Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday's WWIII Reports

Related: Tuesday's Trip Around the Globe

I need to make this fast:

"US military shoots down Iranian-made drone in southern Syria" by Zeina Karam Associated Press  June 21, 2017 

I said it a week ago: we are AT WAR with IRAN.

BEIRUT — The incident adds to soaring regional tensions that could spiral out of control just as the fight against the extremists enters a crucial phase.

The United States on Sunday shot down a Syrian jet for the first time during the conflict near Raqqa after it dropped bombs near the US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces, which are battling the Islamic State. Russia condemned the US action and in retaliation suspended a hot line intended to prevent such incidents.

The United States has also fired on Syrian government ground forces in the east on two occasions in just the last month. There are concerns that further confrontations could lead to a breakout of hostilities that would hinder the battle against the Islamic State.

Australia on Tuesday suspended its airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria as a precaution, after Russia announced it was suspending the hot line and warned the US-led coalition not to fly over Syrian army positions west of the Euphrates River. 

NYT told me that was nothing, no big deal, so I'm not worrying.

In another first, Iran — another close Assad ally — fired ballistic missiles at Islamic State targets in eastern Syria, in the province of Deir el-Zour, later on Sunday. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard described the strike as revenge for Islamic State attacks on Tehran earlier this month that killed at least 18 people and wounded more than 50.

A spokesman for the Guard, General Ramazan Sharif, said all six ballistic missiles hit their targets, citing ‘‘local sources’’ and drone footage.

Sharif told the Associated Press that the missile launch reflected Iran’s ‘‘military power,’’ though Iran has no intention of starting another war. It is still unclear what the missiles struck, and Iran has provided few details.

The last time they started one was what, over 2,000 years ago?

Israeli security officials said Monday they were studying the missile strike to see what they could learn about its accuracy and capabilities.

The US military meanwhile confirmed Tuesday that top Islamic State cleric Turki al-Binali was killed in a coalition airstrike on May 31, in Mayadeen, Syria. The Bahraini cleric wrote religious justifications for the enslavement of hundreds of women from Iraq’s Yazidi minority and helped establish the Islamic State branch in Libya.

Activists and Islamic State supporters reported his death at the time but Tuesday’s statement from Central Command was the first US confirmation.

Also confirming AP is a propaganda outfit. 

Fighting and bombardment meanwhile resumed early Tuesday between Syrian government forces and rebels in the southern city of Daraa and nearby areas, where a 48-hour truce had gone into effect on Saturday. The truce was meant to be extended but now appears to have collapsed.

Truce, peace talks, war paper.

A Syrian military official in Damascus said the truce was not extended. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

‘‘The situation is back as it was in Daraa city and fighting is ongoing,’’ said Daraa-based opposition activist Ahmad al-Masalmeh. ‘‘The regime made the truce and then violated it.’’

The activist-run Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that government troops captured a hill west of the city and a former army base that was held by rebels. It said government helicopters dropped 55 barrel bombs on Daraa while warplanes carried out about 20 airstrikes.

The push by Syrian government forces in the Daraa area appears headed for the Jordanian border, two weeks after Assad’s troops reached the border with Iraq for the first time in years.....

It is to cut off the U.S. base in al Tank and isolate their terrorist proxies in the region.

Trump fell into a trap, or at least his generals did.


RelatedRussian jet came within feet of US reconnaissance plane, Pentagon says 

The Baltic Front, and don't look now but Russian troops have also been sighted crossing into Alaska.

"No mention of Russia as Trump, Ukraine leader meet" by Vivian Salama Associated Press  June 20, 2017

WASHINGTON — President Trump met with his Ukrainian counterpart Tuesday amid intensifying questions about whether his administration will step in to protect partners in the face of Russian aggression.

The meeting with President Petro Poroshenko was originally described by the White House as a brief ‘‘drop-in.’’ But the two presidents posed for photographs in the Oval Office and made brief remarks following Poroshenko’s more extensive meetings with Vice President Mike Pence and the administration’s top national security advisers.

With the Ukrainian leader sitting by his side, Trump said it was a ‘‘great honor’’ to meet Poroshenko and that ‘‘a lot of progress has been made’’ in the US relationship with Ukraine.

Trump has maintained that he hopes to establish better ties with Moscow, repairing ill will from the Obama era that resulted from Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and its widely condemned support of Syria’s President Bashar Assad, despite his attacks against civilians. In April, following a suspected chemical attack against civilians in northern Syria by government forces, Trump said US relations with Russia ‘‘may be at all-time low.’’

They didn't annex, and for AP to pile on by repeating the lie, well, that's something I expect from the NYT or WaPo. I'm not even going to comment on the false flag gas being flogged. We all know that was another fake.

But less than a month later, the president hosted top Russian diplomats in a closed-door Oval Office meeting that suggested relations weren’t so bad after all. Photos later emerged showing Trump laughing with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russia’s envoy to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. The White House press corps was not allowed access to that meeting.

Really ticked them off, too. 

Btw, he can meet with those folks. Nothing unlawful about it.

Trump has also raised concerns among NATO allies about whether he would turn his back on the alliance, which partly promises US support for European allies against Russian aggression.

Yeah, I got the point. Didn't have to repeat it.

In a meeting with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Poroshenko said, ‘‘I think that we can expand our cooperation because we fight not only for our territorial integrity and our independence, not only for our sovereignty, we are fighting for freedom, we are fighting for democracy.’’

After the overthrow of a democratically-elected government:

"In 2014, the US government worked with the IMF, and various Soros-sponsored organisations, and overthrew the duly elected President of Ukraine, President Yanukovich, replacing him in a rigged election with the western-centric thug, Poroshenko. Even President Obama admitted to such collusion in 2015:

Washington Was Behind Ukraine Coup: Obama admits that US “Brokered a Deal” in Support of “Regime Change”

You also had Victoria Nuland bragging about how much money the US spent to destabilise Ukraine:

The United States spent $5 billion on Ukraine anti-government riots

When Poroshenko took over the reigns of government in Ukraine, Crimean officials understood that there was not going to be anything approximating the rule of law in Kiev, so they did two things:
1st, they held a free and fair referendum, asking Crimeans if they wanted to stay with Ukraine, or petition the Russian Federation to join it.

Crimeans vote to join Russian Federation with a 97% vote

Secondly, then petitioned the Russian Federation to accept it as a member, and the Russian Federation did just that.

Russia never annexed Crimea; Crimea petitioned the Russian Federation to become a member. -- whatreallyhappened

Point of order, Mr. President.

The White House meeting began shortly after the administration announced sanctions on two Russian officials and three dozen individuals and companies over Russian activities in Ukraine. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the goal is to ‘‘maintain pressure on Russia to work toward a diplomatic solution.’’

Proponents of Senate-passed legislation to hit Russia with economic sanctions and limit the president’s authority to lift the penalties fear Trump may seek to dilute the bill and are urging the House to act quickly.

Senator John McCain of Arizona, called for the House to vote as soon as possible. ‘‘We all know that the Russians tried to interfere in our elections,’’ McCain said.


There was no mention of Russia, nor did Trump respond to questions about the ongoing investigation.....


"The president is being investigated for three alleged crimes: corruption, obstruction of justice and being a member of a criminal organization. [Trump], whose poll ratings have slumped into single digits, is in Russia on one of his few trips abroad since assuming the presidency [and] was expected to hold a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday....."

Well, that last one is off limits. That's why Obama's spying didn't turn up anything usable and why Wikileaks never touched Clinton's meeting with Zioni$t backers. 



Allies getting in line:

"Belgian authorities said they foiled what they called a terrorism attack Tuesday when soldiers shot and killed a suspect after a small explosion at a busy Brussels train station that continued a week of attacks in the capitals of Europe. Federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said no one else was injured besides the suspect and the damage from the explosion was limited. The attack, which took place during a heatwave, came around 8.30 p.m., well after the evening rush hour had dissipated....."

