Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Globe Special: The $hirt Off Tom Brady's Back

"As Brady prepares to guide the Patriots against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday in his record seventh Super Bowl start, it seems like a lifetime ago that he arrived in New England as a fourth-string quarterback...."

Now he's a legend:

"Tom Brady gives much to Best Buddies, but has taken millions for his own charitable trust" by Bob Hohler Globe Staff  April 22, 2017

.... Charity watchdogs said it is not unusual for nonprofits to pay celebrities to help raise money, and they did not dispute that Best Buddies International, a nonprofit dedicated to helping intellectually and developmentally disabled people, has realized an enviable return on its relationship with Tom Brady, but nonprofit watchdogs said the arrangement could diminish Brady’s charitable image. 

I don't think so, not around here. That guy is as close to God as you can get.

Brady launched his Boston-based Change the World Foundation Trust, whose giving has focused almost entirely on causes tied to Brady’s personal interests, including his high school alma mater, his children’s private schools, and charities operated by his football friends, in 2005, after he signed his first big deal with the Patriots: a six-year, $60 million contract. He has since amassed personal wealth estimated at $180 million, while the net worth of his wife, Gisele Bundchen, is about $360 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth, a website that tracks such things.

In other words, he's just like the rest of the 1%, doling out money to family and friends. That's how the $y$tem works.

Brady, the sole trustee of his private charity, initially funded the nonprofit with a donation of $490,000 in 2005. Since then he has not made a significant financial contribution, according to tax reports through 2015, the most recently available.

Instead, Best Buddies has almost entirely funded Brady’s foundation. Through 2015, nearly 98 percent of Change the World’s total contributions of $2.3 million since Brady’s initial donation were $2.25 million in grants from Best Buddies. Including Brady’s donation, the percentage is about 80%.

And where did the money go? From 2011 through to 2015, Change the World gave grants of $55,000 to Best Buddies, after donating a total of $80,000 over the previous three years.

Otherwise, from 2011 through 2015, Change the World distributed nearly $1 million to more than 30 nonprofits. The largest beneficiary was Brady’s alma mater, Junipero Serra High School, in San Mateo, Calif., at $250,000.

The next largest grants, $100,000 each, went to Santa Monica Catholic Community, where Brady and Gisele Bundchen were married in 2009, and the TB12 Foundation, a charity Brady formed in 2015 to support clients of his Foxborough-based TB12 fitness and nutrition company.

Ohio State University received a $50,000 donation in honor of Ed Razek, a former Victoria’s Secret executive who is said to have helped launch Brady’s romance with Bundchen by setting them up in 2006.

Others getting $50,000 were Brady’s college alma mater, the University of Michigan, for cancer research; as well as Dana-Farber Cancer Center, Mission of Hope Haiti, and the Navy SEAL Foundation.

A charity honoring Tom Martinez, Brady’s longtime personal coach who died in 2012, received $37,800. And $30,000 went to a nursing facility in Minnesota that cared for Brady’s grandfather before he died in 2016.

In addition, Change the World donated $10,000 to Saint David’s School in New York City and $20,000 to the Apple Orchard School in Brookline, both of which Brady’s children have attended.

Nonprofits created by Brady’s former teammates also benefited, with grants of $25,000 going to Vince Wilfork’s charity, $10,000 to Deion Branch’s, and $5,000 to Wes Welker’s.

The entire arrangement has stirred concerns among some nonprofit watchdogs....

By the end of the article you will not have one, and besides, there was nothing illegal done.

--more--"

I gue$$ Brady and the Globe are no longer best buddies. Not hard to figure out why (hint, hint, hint, hint, hint, hint). 

Maybe he can sell the shirt:

"Man suspected of stealing Tom Brady’s jersey ID’d as Mexican journalist" by Jim McBride, Globe Staff  |  March 20, 2017

This time maybe you really can blame the media.

What do you mean "this time?"

The mystery of Tom Brady’s missing Super Bowl LI jersey was solved Monday when the NFL and Houston authorities announced it had been recovered in Mexico with the help of Houston police, the FBI, Mexican law enforcement, and the Patriots.

I'm glad they didn't have more important matters concerning them, like drug smugglers and such.

The suspect was identified as Martin Mauricio Ortega, formerly of the Mexican tabloid La Prensa. Ortega, who has not been charged, allegedly used his press credentials to enter the Patriots’ locker room and take the jersey.

La Prensa released a statement Monday afternoon offering an apology for the “unfortunate events” and condemning Ortega’s alleged actions. The publication said Ortega had offered his resignation more than a week ago but it did not know of the allegations against him until Monday.

Ortega told the paper he was offering his resignation because he was going through some difficult personal problems related to the health of close family members.

Houston police chief Art Acevedo said the jersey had been turned over to the NFL and the FBI, after what he described as “outstanding work” by his police department.

“You don’t come to Texas and embarrass us here on our home turf,’’ Acevedo said. “It was not our highest priority, but the only blemish on our Super Bowl was the theft of the jersey.’’

In an interesting twist, it was revealed that a second Brady jersey, this one from Super Bowl XLIX, also was recovered. It had not been previously reported that that jersey, from the win over the Seahawks in 2015, had been stolen.

Additionally, Fox Sports reported that authorities also recovered the helmet and cleats worn by Denver’s Von Miller in the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 win....

All taken by this one guy, huh? 

How did he slip out with a helmet and cleats?

--more--"

RelatedHow Tom Brady’s jersey was taken — and found

His favorite target:

"Julian Edelman grows up" by Mark Shanahan Globe Staff  February 03, 2017

HOUSTON — Julian Edelman has begun to explore, with increasing intensity, his Jewish ancestry.

Organized by Boston-based Combined Jewish Philanthropies, a nine-day trip to Israel in 2015 with 12 other young adults from Boston included stops at Independence Hall, where in 1948 David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the state of Israel; Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem; the gravesite of pioneering Zionist Theodor Herzl, and a visit to the Western Wall, where Edelman wandered away from the group and said a prayer.

“He approached a rabbi who helped him with it,” said Dan Seligson, the CJP staff member who led the tour. “It was just something he decided to do. We didn’t take him there to do it. He was inspired to do it.”

Seligson said Edelman was also fascinated by the street art in Tel Aviv’s hip Florentin neighborhood, particularly images depicting the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

“I remember he asked about the effect of the assassination on the psyche of young people,” Seligson said.

Assaf Swissa, cofounder and creative director of the Boston marketing firm Superdigital, documented the Israel trip in a video that burnished Edelman’s image as a spirited — and sensitive — guy.

“I said, ‘Alright, if you’re going to go, let’s make a video that makes Israel look like Vegas,’ ” Swissa said.

