Delta Disaster Averted, Not Without Delay

America’s favorite shitty airline apparently actually did something admirable earlier this week, multiple sources report.
Related:

Delta Continues Downfall

Delta Drops the Ball Again

Delta flight 2565 from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Los Angeles turned around after an alleged disturbance by Anna Koosmann, 36 and Blake Fleisig, 35, as recorded by amateur videographer Patrick Whalen, who was on the plane.

Both detainees are reportedly from Los Angeles.

The plane originally lifted off at 6:20 PM for LAX. By 7:35 PM it was back in Minnesota.

Koosmann apparently tried to avail herself of the cramped chemical toilet in the rear of the aircraft. Because the “seat belt sign” was still illuminated, the pilot got on the horn and demanded Koosmann return to her seat (presumably following reports from the flight attendants).

She continued to shirk crew member instructions, and while the video obtained by the Minnesota media only shows the actual arrest, we gather Koosmann and her male companion Flesig continued to threaten the safety of the flight.

“In my a million miles [sic] on Delta, I’ve never seen anything like this. The captain gets on and says, ‘If people in the back don’t start following instructions of the flight crew, I’m going to turn the plane around.’”

–star-struck cameraphone boy Whalen

Anna Christine Koosmann & Blake Adam Fleisig (credit: MSP Airport Police)

Anna Christine Koosmann & Blake Adam Fleisig (credit: MSP Airport Police)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To make a long flight substantially delayed to make a long story short, the captain turned the bird around and had both passengers booted from the flight.

 

Fleisig picked up charges of “disorderly conduct, brawling or fighting,” due to reportedly shoving a non-disruptive passenger as he was escorted back to the God-forsaken tundra of Minnesota. Koosmann only got charged with disorderly conduct.

Interestingly,

[Minnesota State Police] officials said Fleisig cooperated with police and was released Wednesday night. Koosman was not being cooperative and is currently being held in Hennepin County Detention Center.

*

“The flight crew of Delta 2565 from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Los Angeles elected to return to Minneapolis shortly after takeoff when two passengers refused to follow crew instructions, became aggressive and created a disruption in the cabin. The passengers were removed by local law enforcement. The flight re-departed without further incident. The safety of Delta customers and employees is our top priority.”

–Delta official statement 12/29/16

Flight 2565 got to Los Angeles about 2.25 hours late.

Emphasis is ours.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.startribune.com/disruption-during-delta-flight-sends-plane-back-to-msp-couple-arrested/408597955/

Couple Arrested After Disrupting Delta Flight From MSP To LAX

December Disaster: Stories We Missed!

Pentagon Finds Way to Cut 23% of Bloated Budget; Buries Report

Right-wing rag Washington Post had an utterly demoralizing article out on December 5. Dark slant is direct quote and underlining or coloring is our emphasis.

Recently the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 was passed to further the national debt (by veto-proof, Republican-based majorities in both House and Senate) and signed by Obama on December 23:

In Defense of Defense

Obama had requested $619.5 billion for the fiscal year 2017 defense budget. NDAA, from our prior reporting, provided $619 billion.

*

Annual budget for the Defense Department 2016 was $534.3 billion. 16% increase…winning!!! What $20 trillion national debt???

*

The Pentagon is “under fire” (not literally because it is a building of desk workers, yet somehow requires hundreds of billions of your dollars confiscated to help the actual military do their jobs) for a report, issued in January 2015, [which] identified “a clear path” for the Defense Department to save $125 billion over five years.

The Defense Business Board, a “federal advisory panel,” conducted the study to attempt to reign in bureaucracy at the Pentagon, the largest office building in the world. Some interesting findings came out of the report, many of which threatened the cancer of big government (and a military more pricey than our seven nearest peers…combined).

A $2.9 million consulting contract signed by the Pentagon stipulated that none of the data or analysis could be released to the news media or the public.

So the Federal Government hid the results until WaPo reportedly got its hands on some confidential memos.

The plan [to cut $125 billion] would not have required layoffs of civil servants or reductions in military personnel. Instead, it would have streamlined the bureaucracy through attrition and early retirements, curtailed high-priced contractors and made better use of information technology.

The DBB report reportedly showed the public over 1,000,000 “desk jobs” (non-combat) that fuel our bloated military.

These jobs are divided by the Post’s figure obtained from DBB.