Stinks of a staged and scripted crisis drill -- if even it even happened at all.

I don't think Portugal will be of much help:

"Portugal tries to contain fatal fires, probes plane crash" Associated Press  June 21, 2017

LISBON — Emergency services personnel in Portugal said Tuesday they were making headway in controlling a major wildfire that has killed 64 people in the central area of the country, but another blaze nearby grew in size and there were reports that a water-dropping plane had crashed.

The Civil Protection Agency said about 1,200 firefighters and nine water-dropping aircraft were fighting the deadly wildfire in Pedrogao Grande, which was raging for a third consecutive day about 90 miles north of Lisbon. Officials said the blaze was mostly contained, though still burning fiercely.

Later in the day, an official with Portugal’s Air Accident Office said a Canadair water-dropping plane had crashed in central Portugal while fighting the wildfires.

Her office immediately sent a crash investigation team to the area but that she had no details about the plane, its crew or where the crash happened, she said.


Also see:

"Barclays, its former chief executive, and three other former senior managers were criminally charged Tuesday over agreements the bank struck with Qatar as it sought to avoid a government bailout during the 2008 global financial crisis. The accusations by the Serious Fraud Office are the first criminal charges to have been brought in Britain against a bank and its former executives as a result of actions taken as the financial crisis worsened. They are also a major test for the agency, which has suffered several setbacks recently in its efforts to prosecute manipulation of a benchmark interest rate known as Libor. Prime Minister Theresa May has proposed merging the fraud office into a larger crime-fighting body. Nine years ago, the British bank raised nearly 12 billion pounds — more than $15 billion at current exchange rates — from an arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and other investors in two deals, in June 2008 and in October 2008. The moves allowed it to avoid a bailout as a number of major banks on both sides of the Atlantic floundered and sought government lifelines."

Coverage of Qatar has quoted down.


"Report: 3,300 dead since central Congo conflict in August" Associated Press  June 21, 2017

KINSHASA, Congo — More than 3,300 people have been killed in central Congo’s volatile Kasai provinces since August, according to a document released Tuesday by the Catholic church, as the United Nations called for an international investigation after accounts of atrocities against civilians.

We are the U.N., and we are here to help!

The death toll was reported as the UN human rights chief faulted the government for failing to protect civilians, citing ‘‘harrowing’’ reports from UN rights experts deployed this month to interview people displaced by the fighting between government forces and militia members.

‘‘My team saw children as young as 2 whose limbs had been chopped off; many babies had machete wounds and severe burns,’’ Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in his report to the UN Human Rights Council.

Among the victims were two foreign UN experts — Michael Sharp of the United States and Zaida Catalan, a Swedish-Chilean national.

The region in central Congo exploded into violence after a traditional chief known as Kamwina Nsapu was killed in a military operation in August after his militants revolted against Congolese authorities.


I've been keeping my eye on Africa, but Trump doesn't care.


"When a senior US official visits North Korea, it is usually taken as a sign that tensions between the adversaries are easing somewhat. That is particularly true when the official brings home a newly freed American captive, but analysts said anger over Pyongyang’s “awful, torturous mistreatment” of their son would dim, if not scuttle, any prospect of a less antagonistic relationship in the near future. Other analysts said that however horrific the case might be, the Trump administration was unlikely to let it upset the momentum toward dialogue it has built. They stopped short of announcing fresh sanctions in response. Warmbier’s death comes at a delicate time in international diplomacy surrounding North Korea. Senior Chinese and American officials are due to meet in Washington this week, and US officials planned to press their counterparts to do more to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear pursuits. China, North Korea’s main ally, is a strong advocate for negotiations, and Warmbier’s death seemed unlikely to change that. At a daily news briefing in Beijing, a Foreign Ministry spokesman called the death “really a tragedy” but stopped short of reprimanding North Korea. Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing, said that China would not punish North Korea over a human rights issue. “What makes China take steps is a missile or nuclear test, not the death of an American student,” he said..... "

Just a month ago we were allegedly on the verge of war based on the reporting. WTF? Pre$$ misled me again?

You will have to wait for the autopsy, and maybe Japan can come to the rescue.


"Chinese stocks will join an important global benchmark, a decision that opens the door for foreign money to flow into China’s markets. The global stock index provider MSCI decision represents a mostly symbolic victory for China....."

SeeFord to make small cars in China

The Trump effect? 

rose, by any other name?


Tropical storm Cindy threatens Gulf Coast

It's a life and death situation, and expect a handful of hurricanes and storms this year. 

That will convince DJT AGW is real.

Republican Karen Handel wins Georgia special election

What is with the one-eyed freemason symbolism? 

I suppose the devil is in the details, in more ways than one:

"He’s been overshadowed by Barbie for decades, but now Ken is finally getting some attention. Mattel is introducing 15 new looks for the male doll, giving him different skin tones, body shapes, and hair styles. The makeover is part of the toy company’s plan to make its dolls more diverse and appeal to today’s kids. Barbie received a similar overhaul more than a year ago. Ken will be sold in three body shapes: ‘‘slim,’’ ‘’broad,’’ and ‘‘original.’’ He’ll have modern hairdos, such as cornrows and man buns, and come in seven different skin tones. He’ll also be sporting new fashions: Think skinny ties, plaid shirts, and graphic tees. Ken hasn’t changed much since he was introduced 56 years ago as Barbie’s blue-eyed, chiseled boyfriend."

They made "him" androgynous in honor of the uni-sex, any-sex culture. 

I'm going to beat them to the punch soon and be the first human being to self-identify with an animal. I was thinking silverback gorilla. Whadda you think?

"Senate Republicans steered toward a potential showdown vote on their long-awaited health care bill next week, despite indications that they’ve yet to solidify the 50 GOP votes they’ll need to avert an embarrassing defeat. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, said he expected to have a draft of the bill ready Thursday. ‘‘We have to act, and we are,’’ McConnell said on the Senate floor. McConnell’s ability to assess and line up votes is considered masterful, and he’s eager to pass legislation fulfilling a keystone campaign promise of President Trump and countless GOP congressional candidates. But underscoring the uncertainty he faces, senators from both ends of his party’s spectrum were grumbling about the bill’s expected contents and the clandestine way it’s being crafted. ‘‘It’s apparently being written by a small handful of staffers for members of the Republican leadership,’’ said conservative Senator Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, using a Facebook video for an unusually public swipe at GOP leaders. Though a member of the 13-senator working group McConnell had tasked with piecing legislation together, Lee said he’s not seen the emerging bill and ‘‘whole-heartedly’’ shares the frustration of constituents unhappy over the secrecy. He said senators should have seen the measure ‘‘weeks ago’’ if the chamber is voting next week, the goal of top Republicans....." 

It's the House bill, the one Trump called mean, and it's needed for the tax cuts and code rewrite. That's why they are keeping it under wraps, and who will be blackmailed so it passes?

"Dashcam video shows officer firing 7 shots into Philando Castile’s car" by Amy Forliti and Steve Karnowski Associated Press  June 20, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota police officer who pulled over Philando Castile politely told the driver that his brake lights were out and calmly instructed him not to pull out his handgun before suddenly drawing his own weapon and firing seven rounds into the car, a video released Tuesday showed.

The dashboard video taken from Officer Jeronimo Yanez’s squad car illustrated how a simple traffic stop shifted from a routine exchange to a deadly confrontation in an instant.

When Yanez opens fire, another officer near the car jumps back, and Yanez begins yelling at the driver. As more police and an ambulance arrive at the scene, Yanez can be heard breathing heavily and swearing and trying to explain his actions to fellow officers.

The video was made public just days after the officer was acquitted on all counts in the case. Although the squad-car footage has been described repeatedly and was shown to jurors in the courtroom, it had never been made public until Tuesday.

The shooting gained widespread attention because Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, livestreamed its gruesome aftermath on Facebook. Unlike Reynolds’ video, the squad-car video shows the situation’s quick escalation and the shooting itself.

