spar over bill" by Alan Rappeport New York Times   November 17, 2017

NEW YORK — The angry exchange between the more fiery Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, and the usually staid Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, the committee chairman, appeared to awaken a hearing room in the Senate’s Hart Building that had been overtaken by exhaustion after nearly 12 hours of talk about taxes.

Defending his position, Brown said that he could not stand silent in the face of Republican talking points about trickle-down economics that he found to be false. “I get sick of the richest people in this country getting richer and richer and richer,” Brown said.

Hatch then raised his gavel and slammed it against the dais nine times to silence the Ohio senator.

An aide to Brown said that while he and Hatch did not get a chance to speak afterward, there was no personal animosity between the senators and described the exchange as “a passionate argument about the policies in the bill.”

The Senate now begins its Thanksgiving recess, during which Republican leaders will try to sell reluctant senators within their own party on the legislation so that they can have a successful vote in early December.

And what do they have planned this holiday season?

Days before Thanksgiving, Plimoth Plantation workers to picket

Umm, they didn't have unions in those days, so if you are living the dream.....

Big differences still remain between the House and Senate bills, and at least four Republican senators have openly expressed trepidations about the bill over its potential impact on the national debt and whether it does enough to help the middle class.

The exchange highlighted the degree to which Democrats have found themselves outboxed in the most sweeping tax rewrite in generations.

While Republicans in both chambers have allowed Democrats to offer amendments to the legislation, they have universally rejected those provisions. That has left Democrats with little recourse other than publicly pillorying the bill.

What a bunch of pathetic impotents.

Before the House vote Thursday, Representative Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, the minority leader, accused Republicans of passing the bill in the cloak of darkness.

“With straight faces and with the speed of light — I have to give them credit — they raced this thing through in the dark of night,” she said. “They’re trying to sell a bill of goods.”

I'm shocked that she said that after the health law was shoved through the same way, and after she famously said they had to pass bill to see what's in it.

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"Woman at center of State Police scandal pleads guilty to drunken driving charge" by Travis Andersen Globe Staff  November 17, 2017

FRAMINGHAM — The woman at the center of a State Police scandal over an altered arrest report admitted Friday to driving drunk during an October crash that sparked the controversy.

Alli E. Bibaud, 30, the daughter of a Dudley District Court judge, pleaded guilty to drunken driving and negligent operation of a motor vehicle in Framingham District Court.

Judge James Sullivan sentenced her to a total of 14 months of probation, suspended her license for a year, and ordered her to complete a residential treatment program.

She is a judge's daughter.

The fallout from Bibaud’s arrest prompted two federal lawsuits, forced the head of the State Police and his top deputy to abruptly retire, and placed Bibaud’s father, Judge Timothy Bibaud, under scrutiny.

According to court records and officials, Trooper Ryan Sceviour initially noted in his report that Bibaud admitted performing sex acts to support her addiction and also offered him sex in exchange for leniency.

Sceviour wrote that Bibaud said her father was a judge and that “he’s going to kill me.”

State Police Colonel Richard McKeon later ordered Sceviour to remove any reference to Bibaud’s salacious comments in the report, asserting they weren’t relevant to the arrest, and a lawyer in Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early’s office, where Alli Bibaud worked previously as a victim witness advocate, later requested that the original report be redacted.

Sceviour and another trooper have since filed suit against the state, alleging they were improperly pressured to alter their reports.

The new State Police colonel, Kerry Gilpin, has ordered an internal review of the matter. Attorney General Maura Healey’s office is also investigating.

Sceviour wrote in his report that Alli Bibaud reeked of alcohol when she exited her Toyota Corolla after the crash, and her eyes were nearly shut. She failed sobriety tests, admitted to using heroin and drinking from nips that day, and said she was sick and a heroin addict, Sceviour wrote.

She had fresh track marks on her inner elbows and told Sceviour she became upset when her passenger and boyfriend, John Mclean, tried to use their entire heroin supply during the car ride instead of splitting it, the report said. Sceviour also noted the presence of a “heroin kit” in the vehicle that contained about a dozen hypodermic needles.

First I've seen of him.

Bibaud continued to make lewd comments during booking at the State Police barracks in Holden and lapsed in and out of consciousness before falling asleep, according to the report. She was released on recognizance, and her father picked her up at the barracks.....

Get in the car, young lady!

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Also seeTwo Brockton residents arrested for violent home invasion in North End

They took 'em over to the courthouse.

All out in the open now:

"Legislative panel to look at expanding public records law has never met" by Laura Crimaldi Globe Staff  November 17, 2017

A legislative report due at the end of the year on whether the state’s new public records law should also be applied to the Legislature, the governor’s office, and the judiciary is unlikely to get done.

Why? The group of lawmakers charged with preparing the report has never met.

“That is a little troubling,” said state Representative Mathew Muratore, a Plymouth Republican who is a member of the public records commission. The group’s leaders, he said, have never convened a meeting.

“I’m going to start asking around,” he said this week.

Yeah, you do that.

Massachusetts is the only state where those offices all claim to be exempt from public records laws.

Which flies in the face of the illusion regarding the deep-blue liberal bastion that is Ma$$achu$etts.

On Friday, state Attorney General Maura Healey sided with Baker in a legal dispute over whether he had to provide the Globe records about constituent calls. The current public records law, Healey found, doesn’t cover Baker’s office.

Advocates for stronger public records laws said they were disappointed that the group hasn’t met. Some seats on the commission also remain vacant.

Their expectations were to high.

“If you promise to do something, then follow through on it,” said Robert J. Ambrogi, executive director of the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association. “It shows they’re not serious.”

We already knew that.

State Senator Walter F. Timilty was named chairman of the Senate committee in February. State Representative Jennifer Benson took over the House committee in July.

After the Globe began making inquiries, spokesmen for Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo issued a statement suggesting that Timilty and Benson hadn’t had enough time to organize the commission because they are new to the committee and had to address other business first.

The statement also said Rosenberg and DeLeo intend to fill the vacant seats in the coming weeks and will seek to extend the Dec. 30 deadline for the commission to complete its work.

State Senator Joan Lovely, who previously led the Senate Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, said she was out of that position when the new legislative session began earlier this year. The public records panel, she said, couldn’t convene until the new law took effect Jan. 1.

Are you tired of the lame-ass excuses for why they don't do certain things yet?