Another important figure by WaPo shows we have nearly as many paper-pushers as actual troops on active duty:

The DBB investigation was ordered by Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work (yes that is his actual name), the number two man at Pentagon.

Above: Work doing “work” for the Federal Government.

At first, Work publicly touted the efficiency drive as a top priority and boasted about his idea to recruit corporate experts to lead the way.

After the board finished its analysis, however, Work changed his position. In an interview with The Post, he did not dispute the board’s findings about the size or scope of the bureaucracy. But he dismissed the $125 billion savings proposal as “unrealistic“…

*

“We will never be as efficient as a commercial organization,” Work said. “We’re the largest bureaucracy in the world. There’s going to be some inherent inefficiencies in that.”

*

Some Findings:

For property management alone, Pentagon has 192,000 jobs and annual expenses of $22.6 billion.

92,000 people work in “human resources” at Pentagon.

Almost half of the Pentagon’s back-office personnel — 457,000 full-time employees — were assigned to logistics or supply-chain jobs. That alone exceeded the size of United Parcel Service’s global workforce.

 *

Contractors Cost!

Besides the bloated [six hundred] billions in budget, the military also employs contractors through its branches with additional tax money. Post:

Army has 199,661 full-time contractors, with average cost of $189,188, including salary, benefits and other expenses.

Navy: 197,093 contractors, average cost of $170,865.

Air Force had 122,470  at $186,142 each.

*

For the Pentagon/”Fourth Estate”: the average administrative job at the Pentagon [is] costing taxpayers more than $200,000, including salary and benefits.

*

Census Bureau estimated real American median household income was $54,462 in 2015. (Household in the very middle of earners brought home about 25% what an average Pentagon “worker” makes.)

*

Pentagon Circles Wagons

The Pentagon imposed secrecy restrictions on the data making up the study, which ensured no one could replicate the findings. A 77-page summary report that had been made public was removed from a Pentagon website.

They’re all complaining that they don’t have any money. We proposed a way to save a ton of money,” said Robert “Bobby” L. Stein, a private-equity investor from Jacksonville, Fla., who served as chairman of the Defense Business Board.

Mr. Stein (above) was reportedly a campaign “bundler” for Obama.

He called the study results “indisputable” and Pentagon’s suppression of the report “a travesty.”

We’re going to be in peril because we’re spending dollars like it doesn’t matter [sic].”

*

As a reminder, this was mostly going down after former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned after semi-public bickering with the Obama administration. Ash Carter was taking over, and scheduled to work with the aforementioned DBB. However:

Briefings that had been scheduled for military leaders in the Tank — the secure conference room for the Joint Chiefs of Staff — were canceled. Worse, the board was unable to secure an audience with Carter, the new defense secretary.

Stein, the board chairman, accused Carter of deliberately derailing the plan through inaction. “Unfortunately, Ash — for reasons of his own — stopped this,” he said in an interview.

*

Whistleblower alert??

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus (above) apparently burned some bridges last year by daring to suggest a nation $20,000,000,000,000 in the hole cut costs.

On June 2, 2015, Mabus delivered a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. He complained that 20 percent of the defense budget went to the Fourth Estate — the defense agencies that provide support to the armed forces — and called it “pure overhead.”

Pentagon chief weapons buyer Frank Kendall III was not pleased.

According to the Post, he emailed Mabus the day after the speech:

“Ray, before you publicly trash one of the agencies that reports through me I’d really appreciate a chance to discuss it with you.”

Mabus responded:

“I did not say anything yesterday that I have not said both publicly . . . and privately inside this building. There have been numerous studies, which I am sure you are aware of, pointing out excessive overhead.”

Mr. Work at that point jumped into the convo.

“Ray, please refrain from taking any more public pot shots,” Work said in an email. “I do not want this spilling over into further public discourse.”

*

Frank Kendall DOD photo.JPG

“If the impression that’s created is that we’ve got a bunch of money lying around and we’re being lazy and we’re not doing anything to save money, then it’s harder to justify getting budgets that we need.”

Frank Kendall (above)

*

Mr. Kendall was livid at the findings of the DBB, and reportedly challenged the numbers.

“If you don’t believe me, call in an auditor. They’ll tell you it’s even worse than this,” Kenneth Klepper, “restructuring expert” for the board, responded.

Kenny Klepper

Mr. Klepper, according to his linkedin image, is a Dallas Cowboys fan.