Today Edelman, who once said in an ESPN interview that he considers himself “Jew-ish,” appears sincere about his faith. In texts to his Jewish friends, he’ll often type “Achi” (the Hebrew word for “my brother”), he attends Shabbat dinners, and he sometimes wears an Israeli and American flag pin on his hat on the sidelines.

He hasn’t talked about it in Houston this week, though....

I don't want to talk about it, either.

--more--"

What about Brady's roots?

As for the rest, you know what happened. It's history.

That should settle the score once and for all -- or should it?

"How can fans make sense of the Trump-Kraft relationship?" by Yvonne Abraham Globe Columnist  April 22, 2017

Robert Kraft stood on the South Lawn of the White House, heaping praise upon a president who is the antithesis of much the owner of the New England Patriots stands for.

He spoke of Donald Trump’s resilience and his work ethic, drawing parallels between the president’s win and the Patriots’ come-from-behind victory in this year’s Super Bowl.

“It’s a distinct honor for us to celebrate what was unequivocally our sweetest championship with a very good friend and somebody whose mental toughness and strength I greatly admire,’’ said Kraft, who also donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration.

RelatedSheldon Adelson gave $5 million for Trump’s inauguration

Over the years, Kraft, taking up the mantle of his late wife, Myra, has funded efforts to improve the lives of many people who are now terrified in Trump’s America. He has helped expand access to health care; funded services for refugees and immigrants, including Muslims; supported arts organizations, and institutes for Jewish studies and inter-religious understanding; championed gay, lesbian, and transgender rights; and backed programs to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. Kraft’s support goes beyond money: He actually shows up.

And now Kraft is closely and publicly tethered to a president who has demonized immigrants and Muslims, endangered the health insurance of 24 million people, emboldened racists and anti-Semites, and boasted of his own sexually predatory behavior. For some who thought they knew what Kraft stood for, including some of the people working on the causes he supports, that has been unsettling.

They still taking the checks?

What gives? Through a spokesman, Kraft declined an interview request. But his son Josh was happy to explain. “It’s pretty simple,” said Josh Kraft, who heads the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston. “They’ve been friends for years. The worst time in my dad’s life, this guy was there for him.” After Myra died in 2011, Robert was devastated. Trump traveled up here to be with him, and called Kraft constantly for a year after that, checking on him.

“Friendship trumps politics, for lack of a better term,” Josh Kraft said. “You might not agree with what your friend believes, but why let that ruin a friendship?”

Because political correctness demands it!

It’s clear that although Robert Kraft disagrees with Trump on some things, he doesn’t see him as the disaster for women, minorities, immigrants, and poor Americans that many others do, including me. To my eye, this isn’t just a friendship between people on different sides of the aisle: Trump isn’t Jeb Bush, or Mitt Romney. He has said and done inexcusable, dangerous things, as a candidate and president. But clearly, his old friend views him through another lens. He might even think he can moderate Trump’s extremism.

“Maybe even, when the time is right, he can share some of his insights with [Trump],” Josh Kraft said.

It is admirable that Trump was supportive in Bob Kraft’s darkest hours. But it seems like Trump has the better end of the bargain now. During the campaign, he repeatedly bathed in the football team’s glow, touting support from Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady on the trail.

On Wednesday, he was at it again, turning the Pats visit into another glory-grubbing campaign rally.

Whether Kraft agrees with him or not, he is helping to advance Trump’s fortunes, and thus his destructive agenda. In so doing, Kraft imperils an important piece of his own legacy....

5 Super Bowl trophies overrides everything else, sorry.

--more--"

Haters gonna hate, hate, hate....

RelatedKraft, Belichick, and Brady — all the president’s men

I wonder how the relationship is now.

Also see:

Jury felt a heavy burden in Aaron Hernandez case

Hernandez funeral set for Monday in his Conn. hometown

I covered the trial and after events in great detail, and there will be fallout for years.

Sunday Globe Special: Room at Rikers

Latest Rikers brutality case fuels debate over jail’s future

It's the Rodiny Calypso case that is the latest.

When you get out:

"N.Y. to give jobs to released inmates" by Tom Hays Associated Press  April 22, 2017

NEW YORK — The jobs will last up to eight weeks, with hourly wages covered by taxpayer money rather than coming out of the pocket of the employers.

The program, expected to be in place by the end of the year, is part of a broader effort to drive down the city’s inmate population to the point where the city could build smaller jails to replace Rikers.

The shutdown of one of the nation’s largest jails could take years, so the mayor is pitching shorter-term remedies to ease the chronic violence and corruption at the sprawling facility.

SeeNo charges, but harsh criticism for

Political corruption? 

And he was supposed to be the voice of the di$enfranchi$ed.

Supporters say transitional jobs — kitchen, construction, and other jobs paying minimum wage — are a good investment because research shows that inmates who get them would be less likely to break the law again and go back to Rikers, where the costs of housing each prisoner can top $200,000 a year.

I'm not doubting it, but you have people without records looking for jobs, too.

The economics make it ‘‘in everyone’s interest to do this because otherwise they pay in the end,’’ said supporter Martin Horn, a Department of Correction commissioner under then-mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Well, we saw who pays.

But the plan has come under fire by critics that include another former city jails boss, Bernard Kerik, who served his own prison term for tax fraud and lying to the White House during his vetting process for Homeland Security secretary.

Don't these scum ever go away?

Related: Taking a Trip to Rikers Island

I was told there was a big shake-up after that with a U.S. lawsuit on the way.

Part of the focus is on winning the trust of employers who risk hiring criminals trying to go straight, said Stanley Richards, a former convict who serves as the organization’s executive vice president.

‘‘It can be a tough sell,’’ Richards said. ‘‘We’re dealing with stereotypes of the formerly incarcerated. So what we’re saying to employers is, ‘We’re concerned about your business, because we’re helping to build new lives.’ ’’

Some have held steady employment at a large commercial kitchen in Queens shared by caterers and bakers.

‘‘In the food industry, they want to know if you can cut 50 potatoes in five minutes, not whether you served time,’’ said Seth Bornstein, who runs the facility as part of the Queens Economic Development Corporation. ‘‘A few of them are less reliable than others, but no more than the general population.’’

So elitist. 

So KP is now the way to a promising future?

--more--"

Looks like you get a more compliant worker, too.

Maybe he can buy a home now:

"Scams push foreclosure fraud to limit, taking victims’ homes" by Matt Sedensky Associated Press  April 22, 2017

NEW YORK — Around the United States, deed theft has emerged as one of the most sophisticated and devastating frauds ever to menace homeowners. Foreclosure ‘‘rescue’’ scams that have stolen thousands of dollars from individual homeowners in the years since the housing collapse have been pushed by savvy perpetrators to their limit. They use lies to convince the desperate to sign over their titles, then force them into homelessness or a years-long legal battle.

