Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! March 20, 25, 27–Recent American Military Operations

March 20: Business Insider reported that 1,100 American soldiers would deploy to Poland starting in April.

“This is a mission, not a cycle of training events,” U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Steven Gventer, who heads the battlegroup, told a news conference. “The purpose is to deter aggression in the Baltics and in Poland … We are fully ready to be lethal.”

[our emphasis]

The Americans are part of a NATO force of about 4,000, which will reportedly prevent, if necessary, Vladimir Putin from further invading Poland. Putin “annexed” the Crimea in 2014. The peninsula, according to Wikipedia, is currently run by Russia as Republic of Crimea and a separate “Russian federal city” of Sevastopol.

British, Canadian and German forces will be stationed alongside America.

*

Undeterred from his disastrous Yemen strike that killed one American Navy Seal, one American girl (age eight) and many innocent people (estimates vary; Politifact reports “dozens”),  President Trump reportedly gave the CIA authority on March 20 to conduct drone strikes (beyond whatever they’re already doing covertly).

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! January 29: Two Americans Killed

This seems unwise, given the CIA’s vast web of paramilitary activities in the name of America. And the fact that they personally have already droned at least one American (Warren Weinstein) by accident in January 2015. Italian Giovanni Lo Porto, a fellow hostage of al Qaeda (not ISIS…different terror group we’re bumbling to bomb indiscriminately with hordes of collateral damage) was also destroyed. President Obama said he was sorry.

In expanding the George W. Bush policy of killing from the air, Obama admitted to over 100 civilian casualties outside war zones, and doubled down on the necessity of drones.

Happy Independence Day

*

Meanwhile on March 25, the United States admitted they were behind a March 17 assault on ISIS in Mosul that may or may not have destroyed 100 or so citizens accidentally. Oops.

Altaf Musani of the World Health Organization in Iraq said of the wounded referred to hospitals:

“When you take a better look at what those numbers mean, what is worrying for the WHO and aid actors is that roughly 30 percent of the total numbers are women. Roughly 30 percent of that large number are children under 15, and that is deeply concerning because of the capacities needed to treat those wounded coming out of the front lines.”

Iraqi Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi was not pleased. According to Yahoo!, he described the incident as a “humanitarian catastrophe,” blaming the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and excessive use of force by militarized Federal Police forces. Al-Nujaifi put the number of civilians killed at “hundreds.” He called for an emergency parliament session and an immediate investigation into the incident.

NPR, who provided the above photo of the wreckage, noted that [United States] Central Command said that an initial review of strike data from March 16-23 indicates that “the Coalition struck ISIS fighters and equipment, March 17, in West Mosul at the location corresponding to allegations of civilian casualties.”

[our emphasis]

Part of the difficulty inherent in policing the world (our prerogative because Americans and their military always know what is best for everyone) is that ISIS hides in residential areas, essentially using “human shields” to bait U.S. airstrikes that then kill innocent people, as we have previously reported.

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The Department of Defense tried to spin recent operations as a success, reporting to Fox News that Qari Yasin was killed in a “counter-terrorism airstrike” on March 19.

A US drone strike in eastern Afghanistan on March 19 killed the senior Al Qaeda military commander Qari Yasin, the United States military confirmed (file) 

Image from dailymail.co.uk.

“The death of Qari Yasin is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target innocent people will not escape justice,” said Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.

According to New York Times, Yasin planned the 2008 Islamabad, Pakistan hotel bombing that killed 50 people including two Americans:

 

More than 50 people were killed when a six-wheel dump truck carrying explosives blew up at the entrance of the hotel, which was a prominent meeting place for foreigners and leading Pakistanis. Among the dead were Maj. Rodolfo I. Rodriguez of the United States Air Force and Matthew J. O’Bryant, a cryptologic technician and a third class petty officer in the Navy. More than 260 people were wounded.

[…]

 

Mr. Yasin was also linked to a 2009 attack in which gunmen using rifles, grenades and rockets assaulted a bus that was transporting the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan. Six Pakistani police officers and two civilians were killed, and half a dozen members of the cricket team were wounded, including a British coach. Since then, Pakistan has been forced to play most of its home matches in the United Arab Emirates.

