Monday, April 30, 2018

Preparing For War

What is interesting is my printed copy has flipped the righthand column. It's the VA that is my printed lead, and the only connection above is the bridge to Long Island:

"The VA and many of America’s physicians, aggressively encouraged by drug makers, once dispensed opioids as the default remedy for pain. From 2001 to 2013, opioid prescriptions in the VA system increased 270 percent while the number of patients rose less than 40 percent, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Let that sink in for a while. The drug makers are benefiting from the wars. You wouldn't normally put them together, but there it is. Then the consider the presidents during a good majority of that time. The phony appointments scandal under Obama should be factored in here, too, but that scandal went away after the Senate tossed $18 billion at it.

“Because of their aggressive use of opioids, they wound up with an enormous problem,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative at Brandeis University. “Tens of thousands of veterans ended up addicted.”

At least the bottom lines of the pharmaceuticals rose.

Try to think of it as collateral damage, and its a vicious circle, isn't it? 

So we go to war to protect poppy fields, among other reasons, because the Taliban had pretty much killed the crop (they actually believe in what they are doing), and it turns out the opium trade and its derivatives benefit most the black budgets of the CIA as well as the bottom line of money-laundering banks. Then you hook the vets on it and demand hugs for the opioid addicts while asking for more treatment dollars.

Can you see why I'm against all the wars now?

Pain is rampant among veterans. Nearly 60 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are afflicted by chronic pain, as are more than 50 percent of older veterans. Many have returned home with battlefield injuries, but even more suffer back ailments, nerve damage, headaches, and other forms of severe pain that come with age and inadequate treatment.

Prepare for many more of them.

(flip)

"A catastrophic spinal cord injury playing football didn’t stop him from becoming a self-sufficient, productive citizen in a remarkable journey of perseverance and endurance....."

Then the government came for his Social Security because he didn't read the fine print.

Sprint and T-Mobile agree to merge, in bid to remake wireless market

Can't hear you now.

"The dealer was one of his street sources. The detective gave an address and the following day....."

Police work is messy.

*********

The migrant caravan halted at ‘full’ border post is my National lead on page A2. Printed Globe gave me AP as that agenda is to be waved at us again. Fox can get all huffy and puffy while the war agenda is advanced elsewhere.

Arkansas police officer fatally shot in home

We are told it was a stray bullet in a random shooting, and yet "neighbors told local media that they had heard as many as 40 gunshots. Photos and videos showed the windows of Johnson’s apartment riddled with bullets and it’s unclear whether police have made an arrest."

MS-13 hit that was rumored weeks ago, or who-knows hit teams roaming around like in Boston (no follow up on the shooting, btw)?

"A mystery is brewing at the White House about what happened to the oak tree President Trump and President Emmanuel Macron of France planted there last week. The sapling was a gift from Macron on the occasion of his state visit. News photographers snapped away Monday when Trump and Macron shoveled dirt onto the tree during a ceremonial planting on the South Lawn. By the end of the week, the tree was gone from the lawn. The White House hasn’t offered an explanation....." 

The whole thing was already a joke anyway. The uprooting is symbolic -- which is what I will have to do if I want to dig out more printed national stories.

"The Montgomery Advertiser, in a news article and an editorial, admitted that its coverage of lynchings over many decades was careless, dismissive, and dehumanizing in its treatment of the black victims and portrayed them as criminals who got what was coming to them. Part public confession and plea for forgiveness, The Advertiser’s self-examination marked an important acknowledgment of the role that the press played in perpetuating the mob violence that was unleashed on African-Americans for decades after slavery was abolished. “Sometimes print media aided and abetted in these acts of terror by announcing when lynchings would take place, by celebrating the courage of the mob, the objectives of the mob,” said Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, the nonprofit organization behind the new memorial, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice....."

What's that smell? 

Oh, just an agenda-pushing, war-promoting pre$$ that plays a role in perpetuating the violence and sometimes aiding and abetting in these acts of terror by announcing when bombings and invasions would take place, by celebrating the courage of the president and political leadership that ordered them, and promoting the objectives of the mob behind the ideas.” Some of them will show up later in this post.

"A trucker who was missing for four days in a snow-covered part of Oregon after his GPS mapping device sent him up the wrong road walked 36 miles and emerged safely from a remote and rugged region of the state. Jacob Cartwright, 22, showed up Saturday near the town of La Grande, where an intensive search involving aircraft had been taking place since he went missing Tuesday. He was being evaluated in an emergency room but appeared OK, officials said....."

He had to wade through snow and he couldn't light a fire.

"When wildfires strike in cattle country, the list of needs is long and expensive: Hurt cows have to see the veterinarian; fences must be replaced; barns need to be rebuilt. Perhaps most urgently, the surviving cattle must eat. So each time a major fire devastates the Great Plains, an informal but robust hay delivery kicks into gear, powered by Facebook messages, word-of-mouth, and the honor system. “If we waited on the government, we wouldn’t have it,” said Leo Hale, a local business owner who volunteered for 12-hour shifts distributing hay at the Vici rodeo grounds....."

Isn't Pruitt from Oklahoma?

Michelle Wolf's Routine Sets Off a Furor at an Annual Washington

I can see why the Globe would want to hide that. It's funny to read Fineman of NBC and MSNBC calling for perspective as Wolf "seemingly scandalized Washington's intersecting political and media tribes." (Yeah, it is a New York Times report. Grynbaum, you know. It ends with a tweet from Kathy Griffin, who is now back in the public eye). At least she didn't mention Haspel or Haley. It's a double standard that is socially unacceptable, but okay if you just want to rail against Trump.

James Comey speaks of worry for the country at sold-out Boston appearance 

Self-serving liar should be in jail.

No Brokaw today, and nothing happening in the World either, I guess.

"Kim prepared to cede nuclear weapons if US pledges not to invade" by Choe Sang-Hun New York Times   April 29, 2018

SEOUL — The South Korean government said Sunday that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, had told President Moon Jae-in that he would abandon his nuclear weapons if the United States agreed to formally end the Korean War and promise not to invade his country.

In a confidence-building gesture before a proposed summit meeting with President Trump, a suddenly loquacious and conciliatory Kim also said he would invite experts and journalists from South Korea and the United States to watch the shutdown next month of his country’s only known underground nuclear test site.

In Washington, Trump officials spoke cautiously about the chances of reaching a deal and laid out a plan for the dismantling of the North’s nuclear program, perhaps over a two-year period.

That would be accompanied by a “full, complete, total disclosure of everything related to their nuclear program with a full international verification,” said John R. Bolton, Trump’s new national security adviser.

You mean, like the deal Iran got?

The apparent concessions from the youthful leader were widely welcomed as perhaps the most promising signs yet of ending a standoff on the Korean Peninsula frozen in place since fighting in the Korean War ended 65 years ago, but skeptics warned that North Korea previously made similar pledges of denuclearization on numerous occasions, with little or no intention of abiding by them. Kim’s gestures, they said, could turn out to be nothing more than empty promises aimed at lifting sanctions on his isolated country.

I believe the skeptics are represented by Bolton. You know, the guy whispering in Trump's ear every day about the national security threats to this country.

A South Korean government spokesman, Yoon Young-chan, provided remarkable details of a summit meeting the two Korean heads of state held Friday, when Kim made history by becoming the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South.

“I know the Americans are inherently disposed against us, but when they talk with us, they will see that I am not the kind of person who would shoot nuclear weapons to the south, over the Pacific or at the United States,” Kim told Moon, according to Yoon’s account.

It was another in a series of startling statements by Kim, whose country threatened to do exactly those things during the height of nuclear tensions last year.

Kim’s apparent willingness to negotiate away his nuclear arsenal was revealed just as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke for the first time about a “good conversation” he had with Kim during his secret visit to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, over Easter weekend.

Pompeo told ABC News in a broadcast Sunday that the Trump administration’s objective was “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization” with North Korea, and that Kim was prepared to “lay out a map that would help us achieve” denuclearization.

“We had an extensive conversation on the hardest issues that face our two countries,” Pompeo said. “I had a clear mission statement from President Trump. When I left, Kim Jong Un understood the mission exactly as I described it today.”

What is Pompeo up to now? 

(Answer to follow below)

But Bolton, a longtime critic of past diplomacy with North Korea, expressed skepticism Sunday, recalling past moments that looked hopeful. “We want to see real commitment,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We don’t want to see propaganda from North Korea. We’ve seen words. We’ve seen words so far.”

Neither do I, which is why I no longer watch any of those shows. The fact that he made the rounds yesterday even more so.

Asked about North Korea’s insistence on a promise by the United States not to invade, Bolton noted that was an old demand that had been rolled out before. “We’ve heard this before,” he said. “The North Korean propaganda playbook is an infinitely rich resource.”

How interesting of him to say that because the ma$$ media and propaganda pre$$ that he and his ilk have used all these years is failing miserably.

Bolton told Fox News, but his administration is not “starry eyed about what may happen here. I think it is going to happen,’’ he said of a summit between Kim and Trump.

Sure is a different tune than last year, huh?

In the additional details released Sunday, Kim appeared to hedge his bets, indicating that denuclearizing his country could be a long process that required multiple rounds of negotiations and steps to build trust, but he laid out a vague idea of what his impoverished country would demand in return for giving up its nuclear weapons.

You know what? New York Times has already made me want to cancel the meeting before it's begun.  What's the point? Let's just save a lot of time and scrap it. I guess the NYT wanted him to disarm overnight. Too bad he is negotiating like Israel, according to the take in this "report."

Kim, who drove the peninsula close to the brink of war last year by undertaking a series of missile and nuclear tests, has extended an offer to meet Trump, which was accepted.

A week ago, Kim announced an end to all nuclear and long-range missile tests and the closing of the nuclear test site in mountainous Punggye-ri, in northeast North Korea.

Skeptics fear that Kim does not really intend to give up his nuclear weapons and is merely trying to soften his image, escape sanctions, and make it harder for Trump to continue to threaten military action, but South Korean officials say Kim is sincere in trading his nuclear weapons for a promise to end hostilities and get Washington’s help to improve his economy.....

I guess everybody really is against Trump. 

Well, almost everybody.

I mean, even Kim Jong Un here has got it out for the guy. Michelle Wolf is the least of his problems.

--more--"

What I think has happened in Korea and what is behind the suddenly loquacious and conciliatory Kim, is that he has been placed under the protective umbrella of China and Russia and has received guarantees of defense in case of US attack. That's why the South is eagerly embracing negotiations. 

The pre$$ in AmeriKa is telling us it is because of Trump's toughness and the bite of economic sanctions; however, since when have those ever bothered the North Koreans? Besides, I've been told in months previous that China and Russia were helping the North evade sanctions by unloading ships at sea, etc. Can't be both.

Speaking of spin:

"Trump to host Nigeria’s leader at the White House" Associated Press  April 29, 2018

LAGOS, Nigeria — After more than a year in office, President Trump for the first time is hosting an African president at the White House.

Racist bastard!

The meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday comes after an uncomfortable start to the Trump administration’s approach to the world’s second most populous continent.

Security and economic issues top the agenda for the bilateral meeting and working lunch.

He's getting the Merkel treatment?