‘‘The scammers are no longer content with stealing $5,000. Now they want the whole house,’’ said Dina Levy, who heads the Homeowner Protection Program in the New York attorney general’s office, which has spread word about deed theft and prosecuted culprits.

Deed theft has been reported around the United States, from San Diego, where prosecutors recently netted a guilty plea and six-year prison sentence for a man involved in deed thefts of at least 15 homes, to Detroit, where the register of deeds hopes to expand his fraud unit to keep up with a crush of cases.

It has been most severe in gentrifying neighborhoods quickest to rebound from the housing crisis, nowhere more so than ever-pricier blocks of New York.... 

Maybe not.

--more--" 

Better try renting an apartment.

Sunday Globe Foreign To Me

I'm sure it would read better if I were one of the elites of Bo$ton or New England.

Coverage began on page A13:

"As the French go to the polls, uncertainty is the only sure bet" by Alissa J. Rubin New York Times   April 22, 2017

PARIS — .... A majority of French voters have traditionally supported parties with established ideologies, either mainstream left or right. But traditional left-right allegiances are breaking down all over — in Europe, as they appear to have in the United States — as polarization grows.

Globalization is a stark dividing line, with candidates on both the extreme left and right crusading against it, and more centrist candidates embracing it.

Voters are looking to get away from politics as usual. That appears to have helped one of the leading candidates, Emmanuel Macron, a former economy minister who has formed a new party with a platform that combines pro-business, pro-European Union, and pro-social welfare elements — a novelty in contemporary France.

With allegiances to existing parties diminishing, some French voters find themselves torn between candidates who are diametrically opposed.

A good example was Pierre Haux, a teacher at a technical school, who went to a rally last week in Lille of the mainstream conservative candidate, François Fillon, who is under the cloud of a nepotism scandal that has led to claims of embezzlement. 

It is as I predicted yesterday.

Haux said he was also weighing voting for the far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, but worried that he was “a one-man show.”

Also-ran will finish 5th; no way they are letting him near a run-off. He's hardly gotten any coverage at all.

In France, as elsewhere, the election may be decided in the provinces, in smaller and midsize towns and rural communities. Rural areas have proved especially unpredictable in recent votes, like Britain’s so-called Brexit vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trump’s election in the United States.

That would seem to help Le Pen like it did Trump.

In addition, the trend lines — whether a candidate appears to be steadily gaining votes, losing them, or remaining flat — are of little help. Most recently they have shown the third- and fourth-place candidates, Fillon and Mélenchon, gaining ground, while the two in the lead, Macron followed closely by the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, have remained flat or lost ground.

For French voters, who are facing 10 percent unemployment, with levels closer to 25 percent for young people, the most pressing issues are economic, but even those can lead in multiple directions.

Some voters attribute France’s economic ills to poor leadership, others to globalization, and still others to an influx of immigrants into the country.

Unlike in other years, nothing in the current election has followed old patterns.

It is a cliché of French politics that voters follow their hearts in the first round, choosing the person they most want, but follow their heads in the runoff, choosing one less likely to do damage.

That equation may no longer apply.

Because the race is so close, voters may try to vote strategically from the beginning and not risk an outcome in which two extremist candidates reach the second round.

On the other hand, if tradition holds true, and voters do follow their hearts, it is not impossible to foresee a final round where voters must choose between two candidates at the extremes, Le Pen on the right and Mélenchon on the left.

Significant numbers of voters also appear likely to abstain or to cast a blank piece of paper to show their dissatisfaction with all of their choices. That, too, would seem to favor the nonestablishment candidates, whose supporters are more motivated to go to the polls....

--more--" 

I'm sure the results have already been fixed.

"140 soldiers killed in Taliban attack on Afghan base, official says" by Mujib Mashal New York Times   April 22, 2017

KABUL — A day after a lethal Taliban assault on an army base in northern Afghanistan, an official said on Saturday that at least 140 soldiers had been killed, making it the single deadliest known attack on an Afghan military base in the course of the long war.

A war with no end in sight, and my take on this is twofold:

First of all, we have no way of knowing if this event even took place, and if so, we have no reason to believe war pre$$ accounts.

Secondly, what I see here is propaganda laying the groundwork for troop increases and increased military action. You see, after having observed the war propaganda for so long you begin to see a pattern with the shifting narrative. At times we are winning, their is success, so no time to get out, right? Then there is the we are losing line, and thus an increased effort must be waged.

In either case, there is no talk of withdrawal, no talk of ending the wars, no talk of the duplicitous funding and arming of the very terrorists they claim to fight. Even though the narratives seem contradictory and truthful -- ha-ha-ha -- on the surface, they reinforce the overall War on Terror meme that is not to be questioned.

The soldiers, most of them unarmed, were shot while eating lunch or emerging from a Friday Prayer service at the headquarters of the Afghan army’s 209th Corps in Balkh by assailants in military uniforms who entered after another attacker had detonated explosives at a check post. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault.

I'm told the Taliban claimed responsibility, but that could be a catchall term for whomever (that was back when I was full of anger, fire, and vinegar).

The Taliban released the names and a picture of 10 men who they said had taken part in the assault. All were dressed in Afghan military uniforms, down to helmets and kneepads. A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the assailants had been led inside the base by four soldiers who had long been working for the militants.

What, do they have their own "news service," too? 

Now I am not doubting there are infiltrators into U.S.-trained oppressors; that's a problem that has been going on since the Vietnam days with this equipping of puppet armies as we "leave." This event may well have happened; however, you will have to go outside me and the BG to find out.

The attack came weeks after militants entered the Afghan army’s main hospital in Kabul, the capital, and killed more than 50 people in a siege that lasted nearly seven hours. The Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, claimed responsibility for that assault. The militants had inside help in that attack, security officials said.

Aaah, ISIS, ISIL, whatever, claimed responsibility for that one. A-ha. Inside job you say?

That was reported through SITE Intelligence (who is Rita Katz?), meaning it was likely a complete fiction or a false flag, and the fact that is being flogged again is damn near a confirmation.

The Taliban remain the biggest security threat to the country. Such a major security breach in Balkh, even before the start of the insurgents’ spring offensive, is a major concern to Afghan forces who are already struggling in the fight against the Taliban.

It wasn't always that way.

In 2016, 6,700 Afghan service members were killed in battle. The ability of a few militants to cause tremendous bloodshed in secure areas was an especially troubling sign....

Yup, better hustle the troops there as our Afghan proxies are mowed down (6700 of them?).

--more--"

"North Koreans go back to work at nuclear site, analysts say" by Choe Sang-hun New York Times  April 22, 2017

(Groan)

SEOUL — In their previous study of satellite photos, taken last Sunday, the analysts noted several teams at the test site playing volleyball, a popular sport in the North. That left observers wondering whether the North Koreans were engaged in some sort of deception or were simply taking Sunday off. 