*

Post interviewed Kendall:

Kendall acknowledged he was “very disappointed” by the board’s work, which he criticized as “shallow” and “very low on content.” He said the study had ignored efforts by his agencies to become more efficient, and he accused the board of plucking the $125 billion figure out of thin air.

“It was essentially a ballpark, made-up number,” he said.

*

New Defense Secretary Carter was not waiting around for the report to do more damage. He replaced Stein with fellow panel member Michael Bayer. Post reported Bayer refused comment.

Klepper then resigned from the board. Per his linkedin, he worked for DoD

*

[Mr. Work] said the Pentagon is adopting some of the study’s recommendations on a smaller scale and estimated it will save $30 billion by 2020. Many of the programs he cited, however, have been on the drawing board for years or were unrelated to the Defense Business Board’s research.

*

INTERESTINGLY, The Hill reports that Russia was pissed and reacted to the NDAA signing with the following response:

“Overall, it appears that [NDAA] has been adopted by the outgoing Obama administration, which is hastily introducing new sanctions against Russia, to create problems for the incoming Trump administration and complicate its relations on the international stage, as well as to force it to adopt an anti-Russia policy.

“This policy has brought the current US administration, which believed that Russia would bow to pressure, into a dead end. We hope the new administration will be more sagacious.”

–Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

As in other recent years, the bill prohibits military cooperation between the United States and Russia until Russia has “ceased its occupation of Ukrainian territory and its aggressive activities that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”

The bill will reportedly also supply weapons to “vetted” Syrian rebels, as the United States continues our responsibility of solving the Syrian refugee crisis by borrowing money to give people guns.

Zakharova said supplying such weapons to Syrian rebels “directly threatens” Russian air forces, which are operating in Syria in support of President Bashar Assad.

*

Somewhat related: Also per WaPo, Obama gave Federal “workers” a significant raise just before the holidays (and the end of his presidency). Bill the taxpayers.

While he submitted for a 1.6% pay increase in August, the December measure bumped that to a 2.1% pay increase.

The increase against another record annual deficit (projected over $550,000,000,000) was sold to the (ostensibly fiscally conservative) GOP-controlled House and Senate during Obama’s otherwise lame-duck regulation spree period as a pay increase for the military (whose salaries have been frozen by the across-the-board cuts Obama gambled with in the 2013 debt ceiling showdown), while also incidentally raising wages for the rest of the Federal Government’s near-3,000,000 non-military, paycheck- and benefit-collectors:

“[I]n light of the decision of Congress to provide a 2.1 percent pay increase for military personnel in 2017 and reconsideration of current and projected economic conditions, I have concluded it would be appropriate to revise my original alternative plan for locality payments so that the total combined cost of the 1.0 percent across-the-board base pay increase and varying locality payments will be 2.1 percent of basic payroll.” —Obama

According to National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon, who represents 150,000 employees of 30 government agencies, NTEU encouraged the pay bump for civilian employees when they heard the military were getting raises. America was founded to strive for equality of outcome.

*

Also reportedly nestled in Obama’s final behemoth, utterly un-affordable big government grab bag is the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, which establishes Global Engagement Center under the State Department.

Common Dreams reported that the new program (with a leader appointed by incoming president Trump) will coordinate to “recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United Sates national security interests.”

Non-government actors will receive grants (again, no national debt to worry about) to “collect and store examples in print, online, and social media, disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda […] [and] counter efforts by foreign entities to use disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda to influence the policies and social and political stability” of America and its allies.

Perhaps the “fake news epidemic” is indeed the next frontier for Federal Government to confiscate more of our money to save us from ourselves. The Hill reported that polls this year showed19 percent of U.S. adults approved of the media in a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. And only 32 percent trust the press, according to a Gallup survey from September. 

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/pentagon-buries-evidence-of-125-billion-in-bureaucratic-waste/2016/12/05/e0668c76-9af6-11e6-a0ed-ab0774c1eaa5_story.html?utm_term=.4f7a72f6db7e

http://defense360.csis.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Analysis-of-the-FY-2017-Budget-final-with-cover.pdf

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/311868-russia-us-defense-bill-creates-problems-for-trump

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kenny-klepper-3496566

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/12/09/obama-authorizes-larger-raise-for-federal-employees/?utm_term=.42f3f0dac495

http://federal-budget.insidegov.com/l/119/2016-Estimate

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/12/26/under-cover-christmas-obama-establishes-controversial-anti-propaganda-agency

http://thehill.com/homenews/media/304829-unpopular-media-sees-ratings-spike

Obama Updates

Obama had some interesting words for the world during Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Pearl Harbor, HI on Monday.