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with almost 200 million people, is the largest economy on the continent and the leading crude oil exporter.

Seeing its importance.

Buhari was one of the first two African leaders Trump called after he took power, along with South Africa’s president.

Who has since been removed for corruption.

Nigeria is also one of Africa’s most troubled when it comes to extremism. Extremist group Boko Haram launched a violent insurgency in the northeast nine years ago with the aim of creating an Islamic state, and tens of thousands of people have been killed.

Funny how those guys have a way of popping up where there is goo in the ground.

I think you can see why Sudan is in the shi**er, too.

Mass abductions of schoolgirls brought Boko Haram international notoriety and one faction has declared allegiance to the Islamic State.

Hate to tell you this, but the mass abductions of girls was a piece of staged fakery. It's pretext to pull at your heartstrings, and haven't we seen enough of that?

Boko Haram is now active in neighboring Cameroon, Niger, and Chad and poses one of the most severe security threats to Africa’s vast Sahel region.

With Nigeria nowhere close to fully defeating Boko Haram despite government claims of having ‘‘crushed’’ the extremists, Buhari is expected to seek further US military assistance.

If they buy some military gear Trump will be happy and declare victory with our great Nigerian partners.

Already the Trump administration has made a $600 million deal to supply military planes and security equipment, one that was stalled under the Obama administration because of allegations that Nigeria’s military has been involved in human rights including rape and extrajudicial killings.

That is where the print copy ended, and nothing about the new drone base next door.

‘‘Absent clear evidence of a systematically abusive regime, moral preening is of little utility in dealing with situations like this,’’ J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, said in a blog post on Thursday, saying Buhari’s administration has taken a ‘‘much more decisive approach’’ to Boko Haram.

What is the Atlantic Council (how about that who's who board, huh?) and who is funding them?

Buhari, facing elections early next year, is under pressure to deliver on promises to defeat Boko Haram that helped him win office in 2015 in a rare democratic transfer of power in Nigeria.

In addition to seeking greater security collaboration, Buhari and Trump also will ‘‘discuss ways to enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries and to advance shared priorities, such as promoting economic growth,’’ said Femi Adesina, the Nigerian presidential spokesman.

Nigerian newspapers report that a team of government officials that traveled to the United States ahead of Buhari have signed an agreement to provide four companies led by General Electric the opportunity to invest an estimated $2 billion to modernize key railways in Nigeria.

China, the top investor in Nigeria, already is deep into similar infrastructure work in the country. 

So this IS ALL ABOUT CHINA after all!

Officials in Buhari’s delegation also will try to strike a deal with US aircraft manufacturer Boeing for a new state-owned airline project.

Maybe that will keep the U.S. off their backs, huh?

--more--"

Nothing about Buhari being on death's door, neither! 

Maybe they are sending a body double.

Related: 

"The pope decried an attack on a church in Nigeria that killed 15 people, including two priests. The massacre last week occurred in Benue state in central Nigeria, which has recently seen a series of attacks, many linked to an ongoing dispute between farmers and herdsmen......"

Pope knows how the schmooze, huh?

"A UN Security Council team visiting Bangladesh promised Sunday to work hard to resolve a crisis involving hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled to the country to escape military-led violence in neighboring Myanmar....."

Russia is pretty much saying nothing can be done -- like in Gaza and the West Bank.

Australia pledges millions in bid to rescue Great Barrier Reef

I would say we have bigger problems right now, but Australia probably will serve as a buffer and conduit for troops movements and material, much as it did in WWII.

"The leader of the wave of protests that created a surprise power vacuum in Armenia said Sunday that he met with the country’s new president and hopes to secure his support to become prime minister. Nikol Pashinian hopes to be the next premier. Pashinian’s supporters blocked traffic, marched through the capital and assembled in a central square Sunday for a rally, just like they did for more than a week...."

He's calling it a ‘‘revolution,’’ and says Russia has nothing to fear.

Maybe they should fear this:

"Syrian government forces on Sunday briefly captured four villages east of the Euphrates River in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour after rare clashes with US-backed Kurdish-led fighters before losing the area in a counteroffensive by the Kurdish-led force. The area close to the border with Iraq has been the site of recent clashes between the two sides who had been focusing on fighting the Islamic State. Crossings into the east bank of the Euphrates in eastern Syria by government forces have been rare. Much of Deir el-Zour province was held by the Islamic State group but over the past year Syrian government forces captured most areas west of the Euphrates while SDF fighters took areas east of the river. On Feb. 7, pro-Syrian government fighters attacked SDF positions east of the river and faced a ferocious US counterattack that left dozens, including Russians, dead. SDF spokesman Kino Gabriel said earlier Sunday that the Syrian army attack coincided with preparations to “liberate” the remaining areas east of the river from ISIS....."

A lot to address there. Whether the Feb. 7 incident actually happened is questionable based on the lack of Russian reaction; however, if this recent report is true and Syrian forces have tentatively begun the process of evicting U.S.-backed forces and thus U.S. troops out of the country, it's HUGE NEWS. It's another step to a full-blown WWIII (let's face it, we are in it now). 

The other thing of note is "in 2013, President Obama said he wanted more information about chemical weapons use in the Syrian civil war before deciding on escalating US military or diplomatic responses, despite earlier assertions that use of such weapons would be a ‘‘game-changer.’’ 

I only bring it up because ever since the French, U.K., and U.S. bombed Syria over an alleged chemical weapons incident, we haven't read anything about the OPCW investigation or the fact that they FOUND NO EVIDENCE of CHEMICAL RESIDUE at the sites that were BOMBED!

Makes sense. If the chemicals were there as claimed, they would have been dispersed by the destruction and people would have been getting sick. Have been no reports, and it is not like my pre$$ would bury such a thing. They would be saying, see, see?!! Same reason Skripal has been dispatched down the memory hole. You were LIED TO AGAIN!

"Pompeo says US is with Israel in fight against Iran" by Carol Morello Washington Post  April 29, 2018

TEL AVIV — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday as a ‘‘true friend of Israel,’’ and both men affirmed that the US-Israeli relationship has never been stronger.

Pompeo expressed pride in the administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv, a decision that prompted a lopsided vote of condemnation at the United Nations and spurred a handful of nations to move their own embassies to Jerusalem.

‘‘By recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and seat of its government, we are recognizing reality,’’ he said. 

Zionist Israelis have control over US foreign policy.

Both Pompeo and Netanyahu used their meeting to tear into Iran, characterizing it as an international menace that has become more ambitious since the 2015 nuclear deal, a view expressed as well at Pompeo’s previous stop, in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

‘‘People thought Iran’s aggression would be moderated as a result of signing the deal,’’ Netanyahu said. ‘‘The opposite has happened. Iran is trying to gobble up one country after the other. Iran must be stopped.’’ 

Blog editor sighs in exhaustion. 15 years ago he was making the same barking sounds about Iraq. Now Iran is the new Nazi Germany, gobbling upon countries like Israel gobbles up Palestinian land (btw, today is also the day Hitler died).

Pompeo said Iran aims to dominate the entire Middle East, adding, ‘‘The United States is with Israel in this fight.’’

The world has recognized that reality, yes.

Although Netanyahu praised the US recognition of Jerusalem as bold and historic, he met Pompeo in Tel Aviv, not in Jerusalem as originally planned.

Pompeo had no plans to meet with any Palestinians, who have stopped talking to US officials since the Jerusalem decision. Nor did he plan to visit the site in Jerusalem that the administration is upgrading into an embassy.

The fact that he has no plans to meet Palestinians says it all. He literally doesn't see them.

He can't even take a run over to Gaza to see the fence?

Pompeo was accompanied by the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, and while posing for photos before the meeting, Netanyahu congratulated Pompeo on his new position.

‘‘We are very proud of the fact that this is your first visit as secretary of state,’’ Netanyahu said.

Ah, now the narrative of the endangered Democrats from Trump states who are under pressure to also fall in lineThe partisan politics is simply cover for Zionist control! Otherwise, we are getting a blue wave.

Pompeo replied, ‘‘You’re an incredibly important partner [and] occupy a special place in my heart, too.’’

Pompeo has yet to visit his office at the State Department since being sworn in Thursday.

So he runs off to Brussels to foment war with Russia and swings over to Saudi Arabia and Israel before even stopping at his office, huh? That tells you who is jerking his chain!

Apart from updating Netanyahu on the looming decision on whether to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and coordinating ways to contain Iran in Syria, the Pompeo visit serves to set him apart from his predecessor, Rex Tillerson.

He is not updating Netanyahu, he is getting his orders from him.

During his 14-month tenure, Tillerson never visited Israel solo, only accompanying Trump.

Israel didn't like Tillerson (oil ties to Qatar and the like as well as Russia), and thus he's out and Pompeo is in.

Under Tillerson, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process was largely removed from the oversight of the State Department and added to the portfolio of Trump senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

I wasn't aware it had been moved back, and what is the kid up to these days anyway? What's Mueller got on him? Again, he's part of the group pulling the chains. An embarrassment, yes, but still Chabad.

‘‘Pompeo’s early and quick trip to the region, particularly to Israel, is also a form of station identification that the new secretary of state intends to become a dominant force in Middle East policymaking,’’ said Aaron David Miller, a former State Department official specializing in Middle East issues who is now at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

In Brussels on Friday, Pompeo said he wanted to bring the ‘‘swagger’’ back to the State Department, and this trip is a step toward the goal. 

OH, NO! 

That is the LAST THING WE NEED!

Under Tillerson, the voice most Americans heard on US foreign policy was that of Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, who is believed to harbor larger political ambitions for herself.

Actually, she was reprimanded by Tillerson for speaking out of turn, but who remembers that when we are talking about our next president?

The trip allows Pompeo to reclaim that role for the top US diplomat, even as he has assiduously mentioned Trump’s name in every public appearance he has made.

‘‘Year Two in Trumpland may be a very different place on the foreign policy side,’’ Miller said, hastening to add, ‘‘with one exception — Trump will still sit at the center of it all.’’

Unless he's impeached.

The May 12 deadline for Trump to decide whether to stick with or leave the Iran nuclear deal was the backdrop to every discussion Pompeo had.

This may sound crazy, but I want Trump to dump the deal. I think you throw that huge hunk of blood-red meat to the neocons and you let them sink their fangs into it. What you don't do is initiate any hostilities against Iran. They aren't going to do anything if the U.S. pulls out. The agreement will still apply with all the other signatories, and they will go on doing business as usual. Then you can fall back on further negotiations with European allies to forestall any military action.

Talking to reporters on the plane en route from Saudi Arabia to Tel Aviv, Pompeo brushed aside concerns that a decision to withdraw from the agreement could derail nuclear negotiations with North Korea. 

I don't think they will, either, but for the different reasons I enumerated above.

Potential talks with North Korea about Pyongyang abandoning its nuclear weapons were expected to be an incentive for Trump to remain in the Iran deal, so as not to make Kim Jong Un distrustful of US intentions.

Pompeo’s dismissal of that notion, however, suggests that Trump won’t consider it much of an obstacle, either.

In Riyadh, Pompeo proclaimed the Iran deal — which was negotiated by the Obama administration and included five other world powers — a failure.