That is what I was wondering about the war-pushing New York Times here. 

Remember the satellite photos that showed Iraq forces massed at the Saudi border? Babies thrown out of incubators? 

Who knows what the North Koreans are going to do? What I do know is I no longer believe the account that comes to me in the form of my pre$$. Period.

If the North tests another nuclear device, it would be a major show of defiance by Kim Jong Un, coming after President Trump’s repeated warnings against his country. Speaking Monday in Seoul, the South Korean capital, Vice President Mike Pence said North Korea would do well not to test Trump’s “resolve or the strength of armed forces of the United States in the region.”

On Saturday in Sydney, Australia, Pence said that a US naval strike group led by the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson was expected to be in the Sea of Japan, which borders the Korean Peninsula, by the end of April....

Yeah, except they lied about where it was before!!

--more--"

Why would you believe anything that was said in there? 

That was a New York Times triple play. 

Now for a brief one from AP:

"Missiles struck a medical center in Syria’s northern rebel-held province Saturday, putting the underground facility out of service and killing at least three staff members as well as a person in the vicinity, opposition activists said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that airstrikes seriously damaged the medical center in Abdin village, in Idlib. International medical charities say Syrian government forces target hospitals, clinics, and ambulances in opposition-held areas." 

Notice how the U.S. slaughter of civilians has quickly gone away.

"Two top drug traffickers were killed in predawn shootouts Saturday with federal forces in the northern Mexico border state of Tamaulipas. Julian Loisa Salinas was killed in the border city of Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas. He reportedly led the Gulf cartel there. The leader of the rival Zetas cartel in Ciudad Victoria was killed in a shootout farther south. He was tentatively identified as Francisco Carreon."

"A Russian soldier serving at a military base in Gyumri was killed in a knife attack Saturday at a store near the base, a regional prosecutor said. Local news reports said a suspect was arrested. Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti, citing the military’s southern command, said preliminary indications were that the attack was sparked by a domestic dispute."

RelatedThe anti-gay purge in Chechnya must be stopped

What is this about vietnamese-villagers-release-officials-held-hostage-land-dispute?

UPDATE: In House of Murdoch, sons set about an elaborate overhaul

Fox to become like CNN and MSNBC (not that it really matters)?

I used to like James, but now I don't know. We'll see.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday's Broken Promise

I knew I wasn't going to be reading much of it when I saw the front page.

Hernandez’s fiancee may sue prison for failing to prevent suicide

That was the lead again, and what I'm noticing more and more is what is not in my Globe on a daily basis rather than the swill that is.

Trump assails 100-day mark as 'ridiculous standard'

I did scan the article although I'm no longer interested in what fallacy comes out of his mouth these days. I'm sick of $howman presidents. Apparently, he foisted this tax bill on Congre$$ with no warning (never a good idea; they like to be included or else their egos are bruised) and towards the end we find that "Trump also signed directives Friday to review financial measures put in place by the Obama administration. The presidential order asks Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to review the tax regulations imposed by Obama in 2016. Those include efforts to clamp down on “corporate inversions” — in which US companies merge with foreign companies to take advantage of lower tax rates abroad. Meanwhile, Trump is seeking to use negotiations on a deal to continue operations of the government to leverage several of his priorities. ‘‘I think we’ve made it very clear that we want border wall funding, we want greater latitude to deny federal grants to sanctuary cities,’’ White House press secretary Sean Spicer said."

That explains the National focus on page A6 of the print, but rest easy -- this guy talks out of both sides of his mouth worse than Nixon (with all due respect).

Below the fold:

Loss of ‘Codfather’ permits could hurt New Bedford

Maybe they should open up some pot shops.

Jack Grinold, longtime sports information director at Northeastern, dead at 81

A2:

Teacher of the year talks about challenges and rewards of being a teacher

Sorry, I fell asleep.

March for Science draws support, ambivalence

Yawn.

A3:

Second parchment manuscript copy of Declaration of Independence found — in England

Kind of making my own in a way.

A4:

On second thought, maybe ‘West Mass’ isn’t the best idea

It took $85,000 to figure that out, 'eh?

A5:

Mother of mentally ill man fatally shot by Boston police demands justice

That was a bad day.

Here are some missing briefs that appeared in print:

Northeast Maine prepares for even more snow

A Globe whiteout, and you can see why. 

Two 12-year-olds rescued python found behind Lawrence school

Fall River man injured in lottery ticket robbery

Three arrested in Barnstable on drug distribution charges

Heroin and crack

Three-alarm fire destroys home in Leominster

A6:

Ann Coulter rejects Berkeley’s new invite; GOP students threaten to sue college

Don't care what that provocateur dupe has to say.

In print but missing from the web version:

Florida State Senator Frank Artiles Resigns After Racial Remarks

Arkansas carries out first execution since 2005

A7:

Attack on Champs-Élysées injects more uncertainty into French vote

It has almost become routine in France: A terror attack shatters the rhythms of daily life, bringing bloodshed and anguish. The assailant turns out to be someone known to authorities.

Yeah, like a movie we have seen one to many times. It's the same script, and the Globe even had an invisible eyewitness to the scene(?). 

I'm told the incident, whatever it is, was to be a gain for Fillon. The fact that the incident, whatever it is, is supposedly helping that $tinking $cum says to me that -- in what is sure to be a rigged vote with the “movement toward one who has held power” narrative being applied -- the run-off will be between Fillon and Macron with Le Pen left out. The Ma$ters of the Univer$e are no longer chancing elections even if Trump is on board.

Pence aims to reassure Australia after tense Trump call

The affection the longtime allies usually share for each other is rooted in decades of cooperation on defense, intelligence, and trade. Australia has fought alongside the United States in every major conflict since World War I, and is one of the largest contributors to the US-led military campaign in Iraq and Syria.

Some AEI puke says it's about ‘‘reestablishing relations.’’

Disguised militants kill dozens of Afghan troops 

I guess that big bomb really didn't do much of anything after all.

Missing from the web but in print:

Bus bombing suspect hoped to profit off attack, officials say

Whatever.

Nothing about Syria, nothing about the Palestinian hunger strike, no Russia, no Iraq.

A8:

Eversource makes a power move on the South Boston waterfront

Boston tech firms, Markey, vow net neutrality fight

Three Chicken & Rice Guys outposts set to reopen, pending inspections

United CEO won’t get added role as chairman amid furor over removing passenger

He's had a bumpy ride.

US rejects Exxon Mobil’s bid for waiver on Russia sanctions

See, Trump isn't a tool of Putin, and just after Tillerson took a dump on Moscow's porch.