Abe Obama

Shinzo Abe speaks with a Pearl Harbor veteran.

Obama said:

“The fruits of peace always outweigh the plunder of war.

“It is here that we remember that even when hatred burns hottest, even when the tug of tribalism is at its most primal, we must resist the urge to turn inward, we must resist the urge to demonize those who are different.”

[our emphasis]

Related:

Brian Williams


The Hill:

Abe offer[ed] his “sincere and everlasting condolences” to the 2,403 American service members who lost their lives in the surprise attack. 

“We must never repeat the horrors of war again,” Abe said. “This is the solemn vow we the people of Japan have taken.”

Obama reportedly became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima in May.

He did not publicly apologize for the Hiroshima atomic bombing, which killed over 100,000 Japanese civilians. Abe did not apologize for the Pearl Harbor attack.

Abe was reportedly the first foreign leader to meet with president-elect Trump after the November election.

Thanks to our sources:

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/311947-obama-at-pearl-harbor-us-must-not-turn-inward

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/abes-pearl-harbor-visit-misplaced-wrong-place-face-history-chinese-media-1598337

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-38438714

NFL Updates

Both Rex (l.) and Rob Ryan (r.) will be looking for new jobs after being fired by the Buffalo Bills Tuesday.

Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan (above, left) and his twin brother and assistant defensive coach Rob Ryan (above, right) have both been fired by the organization.

The Bills are 7-8 and already eliminated from playoff contention. While no excuse, the strength of AFC East rivals New England Patriots (not surprising) and the resurgent Miami Dolphins (surprising) certainly did not help this outcome.

ESPN reported that quarterback Tyrod Taylor (from last year’s Pro Bowl) will sit in favor of backup EJ Manuel on Sunday versus the Jets.

Anthony Lynn, current offensive coordinator for the Bills, will coach the Week 17 contest. Lynn replaced Greg Roman in Week 3.

Buffalo Bills Staffing Changes

 

NFL Updates

*

Meanwhile, the Detroit Lions are fighting for their playoff lives. They were destroyed last night by a fully loaded Dallas Cowboys team, led by rookie QB Dak Prescott to take control of the NFC.

Dallas entered the game 12-2. While the Lions started off strong, matching Dallas touchdowns with two rushing scores by Zach Zenner. Matthew Stafford also took advantage of a porous Dallas run defense for a rushing TD on fourth and goal.

After halftime everything fell apart. Stafford threw an interception, which Dallas cashed in for a TD pass from Dez Bryant to Jason Witten.

Lion defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson was called for a very questionable personal foul tackling Ezekiel Elliott. No whistle was blown and Robinson’s tackle to stop the rookie Pro Bowler Elliott involved Elliott’s feet leaving the turf.

Ezekiel Elliott, Ezekiel Ansah

Commentator Jon Gruden called referee John Hussey‘s decision to throw the flag “a joke;” “terrible;” “[the penalty was] what some may call a tackle.”

Lions kicker Matt Prater, a Pro Bowl alternate this year, missed a field goal to close the third quarter. It was the only field goal attempted in the game.

Prater is now 30/34 field goals for the season.

The Lions fell to the ‘Boys 42-21. Detroit is 9-6 and will miss the playoffs unless they can beat or tie Green Bay Sunday at Ford Field. They can also qualify for a Wild Card berth if the Washington Redskins can knock off the New York Giants.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/nfl-stars-fans-react-rex-rob-ryan-fired-bill-article-1.2925505

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/rex-and-rob-ryan-relieved-of-duties-anthony-lynn-becomes-bills-interim-coach-164219683.html

http://www.freep.com/story/sports/nfl/lions/2016/12/27/detroit-lions-dallas-cowboys-ashawn-robinson-body-slam-penalty/95866350/

NFL Updates

Olivier Vernon Splurges on End-of-Season Gifts

Giants DE Olivier Vernon laid down “about $300,000” to get a bottle of Louis XIII cognac (custom engraved) for every member of the team and office.

At $3,000 a bottle, hopefully he did not forget anyone. That would be a really expensive way to piss off the overlooked. Drink?