Got that pay raise through right quick to start the year though (because of the new committee assignments, which begs the question of whether they are being paid for meetings that have never happened) -- after they got a 4.19 percent bump at the end of last year!

Lovely, who helped spearhead public records reform, said she was recently appointed to the commission. Even though it’s not required by law, she said some documents maintained by her office are publicly available.

Lawmakers are serious about studying whether more records should be considered public, she said.

“We took it very seriously because we put it in the law,” said Lovely, a Salem Democrat.

How farcical!

And think about this: they rewrote the bailout initiative regarding recreational pot in the interim. That's how "seriously" they take the law.

Timilty’s spokeswoman didn’t respond to a question about why the public records commission hadn’t met. Benson was at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, and couldn’t be reached.

Are you f***ing kidding? 

What is she doing over in Bonn, other than spewing more greenhouse gases? 

Then she will come back and blame my driving the car for the fart mist.

Pam Wilmot, executive director of the good government group Common Cause Massachusetts, said it’s not uncommon for legislative commissions to never convene.

“I thought that this one would be different and I’m disappointed that this wasn’t taken more seriously,” she said. “This is something that deserves more attention and I think the commission would have been a good venue for it.”

The state Supreme Judicial Court also had an opportunity to decide whether the public records law applies to the judiciary’s administrative records, but sidestepped the issue earlier this month.....

Send it to the Ethics Committee.

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Can we at least get the documents covering the sexual harassment payments and problem at the State House that the Globe never discusses anymore?

Also see:

"Actor Tom Sizemore denied allegations that he groped an 11-year-old Utah girl during a 2003 photo shoot. Sizemore, in a statement late Thursday, lamented his history of drug abuse and domestic violence arrests, but says he would never inappropriately touch a child....."

Have you noticed how elite pedophilia is getting lost in the discussion regarding consenting adults?

Would any sexual abuse revelation be surprising anymore?

Answer: The Rev. Jesse Jackson

What is your corrupt son and daughter-in-law up to these days anyway?

There is no sense extending this post, sorry.

Trump Squeaks

"President Trump said he’s delaying a new policy allowing the body parts of African elephants shot for sport to be imported until he can review ‘‘all conservation facts.’’ The US Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday that it will allow the importation of body parts from African elements shot for sport. The agency said encouraging wealthy big-game hunters to kill the threatened species would help raise money for conservation programs. Animal rights advocates and environmental groups criticized the decision. On Friday, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee urged the administration to reverse the policy, calling it the ‘‘wrong move at the wrong time.’’ Trump tweeted Friday that the policy had been ‘‘under study for years.’’ He said he will review the issue with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Meanwhile, on Friday....."

Related: The Bo$ton Globe's Big Game Hunt

Mugabe now a mouse:

"Zimbabwe’s governing party moves to expel Mugabe, effectively endorsing coup" by Jeffrey Moyo New York Times   November 17, 2017

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s governing party moved Friday to expel President Robert Mugabe from its ranks, taking the first step in legally ousting the 93-year-old leader after a military coup two days earlier.

A majority of the leaders of the party, ZANU-PF, recommended Mugabe’s expulsion from the very organization that he had controlled with an iron grip since independence in 1980, according to ZBC, the state broadcaster.

Similar steps, possibly over the next week, by the party’s central committee, Parliament, and Mugabe’s Cabinet could legally end his presidencyin keeping with coup leaders’ attempts to soften the image of a takeover that the military insists was not a coup.

The military arrested Mugabe early Wednesday, effectively ending his 37-year rule, although it allowed him to appear in public Friday to address a university graduation.

Later Friday, party members endorsed the military’s efforts to stabilize the economy and defuse political instability. They echoed military commanders in arguing that the intervention was aimed at rooting out a cabal of corrupt interlopers who had clouded Mugabe’s judgment and his ability to govern.

“Many of us had watched with pain as the party and government were being reduced to the personal property of a few infiltrators with traitorous histories and questionable commitment to the people of Zimbabwe,” the party leaders said in a resolution. “Clearly, the country was going down the wrong path.”

The resolution recommended that Mugabe be removed for taking the advice of “counterrevolutionaries and agents of neo-imperialism”; for mistreating his vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom Mugabe abruptly dismissed last week; and for encouraging “factionalism.”

I didn't know Zimbabwe's government was infested with Zionist warmongers as is the U.S. government. Trump must take notice.

It urged the “immediate and unconditional reinstatement” of Mnangagwa, who appears poised to succeed Mugabe, at least until national elections next year.

Zimbabwe's Barak Obama?

Party members also moved to schedule a march for Saturday in support of the military.

Over the past few days, the military has been in negotiations to find a peaceful and face-saving way for Mugabe to exit the scene, in talks mediated by South Africa and other countries in the region and by the Roman Catholic Church.

The military has insisted that its intervention was not a coup. The Herald, the state-run newspaper, said the military “had taken action to pacify the degenerating political, social, and economic situation in the country,” which “if left unchecked would have resulted in violent conflict,” and said the action was intended “to flush out reactionary and criminal elements around the president.”

Oh, that's already been done. Flynn and Bannon are gone.

On Friday, Mugabe was freed — if only temporarily — to address a university graduation ceremony. It was his first public appearance since the military placed him under house arrest — an illustration, perhaps, that this was no ordinary attempt to oust a despot.

Mugabe, 93, has dominated his country since independence from Britain 37 years ago, surviving through a blend of political skill, brutality, manipulation, and patronage dispensed among a corrupt elite.

Feel like I'm looking in a mirror, and if the dollar is ever dropped as the reserve currency of the global $y$tem we will be Zimbabwe.

Those days “are numbered,” though, said Chris Mutsvangwa, leader of Zimbabwe’s influential war veterans’ movement, which was founded to represent those who fought in the seven-year liberation war in the 1970s but has emerged as a powerful political force.

At a news conference, Mutsvangwa cranked up pressure on Mugabe, saying the longtime leader would face huge calls for his ouster at a rally Saturday.

At his news conference, Mutsvangwa said several key regions in Zimbabwe’s Shona-speaking heartlands — the base of ZANU-PF’s support — had approved calls for the president’s expulsion. Mugabe himself has in the past used orchestrated maneuvering in the provinces to undermine national figures in Harare.