A12:

The Globe's solution to retail woes?

Bring back the summer tax holiday (pfffft)!! 

That doesn't explain the month-after-month dropping of tax receipts or misforecasts from authority and government.

I'll send you a postcard as I enjoy the Good Life this weekend.

Friday, April 21, 2017

I Kept My Word

See: Trump's Kept Promise 

scam after all, huh? 

Well, my promise to myself to you was to stay current with each day's Globe. I just spent the morning preparing posts that I won't be getting to while putting up crap. Maybe tomorrow I will get to them (ha-ha).

Taking it from the top....

See: Who Killed Aaron Hernandez?

I didn't go in the church today.

"President Trump to nominate Scott Brown as ambassador to New Zealand" by Jim O’Sullivan Globe staff  April 20, 2017

President Trump will nominate former US senator Scott Brown to serve as ambassador to New Zealand, the White House said Thursday, a pick that won plaudits from both Democrats and Republicans.

Brown’s nomination will require confirmation by the Senate, but congratulatory messages from his former campaign rivals Senators Elizabeth Warren and Jeanne Shaheen signaled that Democrats probably will not worken masse to oppose the pick.

If confirmed, Brown, who served 35 years in the Army National Guard, would take an ambassadorship to a key US ally. New Zealand for decades has collaborated with the United States as part of the so-called Five Eyes alliance, which also includes Canada, Great Britain, and Australia.

Five Eyes? What's that?

(Answer: it's the five government cross-surveillance system that has been around since the 1980s)

After the initial report of Brown’s potential appointment to New Zealand, the press there made light of the modeling he did in his youth. “Man tipped for US ambassador role in NZ a former nude model who supports waterboarding,” read a headline in the New Zealand Herald....

That's true, and word from the alternative media is that New Zealanders feel insulted by this lightweight of a pick that knows nothing of them.

--more--"

Related: Kerry's Hypocrisy

Alse see:

Australia plans to raise more barriers to citizenship

Going backward?

UN strongly condemns North Korean missile launch after delay

Condemning a launch that never took place.

Pence, in Indonesia, seeks to reassure S.E. Asia

Is that what he is doing? 

Meanwhile, Mattis is over in Israel talking credibility! Are you kidding?

I'd say you can't make this stuff up except -- apparently you can!

Where is Trump anyway?

Back to the front page where you can see the raw power of the Zioni$t lobby here in deep blue liberal Ma$$achu$etts. Another guy from the state stood up on that issue and was promptly knocked down (always too little, too late when it comes to Israel and US administrations). Maybe someday they will learn, but I doubt it.

A2:

White House officials, craving progress, push revised health bill

So not only were we deceived again about the death of the health bill repeal, there is a far more urgent deadline: Much of the federal government will run out of money. Reaching agreement on a measure to keep the government open past midnight that Friday will be the first priority of Republican leaders when Congress returns Monday from a two-week spring recess.

WTF were they doing on a vacation while the government was running out of money?

As for the health bill, "the legislation’s future is unclear. In recent weeks, the insurance companies have been strongly urging the Trump administration and Congress to commit to funding cost-sharing reductions, warning that without the money from the government, the companies will have to sharply raise the prices of their plans offered through the state marketplaces. Some insurers have hinted they will leave the markets altogether without the funding."

The Obamacare implosion we were told about.

American, Russian cheered as they reach space station

What happens if war breaks out with the Russians? They kill the American?

Coulter vows to hold Berkeley event despite university cancellation

Maybe she should turn around.

Last killer whale is born at a SeaWorld park

I remember my last post about it.

A8:

Utah’s Chaffetz says he may not finish term in Congress

I wonder what they have on that guy. He was a rising star. Clinton crime cabal threaten his family?

George H.W. Bush still in hospital; George W. Bush visits

I'm thankful that article didn't appear in print, and both should be in a jail cell. 

"Once critical of global deals, Trump is slow to pull out of any" by Matthew Lee and Josh Lederman Associated Press  April 21, 2017

WASHINGTON — From NAFTA to the Iran nuclear agreement to the Paris climate accord, President Trump’s campaign rhetoric is colliding with the reality of governing, as Trump’s past criticism turns to tacit embrace of several key elements of US foreign policy [and] his administration has quietly laid the groundwork to honor the international architecture of deals it has inherited.

RelatedClimate deal in danger if United States leaves, experts say

All worried over nothing!

Even as Trump railed Thursday against the North American Free Trade Agreement, there was little indication he was pushing for wholesale changes. As a candidate, Trump threatened to jettison the pact with Mexico and Canada unless he could substantially renegotiate it in America’s favor.

He's already crossed the border on NAFTA, too?

‘‘The fact is, NAFTA, whether it’s Mexico or Canada, is a disaster for our country,’’ Trump said Thursday during an event on steel imports. Of a dispute with Canada over dairy exports, he added: ‘‘We’re not going to let it happen.’’

It's what everyone is talking about, and do his words ever ring hollow (in record time for a new president).

Yet Trump’s administration has been focused on marginal changes that would preserve much of the existing agreement, according to draft guidelines that Trump’s trade envoy sent to Congress. To the dismay of NAFTA critics, the proposal preserves a controversial provision that lets companies challenge national trade laws through private tribunals.

Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University, said Trump may be allowing himself to argue in the future that existing deals can be improved without being discarded. ‘‘That allows him to tell his base that he’s getting a better deal than Bush or Obama got, and yet reassure these institutions that it’s really all being done with a nod and a wink, that Trump doesn’t mean what he says,’’ Brinkley said.

We can all see that now. More interested in marketing his office than running the country.

On NATO, Trump has completely backed off from his assertions that the treaty organization is ‘‘obsolete.’’ His Cabinet members have fanned out to foreign capitals to show America’s support for the alliance, and his administration now describes the 28-nation body as a pillar of Western security.

So far, there’s been no major revolt from Trump supporters....

They obviously don't read the alternative media and are blind. Trump voters and supporters are furious about having been conned -- even Oliver Stone.

--more--"

Related:

"The Environmental Protection Agency is again moving to derail Obama-era regulations aimed at reducing pollution from the fossil-fuel industry. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt announced Wednesday that he has ordered a 90-day delay for oil and gas companies to follow a new rule requiring them to monitor and reduce methane leaks from their facilities. Pruitt said the agency will now reconsider the 2016 measure, which the companies were required to comply with by this June. It is the latest in a slew of actions by Pruitt to set aside environmental regulations opposed by corporate interests. The American Petroleum Institute and other industry groups petitioned Pruitt to scrap the requirement. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, causing up to 100 times more global warming than the same amount of carbon dioxide."

Never you mind the water that burns or the earthquakes where there were none before.