Thanks to our source:

https://www.yahoo.com/sports/news/olivier-vernon-spends-estimated-300000-on-cognac-for-giants-233711178.html

Berlin Updates–Suspect Killed

Authorities say they're looking for Anis Amri in connection with Monday's market attack in Berlin.

Mr. Amri was killed December 23 according to Independent.

Post below lags behind true sequence of events and is updated for most recent information:

Anis Amri, 24, of Tunisia, is still being sought four days after his truck was widely reported to kill 12 and injure 48 at Breitsheidplatz Christmas Market in Berlin on December 19.

In the passenger seat was the still-smoldering corpse of truck driver Lukasz Urban of Poland, shot in the head.

(Like guns, trucks also kill people.)

Authorities examine a truck Tuesday, December 20, that crashed into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin the night before. At least 12 people were killed and 48 injured in what police are investigating as a likely terrorist attack.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, but they have claimed false credit for killings in the past to further their cause.

A reward of 100,000 euros was offered for his capture, but he is considered armed and dangerous.

CNN has provided the following “latest developments” two days ago:

(this was possible because Amri reportedly left his wallet in the truck. oops)

• Amri is 1.78 meters (5 feet 10 inches) tall and weighs about 75 kilograms (165 pounds).
[That’s a BMI of 23.7, which is very healthy!]
• The suspect was arrested in August with forged documents en route to Italy, but a judge released him, an official says.
Don’t worry about it! Enjoy your vacation! Italiano!
[…]
• The suspect arrived in Germany in 2015 and was known to be in touch with radical Islamist groups, a state minister says.
Let’s not jump to conclusions.
The suspect’s asylum request was refused this year and deportation was attempted, state minister says.
Ok maybe we should have kept an eye on Mr. Amri.
Washington Post:
According to Karen Müller, spokeswoman for the Berlin prosecutor, Amri had also been under police surveillance for several months until September of this year, because he was suspected of planning a burglary in Berlin to finance the purchase of  weapons. The suspicion wasn’t confirmed. He was, she said, found only to be a small-time drug dealer.
[our emphasis]
Also:

[A]uthorities knew that Amri had “interacted” with Abu Walaa, a 32-year-old of Iraqi descent arrested in November on charges of recruiting and sending fighters from Germany to the Islamic State. Key evidence in Walaa’s case came from an Islamic State defector who had returned to Germany and accused Walaa of helping to recruit him and arrange his travel to Syria.

NPR reported:

“Authorities say Anis Amri arrived in Germany in mid-2015. The 24-year-old Tunisian has six different aliases with three nationalities. Police technicians found a Germany residency card with one of those aliases in the tractor-trailer used in the attack.

“Germany had ordered Amri deported last July after intelligence agencies deemed him a threat because of his ties to Islamists in northwestern Germany. Authorities also suspected he was planning a break-in to finance a terrorist attack.

“But Tunisia refused to take him back and Amri went into hiding. He is now considered the prime suspect in Monday’s attack, although authorities say they haven’t ruled out that he had accomplices.”

[our emphasis]

UPDATE:

Mr. Amri was reported dead in a shootout with police early this morning in Milan. The Independent:

Investigations by counter-terror police in Milan showed the .22 calibre pistol Amri used to shoot officers was the same gun that killed the driver of the lorry that ploughed into the German Christmas market.

[…]

Local reports said he shouted “Allahu Akbar” while shooting at two police officers[.]

*

While actual contact with ISIS has yet to be confirmed, Independent has this as of 25 minutes ago:

[Isis] acknowledged [Amri’s] death with a statement praising “another attack” on Italian police, in an attempt to spin the shooting to their advantage.

Isis also released a video of Amri pledging allegiance to its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Arabic and claiming he wanted to avenge Muslims killed in Western air strikes, to “punish pig-eaters” and become a “martyr”.

[our emphasis]

Thanks to our sources:
http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/21/europe/berlin-christmas-market-truck/index.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/german-police-in-search-for-new-suspect-in-deadly-christmas-market-attack/2016/12/21/066055d8-c6fd-11e6-acda-59924caa2450_story.html?utm_campaign=Jolt%2012/22/2016&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jolt&utm_term=.c7687dff40f7
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/12/22/506587263/what-we-know-about-anis-amri-suspect-in-berlin-market-attack
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/berlin-attacker-anis-amri-shot-dead-killed-police-shootout-milan-confirmed-minister-italy-christmas-a7492056.html