*

UPDATE: March 27:

BuzzFeed reported the Pentagon was still combing through 700 videos of the bombing:

“We look through those videos initially” to determine if it achieved the mission, Air Force Col. John Thomas, a CENTCOM spokesman explained, and there was no indication internally that civilians may have died. The videos were taken over the 10-day period before and after the strike, whose exact date still has yet to be determined but took place sometime between March 17-23.

The American military-industrial complex, reigning from the sky, is in complete control and knows exactly what they’re doing. Except when exactly they did it. And what they actually did. Like a hungover frat boy rummaging through his GoPro footage the next morning. “Let’s see how many deaths I was able to cause with my hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.”

BuzzFeed:

[R]eporters from Rudaw arrived at the strike site and alleged there more than 200 deaths had resulted from the attack [sic].

[…]

The US’s inability to determine the massive damage its strike caused during a key battle against ISIS is the latest example that, short of independent observers on the ground, there is no way to know how many civilians have died because of coalition strikes in the war against the militant group.

An Iraqi firefighter inspects the damage in the Mosul al-Jadida area

 

Local reports put the death toll Monday at 260, which if determined to be caused by a coalition strike, would be the deadliest civilian casualty incident in Iraq since the US invasion of 2003. It is also the third accusation US officials said they were investigating in the past 10 days. The Pentagon is also is trying to determine if civilians died in two strikes in Syria in the last two weeks — at a potential mosque in Jinah, Syria, targeting al Qaeda and a second strike at a school outside of Raqqa that local officials said was being used as a shelter for displaced civilians. In all, the strikes are alleged to have killed more than 350 people.

[…]

Never has the US been accused of killing so many in such a short period of time. According to Airwars.org, there have been 1,000 alleged civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria by coalition airstrikes in the month of March alone, a record high since the US-led coalition’s strikes began.

In addition to the growing accusations of civilian casualties, in recent weeks, the US military has been increasingly opaque about its effort in Iraq and Syria. Last month, the US military moved Marines into Syria as part of a staging effort for the upcoming battle for the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto ISIS capital. The move took place without a public announcement beforehand. On Monday, CENTCOM said it would no longer give figures for future troop deployments in Iraq and Syria, saying it will instead provide rough unit sizes.

“It’s about capabilities not numbers,” Thomas explained.

 You just keep the checks flowing, taxpayers in whose name we shed unconstitutional blood. Don’t worry your pretty little heads over the details.
[T]he alleged deaths have not sparked any outrage in Washington or demands for clarity on how the US deals with civilians in the midst of dense urban spaces. There have been no questions from Capitol Hill about the strike, nor has the White House mentioned it. That may change Tuesday when Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of US Central Command, testifies before the House Armed Services Committee.

 

*

On March 29, the Pentagon began a “formal investigation” into the Mosul civilian deaths.

*

On April 30, the Pentagon announced American strikes in Syria and Iraq against ISIS have killed 352 civilians since 2014, including 45 between last November and March 2017.

But, Reuters notes:

The military’s official tally is far below those of other outside groups. Monitoring group Airwars said more than 3,000 civilians have been killed by coalition air strikes.

[…]

“We regret the unintentional loss of civilian lives … and express our deepest sympathies to the families and others affected by these strikes,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

All emphasis is ours.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.businessinsider.com/we-are-fully-ready-to-be-lethal-1100-us-led-troops-to-send-a-message-to-russia-in-poland-2017-3

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-cia-drones-idUSKBN16K2SE?utm_campaign=trueAnthem%3A+Trending+Content&utm_content=58c764eb04d3017e295f885c&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter

https://www.yahoo.com/news/iraq-speaker-voices-concern-over-mosul-airstrike-134850280.html

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/25/521489530/u-s-investigating-whether-its-mosul-airstrikes-caused-mass-civilian-casualties?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20170325