‘‘The nuclear deal has failed to moderate the regime’s conduct in many areas,’’ he said. ‘‘In fact, Iran has only behaved worse since the deal was approved.’’ 

They have abided by it to the letter, and the UN has confirmed and verified it! 

C'mon, Mike!

--more--"

UPDATE:

Syrian Military Facilities Terror-Bombed Overnight

The Zionist Warmongers have done it again as they try to goad Iran into responding and foist WWIII upon us all.                

At least Canada will be on our side when the war begins:

"Brother of Rob Ford running for office, and sounds like Trump" by Alan Freeman Washington Post  April 29, 2018

OTTAWA — Doug Ford is campaigning to become leader of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province — and perhaps to help restore the Ford name.

His brother, Rob Ford, the late mayor of Toronto, had a political career marred by drunken escapades and a video of him smoking crack cocaine, but Doug Ford’s rhetoric on the campaign trail has compelled observers to link him to another political name: President Trump.

Ford has positioned himself as the antithesis of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and as a right-of-center businessman who derides elites, whom he has described as ‘‘people who look down on the average, common folk, thinking they’re smarter and that they know better to tell us how to live our lives.’’

‘‘They have their glasses of champagne with their pinkies up in the air, looking down like they’re better than you are,’’ Ford, the surprise winner in a March leadership race for the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, recently told a Toronto radio talk show.

With less than two months remaining until the June 7 provincial election, his party is well ahead in opinion polls and widely expected to win.

‘‘Doug is smart in the way Trump is smart,’’ said John Filion, who served on Toronto city council with both brothers and is the author of a biography of Rob.

‘‘Doug is very calculating and, like Trump, doesn’t have any political ideology. . . . It’s this intellectual agility to come up with positions that appeal to a broad group of people even if they make no sense,’’ Filion said.

Ford, who shares his brother’s populist appeal and combative style but keeps away from alcohol, has promised reduced taxes, lower electric power rates, and an end to the 14-year rule of the Liberal Party, led by an unpopular premier, Kathleen Wynne.

Wynne lashed out at Ford earlier this month, calling him a ‘‘bully’’ and likening him to Trump. ‘‘Doug Ford sounds like Donald Trump, and that’s because he is like Donald Trump,’’ she said. ‘‘He believes in an ugly, vicious brand of politics that traffics in smears and lies. He’ll say anything about anyone at any time because he’s just like Trump. It’s all about him.’’

Ford struck back at his opponent, calling her ‘‘desperate’’ during a campaign stop in Cobourg, Ontario, after hearing a tape of Wynne’s comment.

Some analysts dismiss the comparisons between Ford and Trump. Pollster Darrell Bricker of Ipsos Public Affairs says both politicians may reject elites but Ford doesn’t embrace Trump’s strident anti-immigration stance.

In fact, Ford and his brother have always attracted substantial support from Ontario’s big immigrant communities, particularly in the Toronto suburbs.

These ethnic Canadians are ‘‘middle-class strivers buying houses with two-car garages,’’ Bricker said, who feel the same frustration and anger with what they see as high taxes, too much congestion, and an out-of-touch government as other Ford backers. 

It's a pandemic!

Bricker sees the election as ‘‘a referendum on Wynne and she’s losing.’’

She can't Wynne for losing, I guess.

Ipsos’s latest poll, published on April 10, shows Ford’s Conservatives with 40 percent of decided voters over the left-of-center New Democratic Party with 28 percent and the ruling Liberals in third place with 27 percent.

‘‘[Voters] are taking the biggest hand grenade they can throw and they’re pulling the pin,’’ Bricker said. ‘‘The day after they don’t care what happens.’’

Wow. 

Who knew Canadian voters were terrorists?

Over the past few weeks, Ford’s campaign has crisscrossed Ontario, hitting on several hot-button issues. At a rally earlier this month, he took the microphone before 400 people in a suburban sports complex and told supporters, ‘‘The days of gouging taxpayers are done.’’

Ford got some of the biggest rounds of applause when he attacked plans for a carbon tax, which Ontario has agreed to implement in conjunction with Trudeau’s government. Just the mention of Trudeau led to jeering.

I think it just snowed up there, so.....

One man shouted, ‘‘Mr. Dressup,’’ a reference to a Canadian children’s TV show and Trudeau’s much-criticized recent trip to India, where he dressed in traditional Indian garb. 

Didn't he also pose for pictures and have dinner with a terrorist?

While promising to cut taxes, reduce the provincial debt, and cut waiting times in the provincial health care system, Ford didn’t say how he would pay for it all other than by eliminating wasteful spending.

He is going to do what Maine does on health care.

‘‘The party is over with taxpayers’ money,’’ he said, citing the $6.2 million Canadian dollar salary and bonus given to the chief executive of Hydro One, the province’s dominant electric utility, which stands accused of charging high power rates, double what they are in neighboring Quebec.

Ford promised to fire the utility’s CEO and board upon taking office, but critics point out that Hydro One has been partly privatized and so the province doesn’t have unilateral power to fire anybody.

--more--"

Canada has been quiet since, you know.

Speaking of health care:

Black nurses sue Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Those damn nurses!!

"Lincoln-Sudbury students plan protest after suit is filed about sexual assault" by Laura Crimaldi Globe Staff  April 29, 2018

Students at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School are planning to walk out of class Monday morning to protest how district officials allegedly handled complaints from a former 15-year-old student who said she was sexually assaulted during a football game in November 2013.

The school’s response to the alleged attack is the subject of a federal lawsuit that accuses school leaders of inadequately investigating the girl’s report and then ostracizing her. The alleged attackers, both boys, weren’t punished, according to the complaint filed April 24.

“This is the perfect example of blaming the victim. It makes me so angry and it makes me feel so unsafe at my school,” said Lily Neuhaus, 18, a senior who is helping to organize the demonstration.

That's how Linda Vester is feeling this morning.

During the walkout, students plan to gather on the bleachers of the school field, where the alleged attack occurred, and stand silently for 15 minutes, a nod to the girl’s age, said Neuhaus, who estimated 100 students will participate.

Demonstrators plan to wear teal and display teal decorations at the spot because the color is used to promote sexual assault awareness, she said.

Neuhaus and another student, Katie Kohler, 18, said they met with Superintendent Bella Wong on Thursday after reading about the former student’s lawsuit in the Globe. They said Wong appeared to dismiss their concerns.

Kohler’s father, John, said he spoke with Wong by phone on Friday and expressed frustration that he didn’t learn about the alleged attack until the lawsuit was filed. He said he supports his daughter’s activism. “As a parent I would have appreciated knowing that there was a rape on the campus as my third girl was entering the school,” John Kohler said. “Like everything else with Lincoln-Sudbury, it’s swept under the rug . . . The people of town are really kind of fed up.”

Neuhaus said walkout organizers want the former student to know she has their support.

“This girl missed out on so much learning because something happened to her,” she said. “She didn’t do anything, but she missed out on learning.”

Well, she did kinda of learn something. 

Rotten lesson, but a life one.

--more--"

Ask the kids about Columbia and they don't know what you are talking about.

Just hoping for a scholarship (softball player won it) to Salem (new president a woman).

Please watch where you are walking.

Sadly, on the day the Vietnam War ended a new war began:

"A little-known Chilean company that until recently churned out mostly crop nutrients may hold a key to the future of electric-vehicle production. And a Chinese mining company is poised to grab a big piece of it. Soc. Quimica & Minera de Chile sits on the world’s richest deposit of lithium. It produces more than 20 percent of the global supply and is about to produce a lot more. SQM will at least double and could eventually quadruple lithium capacity, thanks to recent agreements between the company and the Chilean government. Ramping up production of the mineral will help meet seemingly insatiable demand from electric-car makers. The green light to mine vastly more lithium has put SQM in the sights of several mining companies, including London-based Rio Tinto Group and China’s Tianqi Lithium Corp. ‘‘Tianqi owning the stake would be another step toward overall Chinese consolidation of the lithium industry,’’ said Chris Berry, a New York-based energy-metals analyst. Christopher Perrella, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, said a Chinese move to control SQM makes sense. ‘‘The Chinese view electric vehicles as a key technological focus,’’ he said. ‘‘Most of the world’s batteries are made in China, and access to lithium would be of strategic interest.’’ Lithium prices have reached historic highs on the strength of growing EV production." 

Meanwhile, the U.S. is fooling around in Western Africa!

So where are they going to store the stuff?

"Prologis Inc. has agreed to acquire DCT Industrial Trust Inc. for $8.4 billion in stock and assumed debt, making the world’s largest warehouse owner even bigger as demand surges in the age of online shopping. High-growth markets including Southern California, the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, South Florida, and New York and New Jersey, according to the companies....."

They flew scallops in from the North Atlantic if you want to gamble on them.

Hope you don't get sick (why didn't the Globe want you to see that?).

"US allies brace for trade war as tariff negotiations stall" by Jack Ewing and Ana Swanson New York Times   April 29, 2018

BERLIN — A few weeks ago, it felt as if a trade war pitting the United States against allies like Australia, Canada, and the European Union was over before it even began. The Trump administration dispensed so many temporary exemptions to steel and aluminum tariffs that many countries figured the threats were just political theater, but with only days left before the exemptions expire and punitive tariffs take effect, it’s dawning on foreign leaders that decades of warm relations with the United States carry little weight with a president dismissive of diplomatic norms and hostile toward the ground rules of international trade.

And I just dumped my trade war drafts from the last month!

What began as a way to protect American steel and aluminum jobs has since become a cudgel that the Trump administration is using to extract concessions in other areas, including car exports to Europe or negotiations to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.

That's good then, right?

As a May 1 deadline looms, the decision on whether to grant permanent exemptions to the steel and aluminum tariffs, and to whom, appears likely to come down to the whims of President Trump, who has been influenced by brief interactions with foreign leaders and has seesawed between scrapping and rejoining global trade deals.

War on a whim. 

Haven't we had enough of those?

The European Union, the United States’s biggest trading partner, indicated over the weekend that it was losing hope of reaching an agreement in the face of what many of the region’s political leaders regard as unreasonable demands.

But those are our friends.

While a last-minute extension of the deadline is possible, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, who met last week with Trump in Washington, said Sunday that Europe was ready to retaliate if Trump did not grant an exemption.

The German government said in a statement that Merkel, President Emmanuel Macron of France, and Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain agreed after speaking on the phone that if the tariffs go into force, “The European Union should be ready to decisively defend its interests within the framework of multilateral trade rules.”

The uncertainty is sowing chaos in international supply networks. Car companies and other manufacturers do not know whether ships carrying steel may suddenly be barred from US ports.

Some countries are confident they will avoid the tariffs. Australia is treating an exemption as if it’s a done deal. Brazil, which primarily exports slab steel to US manufacturers, is hoping to escape by agreeing on limited quotas for more sophisticated products. Argentina is counting on the good relationship between its president, Mauricio Macri, and Trump, but it’s unclear whether the confidence is justified. The White House has not confirmed that Australia, Brazil, or Argentina will receive exemptions.

“In the conversations that we have on the issue, the positive relationships between our governments — and our presidents— certainly comes up,” Miguel Braun, Argentina’s trade secretary, said in an interview. 

In terms of the potential disruption to the global economy, the dispute with Europe may be the most critical. The United States and European Union account for about one-third of world trade.