Castile is dead today because he was exercising his constitutional right to bear arms.

AP all of a sudden reaching for their gun?

Yanez, who was found not guilty of manslaughter and other charges, began firing only seconds after Castile told the officer he had a gun.

‘‘Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me,’’ Castile is heard saying.

Before Castile finishes that sentence, Yanez begins pulling his weapon out of the holster. Yanez says, ‘‘OK. Don’t reach for it then.’’ There is shouting, and Yanez screams ‘‘Don’t pull it out!’’ before firing into the car.

Castile, a 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker, had a permit to carry his weapon.

The release of the video made some people even angrier about the death.

Steven Belton, president and CEO of Minneapolis Urban League, said the footage was ‘‘powerfully painful’’ and that Castile was ‘‘gunned down like a rabid animal.’’

Bekuh Sibet, a 29-year-old waitress from nearby Richfield, said it was obvious to her from the video that Castile was complying.

‘‘I feel like it’s 10 times worse now,’’ she said.

The video doesn’t show what happened in the car. Yanez testified that Castile ignored his commands not to pull out the gun.

The footage shows a wide view of the traffic stop and the shooting, with the camera pointed toward Castile’s car. It captures what was said between the two men. The video does not show what happened inside the car or what Yanez saw.

It shows Yanez, who is Latino, following Castile’s car, then pulling it over. Yanez can be seen approaching Castile, who was black, and asking for a driver’s license and proof of insurance. Castile gives the proof of insurance to Yanez through the driver’s side window, and the officer puts it in his pocket.

After the first shot, Castile’s body is thrown to the right. The video shows Yanez’s backup officer, Joseph Kauser, standing on the passenger side of the vehicle, retreating when the shots were fired.

After the shooting, the video shows Yanez standing at the car window with his gun drawn for some time. Reynolds’ then-4-year-old daughter starts to get out of the car and is grabbed by an officer.

Officers order Reynolds out of the car, and she gets out, hands held high. Soon, she is heard wailing.

A fellow officer speaks repeatedly to Yanez to get him away from the car: ‘‘I’m going to take your spot. I’m going to take your spot. Listen, listen, I’m going to take your spot.’’ Yanez slowly walks away, and another officer says: ‘‘You all right? You all right? You’re not hit any, are you?’’

Officers pull Castile from the vehicle and begin CPR. Yanez is then off-camera, but can be heard talking through his body microphone.

Yanez, 29, is heard telling a supervisor that he didn’t know where Castile’s gun was, then saying that he told Castile to get his hand off it. Yanez testified, ‘‘What I meant by that was I didn’t know where the gun was up until I saw it in his right thigh area.’’

Yanez’s acquittal prompted days of protests, including one in St. Paul last Friday that attracted thousands and shut down Interstate 94 for hours. Eighteen people were arrested.


Would he have shot Bill Cosby?

Peter Limone, who spent 33 years in prison for murder he didn’t commit, dies at 83

The FBI framed him and three other men, but that's all forgotten. 

Minneapolis is like Afghanistan:

"Gunmen kill 8 Afghan guards heading for work at US air base" by Sayed Salahuddin Washington Post  June 20, 2017

KABUL — Suspected Taliban gunmen ambushed Afghan guards who were in a vehicle headed to work at the US-run Bagram air base, killing at least eight people as part of a surge of attacks by militants around the country, officials said Tuesday.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said the group carried out the late Monday assault and described the victims as spies for the US military.

Attacks by the Taliban and its Islamic State rivals have been rising in Afghanistan as the United States completes plans to send several thousand more troops to bolster Afghan forces and the 8,500 US troops already in the country.

‘‘We cannot rule out anything — enemy attack, local or tribal hostility,’’ police chief Mohammad Zaman Mamozai said by phone in reference to the attack on the Bagram guards. He said two other occupants of the vehicle suffered bullet wounds.

Meanwhile, violence flared in a series of attacks around the country and in the capital, Kabul, between security forces and protesters who had occupied a busy avenue for the past three weeks.

Like in Minneapolis.

Videos of the Kabul clashes posted on social media showed a number of wounded men on the street late Monday as well as the body of a man. Protesters contend the man was shot by police. Security officials and the government spokesmen were unavailable for comment.

A protest organizer, Ramish Noori, said several people were arrested.

Afghanistan’s chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, confirmed on live TV that one protester had been killed and six others wounded. He called for an investigation into the clash.

‘‘Last night’s event in Kabul has shocked all of us,’’ he said.

Protesters have expressed frustration with US-backed President Ashraf Ghani and his inability to stem the rising tide of violence, including a devastating truck bomb on May 31 in Kabul that killed 150 people.

After police opened fire on an antigovernment protest three weeks ago, protesters set up tents and vowed to remain until the president resigned.

Occupy Afghanistan?

Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission denounced the ‘‘illegal’’ actions by security forces, raising worries about increased ‘‘intimidation and fear.’’

‘‘Tonight’s move against the protesters . . . is not acceptable and the government is responsible for any legal and humanitarian violation,’’ Fawzia Koofi, a lawmaker, said in a message.

Omar Ahmad Parwani, an organizer of the protest, called for massive antigovernment marches and blocking key roads in the capital.


Memory Hole Wednesday

Just some things I found cleaning up:

"State Police arrested a fugitive sex offender Tuesday morning at an apartment on Falmouth Street in Attleborough, police said. Caled Donatiu, 32, of Everett, was classified as a Level Three sex offender based on his 2008 conviction of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 in Salem, State Police said in a statement. Donatiu and an accomplice followed an 11-year-old girl for several blocks before forcing her into an alley and assaulting her, authorities said. Donatiu was wanted for failing to register as a sex offender and for failing to provide a DNA sample to law enforcement, police said...."


"Man allegedly walks into police station to say he killed his wife" by Laura Crimaldi and John R. Ellement Globe Staff  August 02, 2016

SALEM — A turbulent relationship that lasted nearly 30 years ended violently Tuesday when Douglas A. Steeves Jr. allegedly strangled his wife in her home — and then confessed his crime to Salem police, authorities said.

Steeves, 50, was ordered held without bail for allegedly murdering Carmela Saunders, 48, inside her Chandler Street apartment, just hours after a family dinner, authorities said.

Steeves had been living with a friend, but was kicked out and had “nowhere to go,” Essex Assistant District Attorney A.J. Camelio said. On Monday night, Steeves was invited to his daughter’s apartment to take a shower and have dinner, Camelio said.

But the visit took a violent turn when Steeves received a phone call from a man who told him to “stay away from his girl,” according to a police report filed in Salem District Court. The call sparked a fight between Steeves and Saunders, police wrote.

“She scratched him, and at that point he put his hands on her throat and he strangled her,” Camelio said. “He left her on the bed, covered her body, and left the apartment.”

Around 3:44 a.m., Steeves walked into the Salem police station and told an officer what he did, Camelio said.

Steeves’s lawyer, Raymond Buso, said his client’s mental state at the time of the killing might be part of his defense. He said Steeves cannot remember all of what happened.

Saunders’ death followed years of alleged abuse in a relationship that dated back to her teenage years. The couple married in 1987 and had five children, the youngest of whom is 17, officials and friends said.

Saunders had filed for divorce twice since last September, citing abuse, and received two restraining orders against Steeves, most recently in May. That restraining order was still in effect, records show.

Maybe if she had a gun.

The May order was granted after Steeves allegedly followed her to Salem, N.H., where he “started to harass me, calling me dirty names” in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart store, records show. Later that day, he bluntly threatened her.

“I will take care of you,” he said, according to an affidavit signed by Saunders. “I don’t care what happens to be [sic], but I will get you.”

The other restraining order was issued in 1994 after Steeves allegedly tried to strangle Saunders, Camelio said.

A friend of Saunders said she once told her that Steeves had tried to kill her.