The talks involving the Catholic Church and South African mediators are intended to devise a transition that would have the appearance of constitutional legitimacy while providing a decorous departure for a leader whose role in the preindependence liberation struggle is central to the national narrative.

The military’s ultimate intention has apparently been to effect a transfer of power without the appearance of illegality that might draw further opprobrium from outside Zimbabwe or frighten off potential investors.

Outside the main cities Friday, the military set up roadblocks on main highways, apparently to thwart any attempt at organized resistance.

Buses traveling from Bulawayo, the second city, to Harare, the capital, were pulled over and boarded by soldiers who checked documents and asked passengers about their business.....

More of a police state than when Mugabe was in charge!

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Mugabe is no Kenyatta, that's for sure.


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"Violence kills at least 5 children in Damascus suburb" Associated Press  November 17, 2017

BEIRUT— At least five children and two rescue workers were killed Friday in a Damascus suburb during a government bombing campaign amid escalating violence in and around the capital despite a truce, activists reported.

State media said that rebels shelled government-controlled neighborhoods of Damascus, killing at least three civilians.

Meanwhile, activists said militants from the Islamic State blew up a car bomb at a gathering of displaced Syrians in the eastern of the country, killing dozens.

Friday marks the fourth day of violence in Damascus and its suburbs, despite a truce brokered by Russia, Turkey, and Iran that went into effect in August. So far, omore than 40 people have been killed, mostly in rebel-held suburbs but also in the government-controlled capital.....

And the 800-pound elephant in the room that ain't going anywhere?

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Related:

"The surprise resignation by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri stunned the Lebanese, many of whom saw it as a sign the Sunni kingdom — the prime minister’s chief ally — had decided to drag tiny Lebanon into its feud with the region’s other powerhouse, the predominantly Shi’ite Iran....."

In what is known as Plan B, since they lost Syria. 

"Iraqi forces retake last town under ISIS control" by Mustafa Salim Washington Post  November 17, 2017

BAGHDAD — Iraqi forces wrested back the final piece of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate, the country’s military said on Friday, reclaiming the small town of Rawa near the border with Syria.

Still, Iraqi officials warn, the extremist group poses a threat as it turns to more traditional terrorist tactics. Since losing its de-facto capital of Mosul in July, the militant group has been able to stage deadly suicide bombings and its gunmen have struck civilians throughout Iraq.

While state television heralded the victory in Rawa, there was a muted response in Iraq to the development. Since winning back Mosul in July, and later the smaller but populous towns of Tal Afar and Hawija, Iraqis have largely considered themselves on a post-Islamic State footing.

Some 3.2 million people displaced by the fighting remain in camps while independent organizations say the civilian death toll from the US-led air-war is much more massive than has been announced.....

And it is about to get much worse.

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SeeUS launches Libya drone strike as Africa operations appear to ramp up

Over the past week, the U.S. military conducted six days of airstrikes against ISIS and al-Shabaab in Somalia. In all, 28 airstrikes have been launched against Somalia in 2017, according to the U.S. Africa Command. Meanwhile, the U.S. has conducted over 100 airstrikes against ISIS and Al Qaeda in Yemen this year. Since President Trump took office, the U.S. military has already dropped twice as many bombs on the Taliban and ISIS in Afghanistan than it did all of last year.

Not the kind of change I wanted.

"In Pakistan on Friday, police told and estimated 5,000 protesters at an Islamist rally near the capital, Islamabad, to disband to avoid a crackdown, the Associated Press reported. The warning came a day after a court asked the rally organizers — the small Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah party — to end the dayslong protest that has disrupted life in Islamabad and forced many commuters to find alternate routes. The demonstrators began camping out last week at the main Faizabad crossing, which links the garrison city of Rawalpindi with Islamabad. They have been demanding the removal of the country’s law minister, Zahid Hamid, over a recently omitted reference to the prophet Mohammed in a constitutional bill."

Occupy Pakistan?

At least the North Korean army is in terrible shape, 'eh?

**********

Meanwhile, back in the war zones in this hemisphere:

"The White House sent Congress a $44 billion disaster aid request that’s already under attack from lawmakers from hurricane-hit regions as way too small. The request, President Trump’s third since hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria slammed the Gulf Coast and Caribbean, would bring the total appropriated for disaster relief this fall close to $100 billion — and that’s before most of the money to rebuild Puerto Rico’s housing stock and electric grid is added in. The measure arrives as lawmakers and the White House face numerous budget-related issues by year’s end, including a deadline of Dec. 8 to avert a government shutdown. Top Capitol Hill leaders are also negotiating bipartisan spending increases for the Pentagon and domestic agencies in hopes of passing a catchall government funding bill. They are also seeking to renew a popular program that provides health care to children from low-income families....."

RelatedHead of Puerto Rico's electric utility resigns amid scrutiny

At least there weren't any nuclear reactors on the island, and the nursing home tragedy in Florida during Irma is all but ashes now.

Also see:

Massport paves way for new Seaport hotel and apartment complex

You can take a shuttle over.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Getting the Message

How could you miss it?

"House passes tax bill but faces skeptical public" by Victoria McGrane Globe Staff  November 17, 2017

WASHINGTON — The relatively smooth passage of the tax overhaul in the House Thursday, and accompanying GOP celebration, belies certain political realities: that despite the hard sell, Republicans haven’t persuaded the American people they want this plan, or even need it.

This from the people who are consistently wrong about political realities.

The economy is growing stronger, unemployment is very low, and Americans are just not sold on the idea that slashing taxes deeply for corporations is going to cure wage stagnation among the middle class.

The dearth of enthusiasm for Republicans’ latest legislative effort is documented in several recent polls. Most voters believe the wealthy would be the main beneficiaries.

The push for changes such as lower corporate tax rates, elimination of estate taxes, and more favorable treatment of business partnerships comes mostly from the “swamp’’ President Trump ran against in 2016: the corporations, GOP contributors, and conservative think tanks that drive Beltway ideology.

That's where you get stuck after all the smoke, sound, fury, and illusion of the pre$$.

Yet the lack of support among the public has proved barely a speed bump for Republicans, who — desperate for a legislative win and eager to fulfill longstanding party doctrine — are hustling the tax bill through Congress.

The vote Thursday, passing the House version of the tax bill 227 to 205, comes a mere two weeks after leaders unveiled its details, the latest example of Republican leaders sticking to their ambitious timeline and keeping the rank-and-file largely united behind the package.