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/03/25/us-airstrike-kills-high-profile-terrorist-leader.html

https://www.buzzfeed.com/nancyyoussef/the-us-says-its-finally-watching-700-videos-of-an-airstrike?utm_term=.rkzG6Q7gJ#.qeBbQWvR3

https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-opens-formal-investigation-civilian-deaths-mosul-155636933–politics.html

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/mar/01/what-donald-trump-left-out-about-successful-yemen-/

https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-led-fight-isis-killed-352-civilians-pentagon-160256077.html

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! March 15 and 17: Secret Service Slips with Security; Separately, Another White House Intruder, Donna Brazile Pouts and Rand Ruffles Feathers

On March 15, John McCain announced that Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is a Russian agent when Paul tried to block a vote that would reportedly have allowed Montenegro to join NATO, according to Politico:

“The senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin […] [i]f there is objection, you are achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin,” McCain said. “You are achieving the objectives of trying to dismember this small country, which has already been the subject of an attempted coup.”

[our emphasis]

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) a 28-country international alliance that assembled against Russia [then Soviet Union] and other Communists in the beginnings of the Cold War in 1949, most recently used Article 4 to require “member state consultation” following Putin’s annexation of Crimea, Poland in 2014. Article 5, obliging member states to defend others when threatened, has apparently only been enacted once: to send the International Security Assistance Force into Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America.

Paul’s introduction to his failed amendment to sink the Montenegro NATO invitation:

*

More domestically, on March 17 the Secret Service misplaced, according to New York Daily News, a Secret Service-issued laptop — containing floor plans for Trump Tower, information about the Hillary Clinton email investigation and other national security information — that was stolen from an agent’s car in Brooklyn.

In the “who can lose more national secrets on a laptop” contest, Hillary appears to maintain a slim lead:

Hillary Updates

 

*

Just seven days earlier (March 10), Jonathan T. Tran, of Milpitas, CA jumped the White House fence and roamed around the grounds for 17 minutes, according to Washington Post.

Court sketch of suspect

According to BBC, Tran, 26, shown above in a court sketch, breached multiple barriers of security:

[Tran] was carrying two cans of mace, a US passport, a computer and one of Mr Trump’s books, authorities said…[he] had managed to climb a 5ft (1.5m) fence near the US Treasury Department, which is next to the White House. He then scaled an 8ft vehicle gate, and a shorter fence near the east wing of the White House grounds.

Post reports the laptop contain[ed] a letter addressed to the president about Russian hackers, saying Tran had found “information of relevance,” according to a criminal complaint filed March 11. 

TIME TO RESET THE CLOCK:

The Secret Service (budget: $2,800,000,000 annually) has cultivated a comical public persona for the past several years. Multiple “White House fence jumpers” were caught during the Obama years, including one wielding a knife who made it through the front door of the mansion and near the actual living quarters in 2014:

Omar Gonzalez had passed an alarm box on the lawn, which Washington Post reported was muted at the request of an “usher.” Therefore, the front door guards had no warning to bolt the door, and Gonzalez made it up some stairs and into the East Room. The much-maligned Secret Service initially lied and said the intruder was stopped at the front door. Not so. Scientific diagrams from the Post illustrate his full [TRIGGER WARNING] penetration:

Eluding security in the White House

Post quoted three unnamed sources “familiar” with the breach, and noted at that time: Agency spokesman Edwin Donovan said the office is not commenting during the ongoing investigation of the incident.

We provide a list from Wikipedia of all the fence security breaches (just those that were stopped on the lawn) from the George W. Bush administration until now. Our emphases:

  • December 4, 2005 – Shawn A. Cox, of Mammoth Spring, Arkansas, was immediately captured by Secret Service agents after scaling the White House fence.[21][22] Cox believed that Chelsea Clinton still lived at the White House “and that he was destined to marry her.” Cox was sent to the St. Elizabeth’s psychiatric hospital; a court-ordered psychiatric report found that he was “grossly psychotic and manic.”[22]
  • February – April 2006 – Brian Lee Patterson, jumped the White House fence a total of four times.[23][24]
  • October 13, 2006 – Alexis Janicki, 24, of Independence, Missouri, an Iraq War veteran suffering from PTSD, was arrested after climbed over the fence while in possession of marijuana.[25]
  • March 16, 2007 – Catalino Lucas Diaz, scaled the fence with a package and threatened officers that he had a bomb. Catalino was arrested after determining that he had no dangerous weapon.[26][27]
  • June 9, 2009 – Pamela Morgan, jumped the fence onto the northeast corner of the grounds while carrying a backpack. Morgan was arrested immediately and her backpack later searched and found to contain nothing dangerous.[28]
  • March 30, 2014 – Unidentified male, caught and arrested after climbing over the fence.[29]
  • August 7, 2014 – An unknown toddler squeezed through the fence, and was returned to his parents.[30]
  • September 11, 2014 – Jeffrey Grossman, 26, of Rensselaer, New York, scaled the fence and entered the North Lawn while carrying Pikachu doll and wearing a Pikachu hat; he was apprehended by Secret Service agents.[31][32] Grossman did not intend to inflict harm; he suffered from schizophrenia.[33] After being atrrested [sic], he was taken to George Washington University Hospital for mental health observation.[31]
  • October 22, 2014 – Dominic Adesanya, formerly of Bel Air, Maryland, jumped the fence onto the north lawn and was quickly taken down by two security dogs while punching and kicking them before being arrested by the Secret Service. He was later ordered by a judge to a mental health facility.[34][35] Adesanya, who had twice jumped the White House fence in July 2014, pleaded guilty in April 2015 to entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds and was sentenced in July 2015 to time served and one year of supervised release. Adesanya’s lawyer said that he suffered from schizophrenia.[36]
  • November 26, 2015 – Joseph Anthony Caputo, 22, of Stamford, Connecticut, was arrested by Secret Service agents almost immediately after jumping over a White House fence as the first family was inside celebrating Thanksgiving.[37][38] Caputo had left a suicide note and will and apparently had intended to die.[39] In a plea agreement with prosecutors, Caputo pleaded guilty to one federal misdemeanor count of illegal entry of restricted grounds in a deal with prosecutor and was sentenced to three years’ probation with various conditions.[40]
  • March 10, 2017 – A man carrying a backpack, later identified as Jonathan Tuan Tran, 26, of Milpitas, California, was arrested after jumping the White House fence, coming within steps of the mansion. Court papers charged Tran with “entering or remaining in restricted grounds while using or carrying a dangerous weapon” and stated that he had two cans of mace in his possession at the time of the incident.[41][42]

We are not making this up: Within 24 hours of writing this article (March 18), an still-unnamed individual jumped a bike rack/pedestrian barrier but did not actually clear the fence.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reportedly “tweeted”: “Individual jumped bike rack on Pennsylvania Ave, not White House fence. Great response by Secret Service.”

So great, in fact, the next intruder had to get creative. On March 18, the very next day, CNN reported Sean Patrick Keoughan drove into a White House checkpoint and announced he had a bomb.

Keoughan, 29, of Roanoke, Virginia, was charged with threatening and conveying false information about the use of an explosive, according to the US attorney’s office. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

[…]
 
[He] had pulled up to the White House an hour prior to his bomb threat, saying he had an appointment with President Donald Trump, the office said. He also said he could communicate telepathically with the President.

*

Joseph Clancy was appointed by Obama in February 2015 to help clean up the mess, against Washingtonian recommendations. USA Today:

In the fallout [from the scandals], then-Director Julia Pierson, the first woman to lead the agency, was forced to resign.

In selecting Clancy, Obama defied the recommendation of a bipartisan White House security panel, which recommended that a new director come from outside the agency.

Julia Pierson USSS.jpg

Pierson (above, flag) served 18 months. She was promoted by Obama to clean up Secret Service in the aftermath of agents getting caught with prostitutes at Summit of the Americas in Colombia, 2012.

EPA USA CRIME CLJ CRIME USA NJ

Clancy (above, bald) resigned as head of the Secret Service effective…March 4, 2017. Remember this date.