“She told me that, a long time ago, Doug tried to kill her,” the friend said. “She told me he tried to strangle her so she broke up with him. She was afraid of him. She left him and he was a stalker. He stalked her all the time.’’

The friend asked to remain anonymous out of concern for her personal safety.

Lisa Vidinha, 49, who lives near the Chandler Street home where Saunders was attacked, said the couple’s relationship became strained soon after they moved into a second-floor apartment about six months ago.

Saunders moved in with relatives on the third floor, while Steeves was evicted for failing to pay rent, she said.

Even after Steeves moved away, Saunders complained that he would not leave her alone, often calling her and sending her text messages, Vidinha said. Sometimes, Steeves drove by and honked the horn on his blue Chevy Suburban, she said.

“I told him to leave. ‘You don’t belong here. You got a restraining order. Don’t you know that? I will call the cops,’ ” Vidinha said.

She said she heard screams overnight, but did not know who was in trouble. A police officer told her about the killing Tuesday morning, Vidinha said.

“My heart just like dropped,” she said. “If it was her screams I would have been over here. I know he’s abusive and he’s a bully.”

Vidinha said she last saw Saunders Saturday.

“She was fine,” she said. “She was a loving girl. She would help anybody.”

Saunders’ first divorce complaint was dismissed last November after Saunders said the couple reconciled, court records show. She initiated divorce proceedings again in February.

“Carmen had this thing — she loved him but she hated him,’’ said the friend. “It was like a love hate relationship. But she wanted to slip away, but she just didn’t know how to do it.’’

Please stop romanticizing the abusive relationship that had to have been pure hell for that woman.



"Malden High staffer pleads not guilty to raping disabled student" by Laura Crimaldi and John R. Ellement Globe Staff  August 09, 2016

WOBURN — An assistant teacher and coach at Malden High School pleaded not guilty Tuesday to accusations that he raped a 16-year-old disabled boy in a school bathroom and threatened to kill the teenager’s mother if he resisted.

Steven J. MacDonald, 46, of Malden, was released on personal recognizance following his arraignment in Middlesex Superior Court on charges of rape, indecent assault and battery on a disabled person, and assault with intent to rape.

Had a fire down below.

In court, Assistant District Attorney Courtney C. Linnehan said the attacks on the boy, who has “multiple disabilities,” began last September when MacDonald was assigned to work in the teenager’s classroom as a paraprofessional. MacDonald was responsible for taking the boy to the bathroom, she said.

The predator goes where is the prey. Sick.

Linnehan alleged that during trips to the bathroom MacDonald committed sex acts on himself, raped the student, and forced the student to commit other sex acts.

“The defendant continuously threatened to go to the victim’s home and kill his mother,’’ Linnehan said.

As the alleged assaults continued during the school year, Linnehan said, the student tried to avoid using the bathroom, but would sometimes have “accidents” and was left with soaked clothes in the hallways of the school.

Poor kid, and that means they are probably diagnosing him with some other illness. Good Lord!

MacDonald, she said, sometimes offered the student candy “to lure him into the bathroom.’’

She said the student told school employees that MacDonald was “mean.” He stayed home from school on March 24 and March 25 and reported the incidents to his mother on March 27.

“He did not return to Malden High School again,’’ Linnehan said.

MacDonald was placed on administrative leave March 29 after school officials were alerted to the allegations, said Malden Mayor Gary Christenson, who also leads the city’s school committee.

MacDonald also served as assistant football coach from 2012 to 2016 and coached freshman baseball from 2014 until he was put on leave, Christenson said.

The mayor called the indictment “deeply concerning,” but said he could not comment further, citing an ongoing criminal investigation and personnel matters. Licensure is not required for paraprofessionals, a state education official said.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan said Malden police and school officials helped to investigate the allegations against MacDonald. A grand jury indicted him Aug. 2, court records show.

“The defendant in this case was trusted to care for and assist the student that he allegedly sexually assaulted,” Ryan said in a statement. “Such allegations, if proven, violate the trust that parents and guardians place in their children’s educators.”

MacDonald appeared in court surrounded by about 10 relatives and friends. He declined to comment.

In an interview, defense attorney Alan Tuttman called the indictments against MacDonald “troubling,” saying the accuser’s allegations are not credible. “They’re not believable,” Tuttman said. “There’s nothing to substantiate it. There’s no physical evidence.”

MacDonald’s accuser uses a wheelchair and functions at a second-grade level, Tuttman said. “It’s pretty widely known that the alleged victim would fabricate,” he said.

Wow, that's a boomerang, dumping the kid out of the chair and then kick 'em!

Tuttman described MacDonald as a “well respected member of the Malden community” who has been married for 18 years and has two sons, ages 13 and 16. “He’s a little bit in shock,” Tuttman said. 

After all the elite school abuse? Shocked?

MacDonald was initially ordered to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet while awaiting trial, but Tuttman successfully appealed the ruling during a hearing before Judge Bruce Henry, court records show.

Under the terms of his release, MacDonald is prohibited from having unsupervised contact with children 18 years or younger, excluding his own. He is also barred from holding a job or volunteer position with children under 18. MacDonald’s next court date is Sept. 15.

Joe Pappagallo, the former head football coach at Malden High, said he began coaching with MacDonald in 2000 and let him baby-sit his children.

“This is so out of character for him; it’s not even close,” Pappagallo said in a phone interview. “Nobody believes it. Everybody says there’s somebody bearing false witness here.”



"15-year-old boy shot, critically wounded in South Boston" by Vivian Wang Globe Correspondent  August 16, 2016

A South Boston housing development has seen more than its share of gun violence this summer, with a shooting Monday night leaving a 15-year-old boy critically wounded and residents reeling from what they say has become a regular occurrence.

“That’s been kind of a hot spot this summer,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said of the Mary Ellen McCormack development, where the boy was shot just before midnight while sitting in a car near 24 Gavin Way. A woman was shot at the development in July but survived.

No arrests have been made in Monday’s shooting, and the victim has not been identified. Police said he was in critical condition but expected to survive.

“Right now it’s every night, disorder, disorder,” said Carlos Marrero, 46, who lives at 24 Gavin Way. “I’m scared to go out of my apartment. This street has a problem.”

He and his 19-year-old daughter spent the night sleeping on the floor, Marrero said, because he worried about bullets flying through the window.

City and housing officials say they understand that residents are worried. They are collaborating to bring tighter security measures to the development.

Meanwhile, gun violence across the city has fallen compared with last summer.

Whatever you say.

Bill McGonagle, administrator of the Boston Housing Authority, said he and Walsh have discussed installing security cameras along Gavin Way, as well as nearby Logan Way and Sterling Square.

“It’s been a difficult summer,” he said. “People are concerned, and we want to make sure that we’re responding to those concerns.”

McGonagle said he hopes the cameras will be installed by the start of next year, and he estimated they will cost between $500,000 and $600,000.

The housing authority has taken other steps recently to enhance safety. It installed exterior lighting throughout the development last year.

The Boston Police Department has also stepped up its presence. The Mary Ellen McCormack development has a fixed patrol for the first time this summer, meaning that officers are on site 24 hours a day, McGonagle said. The housing authority also has its own security force with about 20 officers.

Hours after the shooting, which was reported around 11:40 p.m. Monday, neighbors were still on edge.

Marrero said he wishes the police presence were more consistent and not just increased during times of violence.

Another woman in the same building, who asked not to be identified, said her children and grandchildren have all asked her to move out.

“My daughter told me, this is the end,” she said.

Neighbors were unable to identify the victim by name but said they had often seen him riding his bike around the development....



"The Boston Housing Authority is seeking a one-time $4 million allocation from the city to keep public safety officers in buildings that house the elderly and disabled. The money would fill a federal funding gap and for one year cover the wages and benefits of 56 unarmed officers who check in guests and patrol the buildings, said Bill McGonagle, the authority’s administrator. The $4 million the housing authority is requestingwill pay the wages and benefits for 56 unarmed officers who carry radios on their patrols. The agency also spends another $3.1 million for 17 armed officers and about a half dozen dispatchers, McGonagle said. Nearly 30 violent incidents involving the elderly and disabled were reported from January through July, according to data the authority provided...."