Meantime, unlike with the Republicans’ ultimately unsuccessful effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act earlier this year, Democrats are having a harder time scaring voters about the tax bill.

Why do we always have to be scared into things? 

“It’s harder to see a kind of riled up, vocal, made-for-television opposition over taxes,” said Sarah Binder, a political science professor at George Washington University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Even if many people believe the tax package won’t benefit them, or would even result in higher taxes, “it’s nothing compared to the optics — let alone the reality — of taking away health care benefits from a wide array of voters, many of whom voted for the president. You just don’t get that on taxes. Nobody’s mad as hell about tax cuts.”

Still, some strategists see political problems for the Republicans pushing a package that most people see as skewed toward the rich.

“It’s really befuddling to me, just politically speaking, that they would promote a tax bill in this environment that actually raises taxes on the middle class, that balloons the deficit, [and where] there’s serious debate that it will have any real positive impact on the economy,” said John Weaver, who served as top political strategist to Ohio Governor John Kasich’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“They are so out of touch with the average American,” Weaver said of congressional Republicans.

Who said that? Kasich's people? 

Then why didn't he win the nomination?

I'm smelling more dung.

He pointed to the big losses Republicans suffered in the Nov. 7 elections in Virginia and New Jersey as a reason to tread carefully with a tax cut that doesn’t obviously benefit the middle class.

That is to set the narrative for another "change" election and to give us the entertainment of impeachment.

The measure faces a tougher test in the Senate, where Republicans can afford to lose only two of their 52-member majority. One GOP senator, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, said Wednesday he would vote against the current Senate bill; several others have raised concerns.

See: "The tax bill Senate Republicans are championing would give large tax cuts to millionaires while raising taxes on American families earning $10,000 to $75,000 over the next decade, according to a report released Thursday by the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’ official nonpartisan analysts....."

The Senate version includes a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated will cause 13 million people to drop insurance. That gives Democrats more ammunition and could prompt key Senate swing votes like Maine Republican Susan Collins to oppose the package.

Is that why there is talk of Steward Health moving out of Massachusetts?

Related "US health authorities announced plans Thursday to crack down on doctors pushing stem cell procedures that pose the gravest risks to patients amid an effort to police a burgeoning medical field that previously has received little oversight....."

House Speaker Paul Ryan has been touting that the average American family of four would save $1,182 under the House plan, even turning the figure into a hashtag on social media, as well as emphasizing that filing taxes will become much simpler.

“Passing this bill is the single biggest thing we can do to grow the economy, to restore opportunity, and to help middle-income families that are struggling,” Ryan said before the vote Thursday.

I don't believe him, sorry.

For complex legislation that affects an individual taxpayer’s pocketbook in multiple ways — fewer tax brackets, curbs on deductions, ending certain tax benefits for students, the sick, and others — many Republicans see this as the best argument leaders can make.

“These are the right tools to be communicating the benefits in terms of the middle class — more jobs and higher wages. That’s the winning argument for this kind of reform,” said Michael Steel, a veteran of former GOP House speaker John Boehner’s office and Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential campaign. “I think you’re seeing generally the House, Senate, and White House all making the most compelling argument that they can.”

But the Republican message machine is competing with protests from a range of critics —armed with analyses by outside tax specialists — that the benefits for average Americans aren’t as great as they appear.

The tax cut Ryan cites so often, for instance, would turn into a tax increase by the end of the decade, according to New York University tax law professor David Kamin, a former Obama adviser. That’s partly because some of the breaks for average Americans are temporary in the package, while the corporate cuts are permanent.

Steadier message discipline has come from numerous conservative and business groups, an army of unified support that the Republicans have rarely enjoyed all year.

President Trump remains a wild card in the messaging wars.....

Did YOU get the "message," readers?

--more--"

So where is the money for the tax heist coming from?

"IRS starts to enforce health law’s rule that employers offer insurance" by Stacy Cowley   November 17, 2017

NEW YORK — As Republicans and the Trump administration continue trying to chip away at the Affordable Care Act, the Internal Revenue Service has begun, for the first time, to enforce one of the law’s most polarizing provisions: the employer mandate.

Thousands of businesses — many of them small or midsize — will soon receive a letter saying that they owe the government money because they failed to offer their workers qualifying health insurance. The first round of notices, which the IRS began sending late last month, are being mailed to companies that have at least 100 full-time employees and ran afoul of the law in 2015, the year that the mandate took effect.

They are scrounging around for all the loot they can get their grubby little hands on!

Large companies, defined in the law as those with 50 or more workers, are required to offer their employees affordable insurance or pay stiff tax penalties. The IRS held off for years on assessing those fines, saying that it needed more time, and money, to build its compliance systems.

Now, the agency says it is finally ready to go after scofflaws. “As the IRS has publicly stated, the agency is obligated to enforce the Affordable Care Act’s employer shared responsibility provision,” said Bruce Friedland, an agency spokesman.

Since when did government care about obeying the law?

Ten months ago, in his first executive order, President Trump directed government agencies to waive, defer, or delay carrying out as much of the law as possible. This week, the Treasury Department said that it objected to the employer mandate but was legally compelled to enforce it.

By whom?

“Treasury lawyers see no ground for the secretary to direct the IRS to not collect the tax,” the agency said in a written statement. “The ACA’s employer mandate unfortunately remains the law of the land.”

Senate Republicans plan to include a repeal of the law’s individual mandate in their tax bill. Eliminating that mandate, which requires people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, would free up hundreds of billions of dollars that could be redirected to tax cuts. The IRS recently indicated that it would tighten enforcement of that provision as well.

The employer mandate, which would be unaffected by that proposed change, is lucrative for the government. It is expected to bring in penalty payments of $207 billion over the next decade, according to projections by the Congressional Budget Office.

So the ACA was about THEIR HEALTH, not YOURS, and a LOOTING SCHEME TO BOOT!

When the health law was passed, lawmakers feared that without an employer mandate, companies would cancel their insurance benefits and send large numbers of employees to the health care law’s insurance exchanges, where many people qualify for government subsidies. Employees who are offered health insurance through their jobs are ineligible for the subsidies.

Which turned out to be complete failures.