One of the first incidents of Clancy’s two-year tenure was a highly-publicized (and perhaps sensationalized…see sources) incident in March 2015. Agents  Mark Connolly and George Ogilvie made national news for allegedly leaving a fellow agent’s retirement party sloshed and plowing at low speed into a traffic barrel that sequestered a “suspicious package.” Huffington Post:

The area was locked down because [the Secret Service were] investigating a package thrown out of a car by a woman who had shouted, “It’s a bomb,” [Washington Post] said, citing a police report.

[A] law enforcement official familiar with some of the details described the vehicle as moving very slowly and deliberately at about 1 mile per hour.

The driver intentionally nudged a light-weight plastic orange construction barrel a couple of feet out of the way so the vehicle could reach a checkpoint, and did not drive through police tape, the official said.

[Marc Ambinder of The Week opined days later that he–as well as outlets like Washington Post, New York Post, and–real news!–The Daily Showmay have jumped to unwarranted conclusions regarding the agents’ alcohol use. Ambinder unofficially retracted the earlier statement he made in Politico: “This latest incident — where two high ranking Secret Service agents, while drunk, allegedly drove themselves into a crash barrier at the White House, disrupting a tense investigation into a suspicious package nearby, is heartbreaking.”]

WHAT WAS THE DATE IN 2015 OF THE “BOMB AND BASHED DRIVING” CONDUCT BY THE AGENTS???

March 4, 2015.

According to Wikipedia, Clancy was also head of security for Comcast from 2011 until his appointment by Obama.

UPDATES

April 20: The Secret Service announced it was closing the sidewalk in front of the White House permanently, according to multiple sources.

April 29: On April 25, Trump appointed Randolph “Tex” Alles, acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, as new head of the Secret Service.

Randolph Alles, the new director of the Secret Service, is second from the right. Here, he is participating in a Senate Homeland Security hearing in April as an official with Customs and Border Protection.

Picture from Wall Street Journal.

Alles is a 35-year Marine Corps veteran who retired in 2011 as a major general to begin work at CBP.

*

On March 17, Donna Brazile lamented in Time that the Russians fixed the 2016 presidential election, called for an independent investigation of their interference of the DNC communications, portrayed herself as a damsel drubbing up Democratic diversity in the 2016 primaries, and oh by the way admitted she helped Hillary cheat in a nationalized presidential debate, contradicting her previous statement [our emphasis]:

Then in October, a subsequent release of emails revealed that among the many things I did in my role as a Democratic operative and D.N.C. Vice Chair prior to assuming the interim D.N.C. Chair position was to share potential town hall topics with the Clinton campaign. I had been working behind the scenes to add more town hall events and debates to the primary calendar, and I helped ensure those events included diverse moderators and addressed topics vital to minority communities. My job was to make all our Democratic candidates look good, and I worked closely with both campaigns to make that happen. But sending those emails was a mistake I will forever regret.

By stealing all the DNC’s emails and then selectively releasing those few, the Russians made it look like I was in the tank for Secretary Clinton. Despite the strong, public support I received from top Sanders campaign aides in the wake of those leaks, the media narrative played out just as the Russians had hoped, leaving Sanders supporters understandably angry and sowing division in our ranks. In reality, not only was I not playing favorites, the more competitive and heated the primary got, the harder D.N.C. staff worked to be scrupulously fair and beyond reproach. In all the months the Russians monitored the D.N.C.’s email, they found just a handful of inappropriate emails, with no sign of anyone taking action to disadvantage the Sanders campaign.

[our emphasis]

As we reported in October, Brazile’s misconduct was exposed not by the pro-Trump Russians, but by Wikileaks.

Related:

Hillary Updates

Brazile disparages the Republican reluctance to support “special prosecution” of Russian communication with Jeff Sessions and other Trump allies: Despite all the deeply troubling evidence, the White House continues to insist that “there’s no there there.” 

Her own nonsensical syntax seems to be plagiarized from her former boss Bill Clinton‘s go-to legal defense: “That depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is.”