Also related:

"$35 million. That’s how much the grand penthouse at the top of Millennium Tower sold for, apparently to billionaire investor Jonathan Grayken. A deed filed Wednesday in Suffolk County indicates that a holding company called Kilda LLC paid Millennium $35 million for the 13,000-square-foot condo, which, on the 60th floor of the new condo tower, is the highest residence ever built in Boston. Either way, he got a bit of a bargain. Millennium had listed the penthouse for sale at $37.5 million. So he paid 6.7 percent below the asking price. And according to the deed, his place comes with six parking spaces. Four of them are even reserved." 

I wonder how much their $ecurity co$ts.


"Three charged with selling heroin out of convenience store" by John R. Ellement Globe Staff  August 23, 2016

Three men were arrested in Holyoke for allegedly selling heroin out of a convenience store in the Western Massachusetts city, authorities said Tuesday.

The men taken into custody were involved in operating or managing the Holyoke Mini Mart on High Street, authorities said in a statement.

FBI agents, Holyoke police, and State Police assigned to the Hampden district attorney’s office raided three addresses in Holyoke on Saturday and seized 5,600 bags of suspected heroin and $19,000 in cash, officials said.

“The [search] warrants were the result of an investigation into the sale of illicit narcotics inside and around the area of the Holyoke Mini Mart Convenience Store,’’ authorities said.

Police identified those arrested as Charles Pedrosa, 48, Emiliano Santiago, 30, and his brother, Daniel, 29 of Holyoke.

The men were each arraigned in Holyoke District Court Monday on charges of trafficking in 100 to 200 grams of heroin, possession of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute, drug violation within 100 feet of a school or public park, and conspiracy, police said.

Prosecutors requested $100,000 bail for each of the suspects, but Emiliano Santiago was ordered held on $7,500 bail and both Pedrosa and Daniel Santiago were ordered held on $5,000 each.

The men are scheduled for pretrial conferences on Sept. 15."


"Investigators found drugs in a secret compartment inside the vehicle of a suspected drug dealer Monday night, according to Quincy police. Police had been investigating 41-year-old Andrew Costello for much of August for allegedly dealing drugs out of 22 Bigelow St., police said in a statement. At about 7:30 p.m. Monday, police saw what they believed to be a drug deal between Costello and Leudy Fernandez-Santiago, 25, of Lynn, inside Fernandez-Santiago’s gray Honda Accord. Once officers approached Costello, they found about 19 grams of fentanyl and $545 cash, police said. Costello said he had purchased drugs from Fernandez-Santiago. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that has been cited in many deaths associated with the Massachusetts opioid epidemic. It is thought to be about 50 to 100 times more powerful than heroin, and the two are frequently combined and sold. An officer pulled over Fernandez-Santiago and found about $6,911 in his car, police said. Once the car was taken to police headquarters, they found a hidden compartment inside the car that contained bags of fentanyl, crack cocaine, and cocaine. Costello is facing charges of trafficking in fentanyl and conspiracy to violate the controlled substance laws, police said. Fernandez-Santiago is facing charges of trafficking in fentanyl, conspiracy to violate the controlled substance laws, distribution of fentanyl, and possession to distribute cocaine."

About? That's pretty precise number.

"An online drug-tracking program aimed at curbing abuse of opioids and other prescription drugs is slated to launch Monday, but many health care providers still haven’t registered to use the system, prompting an urgent call to action Wednesday from the statewide physician’s association...."

The other drug:

Bard College sinks further into junk bond status

"A Yale-educated investment banker was convicted of insider trading charges Wednesday after a jury concluded he gave tips about mergers and acquisitions to his father, enabling over $1 million in illegal profits. Sean Stewart, 35, testified during the two-week Manhattan federal court trial, insisting he had no idea his father was sharing secrets with a broker to make trades ahead of public announcements on five separate deals that he oversaw while working at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Perella Weinberg partners LP. The father, Robert Stewart, was sentenced to one year of home detention after pleading guilty to an insider trading charge. Prosecutors said evidence, including the timing of pivotal meetings regarding the corporate deals and subsequent trades in securities by the father and communications between the father and son soon afterward, made it obvious the son tipped his father intentionally."

$mall fry Madoff.


"Four Weymouth residents are facing charges after they allegedly beat a 21-year-old autistic man, kicking him in the face and hitting him with a bottle before stealing his cellphone and wallet, police said. Christopher Keeley, 21, and Tiago Teixeira, 19, were charged with unarmed robbery, assault and battery causing serious bodily harm, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and conspiracy, according to a Weymouth police report. Both men appeared Monday in Quincy District Court. Two women, an 18-year-old and a 19-year-old, were also charged. Their names were not released because they haven’t been arrested yet, police said. They will face the same charges as Keeley and Teixeira, police said...."

He should consider himself lucky; he wasn't sexually abused.

Feeling Safr in the Virgin Islands

"CEO of women’s ride-hailing service is arrested as fugitive" by Evan Allen Globe Staff  June 20, 2017

The chief executive of Safr, a Boston ride-hailing service focused on women’s safety, was arrested last week on a fugitive from justice warrant out of the Virgin Islands, where he is wanted on charges he defrauded the government of more than $2 million.

Syed Zain Gilani, 43, was arrested in his company’s headquarters at 68 Harrison Ave. in Boston around 12:15 p.m. Friday by members of the Boston Police Fugitive Unit and the US Marshals Service. He agreed to rendition to the Virgin Islands, according to court documents.

The charges stem from a scheme that Virgin Islands Department of Justice officials say Gilani ran with two other men, in which they pretended to implement federally mandated updates to identification cards, such as licenses, for three years while pocketing grant money.

Gilani is the CEO of Safr, which debuted in Boston in March. The company was formed after a spate of sexual harassment and assault complaints from female passengers who were using Uber, another popular ride-hailing service, according to media reports about Safr’s launch.

Safr trains its drivers, many of whom are women, in safety and bystander awareness, and allows riders to select the gender they prefer to ride with. The service comes with an SOS button so that riders who feel unsafe can contact 911 or a predetermined emergency contact.

“We want to make sure that women feel safe any time of the day or night as a rider and as a driver,” Gilani told WBUR-FM in March. “And in the end, they feel empowered and new women join the ride-sharing market.”

In a statement, Safr Chief Marketing Officer Dana Córdova said the company continues to operate “unabated.”

“Syed denies any wrongdoing. He is such a passionate believer in the Safr mission for which we are all very grateful,” Córdova said. “We fully support him, including any time he needs to deal with this legal matter.”

Beirne said Gilani has no criminal record. His children were born in the Virgin Islands, and he lived there for several years.

He ran a business there called BizVI, Beirne said, which sold features of the federal government’s REAL ID program to the government of the Virgin Islands.

The REAL ID program was established after Congress in 2005 passed the REAL ID Act, which set new standards for state-issued identification cards and driver’s licenses.

Such as?

Prosecutors in the Virgin Islands say that Gilani, his company, and the two other men also charged never did any real work for the program. Jerris Browne, the former director of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and Gregory Christian, the bureau’s former project coordinator, were arrested Thursday in St. Croix in connection with the scheme, she said.

All three men face one charge each of obtaining money by false pretense, conversion of government property, embezzlement by public officer, filing false instruments, falsification of public accounts, fraudulent claims upon the government, false certificate by public officers, and criminal influenced and corrupt organizations conspiracy, according to a press release.

In September 2008, said Corliss Smithen, public media officer for the Department of Justice in the Virgin Islands, Browne allegedly submitted an application to the Department of Homeland Security requesting funding for the REAL ID program, which was approved for $2 million.