Only a few years ago the United States and Europe were discussing the possibility of eliminating almost all trans-Atlantic trade barriers. Now they are stymied by fundamentally different worldviews. As the Europeans see it, Trump is demanding concessions that would make them accomplices in dismantling a postwar trade framework they hold sacred.

Okay, the first thing that bugs me is nothing should be held sacred. That's an inflexibility that creates problems. 

Now I know he is no George Washington, but didn't Nixon dismantle the Bretton Woods system that tied the U.S. dollar to gold?

The Europeans want to play by the rules of the World Trade Organization; the Americans are making demands that would force the Europeans to break them.

“If we stick to the rules,” said Thiess Petersen, an analyst at the Bertelsmann Foundation in Germany, “there is no chance for concessions.”

German cars, are one of the major sticking points.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who has been handling talks with the European Union, has been pushing the 28-nation bloc to reduce its tariffs on imported American cars as one way of cutting its trade surplus with the United States. In a recent interview with CNBC, Larry Kudlow, the chief economic adviser, said the United States wanted more concessions before it granted a permanent exclusion, but if the European Union accepted the demand for lower car tariffs, international treaties would require it to apply similar terms to automobiles from all other WTO members.

The biggest beneficiary might be China. A member of the WTO, China is keen to become an auto exporter and would be thrilled to get easier access to Europe without giving up anything in return.

Once again, it comes back to them!

Together, the countries seeking to extend temporary exemptions account for about half of American steel imports. The United States has already granted South Korea a permanent exemption as part of negotiations over a revised trade deal.

Other countries have already been denied exemptions and started paying tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. They include China and Russia as well as Japan, a close ally.

I thought Rusal got an exemption. I guess I was wrong.

So the war is already on, 'eh?

American negotiators appear to be trying to persuade countries to restrain their own metal shipments voluntarily — without retaliating against the United States or suing the country in international courts, but few countries appear eager to play along.

For Canada and Mexico, among the largest exporters of steel and aluminum to the United States, the Trump administration has tied their exemptions to NAFTA talks. Negotiators from the three countries are scheduled to meet again on May 7 as they push to work through the major remaining disagreements and announce a revised pact.

Canadian and Mexican negotiators played down the risk of the tariffs on Friday, suggesting that applying trade penalties in the meantime could sink the talks. Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian foreign minister, said that the steel and aluminum tariffs were a “completely separate issue” from the trade deal and that there was “no justification whatsoever” for trade barriers against Canada.

--more--"

This last article is the appropriate ending for this post:

"‘Infinity War’ opens with record $250m, passing ‘Star Wars’" by Jake Coyle Associated Press  April 29, 2018

NEW YORK — A whole lot of superheroes added up to a whole lot of ticket sales. The superhero smorgasbord ‘‘Avengers: Infinity War’’ opened with predictable shock-and-awe, earning $250 million at the box office over the weekend and edging past ‘‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’’ to set the highest opening weekend of all time.

That is what we are going to have, all right, if certain people have their way. Wars into infinity.

‘‘Infinity War,’’ which brings together some two dozen superheroes in the 10-year culmination of Marvel Studios’ ‘‘cinematic universe,’’ also set a global opening record with $630 million even though it’s yet to open in China, the world’s second-largest movie market. It opens there May 11.

Both intergalactic behemoths belong to Disney, which now owns nine of the top 10 opening weekends ever — six belonging to Marvel releases. That includes ‘‘Black Panther,’’ which has grossed $1.3 billion since opening in February and still managed to rank fifth at this weekend’s box office, thanks partially to Marvel fans self-programming a double-feature.

The track record for Marvel, along with the extravagant effort put into the long-planned ‘‘Infinity War,’’ made the record-setting weekend something of a fait accompli. After 10 years, 18 prior films, and some $15 billion at the box office, the weekend was an assured and long-awaited coronation for Kevin Feige’s Marvel, the most dominant force in a Hollywood with precious few sure things.

Does that mean the superhero stuff is going to end because I'm sick of that fare.

‘‘To have now the biggest movie of domestic history as one of the Marvel cinematic universe films seems like a fitting tribute to the Marvel Studios team, which has had just an astounding, unmatched run in the last decade,’’ said Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Disney.

By any measure, the 2-hour-and-40 minute ‘‘Infinity War’’ is one of the largest films ever assembled. With a production budget reportedly almost $300 million, Joe and Anthony Russo’s film brings together the stars of Marvel’s superhero stable, including Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, Chris Evans’s Captain America, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, and many more.

It was shot over 18 months back-to-back with a sequel due out next summer. Marvel spent years laying the groundwork for the big showdown, teasing its villain (Josh Brolin’s Thanos) since 2014. The result earned positive reviews and an A CinemaScore from audiences. All but one of Marvel’s 19 cinematic universe releases has scored an A CinemaScore.

That answers my question, yawn.

As if to further stamp its pronounced enormity, ‘‘Infinity War’’ was also the first film shot entirely with IMAX cameras.

No new wide releases dared to compete with ‘‘Infinity War,’’ which played at 4,474 theaters in North America. In a very distant second place was John Krasinski’s ‘‘A Quiet Place’’ with $10.7 million in its fourth week. With $148.2 million in total ticket sales, the Paramount Pictures thriller had topped the box office three of the last four weekends.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, credited Marvel with the potent lead-up to ‘‘Infinity Wars’’ with ‘‘Spider-Man: Homecoming,’’ ‘'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,’’ ‘'Thor: Ragnarok,’’ and ‘‘Black Panther’’ — all successful and well-reviewed entries.

‘‘This brought the world together this weekend,’’ said Dergarabedian. ‘‘That’s what these movies do: They remind us why we love going to the movie theater. A movie like this shows the singular and unique experience of going into a movie theater.’’

Yup, ENDLESS WAR BRINGS the WORLD TOGETHER!

He is right about the big screen. The only problem is what is on it (crap, by any other name, you know).

--more--"

Time to bring this blog to an end.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Stone-Faced Sunday

That is how I met today's paper from the very beginning.....

‘The fact that she could have been stopped that morning is heartbreaking’

I cringed at what is to be found upon the turn-in when I see State Police credibility is on the line.  My first reaction was this is a further advancement of the Globe's expose on the State Police, which serves several purposes. It advances the notion that the Boston Police should take over the Seaport, while also causing problems for Baker in the fall.

Upon the turn in I saw a new face of evil whose chronic drunk driving is noted (even though she began the morning of tragedy by popping a couple of prescription pills for anxiety and pain). Turns out the victim is of a certain chosen select, which doesn't diminish the death whatsoever. I no longer blame the pre$$ for emphasizing certain lives over others that are unmentioned today. It's noted and we move on -- as did the Globe article, because the end of the piece indicates a lapse at the RMV (which has its hands full with at the moment with the RealID software switch).

The full-page advertisement for Total Liquors on page A3, a regular occurrence, provides an odd juxtaposition as well.

Ailing former Patriots, feeling spurned by the NFL, turn to a clinic with a founder of dubious repute

Can't remember why I forgot to read it.

Why can’t Boston build taller?

9/11?

(flip)

At 89, legendary psychiatrist and marijuana advocate still wonders about Harvard professorship

By the time of the turn-in on page B6 I had forgotten all about why he raised hackles at Harvard, sorry.

Come to think of it, he might be able to help those NFL guys -- which would raise hackles elsewhere.

**********

So I open the paper and on page A2 I find:

Korean unity increases pressure on Trump 

It's a New York Times news analysis, (Bloomberg had their say yesterday), and they are just grasping at anything to throw cold water on the recent warming of relations. 

You know, the fault is mine. It's like the old country song Looking For Love in all the Wrong Places: Looking for Peace in a War Paper..... you know. Been more than 11 years of that already. On the bright side, can't be any false hopes when one is not hoping.

Right below that is a New York Times by Jason Horowitz (sigh) that examines the embattled pervert, 'er, Pope, amid the rising global populist tide.

Amid global populist tide, pope increasingly embattled 

I know the guy directs a large flock, of which I self-excommunicated myself, but this idea that He or the Church command any kind of moral voice or authority -- sorry, that went out the window with the pooper-pumpers, never mind the mass graves of kids in Ireland. Next.

The other thing is, somehow Trump and the Republicans are in trouble over here and yet the above piece regarding the Pope -- as well as other political fodder fed to us on a daily basis -- constantly extolls the opposite in resistance, etc. WTF?

Airstrike kills Houthi leaders in Yemen capital

That's very interesting because like this brief, the recent Saudi air slaughter has received only a blip.

Below that brief, the U.N. is calling out ‘‘ethnic cleansing’’ against Muslims, but not where you would think, and child sacrifices in Peru. That makes the Turkish election look tame, as well as  the flare-up in Azerbaijan (aren't they neighbors with Armenia?).

Qatar apparently pays hundreds of millions to free hostages

I guess the masks they had on the other day have been dropped, according to "intercepted communications obtained by The Washington Post" -- meaning the CIA gave them to them.

Being friendly with Iran puts you on the other side of WWIII, I gue$$. That's where all this stuff is headed. Korea has been called off in favor of regime change in Iran, cui bono?

Bitter dispute over a British toddler turns to grief

Another tragedy with massive media coverage, and even Pope Francis was “deeply moved.”

**********

Trump takes aim at familiar targets at Michigan rally

You have to be Freking kidding me! 

My print copy contained an article from New York Times where Trump is portrayed as delusional, the House is already a lost cause, and they could lose the Senate as well despite the 25 Democratic seats up against only 7 Republicans (which is never mentioned, btw). Just forget all about those endangered Democrats from Trump states who are under pressure to also fall in lineThe mixed messages contained in the narrative to sell you a stolen election six months out is nauseating.

Deeper in the article is Trump calling out one of those endangered Democrats, the Montana Democrat Tester, for leaking and killing his VA nomination. What is interesting about that is, now that Jackson has withdrawn, the charges have been dropped. No one is going to investigate the alleged party-prescribing doctor of the Obama administration. What fun those eight years must have been, partying at lobbyist expense, watching porn while on the government clock, etc, etc.

And you do have to give Trump credit for one thing: he blew off the White House Correspondents' Association dinner.

With taunts and guile, the Golden State killer left a trail of horror

Yesterday's concerns about how they got the DNA is an afterthought now, as the article takes a trip down memory lane and the new ads for Mother's Day gifts by 23andMe have begun appearing on television.

The illegal caravan is still coming despite being out of the news lately (same with Stormy), but that hasn't been true of Bill or the teachers. It's whatever serves the agenda at the time.

Tom Brokaw draws support in fight against misconduct allegations 

I guess Abraham is right, nothing at all has changed. Shame on those 65 women in the media. Keep your mouth shut seems to be the message. Brokaw is now claiming he is the victim (what is with these guys, anyway?), and that all he may have done is ‘‘leaned over for a perfunctory good night kiss’’ on the cheek. 

I'm sorry, maybe it is me, but I have never viewed that as a "perfunctory" obligation. What it says to me is Brokaw still doesn't get it, and it exposes the "movement" for what it is: nothing but a political cudgel (btw, when are charges going to be filed against Lauer, Rose, Halperin, et al?).