The law’s exact rules are complex, but businesses will generally incur fines of around $2,000 per employee (excluding the first 30) if they do not offer qualifying coverage to nearly all of those who work an average of 30 or more hours a week. The penalty is activated if at least one employee then buys insurance on the health law’s marketplace and receives a subsidy for it.

The per-employee fine increases each year, and can add up quickly: A company with 100 workers that ignored the law this year would owe a penalty of more than $158,000.

To prove their compliance, businesses are required to send the IRS a report on their employee head count and the health care coverage that they offered. The tax agency began requiring those forms two years ago, but it repeatedly ran into problems processing them.

That delayed efforts to identify, and fine, companies that did not offer their workers adequate insurance. The bottleneck largely came down to money, according to the agency.

Everything does when it comes from government or the ma$$ media and pre$$!

“For the past four years, the IRS has received almost no funding for implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” John A. Koskinen, then the agency’s commissioner, told Congress last year. (Koskinen’s tenure at the agency ended this month, but no change in the enforcement of the mandate is expected.)

A recent audit by the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration found that the IRS had “delayed, not initiated, or canceled” crucial systems needed to enforce the employer mandate. 

Other systems “did not function as intended,” causing confusion both for the agency and for companies trying to comply with its reporting requirements. 

Who was paid to do that "work?"

Accountants and others familiar with the process say they are bracing for more problems....

--more--"

The order came from the Treasury, huh?

"Mnuchin bank’s former CEO confirmed to lead US watchdog" by Jesse Hamilton Bloomberg News  November 17, 2017

Former OneWest Bank Group chief executive Joseph Otting won Senate approval on Thursday to lead a key US bank regulator, further clearing the way for the Trump administration to roll back Wall Street regulations.

In heading the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Otting will be the chief overseer of banking units at giants such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., and Citigroup Inc., plus hundreds of smaller lenders across the country. He’ll have a central role in efforts to reverse Volcker Rule trading restrictions, certain capital constraints, and tough supervision that lenders say reflect an overreaction to the 2008 credit crisis.

Otting will replace Keith Noreika, a bank lawyer who made waves at the OCC after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin installed him as temporary chief. The new comptroller will be reunited with Mnuchin, who was OneWest’s chairman when Otting was CEO. Their time at the bank, which rose from the ashes of crisis casualty IndyMac Bancorp Inc., was complicated by an OCC enforcement action targeting improper foreclosures.

Have you noticed how Mnuchin stays above the fray?

Noreika sent a resignation letter to Mnuchin on Thursday, saying that government service was an “exception to the norm” for him and that he intends to return to the private sector. The letter could resolve persistent questions about whether he might take over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after Director Richard Cordray announced plans to step down. Noreika said he’ll leave the OCC after Otting is sworn in.

The road to confirmation was rocky for Otting, who faced criticism for his role in OneWest’s foreclosure practices and questioning of his credentials. At one point, the White House was forced to clarify his biographical information after Bloomberg News reported that Otting hadn’t attended Dartmouth College, as a reference to his being a “graduate of the School of Credit and Financial Management at Dartmouth College” seemed to indicate. In fact, it was only a management training course that used space on the school’s campus.

He lied, 'er, embellished his resume?

At his Senate confirmation hearing, Otting said he’s open to revising regulations, such as those established in the Dodd-Frank Act. He said oversight should be more certain and predictable, and regulators’ discretion should be “as constrained as possible.”

Would have been nice if they had actually written any regulations.

American Bankers Association president Rob Nichols said Noreika gave Otting an “excellent foundation” to build on, and Otting’s professional experience will mean he “understands the important role that banks play in promoting economic growth.”

If Trump were serious about change he would start with the banks. 

--more--"

Related:

"Shipbuilder Bath Iron Works wants to extend a tax credit for up to $3.5 million a year, which it says is needed to remain competitive. The Times Record reports that the Maine Legislature will consider a proposal to continue the tax credit that’s due to expire in 2018."

They build warships.

"A massive defense spending bill sent Thursday to President Trump would make it illegal for the federal government to do business with Kaspersky Lab, a move that comes amid continued concern that its software has been compromised by Russian intelligence services. The measure, part of the $692 billion authorization for fiscal 2018, follows a September move by the Department of Homeland Security to ban executive agencies from using Kaspersky antivirus software. The company is based in Russia and has its US headquarters in Woburn. The company has denied wrongdoing, and has offered to show its source code to an independent reviewer to prove that it is safe to use. “Kaspersky Lab fully supports the goals of protecting federal information and federal information systems; however, we maintain that these provisions unfairly target Kaspersky Lab without any credible evidence of the risks presented by the company’s products,” the company said in a statement."

We don't need no stinkin' evidence, and that move will drive them out of business

Can't patch things up and get back to work, huh?

And the pen Trump will use to sign it? Made in China!

"A Rhode Island company that has supplied many of the pens used by President Trump and his predecessors to sign executive orders has been sold. WPRI-TV reports that A.T. Cross Co. was sold to Transom Capital Group, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm. The sale price was not disclosed. Transom confirmed that they are cutting some jobs, but did not say how many. A.T. Cross officials say it has provided pens to presidents at least since the Gerald Ford administration. It was once a major Rhode Island employer but now makes most of its pens in China. Previous owners Clarion Capital Partners bought the company in 2013 for $60 million."

Time to start writing some love letters:

"‘Al Franken kissed and groped me without my consent,’ Tweeden says; senator apologizes" by Amy B Wang, Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Lindsey Bever The Washington Post  November 17, 2017

WASHINGTON — Broadcaster and model Leeann Tweeden said Thursday that Al Franken ‘‘forcibly kissed’’ and groped her during a USO tour in 2006, two years before the Minnesota Democrat’s election to the US Senate.

The allegations came two days after a stunning hearing in Washington, where lawmakers acknowledged sexual harassment is a pervasive problem on Capitol Hill — and amid mounting sexual misconduct accusations against Alabama Republican Roy Moore.

Sending it to the Ethics Committee where complaints go to die.

On a Thursday episode of the KABC radio show ‘‘McIntyre in the Morning,’’ Tweeden said she wanted to tell the world about the photo a decade ago but was worried about her career. ‘‘People are going to go, ‘Oh you’re a model. You’ve been on the cover of Playboy, you’re a lingerie model and a swimsuit model and you’re a sportscaster and you’re a girl in Hollywood’ — Tweeden said she finally decided to share her story because ‘‘the tide has turned.’’