The money was disbursed between 2008 and 2011, according to prosecutors, but Gilani, Browne, and Christian never implemented the program.

The motor vehicle bureau was supposed to put the contract out to bid, she said. But instead of procuring bids from independent, competitive companies, Smithen said, Browne contracted with three businesses that were all owned by Gilani.

The Virgin Islands complaint alleges that Browne and Christian then certified that the work was performed by the companies — even though, officials allege, nothing had been done.

The alleged malfeasance was not discovered until 2015, according to the press release, when the current Bureau of Motor Vehicles director discovered that the bureau did not have the functional software application to carry out the mandates of the REAL ID program.

Gilani is to be picked up for transport to the Virgin Islands on July 7. Smithen said he will be arraigned in Virgin Islands Superior Court on St. Croix.....


Well, no tip for him.

"Brazil federal police accuse president of getting bribes" by Mauricio Savarese Associated Press  June 21, 2017

SAO PAULO — Brazil’s federal police said Tuesday that investigators have found evidence President Michel Temer received bribes to help businesses, raising a new threat that the embattled leader could be suspended from office pending a corruption trial.

What goes around comes around.

The president is being investigated for three alleged crimes: corruption, obstruction of justice and being a member of a criminal organization.

Temer, whose poll ratings have slumped into single digits, is in Russia on one of his few trips abroad since assuming the presidency a year ago after President Dilma Rousseff was suspended upon being impeached, which led to her permanent removal from office.

Temer was expected to hold a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.....

No wonder he is being moved out.


Might want to book a flight to Argentina, Mike.

"Meet the 29-year-old who wants to shake up Everett politics" by Stephanie Ebbert Globe Staff  June 21, 2017

EVERETT — She represents a large swath of her community — where an astonishing 41 percent of residents are foreign-born, according to American Community Survey estimates from 2015 — she would be an outlier on the council.

In the 125 years that Everett has been a city, its residents have elected just three Latino men, one black man, and 17 women, records from the city clerk’s office show.

The number of white men? 632.

Stephanie Martins, the 29-year-old realtor who is challenging third-generation City Councilor Stephen Simonelli, was born in Brazil [and] is part of a wave of female and nontraditional candidates across the country trying to make inroads in local government after the bruising election cycle of 2016. She’s one of 60 women who participated this year in Emerge Massachusetts, a candidate training program for Democratic women. Thirty of the women have already launched campaigns.

In Everett, a working-class city of 46,000, demographics have changed dramatically over the past few decades. But politics have not. One of the most diverse cities in the state, Everett is governed by a board that is exclusively white and almost entirely male, just like it has always been.

It's called the power of incumbency. Or maybe more whites vote.

Martins’s candidacy is “very special for the immigrant community over here,” said Antonio Amaya, executive director of La Comunidad, an Everett nonprofit that helps Latino immigrants ease into the mainstream. Latinos represent 21.5 percent of Everett’s population, according to census data.

City elections here are rough-and-tumble affairs and incumbents are regularly challenged, and sometimes toppled, by newcomers. But most of the races involve feuding family dynasties and established clans, and go unnoticed by most voters.....

I no longer feel safe.


She's already got one vote.

Related: Finding a Safe Space For the Day


"A Boston police detective made more than four times his base salary last year, increasing his pay through a contract provision that allowed him to receive roughly four months of overtime for hours he didn’t work, records show. Boston Police Detective Waiman Lee, a 34-year department veteran in the domestic violence unit, took home about $403,000 in 2016, making him the highest paid city employee last year, according to payroll records. His base salary was $92,515. In what critics call an extreme example of a systemic problem, Lee bolstered his wages thanks to police union contracts that require that officers who work detail shifts or testify in court be paid a minimum of four hours, even if the assignment lasts only 30 minutes....."

Who negotiated for the city?

RelatedThank the Boston Police for a quieter city

Must be all the overtime.

"A Lowell man was arrested Monday and accused of running a heroin distribution ring from the apartment he shared with two small children. Kevin Davidson, 31, was arrested in his apartment on Smith Street, Lowell police said in a statement. Detectives found 33 grams of suspected heroin, a bag of cocaine, $3,345 in cash, and “paraphernalia indicting a significant heroin distributing operation” in the apartment, police said. Two children, ages 2 and 5, were also found in the apartment. Police contacted the Department of Children & Families and an investigation was started, police said. Davidson was arraigned at the Lowell District Court Tuesday morning and charged with trafficking in heroin, trafficking in heroin in a school zone, and unlawful possession of Class B cocaine, police said. Held on $10,000 bail, he is scheduled to next appear in court on July 14."

"A first-grader at the Mattahunt Elementary School in Mattapan was sliced in the hand by a razor during recess Monday afternoon and had to be taken to the hospital, officials said. The girl told police that she and her classmates found three razors under a bench, officials said, and began experimenting with them."

"The body of a local tour boat captain was found on Chatham’s North Beach Monday. The discovery of David Murdock, 78, of Chatham, was reported to police shortly before 4 p.m., said Tara Miltimore, spokeswoman for the Cape and Islands district attorney’s office. The death is being investigated by State Police, Environmental Police, and Chatham police. Officials say there is no reason to suspect foul play."

"A New Hampshire woman was convicted Monday of running a human trafficking operation out of the Day Spa for Gentlemen in Lawrence, officials said. Lori Barron, 54, of Salem, N.H., who was arrested in 2013, was found guilty of recruiting women to work as prostitutes at the massage parlor, according to the Essex district attorney’s office. “After hiring the women to work as a receptionist, she would pressure them to give massages and instructed them to perform a sex act at the conclusion of the massage. She videotaped the women performing the sex acts and threatened to show the videos to family members ... if the women refused to perform the sex acts,” the district attorney’s statement said. The judge revoked Barron’s bail, pending a sentencing hearing July 28. “The victims in this case showed great courage in testifying despite having to expose their own mistakes,” Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said."

Also see: Walking the Streets of Lawrence 

Just jerk off in the john next time.

Technically the Start of the Day

By the end of the day, it will be the end of the roll to the reader.

"Baker scales back plan for health care fee on employers" by Priyanka Dayal McCluskey and Jon Chesto Globe Staff  June 20, 2017

Governor Charlie Baker’s push to compel businesses to cover more of the state’s ever-rising health care costs gained momentum Tuesday after his administration scaled back a controversial plan that had angered business leaders.

Administration officials asked lawmakers to allow an increase to an existing fee on employers to raise an estimated $200 million annually for health coverage. The request comes just 10 days before the start of the next fiscal year, as House and Senate members are hashing out a new budget amid a revenue shortfall.

If their past tax revenue projections are any guide.... pffft.

Baker had initially proposed raising $300 million in the next fiscal year through a fee that would have charged many businesses $2,000 per worker to help pay the costs of the state Medicaid program, called MassHealth. After a backlash and many subsequent meetings with employer groups, administration officials said Tuesday that they now have a plan that enjoys the business community’s support.

And certainly the pharmaceutical $ector after throwing $500m at them, and it's a $mart move that is being is welcomed in the Globe.

Not everyone was ready to praise the administration’s plan. The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, one of the most vocal groups on this issue, declined to comment, and the Chamber was missing from a list pro-business sound bites distributed by the administration.

Lora Pellegrini, president of the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, called the new proposals “on the whole . . . a positive development.”

“By working with the business community, they found a place of compromise,” Pellegrini said. “They’ve also come up with strategies to reduce the cost of enrollment in MassHealth and put some market-based solutions in place for the commercial market.”

Administration officials called for a series of changes to MassHealth — including toughening eligibility rules and covering fewer prescription drugs — that they project will save the state another $115 million per year. MassHealth, which is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, provides coverage to about 1.9 million Massachusetts residents, including the poor and people with disabilities.

Just $et a$ide $100m a year for Big Pharma, and Hollywood gets another $80m. 