At least 9 members of Congress have lost their jobs. You'll have to be happy with that.

**********

Charlie Baker gets endorsement but will face primary challenge

The Globe sure gave a lot of pre$$ to a "fringe candidate with hardly any staff or fund-raising," that is "most known for — his controversial writings about gay people, including his claim that homosexuals controlled the German Nazi Party." 

Beyond that, what is noticeable is the level of Trump support in the article and the one just below it:

At Mass. GOP confab, delegates offer praise for Trump

Could it really be possible that the pre$$ is pushing a phony narrative for an upcoming election?

Elizabeth Warren endorses Nick Collins for state Senate

Only 50 supporters showed up?

Guatemalan immigrant released after January arrest

Then the Chinese woman can holler discrimination, right?

Man found fatally shot in Dorchester early Saturday morning

Nobody much cared, people stepped around it without noticing, and I'm wondering if the hit men have been reactivated after a lull to begin what seem to be unsolvable, random shooting across the city in pursuit of the gun control agenda.

Accused killer of Maine deputy captured in woods after manhunt

That people noticed.

You may not have noticed this:

"A Northborough man on probation from a previous child pornography conviction faced another charge at federal court in Worcester on Friday, authorities said. Joshua Lundberg, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child porn in a plea agreement recommending 10 years in prison with 10 years of supervised release, according to the US attorney’s office for Massachusetts. In May 2016, investigators traced a pornographic video to the IP address at Lundberg’s house and later executed a search warrant of the home, prosecutors said in a statement. During the search, investigators found a laptop hidden in a slim space between the top kitchen cabinets and the ceiling, according to the statement. The laptop had been used to share the video and dozens of digital porn files, including a depiction of a young child being raped by a man. At the time, Lundberg was on probation for a 2012 conviction in Worcester Superior Court for possessing and disseminating child pornography, prosecutors said. Lundberg’s sentencing is scheduled for July 23."

..... right to the very end.

Time to go surfing USA.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Saturday's Sour Pusses

"Some came for the java. Some for the independent releases. And others for the impromptu salons that could stretch for hours while patrons discussed art, local politics, the Pats, and potholes....."

And who knows, they “would love to be able to potentially come out of this, like the phoenix. You burn, and then you rise.” No foolin'.

Here is a guy who won't be rising from the ashes (even with an appeal and acquittal):

Boston College rescinds Bill Cosby’s honorary degree

He's now the face of evil with the wood being taken to him, and getting ridden out of town on a rail. It is “a positive step forward, and it shows that we’ve reached a tipping point in how our culture responds to sexual harassment and assault.”

Of course, as reprehensible as his crimes are, at least he didn't kill anyone (that we know of):

"N.H. man to be charged with murdering former fiancee in North Andover" by Laney Ruckstuhl Globe Correspondent  April 27, 2018

Officials have issued a warrant for the arrest of a Merrimack, N.H., man in connection with the death of his former fiancee whose body was found in her North Andover home last weekend.

Brian Chevalier, 51, had been “previously engaged” to Wendi Davidson, 49, according to a statement from the Essex district attorney’s office Friday.

A neighbor discovered Davidson dead in the basement of her North Andover home last Saturday. The Essex district attorney’s office has said she appeared to have died from strangulation.

Chevalier, who has been accused of past attacks on women, was arrested in Imperial County in Southern California Wednesday for parole violations and a larceny charge out of Massachusetts, according to the district attorney’s statement.

These guys seem to gravitate toward California for some reason.

The district attorney’s office said Chevalier is expected to appear in Imperial County Superior Court Monday on a fugitive from justice charge. He will have the opportunity to waive rendition and agree to return to Massachusetts.

Chevalier had recently been released from New Hampshire state prison. In December, he finished serving 10 years for a 2003 kidnapping of a woman in Cheshire County, according to Department of Corrections records.

According to court records, the kidnapping victim testified that he forcibly engaged her in “sexual bondage.” Chevalier asserted that their interactions were consensual.

He's no Chevalier when it comes to chivalry.

The New Hampshire Union Leader reported at the time of Chevalier’s trial for that assault that the victim was a former girlfriend. She told police that she had been held hostage for 21 hours, the paper reported, during which time Chevalier sexually assaulted her while binding and choking her, and threatened her life.

While Chevalier was convicted of kidnapping in that case, he was acquitted of 10 other charges, including sexual assault and criminal threatening.

The Union Leader reported in 1990 that Chevalier had been indicted on five counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault of a 27-year-old woman. He allegedly choked and raped the woman on multiple occasions. The case was dismissed in a mistrial when the jury was unable to agree on a verdict, the newspaper reported in 1991.

Chevalier was also convicted of assaulting a fellow prisoner in 1995 while serving time in New Hampshire state prison for a burglary charge, according to records.

--more--"

Amongst the #MeToo moment, the domestic violence issue has been lost. Simpson meant nothing.

"US attorney supports ICE arrest of Chinese immigrant in federal court" by Akilah Johnson Globe Staff  April 27, 2018

In a statement this week, US Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling lent his support to the arrest of immigrants in federal court, a practice that has drawn the ire of the state court system and immigration advocates and attorneys who have sued to have practice barred.

Lelling’s statement came Thursday, the day after a federal judge in Boston expressed outrage that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained a Chinese woman in court after she was sentenced to probation for using a fake passport and visa.

Xinyan Wang, 27, a student in Pennsylvania, had pleaded guilty to using an assumed name and fraudulent documents to take the Graduate Record Exam, or GRE, as someone else in Boston. After she was sentenced, immigration officials took custody of Wang.

The “agents who escorted Wang out of the courtroom . . . were doing their jobs: enforcing federal law,” Lelling wrote in his statement. “Their efforts to protect the public should be applauded, not criticized.”

Wang, he said, “was a guest in this country” who “answered that invitation by committing a federal felony.”

Michael Shea, acting special agent in charge of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, said his agency “appreciated the support of the United States attorney and his recognition that the legitimate mission” of ICE might “under certain circumstances require enforcement actions to be carried out in courthouse surroundings.”

This week’s arrest comes amid growing controversy over immigration officials making arrests at state courthouses. Several civil rights groups sued the government last month, asking the state’s highest court to forbid ICE from arresting people inside or near state courthouses, saying the arrests have been chilling for defendants, victims, and witnesses, and trample on the constitutional rights of the accused. 

Except they are not citizens, thus not afforded constitutional rights, and the article began by telling us there were outside of federal courts!

According to the suit, some immigrants who have cases in state courts are defaulting on judge’s orders, violating probation, or failing to receive court-ordered drug and mental health services because they are in ICE custody. Victims are afraid to seek relief and protection from the courts, and witnesses are reluctant to testify for fear of being picked up by immigration officials, the suit said.

On Wednesday, ICE agents appeared at Wang’s sentencing, and, according to a Reuters report on the case, US District Judge Indira Talwani was not pleased when they showed up with the intention of taking Wang into custody, if she was not sentenced to prison in her federal case.

Talwani questioned why officials could not contact Wang’s lawyer so she could turn herself in, Reuters reported. The wire service quoted Talwani as saying, “I see no reason for places of redress and justice to become places that people are afraid to show up.”

Wang was a graduate student at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania working on a fiber optics project that was to be the subject of her dissertation when her adviser’s lab ran out of funding in 2015 or 2016, court documents said. This, the documents said, essentially “put an end to the project on which her PhD was to be based . . . and her graduate education just fell apart.”

Should have joined the union.

She left graduate school in 2016 but didn’t want to leave the country, so she enrolled in a nearby community college in order to keep her student visa, court documents said. But she didn’t have a job. Her $20,000 annual graduate assistantship ended with her graduate education. So she began taking graduate school entrance exams, posing as other people, for money, court documents said.

The Educational Testing Service, which administers the GRE, contacted investigators on Oct. 16, saying they suspected an imposter was scheduled to take the test in a few days, the criminal complaint said. The testing service sent over records that the criminal complaint said showed Wang had taken the GRE or Test of English as a Foreign Language five other times in Pennsylvania and New York.

The photos taken by the company of test-takers each time resembled Wang but she used different names and dates of birth on each of the registration forms and documents she presented at each testing site, the complaint said. And that’s what she did when she checked in to take the test in Boston, documents show.

“It was wrong of course, but she was financially desperate and did not want to take more money from her parents than she already was,” her attorney, Syrie Fried, wrote in the sentencing memo. “Ms. Wang had no conception that she was breaking American law or committing crimes by her behavior. She knew she was violating the integrity of the . . . testing process.”

Ignorance is no defense!

--more--"

She tried to get a Real ID, but.....

"The RMV had more troubles issuing licenses Thursday and Friday" by Adam Vaccaro Globe Staff  April 27, 2018

Massachusetts was among several states that had problems issuing driver’s licenses Thursday and Friday, the latest troubles to hit the rollout of a new system that has led to long wait times at Registry of Motor Vehicles branches.

The RMV said issues with a national database interfered with licensing, but that the system was working again by Friday afternoon.

The agency first disclosed Thursday afternoon that it could not issue any licenses or permits. By midday Friday it had limited ability to issue and renew licenses, but not to motorists who were using passports or immigration documents to prove their identity under new licensing rules, because of a “national database issue.”

“National system issues impacting licensing in all 50 states,” the RMV tweeted Friday. “Please consider non-urgent license/ID business on another day. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

Motor vehicle departments in other states reported similar issues, including Virginia and New York.

The RMV installed new software in late March that allowed the agency to issue so-called Real ID licenses that are compliant with federal identification rules. Spokeswoman Judith Riley said the new software did not cause the end-of-week licensing problems.

The new documentation requirements, combined with a learning curve for employees using the new software, have led to long delays at many of the state’s RMV branches in the month since the new system was launched.

The shutdown Thursday and Friday could create a backlog of renewals next week that will further slow service. In the first days of the new Real ID system, officials said a brief shutdown of RMV services to install the new system created a backlog of transactions once it was ready.

Although state officials anticipated longer waits because of the changes to the system, they have claimed that the software system itself, installed by Fast Enterprises of Colorado, is mostly working as intended, but.....

BUT WHAT?!!!! 

--more--"

"Charlie Baker has made great efforts to distance himself from Trump. His party? Not so much" by Frank Phillips Globe Staff  April 27, 2018

Governor Charlie Baker, in what should be a triumphant celebration of his first term and a strong launch of his reelection race, will face pockets of raucous resistance at Saturday’s state Republican convention from his party’s more conservative factions.

As 2,300 delegates gather in Worcester for their annual confab, they are expected to force Baker, a moderate Republican who distances himself from President Trump, to grapple with the party’s anticipated endorsement of state Representative Geoff Diehl, an outspoken Trump ally, in the US Senate race.

How “ironic.” 

Diehl’s strong showing represents deep suspicion and anger among the conservative pro-Trump base of the party, many of whom say they feel aggrieved over how Baker has purged them from the party’s organization and embraced a moderate agenda in his first term.

Plus he has “a lot of statewide grass-roots support.’’

The party-wrangling has emerged despite Baker’s popularity in public polls and $7.9 million political bankroll that dwarfs all Democrats’ campaign funds combined.....