‘‘I’ve wanted to tell this story because it’s bugged me for so long. It’s made me angry for so long. I’ve been humiliated for so long,’’ she said. ‘‘Now is the time . . . We’ve got to change the culture.’’

I saw her interview on TV and it was chillingly disgusting.

The allegations rocked the Capitol, prompting numerous senators, including more than a dozen Democrats, to call for an ethics investigation.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat from Minnesota, condemned her home state colleague’s behavior. Just last week, the Senate had unanimously approved a bill, which Klobuchar co-sponsored, that will mandate sexual harassment training for all senators and their staffs.....

--more--"

Also see
:

"It is not easy being Steve Kirby at the Berklee College of Music these days, but as it turns out, there were two Steve Kirbys at Berklee....."

He's the good one, and was inspired by James Taylor.

Statewide campaign encourages women to join construction industry

I'm told “they’re just as hard-working, or even more hard-working, than the men,” which is also what I'm told regarding illegal immigrants and their American counterparts.

Fidelity’s CEO physically moved her office so she could keep an eye out on harassment

Related: Time For Divorce

Call the police:

"Cambridge police are investigating an attempted assault and battery on a woman while she was walking near Harvard Square on Tuesday night. The woman was alone in the area of Putnam Avenue and Green Street around 10:15 p.m. when the suspect started following her, said Cambridge police spokesman Jeremy Warnick. “She felt the presence of someone behind her,” he said. “As she was turning around, a male suspect grabbed her shoulders and waist.” She managed to free herself and alerted police, Warnick said. “She was not injured, aside from being emotionally shaken up,” he said. Police are investigating the incident as an assault and battery, Warnick said. The woman said the suspect was a stranger to her. The suspect is described as a white man age 18 to 25 wearing a beanie with a thin build and a clean-shaven face, Warnick said. He is around 5 feet 10 inches tall and possibly has blond hair."

They eventually found him.

"The sexual harassment scandal that’s roiling Hollywood could have consequences for people who aren’t accused of anything. It’s unclear what effect the revelations about actor Kevin Spacey and filmmaker Brett Ratner, will have on pending projects. But given the seriousness of the allegations against them, neither seems certain to have a career in Hollywood anymore...."

Maybe they can get a book deal and live like the Obamas.

Back to the Senate:

"New Jersey senator’s bribery trial ends in a hung jury" by David Porter Associated Press  November 17, 2017

NEWARK — The federal bribery trial of Democratic Senator Bob Menendez ended Thursday with the jury hopelessly deadlocked on all charges, a partial victory for him that could nevertheless leave the case hanging over his head as he gears up for reelection to a sharply divided Senate. 

Time to resign, Bob, or are you addicted to the job?

US District Judge William Walls declared a mistrial after more than six full days of deliberations failed to produce a verdict on any of the 18 counts against the New Jersey politician or his codefendant, a wealthy Florida eye doctor accused of buying Menendez’s influence by plying him with luxury vacations and campaign contributions.

Prosecutors would not say whether they plan to retry Menendez. But on the political front, forces were already mobilizing against him, with GOP Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell immediately calling for an ethics investigation of him. Menendez is up for reelection next year.

Outside the courthouse, a choked-up Menendez fought back tears as he blasted federal authorities for bringing the case and thanked the jurors in the 2½-month trial ‘‘who saw through the government’s false claims and used their Jersey common sense to reject it.’’

It was Obama's Justice Department that investigated and brought the charges.

‘‘Certain elements of the FBI and of our state cannot stand, or even worse, accept that the Latino kid from Union City and Hudson County could grow up to be a United States senator and be honest,’’ said the 63-year-old son of Cuban immigrants.

Talk about diverting attention away from himself and blaming others!

Then he pulls out the Cuban card?

Jury member Edward Norris said 10 jurors wanted to acquit Menendez on all charges, while two held out for conviction.

Those jurors should be applauded and cheered then.

Norris said that after the prosecution rested, ‘‘in my gut I was like, ‘That’s it? That’s all they had?’’’

Menendez was accused of selling his political influence to Dr. Salomon Melgen for vacations in the Caribbean and Paris, flights on Melgen’s jet and hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions to campaign organizations that supported the senator directly or indirectly.

In return, prosecutors said, Menendez pressured government officials on Melgen’s behalf over an $8.9 million Medicare billing dispute and a stalled contract to provide port screening equipment in the Dominican Republic, and also helped obtain US visas for the 63-year-old doctor’s girlfriends.

According to prosecutors, Melgen essentially put Menendez on the payroll and made the politician his ‘‘personal senator,’’ available as needed.

The defense argued that the gifts were not bribes but tokens of friendship between two men who have known each other for more than 20 years and were ‘‘like brothers.’’

Wow, that is a new one. 

Isn't nepotism illegal?

The jurors were instructed that they could find the men guilty even if they felt the prosecution didn’t match specific gifts to specific acts by Menendez.

Jurors needed more, according to Norris.

‘‘I just wish there was stronger evidence right out of the gate,’’ the juror said. ‘‘It was a victimless crime, I think, and it was an email trial. I just didn’t see a smoking gun.’’ 

Tell that to the underaged prostitutes.

The charges against the men included bribery, conspiracy, and honest services fraud, which was the most serious count of all, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The senator was also charged with making false statements in failing to report gifts from Melgen on his financial disclosure form.

So he LIED?

In a statement, the US Justice Department said it will consider its next step.

After the hung jury, Menendez’s political adviser, Mike Soliman, said ‘‘all things indicate’’ the senator will run for reelection, and an announcement will probably be made in the coming weeks. Menendez, who has been under indictment for 2½ years, has raised more than $2.5 million this year.

Menendez himself warned outside the courthouse: ‘‘To those who were digging my political grave so they could jump into my seat, I know who you are and I won’t forget you.’’ 

Sounds like a THREAT!

The Republicans have a thin, 52-48 edge in the Senate as they try to push through President Trump’s agenda.

The jury deliberated most of last week, then restarted midway through with an alternate after a juror was excused for a long-planned vacation. The jurors first reported on Monday that they couldn’t agree on a verdict, but the judge asked them to keep trying.

This time, the jurors said in a note that that had reviewed all of the evidence in great detail and ‘‘tried to look at this case from different viewpoints,’’ but they were ‘‘not willing to move away from our strong convictions.’’ 