I know it's sick, but I'm starting to think these crisis are manufactured so they can cut health for the poor (not illegal immigrants and war refugees, though, right?) and transfer that money other places That's what it is starting to look like -- while maintaining the illusion and imagery of liberal, deep-blue Massachusetts.

Following a strategy used by commercial insurers, the administration wants to limit the number of similar drugs MassHealth covers for a particular condition. For example, if there are four drugs available to treat a certain condition, officials might only pay for the two most cost-effective ones.

What if the first two co$t effective drugs fail? Each patient is different.

Baker’s finance secretary, Kristen Lepore, asked the House and Senate budget chiefs to include the administration’s proposals in the spending plan they are finalizing for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

“While our administration has made it a priority to control spending at MassHealth and has slowed its growth rate over the past two years, further action must be taken to contain the program’s growth,” Lepore said in a letter to Senator Karen E. Spilka and Representative Brian S. Dempsey.

Wow. They are also on board.

House and Senate leaders previously said they supported raising about $180 million from businesses to help pay for MassHealth, but they left the details up to the Baker administration. At about $16 billion annually, MassHealth is the single biggest piece of state spending.

Well, shouldn't it be? I was led to believe thru schools and media that is government's mission for us all. WTF?

Missing from the administration’s latest list of proposals was a cap on payments to high-priced hospitals. The governor suggested price caps as a way to curb health care costs in his earlier budget proposal, but House and Senate leaders nixed that idea. The hospital industry lobbied against price caps. 

Okay, so Partners, the healthcare Goliath in the state, will be allowed to still gouge, 'er, charge 3x the amount for the same procedures at other hospitals. It's all about kickback, 'er, lobbying loot and the power of said intere$ts here in Ma$$achu$etts.

Lynn Nicholas, president of the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association, said in a statement that the group “appreciates the Baker administration’s efforts to address the financial challenges facing the state while recognizing the . . . economic contributions of Massachusetts hospitals, health systems and other care providers.”

The administration’s proposals for tackling health care spending include a five-year moratorium on new health insurance mandates. The administration also wants to restore a rule that stopped residents with access to “affordable” health insurance through employers from enrolling in MassHealth. And they want to move 140,000 adults now on MassHealth into subsidized commercial plans on the state Health Connector. These changes require federal approval, which the administration plans to request this summer. They also need approval from the state Legislature.

Already, the administration is restructuring MassHealth to move to a model of “accountable care,” which aims to control costs and better manage patients’ health by keeping them within set networks of providers. 

In a word, rationing. You know, the reason you don't want the Canadian system.

Employer groups said they appreciated the steps taken by the administration to curb the costs of health coverage for poor and low-income residents.

“Now it feels like the package has some connection to the problem, which is the unsustainable cost of Medicaid,” said JD Chesloff, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable.

And yet the war machine rolls on, and all sorts of venture capital is burned through for dubious projects.

Eileen McAnneny, president of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said she supports the administration’s latest proposal largely because it’s a step toward addressing the biggest cause of the state’s budget pressures.

“There are lots of priorities in state government [and] providing health insurance to people is certainly an important one,” said Mark Gallagher, executive vice president at the Massachusetts High Technology Council. “As a program starts to creep up to 40 percent of the state budget, it starts to become the one and only priority of state government, and everything else is pushed far down the priority list.”

Ignore all the billions in $et a$ides, pay raises, etc, etc.


Maybe those millionaires in town could start paying more?

"Cybereason gets $100 million investment" by Andy Rosen Globe Staff  June 21, 2017

Digital security provider Cybereason is poised to announce Wednesday that it received a $100 million investment from SoftBank Corp. of Japan, an infusion that more than doubles the Boston company’s funding and gives it new prominence among the region’s technology startups.  

See: A Softbank For Robots

Cybereason, which helps clients quickly identify, defend, and analyze attacks on their computer systems, said it has now raised a total of $189 million since being founded in 2012.

Chief executive and cofounder Lior Div said the company plans to use the money for business development, to improve its technology, and to build its workforce. Cybereason has about 300 employees, 110 of whom are in Boston.

I know I have seen his name before:

"When Lior Div was thinking of expanding the cybersecurity company he cofounded in 2012 in Israel to the United States, he said his top three choices were San Francisco, San Francisco, and San Francisco. Boston was a very distant fifth. “Boston is not the first name that you will hear,” Div said about Israeli technology companies looking to have an American presence. “But when you do the math, Boston is the answer.” Div, chief executive of Cybereason, said Boston ultimately beat out Silicon Valley and New York for the company’s headquarters because of its proximity to Tel Aviv and its tech and cybersecurity talent pool. Cybereason is among the growing number of Israeli-founded companies calling Massachusetts home and establishing a role as major contributors to the state’s economy. A new study released Wednesday by the New England-Israel Business Council found that companies with ties to Israel experienced significant growth in revenue and jobs in a span of three years. At least 200 businesses with Israeli connections employed nearly 9,000 workers in Massachusetts and generated $9.3 billion in revenue last year, according to the study. The group’s prior study found about the same number of businesses employed 6,700 and generated $6.2 billion in revenue in 2012. Most of the growth spanned sectors including app development, cybersecurity, data storage, medical devices, biopharmaceuticals, energy and water technology, and 3-D printing, the report said. From 2013 to 2015, the report found that 48 Israeli-founded companies in Massachusetts secured nearly $1.2 billion in venture capital investments, making up 10 percent of all venture capital funds raised in the state. Israel, with a population of 8 million, is second only to India, with a population of 1.2 billion, in the number of entrepreneurs working in tech companies in Massachusetts, according to the study. Another asset is the international exposure Massachusetts gets from its higher education community. About 30 percent of the 200 local companies with connections to Israel were founded by Israeli alumni of Massachusetts colleges and universities, the study found. Another important advantage for Boston was the introduction of nonstop flights between Logan and Tel Aviv. The study found that Boston was cheaper than New York and San Francisco in travel costs between Israel over one week....."

Makes you wanna cry, doesn't it?

He said the company is seeking to differentiate itself in the burgeoning cybersecurity field by using software to rapidly determine the scope of hacking attacks, looking across clients’ systems to find evidence of how far the danger has spread.

“We’re actually making it accessible to people who are not experts,” Div said in an interview. “This is a huge difference between us and the others companies out there.”

The big investment furthers the relationship between Cybereason and SoftBank, which has been one of the company’s largest clients and has been a partner in distributing its services in Japan.

They also have an office in Mexico.

SoftBank is now Cybereason’s top investor. Previous investors in Cybereason include CRV, Spark Capital, and Lockheed Martin.

I'm sorry, what was that last one?

The companies did not reveal the valuation on which this week’s investment was based.

“Cybereason’s products are truly amazing. SoftBank tested a number of cybersecurity products from all over the world, but Cybereason’s products are by far better than those of their competitors,” Ken Miyauchi, president and CEO of SoftBank Corp., said in a statement.

Izhar Armony, general partner at CRV, said in an interview that the investment by SoftBank is particularly encouraging given the existing relationship with Cybereason.

“Customers know better than investors, so if a big customer decides to become a large investor, it’s a very strong validation of the approach, the technology, and the people,” he said.

The investment is the second significant move announced in the region recently by SoftBank. This month, SoftBank Group, the parent company of SoftBank Corp., acquired Boston Dynamics from Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google. Waltham-based Boston Dynamics makes walking robots that have drawn broad attention in online videos.


You wanna check the stock price?

"US stock indexes retreated from their record heights Tuesday after a slump in the price of oil weighed on energy companies. Losses were widespread, with five stocks dropping on the New York Stock Exchange for every two that rose. Many of the sharpest declines were concentrated in the energy sector. The price of oil has been sloshing between $40 and $55 per barrel for much of the last year, down from a peak of more than $110 in summer 2013. The worst-performing stock in the S&P 500 was Chipotle Mexican Grill. On the opposite end was home builder Lennar.  Parexel International, a biopharmaceutical services provider, jumped 3.7 percent after it said it will go private following a buyout by Pamplona Capital Management....."