It's a road to nowhere with him.

A9:

Cherokee Nation sues drug firms, retailers for flooding communities with opioids

Last month, seven counties in West Virginia, which has the highest prescription drug overdose rate in the nation, filed suits against many of the same corporations. Those suits accuse the companies of creating a public hazard by shipping large amounts of drugs into the state and seek billions of dollars in reimbursements for the economic toll the drugs have taken in the heart of Appalachia.

In Oklahoma, prescription opioid abuse has been particularly pernicious, Cherokee officials said. The members of the nation, which endured the forced removal of its people between 1830 and 1850 from the Southeast during what is known as the Trail of Tears, are more prone to addiction than other populations, according to studies cited by the officials.

21st-century Trail of Tears?

Stop and frisk attorneys challenge NY body camera policy

A12:

Judge with Mexican roots attacked by Trump to oversee suit by deported ‘dreamer’

Shouldn't he be recusing himself?

Arkansas plans to resume executions

My interest has been aborted.

Prison company struggles to license a detention center for families

Time to migrate to the wider world:

A4:

Ahmadinejad, polarizing ex-president of Iran, is barred from running again

The third antichrist will not be (or already has been; see W. Bush)? 

Word is he is bought a home in Toronto and is moving to Canada

What a disgrace, 'eh?

Pakistan Court Keeps Prime Minister in Power but Orders Inquiry of Family

The Supreme Court’s ruling on the accusations, which stemmed from the Panama Papers that were leaked last year, revealed that three of Sharif’s children controlled shell companies through which they owned expensive residential properties in London. The revelations set off political turmoil, as opposition parties accused Sharif of financial wrongdoing and money- laundering, which he and his family denied.

Rulers are all the $ame no matter where you live.

Supreme Court bans Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia

That's one way to keep them off the porch.

A5:

Backlash against same-sex marriage tests Taiwan’s reputation for gay rights

RelatedIn controversial move, Trump speaks with Taiwan's president

That was the first leaked call by the Deep State.

Didn't you know there was wiretapping in Taiwan

It's a trademark of theirs and no cause for concern. Don't let it unnerve you. Just get tough with them and avoid the bus.

A6:

Hezbollah border tour offers a glimpse of possible war ahead

Thanks for the warning. Will be part of the Big Show.

C2:

The next recession could make the state budget deficit explode

Not one word about the hundreds of millions doled out as corporate welfare.

C3:

"The building housing the long-vacant Barnes & Noble in Downtown Crossing is set to be sold to a new owner who plans to redevelop it into retail and office space....

Closing the book on that one.

The Internal Revenue Service is about to start using four private debt-collection companies to chase down overdue payments from hundreds of thousands of people who owe money to the federal government, a job it has handled in-house for years. Unlike IRS agents, who are not usually allowed to call delinquent taxpayers by telephone, the outside debt-collection agencies will have free rein to do so. Consumer watchdogs are fearful that some of the nation’s most vulnerable taxpayers will be harassed and that criminals will take advantage of the system by phoning people and impersonating IRS collectors. Additionally, one of the companies hired by the IRS, Pioneer Credit Recovery, a subsidiary of Navient, was effectively fired two years ago by the Education Department for misleading borrowers about their loans at what the department called “unacceptably high rates.”

Those loans were devised to fail(?), and it's corporate fa$ci$m through and through. 

They going to start in Switzerland?

Unilever, which rebuffed a $143 billion takeover offer from Kraft Heinz Co. earlier this year, is betting that condiments can help reenergize its business. The household-products giant, whose portfolio includes Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, agreed to buy Sir Kensington’s, which makes natural and non-GMO ketchup and eggless mayo. The price was about $140 million, a person familiar with the transaction said. The European company has acquired other young brands, aiming to freshen its image and move into faster-growing markets. In 2016, it bought Seventh Generation Inc., a Vermont-based maker of natural and environmentally conscious cleaning products, and Dollar Shave Club, a subscription toiletry-delivery business popular with millennials. Sir Kensington’s vegan mayo is made from aquafaba, an ingredient that’s caught on with consumers switching to more ecofriendly foods.

Tastes like sh**....

Alcoa Corp. is moving its global headquarters — but very few jobs — back to Pittsburgh, where the 129-year-old company had been based until moving to New York City in 2006. Alcoa has maintained offices in Pittsburgh, and 10 of the 15 employees at its New York headquarters will move to Pennsylvania effective Sept. 1, spokeswoman Joyce Saltzman said Thursday. The other five New York workers will telecommute. Alcoa has 205 employees in Pittsburgh who share a building with Arconic, a spinoff created when Alcoa split its mining, refining, and aluminum businesses in November from businesses that make aluminum parts for aerospace, automotive, and other industries.

That what they make the car out of?

Tesla Inc. recalled 53,000 Model S and Model X vehicles to replace electronic parking brakes that may not release properly. Vehicles assembled between February and October last year contain a small gear that could have been manufactured improperly by Tesla’s supplier. If that gear were to break, the parking brake could become stuck in place, the company said. Only a ‘‘very small percentage’’ were manufactured improperly, the company said, adding it hasn’t seen ‘‘a single accident or injury’’ relating to the brake issue. Meanwhile a group of vehicle owners sued Tesla, claiming its autopilot feature is “dangerously defective” when engaged. In a complaint filed Wednesday in federal court in San Jose, Calif., consumers allege their cars — purchased for $81,000 to $113,000 — veer off lanes while often “lurching, slamming on the brakes for no reason, and failing to slow or stop when approaching other vehicles” when autopilot is activated.

You smell something?

Really makes you look forward to the driverless cars, 'eh?

C2:

GM operations in Venezuela are seized as protests swell.... The move came amid violent street protests against the government of President Nicolás Maduro and a deepening economic crisis fueled by the country’s heavy foreign debt and the retreat of world oil prices, slashing Venezuela’s main source of income. The particulars of the dispute were murky."

Like I keep saying, U.S.-initiated coup underway after bringing the economy to its knees.

C5

Stocks rally as banks, industrial companies gain

Oh, good. I was worried for a second there.

FCC, tech companies talk net neutrality

After that things went quiet -- as you wait for my blog to load?

Just broke my promise, sorry. Not going to waste my time -- or yours.

Friday Flashback: One For the Road

See: Last Call For 2016

"Three Boston bars absolved in state ‘pay-to-play’ case" by Dan Adams Globe Staff  December 29, 2016

Three prominent Boston bars whose corporate owners accepted payments from a beer distributor to stock certain brews over others will not be penalized, a frustrating setback for state investigators trying to stamp out the banned practice of “pay-to-play” in the Massachusetts beer industry.