Despite the evidence.

Melgen is already facing the possibility of a long prison sentence after being convicted in April of bilking Medicare out of as much as $105 million by performing unneeded tests and treatments. 

Bob's brother wouldn't bilk health funds for poor people!

The last sitting senator convicted of a crime was Ted Stevens of Alaska, a Republican found guilty in 2008 of concealing more than $250,000 in home renovations and other gifts. His conviction was later overturned because of prosecutorial misconduct, and he died in a 2010 plane crash. 

I'm sure I could go find the previous articles on him, but that pretty much says it all. 

Died in a plane crash, huh?

The Menendez case was the first major federal bribery trial since the US Supreme Court in 2016 threw out the conviction of Republican former governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia and narrowed the definition of bribery.

Expanding it would bring down the entire $y$tem.

--more--"

Related
:

Deal to Bolster Gun Background Checks Is Reached by Senators

Older children quieted younger ones at California school as gunman fired

"A high school student charged with sending death threats to fellow students, teachers, and staff was kicked out of a required mental health program, federal prosecutors said in a court filing. Josiah Leach, 19, originally pleaded not guilty to e-mailing a ‘‘murder list’’ in April targeting 16 students and staff at South Burlington High School. The list led to three lockdowns and the cancellation of classes....."

I was told he escaped  during the concert before saying he was removed after college students have been throwing glass bottles at police officers, and the city and the state had to take action,"and they did.

Senate Judiciary panel: Kushner had contacts about WikiLeaks, Russian overtures he did not disclose

That could affect Homeland Security, 'eh?

"President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, has been guided through her Senate confirmation process by a private consultant who represents companies seeking millions in DHS contracts, an arrangement that creates conflicts of interest, according to a government-ethics watchdog group as well as current and former national security officials. The consultant, Thad Bingel, is cofounder of the Command Group, a prominent lobbying and consulting firm that offers ‘‘full spectrum solutions related to safety, security, and intelligence’’ to clients ‘‘on six continents.’’ During presidential transitions, unpaid consultants often serve as ‘‘sherpas’’ to help steer a nominee through the confirmation process. But it’s almost unheard of once an administration has legislative political appointees in place whose job it is to perform that function, current and former DHS officials said. A DHS official referred questions about Bingel to the White House."

That's called passing the buck, and didn't she work in the W Bush administration?

Also see:

"A Republican appointee in charge of a Department of Homeland Security center for outreach to faith and community groups has resigned after a report that he said black people had ‘‘turned America’s major cities into slums because of laziness, drug use, and sexual promiscuity.’’ The Rev. Jamie Johnson’s resignation came swiftly after CNN published the comments on Thursday....."

How come only him? Why not Al?

"The driver of a pickup displaying an expletive-filled message to President Trump and his supporters in the Houston area says she won’t remove the decal. Karen Fonseca says that she’s been stopped by law officers, but that they have no grounds to issue a citation. Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls said at a news conference Wednesday he supports freedom of speech but worried that profane messages could incite others and lead to confrontations that would disturb the peace he’s pledged to keep....."

That means he doesn't support freedom of speech, and I try to watch my language when it comes to profanity.

"A controversial free speech rally will go off as scheduled at noon Saturday on Boston Common no matter the weather, organizers said. In a statement posted late Wednesday night to Facebook, a group calling itself Resist Marxism, an umbrella organization putting on the event, said the “Rally for the Republic will take place on the Boston Common at noon. The perils facing our Constitutional Republic don’t slow down for the weather, and neither will we. Rain or shine.” The group didn’t immediately respond to a request for further comment. The organization will hold the rally despite being denied a city permit for the demonstration, which critics say will provide a forum for white supremacists, a charge the group adamantly denies....."

Do you hear a dog whistle?

*********

Time to drive away from Massachusetts as fast as you can:

"Your car is a big environmental nemesis, and Mass. is stepping in" by David Abel Globe Staff  November 13, 2017

Cars and other vehicles have surpassed power plants as the state’s largest source of greenhouse gases. 

So they say.

The Baker administration is considering sweeping measures that could transform the state’s transportation system, which is responsible for about 40 percent of emissions.

It’s a politically risky undertaking, and potential solutions — from raising the gas tax to increasing tolls to investing more in public transportation — could be expensive and unpopular. But without aggressive reductions in transportation emissions, progress on climate change can only go so far.

State Senator Michael J. Barrett, a Lexington Democrat who chairs the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy, said, “You can’t be serious about this issue without putting a price on carbon.”

Oh, THAT is what it is ALL ABOUT -- even if methane leaks are far worse (then the fracking and gas industries would have to pay, not you).

Barrett has proposed a bill, modeled after a similar policy in British Columbia, that would increase the tax on a gallon of gas from 8 cents to 36 cents over seven years. He describes the plan as a carbon fee, since the revenue would be returned to the public in the form of a rebate.

Then why take it in the first place if you are going to return it? 

Does he actually thing we buy that bull?

What is with these wasteful, greedy, money-hungry sex harassers on Beacon Hill anyway? 

It's not about the environment, it is about their LUST for LOOT!

Critics of his bill have noted that previous hikes in gas prices have only led to modest reductions in driving, and state officials said they oppose such efforts.

“The administration does not support implementing any additional ‘carbon tax’ that would adversely impact businesses’ and families’ utility bills,” said Brendan Moss, a spokesman for Baker.....

You better stick to that or you can kiss the governorship goodbye.

--more--"

That  agenda-pushing slop is a front page story while this is an A2 brief:

"Trans- Canada Corp.’s Keystone pipeline leaked an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil in northeastern South Dakota, the company and state regulators reported Thursday. Crews shut down the pipeline Thursday morning and activated emergency response procedures after a drop in pressure was detected resulting from the leak south of a pump station in Marshall County, TransCanada said in a statement. The cause was being investigated. Officials don’t believe the leak affected any surface water bodies or threatened any drinking water systems from the spill onto agricultural land, said Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist manager at the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources. ‘‘Ultimately, the cleanup responsibility lies with Trans-Canada, and they’ll have to clean it up in compliance with our state regulations,’’ Walsh said....." 

The thing hasn't even been open six months and there is already a leak?

Bottoms up but you first, 'kay?