Let's pick it up there:

"Parexel sold for $5 billion to private equity firm" by Robert Weisman Globe Staff  June 20, 2017

Parexel International Corp., one of the largest companies performing contract research and managing clinical trials for drug makers, said Tuesday that it agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Pamplona Capital Management LLP in a $5 billion deal.

There is $o much money out there, but not enough for healthcare.

The $88.10 per share price represents a nearly 28 percent premium over the Waltham company’s $68.86 stock close on May 5, the day before market speculation about a Parexel takeover sparked a run-up in its shares. Parexel’s stock climbed 3.7 percent Tuesday to $87.04.

Wall Street.

Under pressure from an activist investor, Parexel’s board had undertaken a comprehensive review of its options, chief executive Josef von Rickenbach said in a statement. The process led the board to solicit bids for the contract research organization, which also provides consulting and a range of other services for biopharma and medical technology companies.

Parexel’s move was also prompted in part by consolidation in the contract research field and changes in the types of clinical trials run by global drug developers. 

It's the death throes of central bank capitali$m, the cannibali$ation at the top.

“The market for biopharmaceutical services is evolving,” von Rickenbach said in the statement. “We believe the more flexible corporate structure afforded by this transaction will better position us to advance Parexel’s strategy in light of these realities.”

One factor influencing outsourcing firms to combine forces is the growing clamor about high prescription drug prices, which could eventually reduce how much drug makers can charge for their therapies. That, in turn, could lead to cost-cutting in the industry.

I doubt it, and we know the rea$ons why.

“Parexel is the latest example of what appears to be a trend of increased consolidation in the pharma outsourcing space,” analyst John Kreger, at financial firm William Blair & Co., wrote in a note to investors Tuesday. “We would not be surprised to see further deals in the coming months given what appears to be a growing interest in gaining further scale.”

Leading the charge for a company reassessment was New York hedge fund Starboard Value, an aggressive investor that last month said it had taken a 5.7 percent stake in Parexel. The firm began pushing for higher profits and a potential sale, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Representatives of Parexel and Pamplona declined requests to discuss their deal. Starboard executives didn’t respond to a request for an interview.

Parexel had been cutting costs aggressively prior to the purchase, disclosing in May plans to eliminate more than 1,000 positions of its 19,600 jobs worldwide. The company has about 1,450 employees in Massachusetts.


Time to draw blood:

"Biotech startup Rubius raises $120m to develop red blood cell technology" by Robert Weisman Globe Staff  June 21, 2017

Rubius Therapeutics Inc. of Cambridge is set to announce Wednesday that it has raised $120 million — one of the largest biotech financing rounds this year — to develop a novel drug-making technology.

The funding, led by life sciences venture capital firm Flagship Pioneering in Cambridge, will let Rubius step up work on its drug discovery technique, which genetically engineers red blood cells so they can produce drugs for a range of diseases. The company had been operating in what is known as stealth mode, with plans under wraps.

Eugenics is no longer a dirty word.

Rubius has already made and tested about 200 red cells, each producing different proteins, and plans to use them as catalysts for medicines to fight cancers, enzyme deficiencies, autoimmune and infectious diseases, and rare blood disorders such as hemophilia.

“We’re developing a new class of medicines that no one else is working on,” Rubius president Torben Straight Nissen, a biopharma industry veteran, said. “The ultimate goal is to bring as many red cell therapies to patients as possible.”

Rubius, which raised an initial $25 million in early 2015, started in Flagship VentureLabs, a Kendall Square incubator that has spawned dozens of companies. It now employs about 40 cell therapy scientists and researchers in larger space at 325 Vassar St., near Memorial Drive, and could grow to nearly 100 employees in the coming year, Nissen said.

Nissen said the company could be moving to even bigger quarters as it advances its experimental therapies into clinical trials. “We’re looking to expand our footprint over the next six to 12 months, and we’re looking to stay in Cambridge or Boston,” he said.

The company’s scientific approach is part of a broader Flagship strategy to focus not on individual drug candidates but on “platform” technologies capable of generating many medicines, said Flagship chief executive Noubar Afeyan, Rubius cofounder.

“We’re looking for first-of-its-kind platforms,” Afeyan said. “The risk of doing anything new in our business is so high that there’s more reward if you’re developing new approaches that can create multiple drugs. Once you can show that one or two [drug candidates] can become drugs, then 10 or 20 of them can.”

After the Rubius scientists genetically engineer the red cells, they can be grown in bioreactors, the stainless steel tanks used to produce biotech drugs. “We are basically using a manufacturing process where the actual art of making the protein is done by the cells,” Afeyan said.

The company’s financing round includes co-investors, including large publicly traded institutional firms that weren’t identified by Flagship.

They are in $tealth mode. 

I $uppo$e we may be up$et if we knew who they were?

More MIIC money?


Also see:

"Amazon is hoping to claim more territory once held by department stores, essentially placing a dressing room in your house. The company, which has been making a big push into selling clothes, is testing a new service that lets members of its Prime program try on styles before they put items on their charge cards — with no upfront fees. Customers have seven days to decide what they like, and then pay only for what they keep. Shipments arrive in a resealable box with a prepaid label for returns. More than a million pieces of clothing and accessories are eligible, Amazon said Tuesday, including from brands like Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Theory, and Levi’s that are big names at department stores." 

Rent-an-outfit from Amazon!

I wonder what it will be made of?

Why is it taking so long to get here?

"A lawsuit was filed Monday in Suffolk Superior Court against Dicom Midwest LLC, a Canadian contractor that Amazon uses to hire drivers, alleging that the company denied overtime pay to 50 or more drivers. The lawsuit, for which class-action status is sought, claims the company “edited” timesheets to reflect fewer hours worked. It’s one of several such suits that have been filed across the country, as drivers contracted to deliver for Amazon have pushed for better wages."

What about the food?

"Federal regulators Tuesday approved a new drug developed by Shire PLC to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in patients 13 and older. Development of the treatment, which will be marketed under the brand name Mydayis, was led by a research team based at the Irish company’s US headquarters in Lexington. Shire, a leading maker of rare-disease medicines, said it plans to make the newly approved ADHD drug available for commercial use in the United States in the third quarter. The company didn’t immediately disclose how much it will charge for the treatment. In a safety notice required by the Food and Drug Administration, which approved the drug, Shire said it could cause “physical and psychological dependence” if abused by patients."

What I do after my first post of the day is break and check my blog roll. 

Who wants to read the Globe all day?

"An investor group headed by a former Chicago City Council member and labor unions has submitted a bid to buy the Chicago Sun-Times — a move that, if successful, would prevent the paper’s biggest rival from purchasing it. The bid, led by former alderman Edwin Eisendrath and the Chicago Federation of Labor, comes a month after the owner of the Sun-Times, Chicago-based Wrapports LLC, announced it had agreed to enter into discussions with Tronc, which owns the rival Tribune and several other major newspapers, to acquire the paper. Terms of the offer haven’t been disclosed, but Eisendrath said the investor group has raised about $15 million. The announcement adds more uncertainty to the fate of the newspaper, which became part of journalism lore when it secretly operated a bar to expose crooked city inspectors. The Sun-Times was also home to the famed movie critic Roger Ebert and legendary columnist Mike Royko, before he left for the Tribune. All that history didn’t add up to much interest in buying the paper."

Can't imagine why! It's how I $tart my day!


"It’s good to keep up with the times, but the Social Security Administration found itself too far in front of many people it serves. Seeking to enhance online protections, the agency required ‘‘my Social Security’’ account holders to use a password sent to them via text message. That was a problem for some older folks who don’t text message and don’t plan to. Text messaging remains an authentication option and the agency continues to ‘‘highly recommend the extra security’’ it provides, but it is not mandatory. SSA is developing an alternative method that will be available within six months."