--more--"

That gets me to the front page and items related:

Buoyed by anti-Trump wave, 13 Democrats chase open Third District seat

Globe has already endorsed Koh.

Report criticizes ex-State Police head for arrest report rewrite

More importantly, there will be NO CHARGES!

We really need an outsider to investigate the State Police.

Such a shame since I began reading this morning with a smile on my face:

"North and South Korea set bold, but difficult, goals for peace" by Choe Sang-Hun New York Times   April 28, 2018

SEOUL — The leaders of North and South Korea agreed Friday to work to remove all nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula and, within the year, pursue talks with the United States to declare an official end to the Korean War, which ravaged the peninsula from 1950 to 1953.

At a historic summit, the first time a North Korean leader had ever set foot in the South, the leaders vowed to negotiate a treaty to replace a truce that has kept an uneasy peace on the divided Korean Peninsula for more than six decades, while ridding it of nuclear weapons.

The agreements came at the end of a day of extraordinary diplomatic stagecraft emphasizing hopes for reconciliation and disarmament that was broadcast live around the world, beginning with a smile and handshake that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, and the South’s president, Moon Jae-in,  shared at the border village of Panmunjom and extending to a quiet, 30-minute talk they had near the end of the day in a wooded area of the village.

The turn-in was just after the handshake, and it didn't take long for the NYT to spoil the mood.

Their meeting was marked by some surprisingly candid moments but still, the agreement was short on details, timetables, and next steps.

But still!

The event, at the Peace House, a conference building on the South Korean side of Panmunjom, was closely watched because it could set the tone for the even more critical summit between President Trump and Kim, two leaders known for bold, if unpredictable, actions who put the world on edge last year with threats of a nuclear war.

Boy, they really killed the joy quickly.

China’s state news media played the summit prominently, even though China had been left on the sidelines with little influence over the proceedings. The Chinese Foreign Ministry praised the courage of the two Korean leaders and said it welcomed “the new journey” for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Trump thanked President Xi Jinping of China for his “great help” in the process, so let's hope he doesn't stab him in the back.

The tone of the summit — much of which was broadcast live in South Korea but not North Korea — was convivial and at times jocular, with Kim showing surprising honesty about the differences in conditions between the two nations.

Yoon Young-chan, Moon’s spokesman, said Kim acknowledged the poor road conditions in his country, a startling admission for a member of his ruling family, which is considered godlike and faultless among North Koreans. Kim also revealed that the North Koreans who visited the South during the Winter Olympics in February all admired the bullet train there.

After Moon spoke of wanting to visit North Korea, Kim said, “It will be very embarrassing,” alluding to roads there.

Kim also repeated a lighthearted line he had used in his meeting with South Korean envoys who visited Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, last month, apologizing to Moon for disturbing his sleep with missile tests and forcing him to attend meetings of his National Security Council.

“I heard you had your early-morning sleep disturbed many times because you had to attend the NSC meetings because of us,” Kim said. “Getting up early in the morning must have become a habit for you. I will make sure that your morning sleep won’t be disturbed.”

The parties would have to overcome significant obstacles to a formal peace treaty, including China’s likely demand that US troops leave South Korea.

In their joint statement, the two Korean leaders said that within a year, they would push for a trilateral conference with the United States, or a four-party forum that also included China, with the aim of “declaring an end to the Korean War” and intentions to “replace the armistice with a peace treaty.”

Kim and Moon also agreed to improve inter-Korean relations by opening a liaison office in the North Korean border town of Kaesong and arranging a reunion later this year of families separated by the war. And they said Moon would visit Pyongyang in the fall.

Moon, a progressive leader who says he likes to see South Korea “in the driver’s seat” in pushing the peace effort forward, is trying to broker a successful summit between Kim and Trump, which is expected in late May or early June.

Kim rattled the region last year by testing long-range missiles and trading threats of nuclear war with Trump. But then he abruptly shifted gears, saying he was willing to give up his nuclear weapons for the right incentives and proposing the meeting with Trump.....

--more--"

I'm tired of being whipsawed by the war pre$$ when it comes to peace. They poop on it every time.

"Kim’s peace push leaves dilemma for Trump" by Andy Sharp Bloomberg News  April 27, 2018

Screw it then.

TOKYO — Kim Jong Un’s historic call for peace also included an unspoken message to President Trump: North Korea won’t surrender its nuclear weapons easily.

The agreement Kim reached Friday with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in promised “a new era of peace” and sought a formal end to the seven-decade-old Korean War. While it said both countries are committed to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, it gave no details on concrete steps to achieve it.

(Blog editors face turns to frown. I don't care about details right now, they haven't even met yet!)

More ominously, North Korean’s state-run media released a commentary shortly after the agreement was announced calling on the United States to drop its “anachronistic hostile policy” and “bad manners.”

Ours is called a free pre$$.

The commentary declared North Korea a “world-level” political and military power, and said it would contribute to creating “a world without nuclear weapons,” but as a condition for dismantling its nuclear weapons program, North Korea has demanded a peace treaty officially ending the war and making it a recognized nation. It is also expected to seek an end to economic sanctions, and possibly removal of US nuclear weapons that defend South Korea and Japan.

What's the problem?

“If North Korea gets a deal with the United States that serves their interests, they would be happy with that,” said Mintaro Oba, a former State Department official who worked on North Korean issues. “But in the event that things fall apart, they want to be able to blame the United States and alienate it from its South Korean ally in the process.”

Trump expressed optimism on Friday — even declaring “Korean War to end!” — but simultaneously sounded a note of caution. “Good things are happening, but only time will tell!” he said on Twitter.

Friday was filled with unprecedented scenes, starting with Kim’s step over the ankle-high concrete slab dividing the Korean Peninsula — and then his walk back across the border hand-in-hand with Moon.

Kim also called for frequent meetings between the leaders, which would be a major shift given only three summits have taken place since the war. And he capped it off with live remarks to reporters, something no other North Korean leader had done before.

I'm not going to let the pre$$ ruin the good feelings.

Now the attention turns to Kim’s meeting with Trump. It is also unclear what each side means by the word “denuclearization.”

“The commitment to ‘complete denuclearization’ is ambiguous, and subject to different interpretations,” said Youngshik Bong, a researcher at Yonsei University’s Institute for North Korean Studies in Seoul.

So far, it’s not clear whether any of those sensitive topics have been discussed. Trump has vowed to maintain sanctions on North Korea until he gives up his nuclear weapons.

The next few months are crucial. For all the warm words, Kim still claims to possess the capability to strike the United States with a nuclear weapon — and Trump has threatened war to stop him.

“Considering the level of North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities now, the declaration today falls short of expectations,” said Shin Beomchul, a director at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies who studies North Korea’s military. “The two leaders left most of the details for denuclearization on Trump.”

While the North Korean leader can still retreat from his peace pledge and go back into escalation mode at any time, Friday’s overt friendliness with Moon could add an obstacle.

They are just looking for any excuse at all to shut down peace.

Every public message Kim sent Friday — including hugging, smiling, and handshaking — was viewed by the world, although the events were not broadcast live in North Korea.

As an entourage of North Koreans stayed behind, Kim approached the border that has divided North and South Korea for almost seven decades. On the South Korean side of that border — marked by a small barrier — Moon was waiting. Both shook hands, before Kim stepped into South Korea.

Kim then went off script, asking the South Korean leader to also step into North Korea.

Kim and Moon then walked off to North Korea hand in hand, where they stayed for some moments before returning and heading to Panmunjom, the so-called ‘‘truce village.’’

These images could go into history as a record of a day when tensions on the Korean Peninsula faded — or as a moment of false hopes.

I know I'm not getting mine up when it comes to the war-promoting pre$$.

--more--"

RelatedThe pomp and circumstance of the Korea summit

Doesn't he mean Pompeo and Circumstance?

"Pompeo dives into NATO diplomacy as allies confront Russia" Associated Press   April 27, 2018

BRUSSELS — Less than 24 hours after assuming his post, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plunged Friday into NATO diplomacy as the allies sought to toughen their response to Russian interference on its periphery and elsewhere.

On his first overseas trip as America’s top diplomat, Pompeo hit the ground running with a series of meetings at NATO headquarters in Brussels aimed at underscoring the alliance’s relevance in a crisis-filled global environment that includes persistent or worsening conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine. ‘‘The work that’s being done here today is invaluable and our objectives are important and this mission means a lot to the United States of America,’’ Pompeo told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. ‘‘The president very much wanted me to get here and I’m glad we were able to make it, and I look forward to a productive visit here today,’’ Pompeo said.

Pompeo’s aim is to ensure that NATO maintains a unified position of ‘‘no business as usual’’ with Russia until it implements an agreement to end violence in eastern Ukraine and halts destabilizing actions for which it is blamed elsewhere, according to a senior US official.

That's where my print ended and where the web version continued.

Those include the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain last month and support for the government of Syria’s president, Bashar Assad, which is accused of launching a chemical weapons attack that led three NATO members — Britain, France, and the United States — to launch airstrikes on Syrian targets. 

Flogging those fake false flags again, I see.

At a breakfast meeting focused on Russia, NATO foreign ministers agreed on ‘‘the scale of Russian aggression’’ and that it ‘‘requires a response,’’ according to the US official, who was not authorized to discuss the closed-door meeting publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

‘‘We are in a situation where we’ve not been before,’’ Stoltenberg said after the meeting. ‘‘We’re not in the old Cold War, but we’re neither in the strategic partnership we were trying to build after the Cold War. So this is something new.”

“Therefore it’s even more important that we are able to combine, both to be strong and to have a clear position of unity in our approach to Russia, but at the same time to keep the channels for dialogue open,’’ he said. 

So they don't freeze in darkness this winter.

Friday’s meetings will set the stage for a summit of NATO leaders in July at which they are expected to outline more specifics about the response to Russia. The alliance has been trying to hold a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council — which has not met since October 2017, before the July 11-12 summit — but has been unable to arrange it.

Another of Pompeo’s objectives in Brussels is to prod allies, particularly Germany, to meet their commitments to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024, according to the official.

--more--"

Let's pick it up there, shall we?

"Trump, Merkel cordial, but no apparent movement on Iran" By Jonathan Lemire Associated Press  April 27, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Trump welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House on Friday for a visit of less than three hours that apparently did little to mend US-European differences on issues such as trade and the Iran nuclear agreement.

Instead, they stressed the ties between the longtime allies and their shared goal of a nuclear-free North Korea.

Trump greeted Merkel outside the West Wing with a handshake and a kiss on each cheek, a traditional welcome but far short of the bountiful display of personal warmth that was seen earlier in the week when he played host to French President Emmanuel Macron for a three-day state visit.

The state visit is now considered a joke, and is a kiss appropriate these days?

In brief remarks alongside Merkel in the Oval Office, Trump called her an ‘‘extraordinary woman,’’ congratulated her on her recent reelection, and disputed any idea that their rapport was frosty.

‘‘We have a really great relationship. We actually have had a great relationship from the beginning,’’ Trump said.

Though her visit was short on pomp, Merkel’s message was similar to Macron’s — that America and Europe need to bury the hatchet on key issues, including global trade, climate, and international security.

Merkel used her meeting with Trump to try to paper over the differences, and said there was little progress on seeking permanent exemptions for the EU from Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs. ‘‘The decision lies with the president,’’ she said.