There was never any doubt about the conduct — the restaurant groups that own the bars admitted to state investigators they received inducements from the beer distributor. But commissioners of the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission said Thursday there was no proof the “kickbacks,” as the commissioners termed the payment, were passed on from the corporate parents to their bars.

In their ruling Thursday, the ABCC’s three commissioners said the evidence showed only that the payments went to the parent restaurant groups, which could not be charged because, unlike the bars, they do not hold liquor licenses overseen by the agency.

As a result, the commissioners determined that the bars did not violate the pay-to-play ban, a decision the ABCC’s top lawyer suggested they made reluctantly.

“By the tenor and tone of the decisions, the commissioners seemed to express their displeasure that there was nothing they could do,” said Kris Foster, the ABCC’s general counsel. “The commission is constrained by the Legislature in that it can only regulate licensees,” not their corporate parents....

--more--"

Me$$age: Corruption and law-breaking shall be absolved unless it's, you know, that other thing.

Also see:

"In the age of opioid addiction — when getting prescribed painkillers has grown more difficult — little has been done to increase access to other treatments for the ceaseless pain that afflicts one-third of Americans...."

If you need to quit....

Related: Study finds nationwide medical marijuana laws could save money

You know what, though? That would really put a crimp into that CIA black ops budgets and money laundering banks bottom lines. Now you see why they dragged their feet on medical and are doing the same with recreational. Pharmaceutical lobby holds much more $way than some tax loot that won't be going into campaign coffers.

"Family members stranded on holiday road trip now recovering" by SARAH RANKIN Associated Press  December 29, 2016

RICHMOND — It was supposed to be a nine-hour drive from New Jersey to North Carolina, one Barbara Briley had made many times. But something went awry on the Christmas road trip, and the 71-year-old and her great-granddaughter spent days stranded in a wooded area of rural Virginia before a passerby spotted them and called for help.

Briley and 5-year-old La’Myra Briley were recovering Thursday, authorities and relatives said. They were found a day earlier in Dinwiddie County, south of Richmond.

They were near their vehicle, which was stuck on private property about a mile from a paved road, State Police said.

The Brileys left from Mays Landing, N.J., on Christmas Eve, headed for Morven, N.C., but they never arrived.

They were reported missing, and their disappearance sparked a search across a wide swath of Virginia. Before Wednesday, they had last been seen at a gas station about 30 miles north of Richmond, where a store clerk said that Barbara Briley had asked for directions and help with her GPS before she continued on her way.

No foul play is suspected in the case, according to police.

It was not clear how the Brileys ended up on the private property, where, police said, it appeared that they had been for ‘‘several days.’’

The two had snacks and drinks to get by, police said....

--more--"

Friday Flashback: Bo$ton Globe Chri$tma$ Carol

"Facing slumping donations, United Way offers ‘poverty simulations’ to show its relevance" by Sacha Pfeiffer Globe Staff  December 22, 2016

In real life, they are Bank of America employees with comfortable white-collar careers — a private client adviser, an estate settlement assistant, and a self-described data geek.

But they recently got a taste of an uncomfortable alternative reality.

Dale Edmunds of Wellesley pretended to be unemployed, evicted, and living in a motel with his family after being laid off from his $50,000-a-year manufacturing job.

He's lucky he found a room.

Kristine Millet of Concord, his fake stay-at-home wife, struggled to find work to replace Edmunds’ lost income and pay cellphone bills, car insurance, and overdue credit card debt.

Gene Poillucci of Boston played the part of their teenage son, upset that his parents may not be able to afford a restaurant meal for his birthday.

Together, this make-believe family navigated the world of food stamps, pawn shops, charities, and check-cashing agencies. At the end of the lunchtime skit, held in a conference room in a downtown Boston high-rise, they returned to their normal lives, but the experience had an emotional impact.

“I felt very stressed,” said Millet, a senior information officer. “I thought, wow, this has got to be so stressful for folks trying to stay on top of bills rolling in when you barely have enough to cover them.”

This so-called poverty simulation is one of several educational programs offered by the United Way as the nearly 130-year-old organization — long the dominant player in workplace charitable giving through automatic payroll deduction, but facing declining donations — strives to remain relevant in a changing philanthropic landscape.

OMG! 

This in a state with an allegedly great economy and with massive wealth inequality (of course, you do better here despite the high cost of living)!

For the hour or so they spent in this “Walk a Mile Experience,” Edmunds, Millet, and Poillucci got a glimpse of the everyday challenges faced by the working poor. Developed by the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, it’s a fast-moving, intentionally frenzied activity designed to convey the sense of chaos, confusion, and helplessness often endured by people living at or near the poverty line.

Not the same knowing you can go back to your "real" life.


“I was hoping it would give me a better appreciation for the daily struggles of those living in poverty, and I think it did,” added Edmunds, a managing director in the bank’s private wealth management division. “I feel like we live in a bubble, and I want to be a little more sensitive to these issues.”

--more--"

Honestly, I'm sick of the banker's paper telling us how great they all are.

Related:

Bank of America 1st quarter profits up 40%

Bank of America boosts CEO Moynihan’s pay 25 percent, to $20 million

Happy New Year!

"Cybercrime ensnares Berkshire Bank, lawsuit claims" by Deirdre Fernandes Globe Staff  December 22, 2016

Berkshire Bank was the alleged target of an increasingly common type of cyberheist this fall that bilked a longtime customer out of more than $1 million, according to a lawsuit filed this week.

Jim Jacobs, a Florida-based modern art dealer, filed suit in US District Court in Springfield alleging that the bank’s inadequate fraud detection systems allowed criminals to steal $1.4 million from his account and move the money to Hong Kong through two wire transfers in October.

Jacobs, who has ties to the Western Massachusetts art community, opened his personal account with Great Barrington Savings Bank in 1980, before it merged with what eventually became Berkshire Bank, now an $8 billion institution.

According to the lawsuit, over the years Jacobs’s account grew significantly, and he was assigned a personal banker at Berkshire Bank who handled his transactions — a common practice among financial institutions looking to cater to high-net-worth clients.

Over the course of a week in October, the personal banker fell for three fake, or spoofed, e-mails from somebody pretending to be Jacobs. The imposter directed the banker to transfer $580,000 and $826,000 into two separate banks in Hong Kong, suggesting the payments were related to the work of abstract painter Agnes Martin, according to the lawsuit. 

I never even look at e-mail anymore, other than to check the delete all button.

Berkshire Bank failed to verify that Jacobs was actually making the requests, according to the lawsuit. The transactions should have raised red flags at Berkshire Bank because Jacobs had never done business with the companies receiving the money, nor their Hong Kong banks, in the past, according to the lawsuit.