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39311901

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/laptop-trump-tower-floor-plans-stolen-secret-service-article-1.3001078

https://history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/nato

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_107716.htm

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/mccain-rand-paul-is-now-working-for-vladimir-putin-236106

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/white-house-fence-jumper-made-it-far-deeper-into-building-than-previously-known/2014/09/29/02efd53e-47ea-11e4-a046-120a8a855cca_story.html?utm_term=.830625e5192d

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/2-secret-service-agents-investigated-for-dui-crash-near-white-house/

http://theweek.com/articles/544867/how-unfairly-maligned-two-secret-service-agents-politico-magazine

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/secret-service-laptop-with-sensitive-information-stolen-in-new-york-law-enforcement-officials-say/2017/03/17/b3861be0-0b35-11e7-b77c-0047d15a24e0_story.html?utm_term=.28eb826c7db1

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2017/03/18/Pedestrian-apprehended-for-jumping-barrier-outside-White-House/3671489862358/?utm_source=sec&utm_campaign=sl&utm_medium=2

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/19/politics/white-house-security-situation/index.html

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/14/secret-service-director-joseph-clancy-leaving-agency/97893974/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/white-house-sidewalk-closed_us_58f884a4e4b0cb086d7e3c43

http://abcnews.go.com/US/us-secret-service-director-named/story?id=47004686

http://time.com/4705515/donna-brazile-russia-emails-clinton/?xid=homepage

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! March 16–Applebee’s

Cosmo reported that, like many of their customers, Applebee’s has sunk to a new level of desperate.

For the final two weeks of March, certain Texas locations of the seedy “fast-casual” bar and grill reportedly reduced patrons’ check by up to 50% in exchange for giftcards or expired coupons–from any business.

Applebee's.svg

In a press release, Applebee’s said the idea for the promotion came after noticing customers had expired coupons and gift cards to places they’ve never visited before. Chief operating officer of the Apple Texas franchise group Chris Dharod thinks the promotion will bring in customers who will eventually become regulars. In a statement, he said, “We know that when our neighbors taste our food and relax in our atmosphere, they will become Applebee’s fans for life.”

 

Applebee’s is a subsidiary of DineEquity; DineEquity also runs IHOP, which is slightly classier than Applebee’s.

Thanks to our source:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/applebees-accepting-gift-cards-anywhere-163729537.html

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! March 10, 19 and 22–Genes, Tattoos and Faces

Republican House members led by Virginia Foxx (below) of North Carolina recently pulled a rather clandestine stunt. H.R. 1313: Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act passed a House Committee 22-17 along party lines.

logo

The bill would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information, according to Scientific American.

Under guise of propping up “workplace wellness programs,” the 2008 “GINA” protections of employees’ genetic material from their employer would be eliminated. The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act restrictions on wellness programs are also removed.

According to the Federal text online from the bill introduced on March 2:

This bill exempts workplace wellness programs from: (1) limitations under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 on medical examinations and inquiries of employees, (2) the prohibition on collecting genetic information in connection with issuing health insurance, and (3) limitations under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 on collecting the genetic information of employees or family members of employees. This exemption applies to workplace wellness programs that comply with limits on rewards for employees participating in the program.

Workplace wellness programs may provide for more favorable treatment of individuals with adverse health factors, such as a disability.

Collection of information about a disease or disorder of a family member as part of a workplace wellness program is not an unlawful acquisition of genetic information about another family member.

[our emphasis]

American Scientific notes the power these “wellness programs” already wield under Obamacare:

Employers got virtually everything they wanted for their workplace wellness programs during the Obama administration. The ACA allowed them to charge employees 50 percent more for health insurance if they declined to participate in the “voluntary” programs, which typically include cholesterol and other screenings; health questionnaires that ask about personal habits including plans to get pregnant; and sometimes weight loss and smoking cessation classes.

[…]

Rigorous studies by researchers not tied to the $8 billion wellness industry have shown that the programs improve employee health little if at all. An industry group recently concluded that they save so little on medical costs that, on average, the programs lose money.