Trump implicitly scolded Germany for not meeting its defense spending obligations to NATO, saying, it is ‘‘essential that our NATO allies increase their financial contribution,’’ to the pact.

Merkel said Germany’s latest budget will take defense spending to 1.3 percent of GDP. She acknowledged that’s far short of the 2 percent goal but said Germany is still aiming for that over time.

If they buy U.S. garbage it won't be a problem. That's what I was told yesterday. His beef is over the lack of weapons sales.

Merkel made a point of flattering Trump on one issue, declaring that the US pressure campaign against North Korea deserved most of the credit for the summit between the leaders of North and South Korea.

Trump praised Germany’s role in the effort but agreed with a reporter’s question that he would be ‘‘the closer’’ in the deal. ‘‘I think I have a responsibility’’ to oversee denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, he said.

While Merkel kept her answers brief, Trump expounded at length on subjects ranging the strength of the US economy under his leadership to the failings of his predecessors in the Oval Office.

Actually, the tax cuts aren’t driving growth so far, and don't ask about the bonuses over at the CFPB; however, he took on the NFL and won (can you hear me now guy didn't really switch?)

The chancellor could not maintain her poker face during a number of Trump’s comments at their news conference, her expression at times rotating between looks of amusement and bewilderment as the president parried with the press corps.

In the hours before Merkel’s arrival at the White House, Trump himself took note of their limited schedule, which included a 30-minute Oval Office meeting, followed by a working lunch and joint news conference.

While Macron and Trump went to great lengths to display their affection through hearty handshakes, hugs — and, at times, air kisses — the president has not displayed the same chemistry with Merkel.

In their first White House meeting last spring, Trump seemed to ignore photographers’ prompts to give Merkel the traditional photo-op handshake. And the chancellor looked on unhappily when Trump upbraided NATO nations last summer for not spending enough on defense as he stood in NATO’S gleaming new Brussels headquarters.

While Macron has been positioning himself as Europe’s ‘‘Trump whisperer’’ and conduit to an American president who seems intent on upending US relationships with allies, Merkel maintains her strength as the head of the largest economy in Europe.

And if this visit produces a similar lack of bonhomie, that might just be fine with Merkel, who has little to gain at home by being overly friendly with Trump, according to German political analyst Jan Techau.

‘‘For Merkel, it’s quite important domestically not to be seen to be getting too close to Trump,’’ said Techau, a senior fellow at think tank The German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Anti-American sentiment has been growing again in Germany since Trump’s election, with mainstream media regularly portraying the US president as a threat to the world.....

Anti-American sentiment at the same time that the AfD and far right is ascendant?

--more--"

Don't worry, there is still a ‘‘beacon of hope, for our governments are listening.’’

Arizona, Colorado teachers rally, schools close for 2nd day

"Brokaw denies sexual misconduct claim by former reporter" Associated Press  April 27, 2018

NEW YORK — A woman who worked as a war correspondent for NBC News said Tom Brokaw groped her, twice tried to forcibly kiss her, and made inappropriate overtures attempting to have an affair, according to two published reports.

Linda Vester told Variety and The Washington Post that the misbehavior from the longtime news anchor at the network took place in NBC offices in Denver and New York in the 1990s, when she was in her 20s.

Variety reported that Vester, now 52, showed them journals from the time that corroborated the story.

Brokaw, who is 78 and has been married since 1962, denied doing anything inappropriate.

‘‘I met with Linda Vester on two occasions, both at her request, 23 years ago because she wanted advice with respect to her career at NBC,’’ Brokaw said in a statement to the two outlets issued through NBC News.

‘‘The meetings were brief, cordial, and appropriate, and despite Linda’s allegations, I made no romantic overtures towards her at that time or any other,’’ he said.

Another woman, who was not identified, made similar claims about Brokaw to the Post. 

In the wake of Cosby, this is not good.

Vester, who had reported from the Middle East and covered the Gulf War for NBC, was 28 when she was in Colorado in 1993 with Brokaw to cover Pope John Paul II’s visit to the United States.

‘‘We were in the Denver bureau, and there was a conference room. I’m standing there, and Tom Brokaw enters through the door and grabs me from behind and proceeds to tickle me up and down my waist,’’ she told Variety.

Vester said others were in the room, but no one ‘‘acted like anything wrong was happening.”

‘‘He was the most powerful man at the network, and I was the most junior person,’’ she said.

Vester said the next year in New York, Brokaw sent her suggestive computer messages in the office before later announcing on the phone that he was coming to her hotel room.

Vester said she felt powerless to tell him not to come.

‘‘He grabbed me behind my neck and tried to force me to kiss him,’’ she told Variety. ‘‘I was shocked to feel the amount of force and his full strength on me.’’

She said Brokaw left when she broke away and made it clear she did not want any more.

Vester left NBC in 1999 to work at Fox News, where she remained until 2006.

Brokaw is the most recent of many media personalities to be accused of sexual misconduct in recent months, including his former colleague Matt Lauer, who left the ‘‘Today’’ show and the network after several women came forward with allegations.

Lauer has admitted that he acted inappropriately, but denies any coercive or abusive behavior.

--more--"

Related:

"Tom Brokaw denied sexual misconduct charges and told friends in a late-night email that he felt "ambushed and then perp walked" in the media as an avatar of male misogyny and stripped of his honor and achievement.

How does it feel being on the other side?

The 78-year-old broadcast journalist penned an emotional response to accusations that he had made unwanted advances on a former colleague, writing that "it is 4:00 a.m. on the first day of my new life as an accused predator in the universe of American journalism." The letter was first reported in the Hollywood Reporter and confirmed by The Associated Press.

Brokaw, meanwhile, withdrew on Friday as a commencement speaker at Connecticut's Sacred Heart University next month, saying his appearance would be a distraction.

The Washington Post and Variety reported the charges by Linda Vester, a former NBC News and Fox News Channel correspondent. Brokaw said he never sought an affair, and that Vester had approached him for advice. He said that he "may have leaned over for a perfunctory good night kiss" on the cheek in London.....

Uh-oh!!

--MORE--"

Maybe they can test the DNA:

"Genealogy site didn’t know it was used to seek serial killer" by Michael Balsamo Associated Press  April 27, 2018

SACRAMENTO — The genealogy website used to find the man accused of being California’s Golden State Killer had no idea its database was tapped in pursuit of a suspect who eluded law enforcement for four decades, the site’s cofounder said Friday.

The revelation came as former police officer Joseph DeAngelo made his first court appearance. Handcuffed to a wheelchair in orange jail scrubs, he looked dazed and spoke in a faint voice to acknowledge he was represented by a public defender. He did not enter a plea.

Authorities never approached Florida-based GEDmatch about the investigation that led to DeAngelo, and cofounder Curtis Rogers said law enforcement’s use of the site raised privacy concerns that were echoed by civil liberties groups.

The free genealogy website, which pools DNA profiles that people upload and share publicly to find relatives, said it has always informed users its database can be used for other purposes. But Rogers said the company does not ‘‘hand out data.’’

‘‘This was done without our knowledge, and it’s been overwhelming,’’ he said.

It's worse than Cambridge Analytica, isn't it?

For the team of investigators tracking the attacker suspected of killing 13 people and raping nearly 50 women during the 1970s and ’80s, GEDmatch was one of the best tools, lead investigator Paul Holes told the Mercury News in San Jose.

Officials did not need a court order to access GEDMatch’s large database of genetic blueprints, Holes said. Major commercial DNA companies say they do not give law enforcement access to their genetic data without a court order.

Investigators used DNA gathered at the crime scene and created a fake profile and pseudonym on the genealogy website several months ago, The New York Times reported, citing law enforcement officials. The genealogy site delivered several matches of individuals who were distant relatives of the suspect, which were used to track him.

DeAngelo, 72, was arrested Tuesday after investigators matched crime-scene DNA with genetic material stored online by a distant relative. From there, they narrowed the search down to the Sacramento-area grandfather using DNA obtained from an item he discarded, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.

Civil libertarians said the practice raises legal and privacy concerns for the millions of people who submit their DNA to such sites to discover their heritage.

That sure puts the ads on TV in a different light. No wonder it is being promoted so heavily. The $urveillance $tate needs a DNA database!

There are not strong privacy laws to keep police from accessing ancestry site databases, said Steve Mercer, the chief attorney for the forensic division of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender.

‘‘People who submit DNA for ancestors testing are unwittingly becoming genetic informants on their innocent family,’’ Mercer said, adding that they ‘‘have fewer privacy protections than convicted offenders whose DNA is contained in regulated databanks.’’

I don't care about my ethnic ancestry. 

I'm me!

Although people may not realize that police can use public genealogy websites to solve crimes, it is probably legal, said Erin Murphy, a DNA expert and professor at New York University School of Law.

‘‘It seems crazy to say a police officer investigating a very serious crime can’t do something your cousin can do on a Tuesday,’’ Murphy said. ‘‘If an ordinary person can do this, why can’t a cop? On the other hand, if an ordinary person had done this, we might think they shouldn’t.’’

Although most consumers would have to get a genetic profile from a commercial company such as Ancestry.com and 23andMe, the police may have obtained the DNA profile in their crime lab before uploading it to GEDmatch, she said.

DNA was just coming into use as a criminal investigative tool in 1986 when the predator, also known as the East Area Rapist, apparently ended his decade-long wave of attacks.

As a former police officer, DeAngelo probably would have known about the new method, experts said.

Police at the time suspected they were chasing a fellow cop or armed services member because he was so methodical and meticulous, said Wendell Phillips, a former Sacramento deputy who joined the hunt for the rapist who terrorized the suburbs east of the state capital.

In fact, officers assigned to a special task force were required to submit saliva samples to exclude anyone who shared a genetic trait, Phillips said. About 85 percent of people secrete their blood type in saliva and body fluids, but the rape suspect was in the roughly 15 percent who didn’t.

‘‘Obviously, you didn’t want the East Area Rapist on the team,’’ Phillips said. ‘‘That turned out to be a pretty good concern.’’

No one who knew DeAngelo over the decades connected him with the string of crimes throughout California from 1976 to 1986.

DeAngelo worked nearly three decades in a Sacramento-area supermarket warehouse as a truck mechanic, retiring last year. He was known by neighbors in suburban Citrus Heights for keeping his lawn manicured and cussing loudly.

Investigators are removing virtually everything from DeAngelo’s home in search of mementos such as class rings, earrings, and photos taken from crime scenes as well as weapons, Jones said.

DeAngelo, who has been charged with eight counts of murder, is on suicide watch in the psychiatric ward of the county jail and has been muttering to himself, said Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones. Authorities said more charges are likely to be filed later.

Police in the central California city of Visalia said Thursday that DeAngelo is now a suspect in a 13th killing and about 100 burglaries that occurred while he was a police officer in the neighboring farm town of Exeter from 1973 to 1976.

--more--"

Maybe he can blame the Russians:

"Final House report clears Trump campaign in Russian meddling" by Nicholas Fandos New York Times   April 27, 2018

WASHINGTON — Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee isssued a final, redacted report Friday that found no evidence during a monthslong investigation that the Trump campaign aided Russia’s election meddling.