Scams that use fake e-mail to target businesses are on the rise nationally, according to cybersecurity experts and law enforcement officials. In most cases, cybercriminals were able to glean enough information about employees in a company to create a fake e-mail from an executive that’s sent to accountants or financial officers instructing them to make wire transfers into accounts held by the thieves. These schemes have hit technology companies, small businesses, and real estate firms, said Michael Kelly, a supervisory special agent for the economic crime squad in the Boston FBI office.

Are you sure it wasn't an inside job

And where the hell are the telecoms and NSA data collectors?

“If you make wire transfers on a regular basis, you’re going to be targeted,” Kelly said. “We are in a fast-paced business environment. We’re not used to doing things face-to-face anymore and this scheme takes advantage of it.”

Banks, which were targeted in the first wave of these scams, have deployed increasingly sophisticated algorithms to weed out potentially fraudulent wire transfer requests from their customers, Kelly said.

Jacobs learned of the unauthorized transfers when he returned from a European vacation in late October and spoke with the personal banker, who mentioned the transactions.

“Berkshire Bank, by failing to exercise the care of a reasonably prudent person in connection with sending and resending of wires to Hong Kong without authenticating the transfer orders, breached its fiduciary duty,” the lawsuit states.

Jacobs was not available for comment. His attorney, Lucy Prashker, declined to comment on the details of the case. However, she said the FBI is aware of the case.

The FBI declined to say whether it is investigating.

Berkshire Bank officials declined to comment on pending litigation. However, according to the lawsuit, the bank has argued that the banker was acting as Jacobs’s agent at the time and not as a Berkshire Bank employee.

Most banks have technology in place that flags unusual wire transfers, especially if they are for significant amounts or are being sent to bank accounts that a customer has never done business with before, said Seth Ruden, a senior fraud consultant with ACI Worldwide, a Florida-based payment systems company.

Some institutions can even detect whether customers are using their usual computer to send requests and whether it can be trusted, Ruden said.

“Banks do and should have anomaly [detecting] systems in place,” Ruden said. “If they don’t, they’re missing a key component.”

It’s unclear what procedures Berkshire Bank had in place for customers such as Jacobs.

According to the lawsuit, Berkshire Bank never provided Jacobs with security measures to protect his account from fraudulent wire transfers.

After the theft, recovering the money can be a challenge, officials said....

I know the first place I would look.

--more--"

Also seeBarclays to face off against US over crisis-era loans

Related: Blowing the Whistle on Barclays

Friday Flashback: Playing to the Crowd

"Toy makers have begun developing a new category of board games that embrace, not avoid, our smartphone habits. Gone are the days of hunched shoulders and rolled dice. Today the focus is on creating moments of zany physical comedy that can translate into viral moments ripe for sharing online — a phenomenon that is contributing to a surge in game sales.

It’s called the “YouTube effect.” Games have seen a 20 percent spike in sales this year, and are the fastest growing category of toys, and that’s before sales during the busy holiday season are tallied, said Juli Lennett, a toy industry analyst with the NPD Group....

I don't want to play a game!

Friday Flashback: Operation Wolfgang

"Suffolk DA says police, FBI drug raids ‘saved lives’" by Laura Crimaldi Globe Staff  December 15, 2016

An investigation hatched more than a year ago focusing on a reputed Boston street gang member suspected of drug trafficking culminated Thursday in predawn raids that rounded up more than two dozen suspects accused in a violent conspiracy to sell heroin and fentanyl, authorities said.

In total, “Operation Wolfgang” ensnared more than 40 people accused of playing varying roles in a drug trafficking ring that stretched across eastern Massachusetts and is believed to also be responsible for shootings, armed home invasions, and robberies, officials said.

“Make no mistake. Taking these guns and drugs off the streets will save lives here,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. “The primary targets in this operation were not street-level dealers and runners. They were kilo-weight suppliers at the top of the domestic supply chain.”

The drug enterprise was tied to the Mozart Street Gang in Jamaica Plain, which has connections to drug traffickers in the Dominican Republic and Mexico and deals in heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine, officials said. The police operation took its name from the street and the famous 18th-century composer. 

I'll bet a lot of them are illegals. Thank God this is a sanctuary state.

Twenty-one people targeted during the investigation and six others were taken into custody during the early-morning raids, said Harold Shaw, special agent in charge of Boston’s FBI office. Fourteen people had been previously arrested, while seven others were being sought as of Thursday evening.

Among them was David Medina, described by prosecutors as a major target of the investigation, who is believed to have escaped from an Everett warehouse as police closed in, officials said.

The operation also netted about $80,000, 10 firearms, 5½ kilograms of heroin and fentanyl, Conley said. The arrests occurred in Boston and nearby communities, including Braintree, Brockton, and Cambridge, officials said.

“Today’s arrests will make a dent in the heroin that’s hitting the street,” said Shaw. “Nobody should have to live in the midst of drug dealing or violent criminals, and we hope this well-coordinated effort will help bring some additional peace to the streets of our neighborhoods.”

Investigators started monitoring the group on Sept. 23, using court-authorized wiretaps on 17 phones, prosecutors said.

The monitoring generated thousands of recordings of Yohan Gomez, 29, who prosecutors said was the principal target of the investigation and a Mozart Street Gang member.

By tracking his phone calls, investigators identified other key players in the alleged conspiracy, most notably Elizabeth Comas, a 26-year-old Hyde Park resident with no criminal record, Conley said.

She appeared Thursday in West Roxbury Municipal Court, where her bail was set at $5,000 on allegations that she brought large quantities of heroin into the United States from the Dominican Republic, according to the Suffolk district attorney’s office.

“We were able to identify this previously undetected heroin importer only through the use of wire taps,” Conley said.

Remember when the tyranny was only for terrorists?

Gomez was among more than a dozen defendants arraigned in Boston Municipal Court, where some relatives cried as bail amounts were set and defense attorneys argued unsuccessfully that the charges should be dropped because the prosecution had no probable cause to make the arrests.

Gomez, whose bail was set at $2 million, tried to shield his face with papers during his court appearance.

Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Kevin McCarthy said Gomez’s alleged criminal conduct went beyond drug dealing to attempts at robberies and an armed home invasion.

Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans said the arrests targeting Mozart Street followed a string of operations aimed at other gangs, including MS-13 and streets gangs that grew out of housing developments on Lenox Street and in Columbia Point.

“The message here is clear,” he said. “If you’re going to be involved in these gangs and guns and drugs then we’re going to focus on you and we’re going to put you in jail.”

Don't worry; you will be out in six months and your place will be filled immediately anyway.

--more--"

Also see: Operation Triple Play 

The "Drug War" has become a joke with the government's Fast and Furious gun running and DEA seizures. It's become a revolving door of bulloney in which the government is playing both sides, treading water, and piling up money on both sides. You would have to be on drugs to be fooled by it anymore.