[our emphasis]

So it sounds like instead of just paying more for health insurance for the privilege of not submitting to a company cheek swab, employees now may be explicitly subject to same, as well as invasive questions about planned future pregnancies and smoking behaviors…as long as the “wellness program” is labeled “voluntary.”

Republican representatives Thomas Garrett (VA),  Luke Messer (IN) Paul Mitchell (MI), Elise Stefanik (NY) and Tim Walberg (MI) are all co-sponsoring this charade to gather more data on citizens in the name of “wellness.” But we can trust big, bad corporations not to share with the government, right?

Elise Stefanik official congressional photo.jpg

Elise Stefanik, 32, (above) is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Millennials, hamstrung by student debt and faced with diminished economic prospects, are supposed to depend on their contemporaries to defend the freedom of the younger generation as it is trampled by the Baby Boomers.

Does Stefanik care to protect Millennials’ privacy rights as they toil to build careers to hopefully pay off the $20,000,000,000,000 national debt their parents accumulated? [PUN ALERT] Ap-parent-ly not.

According to congress.gov, the bill has stalled since the committee vote. Let’s hope it remains that way.

*

The mainstream media is breathlessly pumping up the latest fallout of President Trump’s top terrible tyrannical priority: enforcing immigration law.

ATTN: said:

A Bay Area tattoo removal clinic has been booming recently for an unexpected reason: the fear of deportation.

The fear of possibly being associated with gang members or seen as criminals has apparently prompted many to seek out the clinic’s services. Nora Ruiz of the San Pablo Economic Development Corporation said people are taking up the service “for fear that they might be seen as a certain type of person or judged in any way.”

Lawyers who have consulted detainees say tattoos and old speeding tickets were the reason a father of two U.S.-born children and longtime resident was detained following a raid.

Raids are common during the current crackdown by ICE agents on undocumented immigrants, whether or not they have criminal histories. Tactics such as entering courthouses in order to make arrests are being used more frequently. The Department of Justice has begun drafting plans to reassign an unspecified number of immigration judges to 12 cities across the country, including San Francisco, in order to facilitate quicker deportation hearings.

 […]

Due to an executive order signed by Trump in January, all undocumented immigrants are effectively a priority for deportation regardless of whether they have committed violent crimes or not.

[our gold]

Presumably, people are more vulnerable if they have been incarcerated, and (presumably) had their skin photographed against their will:

Privacy Groups “Up In Arms” Over FBI Tattoo Tracking Program

On the other hand, Socialist sympathizers who backed Bernie may have had a change of heart in disgust at the Democratic downfall with which they don’t want to be associated! Hopefully they will learn to vote for a “third party” next time around:

Sterile Needles for Socialism

*

In other privacy-pillaging news,  NBC told us to face reality: the FBI, which couldn’t bring itself to prosecute Hillary for her criminal secret email server while Secretary of State, is sweeping up images of all American citizens’ faces. You know, just in case.

Most disconcerting, this same intelligence agency tampered with the iPhone of ISIS-inspired mass murdered Syed Farook in order to blackmail Apple to reverse-engineer every iPhone in the world. When Apple wouldn’t play ball, the Fibbies paid a hacker, as we have extensively documented.

FBI Rapes More Phones

 

NBC:

 

More than 400 million pictures of Americans’ faces are archived in local, state and federal law enforcement facial recognition networks, the federal Government Accountability Office reported last year.

Those pictures include the faces of about half of all U.S. adults, Georgetown University Law School’s Center on Privacy & Technology estimates.

The networks are largely unregulated and subject to ethnic and gender bias, according to experts, including a photo technologist for the FBI itself. The databases are culled from police mugshots, driver’s licenses, passports, visas, security video and other sources — taking in millions of Americans who aren’t even suspected of a crime.

[Yet.]

[Our emphasis.]

More widely known for his recent comment that potentially Obamacare-stripped poor people should choose between health insurance and the latest iPhone, Republican Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Regulation Jason Chaffetz of Utah said of the intelligence community’s latest (known) unconstitutional power grab: “The FBI, in particular, and others are doing everything [they] can to build out facial recognition with the goal, essentially, of having everybody’s face in their database.”