"Authorities are looking for a trucker they say intentionally dumped 20 to 30 gallons of gasoline in a parking lot. A spokesman for the Springfield Fire Department says the driver apparently pumped gasoline into a diesel truck on Wednesday afternoon. He says when the truck started to run poorly, the driver pulled into a parking lot, bought a siphon kit from a nearby auto parts store, and siphoned the fuel onto the ground. Workers at an area pharmacy called authorities, but the trucker was gone by the time they arrived (AP)."

I oppose the waste of any resource.

"General Motors is recalling nearly 49,000 trucks worldwide to fix a fuel tank problem that increases the risk of a fire....."

I guess that means you won't be going home for Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving travel expected to be at highest level in 12 years

Thanks for helping out with the greenhouse gas problem!

"Now the casual gatherings of the past have caught the attention of marketers, who see an opportunity to sell new outfits, more turkeys, extra decorations for holiday tables. Faux or no, Friendsgiving has real revenue potential. “Friendsgiving is approaching critical mass for retailers as a potential part of the holiday equation,” said Marshal Cohen, a retail analyst with NPD Group. Friendsgiving is a manifestation of a larger trend in holidays shifting from obligatory family affairs to celebrations with friends, Cohen said. The Friendsgiving origin story is not as well documented as its Plymouth forebear, but....."

They served that slop up right in front of you.

Just waiting by the phone for the next nuclear mishap.

**********
"An Uber driver is charged with selling heroin to undercover state troopers, prosecutors said Thursday. Ariel Pimental, 26, of Lawrence was arraigned Wednesday in South Boston Municipal Court on charges of distribution of a Class A substance and trafficking in heroin, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley and Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a joint statement. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf, and the lawyer who represented him Wednesday had no comment. Pimental was ordered held on $60,000 cash bail. Prosecutors said investigators began monitoring him after receiving a tip over the summer that an Uber driver, later identified as Pimental, was selling heroin in the Boston area, the statement said. Troopers made six undercover purchases from Pimental through the fall after contacting him by phone, though not through the Uber app, according to authorities. In a statement, Uber spokeswoman Susan Hendrick said the company has a “zero tolerance policy for the use of drugs and alcohol.”

They took him to the Brockton where.....

"Three court officers at Brockton Superior Court were placed on paid leave, and a mother and daughter were charged Thursday as part of an investigation into an alleged heroin distribution ring at the courthouse, authorities said. Christine Lozanne, 54, of Norwood, and Tineisha Lozanne, 25, of Dorchester were arraigned in Brockton District Court on a handful of counts, including distribution of heroin and delivery of an article or drugs to a prisoner in jail. Each pleaded not guilty and were released on personal recognizance, according to the Plymouth district attorney’s office. They are due back in court on Jan. 18. The unidentified court officers will remain on leave, pending the results of an investigation, a court spokeswoman said. "

"Hoping to find an effective response to the opioid epidemic that has cost thousands of Massachusetts residents their lives, Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan and a Waltham think tank Wednesday launched a research effort they hope will keep people alive. The public-private partnership between the prosecutor’s office and the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is aimed at mining data collected by the government, the private sector, and addicts themselves about what has taken place. The research will focus on hospitals, treatment programs, and law enforcement response to the opioid crisis in Middlesex County, which Ryan’s office says has a mix of urban, suburban, and rural communities that make up the state as a whole. “This new initiative is a strategic approach that builds upon these existing resources and partnerships using data that will inform our future efforts and identify even more opportunities to combat this public health crisis,” Ryan said in a statement....."

Maybe you guys should start by looking in your own buildings, and it's marijuana that still generates the most outrage.

No wonder my hits have gone down; people simply don't understand satire in this politically correct tyranny that is being constructed all around us.

Red Sox prospect had a very rare, aggressive cancer, according to death certificate

At funeral, woman says Hudner, man he tried to rescue are ‘together in heaven’

In two Navy pilots — one white, one black — a parable for our times

"One was the son of a Mississippi sharecropper, the other a privileged New England prep school graduate....." 

"The Boston-born home robot known as among the 25 best inventions of 2017 for its ability to to interact with people in a more human-like way than personal assistants such as the Amazon Echo. The machine is based on the research of Cynthia Breazeal, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It can perform functions that are now common to computerized assistants, such as provide a weather forecast or the latest news. It can also tell a joke or story on request. But unlike Echo, for example, Jibo uses speech and facial recognition to interact with members of a household. It can identify specific individuals and address them by name, rotate on its base to face someone who’s speaking to it, and shoot photographs on command. Jibo is priced at a hefty $899, compared to the Echo or Google Home, both of which have models that start as low as $50....."

All the better to spy on you with!

Thanks to a billionaire, 85-year-old can avoid the stairs

Warren Buffett is so wonderful!

Look who is towering over the North Station and looking towards the future:

Phone companies get new tools to block spam calls

"The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to allow a single company to own a newspaper and television and radio stations in the same town, reversing a decades-old rule aimed at preventing any individual or company from having too much power over local coverage. The Republican-led FCC eliminated the restrictions, known as a media cross-ownership ban, in a 3-2 vote along party lines....."

What difference does it make, really?

"Time Inc. is considering a sale to fellow publisher Meredith Corp., according to media reports. The New York Times initially reported that the New York-based publisher of Time and People is involved in a new round of negotiations with Meredith, the publisher of Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens. The report, based on anonymous sources, also says that billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch are backing Meredith’s offer with more than $500 million in equity....."

Wouldn't you rather get your news from Bezos?

Strong earnings from Wal-Mart, Cisco drive US stocks higher

"Surging online sales and strong food sales helped Walmart delivered its largest sales gain for established US stores in more than eight years. The company also raised its annual profit outlook Thursday after delivering third-quarter results that beat expectations. The report shows that Walmart’s aggressive discounting and its moves to spiff up its stores and increase online services are working to attract shoppers. It also underscores the efforts the discounter is making to narrow the gap between itself and Amazon."

"Siemens is planning to cut about 6,900 jobs and close at least two sites as Europe’s biggest engineering company attempts to turn around its struggling power and gas division after a sharp drop in orders. Half of the 6,900 jobs being eliminated will be in Germany, the Munich-based company said in a statement on Thursday. 6,100 of the jobs will be cut in the power and gas division, with the rest coming in the process-industries-and-drives and power-generation divisions." 

I'm glad they got the tax break then.