In the 250-page report, the lawmakers assailed President Trump’s political rivals and criticized the FBI and intelligence agencies for their responses to Moscow’s interference.

In dissenting views, Democrats on the committee accused the Republicans of prematurely closing the investigation out of a desire to protect Trump and asserted that eagerness by Trump campaign associates to accept offers of Russian assistance suggest “a consciousness of wrongfulness, if not illegality.”

Well, if it wasn't illegal..... sigh.

The strikingly divergent conclusions closed a chapter for a congressional committee that, while charged with oversight of US spy agencies, has fractured into warring factions that often seemed to see the advancement of political agendas as their primary mission.

In the charged political climate that has engulfed Washington, the report — the first out of several government investigations into Russia’s interference — is certain to serve as a useful political tool for Trump and his allies.

The president quickly seized on the Republicans’ findings, touting the conclusions on Twitter.

Related: "Former FBI director James Comey has dominated news headlines while promoting his book about ethical leadership."

OMG! 

That's like a fox promoting his security credentials in regards to the henhouse!

Republicans did not entirely spare Trump’s campaign in their report, but their criticisms were in most cases limited to bad judgment.

Because that's likely all it was. 

“While the committee found that several of the contacts between Trump associates and Russians — or their proxies, including WikiLeaks — were ill-advised, the committee did not determine that Trump or anyone associated with him assisted Russia’s active measures campaign,” the Republicans wrote.

Wikileaks didn't get the stuff from the Russians, they got it from Seth Rich and other fed-up Democrats.

Republicans criticized the Obama administration for a “slow and inconsistent” response to Russia’s active measures. And they admonished the campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee for hiring Fusion GPS, a research firm, to investigate ties between Trump associates and Russia. The firm in turn hired Christopher Steele, a former British spy, who produced a salacious dossier outlining a conspiracy between the campaign and the Russians.

That's about as close to investigating those matters as my pre$$ gets.

The full House report, heavily blacked out in parts by US intelligence agencies, includes recommendations on issues as diverse as cyber and election security, as well as a call for the executive branch to consider administering mandatory polygraph tests to political appointees with top-secret security clearances who are not confirmed by the Senate.

Like Jared Kushner? 

What is he up to these days anyway?

Although they absolved the Trump campaign, the Republicans warned that the government of President Vladimir Putin of Russia would be back without significant deterrence efforts.

Sigh.

The investigation was one of several by the government into Russian election interference and possible ties to the Trump campaign. The Justice Department’s special counsel investigation is continuing, and the Senate Intelligence Committee is moving forward in its own.

Representative Devin Nunes, the California Republican who leads the committee, became a reliable ally for Trump who engaged in attempts to pin blame on Obama administration officials and so-called deep state bureaucrats to undermine Trump.

Well, if the shoe fits!

In a separate development Friday, newly released e-mails showed that in at least one instance Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Trump campaign officials in 2016, worked hand in glove with Russia’s chief legal office to thwart a Justice Department civil fraud case against a well-connected Russian firm.

Veselnitskaya, who sought the meeting at Trump Tower on the premise that she would deliver damaging information about Hillary Clinton, had long insisted that she is a private attorney, not a Kremlin operative.

In an interview broadcast Friday by NBC News, she acknowledged that she was not merely a private lawyer but a source of information for a top Kremlin official, Yuri Y. Chaika, the prosecutor general.....

That's it? 

That's the "collusion?"

--more--"

They are still sticking it to Paul Manafort, case being handled by US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, and Michael Cohen, whose case is being handled by Clinton trollop Kimba Wood.

And now this:

"Woman charged with stealing funds from Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton" by Travis Andersen Globe Staff  April 27, 2018

The former business manager of the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton pleaded guilty Friday to a federal wire fraud charge for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the organization over a three-year period, according to prosecutors and legal filings.

Jennifer Delorey McNamara, 36, of Clinton, entered her plea in US District Court in Worcester, US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling’s office said in a statement.

McNamara’s lawyer, Peter Ettenberg, said drugs were a factor in the case.

“The only comment I will have is that my client is extremely remorseful and she is one of the examples of how terrible the opioid problem is and that it can strike anyone,” Ettenberg wrote in an e-mail.

McNamara faces a maximum prison term of 20 years when she’s sentenced on Aug. 2, as well as a fine of up to twice the amount that she stole, according to the release.....

Wow, bankers got nothing!

There is even a “diplomatic component. The Museum of Russian Icons enhances relations between Russia and the United States,” so you can blame her for the war.

--more--"

"3 killed as Gaza protesters again charge fence" by Iyad Abuheweila New York Times   April 27, 2018

They haven't been charging fence! 

Is that how you are going to start it out, NYT?

GAZA CITY — Urged on by a Hamas leader who told them not to fear death but to welcome martyrdom, hundreds of Palestinian protesters tried to cross the security barrier from Gaza into Israel on Friday, and Gaza officials said at least three people were killed.

Israeli troops defended the fence with lethal force. The military said it responded after some protesters threw explosives, firebombs, and rocks, while others rolled burning tires toward the fence.

Witnesses said that at one point two Palestinians approached the fence with handguns, and one fired at least seven rounds at Israeli soldiers before the two fled. The soldiers threw a hand grenade in response, the witnesses said, but the armed men were long gone.

I'm wondering how they got them, and honestly, it smells like another false flag -- if it even happened at all.

As of Friday evening, the Gaza Health Ministry said three protesters had been killed, all of them shot in the head. About 600 others had been wounded, about 200 of them by live ammunition, it said.

Using wire cutters, hooks, and winches, the demonstrators tried to pull down the barriers that Israeli forces have relied upon to hold back the protesters. The demonstrators have increasingly vowed to rush into Israel and reclaim the lands their forefathers left behind.

Okay, that does it! 

The NYT can go fly a kite

Yup, the unarmed Gazan protesters are threatening to invade Israel!!

Never mind the Zionists continuous stealing of land!

This was the fifth straight week of demonstrations in a series billed as the Great Return March, meant to highlight the decade-old Israeli blockade of the impoverished coastal enclave as well as to rekindle international sympathy for Palestinian refugees’ claim of a right to return to what is now Israel. 

Fifth straight week, and only deserving of coverage on Slow Saturdays now.

At least 40 demonstrators were killed and 1,600 wounded in the first four weekly protests.

Print ends there, at least the number is now up to 40 (plus the three yesterday, right?).

That is where the print piece ended.

A 21-year-old man who gave his name only as Ahmed said he had seen five men shot as they pulled away a barbed-wire barrier which demarcates a buffer zone just inside Gaza territory and amounts to the Israelis’ first line of defense

So even if they break through the fences, they are in a no-mans land. 

That's not the impression I was left with earlier. The NYT seemed to imply a wave of invaders busting through the fence!

But for the first time since these protests began on March 30, witnesses and Israeli officials confirmed, at least some of the Palestinians trying to cross into Israel made it as far as the second barrier about 30 yards away — an electrified, sensor-laden fence that runs along the 1949 armistice line separating Gaza from Israel.

Oh, there is a SECOND BARRIER, huh? 

An ELECTRIC FENCE, even! 

Why are those Israeli snipers shooting at all then?

Ibrahim Shahid, 26, said he was among a group of about 12 men who cut through the barbed wire and then began climbing the electrified fence. He said he saw an Israeli soldier firing “randomly” at the group and added that three men were shot in the head. Another, he said, was shot in the abdomen and wounded.

“One of them — his last breath was on my shoulder,” Shahid said, his T-shirt soaked with blood.

One Israeli soldier threw a grenade at the group, he said. Asked how he had avoided injury, he added, “I was lucky.”

(I'm speechless at the inhuman Israeli monsters)

Hamas militant group has called the protests peaceful, though participants have thrown firebombs at Israeli soldiers and are routinely attaching them to kites that sail over the fence, setting fires to Israeli farmland

Makes up for all the olive trees the Zionist settlers have burned down.

So that's the Palestinian Air Force, huh? 

A bunch of kites with molotov cocktails attached?

Israel, defending its use of deadly force, has described the protests as riots that could turn into an invasion at any time.

That is so far out there it doesn't dignify a response.

An Israeli military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, said soldiers used live fire in Friday in response to what he called “a serious attempt to tear down the fence” involving at least 20 or 30 Palestinians who tried to attach a hook to it to pull it down with a winch.

“It again shows exactly what we are talking about,” he said. “This is not a peaceful demonstration. There’s nothing serene about this. They’re trying to infiltrate into Israel, damage our infrastructure, and kill Israelis.”

Have you checked out the Israeli-created rubble in Gaza over the years?

Reminded that Israel’s critics have denounced the country for attacking unarmed demonstrators with deadly force, Conricus said: “They aren’t the ones defending Israeli citizens from a hateful mob of thousands of Palestinians. It doesn’t matter if someone is carrying flowers if he’s tearing down the fence. That’s a violent threat.”

I am so sick of these guys and their whining, and so is the rest of the world.

Israeli officials some some of the protesters at Friday’s rally threw explosives, firebombs, and rocks, while others rolled burning tires toward the fence.

The protests are building toward what is meant to be a climax on May 15, when Palestinians will mark the 70th anniversary of what they call the Nakba, or catastrophe — the establishment of Israel and the war surrounding its creation. During this time, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from their villages.

That last sentence is as close as they get to describing Israel's ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Friday’s demonstration at the eastern edge of Gaza City — adjacent to the old Karni Crossing, a cargo terminal that allowed goods to cross between Israel and Gaza until it was shut down in 2011 — started relatively late in the day.

But thousands began rushing toward the barrier fence after a rousing speech by the senior Hamas leader Ismail Radwan, setting off a tremendous barrage of tear gas from the Israeli side that did not deter many.

“When we are brave, we are getting closer toward martyrdom, martyrdom, martyrdom,” he said.

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As usual, the U.N. is complaining about Israeli actions while doing nothing about it, and I saw something somewhere where some Israeli minister called Palestinian kids a nest of snakes deserving to be killed.

It's all in the stars, I guess:

"What’s your sign? Millennials want to know" by Rachel Raczka Globe Correspondent  April 27, 2018

Banu Guler, founder of Co—Star, an app said to use predictive AI and NASA data to provide emoji-coded horoscopes, star chart profiles, and “hyper-personalized astrology,” believes astrology is about a sense of belonging, a mechanism many of us reach for as a means to feel more understood.

“Most young people don’t use astrology the way older generations did. Instead, [millennials] use it as a tool to define who they are and how they relate to each other,” Guler said.

While young people’s access to data is ever-growing, they continue to be astrology’s biggest supporters. The National Science Foundation has repeatedly polled Americans about their attitudes toward astrology, reporting over the years a decreasing belief that the practice can be considered “scientific.” Nevertheless, young people are the most likely to view astrology as scientific, in some way.

There the kids go again! 

I blame the indoctrinating and inculcating ejewkhazion $y$tem.

Still, many young astrology fans see it as less about science and more about spirituality — and compatibility.....

You know what I'm not compatible with?

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Yup, "despite decades of well-documented debunking," the Globe found it newsworthy.

RelatedHow ‘Fortnite’ took over your kids’ lives in a few short months

See: Can We Talk?

Gotta get that frown of your face first.