"If the database was smaller to known criminals, wanted criminals, people that are here illegally, maybe those are the types of things that we should be focused on, as opposed to everybody, and that's one of the questions and why we have a distinguished panel today," he said. (Graeme Jennings/Examiner)

According to Washington Examiner, Chaffetz (above) used a hearing to propose the FBI employ facial recognition more selectively: “If the database was smaller to known criminals, wanted criminals, people that are here illegally, maybe those are the types of things that we should be focused on, as opposed to everybody[.]”

He acknowledged the “unintended racial, gender or age biases or deficiencies” likely inherent in the massive database. Per Examiner, Chaffetz said that nearly 80 percent of the faces in the FBI‘s facial recognition network are of non-criminals.

[our emphasis]

 But the intriguing–and perhaps most anti-American?–nugget of the FBI’s further crackdown on your quickly-eroding privacy rights, from NBC:
 

In a paper published in the December 2012 edition of the journal IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, four authors — including a senior photography technologist for the FBI — reported that facial recognition systems are less accurate in distinguishing identities among African-Americans, women and younger people.

The FBI system, in particular, “is not designed to give no for an answer,” Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of the Georgetown Privacy Center, said last month on the public radio podcast Criminal Injustice.

No matter what, it will return a list of faces. And so, in these systems that are designed to not tell you no for an answer, when they miss the right suspect, they’re still going to give you a list of potential suspects that look like the candidate image,” he said. “And those innocent people will predominantly be African-Americans, women and young people.”

[our emphasis]

Who sets the facial recognition standards? Our friends at National Institute of Standards and Technology (who are photographing prisoners without consent; see link above).

Apparently, the GAO found the FBI is using “one or two” angles to accuse innocent people who happen to look like criminals. NBC:

The federal government’s own guidelines, set out by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, suggest using at least five images to determine a credible match.

[…]

Internal FBI documents obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center indicate that the FBI’s own database, called the Next Generation Identification Interstate Photo System, or NGI-IPS, had an acceptable margin of error of 20 percent — that is, a 1-in-5 chance of “recognizing” the wrong person.

And research published in the October 2015 issue of the scientific journal PLOS ONE by researchers at the universities of Sydney and New South Wales in Australia found that the humans who interpret such data build in an extra error margin approaching 30 percent.

Because state and local agencies need their surplus military Humvees and assault rifles to serve search warrants, federal goodies from equitable sharing, etc., etc., they are lining up to collaborate with James Comey‘s literal army of Federal thugs:

Even so, the FBI is working to grow the number of state and local law enforcement agencies whose databases it can tap into. It already has agreements with 16 states allowing investigators to cross-check faces without court warrants, creating what the Georgetown Privacy Center called a “virtual perpetual lineup.”

*

UPDATE: As of April 29, Chaffetz had announced he will not run for re-election in 2018 and is further taking an emergency one-month leave of absence from Congress to remove some hardware from his ankle. Talk of his aspiration for higher office, such as the Utah governorship (November 2020 election) abounds. The militant Maxine Waters (D-CA) speculates the emergency absence illustrates Chaffetz is working for the Kremlin.

Chaffetz’ allegedly partisan investigation of the Jim Henson Company’s “Sid the Science Kid” educational video on Zika sponsored by Centers for Disease Control aside, we would hope another Federal Government watchdog will step up in his stead to keep the screws on Federal thugs to preserve what privacy we still enjoy.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/house-republicans-would-let-employers-demand-workers-rsquo-genetic-test-results/

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1313

http://www.attn.com/stories/15773/how-trumps-presidency-effects-tattoo-removal?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=internal

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/facial-recognition-hearing-looks-give-lawmakers-clearer-picture-creepy-technology-n736771

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/jason-chaffetz-use-facial-recognition-technology-to-track-illegal-immigrants/article/2618090

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/utah-rep-chaffetz-provides-transparent-reason-leave-absence-n751901

Maxine Waters Floats Harebrained Russia Theory About Jason Chaffetz [VIDEO]

While Trump scandals mount, Chaffetz decides to investigate … a cartoon character